PDA

View Full Version : backpacking stove input needed



Darwin
11-02-2008, 23:27
I'm looking to purchase a backpacking stove that is ultralight, good at cold and hot temperatures, high and low altitudes, and its fuel is easy to get a resupplies in the US and internationally (especially Taiwan). I'm also hoping to minimize the cost as much as possible.
What do you suggest, both in terms of the type and a specific stove (make/model).

Darwin
daroos@indiana.edu (daroos@indiana.edu)

shelterbuilder
11-02-2008, 23:35
Darwin, I can't remember the name of the stove (I'm sure that someone else here will remember it for me), but there is a pressurized, multi-fuel stove that burns kerosene. I would suggest a kerosene-burning stove since kerosene is - in some parts of the world - more readily available than gasoline, LP, or propane, and pressurized stoves (in general) will work better at altitude and in colder temperatures than other stoves.

Reid
11-03-2008, 01:03
I think the cannister stoves are the best way to go. I have faith in my pocket rocket and fuel has never been an issue. Most of your equipment was made in china too or somewhere else so they'll be available their too.

remo711
11-03-2008, 15:33
I'm going to throw the MSR Whisperlight Intl out there just as a starter. Bombproof and meets all the requirements except weight. Depends on how sensitive you are.

http://www.rei.com/product/709000

I just started using a Jetboil but not in temps below 40F so I can't comment on it.

No experience with alcohol but lots of people on the board do.

hammer
11-03-2008, 21:33
Look at the Optimus Nova multi fuel stove---I have one, but have limited use with only white gas. It is a good design though. I know they sell it at REI.

turtle fast
11-05-2008, 00:07
Dittos on the MSR whisperlite International....will burn many different fuels. Could try an alcohol stove too, just need to know the Chinese characters for denatured alcohol or for high proof liquor!!!

zelph
11-05-2008, 00:18
Read all about the lightweight, inexpensive, comes with a inovative EZ fold windscreen, the SS StarLyte UltraLyte alcohol stove. (http://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/showthread.php?t=18383)


.

trouthunter
11-05-2008, 00:29
Tin can, add twigs.

Just joking a bit.
You will need a multi fuel stove, I know white gas handles cold at least down to -40* which is why I use it, and can handle altitudes above 20,000'
I'm not sure about auto gas, kerosene, and such.
I would pick a MSR Whisperlite Intl. or something similar.

Canister stoves are a no-no for international travel.

Marta
11-05-2008, 06:32
You might have trouble traveling with a used multi-fuel stove, too. A friend of mine had his Whisperlite confiscated by TSA when he tried to fly with it.

Homer&Marje
11-05-2008, 08:00
Aluminum can + 10 minutes of your time for research and development = Free 1/2 oz soda can stove. Pick up HEET or Denatured Alcohol, or isopropyl or some 101 Wild Turkey :D when arriving at your destination. Enjoy:D

Marta
11-05-2008, 08:23
I don't know about Taiwan in particular, but in many foreign countries it is quite easy to buy high-proof ethanol, cheaply.

trouthunter
11-05-2008, 09:08
Alcohol is definitely an option for traveling, grain alcohol is easy to get in most places.
From my own experience though, alcohol does not do well in cold, high elevation destinations, & canisters must be kept warm somehow in cold climates which is why white gas/multi fuel stoves are generally the best pick for the guidelines the OP gave.

I fully realize they are not the optimum pick for thru hiking the AT and I do not use one for hiking the AT, but it is the best choice for International travel in hot & cold climates at both low and high elevations which is what the OP asked.

Ask any mountaineer how well alcohol stoves work in very cold temps.
On the AT great!
Burn it... drink it.... go for it!:D

bigcranky
11-05-2008, 09:29
Given your requirements, one of the MSR liquid fuel stoves that can burn gasoline, white gas, and kerosene would work well. Hardly ultralight -- sorry -- but there isn't really an ultralight choice that meets your needs.

If you really need maximum fuel versatility, and you can spend a few bucks, this stove burns both liquid fuel (gasoline and white gas) and canister fuel:

http://www.rei.com/product/741669

Again, hardly lightweight. And you'll have trouble flying with any stove these days.

