OR - Snow Peak Mini Solo - Ray Estrella
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Snow Peak Ti Mini Solo Combo
By Raymond Estrella
May 07, 2012
NAME: Raymond Estrella
LOCATION: North Western Minnesota, USA
HEIGHT: 6' 3" (1.91 m)
WEIGHT: 215 lb (97.50 kg)
I've been backpacking for over 30 years, all over California, Minnesota, and many western states. I hike year-round in all weather, and average 500+ miles (800+ km) per year. I make a point of using lightweight gear, and smaller volume packs. Doubting I can ever be truly ultralight, I try to be as light as I can yet still be comfortable. I start early and hike hard so as to enjoy the afternoons exploring/chilling. I usually take a freestanding tent and enjoy hot evening meals. If not hiking solo I am usually with my brother-in-law Dave or my twin children.
Manufacturer: Snow Peak Inc
Web site: www.snowpeak.com
Product: Ti Mini Solo Combo
Year manufactured/purchased: 2010
MSRP: US $59.95
Capacity listed, pot: 28 fl oz (828 ml)
Capacity listed, cup: 10 fl oz (296 ml)
Actual capacity (to brim) measured
Pot: 27.8 fl oz (823 ml) Cup: 11.7 fl oz (348 ml)
Weight listed (total): 5.5 oz (156 g)
Actual weights: pot; 3 oz (85 g), cup; 1.7 oz (48 g), lid; 0.7 oz (20 g),
Dimensions listed, pot: 4 in (10.2 cm) diameter, 5.1 in (13 cm) tall.
Dimensions listed, cup: 4.25 in (10.8 cm) diameter, 2 in (5.1 cm) tall.
Actual dimensions, pot: 3.75 in (9.5 cm) diameter, 4.8 in (12.2 cm) tall.
Actual dimensions, cup: 3.95 in (10 cm) diameter, 1.9 in (4.8 cm) tall.
Quick & Dirty Nitty Gritty
The Snow Peak Mini Solo Combo is exactly what I want in a solo cookware combo. The pot is big enough to heat water for my largest freeze-dried meals but is small enough to use as a mug if I choose to leave the cup at home. . The Mini Solo is light weight, very compact, and able to fend off my big butt. Please read on for the details.
The Snow Peak Ti Mini Solo Combo (hereafter referred to as the Mini Solo or pot/cup) is part of Snow Peak's Backpacking Cookware collection, and is the lightest of all their combo offerings. It consists of three pieces, a main pot with lid and a measuring/drinking cup. All pieces are made of titanium.
The main item is the pot. Its shape is narrow and tall, making it seem like more of a large mug than a pot. This design is what drew me to it in the first place. (More later.) Two plates which are spot-welded to the body of the pot hold the trapezoidal-shaped folding handles on. The handles are 2.3 in (5.8 cm) tall and protrude about 1.5 in (3.8 cm) from the side of the pot when deployed. The handles are curved slightly so that they fit snugly against the side when closed. The pot is flared out at the top to make a rim to support the lid.
The lid has a small triangular folding handle dead center. The handle will flop to either side and has no way to keep it upright. Another feature of the lid is that it is stepped inward. The wide edge sits into the rim of the pot, but if the lid is flipped upside-down the stepped part will allow it to be used on the cup.
The cup is made slightly wider than the pot so that the two pieces will nestle together compactly. The cup has small fold-out handles made to just fit a single finger through.
The cup has graduated measuring scales pressed into the titanium with the scales read from inside. One scale runs from four to ten ounces in one-ounce increments while the other goes from 100 to 300 ml in 50 ml increments.
For trips that I did not wish to bring the cup I added markings inside the main pot with a permanent marker at 1-1/2, 2, and 2-1/2 cups (350, 470, and 591 ml) to cover the range of most common measurements for my freeze-dried meals.
The Mini Solo came with a mesh netting storage sack to keep all the parts together while bouncing around in my pack. The picture of it all packed up to the right should be near to life-size.
The Snow Peak Ti Mini Solo Combo has been used on at least 35 days of backpacking in 2010 alone. I have had it as far south as Lake Morena at the Annual PCTA Kickoff (and on the Pacific Crest Trail heading north right afterwards) in southern California, and as far north as Itasca State Park in Minnesota. In between it has been used in the Sierra Nevada in Yosemite (where the picture above was taken) and Sequoia Kings Canyon National Parks and the Dinkey Lakes Wilderness. Other Wilderness areas used at include, San Gorgonio, Sespe and San Jacinto where the picture below was taken at Law's Camp.
It has been used in the San Gabriel, Santa Rosa, Sierra Palona, Sierra Madre, Piute, and Tehachapi Mountains at elevations ranging from 1000 ft (305 m) to over 10,000 ft (3050 m). It has been used in temps down to near freezing and in rain twice.
I purchased the Snow Peak Ti Mini Solo Combo for one reason. I wanted Trail Designs to make me a Caldera Ti-Tri Fissure system (see separate review) which will only work with certain pot shapes. To be honest finding the pot on sale and having a dividend check to apply to the cost had a lot to do with it too. Once I got the OK from the Trail Designs guys that it would work I bought the Mini Solo. It worked perfectly as seen at this camp at Sawmill in the San Gabriel Mountains.
One of the things I liked best was the measuring/drinking cup being able to fit tight to the pot. I usually bring a small titanium cup but have to stick it in my bear canister to protect it from getting crushed. Having the two pieces fit together both protects the combo and takes less room in my pack. I like that. Speaking of bear canisters the Mini Solo is small enough that once I had eaten the contents down I can actually fit the entire Mini Solo into my Bearikade Weekender. The first time I did that I forgot and was freaking out when making camp the next afternoon, thinking I had left the Mini Solo (and my cooking system) behind. Only when I resigned myself to having cold bars for dinner did I open the canister to find the Mini Solo laughing at me. (It was, I promise ) Here is a shot of it next to my Bearikade at Register Creek in Yosemite.
On trips that I am solo I often leave the cup behind which is why I added the measuring marks to the inside of the pot. I have used the pot as a mug occasionally on those trips, usually for a cup of hot cider on cold evenings. It works OK.
I have never used it to do any "real" cooking with. All my meals run to the freeze-dried or freezer-bag cooking variety these days. All these require is boiling water that is then transferred to the bag so no food ever touches the pot. Needless to say clean up is unnecessary or minimal (in the case of a hot drink).
All cooking has been done with a 12-20 Pepsi-can style alcohol stove. There is some heat discoloration on the pot, but it is not bad.
The pot is a bit bent too. On a solo trip in Yosemite I sat on what looked to be a nice stable chunk of log and promptly flipped over landing right on the Mini Solo. My stomach fell as my fragile stove was inside it. Just the top was bent out of shape and I carefully popped it back into almost-round. Funny thing is the lid now snaps into place where before it just loosely sat on the pot. I like it better for travel now but do need to remember to not snap it down when boiling my water.
Maybe the only thing I would like to see different is some way to make the lid handle stay upright. It can be a finger-burning experience trying to get it up at times. I leave with a shot of it in Itasca State Park in Minnesota during a break in the rain.