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Casey & Gina
06-10-2016, 14:35
So my favorite fuel is wood, and a compact wood stove is part of the gear I regularly carry, in addition to a CHS alcohol burner. Wood generally easy to find and best of all is free, but is sometimes hard to collect in dry form and carrying the alcohol is a fairly lightweight fallback option. Using alcohol also means less clean-up since using wood builds up a lot of soot. I used the alcohol in the coldest parts of winter without issue and have been happy with it when I used it, however when we went hiking with my mother-in-law, she complained that it was too slow and kept saying we should buy a jetboil or something. I've never been a big fan of canisters, since it's hard to know how much fuel is left, and because the performance varies a lot with temperature (maybe less so with isopro, but with butane canisters I found this to be a big issue). What is nice about canister stoves is the adjustability/simmer ability.

Well recently I was at REI and decided to buy an MSR Whisperlite International to try out. I first tried the stove out with kerosene since I had some lying around. It worked fine but was pretty sooty and generally messy. Since kerosene doesn't readily evaporate, breaking down the stove ended up with a stinky, oily, sooty mess, making me realize that if I was going to use that setup on the trail, I'd want some paper towels or rags to accompany it. I was initially tempted to try diesel fuel to experiment, but decided that the kerosene was messy enough. I was going to try white gas, but the cost of the stuff at REI (especially the MSR brand stuff) was extraordinary, so I didn't. So next I tried gasoline, just cheap regular unleaded gasoline from the pump - cost me 50 cents to fill a large-size MSR fuel bottle. This worked out very well and I've been using it for the last few days with no complaints. It's much cleaner than the kerosene, does not build up soot onto the cookware, and while the stove ends up a bit sooty, primarily from the priming flame I think, since gasoline drops evaporate very quickly, it's not a big deal to clean up at all. In theory, I think I could use a little alcohol to pre-heat the stove which would keep it from getting dirty at all.

This made me really rethink things. Being able to adjust the cooking flame is a really great feature, as well as being able to boil up water *super fast* if I crank up the heat. In using the stove daily all week, including one meal simmering food for nearly an hour, I've burned at most 20 cents worth of fuel, which is a lot cheaper than the alcohol stove or using canisters, even considering the cheap Wal-Mart price for Heet (which is much less than the typical gas station or even ordering online). A single large fuel bottle would be overkill on a thru-hike, where a smaller bottle would suffice just fine, and I wouldn't need to feel like I have to act frugal with my fuel. The gas lasts a long time and is so cheap that it's not even worth a thought. Gas stations are extremely easy to find, and while they sell Heet and similar products at a huge markup, they don't do so with gas since that's their primary product. The stove is somewhat bulky and heavy compared to my current setup, but not enough to be a deal breaker. Though they are messy, it's nice to know that I can burn kerosene and probably diesel if I needed to for some reason, and if I can't get a canister adapter on it's own it may be worth exchanging for the Universal model that can use canisters as well. I wonder if kerosene would last even longer, and I am sure that there are situations where it would be preferable since it's inherently safer as it's less volatile. It's also relatively inexpensive compared to any other fuel besides unleaded gasoline - my only real complaint about it was the additional mess when cleaning up.

I'll probably still carry my wood stove as my primary option, but this stove is seeming like a great option to pack along instead of a lighter alcohol stove, since it allows for more convenient, time-efficient, and/or flexible cooking at very low cost. Curious if others have made similar choices after trying out the options...

Another Kevin
06-10-2016, 14:53
Whisperlite is kind of a heavy option, since you need a fuel bottle that won't set fire to your pack, and you have the extra weight of the stove. Nevertheless, there's nothing like it in deep winter. In warmer weather, I wouldn't bring it, because for the distances I go (the farthest I've gone in one pull is five nights, which means ten boils) a homemade alcohol stove (plus fuel) is still a little lighter. I pull out the Whisperlite only if I think I might have to melt my drinking water.