Lyle
11-05-2008, 10:28
I guess my suggestion would be a home made alcohol for most of the time, and a Whisperlite International (or similar) for those times when it may be needed. As in most cases, trying to get one piece of equipment to serve too many situations will result in major compromises. Why carry a heavy gas-powered stove 100% of the time when it may only be needed 25% of the time? On the other hand, when it is needed, then carry it. Especially in this case, the light-weight option represents no additional cost, and minimal effort.

dla
11-05-2008, 12:37
I guess I'm confused by the "ask any mountaineer" statement. I've used a lot of stove types over the years and BY FAR the cheapest, simplest, most reliable is the alcohol stove. And I would suspect that it is the easiest to travel with as well.

But it seems like it always takes awhile for newbies to "discover" alcohol. They have to own a few other stoves first.

http://mysite.verizon.net/restoq6v/index.html - a little information you might find useful.

Summit
11-05-2008, 21:08
Aluminum can + 10 minutes of your time for research and development = Free 1/2 oz soda can stove. Pick up HEET or Denatured Alcohol, or isopropyl or some 101 Wild Turkey :D when arriving at your destination. Enjoy:DI'm not hiking with you if you drink all the fuel! :eek: :D :p

trouthunter
11-05-2008, 21:33
I guess I'm confused by the "ask any mountaineer" statement. I've used a lot of stove types over the years and BY FAR the cheapest, simplest, most reliable is the alcohol stove. And I would suspect that it is the easiest to travel with as well.

But it seems like it always takes awhile for newbies to "discover" alcohol. They have to own a few other stoves first.

http://mysite.verizon.net/restoq6v/index.html - a little information you might find useful.

Uhhhmm, ....The guys I hang out with in very cold, high elevation trips do not like alcohol, it performs lousy, at best, under those circumstances. Again that was part of the OPs' criteria for stove options.

I have used alcohol stoves for years, and often opt for alcohol or wood stoves for my southern thru-hikes.
Alcohol only guys need to think out of the box sometimes, they are not the best stoves for a lot of situations.
But certainly you could easily own several stoves like I do and just pick the one best suited for your type of trip.:)

Mags
11-05-2008, 21:48
I guess I'm confused by the "ask any mountaineer" statement.


Mountaineers (and winter campers) tend to need to melt a lot of snow. Something white gas is more efficient at. A little different than the "boil 2 cups of water and cook" most people (myself included) tend to do.

But, the poster wanted to know about multifuel. As Big Cranky said, you have to go with a "real" stove. Good luck getting it on airlines though. Sigh.

I've known people who bike toured in Europe with alcohol stoves, though as an FYI.

This link will help finding fuel internationally in terms of what to ask for:
http://members.iinet.net.au/~mbuckler/fuel/index.shtml#tableoffuelnames (http://members.iinet.net.au/%7Embuckler/fuel/index.shtml#tableoffuelnames)



But certainly you could easily own several stoves like I do and just pick the one best suited for your type of trip.:)

What a concept! Bring the right tool for the right job. :) I mainly use an alcohol stove. But I also use a whitegas stove (less so as I don't winter camp as much) on occasion. For fuel availability reasons, I *may* take it on the Great Divide Trail (Canada) if I can swing doing it...

More info you may find useful (I should update it for international travel..hmm)
http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php/Backpacking-and-Hiking-documents/stove_comparison.html

trouthunter
11-06-2008, 11:17
Mags, thanks for those links.

I have been on only 4 cold, high elevation trips, so no expert here on mountaineering.
On my first trip, I was told by the team leader, Chris, to go put my alcohol stove back in my truck. I had made that stove in my garage just for that trip, I have to admit I thought it was the cats meow, but alas, Chris was right!
The guys let me carry an extra fuel bottle of white gas, since I didn't have to carry my stove and alcohol.
They don't seem to miss a trick.

Mags
11-06-2008, 15:16
I have been on only 4 cold, high elevation trips, so no expert here on mountaineering.



I am certainly no expert as well.

