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Can your stove be too light?
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Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Can your stove be too light? on 05/14/2009 15:23:35 MDT Print View

It has been worrying me a bit lately that my alcohol stove, which I made from a small V8 can, may be too light. I worry that while it is lit a gust of wind could blow it away and I could start a forest fire. Can a stove be too light? Should I trade it for one that's a little heavier? Or put a pebble in it while it's running?

JJ Mathes
(JMathes) - F

Locale: Southeast US
pebble in stove on 05/14/2009 15:41:58 MDT Print View

Diane- sounds like we have similar stoves. I made mine from 5.5oz V-8 cans, weight is 4.5 grams. I've never thought about it blowing away, but I'm sure it's possible. I place my windscreen around the stove just before lighting. If you're concerned, I think a small pebble would do the trick.

george carr
(hammer-one) - F - MLife

Locale: Walking With The Son
Re: Can your stove be too light? on 05/14/2009 19:32:36 MDT Print View

Remember, when using your stove you'll have the weight of the cookpot and contents holding it down. When I'm using an alcohol stove I usually try to find a sheltered spot or pitch whatever shelter I'm carrying to help shield the stove from the wind. That will eliminate 99% of your worries right off the bat. Also, if you can let the stove burn out before removing your pot that removes that part of the equation.

Piper S.
(sbhikes) - F

Locale: Santa Barbara (Name: Diane)
Re: Re: Can your stove be too light? on 05/14/2009 20:22:41 MDT Print View

There's a minute or so when I need to wait for the stove to be hot enough to lower the pot on top. And there are times when the pot boils over and I have to remove it from the flame. My wind screen is pretty lightweight, too. I guess I'm a little nervous because I had forgotten how terribly windy the PCT is. Plus we recently had a big fire locally.

I thought about maybe using a tent stake to hold it down, too. Maybe put the hook end through one of the side holes to hold it down.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
sit upwind on 05/14/2009 21:47:32 MDT Print View

i always try to make sure i'm sitting upwind of the stove, this usually does a decent enough job of shielding my stove during the priming period. it also serves the benefit of not inhaling those fumes. you probably already do this, but thought i'd say it anyway.

if you're going to put a pebble in it be careful what kind of pebble. certain stones (sandstone for one) can hold water in them, and explode when heated up enough

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Re: Can your stove be too light? on 05/15/2009 01:06:39 MDT Print View

Hi Diane

With a nod to the LNT philosophy, I clear the area immediately around my cooking spot of combustibles like pine needles and twigs before I light a stove. On grass I cut a small sod away with my knife which I put back in the hole when I'm done. That way, the alcohol is contained even if something knocks the stove over, and my platypus is always on hand to assist with firefighting if needed.

The problem with putting a pebble in is that it might make the stove slow to prime if the weather is cool. If it's windy enough to blow the stove over, it's probably too windy to cook successfully on a pepsi stove and a more sheltered spot needs to be found.

Aaron Zuniga
(gliden2) - F

Locale: Northwest
"Can your stove be too light?" on 05/15/2009 01:09:24 MDT Print View

I have been using either a FireLite Titanium Esbit Wing Stove or a cat food can stove that i made. Both are super light (.29oz and .39oz) but come with some major disadvantages.
-not the most efficent
-although the cat-can stove is a little better, their both
pretty awkward with my Firelite 900 ml
-usually have to fuss with some flimsy windscreen
So i finally ordered a Caldera Cone. It arrived today, so i fired it up to see if it was as fast as reported.
Wow! Temps were in the mid 50's, water temp 60 degrees, wind around 15 mph. The Caldera Cone and the 12-10 stove brought 2 cups of water to a rolling boil with 15ml of denatured fuel in around 6 mins. I was impressed. Simple, efficent, no fuss,and UL. The Caddie @(3oz)could be a little lighter, still a great system by Trail Design. Worth a look and maybe a couple oz's to have the ease of cooking on the trail that the Caldera Cone provides.

Andy Bailey
(AndyBailey) - F

Locale: The Great Plains
"Can your stove be too light?" on 05/15/2009 10:50:37 MDT Print View

You could put either fiberglass or perlite into the stove. Either one will absorb and hold the alcohol until the alcohol burns off, so if you do accidentally knock over your stove, it doesn't become a ball of fire.

It does, however, change the burn times and possibly the efficiency of the stove. You'll have to play around with it (which is most of the fun of having an alcohol stove in the first place, right?) :)

Edited by AndyBailey on 05/15/2009 10:51:49 MDT.