Motor gas will foul the jets or the generator on the Whisperlite sooner or later. It's a finicky stove to keep running. My alcohol stove never fails. That tilts the balance strongly for me. In warm weather, a canister stove is also extremely reliable, and if I ever have to worry about hiking under a fire ban, I'll have to get one. The canister or Whisperlite are also much faster heating, but I'm a patient man. If I were in a hurry, I wouldn't be walking.

CalebJ
06-10-2016, 15:07
I'm surprised you're able to get real flame adjustment with the Whisperlite. Short of partial bottle pressurization, that's more than I've ever accomplished.

Casey & Gina
06-10-2016, 15:09
Haha Kevin, that is a good point there at the end. :) I am generally pretty patient and didn't mind the time alcohol or wood took but this was an eye-opening experience for me.

Yeah, I know that unleaded will clog the jet sooner or later, but it doesn't seem that hard to clean, and the combination of low cost and easy cleanup make unleaded gas an appealing option to me. I believe kerosene should be kinder on the stove and still fairly inexpensive...just needs more clean-up supplies handy. At REI, the MSR white gas cost $17 for a container which was maybe a quarter gallon? And then there was a Crown brand for $7 - same size. For $0.50 for the same amount from the pump, it's hard for me to justify the expense of white gas.

I actually really liked using alcohol in near-zero temperatures - perhaps it is because of the CHS design of my stove, but I didn't have any issue with it. I couldn't get it to light directly, but what I did was just light a dead leaf or bit of paper on fire, then dip that into the alcohol - this would have a wicking effect and the alcohol would then light up across the surface readily. It's also amazing how a tiny little flame in the tent vestibule warmed up the whole tent significantly while it was burning.

Leo L.
06-10-2016, 15:21
I've lived off a gas stove for many a travel. This was an Austrian model named Phoebus, designed to be sold to Middle east countries. Bulky and heavy, but very simple design, few spare parts (some of them are included in the pack) and can be repaired everywhere. Extremely powerful.
But this was on travels by car and motorbike. Weight was not an issue, and tools of many kinds were at hand, gas right out of the vehicle.

I would never take a gas stove to a backpacking trip. Too heavy, and the gas might not be easy to get in the right (small) amount.
Only exception is, winter hiking. We had a gas stove on our Mont Blanc trip, and this was great. Hot tea in the morning at -20C without problem.

I have seen several MSR stoves fail, out of various reason. They are not easy to repair, you have to get very specific spare parts in case something fails.

Kaptainkriz
06-10-2016, 15:33
Coleman fuel (white gas) from wally mart is usually around $12/gal. white gas is a variant of Naptha. Lowes usually has naptha pretty cheap. Gasoline will work, but these days usually contains alcohol, which over time will ruin the seals in the stove. The detergents in gasoline will foul the jet, but easy to clean out with a piece of wire. I use a g string from a guitar on my svea123. Kero is stinky, so I avoid it. I'm on an alcohol kick right now to see how I like it and have one of Zelph's newer ridged pot creations and a sidewinder cone.

egilbe
06-10-2016, 15:37
I wouldn't be too keen on using diesel or kerosene in your stove. It's not really suggested, more of an emergency fuel. It's dirtier and oilier. Better off using white gas or gasoline. White gas doesn't have the chemical additives that gasoline has and is normally cleaner burning, so the maintenance is less arduous. I only use my whisperlite universal in the winter. I'm thinking about taking it to do the hundred mile Wilderness, but I already have too many stove choices between the ally stoves, and my solo wood stove.

Casey & Gina
06-10-2016, 15:43
I wouldn't be too keen on using diesel or kerosene in your stove. It's not really suggested, more of an emergency fuel. It's dirtier and oilier. Better off using white gas or gasoline. White gas doesn't have the chemical additives that gasoline has and is normally cleaner burning, so the maintenance is less arduous. I only use my whisperlite universal in the winter. I'm thinking about taking it to do the hundred mile Wilderness, but I already have too many stove choices between the ally stoves, and my solo wood stove.

