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Group stoves
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Mallory Caldwell
(mc1263) - F

Locale: Texas
Group stoves on 05/25/2011 14:33:30 MDT Print View

I am confident that this must be well trod ground. But I'm going to ask it anyway. What stove?

I am going on a group trek this summer. 12 of us. 5 nights. Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Dehydrated food.

I own a Jetboil PCS (1 liter). Another mate on the trek owns an MSR Reactor (1.7 liters). Could we supplement this gear with one more stove (e.g., the Jetboil Helios or another Reactor) as well as some of the larger pots (e.g., the 2.5 from MSR and/or the 3 liter for Helios?) and have a good, lightweight system for the group?

Ok -- looking for wisdom. Do we like the canister stove idea? THESE canister stoves? How much boiling capacity am I going to need to rehydrate for 12 people and clean dishes, etc?

All wisdom welcomed.

Mallory Caldwell
(mc1263) - F

Locale: Texas
Did I ask the wrong question? on 05/27/2011 07:02:09 MDT Print View

This post has gotten zero response. Is that because I asked the wrong/dumb questions? There must be advice out there. Tell me what's on your mind.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: How many stoves for group? on 05/27/2011 07:09:35 MDT Print View

I would think that you might need 2 more stoves. Probably could get by with one more. I would not be surprised if others here suggested white gas stoves for cooking, cleaning for so many people. Do you actually cook, or boil water for freezer bag type meals. Where are you planning on using said stoves may also factor in the decision making process.

Edited by kthompson on 05/27/2011 07:13:49 MDT.

Al Nichols
(everready) - F

Locale: Sh!^^% Ohio
Stoves on 05/27/2011 07:13:49 MDT Print View

I'd probably take at least kitchen, 1 stove, pot, fuel for every 3 people. We took a 250 gram canister for 2 people for 5 days, (boil and pour) and we barely had enough fuel. You might want to post your query in the "Scout" forum.


Mallory Caldwell
(mc1263) - F

Locale: Texas
Re-hydrate only on 05/27/2011 07:16:22 MDT Print View

Thanks, Ken. We will be in the blue ridge mountains, in forested campsites, in summer. (So, some altitude, no extreme temperatures).

We will be "re-hydrating" only -- no real cooking.

I'm sure these are novice questions, but what are the arguments for white gas vs. canister?

Mallory Caldwell
(mc1263) - F

Locale: Texas
scouts on 05/27/2011 07:18:08 MDT Print View

Thanks, Al. I will double post into the scout forum as you suggest. And I like the idea of your ratios.

tommy d
(vinovampire) - F
Re: Group stoves on 05/27/2011 07:19:09 MDT Print View

I don't have much insight, since I rarely backpack with groups of that size. Typically I just solo or go with one or two others at most. That said, I imagine that if were to hike with a group of 12, I would want at least another stove or two. One Jetboil and a Reactor among that many people just sounds a little on the low side to me. The two times in 15 years I've gone out with large groups, the water needs seemed to be larger than the same number of people would have had each alone.

Mallory Caldwell
(mc1263) - F

Locale: Texas
Thanks on 05/27/2011 07:29:26 MDT Print View

Thanks, Tommy D. Sounds like there is a consensus building that we need at least 4 stoves for 12 people.

kevin timm
(ktimm) - MLife

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
Wood on 05/27/2011 08:18:42 MDT Print View

That many people, I would cook with a wood stove if feasible.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Stove needs on 05/27/2011 08:40:37 MDT Print View

Unless every one is bent on eating at the exact same time a couple jet boils with 16 oz canisters would boil all the water needed to rehydrate in what 15 minutes and you really dont need water for dishes sand, gravel, leaves or dirt are great to clean up with then just rinse with cold water. White gas would be cheaper to use if you have a stove and weight is not as important.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Group stoves on 05/27/2011 14:03:13 MDT Print View

I used to lead a lot of group trips. For a winter/snow trip, my standard was to have one stove for each four people. For a summer trip, my standard was to have one stove for each six people. I used exclusively white gas stoves. If your meals get complex, you might need more cook pots than that.


Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Rehydrating on 05/27/2011 15:46:54 MDT Print View

As far as rehydrating goes does this just mean pouring in boiling water or cooking and simmering

Mallory Caldwell
(mc1263) - F

Locale: Texas
rehydrating on 05/27/2011 16:00:54 MDT Print View

Yes -- boiling water poured into "backpacker" food -- in turkey bags

Chris W
(simplespirit) - MLife

Locale: .
Re: Group stoves on 05/27/2011 16:23:02 MDT Print View

See this post by Ryan on his site. We used a similar setup (same stove and pot but no windscreen) on the recent UL Scout Leader training and carried 1 stove/pot per group of 6 people.