I have NEVER been over night mountaineering trip (a hard term to define. But, to me, mountaineering involves technical equipment like crampons and an ice axe. I've done limited daytime stuff in the Whites, but that was more walking than climbing. Anyway...)

But, I have done a fair amount of winter camping. Since, it was in Colorado, by default I guess it is high elevation.

In any case, melting all that snow with alcohol would not have been fun or efficient.

Of course, I've become a wimp and do backcountry hut trips now. Ski for 3 days, cook lots of great food at night, have some wine with friends. A dinner party with a ski trip attached.. Easier than being in a snow cave for 12+ hours.... :sun

(And is supposed to snow a lot in the high country this weekend! BREAK OUT THE SKIS!!!!!! WOO HOO!)

dla
11-06-2008, 15:18
Uhhhmm, ....The guys I hang out with in very cold, high elevation trips do not like alcohol, it performs lousy, at best, under those circumstances. Again that was part of the OPs' criteria for stove options.



Well they must be on a different planet then. Alcohol works great in the cold and altitude has no effect. Now if you are talking about melting snow for water, then I agree that a white gas stove is the best choice only because of the raw btu output. But I don't camp where the only water is snow. And there's nothing magic about melting snow - alcohol stoves melt snow too.

I have a feeling that a lot of new hikers buy equipment for Everest, i.e. unrealistic expectations. Personally I apply the KISS to my equipment choices.

Mags
11-06-2008, 15:41
A. But I don't camp where the only water is snow. And there's nothing magic about melting snow - alcohol stoves melt snow too.





Probably not deep winter camping then if there is water available? Water does freeze in very cold temps.

Alcohol can melt snow, but it does take more fuel.

As for alcohol in very cold weather. Hmm... Seems to go against the grain for what people seem to experience. Alcohol does not vaporize as well in cold temperatures as white gas. The heat output is also about half. Not good for efficient winter use.


Sure, it can work. But, it is not very efficient. If you are camping near water and not ice/snow, I just wonder how cold it is? Below about 15F, I think whitegas may be better (esp. if it is below 15F consistently. i.e. Does not warm up during the day).

In any case, I believe in the KISS principle too. That means realizing that different tools are needed for a different job. Remember, you are talking to a guy who advocates a $4 thrift-store shirt for hiking. ;)

Lyle
11-06-2008, 16:07
Agree with Mags on this one. For me it's alcohol for the majority of 3-season use, SVEA for dead of winter use. This seems about like the best options for me.

Mags
11-06-2008, 16:22
Agree with Mags on this one. For me it's alcohol for the majority of 3-season use, SVEA for dead of winter use. This seems about like the best options for me.

...I'll also add a propane stove in a hut. ;)

http://www.pmags.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=7782&g2_serialNumber=2&g2_GALLERYSID=9b7269e0127675108ae6001d1d0952b4

(Like my hut slippers ???? :D)

trouthunter
11-06-2008, 16:34
I guess the term cold is subjective.
Maybe some people call cold anything below freezing. I consider cold, high elevation temps. at or below 0*F. This would also include windy to gusty conditions if above tree line.

From what I have experienced melting your drinking water requires a large pot (large surface area) just to net a decent amount of water.
White gas is just more efficient and is less affected by the wind, although we did build a wind deflector for our "kitchen" out of snow and used a wind screen.

The two guys I did see using alcohol were forced to do so in their tent.
It's one thing to catch your tent on fire in moderate temps, but it can be a serious problem in frigid temps.

I wouldn't use alcohol in sub-zero temps any more than I would wear my FGL welted boots to thru hike the AT.

dla
11-06-2008, 16:49
Probably not deep winter camping then if there is water available? Water does freeze in very cold temps.

Alcohol can melt snow, but it does take more fuel.

As for alcohol in very cold weather. Hmm... Seems to go against the grain for what people seem to experience. Alcohol does not vaporize as well in cold temperatures as white gas. The heat output is also about half. Not good for efficient winter use.


Sure, it can work. But, it is not very efficient. If you are camping near water and not ice/snow, I just wonder how cold it is? Below about 15F, I think whitegas may be better (esp. if it is below 15F consistently. i.e. Does not warm up during the day).

