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Different Socks
07-09-2009, 20:03
I recently had a friend demo a "penny stove" for me. I was so impressed with it that he gave me his for my birthday. I have since tested it once and used it on 3 separate dayhikes, but I am no longer impressed with its performance. While it is a great stove, it seems to be lacking in ways that I need on the trail.
I have used an MSR Whisperlite on 90% of my backpacking adventures. Despite the minuscule weight of the penny stove, I still feel I am leaning toward carrying my MSR.
I seems there are legions of fans for both kinds of stoves. So what I wanna know is are you a tried and true gas user or converted alcy user and why?

Bearpaw
07-09-2009, 20:17
So what I wanna know is are you a tried and true gas user or converted alcy user and why?

Neither. I prefer cannister stoves (MSR Pocket Rocket or Snow Peak Giga Peak) for ease of use and simmer capability OR esbit (light weight and no fuel measuring).

I only use white gas in winter cold well below freezing when cannisters become fussy.

snowhoe
07-09-2009, 20:18
GAS STOVE TILL I DIE! Alcohol stoves are to slow for me. I am tired at the end of the day and I want to eat. I dont want to have to wait 45 minutes for some water to boil. If you like the MSR whisperlite you should try the MSR simmerlite. You can open up a whole new way of cooking in the backcountry because you can simmer with it. I use it during the winter and jetboil in the summer. My vote GAS! yes I do have it.

Feral Bill
07-09-2009, 20:28
Same SVEA white gas stove for forty years. No reason to change now.

Doctari
07-09-2009, 20:30
I'm an alcohol stove user.
I use a super cat stove.
I like it for the light weight & speed, yes speed. I have "raced" a number of gasoline stoves & won handily nearly every time. Yes, in a race where we are both set up & ready to go, the gasoline stove can "Kick my tush" but from in the pack to boiling water, well, I usually am eating by the time the gasoline stove is just finishing priming.
I am beaten by a Jet Boil everytime tho. SO, may consider going to one of those eventually.

Franco
07-09-2009, 21:19
Alcohol stoves can vary a lot in performance and behaviour, so having tried one it does not really tell you how "alcohol stoves" work.
You can have one that boils a quart in under 5 minutes or one that takes 15 but using about half as much fuel. Somewhere in between those two "extremes" the Caldera Cone will boil one quart in about six-seven minutes and keep the boil for one to three minutes (depending on water/air temperature) . The CC is a system, wind shield/stand/heat exchanger and dedicated burner. However it is mostly suited to the boil only type cooking.
The same stove (say a standard Pepsi) will vary greatly on how it behaves according to the stand and wind shield used.
Most don't perform well in the wind (the CC and Trangias do) and generally althogh they do work below freezing they are not efficient in those conditions. Some do use them because of safety concerns , wanting to avoid flare-ups or having had maintenance problems .

A rough indication is that it takes twice the amount of alcohol (in weight) to boil the same amount of water you do with gas. However with gas you need to consider the weight of the canister, particularly when you have a used one and are out for one or two days.
In the end it depends on the type of cooking you do, how long you are on the trail for and the expected temperature .
A tea light stove is very light and very economical with fuel ( and cheap to make...) but is not going to melt snow.

Franco

Tipi Walter
07-09-2009, 21:38
GAS STOVE TILL I DIE! Alcohol stoves are to slow for me. I am tired at the end of the day and I want to eat. I dont want to have to wait 45 minutes for some water to boil. If you like the MSR whisperlite you should try the MSR simmerlite. You can open up a whole new way of cooking in the backcountry because you can simmer with it. I use it during the winter and jetboil in the summer. My vote GAS! yes I do have it.

Total agreement here. I started with the Svea 123 and then went to the Whisperlite and now I'm using the Simmerlite. All Hail the White Gas Stove! A 22 oz gas bottle lasts me about 12 days in the summer and about 7 in the winter, but altogether I carry around 32 ozs just in case.


I'm an alcohol stove user.
I use a super cat stove.
I like it for the light weight & speed, yes speed. I have "raced" a number of gasoline stoves & won handily nearly every time. Yes, in a race where we are both set up & ready to go, the gasoline stove can "Kick my tush" but from in the pack to boiling water, well, I usually am eating by the time the gasoline stove is just finishing priming.
I am beaten by a Jet Boil everytime tho. SO, may consider going to one of those eventually.