Dan Cherry
(risingsun) - F

Locale: Northern Arizona
1 stove per 6 people = doable on 05/27/2011 16:31:23 MDT Print View

1 stove per 5 or 6 people sounds about right to me if you want to keep weight to the minimum. Have others not carrying stoves carry spare fuel. A jetboil can boil water so fast I see no reason to have more than 2 stoves if people can be just a little patient and stagger their eating times slightly. Both of those stoves (Jetboil and Reactor) are extremely reliable, so I don't see a need to carry another stove just as a backup backup. My wife always remarks that I can get 2 cups of water to a boil faster with my Jetboil Sol than she can get her coffee, creamer, and sugar into her cup. That's not exaggerating.

We did one Jetboil for 4 people this April and it was turned off more than it was on during dinnertime. I could have easily supplied another 2 or 3 people with boiling water given enough fuel, and it wouldn't have caused any additional wait times.

Edited by risingsun on 05/27/2011 16:35:27 MDT.

Madeline T
(madscot13) - F
group stoves on 05/28/2011 07:37:30 MDT Print View

I've backpacked with 11 and 15 people groups. We use 2 stoves (combinations of dragonfly, MSR gravity MF, and whisperlights). It is more difficult to be ultralight in a group but the way the load is carried across so many backs and how we redistribute the weight to stronger hikers, plus the joy of having so many friends around nullifies any weight penalties in my mind.

We use two stoves to cook pasta in one pot and the sauce in another. Or we will separate the meal into two pots. I'm the camp cook and I've been told that my friends eat better when we are hiking than at home. I guess it comes down to fancy boiling and well prepped foods. If we can get our hands on any fresh veggies and butter we will saute that before hand, but our cooking seldom gets complicated and we are always happy for the lack of fuss at the end of the day. Two stoves just helps to get food out faster.

we use a 6 and 4 L pot for 11 people, and we added a giant pot to that for 15 people. We could have left one of the smaller pots at home but live and learn.

Peter Griffith
(petergriffith) - MLife

Locale: SoCal
Group Stoves on 05/28/2011 08:33:03 MDT Print View

We took a group of 12 scouts/adults on a trans-Sierra week-long backpack trip last summer. All dehydrated food, just boiled water. We used two stoves - MSR WindPro with remote fuel canisters. The key is the pot size. We used 3-4L pots. Two pots of water was enough to prepare the dehydrated food for the whole group at the same time. Once the water was in the food bags, we started more water for drinks and clean up. We boiled water for breakfast and dinner and found we used about 1 fuel canister/day.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Rehydrating on 05/28/2011 10:26:16 MDT Print View

The reason I asked was I used to dehydrate all my own food and found some things like meats and potatos took forever to rehydrate to tender and that took a lot more stove time and fuel. Back then I found it best to heat to boiling then shut it off take the pan off and wrap it up to keep it warm then repeat till done. With time I got a lot better at chosing foods to dehydrate that rehydrate fast. If all you gotta do is boil water and dump it A jet boil would shine. It boils two cups in two minutes so if every meal needs two cups(which Im sure is enough) you have 24 minutes to boil give an extra 10 minutes for time spent filling with water and pouring out and that makes 24 cups boiled in 34 minutes with one stove and there is not anything more fuel efficent than a jet boil so Im sure you are going to have the least amount of fuel used. Two of the heaviest jet boils the PCS weigh 15 oz total each thats 30 oz for two What does one MSR reactor weigh or the other pot stove combos. Normally I use a snow peak gp100 and a snow peak 700 pot as the fuel savings in the jet boil is not enough to offset the weight but in this case 12 people 5 days thats like me goin out for 60 days with out resupply and I think the fuel savings would offset and make jet boils a very light fast option even with the heavier pcs systems like mine. Other wise I think what you got the jet boil and reactor is really all you need. IN THE NAME OF UL!!!

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Group stoves on 05/31/2011 13:27:27 MDT Print View

I've set up several groups with a Windpro & Open Country 4qt aluminum pot combo, should be able to cook for 6 w/the pot... think the pot is ~12oz, stove ~7oz + ~1oz for wind screen.

That said, I wouldn't discount the Reactor. It's the most fuel efficient canister stove I've used, getting nearly double the fuel efficiency of standard canister stoves I've used. Fuel weight's not a small deal when you're heating that much water! If you used Reactors w/the 2.5L Reactor pot, three would get you all done at once. W/two of them for 12, one group of people would have to wait a relatively short turn... no big deal.

Oh, probably figure ~2C/500ml boiled per person per meal.

Mallory Caldwell
(mc1263) - F

Locale: Texas
Formula on 06/01/2011 08:00:02 MDT Print View

First, thanks everyone. Your input all very helpful.

@ Brad: Could you say just a little more about your formula? I'm not sure I understand your intent. (Sorry to be dense).