I spent my youth watching the likes of “Combat” and the “Rat Patrol” on television. Watching those programs, I acquired a deep fondness for military style gear. When I joined the Scouts, my first gear items were all hand-me-down pieces of military gear and items made for me by family. One such piece of gear was a WWII era canteen and old canvas canteen cover with the US label. In my later years, I spent a lot of time wishing I still had that set and wondering whatever happened to it. Until now.
I received a Canteen Shop / Pathfinder school canteen kit for review. I was one happy camper when I opened it up. Somewhat reminiscent of my old WWII canteen and cover, the Canteen Shop version is nice, shiny 18/8 grade stainless steel inside a GI type olive drab cover with MOLLE attachments (the cover is sold separately and there are several options available). Opening up the cover, I was pleasantly surprised with not only the canteen, but an extremely nice nesting canteen cup and matching stove – both of which are also made of 18/8 stainless.
The canteen is a single walled wide mouth design that holds a whopping 39.5 ounces. It might not sound like a lot extra over the old 32 oz GI canteens, but I frequently travel with my dog. Having an extra 7.5 ounces of water available is a godsend. In that the canteen is single walled, it can be used to boil water with the cap removed. The cap is made of stout modern Bakelite with a full silicon seal. I wondered about the durability of the Bakelite until I accidentally dropped it on the cement floor of the range shack. The cap took the licking and kept on ticking. Not even a scratch to it. The wide mouth feature is a wonderful addition to this canteen design. The temps around here have soared to near 100 degrees F, and I’m able to load up with ice cubes every morning before heading out to work or play – certainly not something that could be done with GI issued gear. I leave for work every morning a 0520 with a full load of ice and water and all implements nested together in the cover. I still have refreshingly cold water at lunchtime when I get the opportunity to refill.
The canteen cup is a larger than its GI issue ancestor. The interior wall of the cup bears measurement markers up to its very sizeable 25 ounce capacity. The handle is the folding L style with slider lock. I love this handle design over folding wire handles because it keeps your hands away from the hot cup and the handle stays away from the fire when it’s on the stove. Also, when wearing gloves, there’s much more to hang on to with the folding L design.
The Canteen Shop refers to the stove as a “Grill Top Stove Stand” which was designed specifically for this kit. It, too, is larger than its GI issue ancestor. The stove burns twigs and sticks that you find afield – there is no need to carry a special fuel. Try to stay away from pine woods and keep to hardwoods whenever possible. The pine resins stick to the stainless and make it a sticky, hard to clean mess. On the day I chose to photograph for this article, we’d had three huge thunderstorms pass through the area just hours before I was set to shoot. When it came time to shoot, the only wood we could find still dry was pine. Go figure.
Setting up the burn was quick and easy. I started a tiny wood fire with a TinderTab and ferro rod and then placed the stove on top. Once the fire was going well and I had the stove situated to maximize the effects of the wind, I placed a half full canteen cup of water on to boil. In mere minutes, I had achieved a rolling boil with just two handfuls of sticks. The fuel door was sufficient to allow for easy kindling the fire inside the stove. (Author’s note – Boiling time would be lessened if one were to paint the cup exterior with some high temperature black grill paint.) Seconds later, I was enjoying a Marine Happy Meal – a nice hot cuppa Joe and a Beef Stew MRE entree. A few words of caution: be careful with your fire in the field. Make sure it is out cold before you leave the site of the burn.
I highly rate the Canteen Shop / Pathfinder School Canteen Kit. It is an extremely well thought out design and a well built application of the design. I just noticed on the Canteen Shop website that the price of the canteen, cup and stove has been reduced from $75 to $60! That’s a great deal on a wonderful piece of go anywhere, do anything kit. Keep in mind the cover is a separately purchased item and there are several awesome options available.
Need more info? Go to http://www.canteenshop.com/ . Tell ‘em the Woods Monkey sent ya…
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