While I am frequently linked with the Super Cat Stove and was a longtime user, for the last three years I have relied on a more engineered system that is more fuel-efficient, wind-resistant, and stable. Its cornerstone is the Trail Designs Sidewinder Cone.
Trail Designs has just released the Kojin Stove, which is meant to be paired with the Sidewinder. It has a significant advantage over TD’s longtime flagship stove, the 12-10, because it can be stowed inside an Evernew 600 ml and 900 ml pot. It performs similarly to the Zelph StarLyte, but will be available directly from Trail Designs as a standalone product and as part of its Sidewinder package.
I interviewed Trail Designs owner Russ Zandberger about the new Kojin.
Q | What’s the significance of its name, “Kojin”?
Kojin is the Japanese god of fire, the hearth, and the kitchen.
Q | Besides its significantly smaller size, what are the other major differences between the Kojin and 12-10?
The 12-10 stove was our ONLY stove for years. Twelve, I think.
The smaller size allows it to be stowed inside the Evernew 600 ml and 900 ml pots, along with the sidewinder cone. That’s a big win for Sidewinder users.
The Kojin will function well with the Sidewinder Ti-Tri Cone. The pot can be put directly on the cone. No stakes are required for an alcohol burn.
This was the primary reason for us doing the new burner. We resold the Zelph StarLyte when Dan would sell it to us. The Kojin replaces the StarLyte quite well.
The 12-10 will not go away. The 12-10 performs better with large 3- to 5-cup boils. The Kojin seems to have a sweet spot at about 2-cup boils. We will still recommend the 12-10 if the customers plans include boiling 4 cups of water at one time.
My brother has been testing with 4 and 5 cups of water in a 2-quart pot.
Q | How much engineering went into the Kojin? It looks incredibly simple: an oversized Dermatone tin with some fiberglass-like material inside. What am I missing?
In terms of the final design, you are missing only one thing: the lid seal. It’s a silicone material that will not be damaged by using the lid to snuff out the burner. We buy the raw material and make the seal.
More engineering went into the Kojin than you might think, but not as much as for the 12-10. We got lucky in finding that filler materiel. I will keep this part a trade secret as long as I can.
I was working to a performance goal. Many versions were made and tested. The final design was driven by actual performance data — boil time and fuel use. Many of the iterations were more complicated than the final design.
Q | What are the ordering details?
It will distributed through our website only. It will be an option with some systems, notably the Sidewinders. And it can be purchased separately for $12. We expect existing Sidewinder owners to want it as an upgrade for the Starlyte.
It’s available now.
We will continue to offer the 12-10 as a standalone stove.
Disclosure. I strive to offer field-tested information, insights, and advice, and I have a long-term incentive to be a trustworthy source. I do not publish sponsored content or native advertising, and I do not accept payments in exchange for reviews. I have no financial affiliations with or interests in any brands or products.
This website is supported by affiliate marketing, whereby in exchange for referral traffic I receive a small commission from select vendors like REI or Amazon, at no cost to the reader. This post contains affiliate links.
Additional disclosure. Three years ago Trail Designs gave me a Sidewinder Cone, and more recently the Kojin Stove. Trail Designs had no expectations in return, but promote these products anyway because I think they’re excellent.