Actually it seems that kerosene is a recommended fuel like white gas, though diesel and unleaded gasoline are not. Good point about ethanol in gasoline, though I'm curious how long it would take to damage a seal. Don't expect those are difficult to replace though. I really need to completely tear apart and rebuild the stove to understand it better - it's not so simple as an alcohol burner for sure!

...and I will give white gas a try at some point soon, just to see how it compares...

swisscross
06-10-2016, 15:45
The Wisperlite International has been my go to stove for cycle touring for years and if I were to do a cycle trip outside of the US it would be my first choice for a stove.
Yes the jet will foul but the current models (26 year or more old) have a shaker jet that stays cleaner for much longer. The stove comes with a cleaning wire also.

I never considered my Whisperlite International finicky.
A SMALL learning curve at first but after a few uses it is very simple and super reliable.

White gas will soot up during priming also...not quite as much as auto fuel.. especially if you use too much fuel for priming. It does not take much fuel to prime the stove.
Clean it every once in a while and it will last you a LONG time.


I bought mine in 1990 when they came with a leather pressure cup in the pump. Other than general maintenance and having to replace the pump it is still going strong.

I don't take it on solo or duo BP trips as the are sort of heavy but I still use it for car camping or when I go with a large group and when we lose power to the house.

An amazing stove.

There was a company that made replacement legs made of titanium that is no longer in business.

Leo L.
06-10-2016, 16:11
Just a story:
On my last desert trip, I met a tourist from Russia together with his local guide, atop of the highest mountain of this country.
The Russian guy was very upset: He had brought a full meal (chicken and all), a pan and all the cooking tools, and a brand new MSR stove (right with the box and all).
He claimed that he had bought the very world-best stove he could get (the MSR, that is), had tried it out 1x down in the village - and it had worked perfect then - but here up on the mountain the stove failed.
This guy was not an idiot, and me, I'm not one (at least not a complete one) either but am a mechanical engineer, and we both tried to understand the stove and what could be the problem - but it left us clueless. No idea what was wrong, for long time.
Gas, pressure, heat and an ignition, thats all a stove like this should need.
It came to me only after having read each&every text on the stove package and all the included papers - This MSR was designed to be used with White Gas, but the guy had filled the stove at the filling station in the village - leaded gas, the cheap kind. The lead had clogged the generator and thats it. No way to repair this out in the desert atop the highest mountain without any tools or repair parts.

Take this story for what its worth, maybe the MSR is not idiot-proof, or maybe we have the better idiots.

CalebJ
06-10-2016, 16:28
He didn't have the basic tool kit that comes with the stove? It has all you need to tear it down and clean that out.

Greenlight
06-10-2016, 16:52
My sentiments exactly.


If I were in a hurry, I wouldn't be walking.

swisscross
06-10-2016, 16:55
Just a story:
On my last desert trip, I met a tourist from Russia together with his local guide, atop of the highest mountain of this country.
The Russian guy was very upset: He had brought a full meal (chicken and all), a pan and all the cooking tools, and a brand new MSR stove (right with the box and all).
He claimed that he had bought the very world-best stove he could get (the MSR, that is), had tried it out 1x down in the village - and it had worked perfect then - but here up on the mountain the stove failed.
This guy was not an idiot, and me, I'm not one (at least not a complete one) either but am a mechanical engineer, and we both tried to understand the stove and what could be the problem - but it left us clueless. No idea what was wrong, for long time.
Gas, pressure, heat and an ignition, thats all a stove like this should need.
It came to me only after having read each&every text on the stove package and all the included papers - This MSR was designed to be used with White Gas, but the guy had filled the stove at the filling station in the village - leaded gas, the cheap kind. The lead had clogged the generator and thats it. No way to repair this out in the desert atop the highest mountain without any tools or repair parts.

Take this story for what its worth, maybe the MSR is not idiot-proof, or maybe we have the better idiots.

