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Best cooking system
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Ed Neudorf
(xxclaro) - F
Best cooking system on 05/24/2010 19:41:01 MDT Print View

There seems to be a wide variety of stove options available and I'm curious as to what you've found to be the best system. I'm interested in a cooking system to use when hiking in the Rockies. Usually there'll be wood available till we get up above the tree's. Just for giggles I built a popcan alcohol stove today and ran it with 90% rubbing alcohol,since I can find nothing better locally to use. I was quite impressed with how quickly it boiled 2 cups of water and how long the fuel lasted. Started me thinking maybe alcohol stoves might be okay. I was always under the impression they didn't generate much heat. I was looking at some of the Whisperlite and similar stoves, but they seem overly complex.What do you guys use?

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
canister on 05/24/2010 19:54:17 MDT Print View

if you want a simpler version of the white gas stoves go to a canister stove. like a lite max stove. with a small fuel canister its pretty light.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: canister on 05/24/2010 21:16:57 MDT Print View

Canister stoves are pretty easy. No deep thinking or tinkering - open it up and light, instant go. Most canister stoves these days are easy to maintain with no repairs needed. As well no fireballs of fuel poofing up at the start.....
They also are allowed in most cases during fire danger times where other stoves such as alchy ones get banned.

John Coyle
(Bigsac)

Locale: NorCal
Best cooking system on 05/24/2010 22:24:27 MDT Print View

If by cooking you mean simmering, then I recommend a canister stove such as the Snow Peak Gigapower or something similar. The flame is adjustable with these stoves.

If you only want to boil water, then I recommend an alcohol stove system such as the Caldera Cone or the Clickstand. Most alcohol stoves are not good at simmering. Also, the flame of an alcohol stove is almost invisable in bright daylight, which can be a safety issue.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
My "System" on 05/24/2010 22:29:08 MDT Print View

STOVE> Brunton FLEX

POT> 1 liter aluminum anodized W. homemade "pie plate" lid to save weight

WINDSCREEN> MSR aluminum

Samuel C. Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
cooking system on 05/24/2010 22:42:38 MDT Print View

Ed,
Snow Peak Ti Gigapower, 1.75 oz with home made wind screen, identical to Snow Peak's steel one, but made of Ti, 1 oz. Coleman Peak One canister lasts me 5 days, compared to others, like Primus, which last me only 3 days.
If below freezing weather is expected, use MSR Isobutane canister.
Both fit into REI Ti Pasta Pot (1 qt), a little over 4 oz, with room for the windscreen also.
Like to heat up at least a quart of water to use for tea, as well as the meal, which in my food system, needs to be simmered, another reason for the canister.
Hope this is clear, and helpful.
Sam

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Best cooking system on 05/25/2010 07:17:49 MDT Print View

There is no such thing as the "best cooking system" it really depends on your priorities, normal practices, and normal number of days between resupply.

For example, I only use my stove to boil water so the ability to simmer and cook in my pot is a very low priority for me. My number one priority is reliability, number two is weight (including fuel) and my normal trip length is 3 to 4 days. My choice of stove is the Caldera Keg which is light, efficient, and reliable.

If you want the ability to simmer (without a major fuss) and/or your normal trip length is longer than 5 days then one of the light cannister stoves "might" be a better choice. (I say "might" because I don't have a lot of experience with simmering alcohol stoves, and I'm sure someone will chime in with a good simmering model.) Anyway, the standard wisdom is as the trip length increases the weight penalty of the cannister stove decreases until eventually the cannister stove is lighter than most alcohol stoves.

I think some of the lightest options available burn solid fuel tablets. If your trying to get as light as possible you might want to investigate those options.

For winter trips where you need to melt tons of snow, imo white gas is still the best option.

Joe L
(heyyou) - MLife

Locale: Cutting brush off of the Arizona Tr
Stoveless on 05/26/2010 18:44:33 MDT Print View

None is the lightest way to go.

