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azchipka
02-11-2004, 02:26
I have always used a camp fire and never once used a camp stove. Which is really funny considering what I do for a living. I would like every ones thoughts on on camp stoves what is the best thing to use, what are advantages, disadvantages, etc.......

steve hiker
02-11-2004, 06:54
The few times I've cooked on a camp fire, had trouble controlling the boiling rate and the pot got all black and coated wtih tar. How do you handle that?

As for camp stoves, you'll get the predictible answers. Weight and simplicity are the main factors. I use an alcohol stove in the 3 seasons and white gas in winter.

Peaks
02-11-2004, 08:49
If you read posts about long distance hiking, you quickly figure out that home made pepsi can stove using alcohol fuel is the stove of choice.

deeddawg
02-11-2004, 09:43
The few times I've cooked on a camp fire, had trouble controlling the boiling rate and the pot got all black and coated wtih tar. How do you handle that?It's been a while since I've cooked over a camp fire, so take this with a grain of salt.

When cooking on a camp fire, contrary to the movies, you would usually build a small fire of relatively small diameter wood (1 to 2 inch max) and burn it until you obtain a decent bed of coals. You cook over these coals instead of over actual campfire flames, either by sweeping the coals between a couple well placed rocks onto which you place your pot -- or in the case of dutch-oven cooking placing the DO directly on the coals while also placing coals on top of the DO.

The downside of this technique is that it takes a bit of time to gather wood, start the fire, let it burn down to coals and then finally get to cook your dinner. It also isn't the easiest thing to accomplish in the rain. After walking all day, most folks would be interested in eating a whole lot sooner than this method allows. However, it is good to know how to do this as a backup.

It's much easier to use a stove, whether a commercially made one or a home-made alcohol stove. There are as many opinions about stoves as there are stoves -- lots of existing dicussions to read through and learn what might work best for one's specific situation.

Your choice of stove is part of a "system" of food and cooking -- for example, alcohol stoves tend to work best with meals which are oriented around boiling water with or adding it to your food, such as dehydrated or freezedried meals, ramen/lipton/knorr noodles, etc. Frying up a pan of sausages and pancakes may not work that well with the typical pepsi-can stove -- I imagine it can be done, but I know it'd be a whole lot easier with a whitegas or cannister stove with good flame control. :)

squirrel bait
02-11-2004, 09:47
If you read posts about long distance hiking, you quickly figure out that home made pepsi can stove using alcohol fuel is the stove of choice.


...and if ya get one made by lilredmg they are hurricane isabel tested....

Big Dawg
02-11-2004, 14:58
I use the msr pocket rocket, quick, easy, light-weight, small. But I'm a section hiker,,, harder to deal w/ for thru hikers, because not easy finding iso-pro fuel bottles in small towns just off the trail,,, fuel bottles would have to be sent via your re-supply method

azchipka
02-11-2004, 16:04
The few times I've cooked on a camp fire, had trouble controlling the boiling rate and the pot got all black and coated wtih tar. How do you handle that?

As for camp stoves, you'll get the predictible answers. Weight and simplicity are the main factors. I use an alcohol stove in the 3 seasons and white gas in winter.

I used to have the same problem with fires but after 1000 some od time i have managed to get pretty good at it. Boiling rate is maainly about heat control. Different types of wood tend to burn faster and stronger and so on. The tar problem can be avoid in a few ways which involve the placement of the pot. If you are a coal cooker which seems to be the most popular these days; wrape the lower part of the pot with alminum foal. This produces abit more trash then not doing it sso i tend to not use this meathod. Another meathod you can use that works well one of the ways i often tend to boil water or cook fish and other types of meat, becan, sausge, or pancakes (this is a bit harder), go to a stream and find a a fairly thin rock with a flat section, size of flat section is dependant on amount of cooking space u need. DO NOT TAKE ONE FROM THE WATER. I only say go to a stream and find one since it is easier to find smooth rocks by a stream then else where, but there are many other spots on the AT i believe you will be able to find them. You should know depending o the type of rock you use your results here will vary. OK so anyways you got this rock. Put it in the fire! Now if you went and got one from out of the water like i told you not to in about 20 minutes it may explode and break into pieces (its a very small explosion but its the only word that makes sense for what it does). After awhile about 30 minutes or so remove the rocck from the fire and place off to the side on a bed of hot coals (everyone i know has there own way of pulling this part off. You will find you now have a nice cooking space. Direct on the coals or on your hot rock (aka hot plate). To boil water place cup on rock and wait about 5 min. There are many ways all of which become easier the more times you have done it.

As far as the advantages of the stoves: weight, no this doesnt work i know for a fact that my camp fire is lighter then your stove. Simple yes yes very true a stove is much easier but what about the disadvantages? I think teh biggest thing for me about stoves is i feel like im cheating myself of a complete outdoor experiance (everyone hikes ther own hike, and i know for some people use stoves is just fine).

Gas spills, having to get more gas all the time (seems to me if you have a super light weight stove and wont have much gas, or is it only uper light weight before adding the can of gas), what i really wonder is how many people who use stoves no how to make and cook off a open fire?

Any other thoughts? Anyone else have any cool ways they cook on a open fire? I am considering getting a stove but i want to make sure its a good idea so its not the first thing shipped back home when i reach my first mail drop.

azchipka
02-11-2004, 16:14
It's been a while since I've cooked over a camp fire, so take this with a grain of salt.