MSR only makes 3 stoves that are multi fuel....hmmm which stove did your Russian friend purchase?

Odd Man Out
06-10-2016, 19:50
I tested my eCHS alcohol stove at 5 below zero once. Just dropped the match in the stove to light. It took about 45 seconds to get going, but then functioned normally.

Leo L.
06-11-2016, 03:36
MSR only makes 3 stoves that are multi fuel....hmmm which stove did your Russian friend purchase?
Dont remember exactly, but the more I think about the incident the more I remember (aside of the really angry guy) that it maybe had been not a MSR, but its greenish/silvery(?) counterpart named Coleman.
Sorry for the confusion!

peakbagger
06-11-2016, 06:30
Whisperlights were the standard for backpacking stoves for years and still have great value for cold weather. The later versions have the shaker jet and contrary to popular opinion if you know how to do it , the can simmer (they also came out with a Smmerlight that was quite adjustable)They are cheap to run and with some very minimal maintenance run forever. That said there are lighter alternatives but all stoves are a compromise. Since your primary fuel is wood I would expect that light weight is probably worth going with a more expensive fuel since you wont be using it as often. That's where a pocket rocket type stove comes in. Alcohol stoves are also an alternative but the trade off is major reduction in flexibility. Sure with major fiddling some folks can do wonders with alcohol stoves but for the vast majority of folks alcohol means boil, dump, let sit and eat. Not a lot of finesse.

rocketsocks
06-11-2016, 09:32
To eCHS own.

Odd Man Out
06-11-2016, 10:19
Ha ha.........

Snowleopard
06-11-2016, 10:39
I tried my Optimus Nova stove with fuel sold for kerosene lamps bought at home depot. It burned pretty clean, about as clean as coleman fuel (white gas). Regular kerosene would be dirtier. There's more energy per liter in kerosene than white gas, but in really cold temps the gas would be easier to start. Gas is more dangerous.

Another Kevin
06-11-2016, 10:58
I tested my eCHS alcohol stove at 5 below zero once. Just dropped the match in the stove to light. It took about 45 seconds to get going, but then functioned normally.

Let me make my earlier post clear. Alcohol stoves work fine in very low temperatures.

It's the prospect of melting my drinking water that makes me shift to a naphtha stove. In warmer weather, I'm boiling a couple of cups of water in the morning for coffee and maybe porridge, and a couple of cups in the evening for dinner and maybe tea. If I'm melting my drinking water, I'm melting - and most likely boiling - about 4-5 litres a day. That's five times the energy required, and tilts the balance. Naphtha's higher energy density starts to win out.

colorado_rob
06-11-2016, 12:33
Whisperlights were the standard for backpacking stoves for years and still have great value for cold weather. The later versions have the shaker jet and contrary to popular opinion if you know how to do it , the can simmer (they also came out with a Smmerlight that was quite adjustable)They are cheap to run and with some very minimal maintenance run forever. That said there are lighter alternatives but all stoves are a compromise.All of this.

I've owned and used a WL International for about 15 years, still works like new, every time. I only use it though in the winter and on mountaineering expeditions, but that's still a lot of use. White gas, Unleaded gas and Leaded gas (in Russia) have all been used in this stove, though white gas the most often.

I have simmered stuff many times in my wisperlite, perhaps not as well as the simmerlite (hence the name).

The only thing that has failed me over hundreds of uses on this one stove is the pump, so I always carry an extra pump (3 ounces) on most all trips. When a pump has failed, I've had mixed success repairing it, so I've just been lazy a couple times and bought another pump.

Fantastic little dependable stove, the wisperlite. As has been said, there is a small learning curve, and I have seen people having fits with theirs, but I've never had any problem, other than pump failures.

As far as alcohol goes, useless for melting snow and glacier-slow for most other things in the winter.

Some love the XKG, but the thing sounds like a jet plane taking off.

Odd Man Out
06-11-2016, 21:34
Let me make my earlier post clear. Alcohol stoves work fine in very low temperatures.