I never considered cooking a meal to be about speed or if the Jet Boil could "beat" my time, whatever. Canister stoves might be okay for a summer weekend trip, but who wants to go out for 12 days and carry several empty canisters? Plus, there's winter . . .

shelterbuilder
07-09-2009, 21:50
I have an alcohol stove and have used it for a couple of short trips, but was never really impressed by its performance. White gas stoves, on the other hand...OH, YEAH! Wintertime, windy days...you name it, they run. I still have my Optimus 99 that I got in the early 70's - it still kicks butt.:D

I recently bought a cannister stove - we'll see how that works.

MedicineMan
07-09-2009, 21:51
I used the whitegas stoves for decades, then several alc. stoves for the last 5 years but on the last 3 trips I've used a canister. Just wanting to try something different.
The canister stove I chose was a Crux and it fits into the bottom of the cannister which saves space. 3 min's to boil 2 cups of water at 6250 feet last weekend was a nice plus.
I don't know if I'll use a cannister for long; just depends on mood. I might even carry the Svea and the JanD2 just for old times sake next time.

Mags
07-09-2009, 21:57
Long solo trips: No stove

Shorter solo trips and/or I just want a meal: Alcohol stove

Have a trip partner for the weekend: Canister (Coleman F-1)

When I did winter camping in the Rockies and New England (and melting lots of snow): White Gas

When car camping and I want to make some yummy stew: Coleman dual burner

http://www.pmags.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=16031&g2_serialNumber=2&g2_GALLERYSID=a73e1f7f6bfd21c14330b46851c5b7ef

When car camping solo (truck camping, really) and I just want hot water for my coffee and oatmeal for the early AM start at the trailhead: mini-propane burner stove. (http://www.campmor.com/outdoor/gear/Product___86836) It is ALWAYS in my truck. And I can find fuel ANYWHERE.My first backpacking stove! :eek:


Hut trips (Ski in to 11k feet or so. Haul all the yummy food): I have a whole freakin' kitchen. Wood burning stove/oven, propane burners. Most of you have seen my roast pork and french toast photos. Here's a hut trip where I made a homemade ragu a couple of years back or so:

http://www.pmags.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=14761&g2_serialNumber=2&g2_GALLERYSID=a73e1f7f6bfd21c14330b46851c5b7ef


So in the end... IT ALL DEPENDS!!!!!!!! :D

Knotty
07-09-2009, 22:27
IMHO there isn't a clear winner. Each has pluses and minuses. But for me I like the simple elegance and quiet of alcohol stoves. Can't stand the jet noise created by some other stoves. Plus alcohol stoves are easy to make and experiment with, adding
an extra dimension of interest.

A great resource is ZenStoves. http://zenstoves.net/

freakflyer9999
07-09-2009, 22:38
I bought an alcohol stove several months ago, but hadn't actually tested it until today. Right before my trip to Colorado.
http://www.ultralightdesigns.com/products/cooking/sputnik.html

I didn't realize it until after I lit it, but the manufacturer forget to put the holes in it for the flames. For a moment I thought it was going to explode.

Once I got the holes drilled in the right spots, I tested it again. It worked great. Boiled about a cup of water in 2-3 mins and continued to burn for another 3-4 mins on the .75 oz of alcohol that I put in.

I read earlier today that there is a break even point on the total package weight of alcohol stove with fuel vs a canister stove with fuel. The article stated that the canister stove is more efficient and burns less fuel over the long haul than an alcohol or solid fuel stove.
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/00034.html

Since I'm only planning on being in the backcountry for 5 or 6 days I'm going to give the alcohol stove a try this time. With a 16 oz of fuel in a flask and the stove with a Heineken cook pot it weighs about 20 oz. I'm probably carrying twice the amount of fuel I need too.

Different Socks
07-09-2009, 23:38
Thanks for all of your replies!

The reason I asked is because I know that alky stoves first came about b/c hikers wanted a lighter alternative. Maybe it's b/c I've been hiking so long, but I just can't seem to get into the "ultralight" groove of backpacking like so many others have.

When I did the PCT, I was baking pizzas, cookies, cake, brownies, banana bread, muffins, and alot more. I don't see myself being able to do that on any kind of alky stove. So for now I'll use the penny stove on short overnights, weekends, and dayhikes.

