View Full Version : stove for me
I am a little late with this so I am apologize. I took out the alcohol stove out a few weeks ago when I went to Tumbling Runs. We also took my ole reliable Peak1 Apex II.
In my observation the alcohol stove sucked up too the fuel. I brought 10oz of fuel and after supper I had about 3 ounces left. Now that is a lot of fuel to go through just to heat up some water and make make a stuffing/shicken dinner. I had a good wind screen ( 360 degrees) we used a pot cover, just like they describe on the web sites... and the water was at a rolling boil in about 5 and a half minutes. Another surprise was how the alcohol stove blacken the bottom of my pots with a thin layer of soot and I mean blackened. I used HEET ( blue label), guessing that I would be able to find that pretty easily along the trail but was not counting on the big clean up of my pots after wards. I was just going to leave it on the pots but it started to get over everything. For heating up the dish water and breakfast we used ole reliable.
For me, and I am speaking for me ONLY, I think I am going to keep ole reliable for my hike. I know all about the weight savings that I will be giving up and pack space I will be loosing. I know I could put a thin coating of soap on my pots before I cook to make clean up easy and that I could forgo the meals that need lots of simmering to save fuel, but I just don't want to deal with the hassles, I just want to be as worry free as possible. I reviewed my weight of my pack and right now I am at 38lbs with 3 days worth of food and 70 ounces of water...and that is with my stove ( 32 ounces. which includes fuel for 5+ days). I think that is pretty respectable and that is with a 7lb pack empty... I am looking at going to a forester.
I guess I am just not cut out for going ultra lite... but if you see me and need me to heat up something on my stove for you, just ask... I will be more than happy to share it! ;) I will keep my pepsi can stoves for my day hikes if I want a cup of tea, soup, or cook a quick lunch....
I love my Apex II, I have carried mine since they first came out on the market. I tried alcohol it wasn't for me either.
There is something seriously wrong with your stove, or your choice of fuels, or you're using too much fuel at once. I don't believe I've seen the BLUE Heet. I'm guessing your fuel is the problem.
The yellow HEET bottle is methanol and burns cleanly. The red bottle of HEET is Isopropyl and burns very dirty. What I've always seen people use if they're using Heet is the yellow bottle. That works great. Denatured Alcohol also works great and burns clean. Most people find that they only need about 1-2 oz a DAY for their alcohol stoves.
Worry-free hiking is great, and for me it was pretty hard to beat the worry-free aspect of an alcohol stove with no moving parts whatsoever.
Maybe your Peak1 is exactly what you should be packing, but I guarantee you that there's a whole lot of people that switch from the white gas or butane stoves to an alcohol stove during a thru-hike, and very few who make the switch the other way.
I have to agree with colter, your setup needs serious work. If you want to try again may I suggest a few things to do.
do some trial and error testing at home, alcohol does cook a little different then other stoves and a few adjustments to your cooking habits may be needed.
alcohol only works well with small amonts of water. If you try to use much more then 2 cups it will take a long time to heat up.
The windscreen is very important, perhaps more important then the burner itself. It concentrates the heat and keeps the wind from blowing it all away.
If you are having trouble with the burner try a simple design. A round altiods can stuffed with fiberglass is easy to make and nearly fool proof. 30 ml ( 1/8 cup ) of alcohol should cook most things.
There are several other threads here on stoves under the homemade forum with lots of good advice
SMS.. We agree on stoves... ;) lol
As far as wind screen I used Sgt Rocks design and it works great at home.. I think my problem was that I was using the stove for cooking for two people.. The stove works fantastic under controlled conditions but it gobbled up the fuel in the field cooking for two..... I am attributing it to being 1) 40 degrees out 2) first time using it in the field
3) Cooking for two 4) simmering 10 + minutes. I think if it was warmer and I was cooking just for me I think my fuel consumption would be cut considerably... Also I think in order to use it I have to get out of the mind frame of white gas.
I might give it another try here in two weeks when we head out. But Like SMS and Mala I really like that stove and I think I am spoiled with its performance amd ultimate reliability.
The fuel I used was Heet in the yellow bottle with the blue label and it sooted up my pots pretty bad. I have used denatured alcohol and I did not have the soot problem at all. But I too heard that the yellow heet bottle would not soot my pots.. imagine my surprise!
With alcohol you are generally limited to cooking one meal at a time , they simply cannot produce the BTU's needed.
Please dont wait until your ten miles from nowhere to test your equipment......
nothing wrong with the gas stove either particularly since your cooking for two. Alcohol only wins because it has a really low weight but loses very quick when fuel consumtion becomes an issue.