It's the prospect of melting my drinking water that makes me shift to a naphtha stove. In warmer weather, I'm boiling a couple of cups of water in the morning for coffee and maybe porridge, and a couple of cups in the evening for dinner and maybe tea. If I'm melting my drinking water, I'm melting - and most likely boiling - about 4-5 litres a day. That's five times the energy required, and tilts the balance. Naphtha's higher energy density starts to win out.

Agreed. I cheated by using room temp water for the test. I just wanted to see if the stove and fuel worked in the cold. For camping at -5, I assume your water would be frozen and gas stoves are the way to go.

Connie
06-11-2016, 22:54
I have melted snow, using a special large capacity alcohol stove made by Zelph.

I put it i sude his folding wood stove.

I have a Whisperlite International I haven't used for years. I do not like the odor of white gas and stove oil is much worse. I do not like the odor of alcohol either.

I would rather have a small "twiggy fire" for cooking, or melting snow (with some water in the bottem to avoid scorching) but I will use an alcohol stove if there is abundant fresh air around me.

lemon b
06-12-2016, 04:10
If one is forced to use gas in the whisperlights, the older ones provided a head which worked with gas. Did require cleaning. Still know the whisperlight with whitegas remains the best option in cold weather. Not sure if the Seva had a gas head as I never owned one.

Leo L.
06-12-2016, 04:43
Let me make my earlier post clear. Alcohol stoves work fine in very low temperatures.

It's the prospect of melting my drinking water that makes me shift to a naphtha stove. In warmer weather, I'm boiling a couple of cups of water in the morning for coffee and maybe porridge, and a couple of cups in the evening for dinner and maybe tea. If I'm melting my drinking water, I'm melting - and most likely boiling - about 4-5 litres a day. That's five times the energy required, and tilts the balance. Naphtha's higher energy density starts to win out.

It takes roughly the same amount of energy to melt snow/ice than to boil water.

lemon b
06-12-2016, 05:07
Not in my experience sub zero Alcohol stove also have ahuge fudget factor and require a lot of time to get dialed in. Any real wind they are totally useless.

Connie
06-12-2016, 07:04
It is my experience, the stove, the cookware and the windscreen have to be dialed in with any "breeze" in the mountains because my experience outdoors has been there is practically no breeze.

In fact, I welcommed the Caldera Cone when it was new, purchasing the first "gram cracker" model.

I had never had success with that kind of cooking fire before the Caldera Cone.

Now, it is even more "dialed in" as you say.

I like that expression: I think any stove, cookware, and windscreen should be "dialed in".

I have never had a successful windscreen for any of my MSR stoves, or, any of my canister stoves of course, although I have a nice windscreen around my cooking pot perched on the three supports for the cookpot for my OD-1R, but compared to the Caldera Cone or the "Caldera Clone" - my first Caldera Cone, it is "no contest".

Zelph cut down his Super Stove for white gas, with a custom-made Caldera Clone, for me.

It throws soectacular flames high: it only works untouched until the fuel is burned up.

For that matter, I have never failed to see a white gas or a gasoline stove for backpacking not have a spectacular flare up at some point, no matter how experienced the operator. It seems a varnish will build up, in spite of the best care. That is just not reliable enough in my 40-years experience on this thread topic.

I want a reliable cookfire in the great outdoors, and the least dangerous to the environment or I "cold camp".

colorado_rob
06-12-2016, 10:54
It takes roughly the same amount of energy to melt snow/ice than to boil water.Not even close, sorry. First of all, in addition to warming the snow/ice to 32F, you have to overcome the "heat of fusion" to change the water state from solid to liquid, without even increasing the temperature above freezing. 80,000 calories per liter. Sure, it takes even more to change the state from liquid to vapor (boiling), but you really don't do this, one just brings water to boiling temps and maybe boils off a few grams before shutting down the stove. If you "boiled" all of your water, you wouldn't have any left!

