Though this probably isn’t the best option for ultralight backpackers, the Robens Fire Tick and Cookery King combo is a practical and effective cooking system if you need to cater for up to four people and have a fixed basecamp or the ability to carry a little extra weight and bulk on your adventures. So, for activities such as family camps, weekends away, 4x4 overlanding expeditions or an extended canoe trip, this would be a great option.
Can be used to cater for larger groups
Remote canister system offers great simmer control and superior cold weather performance
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Setting up the Robens Fire Tick and Cookery King system is almost a nostalgic experience. Many of us will have fond memories of cooking on storm cooker-style systems, the most famous of which is of course the iconic Trangia. Of course, these days most campers and backpackers have switched to gas canister stoves, which offer faster and more precise cooking, without having to deal with messy, sooty meths. But there’s still a place in our hearts for the humble Trangia.
You might feel similarly, and indeed you might even still have an old Trangia set tucked away in a shed or at the back of a cupboard. If so, maybe it’s time to bring it back to life. Because actually, the storm cooker still has a lot going for it. They are robust, durable, stable and pretty weatherproof too. And with Robens’ clever little Fire Tick stove, it is possible to convert a storm cooker to gas operation. Sized to slot securely into the lower windshield of a standard storm cooker, it means you can do away with the fiddly meths burner.
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If you don’t already have a storm cooker but are keen to try this set-up, Robens’ version of the Trangia, the Cookery King, is one to consider. It contains all you need to cater for larger groups or to make more sophisticated basecamp-style meals. The nesting set packs down very neatly, yet comes with two large cooking pots, a frying pan, a lid and even a little chopping board – plus, of course, a classic meths burner if you did want to keep things old school. This inclusion effectively makes the set a multi-fuel system that could run on either conventional butane-propane camping gas canisters or more traditional meths (denatured alcohol).
• RRP: Robens Fire Tick: £38 (UK) / €44 (EU) Robens Cookery King: £89 (UK) / €44 (EU)
• Power: 1,500W / 5,118 BTU/hr
• Packed weight: 1095g / 38.6oz
• Minimum weight: 635g / 22.4oz
• Burner diameter: 4.7cm / 1.85in
• Pot support diameter: 17.5cm / 6.9in
• Assembled height (with 227g gas canister): 12cm / 4.7in
• Packed size (HxWxD): 21.5 x 11cm / 8.5 x 4.3in
• Boil time (500ml of water at sea level in zero wind, air temp 16°C / 61°F, starting water temp 11°C / 52°F): 3min 31secs
In the field
The Fire Tick isn’t the most powerful stove, but because it is designed to sit inside the protective storm cooker windshield, it doesn’t need to be. And it packs plenty of punch for more advanced meal prep, with the ability to boil 500ml of water in three and a half minutes, or to simmer away gently. The wide burner head gives even heat distribution, so it’s easy to knock up more advanced dishes than your standard backpacking fare. It’s also very fuel efficient, even in cold weather, thanks to a brass pre-heater that vaporizes the fuel effectively. With its braided hose, it also gives you all the benefits of a remote canister set-up, such as precision flame control and the ability to turn the gas canister upside-down for even better winter performance. As such, this would be a viable all-season cooking system for those who aren’t keen on or comfortable with operating and maintaining fiddly, temperamental, expedition-style liquid fuel stoves.
Robens’ Cookery King set is basically their take on the tried-and-tested Swedish Trangia. But it is well made and well equipped too, with two large hard anodized aluminum cooking pots, a lid and a non-stick frying pan. For us it also had plenty of nostalgic appeal, taking us back to the days of Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and Scout camps. Of course, the old drawbacks that applied back then still apply today: it’s relatively bulky and heavy. Unlike the other stoves tested here though, it does include all you need to cook for a small group or create more ambitious meals. So, we reckon it would be pretty easy to convince everyone to carry a few extra grams for the sake of some stunning gourmet camp food at the end of hard day’s trekking.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.
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