Forum Index » Editor's Roundtable » Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation


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Mindy Dunham
(mindydunham) - F
Re: Wow - now THIS is how a write-up should be done! on 09/21/2011 11:38:01 MDT Print View

I agree, kudos for this article, it confirmed my thoughts on the jetboil, it's light and just too convenient to use anything else.
Heart

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation on 09/21/2011 12:40:24 MDT Print View

Great article.

A lot depends on the type of trip you take. I went on a week long trip (7 nights) with a couple of other guys last year. We shared cooking equipment, and we chose a canister system. The convenience was appreciated. One of these systems would have been an improvement, and enabled us to carry fewer canisters.

On the other hand, I do a lot of two night solo trips. In that case, alcohol is a great choice. It takes a bit longer to boil the water, but a nice integrated setup (like the Caldera Cone) means that it doesn't take too long. Fuel, stove, (integrated) windscreen, pot and spoon weigh less than one of these systems. It's all about matching the system to the task at hand.

I especially appreciate the "gas mileage" section. Even as a rough estimate it can help aid in determining how much fuel to bring.

vineeth madhusudanan
(vineethm) - MLife

Locale: Pacific North West
Pressure regulator on 09/21/2011 22:36:55 MDT Print View

Roger, you have mentioned in the past some concern about the efficacy of pressure regulators. This review seems to suggest evidence that they are useful. Do you have thoughts on how this might actually work?

Michael Pinkus
(mpinkus)

Locale: Western Canada
Re: Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation on 09/22/2011 01:00:33 MDT Print View

I found it about time that this was done in such depth. I started my PCT thru hike this year with a Caldera Cone and my MSR Titan Kettle. I used it for about 5 days in total when I saw a guy using a Jetboil Sol. He had this neat little package that fit inside the pot, complete. I had bottles and plastic container and the pot. He had 1 minute cup of coffees and I had to wait. I got my girlfriend to send me one and never looked back. The 8 oz. cannister lasted me for almost two weeks on the trail for I cup in the morning and 2 cups at night. I never heated it to a rolling boil as I thought it was kind of dumb to heat something so hot, that you had to wait for it to cool down before drinking. So, I turned it off as soon as I saw the bubbles forming. This was not an option with my Caldera Cone. I always had to guess the amount of fuel for wind/temp and amount of water to be boiled. If you are a thru hiker, the Jetboil is the end all, be all.

Stripped down with a foil lid and 8 oz canister, my aluminum Sol weighs in at 15.9 oz. This is enough fuel to last me two weeks on the trail.

My SP 700 mug and the new Ti Tri ULC with stakes and 8oz of fuel (which won't fit inside the cup) came in at 11.5 oz. This is enough for 4 days on the trail. 1 cup of water took almost 6 minutes in perfect conditions.

Odds are in favour that unless it's an overnight or maybe a weekend trip, the alcohol stove is now a relic.

YMMV

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Pressure regulator on 09/22/2011 04:10:54 MDT Print View

Hi Vineeth

> Roger, you have mentioned in the past some concern about the efficacy of pressure
> regulators. This review seems to suggest evidence that they are useful. Do you
> have thoughts on how this might actually work?

The pressure regulator can be thought of as a safety device - fair enough, although it is not essential. The stove would work fine without the regulator - you might need to be a bit more careful about opening the valve up is all. Proof of this is the fact that most stoves do not have such a pressure regulator, and they all work just fine.

The suggestion that the pressure regulator could help the canister work at a lower temperature is total marketing spin. The laws of physics cannot be violated like that. Butane boils at -0.3 C, and isobutane at -11 C (or thereabouts). Having a pressure regulator there will not change this.

Technical point: the standard needle valve IS a pressure regulator, just not a very stable one. There is NO technical difference between the two things as far as the laws of physics are concerned. Both have a pressure drop across them. For that matter, the jet also has a pressure drop across it. That's how these things work.

