Currently, I have an Evernew DX System. That is to say, I have the Evernew Ultralight Titanium DX Stand and the Evernew Ultralight Titanium Alcohol Stove. My pot is an MSR Titan Kettle. This allows me to boil 500ml of water which is all we need when hillwalking and I can drink from it comfortably too. 500ml is two cups of hot chocolate, and its one re-hydrated meal. Therefore, whilst camping, we heat up 500ml, three times in the evening and once in the morning before getting some porridge on as well. Hitherto, I had been using a Coleman F1 Power PZ stove which always worked well, but was a reasonably heavy set-up to carry compared to the DX system. I was also seduced by the bewitching prospect of wood-burning - it appealed to my sense of wilderness and to my desire for versatility. It still does.
Several people who follow this journal of mine, and thank you all for that, have indicated to me that the information content is one of the reasons they follow it. I hope that this does not do them a disservice - I am not going to review the DX System in detail as various people have already done so and the whole thing does not get any better with repetition. Thus, have a look at the links below. There are probably others, but these are some of the most detailed and they are blogs that I like - Babelfish5's video is excellent:
So, to some basics: the DX System and Alcohol Stove is 85g. Full stop. Done. That's damned light. The MSR Titan Kettle is 121g with lid. 200ml of meths in a 250ml Evian bottle is 195g.
However, it has begun to appear to me that the DX system is not, without some real effort, that well suited to hillwalking. Some may disagree, but one of its key attributes is the versatility of a wood-burning stove. This it does quite well, but there are others that do this better - the Bushbuddy Ultra is a prime example (thanks Andy Howell) as is the Four Dog Stoves Lt1 (Joe Newton again). Neither are alcohol stoves as well, so they are less versatile as wood-burning options in the UK hills and mountains are limited so, I would venture to suggest, they are not ideally suited to that theatre. Lower level walking, certainly. This issue also reduces the value of the DX System but, were it a good alcohol stove, that might not matter. The DX stand itself serves as a potstand and partial windshield. I say partial as it really does not shield the alcohol stove from the wind very much so another windshield is necessary. That I normally make out of kitchen foil and a paper clip. It lasts two or three outings before being retired but it's light and easy to use. I punch holes in the bottom to permit airflow.
However, I have noticed that, even with a windshield, it can take some time for 500ml to heat up and, in really windy conditions, rolling boils are very difficult indeed. The reason for this is that the wind may be prevented from hitting the DX by a further windshield, but the pot cools down quickly as a result of the convective effect of the wind. Titanium, in my experience, cools down damned fast so this is an issue. The Trail Designs Caldera Cone does not suffer from this effect as the pot is completely encased in the shield. However, this is not a wood-burner, unless you get the Trail Designs Ti-Tri instead, which Chris Townsend loves. If you're going to do that, you might as well get the Inferno addition too. Thus, with the DX System, you have to find a sheltered place to cook in order to get the full benefit. We don't always have that many options in inclement weather so a 'temperamental' stove like that is not necessarily the most convenient choice. With the Trail Designs systems, you really don't need to find such a sheltered place. Also, query whether those systems are usable in the porch of a tent like the Fly Creek where, let's be honest, the door is so sharply sloping you would not want to cook there with the DX System nor, probably, a top-mounted canister stove.
That said, the problem with the Ti-Tri is that it is not particularly lightweight - with the caddy, it's 292g (albeit, that is ULOG's assessment including instructions and esbit tablets - let's say c.270g instead). That does include a fuel bottle too, however. Add 200ml of meths and your total cooking set-up is c.450g. Add the MSR Titan Kettle into this (you'll see why later when I get to the MSR Reactor) and it's c.560g. We're starting to get a touch on the heavy side now. The Caldera Cone setup, for the MSR Titan Kettle, is c.160g including bottle and caddy. You could, I assume, ditch the top of the caddy and stick it in your food stuffsack like that and shave c.35-40g. That, again, includes a fuel bottle. In fact a 35g bottle is rather heavy and 250ml water bottle (Evian etc) is only 15g - but there you go. We're in semantics perhaps. Further, from what I can see, the Ti-Tri need not be taken completely and you could just take the alcohol part of it if you wanted to. When hill and mountain walking, that might make some sense.
However, when one continues that analysis, high-level walking might be enabled by taking a 100g gas canister and a Gosystem Fly(Ti) or whatever the derivatives are given this is made by the same Chinese company with different names stamped on them. An absolutely superb and comprehensive review can be found on Mac E's blog, Stayin' Alive as well some initial analysis and great images. The major complication is that this suffers from the usual drop in performance towards the end of a canister and you'll be at the end of a canister more often with a 100g canister. So is that perfect either? No. Will it suffer in the wind - yes. Is it the answer? Who knows? It's bloody light though - 250g total for a 100g canister and the Fly(Ti).
So Mac E moves on to look at the MSR Reactor. Possibly the most efficient and effective canister stove on the planet at the moment, the Reactor has only one failing - weight. Bear in mind that it comes with a 1.0l pot (it's actually 1.5l, but you shouldn't fill it higher than 1.0l, even though you could if you wanted) so, to analyse it properly, you need to add in the weight of your pot to the equation. The Reactor, and a 100g canister, would be 480+200 = 680g. The Ti-Tri system, with it's complete versatility and effective windshield, would be 560g when compared favourably. The MSR Reactor is much, much quicker to boil 500ml of water however. The Fly(Ti), as I have said, would be 250+114 (for the pot) = 364g.
Another, often overlooked factor, is the effect on the environment. I'd love to be corrected, I really would, but I can find no reference to canisters being re-fuelled. They are simply landfill or, if you have an understanding council, metal recycling. This is pretty poor from the likes of Primus, MSR and Coleman, it seems to me, that they don't offer some sort of recycling service or disposal service - I don't accept "business reasons" as an excuse - we all have to protect the world we live in for future generations. If they all got together and jointly funded it, it could easily work (deposit points as certain shops etc). Metal recycling is not the best option as the energy/carbon footprint in manufacturing canisters must be significant - if they could be re-fuelled, that must be a better option. I did contact my local council this morning and they told me that all gas canisters are refused for obvious reasons. I know in the US they will be accepted if the pressure is completely removed from them but clearly we don't have that in London yet.
Finally, Andy Howell makes a point I have often made in relation to bivys - woodburners will always enhance the experience in a way that canister stoves (and perhaps even alcohol stoves) simply cannot do. There's a solace and romanticism - a kind of connection with the wilderness - that having a woodburner enhances. Disagree? So be it, but have you used one?
Conclusions? Not really...
So, in the light of that, the Ti-Tri and Caldera Cone take a giant leap or two forward. What will I get? I don't know but I certainly don't need it in the Alps so it's a decision I can take some weeks hence. I have to admit, I am rather swayed by the environmental argument as the birth of my first child approaches. What sort of father am I if I cannot teach him that the world around him is precious? This is not meant to be a comprehensive analysis of all the cooking methods available - it is my own analysis, for my own purposes, of what considerations will apply to the replacement of the Evernew DX System. My thought processes might be of interest, however.