Reid
07-10-2009, 00:30
I take the alcohol stove as a backup or when I want to cook multiple things at the same time. Just as you said just there, people have turned to the alcohol stove for it's weight. I can't tell if it's function over form or if it's form over function with alky stoves. There are many arguments for the alky stoves and they all make sense but for some reason I don't like em.

bulldog49
07-10-2009, 09:14
Neither. I prefer cannister stoves (MSR Pocket Rocket or Snow Peak Giga Peak) for ease of use and simmer capability OR esbit (light weight and no fuel measuring).

I only use white gas in winter cold well below freezing when cannisters become fussy.

Same for me. Cannister stoves are the way to go. I've seen too many people eating cold dinners because they could not get their alcohol stove to work.

dla
07-10-2009, 12:47
Maybe all you gas stove users should form a support group.

BrianLe
07-10-2009, 13:38
In this latest incarnation (this particular thread), I don't recall anyone yet pointing out that how many meals a day you cook and how many people you cook for is a factor. Since I cook just one meal a day and generally only for myself, the lower efficiency of alcohol as a fuel is less of a factor ... i.e, I carry at most an ounce of fuel per day, so for me this generally more than offsets the weight of cannisters (and a whisper "lite" is way too heavy for any but really cold or high elevation situations).

I personally don't care too much about cook time, partly because I just heat (not boil) my already treated water, and partly because I multi-task --- get water heating and do other in-camp stuff while I wait.

An alcohol stove can also be the cheapest approach --- in addition to a +1 for the zenstoves link already given above, I'd point you to http://www.andrewskurka.com/advice/technique/fancyfeaststove.php for easy-to-follow instructions to make a stove out of a catfood can that weighs 0.2 oz and works well. I tried making a pepsi can stove some years ago, and I found it much easier to make a well-functioning stove from these instructions, about a 1/2 hour.

I'm not sure if anyone yet mentioned the availability-of-fuel issue, which is the reason that more thru-hikers use alcohol stoves (at least on the PCT last year ...) than other options.

I've been attracted to the newer wood burning stoves, but the simplicity and low overall weight of an alcy stove is just flat hard to beat based on my own particular priorities.

snowhoe
07-10-2009, 13:46
Maybe all you gas stove users should form a support group.

We could call it "I got gas"

Two Speed
07-10-2009, 14:45
Total agreement here. . . Plus, there's winter . . .Pay no attention to this man. He welds shoulder straps and a waist belt onto a dumpster and calls it a "backpack."

All kidding around aside, I'm gonna second Mags. What works for you is "best." "Best" can change, depending on what, how much and where you're planning on cooking.

Mags
07-10-2009, 15:14
In this latest incarnation (this particular thread), I don't recall anyone yet pointing out that how many meals a day you cook and how many people you cook for is a factor.


I should just post this link on every stove thread.. :) I don't think meals per day..I just think meals overall.

http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php/Backpacking-and-Hiking-documents/stove_comparison.html

Of course the cheapest stove is NO stove at all. ;)

Snowleopard
07-10-2009, 17:14
Just boiling water in warmer weather: Alcohol stove. (doesn't simmer).
Need to simmer/cook, above 35 degrees Canister stove.
Winter, long trip, international travel Liquid fuel stove (gasoline, kerosene) Optimus Nova.

I've had trouble with my alcohol stove in windy 30-40 degree weather. That may my inexperience with it. My snowpeak giga canister stove was pretty marginal in the same conditions. The Optimus nova had no problem in those conditions.

I still haven't forgiven MSR for the failure of my MSR International in Peru.

Mags' link is a good summary: http://www.pmags.com/joomla/index.php/Backpacking-and-Hiking-documents/stove_comparison.html

MedicineMan
07-10-2009, 22:24
well that's a good point if you are stealthing it alcohol has the quiet advantage...

Summit
07-10-2009, 23:07
I'm an alcohol stove user.
I use a super cat stove.
I like it for the light weight & speed, yes speed. I have "raced" a number of gasoline stoves & won handily nearly every time. Yes, in a race where we are both set up & ready to go, the gasoline stove can "Kick my tush" but from in the pack to boiling water, well, I usually am eating by the time the gasoline stove is just finishing priming.
I am beaten by a Jet Boil everytime tho. SO, may consider going to one of those eventually.Maybe so with gasoline stoves, but I'll bet you my pay checks for the rest of my life that from pack to boiling water my Jetboil will set up faster and boil water MUCH faster than your alki stove.

