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OverTheHills
08-12-2014, 15:09
Alright, so I'm looking for my first backpacking stove. Ive always just cooked using a Dakota Fire Pit, but figured I may as well at least look at getting a stove, just for convenience on those rougher and wetter days. As of right now, I'm looking at a Jet boil Sol. I went on a trip with a friend this past summer and he loves it. Any thoughts on the whole stove area?

HooKooDooKu
08-12-2014, 15:24
A Jetboil is good for one thing and one thing only... to boil water quickly and efficiently so that you're fuel lasts longer.
You can't "cook" with it and you can't melt snow with it (the bottom MUST have water to avoid burning the fins off).
So if you only want it to boil water, then it's a great stove.

If you want something that is a little lighter, smaller, and more flexible, get something like the SnowPeak LiteMax. It's pretty much the same thing as the MSR Pocket Rocket, but it folds down smaller, is a hint lighter, and it seems to be more stable at holding your pot than the cheaper Pocket Rocket. (Pocket Rocket is about $40 while LiteMax is $60).

From there add you're desired pot. I personally like the MSR Titan Kettle because of it's combination of light weight, large size, and fits the larger diameter MSR canister inside the stove (with the LiteMax under the canister).

If you like the efficiency the jetboil adds with its heat ex-changer fins, you can try the Olicamp XTS. You can find it on Amazon for something in the ballpark of $35.


While no where near a fully inclusive list, I made a chart of some of the more popular stoves and pots (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/entry.php?8153-What-is-the-lightest-canister-stove-and-pot-combination) recently.


If boiling water is all that you want, the cheapest option can be an alcohol stove. You can practically build yourself the stove for free (or pay someone a few dollars to get something more consistent and perhaps more efficient). Alcohol stoves are pretty much designed to boil water as it is difficult to control the flame with the typical design. But the stove can weigh almost nothing. However, on a long distance hike, the light weight of the stove is offset by the alcohol fuel having fewer BTU per oz than other fuel sources.

OverTheHills
08-12-2014, 15:31
This was awesome. Have you had any personal experience with the MSR whisperlite? One of the outfitters around here recommended one of those.

SteelCut
08-12-2014, 15:39
I've used WhisperLite stoves for years but only for winter camping where I needed the efficiency of white gas to melt snow. For general purpose backpacking, I'd stick with a canister stove as mentioned previously or you may want to investigate alcohol stoves. These will be much lighter and quieter.

OverTheHills
08-12-2014, 16:08
The LiteMax seems to be exactly what I'm needing. Do you use the Gigapower fuel by SnowPeak or something else?

tarditi
08-12-2014, 16:15
Do you want to take a fuel canister or try an alcohol stove or fuel tabs...?

I got a small isobutane stove and it works great. Not fancy, but no problems - cook in a GSI glacier cup or small pot if necessary.
I also have an esbit stove with tabs, alcohol stove, emberlit, rocket stove... tried several. I just like different sorts of gear.
For ease of use and overall convenience, I prefer the isobutane.

OverTheHills
08-12-2014, 16:25
I'd like to take a fuel canister. I'm not too learned on the whole stove area, but from what I've read the canister stoves are more efficient (let me know if I'm wrong, I may be).

Odd Man Out
08-12-2014, 16:27
...While no where near a fully inclusive list, I made a chart of some of the more popular stoves and pots (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/entry.php?8153-What-is-the-lightest-canister-stove-and-pot-combination) recently....

I've been using home made alcohol stoves, but it took me a long time and a lot of stoves to get a system I am happy with. I have considered trying a canister stove (backpackers can never have enough gear). HKDK's list is good, but I am considering a Soto Windmaster:

http://www.sotooutdoors.com/products/item/OD-1RX.html

It's not the most common (or cheapest) stove out there, but I read some great reviews. Maybe someone has some first hand knowledge of this one?

HooKooDooKu
08-12-2014, 16:46
The LiteMax seems to be exactly what I'm needing. Do you use the Gigapower fuel by SnowPeak or something else?
I like using the MSR 4oz canister just because the canister itself has a lower center of gravity and a wider base than the narrower/taller gigapower and jetboil canisters. But any of these canisters will work just fine with any of the typical canister stoves (such as The LiteMax, Jetboil, Pocket Rocket, etc).

Because I use the MSR canisters is one reason I like the MSR Titan kettle... the kettle is just wide enough to hold the MSR canister. The Jetboil and many other pots will only hold the thinner gigapower and jetboil canisters.

HooKooDooKu
08-12-2014, 16:56
This was awesome. Have you had any personal experience with the MSR whisperlite? One of the outfitters around here recommended one of those.
My 1st stove was an MSR whisperlite international.

The only difference between the regular and international version is that the international version comes with a second orifice needed if you want to be able to cook with kerosene. I've never used the kerosene orifice, but I've liked the idea of having the international version so that I've got a wider range of usable fuels if I ever needed to use the stove at home during an emergency... like an extended power outage.

My canister stove failed the last time I tried to use a half empty canister in cold temperatures (<40 at 1,000' elevation). So now I use the LiteMax when temperatures are warm, and resort to the heavier whisperlite for cold weather where temperatures put the usability of the canister stove at risk.

While it's likely seen fewer than 50 nights in the back country, my whisperlite has been reliable for 20 years.

HooKooDooKu
08-12-2014, 17:09
... I am considering a Soto Windmaster:

http://www.sotooutdoors.com/products/item/OD-1RX.html

It's not the most common (or cheapest) stove out there, but I read some great reviews.

No first hand knowledge of this particular stove, but it seems that it's primary quality over other stoves like the LiteMax and Pocket Rocket is that the burners are positioned below a protective rim to help reduce the effects of the wind.

But can't you achieve the same thing with a wind screen around any other canister stove? Of course you've got to use a wind screen with caution so that you don't risk heating the canister potentially creating a bomb. But the canister should stay cool if you only place the wind screen on the wind-ward side of the stove (you should stay safe if your canister remains cool to the touch).