But mostly it's because if you're relying on snow for your complete water supply, you have to liquefy 4-5 liters a day or so, whereas one generally only heats (to boiling) a fraction of that every day, that needed for cooked food/coffee/whatever.

Alcohol is a pathetic source of energy compare to butane/propane/gasoline in terms of BTU's per ounce. I doubt if many have successfully used an Alchy stove on anything more than a very short trip, meaning a trip where the sole source of water is to melt snow or ice. Of course, plenty of folks can and probably will claim they did, and how could we refute their claim?

Venchka
06-12-2016, 10:58
White gas. By the liter or gallon. Walmart. Usually right next to the quart bottles of kerosene.
I own 2 white gas only stoves-SVEA 123 and Coleman Peak 1 Apex. I also own a Primus Multifuel stove that works with pretty much anything that burns including canisters. Walmart also sells canisters.
The Coleman Peak 1 is my favorite. The other 2 are close seconds.
If it ain't broke don't fix it.

Wayne


Old. Slow. "Smarter than the average bear."

Leo L.
06-12-2016, 15:38
Not even close, sorry...
Well yes, it is roughly the same amount.
Take 1kg of ice with 0C, and it takes 333kJ to melt it into water with 0C. Try to bring this up to the boiling point (100C), this will take 420kJ.
(in reality, you will start lower than 0C, and will end boiling lower than 100C, and as mentioned before the heat transfer into the snow/ice might be poor at times thus wasting more energy than physically necessary so the two amounts of energy come a little bit closer even)

What I wanted to point out: Melting snow/ice for drinking water takes a surprisingly high amount of energy, roughly double the amount of just boiling water.

zelph
06-12-2016, 15:53
Starlyte alcohol stove lighting in -13 degree temps up in Minnestoa. I used the stove to thaw the lock on my car door so it would stay shut.


http://vidmg.photobucket.com/albums/v228/obijiwa/sub%20one/-13degreesalcoholtest.mp4

They use denatured alcohol on the Iditerod race to cook food for the dogs. ;)

Connie is correct about the Venom Super Stove, it can be used with White Gas/Coleman Fuel

zelph
06-12-2016, 22:38
Alcohol stoves are not that hard to light in cold weather, take a look:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6kcyj_nYS1A

colorado_rob
06-12-2016, 22:39
Well yes, it is roughly the same amount.
Take 1kg of ice with 0C, and it takes 333kJ to melt it into water with 0C. Try to bring this up to the boiling point (100C), this will take 420kJ.
(in reality, you will start lower than 0C, and will end boiling lower than 100C, and as mentioned before the heat transfer into the snow/ice might be poor at times thus wasting more energy than physically necessary so the two amounts of energy come a little bit closer even)

What I wanted to point out: Melting snow/ice for drinking water takes a surprisingly high amount of energy, roughly double the amount of just boiling water.Funny, we agree but somehow disagree... MY point was that during a typical day-in-the-life of a hiker who is melting snow for his water supply, he will use much more energy melting water than taking melted water and boiling it, simply because he will be using a lot of cold water and not bothering to heat it up to near boiling. I certainly don't disagree with your math, I only disagree with the point of where a hiker's fuel energy will be spent; it will be much more in melting water in than boiling water. This means that if a hiker is used to using an alcohol stove for heating water, he/she will have a rude awakening fuel-wise (and time-wise) if he relies on alcohol to melt snow/ice into water.

Leo L.
06-13-2016, 02:10
Honestly, I had to rely on a stove to melt snow for drinking water just once in my hiking career, and we did this by a gas stove (which worked great), while the other party used a propane/butane stove, which failed miserably, and thus failed to reach the summit.
In severe winter conditions I would take any measure possible to get drinking water in other ways than melting snow with a stove.
Sorry for misunderstanding you, as I fully agree.

cmoulder
06-13-2016, 08:22
In severe winter conditions I would take any measure possible to get drinking water in other ways than melting snow with a stove.


