PDA

View Full Version : Caldera Keg System vs Jet Boil Sol for thru hike -



BRamsey
02-05-2015, 00:02
Any suggestions - ?Jetboil during cold months/Alcohol stove later? Starting first week of April. Please be brutally honest :-)

ryjohnson09
02-05-2015, 08:33
I have 0 experience with alcohol stoves (but that will soon change), but I know from a few winter trips that my jetboil did not hold up well in freezing temps. Some disclaimers though: it was REALLY cold, like single digit cold. Also, I was using an older jetboil model...so things may have changed. I'm thinking of buying the caldera cone to try out.

Frye
02-05-2015, 08:58
I went through a similar dilemma a month ago. I really thought I wanted to go canister on my thru this year. After way to much research I decided to stick with alcohol. I have been using the keg for a good while now and think it's a great setup. I probably would bring it this year if I wasn't so set on some sort of change in my setup. Instead I'm using a Starlyte, Ti screen, and 850ml pot. Saving a few ounces too!

Speakeasy TN
02-05-2015, 09:08
I own both but I will be carrying the Jetboil because I can't spill a canister! The odds of an accident are low but I will take zero every time! One less worry.

Harrison Bergeron
02-05-2015, 10:23
Here's what I learned in my experiments with alcohol stoves:

Alcohol:
Snow Peak Hybrid Trail Titanium Cookset 4.7 oz
(includes pot, pan, bowl and spork)
Homemade pop can stove: .3 oz
Homemade windbreak .8 oz
Homemade Reflectix cozy 2.3
Alcohol, 12oz bottle 11.5 oz
19.6 oz Total

Jetboil:
Jetboil Flash Cooking System 16.0 oz
Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork .3 oz
Fuel canister - Jetboil small 100gm 6.8 oz
23.1 oz Total

Canister
Snow Peak Hybrid Trail Titanium Cookset 4.7 oz
(includes pot, pan, bowl and spork)
Soto Micro Regulator Stove 2.7 oz
Soto canister stove windbreak .7 oz
Fuel canister - Jetboil small 100gm 6.8 oz
14.9 oz Total

None of them work well in sub-freezing temps, but at least with the canister you have the option of eating something other than soup. It also happens to be the lightest of the bunch and you don't have the risk of ruining your liver by absorbing highly-poisonous methanol through your skin or ruining your gear when highly corrosive methanol leaks out of the cheapo water bottle you're using to save an ounce over the Heat bottle it came in. Not to mention the risk of accidentally taking a swig of methanol from that "water" bottle.

Your mileage may vary, but for five days in the woods, alcohol just doesn't make sense to me because you have to carry so much of it. If you like soup, the convenience of a Jetboil is worth the extra 2 ounces, and you can even get rid of that if you spring for titanium.

Connie
02-05-2015, 10:41
zelph's StarLyte alcohol stove will not spill out alcohol, neither will his StarLyte XL 4.5

TheCheek
02-05-2015, 10:41
Your plan will work fine. I did basically the same thing on my '05 thru - started with a gas stove and switched to alcohol around June. Plenty of opportunities to refill if you go with a refillable canister too, for either.
As for alcohol, looking back I have to echo Harrison's comments that the weight of the fuel per caloric output is a no brainer. Alcohol just doesn't pack the punch of gas and you have to carry more of it. If I did another thru I would just go with a good reliable gas stove the whole way. Tons of people use jetboils the whole way, no worries.

RED-DOG
02-05-2015, 10:51
Jetboil holds up great i had my sol-ti down to 0 degrees and it worked fine but you probably will be getting the minimo since they took the SOL-TI's off the market a couple of months ago but you might be able to get one at a outfitter.

the alchy stoves on the other hand are crap every single one i have used have been nothing but crap i will never go back to a alchy stove since i have been using a jetboil , in my experince most thru hikers use the MSR pocket rocket i used one of these magnificiant stoves on both of my GA-ME's with no complaints and i still use the same stove today, in my oppinion get some type of cannister stove stay away from the alchy's.

