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Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
Winter stove ? on 04/26/2011 22:04:57 MDT Print View

I have a MSR Whisperlite international, and was wondering how it stacks up to the MSR Simmerlite, as far as melting snow, and all around cooking. I've only had experience with the Whisperlite. Thanks in advance Jack

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Winter stove ? on 04/26/2011 22:15:17 MDT Print View

The Simmerlite uses white gas only. The Whisperlite Internationale uses white gas, kerosene, or some other liquid fuels. That is not a big deal unless you travel outside the U.S. where white gas is plentiful.

The Whisperlite Internationale is slightly faster at a boil, but not by much, and it is slightly heavier overall. The burner is a slightly quieter assembly than the venerable XGK.

For winter use, I don't think that you will see a lot of difference.

--B.G.--

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
RE STOVES on 04/26/2011 22:37:54 MDT Print View

Thanks Bob, that's what I was wondering, if I can save a few oz using the Simmerlite, and still get the same results, I'll probably buy a Simmerlite and sell my one of my Whisperlite's. Thanks, Jack

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: RE STOVES on 04/26/2011 22:51:01 MDT Print View

We better speak softly. There are some people around here who don't like liquid fuel stoves. Besides, it builds character to be able to walk around with one eyebrow singed off.

--B.G.--

Backpack Jack
(jumpbackjack) - F - M

Locale: Armpit of California
RE STOVES on 04/26/2011 23:15:45 MDT Print View

Gotcha `:) But we both know nothing melts snow faster than white gas, or a big bon- fire.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: RE STOVES on 04/26/2011 23:41:43 MDT Print View

Jack, there are people around here who beg to differ.

There are lots of small stoves that can be proven in for small-scale cooking in summer. But when there are multiple mouths to feed, or when there is snow to melt, white gas is almost my only choice. If you add in the factor of fuel cost, then white gas is my only choice.

I haven't taken an inventory lately. At one point in time fifteen or twenty years ago, I owned six MSR stoves. Now I am probably down to only 3 white gas and 2 pocket rockets.

--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: RE STOVES on 04/27/2011 04:33:52 MDT Print View

> we both know nothing melts snow faster than white gas,

A typical white gas stove may put out 2.4 kW according to the vendor.
A typical small canister stove can put out >3 kW.

Could it be that you are confusing noise with power?

Cheers

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Winter stove or all year on week long trips. on 04/27/2011 05:12:54 MDT Print View

It depends on how many people you go with.
Neither are what I would think of as efficient. The best I could manage was about 1/3oz per liter, about average for the SVEA. Both require what I consider a high flame setting or they go out. (They run about 3,000BTU or so, slightly less than 1/4 the full output. The svea runs about 800btu output, slightly more than an alky stove. Max out put is about 5000BTU.) The best I have managed with them is ~1/4oz (.23oz average for 5 runs) per liter. For 2-3 people, it makes a lot of sense to go with WG. But, that said, the pumping mechanisms tend to be a point of failure.

Fuel density of alky and canisters are so close as to call them even after calculating the weight of a plastic bottle and cannister in.

Fuel density for WG (depending on the brand) is around 3/4 more than either using a PET (plastic water bottle) to carry fuel. This assumes you have a self contained WG stove. Neither of the ones you mention, qualify.

Consumption is a BIG BIG variable. Due to the weight of the stoves (empty, the SVEA weighs ~16-17oz...it varies.) For me and being out >5 days for two people, it about breaks even with alky for weight. Canisters go about 6 days, but a lot depends on the type of canister you use. Coleman 8oz weigh close to 16oz for example. MSR 8oz weigh closer to 14oz. Neither of the two you mention will break even till 10-12 days with alky. Melting snow is not really the best use for alky or canisters, but canisters are somewhat better than alky. Usually, you need good output, you don't really care about fuel weights in winter. The Simmerlite really puts out some heat of you have a good wide bottomed pan to use it.

A TALL cone can be used, instead of the pot stand. Just insure you move the pan about 1/2-3/4" above the pot stand if you decide to try this. WELL worth it in IMHO. But, this can be dangerous with canisters, overheating and all that. It works well with a Simmerlite & kin, though. Even the SVEA gets to hot after a liter.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Winter stove or all year on week long trips. on 04/27/2011 13:47:12 MDT Print View

"For 2-3 people, it makes a lot of sense to go with WG."