After walking all day, most folks would be interested in eating a whole lot sooner than this method allows. However, it is good to know how to do this as a backup.
You would be amazed how many people i find on the trails in the Tetons that have no clue how to use a camp fire for cooking or make a fire for that mater. Many long distant hikers have goten so used to a stove that when it doesnt work they go with out flame. My favorite was when i found 3 people sitting around just before hurrican pass eating cold some powder food that might have good with boiling water, one had added cold water. When i asked if there was anything i could do to help the response was "Do you have a lighter bob lost ours".


Your choice of stove is part of a "system" of food and cooking -- for example, alcohol stoves tend to work best with meals which are oriented around boiling water with or adding it to your food, such as dehydrated or freezedried meals, ramen/lipton/knorr noodles, etc. Frying up a pan of sausages and pancakes may not work that well with the typical pepsi-can stove -- I imagine it can be done, but I know it'd be a whole lot easier with a whitegas or cannister stove with good flame control. :)

OK so is there a light weight solution for say cooking fish, or fiddle heads, and things of this nature that require more then a 1" area to cook in. Although when on the AT i am planning on using mainly dried foods and such once i return to the park for the summer i normaly only care about 3 days worth of food for a 5 - 7 day trip, and get the rest of food the old fashion way, although i do admit i care alot meal add on items.

Lilred
02-11-2004, 17:34
...and if ya get one made by lilredmg they are hurricane isabel tested....

LOL you're giving me a reputation now.....

I've never used a store bought stove on the trail, doubt I ever will. They say you don't miss what ya never had.....

Shadowman
02-21-2004, 06:51
If one does try to do cooking by campfires, remember that some states don't allow campfires as is the case with other select sites. The advice above is correct on small twigs and branchs and it is also in accord with leave no (or little) trace or impact versus those who insist on a bombfire with 150 pound logs they drag out of the woods. The small branches are renewed in a year or two versus the 20-50 years it takes to replace some of the large wood size burned.

Statistically a variety of gas stove is most often used on the AT (and most everywhere else) although the fuel tablet and alcohol stoves are making some inroads on that. I used the Coleman Peak 1 multifuel and will be using it the second time around (in about two weeks).

One I would not recommend but is interesting to see used is the Zip Stove types that burn small twigs, wood chips, etc. On my first hike of the AT I only encountered them perhaps two or three times.

Kozmic Zian
02-21-2004, 09:38
Yea.....Stoves. I know when in The Woods and wanting something hot, the quickest, most efficient method is the hikers cook stove. Many different manufacterers lead to many different choices. All seem to work well. Building a fire to cook with is OK, too. Except when its really damp,or raining. Then it's almost impossible. I personally use the MSR Pocket Rocket. Lightweight, compact, and efficient. The fuel is readily available at most of the outfitters on The Trail. That's is, on the AT. Out west, or away from towns like on the AT, or, in dead of winter, I would use a liquid fuel stove. I don't like all that fuel and smell, and noise that those 'jet engines' make though. The pressurized canisters are much less messy, cook clean (hardly any blackening of pots), and are simple to light and use. Efficiency is the best policy when backpacking. KZ@

Twofiddy
02-23-2004, 18:34
I use the msr pocket rocket, quick, easy, light-weight, small. But I'm a section hiker,,, harder to deal w/ for thru hikers, because not easy finding iso-pro fuel bottles in small towns just off the trail,,, fuel bottles would have to be sent via your re-supply method
It is not legal to send these bottles via USPS... additionally to send them UPS or FED EX you must declair the contents explosive or face anti terriosim law.

My Opinion... there are enough places along the trail for you to re-supply with fuel for this stove. I own this stove, I did not use it on my Thru Hike, I used an etowah outfitters alcohol stove, but there are many things about the Pocket Rocket that are advantages.

EAM
05-14-2004, 12:57
Where can one buy an Etowah Outfitters Stove? I cannot find an address for the company anywhere on the web.

weary
05-14-2004, 18:47
The few times I've cooked on a camp fire, had trouble controlling the boiling rate and the pot got all black and coated wtih tar. How do you handle that?....
.

Well, I handle it the way humans have handled such things for most of the several hundred thousand years since the emrgence of modern humankind. I ignore it.

Tell me what the problem is and I will suggest a solution. But I have yet to detect a problem with a black pot. Rather I consider such a benefit. Black pots mean the more efficient transfer of heat from the campfire to the food one is cooking.

Surely, you are not worried about carrying a black pot. They are harmless. If your objection is that a black pot causes collateral damage, i.e. that it gets other things in a pack dirty, just recognize everything you carry on a trail gets dirty and just add the black pot to the list of sources of that dirt.

My solution is to carry the black pot in one of those plastic bags that every store imposes on one these days. I tend to burn some of this excess plastic. The rest I use to protect other things in my pack from a sooty cooking pot.

The problem with campfires is that most hikers are too lazy to carry wood more than 100 feet. The result is most campsites are stripped of vegetation. If one is willing to walk a few hundred yards to pick up downed wood, campfires are totally benign.

I build campfires occasionally, mostly because I like to sit in front of a fire. It's part of the human genes. It's genetics. Those strains of the human race the produced modern humans, survived because they invented the creation and preservation of fire, and thus gained dominance over lesser human strains.

Not being a luddite and thus having an appreciation of human ingenuity, I cook on a Zip Stove, which uses only a handful of twigs to COOK a meal, as opposed to alcohol stove users, who mostly only heat water to warm a pre-cooked meal.

I have no philosophical opposition to carrying expensive, precooked meals. I just enjoy the inexpensive, cooking from scratch, alternative wherever convenience allows -- which is almost always.

Weary

Trapper01
07-16-2004, 20:37
this trick does not keep the bottom of your pot from blackening, but is very easily cleaned. just coat the bottom of your pot with soap when cooking on an open fire. Learned this trick while in the boyscouts as a kid.