I think this is one of the things that makes the Jetboil so efficient. The design of its stove and the fins on the pot form a bit of a wind break like the sides of the Soto Windmaster.

swisscross
08-12-2014, 17:21
I bought my first backpacking stove 23+ years ago. A Whisperlite. I used it religiously for 10 years before I gave up backpacking. I now use it during power outages, car camping and cycle touring (as it can burn auto gas) since then. The Whisperlite IS a great stove and when I purchased mine it was the best and lightest option.

I have recently gotten the bug to get back into the woods and started reading a bunch of reviews. WB has a disease when it comes to opinions but the information you will gather, on all equipment, will lead you in the correct direction or spiral you into a state of confusion with gear overload.

My concerns were durability and weight.
I just could not decide.

After agonizing for over a month I decided that less than a ounce of weight (canister stoves not alcohol) was not enough for me to forgo the durability I had come to appreciate and expect from my Whisperlite.

I decided to purchase the Snow Peak Gigapower. This little stove has been around for a while, weighs a hair over 3oz. Many have used it their original stove for over 10 years and describe it as a true workhorse. It has brass threads which tend to last much longer that the anodized aluminum mounting threads that many of their competitors have adopted to reduce weight (as well as SPs model of the LiteMax).

I am an eBay/used gear type of person and saw the Gigapower Titanium model and I had to find out more. They are no longer in production but I have run across a few since my search began. I was able to find a slightly used one at a great deal here on WB, purchased and could not be happier with my decision. At 2.6 oz. it is as light as the popular and readily available canister stoves out.

If I were to have no luck locating the titanium version I would not have hesitated purchasing the regular stainless steel version of the Gigapower.

Enjoy your search, I did.

swjohnsey
08-12-2014, 17:42
Simmerlite will save you some weight over the Wisperlite if you decide to go that route. You will have to get one used as it was discontinued.

gbolt
08-12-2014, 17:42
I have been backpacking for over 20 years and alway's used the original whisperlite stove with an updated smaller fuel bottle. However, in preparation for lighter weight hiking and a potential AT Thru upon retirement; I looked at the canister / jet boil type stoves. After a great deal of research, I realized that I could try an alcohol stove for low risk and low dollar amount. Thinking I could alway's resell or give away and then purchase the Canister Stove, while not really losing anything. More research got me to purchase the Caldera Cone Stove. I have only used it at home for practice; but currently think this is the best lightweight, low hassle, good boil time stove. Not saying I won't go for the Canister at a later date; but I know the original whisperlite is out except for snow melt winter hikes.

Praha4
08-12-2014, 17:56
Snow Peak Litemax stove with the Snow Peak Mini-solo titanium cookset

Venchka
08-12-2014, 18:08
YOU FORGOT TO TELL EVERYONE WHEN & WHERE YOU WILL NEED THE STOVE.

Sorry about the caps. Not shouting.
OverTheHills needs a stove for a NOBO start February 15, 2015.
If you want 100% reliability for the first 2 months, white gas is where it's at.
You can switch stoves to anything else you like when you swap out your winter gear for summer gear. Or not. Nothing wrong with a white gas stove.

Wayne

bobp
08-12-2014, 18:11
This was awesome. Have you had any personal experience with the MSR whisperlite? One of the outfitters around here recommended one of those.

I can't recommend the Whisperlite. It isn't really all that light, it isn't very quiet, and the fuel pump is plastic, fragile, and expensive. The stove requires regular maintenance (or rather, the pump does). It does provide the ability to do more than boil water, and it cans boil a lot of water at once (you aren't going to boil water for a 12 person trekking crew with a Fancy Feast alcohol stove). If you want a white gas stove, a SVEA 123 is a little heavier, but a lot more robust and reliable. If you only need to boil water for one or two people, and you can resupply weekly (and the weather is above freezing), an alcohol stove will do very nicely. A canister stove is nice for those times when the temperature is above freezing and you need more firepower and flexibility than an alcohol stove affords. Tablet stoves are light, but the fuel can be expensive.

swjohnsey
08-12-2014, 18:17
The Wisperlite, Dragonfly, Simmerlite, etc. are great stoves. The pump is plastic but it ain't fragile. Regular maintenance is a drop of oil.

swjohnsey
08-12-2014, 18:21
Oh yeah, if you want to go light, go alcohol. I used on of Zelph's stoves. the one with the hole in the middle, very sturdy, no pot stand needed. Alcohol stoves are not as efficient. You will carry more fuel. So on long stretches a white gas stove if more efficient, heavier stove, less fuel. In cold weather (below freezing) alcohol stoves suck.

Matt65
08-12-2014, 18:48
I started with a Brunton Butane canister stove.

Then I went to Alcohol.
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/08/13/3u9egypu.jpghttp://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/08/13/da3e6ete.jpg

Sometimes I use an Olicamp Ion
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/08/13/jany2yqa.jpghttp://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/08/13/e9e4ezus.jpg

I also like my Simmerlite for bigger meals. Which I prime with hand sanitizer.
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/08/13/9uqyduza.jpg
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/08/13/7apabe7e.jpg
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/08/13/he8a6a2y.jpg


The pluses and minuses of each are endless. No one will do it all. Don't be afraid to evolve through different stoves. Buy used, try it out, then sell of it's not for you. Take care of your gear and the resell value will be there.

Rocket Jones
08-12-2014, 19:25
If you want to try a canister stove for almost nothing, click the link:

http://www.amazon.com/Ultralight-Backpacking-Canister-Ignition-silvery/dp/B00ENDRORM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407885499&sr=8-1&keywords=canister+stove

I have one and it does the job. You may need to adjust the pot supports with a small pliers or file. Took me 10 minutes.

Mostly I use a SuperCat. Google that. Dead simple and dirt cheap. Hasn't failed me yet. The best thing about alcohol stoves is that you can make a few at home and test them before heading out on the trail.

Whatever you get, you should practice with your stove at home with the kind of food you plan to eat on the trail.

Feral Bill
08-12-2014, 19:38
Another vote for the Svea stove. I have been using mine for over 45 years without problems. Replace the filler gasket every few years, clean the jet on the extremely rare occasions that it clogs, and enjoy. See EBay for the original model.

Matt65
08-12-2014, 20:09
Forgot to include the Brunton
http://img.tapatalk.com/d/14/08/13/ataty9y5.jpg

Wise Old Owl
08-12-2014, 21:00
Olicamp Ion = Maple Fire
Lightest made canister stove and two thumbs up from the owl boils water so fast I have trouble with the stopwatch - got mine on Amazon.

