Lightest winter stove base material
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E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
Lightest winter stove base material on 02/18/2010 16:58:13 MST Print View

I was going to cut out a winter stove base from a thin 3 ply piece of plywood and coat with water-based PU water-sealant, but then thought:

a) the plywood is not really that light

b) do you really need plywood with a remote canister stove (Powermax Xtreme) which uses a baking pan wind screen?

In other words, if the baking pan windscreen which sits around the burner with cutouts for stove legs shields snow underneath from much of the heat of the flame, is there a lighter material than wood which can be used which won't melt?

Morgan Rucks
(rucksmtr) - F
,,, on 02/18/2010 17:11:59 MST Print View

A disposable pie tin would work, or your snow shovel if you are already carrying it.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
will baking tin windscreen keep enough heat away on 02/18/2010 17:37:48 MST Print View

Will my baking tin windscreen keep enough heat away from the pie tin stove base that the base won't conduct enough heat to melt snow under it?

Have you tried it?

That's what I thought, just double checking.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
stove bases on 02/18/2010 18:34:49 MST Print View

First of all, let me state that when I snow camp, I use an MSR-XGK stove with the standard windscreen. It isn't the lightest stove in the world, but it is very reliable and it is a blowtorch. If I am melting snow for 4-5 people, then I want a blowtorch. If I use it in a fancy situation, several days, where extreme lightness is not a priority, I use a base made of Masonite covered with single layer aluminum foil. If I am traveling a long distance and extreme lightness is a priority, then I use ordinary corrugated cardboard covered with two layers of aluminum foil. If you use the cardboard version very long, it might absorb moisture from the snow and get soft.
The size is big enough to base both the burner and part of the fuel tank, for stability.
--B.G.--

Jim MacDiarmid
(jrmacd) - MLife
Re: stove bases on 02/18/2010 18:38:39 MST Print View

. . .I use ordinary corrugated cardboard covered with two layers of aluminum foil.

Thanks, I was wondering if you could use something light like cardboard wrapped in tin or aluminum foil. I assume that CCF would melt, even covered with tin or aluminum foil?

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Lightest winter stove base material on 02/18/2010 18:42:03 MST Print View

I use the 3/ply to give me a more solid base then a pie tin. The last thing I want is for my hot water to "sift" just before I need it.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
how about cardboard treated with PU and then covered with foil? on 02/18/2010 18:42:34 MST Print View

I thought of cardboard treated with PU water seal and then foil over it for extra protection - what do you think?

I'm already carrying extra weight in winter so would like to keep things light as possible.

Your stove is a blowtorch but it also uses less safe white gas, it's super loud, gives off more fumes and is heavy. You would be surprised at how efficient the Xtreme and Powermax cartridges can be with a good windscreen (not to mention using pot cozies).

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: how about cardboard treated with PU and then covered with foil? on 02/18/2010 19:06:04 MST Print View

> I'm already carrying extra weight in winter so would like to keep things light as possible.
Reckon. :-)

My 150 mm (6") square 3-ply stove base weighs 45 g (1.59 oz). The trade-off between weight and reliability suits me.

I could maybe reduce that weight by 10 - 15 g, but at a cost of reliability imho. Not worth the risk to me.

Cheers

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
cardboard we have much much lighter than thinnest 3 ply plywood at Home Depot on 02/18/2010 19:14:19 MST Print View

The thinnest lightest 3 ply plywood I could find at Home Depot is so much heavier than cardboard we have that for short 2-3 day winter trips, which is the norm for us, I'd like to go lighter than the plywood. I think the weight savings in our case would be at least 2/3 if not more.

Shovel could always be a backup too.

Roger, you are our stove (plus a bunch of other stuff) guru. Have learned so much from you, including improving our Xtreme stove. Thanks again.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: cardboard we have much much lighter than thinnest 3 ply plywood at Home Depot on 02/18/2010 23:04:32 MST Print View

Hi EJ

My concern about cardboard is that I do actually cook a bit - in the pot. When I am stirring the pot I push it around a bit. I worry that one of the legs on the stove might get pushed downwards too hard, and the cardboard might crease and give away. Wouldn't I look silly if I had to tell my wife that I had to scrape dinner up off the ground ... :-)

It would be different I think if all you ever did was boil water for FBC. Might work well then.

Cheers

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
and pie tin? on 02/18/2010 23:11:00 MST Print View

Good point. What about the pie tin approach? That shouldn't give way. And with a good wind screen keeping the Xtreme burner heat going to the pot and not back down, don't you think it won't melt the snow?

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
foamboard? on 02/18/2010 23:12:07 MST Print View

You might possibly try foamboard covered in three layers of aluminum foil.

There is no danger with white gas stoves if you know what you're doing. A loud stove is a multipurpose thing. It doubles as an alarm clock.

--B.G.--

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
may weight the 3 ply base and see what it comes out to on 02/18/2010 23:15:51 MST Print View

I may experiment with the 3 ply and see what the square just large enough to support the stove weighs - the 2 x 4 ft. sheet was only $5, and I could always use the scraps for other projects.

Another approach would be to use the 3 ply square and drill as many larger holes as possible to reduce weight without compromising floatation.