In any case, I believe in the KISS principle too. That means realizing that different tools are needed for a different job. Remember, you are talking to a guy who advocates a $4 thrift-store shirt for hiking. ;)

Running water doesn't freeze up. Alcohol vaporizes better than white gas.

You're right though about the heat output - but remember that it's same heat output whether it is 70* or 15*, which means your coffee water still boils as before. Doesn't do any good to generate more heat than you can use.

So let me be clear about alcohol stoves - they work BETTER than white gas stoves in the cold, because they are simple. BUT, and this is important if you are going to camp away from a water source, a white gas stove is 100X better at melting lots and lots of snow for a group of people (assuming you've got a snow melt pot).

I'm only posting this because there is a lot of misunderstanding about alcohol as a stove fuel.

I froze a Trangia burner, full of fuel, in a block of ice with just the lid exposed. Ice temp was 0*F (yes, ice can get colder than 32*F). Unscrewed the lid and lit the burner by touching the match to the fuel. It ran slower than normal, but it ran. Let me know how a whisperlite does in similar conditons.

Lyle
11-06-2008, 16:59
Running water doesn't freeze up.

Gee, wish I'd known that before I went and climbed those waterfalls in the UP a couple of years ago! :D

trouthunter
11-06-2008, 17:08
Running water doesn't freeze up. Alcohol vaporizes better than white gas.

You're right though about the heat output - but remember that it's same heat output whether it is 70* or 15*, which means your coffee water still boils as before. Doesn't do any good to generate more heat than you can use.

So let me be clear about alcohol stoves - they work BETTER than white gas stoves in the cold, because they are simple. BUT, and this is important if you are going to camp away from a water source, a white gas stove is 100X better at melting lots and lots of snow for a group of people (assuming you've got a snow melt pot).

I'm only posting this because there is a lot of misunderstanding about alcohol as a stove fuel.

I froze a Trangia burner, full of fuel, in a block of ice with just the lid exposed. Ice temp was 0*F (yes, ice can get colder than 32*F). Unscrewed the lid and lit the burner by touching the match to the fuel. It ran slower than normal, but it ran. Let me know how a whisperlite does in similar conditons.

Put a fan in front of it, turn it on high, and tell me how well it works then,
that's a stupid test, not relevant to real conditions.
The Whisperlite, or SVEA, or Primus, will melt more snow, quicker, and with less fuel consumption in real conditions.
How does anything else matter???????

Use alcohol in winter alpine conditions if you want to, but don't blow smoke my way.

Mags
11-06-2008, 17:26
Running water doesn't freeze up. Alcohol vaporizes better than white gas.



It does however tend to get a thick layer of ice over it that you have to break through on occasion. Trust me. I had to do this at Brainard
Lake area. :)

Hey..running water does not freeze right? Er..maybe not?

http://colorado-for-free.com/CO_images/Ice2.jpg

As for alcohol vaporizing better..hmm, most sites tend to disagree with you. Be it third-party info sites (http://zenstoves.net/Stoves.htm), manufacturers (http://www.coleman.com/coleman/colemancom/choose_fuel.asp), etc.



I'm only posting this because there is a lot of misunderstanding about alcohol as a stove fuel.

Indeed.


But, enough of this contest. There is a reason why people do not use alcohol for winter camping. You disagree. We are just going to go back and forth and I think we both have better things to do. :)

garlic08
11-06-2008, 17:55
An alcohol stove has worked just fine for me on solo overnight winter trips. The slow start works great for melting powder snow, where it's possible to burn a pot with too hot a flame. I've done this in 0F at treeline (11,000') in moderate wind, in the vestibule of my tarptent.

I was really surprised how well it worked for me. The first time I tried it I had traveled to Crater Lake, OR with all my camping stuff, I thought, but found that I'd forgotten the valve for my Whisperlite. The old pepsi can stove ended up working great for an overnight ski tour on the rim.