Starchild
02-05-2015, 11:35
Harrison Bergeron (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/member.php/28366-Harrison-Bergeron)[/COLOR]]Alcohol:
Snow Peak Hybrid Trail Titanium Cookset 4.7 oz
(includes pot, pan, bowl and spork)
Homemade pop can stove: .3 oz
Homemade windbreak .8 oz
Homemade Reflectix cozy 2.3
Alcohol, 12oz bottle 11.5 oz
19.6 oz Total

Jetboil:
Jetboil Flash Cooking System 16.0 oz
Sea to Summit Alpha Light Spork .3 oz
Fuel canister - Jetboil small 100gm 6.8 oz
23.1 oz Total

Canister
Snow Peak Hybrid Trail Titanium Cookset 4.7 oz
(includes pot, pan, bowl and spork)
Soto Micro Regulator Stove 2.7 oz
Soto canister stove windbreak .7 oz
Fuel canister - Jetboil small 100gm 6.8 oz
14.9 oz Total

Going back to the weights listed above:

Jetboil Sol Ti, total weight minus the spork (which is 0.3 oz) and the stand and cup, is for the newer style 17 oz full (boil water only), 14 oz empty, the older style was 16 oz full and 13 oz empty (states can cook on simmer) Also worked down to 10F on my thru.

JessetheViking
02-05-2015, 13:01
get a jetboil and be done with it; sure an alcohol stove is light but it takes forever to just boil water.

Frye
02-05-2015, 19:23
Your plan will work fine. I did basically the same thing on my '05 thru - started with a gas stove and switched to alcohol around June. Plenty of opportunities to refill if you go with a refillable canister too, for either.
As for alcohol, looking back I have to echo Harrison's comments that the weight of the fuel per caloric output is a no brainer. Alcohol just doesn't pack the punch of gas and you have to carry more of it. If I did another thru I would just go with a good reliable gas stove the whole way. Tons of people use jetboils the whole way, no worries.

Huh... That's just not true. Alcohol is without a doubt better in regards to weight savings for the sort of hiking we do on the AT. Canisters may hold other benefits, but weight savings isn't one of them.

Some members over at BPL have directed OCD like attention to this subject and were nice enough to create some easy to understand (even for someone as simple as myself) graphs to put it all in perspective.

ny breakfast
02-05-2015, 20:06
what happens when the threads wear out on the jet boil, or did they fix that problem, i came across a few people who loved there jet boil, but ended up in the trash when the threads wore out.

Sirsnappy09
02-05-2015, 20:56
I used an alchy on a my at thru( starlyte) and was realatively happy with it. I used a snowpeak giga power before that and liked it a lot. I switched back to the snowpeak for a jmt thru and will never go back to alchohol. I decided in that jmt hike to get a little more creative with my meals and a good gas stove is the best for real cooking. Sure it is a little heavier than an alcohol stove but man it sure is nice to be able to have something g other than just add boiling water meals. Lighten up everything else then splurge on food a little more. You won't be sorry.

Noseeum
02-05-2015, 21:20
I started my section hikes using a JetBoil ZIP, but after realizing all I needed was to boil water twice a day I started looking to shave some ounces. I would suggest looking at a Snow Peak LiteMax used with a Snow Peak 650ml Ti mug. The LiteMax fits in the bottom of the mug and a 110mg canister fits inverted into the top. Carry it all in the net bag the mug comes in.

The LiteMax and mug are 5oz, IIRC. Probably not a good fit I you're a backcountry gourmet, but it works great for a solo hiker who just wants coffee in the morning and something hot for dinner.

Odd Man Out
02-05-2015, 22:42
Every type of stove has advantages and disadvantages. Every person has different priorities. As a result each person is likely to come to a different conclusion as what is best for them. But it does help to have accurate information. I have read some questionable claims above.

I would say the toxicity of methanol is overstated. Yes, you should not bath in it or drink it. But you are not going to cook your liver from the incidental contact with the small amount you may spill on your skin. It is not highly corrosive (it is a polar alcohol - nothing chemically there to be classified as corrosive). And if you are worried about it spilling or being drunk from a cheap water bottle, then don't keep it in a cheap water bottle.

It is a mistake to think that all alcohol systems are very slow. My alcohol system boils 2 cups of water in less than 4 min using less than 15 mL of fuel.

The weight of your fuel bottle may be 11 oz when you start, but that weight drops a lot as you use the fuel. When your canister is about empty, you are still carrying a relatively heavy canister (or two). With alcohol, you have the option of taking as much or as little fuel as you wish.

The poor performance of alcohol systems in cold weather is a myth. The can work fine in temps much below freezing.

One thing that is true about alcohol systems is that they have a steeper learning curve. There are many variables to consider and you need to be willing to invest the time to figure out all the options. For example, you must understand that the stove, pot, stand, and screen work together as a system. Many of the myths about alcohol stoves are from people who have not optimized their system. I really don't care what kind of stove people choose. I just think it is good to have accurate info so everyone can make informed decisions.

CarlZ993
02-05-2015, 23:07
Alcohol or canister stoves? Both will work.

