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J P
(jpovs) - F - M
Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 08:34:40 MDT Print View

Hi, I am looking for a lightweight winter stove that I would plan on using in Minnesota. I plan on only boiling water and melting snow with it. I have been told that white gas is the way to go for cold winter weather. The stove I have been looking at is the MSR Simmerlite. I would appreciate any recomendations you might have for a better or lighter one. Thank you in advance for the help. Josh

Edited by jpovs on 07/14/2011 09:06:03 MDT.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 09:03:58 MDT Print View

Are you melting snow for only one person, or more in the group?

For winter in California, I've used mostly MSR XGK stoves, but the other MSR white gas stoves aren't too much different. Not the very lightest stoves in town, but very dependable. For winter use, my standard is one XGK for each 4 people. For summer use, I shift that to one XGK for each 5 or 6 people.

--B.G.--

J P
(jpovs) - F - M
Re: Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 09:06:51 MDT Print View

I would only plan on using it for me and my dog.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 09:16:42 MDT Print View

Have the dog carry the stove and fuel in its dog pack.

I don't know exactly what your snow is like, but you'll probably want a snow melt pot that is at least 2 quarts in size. Also, to be fuel efficient, you'll want a pot about that size, and you'll want a full windscreen that comes up to the top of the pot.

My dog owner friends take an old foam pad piece for the dog to sleep on, and sometimes an old synthetic blanket for it to sleep under.

--B.G.--

James Klein
(jnklein21) - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 09:35:08 MDT Print View

not sure if you are asking for specific white gas options but...

I would look into remote cansiter setups, w/ preheat tube aslo...I wonder how the MSR windpro would fair in the temperatures you expect. I bet it would be pretty good.
For a little less money you could get a Primus Express Spider stove.

J P
(jpovs) - F - M
Re: Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 09:55:24 MDT Print View

not sure if you are asking for specific white gas options but...

It doesnt need to be white gas. I mentioned white gas because I have been told by a salesmen that its the best for cold weather. Im more or less looking for the lightest weight stove that could be used at -10*F for boiling water and melting snow. Thanks you, Josh

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 09:59:02 MDT Print View

An ordinary butane blend stove is probably a bad choice. A remote canister stove will be lightweight. A white gas stove will be much cheaper to operate, but that is only a factor if you are out a lot.

--B.G.--

Brian Lindahl
(lindahlb) - MLife

Locale: Colorado Rockies
Re: Re: Re: Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 10:58:30 MDT Print View

If you want a canister stove, look into the MSR Reactor. I've heard it works better than the WindPro (and other inverted canister stoves) for effeciency and winter-like conditions, especially once wind comes into play. However, you can't use it inside a tent or vestibule (too much CO), so maybe that's a dealbreaker. Use a container of water to keep the canister warm (submerge it) - you can warm the water too. Use powermax canisters, they function better in cold weather. Keep the canisters warm in your jacket or sleeping bag before using. I've used canister stoves successfully down to about 15 degrees. You could probably push that another 5-10 degrees.

However, if you're talking about really cold temperatures, you'll want to go with a white gas stove.

Edited by lindahlb on 07/14/2011 11:42:39 MDT.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 11:03:06 MDT Print View

If you want to go white gas - the Simmerlite is about as light as it gets. I use one for my snow camping trips. The Whisperlite is almost as light and from my testing of the two stoves it is slightly more fuel efficient, so if your trips are like a week or more then they come out about the same for total weight including fuel.
I am thinking of switching to an inverted canister stove - just ordered one of these: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130448000460&ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:US:1123

But I do not face temperatures as cold as you will. My understanding is that even an inverted canister stove is not so good below about 20 or 25 below zero, and you might find yourself out in that kind of weather in Minnesota. White gas definitely will do the job at those temps and below.

I have played around with the numbers a lot in considering whether to switch stoves from my Simmerlite, and the difference in weight looks to be really small, with the canister stove slightly ahead on short trips, and the white gas stove becoming the lightest on a longer trip due to the fact that you can carry extra white gas in a plastic bottle, while the weight of the additional canisters is unavoidable. This is assuming your cuisine is as simple as mine - I light the stove once in the morning and once at night. If you tend to relight your stove a few times each meal, then the canister stove gets the edge since you don't have to use up fuel re-priming.
So my conclusion is to consider the weight about equal, and make your decision on other factors - convenience, safety, performance in extreme cold, reliability (canisters win that one), etc. White gas does cost less, but unless you're going out every weekend the cost isn't much anyway.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
X-GK's on 07/14/2011 11:08:55 MDT Print View

The fastest are the MSR X-GK stoves, noisy though, but ok for your dog and yourself. The latest version is only a tad slower per one review I read by less than half a minute. An old MSR Firefly would throw the heat out also. I have not had a chance to use my two in winter conditions yet as I just learned about them this last winter along with the X-GK family, so have added them to my stove collection. Many other brands that burn white gas would be suitable also if not a MSR fan. Check out Evilbay for used stoves, they may go at 3/4 of the new price. Be sure they come with the pump as that may cost a bit if you can find one and the hassle. Some pumps may only work for that brand of fuel bottle also.

Duane
PS also heard the Simmerlite isn't that good at a simmer, but that was only from one user. But if you have one, you would be familiar with it.

Edited by hikerduane on 07/14/2011 11:10:24 MDT.

