Vargo Titanium Hexagon Stove + Ultralight Bikepacking Kitchen
The Vargo Titanium Hexagon Stove was one of the most impressive new pieces of gear that we carried on our tour through Africa; and Vargo’s knack for efficiency innovation and elegant design doesn’t stop there, so we put together a full Vargo bikepacking kitchen…
While hiking the Appalachian Trail back in 2000, Brian Vargo sparked the idea that ultimately led to the creation of his company when he asked himself, ‘Why is my pack so heavy?’ Bikepackers can relate. Whether sporting an ultralight setup for racing the Tour Divide, or a minimal setup for long distance dirt touring, we can all agree that pedaling a bicycle is much more pleasant when you have a lighter load. Vargo creates equipment with both lighter and leaner in mind. Each product that we’ve tested seems to be purposefully crafted for packing, stowing, nesting, or tackling multiple functions. And they’re all feather-light.
The first cook kit I carried was a standard camp kitchen typical for fully loaded bike touring: an aluminum pot with nested frying pan, bowls, titanium silverware, and an MSR multi-fuel stove. It probably weighed two pounds over my current kit, not to mention the fact that it required a square foot of luggage space. In Africa we carried something in between this and a the ultralight kit featured here. After being smitten with the Hexagon Stove and equally as impressed with the BOT, a few more Vargo products were added to round out the kit. Here is a full review of what we’ve tested, and initial impressions of the new stuff followed by the kit specs:
Vargo Titanium Hexagon Wood Stove – A Wilderness Bikepacking Necessity
We picked up the Vargo Hexagon stove as a last minute add-on before setting off to Africa. It doubled as a windscreen and pot stand for the Trangia, and still does on occasion. But its deeper purpose was to act as a safety net for times in the wilderness where we might not have access to fuel, times where it could be used as it is intended… as a wood burning stove.
The stove accordion folds into a small flat pouch that is easily stowed in the frame bag. It’s simple to setup; the panels wrap around the base and latches via two male tabs.
Using the Titanium Hexagon Stove with wood is fairly straightforward. I typically shave down tinder from small dry sticks with a knife, then gradually build it with smaller kindling. But you could also use something like a cedar fire starter and small twigs to build the base. When using a narrow pot such as the BOT, the hinged door can open freely and allow the fire to be stoked without disturbing the pot (click here for our review of the BOT). The conical shape of the stove creates a chimney effect to channel heat and boil water relatively quickly.
Vargo’s titanium products are built for the long haul. The model tested above has been carried a long way, dropped, and burned on hundreds of occasions; it still assembles and works flawlessly. In conclusion, this versatile stove is lightweight (148 grams), easy to use, multifunctional, and well built. It retails for $59.99 at VargoOutdoors.com.
Vargo Titanium Spork
The spork is the best friend of the bikepacker. The Vargo Spork, which they dubbed as ‘the original,’ is said by many to be the perfect spork. It’s design is slightly different from the popular Snow Peak model which has a 1mm wider spoon and 2mm longer fork blades. The Vargo spork also features a narrower neck (where the handle meets the spoon), a tapered handle, and polished finish. The Vargo Titanium Spork weighs 14 grams, is 162mm long, retails for $9.95, and is available in several colors.
Vargo Titanium Mug – 450ml
450ml is about the perfect size for a coffee mug, cereal bowl, beer glass, or wine flute. I actually sat on my Snow Peak 450ml mug, so it was the perfect time for an upgrade. The Vargo Titanium mug features very unobtrusive foldaway handles, a stay-cool rim (which is nice as I have burnt myself on several occasions), and a nice mesh storage bag. The mug weighs 54 grams and retails for $26.95.
Vargo Titanium Pot Lifter
This extremely lightweight and minimal pot lifter makes a great replacement for the larger and heavier classic aluminum models. It is surprisingly sturdy, stows easily, and only weighs 23 grams. The Titanium Pot Lifter retails for $26.95 and should be the last pot lifter you’ll ever need.
Vargo Titanium Flint Lighter
The last time I was deep in the wilderness, on the Virginia Mountain Bike Trail, I realized my lighter flint was completely worn out. Luckily I had some spare matches, but I saw this tiny 8 gram lighter with replaceable flints and thought it would be a good addition. The Titanium Flint Lighter is 2.5″ long and retails for $19.95.
An Ultralight Bikepacking Kitchen
Here is my current ultralight solo bikepacking cook kit that all nests within the Vargo BOT and stows in the middle segment of the framebag. The same cook kit could also easily strap to an Anything Cage:
- Vargo BOT bottle/pot/lid
- Sideburner can stove (click here to see how to make one)
- Vargo Titanium Spork
- Vargo Titanium Mug 450ml
- Vargo Titanium Flint Lighter and backup matches
- Vargo Titanium Pot Lifter
- MSR Salt/Pepper