Venchka
08-12-2014, 21:09
Ok, Stoves 101 for general purpose, fair use brings out all the usual suspects.
Now, Stoves 201: What stove would a prudent person use when starting a NOBO Thru Hike in the middle of February?
Personally, I would choose one of my 3 white gas stoves. SVEA 123, Coleman Peak 1 or Primus Multi-Fuel. In this case the Primus would probably get the nod. When the weather warmed, I could switch to gas canisters and carry on.

Another Kevin
08-12-2014, 21:17
Alcohol stoves are fine as long as you're confident you can find water that isn't frozen. If there's any chance you'll be melting snow for drinking water, you need a white gas stove. If you go through a daily gallon the way a lot of us do, that's the equivalent in heat of boiling water for about a week's worth of meals. That totally shifts the pendulum over to the heavy stove that can burn the fuel with the high energy content. (The Whisperlite International has a narrow edge here, because kerosene has a higher energy content even than gasoline.)

If I'm not melting snow, then alcohol wins hands down for me. The stove is light, and I'm never out for more than a few days. (Even the two-week hike I'm thinking of doing this fall will have two resupply stops.)

Wise Old Owl
08-12-2014, 21:51
Alcohol stoves are used in the Aditerod dog race. They are larger, for melting water... just thought I should mention it... Its cool!

Venchka
08-12-2014, 22:08
AK,
Glad you mentioned kerosene. My Primus came with a kerosene jet. I occasionally see kerosene in quart bottles at Walmart. I also see kerosene pumps at service stations in the mountains of NC and TN. One of these years I will give it a try.
Y'all never miss a chance to plug alcohol. Grinning.
My Svea with cook kit/windscreen/carrying case all in one wins for packing size. Probably my lightest system too.

OverTheHills, are you taking notes? There will be a test.

Wayne

squeezebox
08-12-2014, 22:29
So at what start date can count on a canister to work properly. Sounds like anytime there's snow on the ground the canister is iffy.
I'ld rather not spend an extra $100 + for a winter stove if I can make the canister work well enough by warming it up inside my jacket for a while before firing it up. not to mention the extra wt. It would be interesting if they made a double burner version for large groups.

squeezebox
08-12-2014, 22:35
Kerosene ?? Aren't those qt bottles of lamp oil the same as kerosene ?

Wise Old Owl
08-12-2014, 23:00
Yes they are less smelly

swjohnsey
08-12-2014, 23:01
Kerosene is available almost everywhere as diesel fuel.

Wise Old Owl
08-12-2014, 23:15
Not in Pa - almost disappeared!

Venchka
08-13-2014, 08:40
Kerosene is used as a fuel in portable stoves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_stove), especially in Primus stoves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primus_stove) invented in 1892. Portable kerosene stoves earn a reputation of reliable and durable stove in everyday use, and perform especially well under adverse conditions. In outdoor activities and mountaineering, a decisive advantage of pressurized kerosene stoves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_stove#Pressurized_liquid_fuel_stoves) over gas cartridge stoves (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_stove#Gas_cartridge_stoves) is their particularly high thermal output and their ability to operate at very low temperature in winter or at high altitude.

I rest my case. Not to be confused with the song by my home girl Miranda Lambert. :D :cool:
I don't know if diesel fuel is a direct substitute for kerosene. The MSR XGK-EX will burn both fuels.
I will inquire about commercially available lamp oil.
Kerosene ranks between white gas & diesel fuel in bang per ounce.

http://www.cascadedesigns.com/msr/stoves/rapid-cooking/xgk-ex/product

Wayne

garlic08
08-13-2014, 09:04
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Mags' stove article (http://www.pmags.com/stove-comparison-real-world-use) yet. That saves a lot of typing.

My comments: The Whisperlite--neither of which is true. Alcohol is great for boiling water, one meal per day, and I've had pretty good luck melting snow with it. If there were one 'best' stove, there would only be one stove.

Odd Man Out
08-13-2014, 11:59
For those with canister stoves. I the piezo ignition feature enough of a benefit to make a difference when making a choice?

colorado_rob
08-13-2014, 13:32
For those with canister stoves. I the piezo ignition feature enough of a benefit to make a difference when making a choice?Sure, right up to the time they quit working! When they work, it's great, just turn a valve and push a button, voila, instant heat. Seems like eventually they go bad though. Mine finally went bad on an old Jetboil, though my newer one still works fine (Sol Ti). Since I always carry matches for emergency fire-starting, that's my piezo-backup.

Even though I adore my old Wisperlite, used it for a couple decades in the winter, I'll never, ever understand why anyone would use one in the summer (or spring or fall for that matter), unless climbing a very high, cold snowy peak.

Mags
08-13-2014, 13:47
The other possible use of whisperlite or similar may be for 3-4+ people and heating up a lot of water at once for a group meal. Probably easier to have groups of 2 or 3 people share a canister stove instead, though. :)

Other than the reasons Rob listed, that's the only other time I can of for the use of a white gas stove when backpacking.

HooKooDooKu
08-13-2014, 14:02
For those with canister stoves. I the piezo ignition feature enough of a benefit to make a difference when making a choice?
It seems that piezo igniters are so finicky that you can't trust them and therefore you must have some sort of backup anyway.

I personally like to carry the smaller-sized bic lighters. Even if it runs out of fuel, the spark from the lighter can still be used to light a stove.

Since I'm going to be carrying the bic lighter anyway, a built-in piezo igniter is just a 'nice to have'. Otherwise, if I bought a stove with a separate piezo igniter (yea, I'm looking at you MSR Micro Rocket), I would just leave the piezo igniter at home.

rocketsocks
08-13-2014, 15:24
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Mags' stove article (http://www.pmags.com/stove-comparison-real-world-use) yet. That saves a lot of typing.

My comments: The Whisperlite--neither of which is true. Alcohol is great for boiling water, one meal per day, and I've had pretty good luck melting snow with it. If there were one 'best' stove, there would only be one stove.I find this applies to just about every piece of gear we use and argue about here.

