I just returned from a partially aborted backpacking trip, largely due to equipment failure. Long story short--my stove setup failed on me, leaving me with no means to melt snow for food and water, so I went home earlier than expected.
Here's what I was working with
1) Primus Express Spider remote canister stove
2) Snowpeak 220 gram large canister
Heres what happened:
Cooked dinner a couple of days with the stovesetup...things went as good as possible for a gas canister stove in winter conditions. I used the gas canister inverted everytime. When the gas canister wasnt being used, it was either in my down parka, or placed in my sleeping bag. Here's what happened on the bailout morning. Woke up, and went to setup the stove for breakfast. I noticed that the valve at the end of the spider's remote hose had some ice caked into it. This was likely due to the fact that I stored the spider stove inside my cookpot which probably had a small amount of water in it . I left the cookpot sitting around in the tent, and not in my bag, so whatever moisture was in the pot/stove froze. Anways, I cleared the ice by dipping the hose/valve in some warm water that I had been saving as seedwater for snow melting. This water had been in my sleeping bag, so it melted off all the ice fine. Hooked up the stove to the gas canister, turned the valve on, and could hear sputtering. Unscrewed the setup, warmed the gas can a bit more in my bag, and tried again. This time after I reconnecting it, and opening up the stove's valve, I got nothing, no sputtering, just nothing. When I went to unscrew the setup to reinspect, a bit of gas hissed/escaped as I unscrewed it. It never worked again during that morning. Thankfully, a couple in a nearby tent had a jetboil that I was able to borrow. All this time, I cursed the weight of the jetboil, but here it was saving my A**. I used my own gas can (the same one), but with their jetboil, and it worked out okay. The flame would flare like crazy at times, but I figured this was due to the cold temps. At this point, I believed the primus spider was soley responsible for my misery, since the same gas canister was working on their jetboil. I thought perhaps something was blocking the valve in the spider's remote hose, or something was frozen and not letting gas through
I get to the comfort of my own home that night to make sure that my stove is okay and that it was only a temporary bust. But here is where it gets weird. I hook up the stove to the same snowpeak canister used during my trip, and its working kind of half-ass...turning the valve does nothing to control the gas output/flame intensity...but it does produce a constant flame. I hook up the same snowpeak canister to a different canister stove (optimus crux), and I can't even get that crux to turn on...it's as if the stem on the crux isn't long enough to hit the gas-release stem on the gas canister. Confused, I grab another older partially used 110g snowpeak gas canister from my gear closet. I hook this older gas can up with my questionable primus spider, and it works flawlessly--valve controls flame output etc. I then try this older 110g canister on crux canister stove (the one that wouldn't even turn on with the questionable larger 220g snowpeak can) and it works flawlessly too. For good measure, i retry both stoves, with the larger snowpeak 220g gas canister (the one used over the weekend) and now both of the stoves won't turn on, even though it was working half-ass just minutes before with the primus spider. Seems like the gas-release stem on the larger 220g canister isn't resetting itself properly, so that when I attach a stove to it, the gas canister's stem isn't high enough for the stove push down on--so no pressure on the stem= no gas released.
Anyone want to give me their thoughts on this? Anyone ever have a bad canister before? Maybe both my canister and stove were acting funky because of the temps (5-10 degrees). I'm thinking next time I will def sleep with the stove in my bag, and maybe bring two 110 gram gas cans instead of one 220 gram canister so I don't put all my eggs in one basket.