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: cardboard we have much much lighter than thinnest 3 ply plywood at Home Depot on 02/18/2010 23:17:46 MST Print View

Roger, just remember, people actually cook meals for years in cardboard solar cookers.

Cardboard takes extreme heat to burn unless exposed to a direct flame.



I'm not an expert in winter cooking, just wanted to throw this out there.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
good idea worth trying on 02/18/2010 23:18:14 MST Print View

Bob yes other people's white gas stoves do function as our alarm clock.

Foam board may be worth a shot. Probably worth coating with PU before putting foil around it. Foam board is surprisingly strong yet light and we have some pieces lying around.

Javan Dempsey
(jdempsey)

Locale: The-Stateless-Society
Re: Re: Re: cardboard we have much much lighter than thinnest 3 ply plywood at Home Depot on 02/18/2010 23:19:53 MST Print View

Another FYI.

I'm assuming by 3-ply you guys are talking about "Luan"

that's a good choice, as it is generally veneered with exotic hardwood, and uses "exterior grade" glues as opposed to regular plywood. exterior glues are highly water resistant.

Luan goes for ~$10 a 4x8 sheet, so is very economical.

edit: my point about the hardwood was this: different types of wood are more or less flame resistant, most standard ply-wood is made from pine, and less ignition resistant.

Edited by jdempsey on 02/18/2010 23:21:17 MST.

Robert Blean
(blean) - MLife

Locale: San Jose -- too far from Sierras
Re: how about cardboard treated with PU and then covered with foil? on 02/18/2010 23:44:30 MST Print View

> Your stove is a blowtorch but it also uses less safe white gas,

I keep hearing about white gas being less safe. I understand the logical possibilities, but let's get realistic -- what matters to me is how likely I am to have a problem when using white gas.

Assuming that one is careful, and that one has a well-designed stove, what are the odds that one will have a safety problem with the white gas setup? Personally, I think the odds are so slim that I don't care.

Comments, anyone? Preferably actual first-hand experiences, not just theoretical.

-- MV

Disclaimer: I have used white gas since I can remember, in a variety of stoves, including cooking in my tent or igloo in the winter time.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
will see how much the plywood and foamboard weigh on 02/18/2010 23:45:42 MST Print View

Good to know about types of plywood, and I think the 2 x 4 piece I have at $5 is sided by hardwood (and is sanded smooth), but with our stove and windscreen the flame won't come close enough to the wood to ignite it.

Main concerns are stable platform + light weight + durable enough not to have to replace every trip (but I guess ok every few trips if the material is cheap and can can be recycled from scraps like foamboard).

I'd be fine with a 2 oz piece of plywood if it weighs 2 oz. The thin 2 x 4 piece I have is so heavy it's hard to believe a 6-7 in. square could be 2 oz.

But it would be nice to find something that will work that weighs almost nothing. Foamboard looks like it could work.

The shovel head is a backup but not perfect - not such an easy shape to work with and don't want to take up a lot of snow table space when we have a group kitchen.

Foamboard is so light I'll probably bring it just to try it.

E J
(mountainwalker) - MLife

Locale: SF Bay Area & New England
butane/propane and white gas, Roger's review on 02/19/2010 00:00:17 MST Print View

Robert and Bob, check out Roger's Xtreme review:

"This stove is rated to 4.1 kW (14,000 BTU/hr), and that is far more than I shall ever need or use, and more than most any other light stove I have seen. Suffice to say that this stove will match or exceed most any other stove I have tested for power output - and that does include white gas and kerosene stoves!

Popular myth has it that you must have a white gas stove to get good snow-melting power, and that canister stoves don't have the power. Well, I have yet to find a white gas stove which can put out 4.1 kW (14,000 BTU/hr)! As discussed in Selecting a Canister Stove for Cold Weather Backpacking Part II: Commercially Available Canister Stove Systems, the butane/propane fuel used in canister stoves is not fundamentally different from white gas as a fuel. The canister stoves just have more power! Perhaps I should add here that the myth probably comes from attempts to use an upright screw-thread canister stove, or even one of those old Bleuet stoves, in the snow. They are not winter stoves, but this one is.

While the Coleman Xtreme can roar, it can also be turned down to a very low simmer."

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/coleman_xtreme_stove_review.html?bo=watch&forum_thread_id=8252

I have used white gas with friends - not a fan of the noise or smell, will use it when I have to. Have only seen one flare up, but have read and heard about a good number of singed eyebrows and tents/jackets.

Edited by mountainwalker on 02/19/2010 00:02:13 MST.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
reply to Robert on 02/19/2010 00:11:56 MST Print View

White gas can be a problem if you need to travel by airliner. However, for most trips where you get to the trailhead by auto, white gas has never been a problem for me.

Once on a high altitude expedition, every single tent group was using white gas stoves. My tent group did all of our melting and cooking in the tent vestibule, and all it took was one sheet of aluminum foil to be the flare shield to prevent burning the tent down.

For that trip, I had a 5x5" sheet of scrap fiberglas printed circuit board covered in two layers of aluminum foil, and that was the stove base for a couple of weeks. In fact, I still have it.
--B.G.--