Never seen a yellow bottle of heet with a blue label. The one you looking for is methanol and the label should say so along with a percentage
I did test the stove in my basement, and I was wise enough to bring along my Peak1 in the event the alcohol stove did not perform. Please don't misunderstand me... it did the job but it sucked up the fuel... We had a good hot supper ...
I bought the yellow bottle of heet from Walmart... I will check out the label and report back.
30 ml of fuel should cook anything you want. 15 should get you 2 cups hot water.
30 ml = 1/8 cup or 2 tablespoons
Even melting snow, I've never used 7 oz with an alcohol stove. Even in bitter cold. You must, must be able to hide from the wind, and it sounds like you did your best with this. The only thing I can think of is that your HEET got cut with something else. LIke water or soda. When you go out, you might try repeating your experiment on other occasions to see if your stove performs any better. Or, try a different kind of stove, like the altoid can on or other simple designs. Double wall stoves are more difficult to get right.
In the end, you can always start with the Apex and, if you want, switch to an alcohol stove after a while. Seeing other people have success with theirs convinced me to try again. I hauled my trusty and rusty Whisperlite with me last summer. An alcohol stove comes with me this summer.
I have a soda-can stove, and with a foil simmer cap I can boil and simmer 2 cups of water for atleast an hour when I fill the center resivoir all the way. Typically I fill the center resivoir about 2/3 of the way (about 2-3oz),and boil 2 cups of unpurified water for a minute or so, add my meal, and then simmer for 20 minutes to 1/2hour depending on what I'm cooking. And I usually have enough fuel leftover that I smack myself for wasting it.
Plus, the HEET in the yellow bottle does not blacken cooking pots if used properly. It appears to not be burning cleanly, and if it's not burning cleanly you're not going to get as much heating from it.
To use alcohol stoves properly, you do have to modify your cooking style somewhat, just like you have to modify your backpacking style somewhat to successfully use ultralight hiking methods.
Any opinions about using an esbit stove for a thru hike? I've always used one as a lightweight stove. Never had any problems with it although the fuel costs over a long hike may change my mind.
Some thru-hikers do use esbit. Their advantage is the cheap and lightweight stove. Their disadvantages include sooting up the pots, the smell, and most importantly, they are not readily available along the trail. They usually tie you to mail drops.
I suspect that many would be esbit users have switched to alcohol.
Last week I took my 'new' soda can stove
out on the AT. It tested well at home.
During the first evening camp I put about
3 capfuls of denatured in, and spent
another 3-4 capfuls to get it 'primed' and
pressurized. It was probably in the mid
40s, temp wise. It boiled 1 1/2 cups of
water very satisfactorily, without a wind
screen, but with a pot lid.
In the morning it was about 32 degrees,
as the rain turned to snow at sun up.
I decided to prime the same way, but it
took too long. So I used my pot lid as a
reservoir for priming, and the stove really
got pressurized, maybe too much! It
melted my aluminum pot stand! I was
still able to boil 1 1/2 cups water for
oatmeal and cocoa.
Overall I don't think I used 3 oz. of fuel
for 2 meals, with temps in the 30s-40s.
I'd expect a windscreen to improve
Don't be afraid to work out the bugs
with a new cooking system. The
weight savings is/are worthwhile.
I've been messin' around with soda can stoves, built a few, but I can't get a consistent use of fuel. I'm gonna focus more on the windscreen, that probably has a lot to do with it (I noticed testing indoors seems to have no comparison as to testing outdoors). I like the long burn times achieved with a simmering cap, I'll try that as well. Any more advice? Thanks.
I've been using an alcohol stove since '94 and I have never had any problems with fuel burning too fast. I always use denatured alcohol and meth spirits and have found it to work fine.
You definitely need a windscreen, and I haven't noticed any real difference between Trangia or a soda can stove in performance.
Usually when people have problems with their homemade stoves it's because the seal on the inner wall is not tight, make sure the inner wall of the stove is considerably larger than the two outer pieces so you get a tight seal. Hope that helps.
Of course you could buy a $4 set of JB Weld at Walmart (enough for about 20 stoves), and put a thin bead of it where the inner wall pushes up into the burner half effectively giving you a 100% seal. Also use this to seal the interlocking slits of the inner cylinder, and the interstices between the top and bottom half of the outter wall. Finished product may not look as shiny and nice as a taped version, but I think it makes a better product.
On my stove I just overlaped the inner wall and stapled it together in the middle...I have found no difference in performance than the interlocking slit method. But saying that I haven't used this one that much yet...only about 50 times so we'll see what happens.