Consider not taking a stove. Weigh the stove, the fuel, and the pot, then leave them at home. You don't need to heat food in the summer, just let carefully chosen foods soak for a short time, or overnight if using a watertight lid. Try that at home before hitting the trail.

Take a light weight plastic bowl. Eat hummus or instant mashed potatoes with olive oil for fat, jerky, instant oatmeal with spices and sweetener, and trail mix for a few days. When you experience how light your pack is, you may continue with stoveless.

Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
solid fuel on 05/26/2010 21:03:32 MDT Print View

It sounds like you're primarily a wood burner looking for a stove that would be a secondary heat source when there's no wood. In that case solid fuel would probably work well for you. Esbit/hexamine is very light and doesn't strictly need a stove at all. The bonus for you would be that the fuel cubes make great fire lighters for wet conditions.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Best cooking system on 05/26/2010 22:10:37 MDT Print View

John B summed it up pretty well. I dislike wood because of the black that gets pots and the stove so dirty. I have alcohol, cannister, and white gas stoves (actually too many of them). I mostly use the Caldera K and a Snow Peak LiteMax.

Christian Maki
(Makichr) - F
heet on 05/27/2010 09:07:21 MDT Print View

And you should never use rubbing alcohol. Use yellow bottle heet that can be found at any wal-mart, hardware store or gas station. It is sold as gas line antifreeze.

te - wa
(mikeinfhaz) - F

Locale: Phoenix
heet on 05/27/2010 09:36:23 MDT Print View

i also use heet in my alcohol stoves. avoid the fumes! a cleaner burning fuel is Everclear 190 proof. the difference in health risks between these two fuels may be a deciding factor, as one is numerous times more expensive than the other, but then it also doubles as a camp beverage, (great with watermelon kool-aid) and can be used as a sanitizer and wound cleaner.

the system i personally find to be "best" for all year except when a)alcohol/fire restrictions prevent and b)when im not "stoveless" is a Dan Zeruski model "Cobalt Blue Soloist" and a imUSA 10mm pot. Craft and hobby stores carry a thin aluminum sheeting great for windscreens. or cut down an old (or new) aluminum cooking pan. Or use heavy duty foil, folded over a few times.
ALL of the above items are either recycled, or recyclable.
what i specifically like about the aluminum pot is that it is lighter, costs dramatically less than Ti, and is fairly strong enough to last years with care - and is far better at evenly heating and dissipation as well. what i do not like about it is the ability of the handle to get very hot, so i drilled six - 1/4" holes in the handle to help it cool after cooking.

*edit*
one last thing, a small bu/propane canister fits inside the imusa mug perfectly. and when im using my Vargo ti jet stove, a gsi telescoping spork, and a bandana all fit inside as well. they can be found at many hispanic stores and walmarts, for $2.50

Edited by mikeinfhaz on 05/27/2010 09:39:07 MDT.

Sid Payne
(sidpayne) - F
MSR Reactor Stove on 05/27/2010 16:01:12 MDT Print View

I am new to this site so I apologize if this has been covered elsewhere, but what about the MSR Reactor Stove or Jetboil? Just too heavy? They seem extremely easy to use and very safe.
Thanks for your help as I was considering buying one of these.

Robert Cowman
(rcowman) - F

Locale: Canadian Rockies
integrated stoves on 05/27/2010 17:58:52 MDT Print View

IMO those stoves are way to heavy for their function. they can`t simmer and are hard to cook food in so for a couple of pounds you get a super fancy and hot alcohol stove. Also what if your burner craps out(had it happen with both). you cant really use those pots on a lot of other stoves, so if your with a group you might need to borrow a whole set. Also you can only use the branded pots for those stoves.(any other pot on a jetboil sucks royally) If you want a light weight system i woulds suggest getting a canister stove like a litemax or similar. and a titanium pot.(there are hundreds) for a 1L depending about 6-8oz. or get a aluminum pot for cost.

my 0.02cents for integrated stoves.