SouthMark
07-10-2009, 23:12
Maybe so with gasoline stoves, but I'll bet you my pay checks for the rest of my life that from pack to boiling water my Jetboil will set up faster and boil water MUCH faster than your alki stove.

Sounds like some of my fellow bass fisherman bragging about how fast there boats are when in actuality we don't even have any bass that fast.

Summit
07-10-2009, 23:18
who wants to go out for 12 days and carry several empty canisters? Plus, there's winter . . .For twelve days I would carry one 220 gram canister, weighing in much lighter than 32 oz of white gas. The canister would still have a few days of fuel left in it after twelve days, so there would be no "empty canister carrying" waste. I know. I used a white gas stove for over 30 years, and always pictured carrying a bunch of empty canisters if I went that route. Really, canister cooking systems are an easier and better route.

Summit
07-10-2009, 23:20
Sounds like some of my fellow bass fisherman bragging about how fast there boats are when in actuality we don't even have any bass that fast.Yeah, I'm not into the "my dog's bigger than your dog" thing, but couldn't resist this particular challenge! I could care less about racing anyone to do anything when I'm out on the trail.

Franco
07-11-2009, 00:53
I have successfully recommended Pocket Rockets, Mini Koveas, Jetboil, Trangias and recently even an MSR XKG to friends and friends of friends.. . Only to one I have suggested my favourite (at the moment...) set up, the Caldera Cone, however a larger size . ( He likes to cook somewhat and I use a separate food container, sort of freezer bag style) .
Yes, to me is always horses for courses. Can't see why I should use a Jetboil on an overnighter but do use it as a car camping set up.
And yes, for twelve days I provably would use the Jetboil. But not in -40f weather , cause I would not be there anyway.
Franco

Mags
07-11-2009, 02:33
..and finally, in the end, it is just a stove.


The mountains still look great no matter what stove you use. :)

middle to middle
07-11-2009, 08:54
coffee @ oatmeal I need speed. jetboil

Doctari
07-11-2009, 11:29
Maybe so with gasoline stoves, but I'll bet you my pay checks for the rest of my life that from pack to boiling water my Jetboil will set up faster and boil water MUCH faster than your alki stove.

You bet. That's why I said "I am beaten by a Jet Boil everytime!".

The only reason I'm still not cooking with a JB: my alchy stove (I just made another last night) is, well, free! The JB is $60.00.


I do need to keep making alcohol stoves because I use them for a few trips, then end up giving them away, & prolly won't give a Jet Boil away. :p

But then, I do like to modify or home make my gear, so, , , , , , ,

Fiddleback
07-11-2009, 12:42
What you're eating/how you're cooking impacts what you choose for a stove. Next determining factor is how much/how many people. Finally (for me) is consideration of weather conditions. Another important factor for determining the weight effciency is how long one is going to be on the trail.

A ounce soda can stove and 4 ounces of alky gets me through a two-night solo camp of FBC'ing (May-Oct, lows in the 20's, highs in the high 90's). One ounce of fuel is more than enough to heat water to reconstitute my meal and a hot beverage. Heating that water (ignition to flame-out) is about seven minutes. So...each of my individual hot meals 'costs' one ounce in fuel which, with the weight of the stove, is acceptable until the fourth or fifth day of a trip when the higher efficiency fuels/stoves gain the weight advantage. Of course, wintertime is a different ball game.

I've never used a canister stove. But I've used many white gas stoves and find that, with their set-up time, a soda can alky stove is just as quick in preparing a FBC meal.

FB

Mags
07-11-2009, 13:49
is acceptable until the fourth or fifth day of a trip when the higher efficiency fuels/stoves gain the weight advantage.

I assume that is for two meals a day? If so, that seems to jive with the rough rule of thumb that an alchy stove starts to lose its weight advantage after approx 8-10 meals.

I always say "meals" rather than "days' because some people do one meal a day vs. two. (and perhaps some really luxurious hikers do THREE hot meals a day? :) )

If you like hot coffee and a hot breakfast every morning, than the weight advantage of an alchy stove does indeed get less efficient pretty rapidly vs other stoves. If you are a one meal a day kinda hiker, the alchy stove is pretty efficient for all but the really long stretches. (More than 10 days).

Summit
07-11-2009, 14:37
coffee @ oatmeal I need speed. jetboilThe breakfast of champions, indeed! My forte and solution precisely! :)

Summit
07-11-2009, 14:42
The only reason I'm still not cooking with a JB: my alchy stove (I just made another last night) is, well, free! The JB is $60.00.No argument there! For those on a tight budget, an alki stove is a good solution to enjoying hot meals on the trail. It is hands down the lowest cost (initial investment and fuel cost for an extended trip) way to cook on the trail.

