M Deep Freeze: A Cold, Hard Look at Winter Stoves

by Brad Groves

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Article Summary:

Little problems during a winter trip can be a lot more serious than the same problems in summer. There's not as much room for error in winter, and it's not the time for marginal gear. If your body isn't producing (or your insulation isn't trapping) enough heat, you need a source of external heat. You also need that heat for melting snow or ice for water, cooking up some meals, as a general source of cheer... A winter stove needs to work in deep cold, and it needs to be dead reliable. The purpose of this report is to investigate the lightest-weight options on the market and assess ease-of-use, reliability, fuel efficiency, and time to boil, along with other factors.

Although we all know winter as "the cold season," "cold" is relative. January in Los Angeles averages around 60 F, while over in Duluth it's averaging around 0 F. For our purposes, then, note that we conceptualized winter as having low temperatures ranging from -20 F to 20 F. We set out to objectively test the lightest stoves marketed or conceived as "winter stoves." Although primarily a state of the market report on ultralight white gas stoves, remote and upright canister stoves were tested alongside the white gas models. You might be surprised by some of the results!

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