What has allowed the marketing guys to make these deceptive claims is the switch from butane/propane mix to isobutane/propane. It is this switch which has allowed top-mounted canister stoves to work at 10 C lower than before.

Cheers

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
my input on 09/22/2011 07:33:15 MDT Print View

Roger is certainly correct in saying the laws of physics can't be violated. An automatic pressure regulator is a convenience. With a good one, the same valve setting will put out the same heat from a full canister to a nearly depleted one. That capability should save fuel because the user doesn't need to do (or forget to do) the regulating manually.

Perhaps I missed it, but nowhere in this article did I see the weight(s) of those thick-walled steel canisters included. Something I find a bit odd at a publication named "Backpacking LIGHT". Alcohol can be carried in a thin-walled plastic bottle, and a soda can stove can weigh as little as half an ounce, but you make the comparison difficult by not giving a weight range for canisters.

While I found the test data informative, I thought the data presentation was unnecessarily complicated. After a few seconds to heat the bottom of the pot, the temperature curves are essentially straight lines. I've tested a lot of stoves and found this to be the case generally. Given that, most of what this long article said could be summed up by a simple table or two giving "Power to the Pot" figures under the wind and ambient temperature conditions you tested.

This number allows the user to easily estimate boil times for different volumes of water at different starting temperatures. It gets really easy if the power is given in calories and the temperatures are in degrees C instead of the significantly more arcane BTU's per Hour. (each 1000 calories heats a liter 1 degree C)

I extracted the calories/sec to the pot from your plot and was able to synthesize your efficiency numbers and boil times to reasonable accuracy. If I'd had access to the original data, the accuracy would have been even better.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: my input on 09/22/2011 09:29:18 MDT Print View

The weights of the canisters are assumed fixed. The weights of the stoves are variable, which is what needs to be compared.

Why would you bring up alcohol when this is a canister stover review?

Ross Bleakney
(rossbleakney) - MLife

Locale: Cascades
Re: Re: my input on 09/22/2011 10:10:33 MDT Print View

I think the weight of the canister is relevant when it comes to the big picture. This article is outstanding. It compares apples to apples. It also does a great job in addressing the big picture, in that it suggests that you can often save weight by carrying a heavy system like this (if you need to boil enough water). The "gas mileage" section is an excellent way to look at that.

I think it be great if there was a followup article comparing a few stove systems, and the fuel needed to heat water. The gas mileage section is a good start. At what point, though, does a canister fuel stove save weight (over an alcohol stove)? Two gallons, five gallons, ten gallons? At what point does an integrated canister system save weight over that? A chart with a few graphs would give a good idea of when it makes sense to carry alcohol, and when it makes sense to carry a canister (from a weight perspective). At this point, I think all that is needed is just crunching the numbers (assuming the numbers on alcohol stoves is sitting around).

Michael Pinkus
(mpinkus)

Locale: Western Canada
Re: Re: Re: my input on 09/22/2011 10:25:48 MDT Print View

Ross,
If you go to thruhiker.com they have a very nice write up with charts and graphs on the efficiencies of stoves over time. It's quite an informative article.

cheers,
Mike

Keith Selbo
(herman666) - F - M

Locale: Northern Virginia
Re: Re: my input on 09/22/2011 10:59:43 MDT Print View

"The weights of the canisters are assumed fixed. The weights of the stoves are variable, which is what needs to be compared.

Why would you bring up alcohol when this is a canister stover review?"


The canister weight is very important to someone who's trying to decide if one of these stoves is a better choice than an some other type of stove. You're assuming that anyone reading this article should be doing so only to decide which of these stoves is best. That isn't the case. I read it to decide if I should consider any of them over the other choices out there.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Canister weight on 09/22/2011 11:42:41 MDT Print View

The canister weight for a 4oz Isobutane MSR canister is 6.7oz. It will be fixed for all the stoves used. Now should you want to use a canister stove, and want the lightest, then the only thing you should be concerned about is the varying stove weights.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Stove systems comparison on 09/22/2011 13:19:01 MDT Print View

Ross,
Will did a great comparison back in 2006 of 6 systems and as I remember alcohol beat out a top mount canister up to a trip length of 7 days.

