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  1. #1

    Default SuperCat on a Thru Hike

    Been reading the forums, which stove/that stove/my favorite stove (etc.) and have recently made myself a SuperCat. I've been playing around with it out back the house, boiling water and preparing various meals with it, and I'm really enjoying how it works.

    I've convinced myself that this is the type of stove I would prefer to take on my thru hike in 2016 for various reasons, but primarily because A: I don't mind waiting a few extra minutes in camp for water, and B: there's something very primordial about an alkie stove that just appeals to me.

    I have a JetBoil and I'm going to end up taking this cat-food-tin-with-holes-in-it instead. Am I nuts?

    So, has anyone here on the forums actually thru hiked with a SuperCat? Experiences to share please?

  2. #2
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    I've done half the trail with it. I like it. Simple, nothing to break. As light as it gets. Boils 2 cups water in about 6 minutes.

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    Wonderful, thanks for the post.

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    I would say hundreds per year probably do.

    Its simple, and durable, and easy to replace. If you need one a $0.35 can of cat food and a $1 hole punch do the job. Or even a knife or pair or pliers or something.

    I dont hike with one. I dont like waiting for it to bloom. I also dont like the size flame with a small pot , it goes up sides and you need a handle to remove pot when it starts boiling. Works best with a wide bottom pot. Also need an inverted can of some kind to snuff it, and recovering unspent fuel is more problematic than ones without holes in sides. Its also about the worst on fuel efficiency, which is why its about the fastest alcohol stove too..

    A couple more oz of fuel per week, isnt a big deal or a reason to not use though.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by MuddyWaters View Post
    I would say hundreds per year probably do.

    Its simple, and durable, and easy to replace. If you need one a $0.35 can of cat food and a $1 hole punch do the job. Or even a knife or pair or pliers or something.

    I dont hike with one. I dont like waiting for it to bloom. I also dont like the size flame with a small pot , it goes up sides and you need a handle to remove pot when it starts boiling. Works best with a wide bottom pot. Also need an inverted can of some kind to snuff it, and recovering unspent fuel is more problematic than ones without holes in sides. Its also about the worst on fuel efficiency, which is why its about the fastest alcohol stove too..

    A couple more oz of fuel per week, isnt a big deal or a reason to not use though.

    Thanks MW, appreciate the response. I do like the idea of always knowing how much fuel I'll need and how much I have on hand. There wasn't a lot of anxiety associated with the JetBoil, but there was a lot of carrying more fuel than needed.

  7. #7

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    I find myself using alcohol stoves on weekend trips, and a canister stove for longer ones. I believe that after a week or so, its more weight effective to go with a canister stove. I started with a supercat, then made a simmer cat, and next a fancy feast, because I hated waiting for it to bloom. Recently I've been experimenting with a CHS-U and homemade cone windscreen. I'm enjoying it, but not sure if I'd use it on a 5 month thru yet. Maybe with more time with the system.....
    Go afield with a good attitude, with respect for the wildlife you hunt, and the forest and field in which you walk. Immerse yourself in the outdoor experience. It will cleanse your soul.--Fred Bear

    www.misadventuregear.com

  8. #8

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    There are alcohol stoves that can be used that you do not have to wait for them to bloom. Look up Zelph stoves. I use one that has a wick. Add 1/2 oz fuel and have at it.

  9. #9
    CDT - 2013, PCT - 2009, AT - 1300 miles done burger's Avatar
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    SuperCat stoves are great for the AT (not so wonderful for the PCT and CDT since they are often banned during fire restrictions, though I uesd mine for both trails). Mine has probably 250 nights on it now and is still going strong.

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    Andrew Skurka has blogged about the use of the Super Cat stove.

    http://andrewskurka.com/2011/how-to-...alcohol-stove/

    But has also blogged more recently about its limitations.

    http://andrewskurka.com/2015/super-c...l-stove-flaws/

    Alcohol systems are quite diverse and it takes time to get a balance of performance specifications (power, efficiency, safety, convenience, reliability, etc...) that meet your wants and needs. As pointed out, the Super Cat can and has worked for many. But there are possible improvements. I started with a Penny Stove, then went to a super cat, then simmer cat, then Starlyte, then an eCHS. Each change was prompted for a desire to overcome deficiencies. Also, each stove is part of a system of parts (pot, wind screen, stove) that need to optimized to work together.