For summer trips, I used to take one white gas stove for each six people. On one summer trip, the other guy's stove failed, so I ended up doing all of the cooking for twelve people with a single stove. For winter trips, I took one white gas stove for each four people.

"But, that said, the pumping mechanisms tend to be a point of failure."

That's interesting. I've used MSR pump stoves for over thirty years without a pump mechanism failing. Maybe you are doing something wrong.

One time the other guy brought a Svea 123 with the mini-pump. When it was time to light it, he primed it with just a drop or two of fuel, pumped a few strokes, and then lit the match. The stove sputtered and went out. Then he primed it again with several more drops of fuel, pumped it more strokes, and then lit the match. The stove sputtered out again. Then he primed it with several spoons full of fuel, pumped it up to the maximum, and then lit the match. Yes, it lit. Then there was so much fire and pressure that it blew the safety valve inside the mini-pump cap, so there was a flamethrower shooting out at a 45 degree angle. That was quite exciting. I decided to stick to MSR stoves after that.

--B.G.--

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Winter stove or all year on week long trips. on 04/27/2011 14:24:08 MDT Print View

You know, I thought more about this. I guessed that there is some major difference as to why some people like white gas stoves and others hate them. Perhaps it is fuel cost.

Back in the old days 25-30 years ago, I used to buy white gas for $3 per gallon. Now, of course with oil prices going up the way they are, white gas goes for about $9 per gallon. I was in a mom and pop camping store the other day, and they charged $13 per gallon for white gas.

From the "green" standpoint, I think it is more ecologically sound to purchase white gas in a gallon container than it is to purchase butane blend in a small non-refillable container. Some alcohols are better yet.

--B.G.--

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Winter stove or all year on week long trips. on 04/27/2011 15:59:07 MDT Print View

The pumps on two have failed for me. An older Coleman Peak (repaired and given away many moons ago,) and the old first generation Whisperlite bought as a replacement for the SVEA. The "guts" blew out the back end when my finger slipped off the plunger. The old Coleman WWII stove worked for a while but was really getting rusty, I threw it in the trash rather than risk anyone getting hurt using it. This had an old leather washer in it. Anyway, one of the reasons I went back, besides the shere fuel usage...no one could claim the Whisperlite was all that efficient.

The old SVEA 123 had that problem due to the lack of cleaning at the fuel jet. The 123R, did not. A crank to the clean position always let it start easily. The Midi pump was only for starting it really, 'cept in 20 degree weather or colder. Just turn it on till fuel dribbles down the outside of the stem, then turn it off and fire it up.

Yeah, I have had it overheat inside of a cone like that. Also, when I ran out of fuel and added some acetone to stretch what I had. It boiled a liter and started to vent out the safety.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Winter stove or all year on week long trips. on 04/27/2011 23:54:19 MDT Print View

One problem was seen a lot on MSR pumps of a certain mid-vintage. The oldest MSR pumps had a one-piece plastic retainer cap that held the plunger in place. Then MSR got cute and went to a two-piece plastic retainer cap. The intention was that you could split the two pieces apart and remove the retainer from the plunger stick. Well, what did that achieve? Some buyers got the thing and did not study how all of that was assembled. The two-piece retainer got twisted and it pulled out, allowing the two pieces to fall apart. Or rather one piece fell off the plunger and left one half there. Since the pieces were black plastic, they were easily lost. So, MSR's little improvement became a weak point for the stove operators who were not familiar with its assembly. Fortunately for me, I saw that problem on another person's stove before I purchased the same vintage for myself. Some of us were known to spread a few drops of airplane glue on there to keep the two pieces together and keep it perfect. I've heard that they went to a different retainer design for the newest vintage pumps.

Yes, each of those stoves had its own personality, and you really had to understand your own stove to know how to keep it running perfectly. But stovies are into that.

Wow! You want to talk about multipurpose gear. A good liquid fuel stove can also thaw out your frozen water pipes in the winter. I actually had to do that one time on a ski hut trip.