Mags
08-13-2014, 15:32
http://www.pmags.com/best-gear-fallacy

:)

Venchka
08-13-2014, 16:11
For those with canister stoves. I the piezo ignition feature enough of a benefit to make a difference when making a choice?
Not really. IMO. If it breaks you still need a back up. Might as well just carry the back up. And strike anywhere matches in a waterproof container.

Wayne

Venchka
08-13-2014, 16:15
I'm surprised nobody's mentioned Mags' stove article (http://www.pmags.com/stove-comparison-real-world-use) yet. That saves a lot of typing.

My comments: The Whisperlite--neither of which is true. Alcohol is great for boiling water, one meal per day, and I've had pretty good luck melting snow with it. If there were one 'best' stove, there would only be one stove.


I find this applies to just about every piece of gear we use and argue about here.

I guess Y'all didn't get the memo. Alcohol is the best stove.

Wayne
Refusing to burn alcohol and buys alcohol free fuel whenever it is available.

Rolex
08-13-2014, 17:23
I guess Y'all didn't get the memo. Alcohol is the best stove.

Wayne
Refusing to burn alcohol and buys alcohol free fuel whenever it is available.

I can get what I want (within reason) but I tend to use this Trangia more often than not.

http://www.amazon.com/Trangia-Spirit-Burner-with-Screwcap/dp/B000AR7970

It will store fuel for a couple of days within itself and fits inside my .9l cook pot with the clikit stand.I like the ability to close the Trangia off saving fuel, it's sturdy (though a little more heavy) and has no parts that can quit on you in the middle of back country. (and it's cheap!)

Before I got it, I was (and am still) fond of the beer can, cat stoves. They are easy to make and I usually make a few while camping and give them away. I tend to take a few beers with me for night one. The double walled can stoves seems to run right beside the Trangia in terms of cooking time and fuel efficiency.
With the can stove, I use a "heavy duty" piece of aluminum foil for a wind screen and three tent pegs as a tripod or just stuck in the ground in a triangle for the pot stand.

I burn the yellow Heet. I had a Gatz stove once on a sailboat and caught hell trying to find replacement canisters for it and am shy about using canister or propane stoves. Alcohol comes in Denatured, fuel antifreeze, and liquor making it easier for me to find in out of the way little stores.

My two cents,
Rolex

lemon b
08-13-2014, 17:32
I either go with an old whisperlite and white gas or a pocket rocket. The Whisperlite if I'm cooking alot. Only caution I have is to not overfill the base during the preheat stage. Not much whitegas is needed. Too much during this stage causes problems with flare up. When alone in 40 or over degree weather I keep it simple and light and use a pocket rocket. Have 3 different pots, If just boiling I use the smallest. Alco has too much fidget factor for me.

Odd Man Out
08-13-2014, 18:12
I can get what I want (within reason) but I tend to use this Trangia more often than not.

http://www.amazon.com/Trangia-Spirit-Burner-with-Screwcap/dp/B000AR7970

...

What kind of boil times do you get with the Trangia? I've used a bunch of alcohol stove, but never had my hands on one of those.

Venchka
08-13-2014, 21:40
I have not given a lot of thought to an alcohol stove, but if I do, it will be a Trangia. It fits the DNA profile of my other 2 Swedish stoves.

Wayne

Rolex
08-13-2014, 21:42
What kind of boil times do you get with the Trangia? I've used a bunch of alcohol stove, but never had my hands on one of those.

There's gentleman by the name of Hiram Cook that has did a lot of testing on Trangias. If you want to know more than you ever thought, google him and YouTube. Does a great video and testing of the little stove.

mattjv89
08-13-2014, 22:17
I haven't yet seen inverted canister stoves mentioned as an option for OP's February NOBO start. I'm very happy with my Optimus Vega so far, at 6oz and change it's far from the lightest option but a lot lighter than the MSR Dragonfly it replaced. You can flip the canister in cold weather so it feeds liquid and avoids the problem of canister gas not vaporizing. Also nice in the warmer months because you can use a windscreen without the concern of overheating the canister.

Odd Man Out
08-13-2014, 23:27
...Also nice in the warmer months because you can use a windscreen without the concern of overheating the canister.

For you canister stove users... how often is wind a problem, I mean to the point that cooking your dinner fails?

Matt65
08-14-2014, 07:37
For you canister stove users... how often is wind a problem, I mean to the point that cooking your dinner fails?
Even in strong wind you should be able to cook. You will just burn more fuel and it will take more time.


I always have a windscreen, even though they are discouraged with canister stoves. The concern is the canister can absorb the reflected/trapped heat from the windscreen and over pressurize. Make sure you leave room for circulation around the canister and the windscreen is not tight against the stove. This is one advantage to the remote canister stoves.

Kraken Skullz
08-14-2014, 17:46
You might also want to consider one of the pocket rocket knock offs on Amazon. They go for about $7 and work with any of the mixed fuel canisters that you can find at Wal-Mart. Worth a try to see how you like canister cooking. Plus you can break 4 of them before you equal the price of 1 pocket r rocket. I have one and it works great.

mattjv89
08-14-2014, 22:16
For you canister stove users... how often is wind a problem, I mean to the point that cooking your dinner fails?

I've never had an outright cooking failure but the performance is still impacted to varying degrees depending on the wind. In a moderate breeze the flame will keep on burning but sputter a bit which presumably brings some loss of efficiency. Putting the screen around it solves this right away.

shanesherman
08-15-2014, 17:32
Thank you for the helpful info!

lemon b
08-15-2014, 22:00
Of course, there is no requirement to carry a stove. Sometimes I follow the Peanut butter, pop tart. routine.

Dedicated Hanger
08-17-2014, 21:09
Every stove has it's advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs and what you want to do with it. The thing that I learned from using almost every stove type known to man is that there is a failure mode for each one. Use of any combustible fuel in the woods is dangerous. A recommendation is to go to the internet and read about what happens if it fails (no matter how rare) and how catastrophic that failure might be. Having a few close calls and reading what happened to others when the particular stove I used for many years failed, drove me to choose another type. It makes me wonder why I did not do my homework fifteen years ago. My advice is to go do your homework first, think about your personal safety, and then go make an informed decision.