On 95% of my backpacking trips, I use a canister stove (usually a SnowPeak). Occasionally, I'll use a MSR Reactor with hungry Scouts that want their boiling water NOW! In really cold trips (rare), I'll use a white gas stove (MSR Simmerlite). I'll occasionally use alcohol stoves on my backpacking trips (done it three times; one was my AT Thru).

I went back & forth on what to bring on my AT thru-hike. I had several alcohol stoves that I've played around with. I even made a basic Fancy Feast stove. On a whim, I ordered a Fancee Feast stove from Zelph (along w/ the windscreen). I played with Zelph's stove & really liked the simplicity & almost immediate blooming of the flame. I knew that I'd be hitting towns on a regular basis & fuel options (denatured alcohol or Heet) could easily be found (by the ounce). So, I went w/ Zelph's Fancee Feast stove for the entire thru-hike.

I used the stove from the teens to the 90s. No problems w/ it. I used about 3/4 - 1 oz of fuel per day. I carried my fuel in an empty 12 oz soda bottle. As I waited my water to boil, I looked longingly at other hikers w/ their Jetboil stoves already boiling. If I were to do it again, I'd probably go w/ a canister stove (Snowpeak or Jetboil? Don't know).

I do know that Jetboil & MSR Reactor stoves are very quick & fuel efficient. But, they are heavier. I did a boil test w/ my Jetboil Ti-SOL. With a 110 gram canister, I was able to boil 2 cups of water on average 1:45. I was able to do 27 boils before I ran out of gas. Not much wind on my outdoor tests. Around 78 degrees on one day and about 10 - 15 degrees cooler on the next day (got too bored to do the entire test in one day).

An empty 8 oz canister weighs around 4 oz. It's hard sometimes to determine how much fuel you have let. As a result, I encountered many almost empty fuel canisters in hiker boxes along the trail. You could pick up one & maybe get a few meals out of it before it went dry. In theory, you might not have to buy too many canisters if you use a lot of partials.

Note: A buddy of mine used his Jetboil for evening meals only on the AT. One 8 oz canister lasted him about 500 trail miles (he averaged just under 15 mpd including zeros).

Jake2c
02-05-2015, 23:50
I have used a number of different stoves over the years. I actually like kelly kettle the best but it's just too big. It is also not lite but I will put up with a little weight to get what I want. The death nell for the Kelly Kettle was it's size, just too big. I do use if for kayaking and car camping. I tried different canisters but you always have to carry two and again, everything together takes up space. I have used a few different alcohol stoves and have settle one one that is small, light, and can simmer. It will take a little longer to heat up a cup of water, probably about 50% longer but that is just not important to me at all. I'm not in a race, I like to stop and take my time when I eat or want to enjoy a cup of coffee. I will be sitting there a lot longer than it takes to boil up water or heat something up.

Harrison Bergeron
02-06-2015, 09:37
I would say the toxicity of methanol is overstated. Yes, you should not bath in it or drink it. But you are not going to cook your liver from the incidental contact with the small amount you may spill on your skin. It is not highly corrosive (it is a polar alcohol - nothing chemically there to be classified as corrosive). And if you are worried about it spilling or being drunk from a cheap water bottle, then don't keep it in a cheap water bottle.

According to Wiki, the minimum toxic dose is 10 milliliters -- about two teaspoons.


Is it corrosive? It dissolves most glues, paints, and given enough time, even plastic and aluminum. There is a reason it's labeled "paint thinner" when you buy it at the store. Alcohol-adulterated fuels are forbidden in airplanes because it corrodes aluminum fuel lines and plastic carburetor parts.


I didn't mean to overstate the risk. No, you're not going to cook your liver if you spill a little on your skin. But if you didn't know it was poisonous, you might carelessly expose yourself in that manner a couple a times a day for six months on the trail, and you might even be tempted to use it as an antiseptic to clean a tick bites and broken blisters. Would that be enough to cause some damage? I don't know.

Demeter
02-09-2015, 07:44
The Jetboil is best for heating up water fast. If you only want to boil water for Freezer Bag meals or Mountain House, then the Jetboil is super easy, but doesn't simmer well. Best for really cold weather when I burn through tons of alcohol.

I prefer alcohol for most of my trips. I can use my Ti Caldera Cone with esbit and wood in a pinch if I run out of alcohol. With the Starlyte stove, you can make a "simmer" ring to cook muffins or rehydrate food in the pot instead of a FB. When done, put out the stove and store any leftover fuel in the stove.

When cold, just put your canister in your sleeping bag for 5 minutes or your alcohol in your pocket. I used alcohol at -5F without a problem.

In this blog article and video, I bake with a Fosters, Caldera, and Starlyte

http://demeters-dish.blogspot.com/2014/02/trail-baking-with-fosters-pot-caldera.html