So it's good for occasional use and on short trips, if you can do it with just a few extra ounces of alcohol. For sure, for longer trips and more people, if you need to carry half a liter of alcohol or more, I'd agree that white gas is the way to go.

dla
11-06-2008, 18:03
Put a fan in front of it, turn it on high, and tell me how well it works then,
that's a stupid test, not relevant to real conditions.
The Whisperlite, or SVEA, or Primus, will melt more snow, quicker, and with less fuel consumption in real conditions.
How does anything else matter???????

Use alcohol in winter alpine conditions if you want to, but don't blow smoke my way.

Works great in the wind - I use a windscreen. Do you?

I agree that the white gas stoves are the best for melting snow. And for the .000001% of the time you camp in those conditions you should use them. But for the other 99.99999% of time you could save money, and hassle with an alcohol stove.

I think my cup of coffee matters. My couscous matters. My spaghetti matters. My lentil stew matters. My oatmeal matters. My frozen fingers pumping up pressure matters. The gas smell in my pack matters. My peace and quiet matters.

zelph
11-06-2008, 18:24
I used the Starlyte burner with denatured alcohol to thaw the lock mechanism on my car this past winter when I was up in St. Paul MN. It was -13 degrees, that minus 13 degrees with wind blowing at a good clip. Watch the video. I had the fuel and burner in my trunk. Both were -13 degrees.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v228/obijiwa/sub%20one/th_-13degreesalcoholtest.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v228/obijiwa/sub%20one/?action=view&current=-13degreesalcoholtest.flv)

Skidsteer
11-06-2008, 18:48
I used the Starlyte burner with denatured alcohol to thaw the lock mechanism on my car this past winter when I was up in St. Paul MN. It was -13 degrees, that minus 13 degrees with wind blowing at a good clip. Watch the video. I had the fuel and burner in my trunk. Both were -13 degrees.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v228/obijiwa/sub%20one/th_-13degreesalcoholtest.jpg (http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v228/obijiwa/sub%20one/?action=view&current=-13degreesalcoholtest.flv)

How'd you get that butane lighter to work in -13? :D

trouthunter
11-06-2008, 21:19
I have three alcohol stoves, a bushbuddy, a homemade wood gas stove, a whisperlite, and a primus.

In really cold windy weather the PRESSURIZED white gas performs best!

You guys are just addicted to alcohol and want to cram your bias down the throats of others.
Use whatever the hell you want, it doesn't make it better!

I'm moving on.

Skidsteer
11-06-2008, 21:28
I have three alcohol stoves, a bushbuddy, a homemade wood gas stove, a whisperlite, and a primus.

I have more stoves than that on my bedroom dresser.

Skidsteer
11-06-2008, 21:28
I have more stoves than that on my bedroom dresser.

;)

oops56
11-06-2008, 21:58
;)

I got two shops full:) all types gas kero. alk. sterno etc yep some wood burners also oh candle burner

sheepdog
11-07-2008, 11:02
I have more stoves than that on my bedroom dresser.
I'll see your 6 stoves on the bedroom dresser and raise you five stoves on my kitchen table. :sun
I fold to the man with two shops full of stoves. :mad:

Mzee
11-07-2008, 15:44
If it's that cold, I'm staying home.

I was going to push all in with my giant Costco pretzel container full of stoves, but I, too, fold to the man with two shops full of stoves.

dla
11-07-2008, 16:39
I was tempted to get in with my 10 SVEA, 4 Trangia, 3 sideburner, 1 pepsi-can alcohol stoves, and 1 whitegas, 1 propane stoves but no-way I'm going up against a shop full of stoves. I'm out.

oops56
11-07-2008, 16:54
Ok just to show you that i am not pulling your leg this was last spring one of the shops of stoves

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oGFK4EXVOK8

Lyle
11-07-2008, 17:14
Quite impressive. Looks like you should organize and set up a travelling stove museum - would be very interesting.

Skidsteer
11-07-2008, 19:55
Quite impressive. Looks like you should organize and set up a travelling stove museum - would be very interesting.

Oops has thousands of dollars worth of stoves. Everyone at bplite wants to be adopted by him so we can be in his will. :D