Matt65
08-18-2014, 20:19
Every stove has it's advantages and disadvantages depending on your needs and what you want to do with it. The thing that I learned from using almost every stove type known to man is that there is a failure mode for each one. Use of any combustible fuel in the woods is dangerous. A recommendation is to go to the internet and read about what happens if it fails (no matter how rare) and how catastrophic that failure might be. Having a few close calls and reading what happened to others when the particular stove I used for many years failed, drove me to choose another type. It makes me wonder why I did not do my homework fifteen years ago. My advice is to go do your homework first, think about your personal safety, and then go make an informed decision.
Can you tell more about the stove failure you mentioned?

Dedicated Hanger
08-20-2014, 10:02
Matt65, have had several stove failures over the years, and almost all could have been avoided if I had just been a little smarter. My go-to stove for many years was a MSR whisperlite type of white gas pump up stove. I then suffered pump failures on the trail the original wisperlite and went to the MSR international, then to a Primus, then to a SOTO. They were all white gas pump up stoves. I would typically carry two and a few spare parts just in case I could repair it while out there. Sometimes I could and sometimes I could not. During that 15 years I had two serious leaks of the system which spewed gas into the flame. Both times I picked the stove up and threw it like a hand grenade to get rid of it. Both incidents were rubber o ring failures. They get old and crack, and unless changed out in a routine maintenance program, will fail over the years. This is an important point that is missed by pea brained people like me. I just kept using them expecting the wear parts to last forever and acted very surprised when my stoves acted up from lack of maintenance. Anyway, those failures led me to alcohol stoves that do not have any moving parts to fail....or so I thought. I proved myself wrong there too. Seemed a little obsessive but I purchased nearly every alcohol stove known to man and tried them all from just boiling water to cooking for six. Here is what I discovered, that is only a truth for me, but it may help you. Once you understand the dangers of an alcohol stove, i.e. the flame is invisible during the day time, the fumes are highly flammable, and the flame is not as sturdy during windy conditions meaning that some type of windscreen is needed. The windscreen is the double edged sword here. With my Trangia I suffered fuel boil over twice on one trip. The stove was half full of fuel and I had a large pan on top with the stove in a wind proof base. After about 8 to 10 minutes the fuel started boiling and spewed out the top of the Trangia creating a large spitting fire. Both times I was able to put the fire out without burning the woods down. Those incidents led me to go to the internet and see if anyone else had the same problems with a stove that had been around for more than 20 years and had a very loyal following due to lack of problems. My investigation led me to reading about serious explosions (rare, but they do occur) of every type of stove. To me, (again, this is just me) canister stoves had the worst reports and witnesses described them to be like claymore mines going off. I put the windscreen boil over of my alcohol stove hat on of trapping heat under the stove and thought what a tight windscreen would do to a canister stove. It made me shudder to think about it. I also put my cracked o ring brain to think about stoves under pressure and your life actually depends on that o ring to hold. For example, if you purchased a canister in a shop, you do not know how long that canister sat in storage before it was sold or if it was in a hot, dry warehouse that would lead the o ring to deteriorate. And if my life (just me) depends on that o ring not to fail, then I am no longer willing to take that chance. All this led me to another conclusion, a person is probably safer with a stove and stand that is designed with cooling holes so you can not trap heat at the base even if you are cooking for a long period of time using a large pan. Since I have such varying needs and can not use a jet boil which is a one person type of stove, I have switched to a Evernew Titanium stove with it's base and windscreen. Again, it is designed as a system to work with cooling holes at it's base and it throws a great flame to boil water with a heat exchanger pot and will simmer if you arrange the burner in the top of the windscreen to simmer and cut off half the jets. But again, what works for me, may not work for someone else. What I do advise is for anyone to look at their system with a critical eye toward heat entrapment. When you realize that all manufacturers of canister stoves advise users not to utilize a windscreen, then the heat entrapment issue comes to the forefront. It is a dangerous situation that took me years to understand. I hope that I have helped you sir.

swjohnsey
08-20-2014, 11:17
What is the name of the guy in the White's that runs the hostel in his garage? He was seriously injured/disable in a MSR stove explosion.

swisscross
08-20-2014, 14:51
What is the name of the guy in the White's that runs the hostel in his garage? He was seriously injured/disable in a MSR stove explosion.

Chet, don't remember last name.

Matt65
08-20-2014, 19:22
Matt65, have had several stove failures over the years, and almost all could have been avoided if I had just been a little smarter. My go-to stove for many years was a MSR whisperlite type of white gas pump up stove. I then suffered pump failures on the trail the original wisperlite and went to the MSR international, then to a Primus, then to a SOTO. They were all white gas pump up stoves. I would typically carry two and a few spare parts just in case I could repair it while out there. Sometimes I could and sometimes I could not. During that 15 years I had two serious leaks of the system which spewed gas into the flame. Both times I picked the stove up and threw it like a hand grenade to get rid of it. Both incidents were rubber o ring failures. They get old and crack, and unless changed out in a routine maintenance program, will fail over the years. This is an important point that is missed by pea brained people like me. I just kept using them expecting the wear parts to last forever and acted very surprised when my stoves acted up from lack of maintenance. Anyway, those failures led me to alcohol stoves that do not have any moving parts to fail....or so I thought. I proved myself wrong there too. Seemed a little obsessive but I purchased nearly every alcohol stove known to man and tried them all from just boiling water to cooking for six. Here is what I discovered, that is only a truth for me, but it may help you. Once you understand the dangers of an alcohol stove, i.e. the flame is invisible during the day time, the fumes are highly flammable, and the flame is not as sturdy during windy conditions meaning that some type of windscreen is needed. The windscreen is the double edged sword here. With my Trangia I suffered fuel boil over twice on one trip. The stove was half full of fuel and I had a large pan on top with the stove in a wind proof base. After about 8 to 10 minutes the fuel started boiling and spewed out the top of the Trangia creating a large spitting fire. Both times I was able to put the fire out without burning the woods down. Those incidents led me to go to the internet and see if anyone else had the same problems with a stove that had been around for more than 20 years and had a very loyal following due to lack of problems. My investigation led me to reading about serious explosions (rare, but they do occur) of every type of stove. To me, (again, this is just me) canister stoves had the worst reports and witnesses described them to be like claymore mines going off. I put the windscreen boil over of my alcohol stove hat on of trapping heat under the stove and thought what a tight windscreen would do to a canister stove. It made me shudder to think about it. I also put my cracked o ring brain to think about stoves under pressure and your life actually depends on that o ring to hold. For example, if you purchased a canister in a shop, you do not know how long that canister sat in storage before it was sold or if it was in a hot, dry warehouse that would lead the o ring to deteriorate. And if my life (just me) depends on that o ring not to fail, then I am no longer willing to take that chance. All this led me to another conclusion, a person is probably safer with a stove and stand that is designed with cooling holes so you can not trap heat at the base even if you are cooking for a long period of time using a large pan. Since I have such varying needs and can not use a jet boil which is a one person type of stove, I have switched to a Evernew Titanium stove with it's base and windscreen. Again, it is designed as a system to work with cooling holes at it's base and it throws a great flame to boil water with a heat exchanger pot and will simmer if you arrange the burner in the top of the windscreen to simmer and cut off half the jets. But again, what works for me, may not work for someone else. What I do advise is for anyone to look at their system with a critical eye toward heat entrapment. When you realize that all manufacturers of canister stoves advise users not to utilize a windscreen, then the heat entrapment issue comes to the forefront. It is a dangerous situation that took me years to understand. I hope that I have helped you sir.
DH you bring up a lot of good points that I had never given much thought. [emoji106] Sounds like it's time to perform the Simmerlite's over due maintenance.

