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  1. #1
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    Default Stove for winter hiking that runs on car gas

    Just killing time, I did a three days snowshoe hike crossing the huge local mountain plateau.
    It was a success, but had serious problems with my stove.
    I was using my original Esbit setup, and carried just one single pack of fuel - which by far was not enough for to melt snow and boil the amount of water that would be needet to stay well hydrated and to soak the dried meals, plus have a morning Capuccino.
    The Esbit works, but it isn't any fun for winter use.

    So now I'm looking into a decent stove, most likely one that runs on plain car gas.
    It should pack small, wouldn't hurt if its lightweight, and I'm ready to pay the price for good quality.

    I have experience with huge and heavy car gas stoves like Bender and Phoebus (actually cooked on one for months on end during extensive motorcycle trips and a three-months trip through the USA+Mex), but those are not good for hiking.

    Now I'd like to ask here about some recommendations?

  2. #2

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    MSR Dragonfly and the MSR XGK were designed for multifuels including pump gas. They are overkill for summer hiking but great winter stoves. No matter what the design pump gas has ethanol in it in the US (with the exception of ethanol free pumps which are quite rare). Pump gas contains additives that are going to clog things so you need a stove that is designed for field stripping for when it does clog up. Both put out a lot of heat, actually better for small groups than solo.

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    While you could buy a multi-fuel stove, running it on gasoline will cause fouling and require cleaning. Far less headache to run a cleaner fuel which one can use forever perhaps without any maintenance.

    If your willing to 'pay the price' for good quality, consider paying the price for a quality stove fuel for it. If you don't you will be paying with time and frustration.

    Another option to consider is a inverted butane canister.

  4. #4
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Wisperlite international, comes with various orifices, one of which is for plain old gasoline, works even with leaded gas, which was all we had available on a two week mountaineering expedition in Russia in 2003 (Mt Elbrus).

    These stoves, like the XGK mentioned, have a shaker jet cleaning setup, no cleaning required generally, because your motion when hiking or climbing cleans the fuel passage.

    I've had and have used this stove now for 20 years on about two dozen mountain expeditions, still works great. Couple of o ring replacements, and a few "deep cleanings". Used regular car gasoline only a few times though.
    Last edited by colorado_rob; 01-27-2020 at 08:50.

  5. #5

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    Another vote for the Dragonfly or XGK. Both will be less maintenance intense on traditional stove fuels, but run just fine as needed on car gas.

  6. #6
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    You’re in Europe. Primus Multi or Omni fuel stoves burn a variety of fuels. Even gas canisters in warmer weather.
    Or the Svea 123.
    I own both types. They work!
    Cheers!
    Wayne

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    Thanks a lot!
    I was not aware of the issues given by car gas, like clogging.
    The sturdy ancient-design Phoebus was happy with any pump gas I ever filled in.

    Have yet to decide between the MSR XGK and one of the Primus or Optimus.

    How about the noise of the MSR?
    Remember the very first models of MSR (Whisperlite?) were really loud.

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    Quote Originally Posted by colorado_rob View Post
    Wisperlite international, comes with various orifices, one of which is for plain old gasoline, works even with leaded gas, which was all we had available on a two week mountaineering expedition in Russia in 2003 (Mt Elbrus).

    These stoves, like the XGK mentioned, have a shaker jet cleaning setup, no cleaning required generally, because your motion when hiking or climbing cleans the fuel passage.

    I've had and have used this stove now for 20 years on about two dozen mountain expeditions, still works great. Couple of o ring replacements, and a few "deep cleanings". Used regular car gasoline only a few times though.
    Haven't looked at the latest offering for the Wisperlite International, but when I purchased mine, it came with only two orifices. One was marked 'K' for kerosene, and the other was for everything else (white gas/gasoline/etc).

    When I first purchased it, I simply used unleaded gas just fine. From what I understand, white gas is the same stuff, just a little bit more refined to burn a little cleaner. It's not like the 1st time you burn unleaded gas in the stove it's going to clog up... it's something that has to build up over time.

    An yeah, the shaker very well might keep the stove clear enough that clogging never becomes a problem... don't know. I never used my Wisperlite International very much before I switched over to canister stoves (still keep and use the Wisperlite for winter trips for the cold weather reliability).

  9. #9

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    Its not the jet to get worried about, its the generator tube that is the concern. Jets can be cleaned and the shaker jet keeps it clean but when the generator craps up it can be challenge (at least on the whisperlight).

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    Remember the "generator" (a tube with a tiny coil inside) was the problematic part on Colemans, when you used car gas instead of white gas.
    Its exactly this that lets me hesistate and ask for your experiences.

    Why I'd insist on car gas is the hopefully upcoming LD hike in Southern Europe maybe this autumn, like, main use for the stove will be winter hiking, but second use for international hiking is intended.

