Below is the text for my OR for your editors pen. I have been planning to do an OR on this for quite some time.
You can find the HTML in the OR folder at: http://tinyurl.com/4x9p9de
Thanks in advance for your edits, comments and suggestions,
Owner Review by David Wilkes
GSI Haulite Minimalist
April 20 2011
Name: David Wilkes
Location: Yakima Washington USA
Height: 5'11" (1.80 m)
Weight: 197 lb (89.40 kg)
I started backpacking in 1995 when I moved to Washington State. Since then, I have backpacked in all seasons and conditions. I prefer trips on rugged trails with plenty of elevation gain. While I continuously strive to lighten my load, comfort and safety are most important to me. I have finally managed to get my basic cold weather pack weight, not including consumables, to under 30lbs (14 kg).
Manufacturer: GSI OUTDOORS
Year of Manufacture: 2009
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.gsioutdoors.com/
MSRP: US$ 24.95
Advertised Weight: 5 oz (142 g)
Measured Weight: 6.5 oz (183 g)
Listed Dimensions: 4.2" x 4.2" x 4.6"
Image courtesy of GSI Outdoors
The GSI Haulite minimalist is designed as a cook pot / insulated drinking mug for soloists looking to reduce pack weight. The vessel is made from a proprietary alloy they claim is as light as Titanium but conducts and distributes heat more evenly. The surface is described as a Hard Anodized Aluminum that is non-reactive, scratch resistant, and resistant to burn spots. The vessel comes with a neoprene insulating sleeve as well as a reversible (I will discuss that later) drink through lid. It also comes with a collapsible spork (they call it a "foon") and a light and simple silicone pot griper.
I have used the pot many times over the last year or so. I have used the cook set minus the "foon" (I will explain later), for solo backpacking in the Washington Cascades at altitudes ranging from 800' ( 20 m) to over 4k' (1200 m) in all 4 seasons, including while snow camping. I have used it to make tea while snowshoeing and cook meals while backpacking. I have mostly used it with my alcohol stoves but have also used it to cook over camp fires.
I purchased the cook set in an effort to help reduce my pack load as well as expand my cooking abilities. I was looking for something light and compact as well as less prone to burning/scorching during cooking than my titanium pot. I was also looking for a pot better suited for some of the alcohol stoves I use/make. The cook set was designed so that some of the ultra light pressurized gas stoves can be stored inside of the pot when not in use. I don't have one of these, but do store my alcohol stove inside the pot along with a lighter and the pot gripper. I have tried storing a small container of alcohol in the pot, but found this could leave an alcohol taste and smells in the pot so have stopped doing this.
To use the pot for cooking, I remove the lid and insulating sleeve. At first this could be a bit difficult as both fit rather tightly. The lid has a small tab that makes its removal easer (I would not want to try to get it off without the tab. After much use the insulating sleeve has gotten easier to get off, but still snug enough that there is no risk of it working off while I am using it or while it is in my pack. The lid of the pot is designed to be used as a sipper lid and used inverted during cooking. When reversed it fits loosely and is easily removed, this is a good safety feature since the tight fitting lid would be rather dangerous to try to remove while on a stove, and since it fits so tightly, boil over's could result in a fountain of boiling liquid spurting out of the drink opening. The pot does not have a handle but does come with a small silicone pot griper. I slip two fingers into one side of the pot griper and it protects my fingers allowing me to grasp the upper rim of the pot. The instructions say the pot gripper can be used to pour out the contents but I found this inadvisable. When attempting this I found my fingers and/or hand could be burned by the steam coming off the pot. I found it was much better to use the griper to place the pot into the insulating sleeve before pouring. Once in the insulating sleeve, the pot can be handled from the sides and burns are not an issue.
By placing the pot into the insulating sleeve and attaching the lid, the pot converts into an insulated drinking mug. I have used this often for tea, coffee, & broth.
I have used this pot with a few different alcohol stoves (one commercial one and at least 3 home made ones of various designs). I also have cooked with it over open camp fires, I have placed it on a log above the fire as well as placed it on a rock directly adjacent to a fire, both worked quite well. I have been quite impressed with the pots ability to distribute heat and the durability of the surface. Even when heating by placing it next to a camp fire, I was able to quickly boil water. Most of the alcohol stoves I have used have a single center flame. This results in a single hot spot in the center of my Titanium pan and I have to be careful to not burn the bottom of the pan or food. This is not an issue with the Haulite Minimalist. I have made a number of different foods in this pot ranging from tea and soup to rice and oatmeal. With only one exception, I have not had any trouble with burning food in the pot (the one exception was entirely my fault as I did not add enough water nor did I mix it properly). In addition to alcohol stoves I have used this pot on liquid gas stoves as well as a pressurized gas stove. The narrow diameter of the pot can be too small for some of my larger stoves, but since I purchased it to be used with my alcohol stoves, this is really not a problem.
The surface of the pot is very durable. Sticky and even burnt food seems to come off rather easily as does soot. For field cleaning the manufacturer recommends using a bit of fine sand to scrub the pot. I normally carry a small kitchen scrub pad (the green ones) and this has worked great. On one trip I tried cooking my diner by placing the pot on a log in a camp fire. The pot got completely blackened by the soot (I assumed this was going to be permanent but was wrong) and even though it was heated unevenly (mostly from one side since it was sitting on a log) it cooked the soup with no problems. For cleaning, I simply rubbed it down with a handful of wet sand from the nearby stream and was amazed at how well it cleaned up!
The spork or "Foon", is the one item in this set that I could do without. It is collapsible so that it can be stored in the pot, but I found it to be flimsy, sometimes collapsing while I am using it, and often the end would simply come off in my hand. Since I am not a big fan of sporks (most useless invention ever in my opinion) I used it only a few times before I replaced it with my standard eating utensils; a plastic spoon and disposable wooden chopsticks. I find there is nothing I can't easily eat with a spoon & chopsticks (BTW the chopsticks serve double duty as part of my emergency fire starting kit).
About the only critique I have of the system, besides the "Foon", is the neoprene insulating sleeve, and it is a very minor item. I am not a big fan of the smell of neoprene and so sometimes this can get in the way of enjoying my food (yes, I am really nitpicking here). Also, the insulating sleeve is showing some signs of wear, a few stains and some fraying on the edges, and I have yet to find a way to replace it. I e-mailed the manufacturer asking about how I could replace the sleeve but never received a reply.
Aside from some minor issues, silly spork & the smell of neoprene, I really like this product. It is my number one favorite cooking system and I am thinking about getting one of the larger systems for when backpacking with others. It has all of the features I look for in my gear: Multi-functional, durable/reliable, lightweight, and inexpensive.
Lightweight & Multi-functional
Simple, with few extras
Durable & easy to clean
Silly useless "Foon" aka Spork
The smell of neoprene