If obtaining all water by melting snow, count on 3x normal fuel consumption. And in deep winter, finding liquid water is nigh impossible in many places don't count on it.

Propane/iso/butane can work fine in the winter. I came up with a no-fuss-no-muss setup (https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/98947/) that works extremely well in the winter. I have operated a stove fine on straight N-butane at -5F.

35174351753517635177

QiWiz
06-13-2016, 08:58
For me the weight of the MSR would be the deal breaker. If you don't mind the weight, why not? My own preferences in order of how often I use them is #1 FireFly wood burner with some Esbit as backup fuel; #2 Esbit in Caldera Cone setup (if above tree line or fire ban that allows Esbit); canister stove (if everything else is banned). I like alcohol just fine but Esbit is lighter per BTU, non-spillable, and can be mailed in resupply packages.

In winter if I need to melt snow, I will either use a wood burner or bring out the old white gas stove (MSR Simmerlite is still around here somewhere).

QiWiz
06-13-2016, 09:04
If obtaining all water by melting snow, count on 3x normal fuel consumption. And in deep winter, finding liquid water is nigh impossible in many places — don't count on it.

Propane/iso/butane can work fine in the winter. I came up with a no-fuss-no-muss setup (https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/98947/) that works extremely well in the winter. I have operated a stove fine on straight N-butane at -5F.

35174351753517635177





This is very cool. I became aware of this by reading a BPL thread and intend to try it out this winter. One of the best ideas I've seen in a long time. Kudos!

zelph
06-13-2016, 14:33
Gasoline stinks LOL

Everclear alcohol good stuff, smells good makes for a medicinal standby ;)


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

Leo L.
06-13-2016, 14:49
If obtaining all water by melting snow, count on 3x normal fuel consumption. And in deep winter, finding liquid water is nigh impossible in many places — don't count on it.

Propane/iso/butane can work fine in the winter. I came up with a no-fuss-no-muss setup (https://backpackinglight.com/forums/topic/98947/) that works extremely well in the winter. I have operated a stove fine on straight N-butane at -5F.


Really good idea, this heat exchanger.

The main problem in the group of our winter trip was, that the other party neglected all knowledge (if little we had) about camping Butane gas stoves and winter usage. The specific product is designed for warm weather use only. It was -20C inside the tent.
Would be interesting to see if the heat exchanger would help in these conditions, too?

Well, in really severe cold it might be impossible to find liquid water. But still it would pay to look and try to find as hard as possible. Might need to be creative, like putting snow in a black stuff sack in the sun (if there is any).
One guy, he calls himself Skyrunner for doing most, up to the highest, summits on earth in a 1-day-trip, has developed a method of placing two water bladders across/atop his shoulders and by this melting snow into water "on the run".

cmoulder
06-13-2016, 16:20
Leo, yes this heat exchanger works in very cold weather... in the last photo above, the ambient temperature was 4F (-15.5C), and I have run it with no problems on straight N-butane at -5F (-20.5C). Even in these cold temperatures the stove will keep running at full power until the last molecule of fuel is consumed.

As far as people who don't know how to operate their equipment and are not aware of its limitations and of strategies for dealing with such... well, sometimes it takes a failure to get them to focus on the problem. I myself believed the advertising hype and the glowing user reports about the MSR Reactor and was disappointed with actual field use, which inspired me to come up with a better way, and not the standard practices of keeping canisters in the sleeping bag or inside a jacket, or monitoring a water bath to keep the stove going. In extreme cold, there's already enough to deal with.

Now to passive systems, solar with the black plastic bag or using body heat... I assure you black plastic bags do not work at -25F and when you're out for a week and the high is +8F, they're not an answer at all. And it also takes a lot of time, which is not at all practical if you're on the move. Using excess body heat is good but definitely a system that requires a lot of tweaking to get right because you also have to balance that factor along with clothing venting and removing layers, and it can rapidly cool and lead to hypothermia if one is anything less than expert with the system... not for the average guy or gal.

