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Temp limits for alcohol stoves
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Jeff Boone
(jnboone) - MLife
Temp limits for alcohol stoves on 11/16/2007 04:06:33 MST Print View

If you were looking at a forecast, what temp would make you leave the alcohol stove at home? Thanks!

Richard Matthews
(food) - F

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Temp limits for alcohol stoves on 11/16/2007 07:37:17 MST Print View

Temperature is not my deciding factor. Access to water in the liquid state IS the deciding factor.

An alcohol stove works fine in the snow IF you keep the alcohol warm.

Kathleen B

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Temp limits for alcohol stoves on 11/16/2007 12:15:01 MST Print View

I do the same as Richard. Melting snow with alcohol is inefficient for me because of the need to constantly refill the stove. I suppose I could carry 2 because they're so light. I've seen the math posted on BPL for carrying alcohol v. using a Snowpeak and cannister, and if I remember correctly, I think it's close to being a wash as far as fuel weight. I've used my alcohol stove (a minibulldesigns Elite) at 10,000' and at lower elevations in temperatures in the 20's with no problems. I plan to try the MiniSith to see if it does even better in the cold temperatures.

Doug Johnson
(djohnson) - MLife

Locale: Washington State
Re: Re: Temp limits for alcohol stoves on 11/16/2007 16:43:55 MST Print View

I also don't use one to melt snow. However, I don't use a standard canister stove for that- I use a Coleman Xtreme whenever melting snow will be part of the equation.

I limit alcohol stove usage to both snow and wind conditions. For example, I would use one in December for a low-altitude forest backpack without snow (here in the moderate temps of the Northwest) but I don't ever take one for mountaineering in the alpine zone- even in August. This is because of winds. I've never used a Caldera, mind you, and I hear that these are much better in high winds. But I still think that Camp Sherman at 11,000 feet on Rainier is not the place for an alcohol stove. For that location, i'd typically choose a canister or my Xtreme. (I don't use white gas anymore, but I would if I were going overseas).

So there's a long answer. Snow or extreme winds- no. I typically use one above 20 deg. and in moderate conditions.

Jeff Boone
(jnboone) - MLife
Thanks on 11/16/2007 20:20:44 MST Print View

Since we rarely get snow in the Smokies, and I have a Caldera, sounds like I'm good to go. Thanks!!

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
5 Deg F on 11/17/2007 03:53:12 MST Print View

I used a Pepsi can stove when the nightly low was 2 deg. F, so I'll guess that the morning temp was 5 deg. F with little wind that I recall. I kept the alcohol warm, but not the stove which probably slowed me down. It took me three matches. At one point, the match was touching the liquid surface, but there wasn't enough vapor to catch. As I said, it finally lit on the third match, but took longer than usual to come to a full burn. I didn't have to melt snow, so it was OK for a single night.

Tommy Clapp

Locale: GSM Area
TN Stove use on 11/17/2007 08:23:18 MST Print View


I have used my minibulldesign stoves as well as homemade stoves all over the smokies year round. since we get little snow and have lots of water access the stoves work well. I always put my fuel under my sleeping pay in a stuff sack to keep it close to warm. it will be slower boiling if the temp is below 15-20, but where we are that is not all that often...maybe 4-5 weeks a year.