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Trekmates Flameless Cookflask Kit
The other day I popped in our local camping shop for a quick look around, I was actually looking for a towing hitch lock for a trailer we had recently acquired.
As is usual for me, I started at the beginning and browsed a bit as I made my way towards the Trailer Accessories.
On the first aisle, the camping foods and equipment drew my attention, it was lunchtime after all. There was a display of cooking equipment that I had never really considered before despite seeing it everytime I used Attwoolls. The thing that caught my eye was the Trekmates Flameless Mess Tin, a tupperware style black outer container, lined inside with a metal mess tin all inside an attactive plastic package that included a couple of flameless heating pouches.
Looking at the price I soon looked away, I think it was £27.99 or £29.99, for technology that I had never heard of before and with reservations at how well it worked I wasn't going to spend that ! Just to the side of it was a smaller, taller package, the label informed me that this one was the Flameless Cookflask Kit, inside was a black beaker with a clip on top, inside that was a stainless steel metal beaker, and the packet also contained a measuring bottle and three high power heat pouches. Casually glancing at the price, I was happy to see it significantly lower than the mess tin. £17.99.
I bought it, along with a seperate packet of 7 heat pouches costing an extra £8.95.
With my spoils, a chunk of Kendal Mint Cake too, I went back to my car and set off for our field where I was taking the dogs for a run for a couple of hours.
Whilst they were running around playing and getting in to mischief, I started looking at my new toys. I always keep some bottled water in the van, so decided to try one of the heat pouches and see just how good this system was.
The pouch came out of the plastic sealed bag, and can only be likened to a large thick teabag. It was quite solid and as I was following the instructions to 'stuff it in to the bottom of the outer black flask container' (my interpretation of the instructions) it was quite difficult to get it to sit right in the bottom, so I left it to the side slightly. I poured some water into the measuring bottle to the line that said 'High Power' and promptly poured it into the black beaker, quickly followed by the metal inner beaker, the rest of the water into that, and the pouring spouted lid clipped on over the top.
After around a minute I started hearing a sizzling noise, followed by a spire of steam escaping from the edges of the beaker, presumably caused by the reaction of the water and the heat 'teabag' doing their thing.
I waited the recommended 10 minutes then excitedly unclipped the cover and dipped my finger into the water expecting to scream at the pain caused by the scolding I was sure to experience.
Hmmm, luke warm. I left it another 10 minutes, until the sizzling noise started to abate, and tried again, hotter, but not tea or coffee hot. I removed the inner metal beaker and rescued the now swollen and solid teabag, which I held quite easily. Not one to be defeated, I popped another of my three 'teabags' in and poured fresh water on and replaced the metal beaker amd clip on lid. Once again after around a minute, the steam came, and the sizzling started.
This time, after 10 minutes, bearing in mind the water was already kind of hot, the water was hot enough for a cup of instant latte, so I duly made a cup and revelled in how good my new toy was, imagining all the possibilities hot water in the middle of nowhere could bring me. Slightly concerned that each time I needed really hot water, it would 'cost' me two heat pouches at around £1.28 each. There are 7 pouches for my £8.95.
I consoled myself that this was ok as if a world changing solar flare did make it to Earth and knocked out all the mod cons, electricity etc, I would be sitting pretty with my cup of coffee watching everybody else drink the vast reserves of bottled fizzy drinks that would no doubt add to the greenhouse effect eventually.
Once my Latte had disappeared, it took seconds to clean and dry everything up with some kitchen towel roll (I also keep in the van) and put it all away ready for next time.
When I got home that night, I took to Amazon to read some of the reviews people had left for the flameless flask, still not convinced of its ability, I mean it didnt say anywhere if you want really hot water use two pouches. I was surprised to read so many good reviews of people camping and making themselves steaming hot cuppas right from their sleeping bags. No mention of how incensed they were that they had to use two heat pouches for their morning cup of tea.
Convincing myself that I had somehow done something wrong, the next day I pilfered a tin of tomato soup from the cupboard at home, and once I was back at the field with the dogs, and with a heart full of hope, once again set up my flask and this time, put Ceam Of Tomato soup in, just like the man showed me on the nice YouTube video I had watched. He had been very happy with his !
Same pattern of events, 'teabag' in, water in, beaker in, soup in, lid clipped on top, minute or so, sizzle, steam, more sizzling, couple of stirs through the process, 20 minutes later, cold soup at the top progressively getting warmer then practically hot at the bottom of the beaker.
At this point, I was a little disappointed, and cursing the clever marketing and bold faced actors convincing me that I had the best outdoor food and water heating system money could buy.
Resigned to using up the extra pouches, in two's to get my lovely hot drinks, the next day I opened my new pouches and tore open the plastic wrapping and was about to throw one in the outer beaker, when I realised something was different. The 'Teabag' was a lot softer than the kit supplied ones, more pliable, bendy, I cautiously lowered it in to the outer beaker and pushed it in to shape at the bottom, easily. I poured the water on top and set it down, turning away to fill the inner metal beaker with water, when a whooshing noise started and a ton of steam started pouring out of the flask. Panicking I quickly shoved the empty metal beaker inside and pushed down, waited a second, and as nothing had exploded, let the pressure off and a steady stream of steam ebbed from the edges of the metal beaker. 'Oh' I thought, 'That's different', so I filled the metal beaker and clipped the lid on, and picked the whole flask up to feel the bottom to see if the heating had started yet, this had taken a while with the supplied pouches in the kit, OUCH ! It was hot. Very hot. The heat was even seeping through the neoprene thermal cover surrounding the flask.
Puzzled, I waited 7 or 8 minutes and checked on the water, oh wow, finally some pain from dipping my finger in, all be it a slightly delayed reaction as my fingers were cold at the time. It was already hot enough for a coffee, which I made quickly and then had to leave for 5 or 6 minutes before it was cool enough to drink comfortably.
As I drank my coffee, mulling over what just happened, my flask continued to sizzle and work its magic for at least another quarter of an hour to twenty minutes.
Since then, I have used another pouch, heating a 500ml bottle of water over two refills (with the same pouch), making a pot noodle followed by a slightly less hot but more than drinkable cup of coffee.
I can only deduce that the heat pouches supplied in the kit were somehow past it, or had condensated triggering a slight reaction to the granules inside, making them less effective. The new pouches felt different to use and did a far better job, even though they appear exactly the same visually and in their wrappers.
On my experience with the new pouches, I can only recommend this system, it just works, and as an emergency way of heating water, or for camping, car booting, hiking, walking the dogs, it really excells in quickly achieving that. For those of you that dont think 8-10 minutes is quick, heating a kettle in a caravan or on a camping gas stove takes just as much time, granted it is heating more water, but how much of that water is heated and not used. This heats exactly what you need, when you need it.
Now, if Trekmates wants to send me a bunch of heat pouches for saying such nice things, that would be lovely, and the makers of my bottled water, pot noodle and coffee would also probably appreciate it too ;).Read moreRead less
I ordered one of these flasks after seeing it on facebook. it came very quickly and once we had looked at the simple instructions we tried tinned tomato soup in it. it was ready to drink within five minutes. it is so easy to use and quick. we also tried packet soup and it took the same time to heat up. there's no mess and no fuss. I have a family of five and we do a lot of hiking and walking so I have ordered four more which have arrived and the amount of heat packs that came with it will last ages. I very much recommend these products as they are quick and simple to use plus the customer service is second to none.
many thanksRead moreRead less