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  1. #1
    Registered User bkristynicole's Avatar
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    Question To Stove or Not to Stove? That is my Question.

    And if to stove, what stove may it be?

    I am pretty set on all my big basics- tent, sleeping, pack, shoes-ish. However, the question of whether to bring a stove or cooking implementation is still tugging at my mind. I hadn't even thought about not bringing a stove until I did a solo for a week with no hot meals... It got me to thinking.. If I wanted a hot meal while on the trail, surely I might be able to score one (or at least something hot) when I went into wherever to re-supply. This would mean that I wouldn't have to carry a stove and I wouldn't have to fiddle with cooking when I expect I will be dead tired. But then, a friend of mine, Wanderbus told me that I might live to regret that decision... He finished a AT thruhike in 2013 and told me that after a particularly raining or draining day a hot meal could be just the ticket to uplift one's spirits.

    I have previously used coke can stoves, which is probably why I even thought to not go with any stove. You see, I absolutely hate fiddling with it. While hiking in Patagonia this past April, I used an MSR setup and loved it... But yet again my thruhiking friend told me that it was heavy and expensive.

    So, here I am... I need suggestions... thoughts... opinions on the matter.

  2. #2
    Registered User Engine's Avatar
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    Personally, I look forward to a hot meal at the end of a long day too much to give it up. But many hikers are going to a zero-cooking solution for their diet and seem to do just fine. I could probably manage to deal with that diet for a week or even two, but not for 5+ months.

    As for stoves, there are many threads on that subject and they all tend to end up evenly divided between alcohol stove and canister stove users. They both have advantages, but I'm an alcohol stove user. I did the white gas thing for many years and alcohol stoves were very liberating when I finally tried them. I use a Caldera Cone system now and have no complaints.
    “He is richest who is content with the least, for content is the wealth of nature.” –Socrates

  3. #3

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    I did stove to HF and then sent it home. Planning on future thru hikes and will definitely remain stove less. Don't have to worry about getting extra water etc and you can just eat when starving instead of having to cook. Plus when it gets hot the last thing I wanted was a hot meal. Start with the stove, it'll be nice to get you started and in the colder temps. Decide on ditching it later, it seemed to be about 50/50 on folks ditching the stove at HF


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  4. #4

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    This is a very individual decision. Some people are very happy to go stoveless and others would never be happy. Personally, I look forward to a tasty hot dinner and some morning coffee. I find that an Esbit, Alcohol, or wood stove system can be carried with a titanium or aluminum pot for minimal weight penalty (less than 5-6 oz) and is worth it. Canister stove systems are easy to use but heavier, due mostly to the fuel canister itself. YMMV. Easy to send home if/when you decide it's not worth it.
    Find the LIGHT STUFF at QiWiz.net

    The lightest cathole trowels, wood burning stoves, windscreens, spatulas,
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  5. #5
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    I have used my stove to heat water for my Gatorade bottle on a cold night. I kept the bottle at the bottom of my quilt to keep my feet warm. In addition, I had warm water to drink the next morning. It's also emotionally and physically satisfying to have a warm meal at the end of a cold day.

  6. #6
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    don't even think of asking someone to boil you some water when you get to a shelter and it's 40 degrees and raining.

  7. #7
    Going for A walk left52side's Avatar
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    Have you looked into esbit cooking???
    That is A really super ultralight form ,then if you decided you didnt really need/want to cook it would not be that much of A weight penalty ... Also multi functional as you can use the esbit tablets for emergency fire starter.
    I myself like mentioned above find that A hot meal at the end of the day is so rewarding on the the cooler nights.
    Also someone had mentioned above about the days of summer when it is hot not wanting a hot meal.
    In the summer for myself I find myself hiking later into the day with the longer days of sunlight and often not eating dinner until after dark when it has cooled off a bit.
    And even in the summer I still enjoy A hot meal at the end of a long day.
    As far as being able to do it stoveless of course you can and there are lots of people doing it,some are opting to rehydrate there meals with there body heat etc and eating it at room ? temperature .
    I myself use an alcohol stove made by zelph and A 10cm pot made by batchstovez.
    It is always evolving and changing though as I have alot of different variables of alcohol stoves I use under certain circumstances.
    But my kits never weigh over 7 ounces total and I generally never carry more than 12 ounces of fuel at a time.
    But again as mentioned above this is entirely a personal decision for you to make.
    I myself would check out an esbit stove,sounds like it might be right up your alley.
    Here is A link from zpacks and the stove they carry.
    http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/esbit_stove.shtml
    If I die trying now I wont die wondering how life could have turned out.....