J P
(jpovs) - F - M
Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 12:27:41 MDT Print View

Thanks for the input, it is much appreaciated. It sounds like for the temperatures im going to experience (-10*F or colder) that white gas sounds the most reliable. The guy at the store (the store was a recent #1 outdoor retailer BPM) didnt recomend the Simmerlite for winter use. Not sure why he said that. I have done a few hours of research online seeing what others use for winter and I see alot of people using the MSR Simmerlite, which is also the lightest I have found. The only problem I have herd about this is simmering, which doesnt really matter to me since Im not cooking with it. Is there a lighter weight white gas stove out there? Has anyone had problems with the Simmerlite in the winter at frigid temps?
Thanks in advance, Josh

Matthew Perry
(bigfoot2) - F

Locale: Oregon
Borde "Bomb" on 07/14/2011 13:44:21 MDT Print View

If you can find it, the HOLY GRAIL of winter stoves looks like this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XeujsvY1N9s&feature=related

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 15:03:04 MDT Print View

This is a subject of great debate. Roger Caffin has written several articles, and he does favor canister stoves in a lot of winter conditions if they are used properly.

I have used a WhisperLite for years. But for winter have had much better luck with the heavier DragonFly. The DragonFly is noisy too. But it is more stable on the ground and holding a pot. The DragonFly needs a wider flat area to sit on to keep it level, because of the designs of the legs. Pots are much more stable on the DragonFly. The DragonFly can handle multiple fuels, the WhisperLite is white gas only, except for the Internationale versions, which is slightly heavier. The DragonFly simmers best of all the MSR liquid stoves I have used. The WhisperLite can nest in some 1-liter pots, the DragonFly can nest in some 2-liter pots... but for winter work you are probably going to want a larger pot. The external windscreens for both are flimsy aluminum which have to be staked down in wind. The DragonFly is less susceptible to wind since it is somewhat protected by the structure below it while the WhisperLite's burner is exposed.

I think Bob G is partial to the XGK if I remember correctly. I have never used one. It is a little lighter than the DragonFly, looks more stable and is a little more compact for storage. The burner sits down inside the structure also. It will handle a wider pot than the other MSR stoves.

This past winter I used a WindPro exclusively, with an inverted canister. It is the canister version of the SimmerLite. Several trips had temps in the low 20F range. Overall it "seemed" the WindPro was not effective as the DragonFly or the WhisperLite. I have several of the used canisters on my bookshelf with masking tape on them detailing the meals I cooked. When I have time I am going to weigh the fuel consumed and try to determine how well they worked. Right now, I am leaning towards going back to the DragonFly next winter.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 15:25:13 MDT Print View

"I think Bob G is partial to the XGK if I remember correctly. I have never used one. It is a little lighter than the DragonFly, looks more stable and is a little more compact for storage. The burner sits down inside the structure also. It will handle a wider pot than the other MSR stoves."

I've been using some MSR white gas stove or another for over thirty years now. First, it was model G (white gas), then model GK (white gas or kerosene), then model XGK (same), then model XGK-II (same). At one point in time when I led lots of group trips, I had five or six of them in service, and I used them with cook pots from 1 quart size up to 6 quarts. I found that they didn't hold up so good if you backed over them in a truck.

It is multiple use. It also doubles as an alarm clock in the morning. You light it up, and it wakes up everybody else in the group.

--B.G.--

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Winter Stove on 07/14/2011 16:12:54 MDT Print View

Josh:

For you and the dog, the Simmerlite is a decent choice for -10F weather. The Simmerlite is about the lightest white gasoline stove out there, it's pretty sturdy, and with its very flexible fuel line, packs smaller than a lot of comparable stoves. Its reputation is that it's not as fuel efficient as something like an XGK, but I think it's good enough. It's also not as hot as an XGK, but again, for you and the dog, it should be more than enough.

Some of the others here were talking about gas stoves, which, if you get a remote canister stove that can be run with the canister upside down, are generally a good choice for cold weather. However, if you're planning on being down as low as -10F, then white gas is a good choice. Even remote canister stoves run with the canister upside down will start having problems down that low.

I think the Simmerlite will be a good choice for you.

HJ

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Winter Stove, I confess on 07/14/2011 16:43:50 MDT Print View

I confess.

Even I own a Simmerlite.

--B.G.--

Andy F
(AndyF) - M
Winter Stove: different perspective on 07/14/2011 20:54:05 MDT Print View

A campfire is warmer and weighs less. But, you probably have a good reason for using a stove instead. :)

You might consider a Bushbuddy or MYOG woodburning stove, although these take longer to boil or melt water than either a campfire or gas stove.

Benen Huntley
(benen) - MLife

Locale: South Australia
Dragonfly on 07/15/2011 02:57:44 MDT Print View

I can definitely vouch for the Dragonfly, especially in winter here which is usually around 32 at night. I have two as I use them for car camping too. They are very stable, much hotter than my canister stove. They are even hot enough to do a big stir fry in a wok at home. I use it for that instead of our electric stove. I love that you can choose exactly how much fuel you take with a liquid fuel stove.
Easy to service and 100% reliable so far but definitely not very light though.

Benen

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Dragonfly on 07/15/2011 05:01:01 MDT Print View

Now that the US space program has ended. Us dragonfly owners will just have to fire them up a few months to experience that 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 dragonfly ignition - loud screaming jet louder louder

Heavy and seldom used by me anymore but I will never part with it

: )

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Dragonfly Stove on 07/15/2011 12:47:20 MDT Print View

Interesting that so many people on an ultralight forum would be fans of the D'fly. It's powerful, and it simmers well, but it's a heavy beast.

My experience with the D'fly is that it jams a lot more often than other MSR stoves that I've used. The little inline fuel filter where the fuel line inserts into the pump is quite susceptible to getting jammed with the least little bit of crud that's in your gas. Other MSR stoves that just have a filter on the fuel intake of the pump seem less susceptible to jamming.

HJ