  11. #11
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    I used a version of this stove on my AT hike - Zelph's Fancee Feast Stove. Not as light (0.8 vs 0.2 oz) but very user friendly. It blooms immediately.

    I played w/ the Super Cat (aka Fancy Feast) before my hike. You really need a wide pot to make it work efficiently. The flames bloom outward from the side holes. I decided to take the 0.6 oz penalty for the Fancee Feast Stove from Zelph.
    2013 AT Thru-hike: 3/21 to 8/19
    Schedule: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...t1M/edit#gid=0

  12. #12

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    I hiked 850 miles of the AT in 2002 and that year by the time we reached Damascus most people were using an alcohol stove. Trends change, but over the years many people have hiked many thousands of miles with these stoves. I cooked my dinner on one every night for 4 months.

  13. #13

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    I made it to Pinkham Notch using a Super Cat. It was paired with a wide 0.9 L pot with a flash aluminum wind screen fitting inside when stored, and a stand made from the spokes of a bicycle tire http://zenstoves.net/PotStands-Other...bleWireTripods This stove was different in that 3/16" holes were used to improve efficiency (at expense of boil time). One of the attractions of the Super Cat was knowing it could be easily be replaced with a hole puncher and can of cat food in a trail town.


    It took 20 to 30 ml of alcohol to bring 2+ cups of water to a boil. I knew from the beginning that a Super Cat design was not the most efficient and that my system was not the lightest, but it worked flawlessly for me. My plan is to finish the AT next July, and when I do, the Super Cat system will still be my go-to stove.

  14. #14

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    Thanks for all the suggested reads, and posts.

    After buying some trail food and cooking it up with the SuperCat, I've decided it will be my stove of choice for my thru attempt in 2016.

    Even with a few days of extra fuel, it makes sense to give it a go.

    Plan is to use a 900mL pot, a pot cozy, and the SuperCat.

  15. #15

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    Gilligan
    I met a thru hiker from Orono last Sept in VT.
    Trailname Peaches ... young woman just out of college
    She was going to finish on Oct 10
    Do you know her and if she finished?
    "the legs feed the wolf gentlemen, the legs feed the wolf" from the movie "Miracle"

  16. #16

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    I don't know of her, and haven't read anything in the news about her either. Surprisingly (or not) in this neck of the woods her journey would have made the papers I would have suspected.

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    I avoid designs:
    - where the flame is within an inch of the ground.
    - where the flame can spread so wide as to climb the side of your pot
    - where the flame balls up into a small inferno when you remove the pot
    - excess heat/pressure can spill the flames over and down
    - which can't be quickly extinguished
    - Require a priming pan.

    The supercat fails a few of these.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puddlefish View Post
    I avoid designs:
    - where the flame is within an inch of the ground.
    - where the flame can spread so wide as to climb the side of your pot
    - where the flame balls up into a small inferno when you remove the pot
    - excess heat/pressure can spill the flames over and down
    - which can't be quickly extinguished
    - Require a priming pan.

    The supercat fails a few of these.
    I moved on past the Supercat due to some of these shortcomings. But if using a supercat, a priming pan is not necessary and using a disc of aluminum or a sheet of foil as a base is certainly advisable.

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    I'm certainly no thru hiker, but I love simplicity. For me, give me a basic canister stove, such as a Snow Peak. Two parts. Screw them together, light up and start cooking. For short section hikes, I often rely on an Esbit setup. If I were to start a thru, definetly would go with a canister stove.

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    The more I read these discussions, the more I am convinced that a hiker's choice in stove says more about the hiker than the stove. The person makes a choice that fits their personality and preferences. If you are a "just do it already" person, you will pick the simplest option. Preferences will define what simplest means. If you are a tinker, you will want to build it and build something to be proud of. If you are an obsessed gram weenie, you might go for a tea light. If you have OCD, you will need a symmetrical and definable machine. If you suffer from many afflictions, you will build an eCHS. If is beautiful, customizable, complex, powerful, efficient, lightweight, and reliable. It is the best... in my world. In your world, it could very well be the worst possible choice. It all depends on the person, not the stove. Things get really wacky when false claims are made based on personality or preference. The supercat is a immensely popular choice. It is popular for several good reasons. Efficiency isn't one of them. Ease of construction and availability of a replacement are 2 very valid reasons to choose it. Regardless of choice, don't try to be someone you are not. Choose a stove that fits who you are.
    Last edited by BirdBrain; 12-20-2015 at 16:10.
    In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

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