Shonryu
08-23-2014, 23:25
It really depends on what you are trying to acomplish. For alcohol I use a Zelph. For canister Snowpeak Litemax. For Esbit I use a small TI wing stove and TI wind screen. My go to stove is my Esbit for most of my trips. Lots of advantages. 1. Dont have to worry about spilling your fuel 2. I need a 15 gram cube to cook a dinner and boil water for a hot drink. 1 cube a day is all I need so 0.5oz a day of fuel. 3. Lightest of all fuel sources. 4. Nothing to break.

BuckeyeBill
09-06-2014, 00:05
I went with the new MSR Whisperlite Universal. It can use both isobutane or white gas, kerosene and unleaded gasoline. Some people complain about the plastic pump, but it only requires routine maintenance and lubricating the o-ring that attaches to the pump or canisters. The service kit can be sent along in your bounce box. YMMV. :D

BuckeyeBill
09-06-2014, 00:12
Also since it has a remote bottle/canister yup can use a wind screen. It even comes with a inversion stand for canisters so you can use them in cooler weather and when you want to drain canisters completely.

OwenM
09-06-2014, 03:24
LiteMax for canister, Four Dog Stoves Bushcooker LT Mini for alcohol here, and I used an old Primus canister for over a decade until the last couple years.
Haven't used alcohol in cold temps, but both the canisters have been fine down to ~0F a couple of times.
I put my fuel under my down jacket until I need it, while setting up camp, etc...
Use your pack, tent, a tree, rock, or whatever as a windbreak if it's windy.

Matt65
09-06-2014, 22:02
If the cost of canisters is an issue you can save a lot by refilling with the cassette style butane canisters. I use these from Sam's - 4 pack 8oz. for $5.28.

http://m.samsclub.com/ip/butane-fuel-4-pack-8-oz-bottles/prod11640191

Adapter:
http://store.taiwancamping.net/home/field-kitchen/gas-refill-adapter

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/14/09/06/545ff09ecf01570b884125b8c8ad57d1.jpg

dla
09-07-2014, 17:52
This is a very long thread and lot and lots of information has been shared. I wouldn't normally chime in on a thread like this, but there is a glaring problem here that only one poster touched on - "what are you going to do with it?".

More precisely, you need to think of your stove as one piece of your food prep system - and there are other pieces. So lets imagine you said, "I'm going to fry all my food on my little frying pan". That would eliminate all the blow torch cannister stoves, all Alchy burners except for the trangia, and all white gas stoves that will not simmer. But if you said, "I just want to freezer bag cook for 3 season hiking", then everything except a Sterno stove would work.

So it matters a lot what you are going to do with it. I suggest you give a lot of thought on the sort "cooking" you want to do on the trail and then that will help optimize your stove choice.

Lambarrassment
09-08-2014, 11:34
I love my Pocket Rocket. Cheap, simple, practically foolproof, no need for a windscreen, adjustable flame, and if you are keeping your meals simple you can stretch an 8 oz cannister for weeks on end. I think one cannister took me over 500 miles on my thru this year. You learn how to be efficient.

The Jetboil Sol is solid and I saw a lot of thru hikers who were happy with it, but to me it seems bulkier and heavier and more expensive than necessary, unless you plan on cooking in highly exposed areas on a regular basis.

Odd Man Out
09-08-2014, 12:22
...More precisely, you need to think of your stove as one piece of your food prep system - and there are other pieces. So lets imagine you said, "I'm going to fry all my food on my little frying pan". That would eliminate all the blow torch cannister stoves, all Alchy burners except for the trangia, and all white gas stoves that will not simmer....

It's true that your style of cooking influences your stove choice. But it's a bit of a stretch to say that there is only one alcohol stove that can cook things in a frying pan.

dla
09-08-2014, 15:06
It's true that your style of cooking influences your stove choice. But it's a bit of a stretch to say that there is only one alcohol stove that can cook things in a frying pan.

You are correct - I recant. I should've said "an alcohol burner with adjustable output", as I know that the Trangia is not the only one anymore.

10-K
09-08-2014, 15:28
I didn't read the entire thread but I can tell ya.. there's no such thing as the "best" anything. Granted, some gear items cost so much that maybe a person can't have an arsenal of the same thing (like sleeping bags) and have to compromise but stoves.... Well, you can have 3 or 4 different fuel types for pretty cheap.

I can't imagine being locked into "just" alcohol stoves or "just" a canister stove unless that's really, really what you just like the most and don't want to try anything else.

Odd Man Out
09-08-2014, 16:37
I didn't read the entire thread but I can tell ya.. there's no such thing as the "best" anything. Granted, some gear items cost so much that maybe a person can't have an arsenal of the same thing (like sleeping bags) and have to compromise but stoves.... Well, you can have 3 or 4 different fuel types for pretty cheap.