  11. #11
    Registered User colorado_rob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peakbagger View Post
    Its not the jet to get worried about, its the generator tube that is the concern. Jets can be cleaned and the shaker jet keeps it clean but when the generator craps up it can be challenge (at least on the whisperlight).
    I misspoke, it's the tube that keeps clean with the shaker thingie. Bottom line, using it extensively for a couple weeks using leaded Russian gas, no problems, two separate trips.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    Remember the "generator" (a tube with a tiny coil inside) was the problematic part on Colemans, when you used car gas instead of white gas.
    Its exactly this that lets me hesistate and ask for your experiences.

    Why I'd insist on car gas is the hopefully upcoming LD hike in Southern Europe maybe this autumn, like, main use for the stove will be winter hiking, but second use for international hiking is intended.
    The whisperlight, whisperlight international and XGK each have a cable inside the fuel tube. That is what I referred to as a generator, I will let you decide what to call it, maybe a vaporizer? I expect many folks do not even know its there but it craps up with carbon and crap from the additives or ethanol (in the US) when it evaporates. Notice how the fuel tube is run on all three stoves, its goes in a loop over the flame. Same concept as the old coleman "generator". I have done the fix on the whisperlight for a number of folks. A toothbrush or preferably a brass brush works to clean the crap off the cable as long as its not too crapped up to be removed. They do require quite a tug on the really dirty ones. If the cable is crapped up there may be residual carbon in the tube. Take the jet off and flush the tube and possibly slide the cable back in to use it like a flexible reamer and then reflush the line until its clean. Use stove fuel and it doesn't happen.

    The Dragon fly does not have the cable but does have the fuel adjustment tube which also craps up to lesser extent. It doesn't wrap over the burner but does get reflected heat down on it. MSR has rebuild videos for these stoves on You Tube if you want to confirm.

    By the way, the worse time for a stove to get dirty is when the fuel is shut off. Blow out the flame when the fuel is shut off. Don't let the flame burn out as the air fuel ratio is wrong and that's when soot forms. Yes you will smell a bit of unburnt fuel but no soot.
    Last edited by peakbagger; 01-27-2020 at 14:28.

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    Thanks for all the insight, peakbagger.
    It's a tough decision between the MSR XGK and the Optimus Nova, both seem to have their pro and cons.
    Maybe the MSR packs a bit more slim? The Optimus seems to have some protruding tubing.

    I'm heading down south to my beloved desert next week, when back in March I'll try to find a local shop where I can get hands-on on both models.
    (in the desert we are cooking with wood every day, no stove needed)

  14. #14

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    One additional caution. Don't over pump the fuel bottle. If you really have to pump hard to get any fuel, the nozzle / fuel line is getting clogged. Over pressure can cause leaks where there shouldn't be any. I've seen a number of "accidents" with these types of stoves over the years.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leo L. View Post
    It's a tough decision between the MSR XGK and the Optimus Nova, both seem to have their pro and cons.
    Why the MSR XGK rather than consider the MSR Whisperlite International?

    Based on the specifications, the only benefit I see is that it can burn diesel (and perhaps more).
    Otherwise it weights more than the Whisperlite, and both specs say they can be nested in a 1.5L pot.

  16. #16

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    Take a look at this one, it will burn car gas and it's quiet :-) The Companion Burner, pour fuel in and it won't spill out...........amazing !

    http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/Mega-St...ion-Burner.php

    Last edited by zelph; 01-27-2020 at 18:58.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    One additional caution. Don't over pump the fuel bottle. If you really have to pump hard to get any fuel, the nozzle / fuel line is getting clogged. Over pressure can cause leaks where there shouldn't be any. I've seen a number of "accidents" with these types of stoves over the years.
    Yes many of us have met a trail angel on our thru's and great guy who's thru hike ambitions were sadly dashed in a instant when a camp stove did basically a fuel - air explosion. Landing him in the hospital lucky to survive but with massive damage to his system due to the insides of his lungs being burned away. Once back from a very lengthy hospital stay and rehab he now gets around in wheelchair . That guy has a thru-hikers heart of gold.

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    @HooKooDooKu:
    The sheer number of MSR models is a bit iritating.
    True, most likely I would not need to burn Diesel (although I'm running a Diesel car and will do some car camping - but then, in the car its easy to carry any extra fuel the stove would need).

    @Zelph:
    Amazing!
    Need to consider this.

    @Starchild:
    Don't want to downplay the hazard, but I actually have loads of experience with car gas stoves (and positive ones), ist just the specific nowaday-backpacking models I'm not familiar with and am asking for.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by zelph View Post
    Take a look at this one, it will burn car gas and it's quiet :-) The Companion Burner, pour fuel in and it won't spill out...........amazing !

    http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/Mega-St...ion-Burner.php

    Sorry, my English is not good enough to understand your talk in the video completely.
    So, does this setup burn car gas?

  20. #20
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    not that light, but the most versatile is the MSR universal - adds the option of inverted canister (or flip it upright to simmer)

    BTW the XGK is loud

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