You can find it here

David,
my scales say an empty MSR canister is 4.8 oz. and a Snowpeak is 5.3

Michael Fogarty
(mfog1) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Sol on 09/22/2011 23:24:24 MDT Print View

I recently used the Jetboil Sol Alum, on a 6 day hike in the Tetons and loved it, other than the balky piezo lighter. I had to play with the wire to alter the spark location, seems to work OK now? I love the speed and convenience of system, a small canister and the burner unit will store inside the pot/mug. The speed in which it brings 16oz to a boil is amazing and the boil indicator actually works quite well. Its my go to stove now, its worth the extra weight for me personally.

Edited by mfog1 on 09/22/2011 23:26:14 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
closet on 09/23/2011 00:59:44 MDT Print View

ya gotta luv it when all these hidden jetboilers come out of the closet ;)

that said, ive been noticing a bit more of a trend on BPL less about absolute weight and more about function and convenience/comfort ... ie value IMO ...

jeboils, "framed" (or at least with stays) packs, double wall tents (or single wall with add ons), neo airs, etc ...

Clayton Black
(Jivaro) - MLife
Jetboil Flash Igniter Problems on 09/23/2011 07:08:33 MDT Print View

I have used a Jetboil Flash extensively in cold wet conditions. I simply do not trust the igniter. It fails or refuses to ignite way to often. My son brought his down with the same results. I carry a mini bic as a main fire starter - problem solved. Since only the large canisters are available in Ecuador (so as far as I have discovered) I only use it when I am accompanied now. The less than 2 minute boil times means the sweet nectar of java is warming my body that much quicker but the weight penalty and failing igniter has me leaving it behind more often than not. I recently purchased a caldera cone keg system and have used it several times with satisfying results.

I would seriously consider the Sol Ti if I could find the small canisters.

Jim Sweeney
(swimjay) - MLife

Locale: Northern California
Out of the closet on 09/23/2011 09:12:03 MDT Print View

At least now, Eric, we don't need to go in disguise when we take our jetboils to the back country. The weight of that false beard was killing me.
In general I think you're right; there's a kind of pendulum swing, where you look at how absolutely light can you go, and then consider what you might gain by "spending" a few ounces--use a 9 oz Neoair vs. a 3 oz piece of foam, avoid back surgery, that kind of thing.

Clayton--I've also had problems with the igniter on my Snow Peak GigaPower GST-100a. For long periods of time the igniter won't work, then one day it will start working again, for no obvious reason. So, like you, I have to carry a back-up Bic.

Edited by swimjay on 09/23/2011 11:00:22 MDT.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation on 09/23/2011 11:04:03 MDT Print View

"David,
my scales say an empty MSR canister is 4.8 oz. and a Snowpeak is 5.3"

I just weighed a new, full 4oz MSR canister on my digital scale and it shows 6.7oz.

Alex H
(abhitt) - MLife

Locale: southern appalachians or desert SW
Re: Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation on 09/23/2011 11:42:32 MDT Print View

David,
sorry I was talking about 8 oz. canisters, didn't think about the 4 oz. ones.

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Re: Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation on 09/23/2011 11:48:34 MDT Print View

Thanks Alex.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation on 09/23/2011 20:53:51 MDT Print View

Boy, I would love to see a repeat of the snow-melting test in 20 degree temperatures instead of 45, and just for fun with a Simmerlite and an inverted canister stove thrown in there. That would answer all my questions about the most efficient system for melting and boiling for my backcountry ski tours.
Oh, and the test needs to be run until each stove has used up a full 220 gm canister, so we see how much performance tails off.
How 'bout it, Will?