I like the old saying "Hope is not a strategy." A reliable, simple system that doesn't depend upon unknown factors and best-case scenarios is the only way to go.

zelph
06-13-2016, 22:48
Mushers use HEET :-)
35221

MuddyWaters
06-14-2016, 01:10
Gasoline stinks LOL

Everclear alcohol good stuff, smells good makes for a medicinal standby ;)


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

But everclear doesnt light good when cold. Methanol is much better. Ive gotten fingers seriously cold and numb, to point of useless really, trying to get ethanol lit in freezing breezy conditions. Ive given up and just gone to bed and ate cold food . Normally I like a blend of everclear (for btu)and a little slx (lights easier). but in cold....pure methanol (heet) all the way.

zelph
06-14-2016, 07:53
But everclear doesnt light good when cold. Methanol is much better. Ive gotten fingers seriously cold and numb, to point of useless really, trying to get ethanol lit in freezing breezy conditions. Ive given up and just gone to bed and ate cold food . Normally I like a blend of everclear (for btu)and a little slx (lights easier). but in cold....pure methanol (heet) all the way.


Under freezing breezy conditions I would have done the same. If I knew those condition might occur I may have chosen a stable stove like the "Ring Of Fire" to take along so I could use it inside my tent. Or use a Caldera Cone with a Starlyte type burner, most stable set-up available. The Starlyte absorbs the fuel and won't spill out.

In the video, you can see in the center of the Companion Burner there is a metallic wick(copper) that helps with lighting the alcohol. When alcohol is poured into the burner the wick gets saturated with alcohol and is surrounded with air which enhances the ability of the alcohol to ignite. While the wick is burning, the flame touches the surface of the burner, heats it to a point that the alcohol vapors easily begin to ignite and then a chain reaction occurs on the surface and the flames spread. I suspect the same thing happens when people use a pine needle/twig as a means of lighting the surface of alcohol.

Connie
06-14-2016, 12:16
Here are two zelph Super Stoves, side-by-side: one is the correct height for white gas and one is the correct height for alcohol. The center supports the cookpot.

35230

and here is the zelph Companion stove with his folding wood stove he made from hardware cloth.

35231

I have used the white gas Super Stove for melting snow, in "Montana winter". I prefer the Companion stove, that uses Heet available at hardware stores and gas stations. I especially like the Companion stove/folding wood stove option.

I have also used the Super Stove that uses alcohol, placed inside the folding wood stove, because sitting inside the folding wood stove the Super Stove that uses alcohol creates a double blue-flame. It is sufficient for most briskly cold conditions.

I haven't tried the zelph modified StarLyte burner and Caldera Cone.

Casey & Gina
06-14-2016, 12:30
I have a Whisperlite International I haven't used for years. I do not like the odor of white gas and stove oil is much worse. I do not like the odor of alcohol either.

I have to agree here. I went to purchase some white gas for a trial run, but before leaving the store, opened the cap and took a whiff of the stuff. Once was enough for me to put it back on the shelf forever. I don't mind the smell of gasoline or kerosene or diesel but the white gas was just awful. Like you my preferred method is a twig fire.

Casey & Gina
06-14-2016, 12:41
Really cool to hear that something lighter like a Zelph designed stove can burn gasoline... I wonder if a CHS burner could be used for gasoline by adjusting the height of the pot above it? Might have to have a little 'ssplody test... Would be super cool to have one ultralight stove that could burn either alcohol or gasoline.

Connie
06-14-2016, 12:53
I suggest all white gas or gasoline "tests" be performed on a large gravel bed, preferably with hiding behind a barrier.

I tried my white gas Super Stove with my Caldera Clone on a gravel driveway: my neighbors came out somewhat alarmed.

It was fine, until I removed the cookware, then, it suddenly flamed up so high it was spectacular.

I would say: use a tiny amount so it will more quickly burn out.

Better? Forget experimentation.

Leave stove designs to the experts!

The one I have works well, used as designed.