Doctari
07-11-2009, 19:34
I forgot to add:

I usually "cook" 1 time a day (dinner), sometimes I fix breakfast. All of my meals are of the "Add hot water, stir, (let sit?) serve" type. 8 OZ fuel last me 8+ meals, so even for a 6 day trip I can have 4 "cooked" breakfasts because my grits only take 1/2 OZ fuel to fix.

Most of my "cooking" takes place in a insulated mug. To save cleaning up, I just put the food in it's zip lock in the mug, add water, wait, eat.

Hoop
07-11-2009, 22:14
For me, an alcohol set-up is, for lack of a better term, more funner.

Franco
07-11-2009, 22:41
For me, an alcohol set-up is, for lack of a better term, more funner
Good point. All too often we focus on the "scientific side" as in the most efficient/lightest/smallest/strongest or even just the cheapest , forgetting that whatever makes us happy in the end it's best.
A largish stiff drink does not warm you up, neither does a good coffee helps you stay hydrated, but for some the pleasure you get from that overshadows the downside.
Franco

Alligator
07-11-2009, 22:41
I assume that is for two meals a day? If so, that seems to jive with the rough rule of thumb that an alchy stove starts to lose its weight advantage after approx 8-10 meals.

I always say "meals" rather than "days' because some people do one meal a day vs. two. (and perhaps some really luxurious hikers do THREE hot meals a day? :) )

If you like hot coffee and a hot breakfast every morning, than the weight advantage of an alchy stove does indeed get less efficient pretty rapidly vs other stoves. If you are a one meal a day kinda hiker, the alchy stove is pretty efficient for all but the really long stretches. (More than 10 days).I probably do about 3 meals per day hot. I eat 1 and a half dinners, 2 cups of tea, a hot cider, a hot breakfast 2 out of 3 days and a hot lunch about half the time. I use my white gas stove in the winter or if I'm traveling with someone else. Otherwise I go with an alcohol stove. I bring a cozy with the alcohol stove.

And I sit in my T-rest chair whenever I'm cooking, that's luxury:D!

shelterbuilder
07-12-2009, 19:30
For me, an alcohol set-up is, for lack of a better term, more funner
Good point. All too often we focus on the "scientific side" as in the most efficient/lightest/smallest/strongest or even just the cheapest , forgetting that whatever makes us happy in the end it's best.
A largish stiff drink does not warm you up, neither does a good coffee helps you stay hydrated, but for some the pleasure you get from that overshadows the downside.
Franco

My white gas stove sounds like a jet plane taking off, and for some unexplainable reason, that sound is and always has been somehow oddly comforting.

:rolleyes:The fact that it can now make more noise than I can is also somehow oddly comforting....

Summit
07-12-2009, 20:05
What works for you is "best." "Best" can change, depending on what, how much and where you're planning on cooking.Of course it helps if like me, you always know what's best, and change what's best as needed! :rolleyes:

Yea for T-rest chairs and luxury when you're doing what's best! :D

Franco
07-12-2009, 20:27
"and for some unexplainable reason, that sound is and always has been somehow oddly comforting."
Tent zips do that for me...
With the Contrail I have to open and close my rain jacket just to get that comfort sound.
Fortunately my next tent will have a zip.
I also like some of the smells from nylon, it triggers nice memories.
My cat still "milks" her pillow 19 years after she stopped "milking" her mother...
Franco

Flinx
07-12-2009, 20:54
Pocket Rocket is a perfect little stove...but for 1 week section hikes, i find that the esbit is all around the winner for me...thru hiking would be a different story...not easy to find the tablets i'm told and they can get pricey.

Fiddleback
07-13-2009, 12:25
"and for some unexplainable reason, that sound is and always has been somehow oddly comforting."
Tent zips do that for me...
With the Contrail I have to open and close my rain jacket just to get that comfort sound.
Fortunately my next tent will have a zip.
I also like some of the smells from nylon, it triggers nice memories.
My cat still "milks" her pillow 19 years after she stopped "milking" her mother...
Franco

I like the sound a grizzly makes breaking sticks and twigs as it walks...way, way off on the other side of the river.:D ...and while heading away from camp.;)

FB