Backpackers are fond of heat exchanger pots, but what exactly are they? Is the increased weight of the pot worth the purported improvements in gas efficiency?
Here’s how efficient heat exchanger pots are
Ideally, the Heat Exchanger pot improves the efficiency of your stoves by up to 25%. The pot’s unusual waffled design distributes heat from the burner up the sides, increasing the heated surface area.
Since it extends below the pot when used with liquid fuel stoves or remote-burner canister stoves, it can also act as a wind block.
What is a Heat Exchanger Pot
It is an outdoor cooking toolset for camping, picnics, and other outdoor activities. It is used to cook or transfer heat from a pot without losing its shape. It is a pot with a heat exchanger that has a steam release.
Boiling water can be accomplished using heat exchanger pots. The pot is foldable and portable, as well as convenient to store. At the same time, the pot is foldable and portable, making it easy to transport when traveling or camping.
Heat exchanger pots are nothing more than increasing the surface area of the pot’s outside to allow metal conduction to function at its peak. Metals, in general, gold, copper, and aluminum, are the greatest in transferring heat.
Convection and infrared transport are the least efficient. As a result, a well-tuned heat exchange pot and stove combination will work similarly. Heat exchangers simply capture extra heat and transmit it to the pot, which is used to heat the water.
See related: Best Pressure Cooker For Camping
There are several types of heat exchanger pots:
Plate Heat Exchanger pots
These units are made up of several corrugated metal sheets or heat transfer plates clamped together in a frame within the pot. Gaskets separate the adjoining plates, forming a narrow, unbroken area of liquid flow.
The gaskets divide the fluids, which pass through alternative routes (passes). Several fluid streams can be supported simultaneously by grouping these channels and including intermediary separating/connecting plates.
Tubular Heat Exchanger Pot
These are specialized heat exchanger pots. These might be of many designs. Double- or triple-pipe units are made up of two or three concentrically placed tubes within the heat exchanger.
The heating or cooling medium runs via the inner tube; it can also pass through the annular space between the intermediate and outer tubes in a triple-tube system.
The product flows in the opposite direction through the annulus between the two inner tubes or through the inside tube.
Shell and Tube Heat Exchanger Pot
This is made up of a series of parallel tubes on the heat exchanger with their ends inflated into tube sheets. A cylindrical shell encases the bundle. Depending on the use, the connections allow the tubes to contain either the product or the media.
Heat Exchanger Pot with Scraped Surface
On the heat exchanger, these heat exchanger pots are made up of a tube or cylinder with an inner tube (the heat exchange surface) and an exterior tube.
The annular area between the two is where the media flows counter-current to the product. A revolving bladed shaft is concentrically positioned inside the inner cylinder to continuously agitate and remove the product from the heat exchange wall regions.
A moderate, 10-minute boil on a tiny alcohol burner with half-ounce alcohol is often more efficient.
In reality, they can lose efficiency at low heat levels due to extra mass and radiative cooling. As a result, there isn’t a single “best.”
How much fuel do I save?
You can save about 30% on your fuel bill by using this type of pot for cooking. Heat exchanger pots are a type of energy-efficient pot that uses the thermal energy that is emitted from boiling water to heat up another pot of water.
The more efficiently you can convert heat into energy, the less fuel you will need to burn. A Heat exchanger pot is a good way for campers and hikers to get more out of their firewood by capturing that heat and using it to cook the food they catch or bring with them.
Even with 32°F water, a large heat exchanger pot makes it easier to cook group meals and allows everyone to have more tea, coffee, and hot chocolate for whatever amount of fuel you’ve brought. Less treated (filter, UV, chemical) water means more boiled water.
Heat exchanger pots become even more important when you have to use snow or ice (sometimes lakes freeze 18+ inches thick and chainsaws weigh A LOT).
Is a heat exchanger pot worth the weight?
Yes, a heat exchanger pot is worth the weight, especially when you’re going to be cooking for a large group. A heat exchanger pot can quickly boil water and make cooking much more efficient.
If all you saved were the weight of the gas, it wouldn’t make much of a difference on your night hikes or overnight expeditions. However, it only teeters on the edge of accommodating a smaller canister; thus, the heat exchanger pot saves you a lot of weight.
This is the tipping moment when you can decide on whether or not to upgrade to a larger canister (that would have excess empty canister weight and leave you with excess gas).
The same is true when deciding between esbit, alcohol, and gas.
When you package an alcohol bottle in such a way that it does not get broken up on a long trip, the weight difference between esbit and alcohol stoves is negligible (few grams or so difference, maybe one boil).
See related: Alcohol Stove vs Jetboil – Pros & Cons
However, if you can remain well below the number of boils available in a canister, and especially if you convert to something like “sum of grams carried on each day” to account for fuel weight falling, they both win out over gas in terms of weight. Generally, it’s getting close to 10-15 days without resupply.
Of course, gas is considerably faster, simpler, cleaner, less stinky, less hazardous (particularly with Scouts and dealing with fire danger), more adaptable, and more easily expandable to pot size.
Read more: How long does gas canister last?
3 Best Heat Exchanger Pots
Cheapest: 1.5L Bulin Heat Exchanger Pot Camping Pot Portable Outdoor Picnic Cooking Cookware
The 1.5L Bulin Heat Exchanger Pot Camping Pot Portable Outdoor Picnic Cooking Cookware is one of the cheapest heat exchanger pots available in the market today.
It goes for the price of $44.99 to get the full set. It is light and easily portable, making it efficient for hiking or backpacking. It is also non-stick, so cleaning it is quite simple. You can purchase it at your local store or online platforms like Amazon for the price mentioned earlier.
Lightest: Olicamp Hard Anodized XTS Pot, 1-Litre
Most heat exchanger pots are made out of titanium. They weigh about 3-6 ounces. However, the Olicamp Hard Anodized XTS Pot, 1-Litre, weighs only 2.98 ounces. It is one of the lightest heat exchanger pots ever made.
Since the material of the pot is generally heavy already, heat exchange pots can be cumbersome to carry, especially on a mountain hike.
This pot is light enough to help you avoid backaches from carrying around a heat exchanger pot. At the same time, it is also efficient and non-stick.
Most Value: The Essential Trail Trek Pots
The Essential Trail Trek Pots are great heat exchanger pots for inexperienced campers and seasoned outdoor chefs. These ultralight heat exchanger pots are great for outdoor cooking and fit conveniently in a bag.
Bring water to a boil in either pot for the pasta or your freeze-dried dish. The 0.6L capacity contains a cover with a filter and a handle.
The pot, a nonstick ceramic coated fry/pan lid, and two handles are included in the 1.0L set for USD 44.95. This makes it the most-value heat exchanger pot at a great price light, and it comes in a set.
You can also bring the whole Set, which includes two pots, a frying pan, and three handles. All of the handles are detachable and may be adjusted in various ways to help with cooking or to keep stuff together when packed.
You might believe that all heat exchanger pots are the same, but you’d be wrong. There are numerous varieties and models, each of which is intended for a specific function and application.
Why are heat exchanger pots used? Of course, there is a demand for thermal processing of diverse products, whether they are from the food, dairy, chemical, or pharmaceutical industries. In today’s market, a variety of heat exchanger styles are available.