BCB crusader cooking system Mk III just got one of the new Mk2 crusader cooker kits from Heinnies, and here are some photos showing how it compares to the older version. I wasn't able to find any really good photos of the differences on the web so I thought this might be of use to anyone considering the new kit.
These are just looking at the physical differences - I haven't actually tried the thing out yet, but people on YouTube have and the verdict seems to be that it is faster and more efficient than the old cooker.
"Crusader cooking system MkII c/w pouch without lid" - I'll mention lids later...
The pouch is a new one specially for this kit, it's taller than a standard water bottle or utility pouch. Here it is alongside the old crusader kit in a utility pouch:
The back of the pouch has MOLLE attachments. There's a drawstring top and a small internal pocket, about 10cm x 10cm. At a push you can squeeze an Altoids tin/1oz baccy tin in the pocket.
As a Brucie bonus item, the kit also includes a small firesteel, with a powder-coated segment of a hacksaw blade as a striker.
Stacked for storage, the new kit is about 5cm taller than the old one, but it does at least stack together neatly without any rattling or wonkiness.
I'm not really sure why they didn't make the cup sit all the way down inside the cooker, in the way that the old one sort of not quite but almost does. This accounts for most of the difference in height between the two kits. If they'd made the cooker a couple of millimetres bigger all round, the mug could drop down about another 4cm inside it.
I suppose one benefit of this design is that there's a good space inside the cooker to store your hexi blocks, teabags or whatever.
The osprey water bottle and plastic cup are identical.
The old and new cups:
Weights: old cup 285g, new cup 205g.
Brim-full capacities: old cup 0.88 l, new cup 1.02 l.
The new cup is aluminium instead of stainless steel. People have expressed concerns about the durability of the new cup because of that, but personally I'm not worried about it. It feels sturdy enough. The durability of the non-stick coating is another question, I'll have to reserve judgement on that.
When checking the capacities I noticed that the capacity markings are slightly less accurate on the new cup (only 10 or 20ml out), and they're harder to see because of the matt black coating.
The wire handles are the same, though now rivetted on instead of spot-welded, and shiny instead of matt, and set higher on the new cup. The handles on the old cup swing freely but on the new one they're a bit stiffer, so they stay in whatever position you put them.
The rivets are not machined completely flush on the inside (like they are on a Swedish army trangia for example), presumably because they're fitted after the coating process. This is going to be an area that needs attention when it comes to washing-up.
An interesting feature of the new cup is this recess in the bottom. The profiled bottom of the cup accounts for the remaining 1cm in height difference between the old and new kits.
Presumably this is to help contain the flame and improve heat transfer. On the YouTube videos it's pretty clear that the new system does a much better job of containing the flame than the old cooker.
On the inside of the cup this becomes a gutter around the edge of the base, another potential annoyance at washing-up time if food gets burned into that groove.
Old and new cookers:
Weights: old cooker 188g, new cooker 153g.
1.3mm-thick aluminium for the new cooker, but it feels strong enough.
The burner pan is more or less the same in both, with a very slightly smaller diameter in the new cooker (I make it 69mm vs 70mm in the old one).
The cup sits higher in the new cooker, roughly 6cm above the bottom of the burner pan, compared to about 4cm on the old one.
This extra space means there is now room to use a Trangia burner:
However a pukka Trangia one is a very tight fit because of the smaller diameter of the pan.
For size comparison here's the crusader Mk2 set up ready to cook next to a Swedish army trangia:
I know a lot of people are very attached to the classic crusader cup, so no doubt they will be wondering if you can use the old cup with the new cooker:
Yes not bad at all. Though doubtless you'll lose some efficiency without the special shape of the new cup.
One problem is that the lower handles on the old cup tend to pinch the edge of the cooker, and it's easy to lift up or tip over the cooker when you try to lift the cup off. You'd probably want to cut a little notch out of the cooker in this area if you're going to use it with the old cup.
When packed up, the old cup/new cooker combination doesn't look so clever. You'd probably be better off keeping the cup upside-down on top of the bottle.
Apparently I've hit the limit on images in a single post, but I haven't forgotten about lids,
The crappy old plastic crusader cup lid kind of fits, but not very well. From the BCB web site, it seems there was a plastic lid for the new cup, but it's no longer available. It's a shame because it seems like a plastic lid could actually work with the new cooker, as you don't get the flames licking up the side of the cup to melt the lid.
If you have a lid that fits over the old cup, like my home-made one here, then it will be a loose fit on the new one:
I'm quite relieved about that because I don't need to make a new lid.
Given that a "sit-in" lid like the old plastic one more or less fits, and a "sit-over" lid fits comfortably, then it seems quite possible that the Heavy Cover lid for the old crusader cup could be usable with the new cup.
The handles do conform to the shape of the cup better, and and they don't swing about as loosely.
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