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  1. #1
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    Default Not everyone loves Denatured alcohol Stoves

    I would just like people out there trying to research stoves for a long distance hike that not everyone loves denatured alcohol stoves. The people who write on this site are mostly people with very strong opinions that want to speak their mind. I hiked the entire AT in '08 and met a number of people who regretted their choice of the denatured alcohol stove. The stoves are great for boiling a cup or two of water but they take a while to get the hang of the correct amount to use and you will waste a good bit of fuel before you get it right. You will run through your fuel faster than with white gas. Also, wind effects them more than other types of stoves and reduces their effectiveness. If you only anticipate need a cup of water or two at a time and don't intend to simmer anything it is fine, but I like a little variety in my dinners and some of my dinners required a little simmering. I used a simmerlite and I know it loses badlyon the weight battle but I never had any trouble with it the entire time and I thought the extra weight was worth it. I'm not going to get into an argument with people who want to discredit everything I just said, but please know that there are drawbacks to denatured alcohol stoves.

  2. #2
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    Alcohol stoves are great for heating water to near boiling. Not so good at simmering. Since I FBC on the trail, the alcohol stove is perfect for me under most conditions that I encounter. For those other times, or when it's more than just me, I carry a canister stove.

  3. #3
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    I hate alcohol stoves. (Well, not hate, but they're definitely not my favorite) I use an MSR PocketRocket, and LOVE IT. (Used to use a whisperlite int'l, but the pocketrocket has won my heart)
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
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  4. #4
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    Besides, I don't freezer bag cook. And I often use my frying pan. Pancakes and bacon with an alc stove? Nooo. I just don't like 'em.
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
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    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rooster View Post
    .....The people who write on this site are mostly people with very strong opinions that want to speak their mind.....


    Sounds like you did a pretty nice job yourself.

    You gotta admit alcohol stoves are popular (and for good reason) among thru's.

    I say use whatever you're comfortable with...... Heck, carry an acetylene torch if that floats yer boat.

  6. #6
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/lights/cd85/

    This flashlight can cook an egg.

    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  7. #7
    Registered User srestrepo's Avatar
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    yeah i tried the alchy stove thing. its cool and all. definitely has its pro's but the cons outweigh it for me.

    i hike with a simmerlite in winter time

    or an optimus crux lite or a pocket rocket the rest of the time...

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rooster View Post
    I would just like people out there trying to research stoves for a long distance hike that not everyone loves denatured alcohol stoves. The people who write on this site are mostly people with very strong opinions that want to speak their mind. I hiked the entire AT in '08 and met a number of people who regretted their choice of the denatured alcohol stove. The stoves are great for boiling a cup or two of water but they take a while to get the hang of the correct amount to use and you will waste a good bit of fuel before you get it right. You will run through your fuel faster than with white gas. Also, wind effects them more than other types of stoves and reduces their effectiveness. If you only anticipate need a cup of water or two at a time and don't intend to simmer anything it is fine, but I like a little variety in my dinners and some of my dinners required a little simmering. I used a simmerlite and I know it loses badlyon the weight battle but I never had any trouble with it the entire time and I thought the extra weight was worth it. I'm not going to get into an argument with people who want to discredit everything I just said, but please know that there are drawbacks to denatured alcohol stoves.
    Quote Originally Posted by ShelterLeopard View Post
    I hate alcohol stoves. (Well, not hate, but they're definitely not my favorite) I use an MSR PocketRocket, and LOVE IT. (Used to use a whisperlite int'l, but the pocketrocket has won my heart)
    Here, here! Tried one once - never again.

  9. #9

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    I don't have a strong opinion either way. I've used liquid fuel, canister, and alcohol stoves. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Experience teaches each individual what's best for them.

    It also teaches them not to try pouring more alcohol in an alcohol stove mid-cook because "it looks like the flame is out."
    Drab as a Fool, as aloof as a Bard!

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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by ShelterLeopard View Post
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/lights/cd85/

    This flashlight can cook an egg.

    "Battery run time 15 minutes"!!!
    It's all yours, ShLep.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

  11. #11

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    Alcohol stoves can be quite sensitive to setup. If the windscreen is too close to the pot the stove will burn cold and you will smell raw alcohol. If it is too far away flames will go up the sides of the pot and take all that heat into the air where it won't do your cooking any good. Once you get it right, though, you can light them and forget them. My biggest problem is using too much fuel and, after I get my water boiled, watching 1/10th of an ounce of fuel burn away before my eyes. Again, you have to know your stove and watch your fuel usage. Cannister stoves are the way to go if fiddling isn't your idea of fun.
    Also, alcohol stoves probably aren't the best for two or more people. The more water you try to boil at once the more fuel it takes per fl.oz. of water boiled.
    As I live, declares the Lord God, I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn back from his way and live. Ezekiel 33:11

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ShelterLeopard View Post
    http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/lights/cd85/

    This flashlight can cook an egg.

    Sure....... and the next thing you'll tell us is you can actually boil water in a paper cup!

  13. #13
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    Ha! To heck with this all, I'll just carry my generator and an oven!
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  14. #14
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    Default What's Cookin'?

    Quote Originally Posted by ShelterLeopard View Post
    Ha! To heck with this all, I'll just carry my generator and an oven!
    Then you'll have to change your trail name to "Top Chef".

  15. #15
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    Ugh, no! (Though, I do love food...)

    Man, my pack keeps getting lighter... maybe I should go ultra heavy...
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  16. #16
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    I used gas stoves for a long time, then converted to canister stoves for summer. I tried an alcohol stove without much success; it seems to depend critically on wind screen if there's any wind. I will experiment more with alcohol stoves. Something that's gotten lots of excellent reviews is the Caldera Cone, an alcohol stove with a built in windscreen. It's best suited to freezer bag cooking, but I like to be able to simmer.

    Winter, I'll use my Optimus Nova with gas.

  17. #17
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rooster View Post
    but please know that there are drawbacks to denatured alcohol stoves.
    and they are????
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

  18. #18
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    I've seen good reviews too about the Caldera Cone design. I had enough of a problem keeping up with my wimpy little wind screen on the Etowah Stove and can't imagine how in the world people pack a monster screen like the Caldera.

    Maybe someone will enlighten us?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by kayak karl View Post
    and they are????
    .......well for one you can't fry steaks.

  20. #20
    Registered User kayak karl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spokes View Post
    I've seen good reviews too about the Caldera Cone design. I had enough of a problem keeping up with my wimpy little wind screen on the Etowah Stove and can't imagine how in the world people pack a monster screen like the Caldera.

    Maybe someone will enlighten us?
    i use the cone and your right. i can't fry steaks.
    I'm so confused, I'm not sure if I lost my horse or found a rope.

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