I can't imagine being locked into "just" alcohol stoves or "just" a canister stove unless that's really, really what you just like the most and don't want to try anything else.

Definitely. I've always used alcohol stoves. I like making, testing, and using them. Maybe it's the scientist in me. But I am now shopping for a canister stove to use for my next hike, because I would like to explore the advantages and disadvantages of each kind. And let's face it - we all like to go gear shopping!

jimmyjam
09-08-2014, 18:26
my favorite is still the supercat. its as light and as simple as it gets. no moving parts nothing to wear out. boils two cups water in six minutes or less with one ounce of fuel.


Sent from my SCH-S720C using Tapatalk 2

Turtle Feet
09-08-2014, 21:01
Sorry if I missed it, but has anyone had any experience with the "Ring of Fire" alcohol stoves made by a guy named Robbie (Smokeeater908). http://www.outdoortrailgear.com/cottage-industries/smokeeater908/smokeeater908-store/

I use a Caldera Cone and like it alot, just would like to get a stove that's possibly more fuel efficient and has some ability to control the cooking temp (simmer vs. boil). Just wondering what some real world experiences with these stoves might be.

Deacon
09-08-2014, 21:43
Sorry if I missed it, but has anyone had any experience with the "Ring of Fire" alcohol stoves made by a guy named Robbie (Smokeeater908). http://www.outdoortrailgear.com/cottage-industries/smokeeater908/smokeeater908-store/

I use a Caldera Cone and like it alot, just would like to get a stove that's possibly more fuel efficient and has some ability to control the cooking temp (simmer vs. boil). Just wondering what some real world experiences with these stoves might be.

You'd be hard pressed to find anything more efficient than the Caldera Cone. I only need a half-ounce cube of Esbit to boil 2 cups of water for 10 minutes.

Odd Man Out
09-08-2014, 23:18
You'd be hard pressed to find anything more efficient than the Caldera Cone. I only need a half-ounce cube of Esbit to boil 2 cups of water for 10 minutes.

My alcohol stove system boils 2 cups of water in less than 4 minutes with about 12 g of fuel. But I don't have a simmer option. The most efficient gas stoves probably use about 5 grams of fuel. But the stove is heavier. Each system has it's own advantages.

Turtle Feet
09-09-2014, 08:23
I guess I was looking for a more efficient (fuel saving) alcohol stove to use within my Caldera Cone, not instead of. Maybe I'm splitting grams here.

Odd Man Out
09-09-2014, 10:20
I guess I was looking for a more efficient (fuel saving) alcohol stove to use within my Caldera Cone, not instead of. Maybe I'm splitting grams here.

Having an alcohol stove to use in your Caldera Cone certainly makes sense if you are on an extended trip where alcohol fuel is easy to find and Esbit isn't. I've used a Starlyte stove from Zelph (but not with a Caldera Cone). They are quite nice and have lots of advantages, such as the center-burner, no priming, no-spill wick, and cap to seal in excess fuel. The Starlyte taught me the advantages of a center-burning stove for maximizing efficiency. There are Starlyte stoves that have been specifically adapted to use with a Caldera Cone. You might want to start there.

Turtle Feet
09-09-2014, 18:48
Having an alcohol stove to use in your Caldera Cone certainly makes sense if you are on an extended trip where alcohol fuel is easy to find and Esbit isn't. I've used a Starlyte stove from Zelph (but not with a Caldera Cone). They are quite nice and have lots of advantages, such as the center-burner, no priming, no-spill wick, and cap to seal in excess fuel. The Starlyte taught me the advantages of a center-burning stove for maximizing efficiency. There are Starlyte stoves that have been specifically adapted to use with a Caldera Cone. You might want to start there.

Thanks Odd Man Out - I'll check into it!

Odd Man Out
09-09-2014, 19:26
Thanks Odd Man Out - I'll check into it!

http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/starlyte-burner-with-lid.php

Never was quite sure why a modification of the regular Starlyte was needed to work in a Caldera Cone.

zelph
09-10-2014, 14:37
Take a look at all the stoves "shug" has used over the years and see which one he has chosen as his Go-To stove.
.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKAFAsPfC4s

Woof Shaven
10-19-2014, 14:15
Thru-Hiker published an analysis of packing your selected stove's consumption in packable fuel weight over time.

http://thru-hiker.com/articles/stoveweight_vs_time_14days.php

http://thru-hiker.com/articles/stoveweight_vs_time_28days.php

zelph
10-22-2014, 10:08
The Companion Burner is a versatile kitchen item to have:

http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/companion-burner-for-woodgaz-and-bushbuddy.php




https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3uoe4bbIgtM


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KiPp2ZvL3h8

http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/companion-burner-for-woodgaz-and-bushbuddy.php



.

jessicalynnelizabeth
01-18-2015, 23:09
Hi, Odd Man Out - I'm thinking about using a homemade alcohol stove (the cat food tin variety) for my thru this year. I usually use an MSR canister stove. At this point I'm thinking I'll use my canister stove for the first month or so (until mid-April maybe) and then switch to the alcohol stove, primarily for cost-efficiency on the trail. I tried out the alcohol stove this afternoon, and it seems like it'll work fine once I get run it a few times and get the hang of it. Any insight on potential problems / issues that might come up with the homemade alcohol stove that I should be prepared for?
Thanks!

Rocket Jones
01-19-2015, 10:54
An alcohol stove is either full on or off, so boiling water is really all it's suited for unless you fiddle with a simmer ring or other kludgy method. I use the SuperCat with a single row of holes so that it doesn't heat and boil quite so aggressively. The advantage here is that my dehydrated food in the pot soaks and heats longer, which helps it reconstitute better. The disadvantage is that it takes longer to make dinner, but I'm ok with that.

The flame on an alcohol stove is invisible, be careful.