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Winter stove or all year on week long trips. on 04/28/2011 01:45:01 MDT Print View

Over the years (decades) I have found the MSR stoves and the Svea 123 (not r) all to be very reliable. Never had a problem with any of them, and like Bob have an assortment in the garage. As my first stove the Svea has its own special charm and the brass is just plain cool looking. But for snow, the MSRs do a much better job, hands down. No comparison.

At a much higher weight penalty the DragonFly is more efficient and boils water quicker than the other two MSR stoves mentioned. Plus it is more stable and easier to use larger pots for snow. For more than 1 person when melting a lot of snow, it might be the one to consider. Plus it is much easier to use if you want to actually cook and simmer stuff. But is does sound like a jet engine.

The MSR WindPro is basically a canister SimmerLite. In its normal set-up with an upright canister it is a little more efficient than the DragonFly, but takes longer to boil water. Not a winter stove, unless you invert the canister -- which is not recommended by MSR (probably for legal reasons). It is not that easy to invert it, because of the braided fuel line. Some people have disassembled and reset the fitting so it can easily invert the canister. I am not that comfortable with doing that. Supposedly it will function as a good winter stove with the canister inverted. Roger was written a few articles about it. This past winter I used the SimmerLite as my snow melter. At 10,000 feet in sub freezing temperature it did not "seem" to have the output of my other MSR stoves. Nothing scientific here, but it did seem to take a lot longer than the other stoves I have used. Next winter I will probably go back to WG.

Regarding the other 3 seasons, canister, alcohol, or esbit are my preferred stoves. Mostly a Caldera Cone with esbit nowadays. But I never have to cook for more than one person, and I really just boil water, not cook.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Winter stove or all year on week long trips. on 04/28/2011 14:26:01 MDT Print View

"But is does sound like a jet engine."

Yes. Isn't it great?

--B.G.--

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Winter stove or all year on week long trips. on 04/28/2011 14:49:24 MDT Print View

Yes, the noise just makes your feel warmer!!

Katharina ....
(Kat_P) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Coast
Winter Stove on 04/28/2011 15:07:16 MDT Print View

An option is the Borde Kocher, unfortunately named Borde Bomb, here in the Us.
You would need to bring a pot support and something for the stove to stand on, because it heats up and would melt the snow it is sitting on.
It has been a favorite for alpine winter cooking for a very long time.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
ACTUALLY... on 04/28/2011 23:23:42 MDT Print View

... I'm finding my Caldera Cone Sidewinder with the woodburning Inferno inner is good for winter. Wood is easy to find and it only uses two large handsfull of twigs for a 20 minute fire.

All I had to do was add a 1/8" thick plywood piece (sealed with Thompson's Water Seal) under the Ti bottom sheet to keep it from melting down into my stomped out snow "kitchen".

Ah yes, what if you're stormbound? Well, in that case I carry ESBIT or FireLite fuel tabs and the Gram Cracker fuel tab holder. I can cook in my (downwind vented) vestibule with fuel tabs. Works for me.

BTW, For truly outrageous cold and windy weather I still take my heavy MSR Dragonfly multi-fuel stove. Utterly reliable and it simmers low enough to bake with and to conserve fuel. It simmers even lower that a Simmerlite.

Nick, Hee, hee, an Old Timer like me will be buried with his MSR Dragonfly. I'll never give that up.

Edited by Danepacker on 04/28/2011 23:35:50 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: ACTUALLY... on 04/28/2011 23:27:27 MDT Print View

Eric,

You scared me for a second there! No way would you give up that multi-fuel stove :)

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: ACTUALLY... on 04/28/2011 23:35:48 MDT Print View

I forgot that Eric has a different perspective of what is winter.

When I used my Titanium Caldera in deep snow country, all I could find was a bunch of damp pine needles and twigs, so the stove was very smoky. I guess that is better than nothing.

--B.G.--

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
One of these days... on 04/28/2011 23:42:52 MDT Print View

One of these days I'll likely be in the same predicament as Bob - not being able to find dry wood for my CC Inferno. I dread that situation. So far I've been fortunate here in the Spring Mountains where there is a lot of dry, dead branches still on the Ponderosa and Jeffery pines above 7,000 ft. Too bad there's no dead hardwood branches. That stuff, like oak and maple, burns longer.

I'll hope that ESBIT will do it if I can't find dry wood. If not it will be cold food or energy bars. Been there too when I can't cook B/C I'm hunting.