  8. #8
    Thru-hiker 2013 NoBo CarlZ993's Avatar
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    Both styles will work. Personal preference. I've only gone stove-less when it was mandated (flame ban). I'm not a coffee drinker so I don't have to have something hot in the morning. But, I do prefer a hot meal. Especially when it's cold.
    2013 AT Thru-hike: 3/21 to 8/19
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  9. #9

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    "Soup is good food"

  10. #10
    Registered User GriZZiLLa_Ga-Me09's Avatar
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    Personally I'm getting the MSR WINDBURNER for my 2nd thru. Looking forward to boiling water fast this time around. A stove is a luxury item since it is something you can do without so it all preference. I just grub pop tarts and such in the mornings on trail.

  11. #11
    Garlic
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    Put the stove in a "bounce box" for a while, mail it to yourself up the trail. Try a few weeks with, a few without, see if it makes a difference. I did that on my first long hike, the PCT, and by the halfway point I was committed to stoveless hiking, and remain so over 10,000 miles later. Everything got better for my wife and me. No more warm, salty glop that glues to the pot, no more looking for fuel at resupplies, no more cooking out in harsh weather and bugs, easy to carry the pack on an airline.

    It's really impossible to tell whether it will work for you or not. On my AT hike, fewer than 5% of hikers I talked to about such things went stoveless. For some, it really works very well.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  12. #12

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    sitting on my ass boiling 250 ml of water on a canister stove for a coffee doesn't seem like much work to me, and I like the option of hot beverage and the odd hot meal.
    Worth carrying for me, but many people I know don't bother

  13. #13
    Registered User dudeijuststarted's Avatar
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    I was miserable NOBO in March/April because I tried stoveless. Very stupid. I got through the hundred mile by creating "coffee shop hour." I'd pretend I wasn't stepping over 5 foot high roots and that I was walking into a Starbucks, and I'd sit down and make myself a coffee. After that coffee I'd push out 2-3 more miles and set up camp. A stove can alleviate psychosis.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by dudeijuststarted View Post
    I was miserable NOBO in March/April because I tried stoveless. A stove can alleviate psychosis.
    "A stove can alleviate psychosis". I agree but it's subtle. I went stoveless on an 18 day trip last year and felt like I painted myself in a corner with food options. You really have no options except constant snacking. A stove greatly increases Variety, and variety is the name of the game when it comes to backpacking food.

    Constant snacking results in increased stress on the teeth so beware of cracked or broken teeth or dislodged crowns.

    By cooking you're able to drink hot teas or coffee, make fried eggs or toast or grilled cheese sandwiches, warm the body with hot oatmeals and soups, and most important, create a pleasant ritual in the morning and the evening preparing meals. On long winter trips this is vital as a stove warms the hands, the cooked food warms the stomach, snow can be melted at dry camps, hot water bottles can be procured etc.

    Oh and if you're into foraging, cooking allows for much easier consumption.

  15. #15
    Registered User -Rush-'s Avatar
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    I have a cook kit that weighs just under a pound. It's a gas stove setup. I can boil hot coffee in the morning and be sipping in 3 minutes or less. That alone is worth the extra pound.
    "Though I have lost the intimacy with the seasons since my hike, I retain the sense of perfect order, of graceful succession and surrender, and of the bold brilliance of fall leaves as they yield to death." - David Brill

  16. #16
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    As a section hiker, I have done several week long sections without a stove. It was no big deal. When I went on a 2-week hike this past summer (200 plus miles), I brought my stove (an MSR pocket rocket). I was glad I did. I never used it for breakfast or lunch - only dinner.

  17. #17
    Registered User jjozgrunt's Avatar
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    I love my hot brew (tea) morning, noon or evening, as well as a hot meal. Tried stove-less and didn't work for me. That said my Ti esbit stove, Ti cone, Ti pot and 18 hexi tablets don't weigh much, and all fit in the 900 ml pot.
    "He was a wise man who invented beer." Plato

  18. #18

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    I live a hot breakfast, coffee and warm meal in the evening when I'm done hiking. But I recently hike the Pemi Loop in the Whites and went stove less. Not so much for the weight savings but just time. Things were so much less complicated, just stop and eat whenever you want. Get to where you will sleep for the night just setup and sleep. Eating had already been done.

    This was my first no stove hike and I enjoyed it. If my goal is more miles than just sitting around camp I would consider it again.


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  19. #19
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    I've also heard that going stoveless means food with more moisture. Poptarts vs raw oatmeal for example. Over 5 days of food that could add up to the wt of a small stove set up.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by squeezebox View Post
    I've also heard that going stoveless means food with more moisture. Poptarts vs raw oatmeal for example. Over 5 days of food that could add up to the wt of a small stove set up.
    You are correct but I didn't bring up this fact because most backpackers are on short snippet trips with 4 or 5 day food loads and won't see an appreciable advantage to dehydrated and cooked meal weight savings until they are out longer. But you're right---no-cook foods are heavier. Dehydrated meals are very light and all the water weight you add later comes from the forest you are hiking in and therefore is not carried at the start of the trip.

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