Odd Man Out
01-19-2015, 12:46
Hi, Odd Man Out - I'm thinking about using a homemade alcohol stove (the cat food tin variety) for my thru this year. I usually use an MSR canister stove. At this point I'm thinking I'll use my canister stove for the first month or so (until mid-April maybe) and then switch to the alcohol stove, primarily for cost-efficiency on the trail. I tried out the alcohol stove this afternoon, and it seems like it'll work fine once I get run it a few times and get the hang of it. Any insight on potential problems / issues that might come up with the homemade alcohol stove that I should be prepared for?
Thanks!


An alcohol stove is either full on or off, so boiling water is really all it's suited for unless you fiddle with a simmer ring or other kludgy method. I use the SuperCat with a single row of holes so that it doesn't heat and boil quite so aggressively. The advantage here is that my dehydrated food in the pot soaks and heats longer, which helps it reconstitute better. The disadvantage is that it takes longer to make dinner, but I'm ok with that.

The flame on an alcohol stove is invisible, be careful.

The cat can stove with two rings of holes was originally called the super cat. I too found this to be too much of a blast furnace. Much heat went up the side of the pot and was wasted. I switched to a single row of holes, which in the original document was called a simmer cat. I still had a few problems with this stove. I did a couple of things to improve this system. Because it is a side burner, it helps to have a wider pot to keep too much heat from going up the sides, even with a simmer cat. I had a tendency to tip my pot over as it is resting on the narrow stove so I made a pot stand out of hardware cloth to give me a wider base. I know people like the simplicity of using the stove as the pot stand, but when I did this, I discovered a couple of other advantages. It turned out my pot stand was just slightly higher than my stove, so the bottom of the pot was suspended a couple of millimeters above the top of the stove. This had two advantages. It made the stove more powerful, so you had something halfway between a super cat and a simmer cat. I liked this speed as I thought the super cat was too powerful and the simmer cat was not powerful enough. There is an advantage of having one row of holes (simmer cat) is you have a larger fuel capacity if you want it. In the field, there is a tendency to add more fuel than you need so you don't run out in the middle of cooking. But if you burn off that excess fuel, you have lost a lot of efficiency. You can build a snuffing device by cutting off the bottom of a pop can (find one big enough to go over the cat food can. Then load up the stove with more fuel than you think you will need. When done, snuff out the stove (you can't blow out a simmer cat). When it's cool, I suck the excess fuel back into my fuel bottle. You uses only what you need and you don't have to try and guess how much you need before cooking (which will vary depending on water temp, wind, what you are cooking, etc). Another advantage of the pot stand/simmer cat system is that you can put your pot on the stand immediately after lighting without having to wait for the stove to prime. This also adds efficiency as you don't waste all that fuel you burn priming the stove. With a small gap between the pot and the stove, it will burn slowly for a while inside the stove until it heats up, then the flames come out the jets like normal. Because this stove function by thermal feedback (the heat from the stove boils the fuel to sent the fuel fumes out the jets), it can help to provide some insulation under the stove to keep the fuel from being cooled by the ground. I've used carbon felt or also a thin sheet of styrofoam wrapped in Al foil. This brings up the last advantage of using the pot stand. When you put a pot of cold water on a cat can stove, it acts as a big heat sink and tends to shut the stove off. This won't happen with a gap between the stove and the pot, so your priming times may go down.

All that being said, I have since switched to using a Easy Capillary Hoop Stove made from a V8 juice can. I use this with an Olicamp XTS pot that has a heat exchanger. This combination gives me better power (boil 2 cups in less than 4 miniutes) but also great efficiency (boil 2 cups with less than 15 mL of fuel). I don't think you can get that kind of performance from a cat food can. This is a center burning stove to you need a taller pot stand, but that (and the heat exchanger) accounts for the increased efficiency. Plus there is almost no priming time due to the stove design.

Finally, a good wind screen is an essential part of the system. I just use a cylinder made of Al flashing. Folded tabs on each end allow it to snap together easily. I make it so it's diameter is about 1/2" greater than the pot diameter. I use a paper punch to punch holes around the bottom for air intake. I think a lot of wind screen I've seen don't have adequate air intake. I measured the performance of my stove without the screen, and then with the screen, and then kept punching holes until I got performance with the screen that was comparable to the performance without the screen.

Peepsinc
01-19-2015, 13:05
Kelly Kettle will boil a liter of water in 2 minutes. & you dont have 2 carry fuel! you'll find dry tinder for fuel under every shelter.(Kettle can be used as a canteen as well) When your done boiling/cooking use the hot tinder's to start a camp fire by placing your kettle over dry wood it creates a vacuum/chimney affect that will start a campfire on the wettest days. You'll bring smiles to lots of cold wet faces when there's a fire to warm up to after hiking thu a cold rain.

Connie
01-19-2015, 16:22
In alcohol stoves, I like the Starlyte w/lid. I use this with my Vargo Titanium Sierra 750 cookware and a Suluk46 titanium windscreen. It may be used with the Caldera Cone System.

I like the Starlyte w/lid especially because the alcohol will not spill out.

I am considering the Starlyte XL, because it has the same feature benefits, plus it holds 4 oz. alcohol fuel.

In cannister stoves, I like the SOTO OD-1R Micro Regulator Stove w/windscreen because the flame is steady down to 20 F or an empty fuel canister. No flare-ups. This is an excellent canister stove.

My favorite JetBoil model is the Jetboil Zip Ti. I might like the JetBoil MiniMo. I will find out.

My favorite backpacking wood stove is my Zelph folding wood stove made of hardware cloth.

Odd Man Out
01-19-2015, 21:31
Good choices Connie. I too like the Starlyte. Have used it some. It's a little slow, but has many of the advantages I like. One down side to the Starlyte is that the power drops off a lot when the fuel runs low. But if you top it off full before starting, you will probably be done cooking before it shifts into low gear. Unlike other alcohol stoves, you can easily blow it out (or snuff it out with any non-flammable flat object). When it's cool, cap it off and the excess fuel is not wasted.

Am also considering a Soto canister stove. If I go somewhere with a fire ban (no alcohol allowed), that's probably what I would get.

AndyJ_54
01-24-2015, 13:31
This was awesome. Have you had any personal experience with the MSR whisperlite? One of the outfitters around here recommended one of those.
I have used the Whisperlight International since my backpacking days in Iceland back in 1990. Have had the same stove since then, just took it out of 5 years of storage and it still works great.