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Canister stoves - Cooking for 12/13
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Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
Canister stoves - Cooking for 12/13 on 12/23/2010 15:06:35 MST Print View

Hello folks,

I retired all my white gas stoves the day I got my Primus Techno Trail canister-top stove with piezo igniter. I just can't believe how convenient and quick these little things are.

I've noticed that more and more Philmont crews are packing canister stoves. For those that have been to Philmont with canister stoves, how did the experience work out for you? At high altitudes? Near freezing temps? Did you use top-mount or remote-mount canisters? What size pots (and for how many people)?

I've heard of 8-man crews getting away with a pair of canister-top stoves and 2-liter pots. For a crew of 13 (our 12 plus a ranger), I think we'd need at least two 3-liter pots... Maybe 3.5 liters. Unfortunately, I think a 3 liter pot would be pushing it past the bounds of what a canister-mounted stove can do safely.

So would I be better off to go with three 2-liter/can-top sets, or two 3-liter/remote-gas sets?

Fat Boy

Jace Mullen
(climberslacker) - F

Locale: Your guess is as good as mine.
Philmont Canister Stoves. on 12/23/2010 17:14:45 MST Print View

Full Disclosure: I was part of a special treks program (OATC), not a regular crew.

What we did (And I know you are asking about canisters, but that will work in in a second)

1 ~4L pot (Maybe 3?) for 12 people. You may not want to do this but what we did was take everyone's meal and mix them ALL in a pot, and depending on the meal we would raid the swap boxes for things to thicken it (Those would be like corn or refried beans) and just mix everything together, if you have hiked far enough you will eat it. Its awesome because you get more calories and because you don't have to carry them as people routinely leave the "side meal" in the swap boxes. In summery: Mix everything together and enjoy.

We also never used a sump at all, we just all ate everything and then human sumped the pots.

As far as doing this with a canister stove, I would recommend a remote canister as they tend to be more stable. I am not sure how much fuel you would end up using but you should be able to figure that out during your training hikes.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Canister stoves - Cooking for 12/13 on 12/24/2010 03:20:58 MST Print View

3 off (2 L pots and stoves).

If you use a very big pot (say 3 L or bigger) on a canister stove, there is a risk of overheating the canister. Or over-turning the lot. A 2L pot seems quite safe.


John Devitt
(cabana) - MLife

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Canister stoves - Cooking for 12/13 on 12/24/2010 09:07:31 MST Print View

I am in agreement with Mr. Caffin. 2L would be my limit, and I would direct due attention to that large of a pot.

When the weight exerted on the stove to increases, so does the chance the stove is over stressed. Relfective heat directed on the canisted is increased (not on remote canister stoves). Stability is decreases, on remote canister stoves it is worse as the support legs are driven into the ground. (barring the use of rocks, of course.)

Are you only wanting use a canister stove, and do group cooking? I only ash because I have been very pleased with my alcohol stove. good performance at 11K', and no worse than other stoves when cold weather occurs. The biggest benifit I have found with my alcohol stove is that is is only .5 oz , so I can easily carry it when hiking with others for a spare, or when the menu isn't to my liking.

Best of luck with endeavors, I am sure that you will find the best combination that works for your needs. Merry Christmas!


Ken K
(TheFatBoy) - F

Locale: St. Louis
More thoughts... on 12/24/2010 11:10:44 MST Print View

@Jace: Good suggestions regarding raiding the swap boxes and thickening with extra calories. I hadn't thought of that.

We did 1-pot (6-liter) cooking at our 55-mile Boundary Waters trip this year (8-man crews). Each person "gut-sumped" their own bowl/plate, and we had a nightly volunteer to gut-sump the one cook pot (some nights found volunteers faster than others). But that was over a larger single-burner Coleman white gas stove. It worked ok, but it had it's drawbacks... It was slow, we didn't have stove redundancy, and that big pot would sometimes end up with some pretty nasty stuff burnt to the bottom. We did bring an extra canister stove per crew, but that wouldn't handle cooking for 8 at once (used mostly for coffee and sides). With 13 people, I think we'd need at least an 8 liter pot for 1-pot cooking. I don't know of a stove on the market that would handle 15 pounds of food and water up top, so we definitely need to split to at least two pots, regardless of whether we cook in them or just boil water.

@Roger: I'm thinking along the same lines. If using the can-top stoves we already have, go with three sets with 2.5 liter pots to give just a little wiggele room. If we go with remote canister stoves (would require new purchases), we could go with two stoves and 3 or 3.5 liter pots. Still on the fence on cooking in them vs cooking in pouches or turkey bags. We have quite a while to flesh that out.

@John: I hadn't thought of the stove's legs digging in. Looking back, I occasionally had that problem with my whisperlights, but I was pretty careful to put them on solid rock when cooking (and I never cooked for 12). If we end up with remote canister stoves, I suppose it wouldn't be hard at all to fashion a light aluminum ring to prevent sinking.

Alcohol stoves at Philmont have a few things working against them... Philmont encourages cooking and eating as a crew (same menu for all). That would require a good number of alcohol burners (4 to 6). Many of the activities are time-sensitive, so we want to get done cooking, cleaned up, and off to the next activity as soon after hitting camp as possible. I'm also keen on not having to worry about spilled fuel or metering it out before every meal. Finally, I'd heard that alcohol stoves weren't allowed (haven't confirmed if that's still an active ban). Any way you cut it, I just don't think alcohol stoves are for us.

One other thing that popped into my mind... Remote canisters are probably a little better on fuel since you can almost certainly construct a better windscreen. With my can-top models, I never made a wind-screen for fear it would direct too much hear back to the can. I suppose with the can-tops, I could still make a little heat shield to wrap around the stove neck under the burner.

Merry Christmas all!
Fat Boy

david richardson
(drichi) - MLife

Locale: midwest
canister stoves on 12/26/2010 18:13:39 MST Print View

We had a young crew last year and found that what worked best was to boil water in a 8 qt pot on top of 2 remote canister stoves set side by side. We used Brunton Vesta stoves. Boiled water very fast. We used a 6 qt pot with a turkey bag in it and a reflectex cozy on the out side to rehydrate food in after boiling water in the other pot. Extra water was left in the bigger pot and set into another cozy and use for wash water after dinner. Water was still so hot that you had to add a lot of extra water to it to make it cool enough to put your hand in it. The boys found this to be a very easy and very quick. We used less than 6 larger size canister fuel containers total. dave