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Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation
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Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Lightweight Integrated Canister Fuel Cooking Systems State of the Market Report 2011: Part 1 – Overview and Performance Evaluation on 09/24/2011 03:24:14 MDT Print View

"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."

Indeed it will, but this will depend very much on the gas used. Jetboil Jetpower gas (and MSR IsoPro) is mainly iso-Butane and so should continue to work at 20F (-6.7C) with a (small?) drop in performance when used with the upright stoves - Jetboil or the Gnat. A propane/butane gas mix would be very different - it would stop working altogether at about 1/2 full.

The inverted canister stove and the Simmerlight should work with no drop in performance at all.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Conventional top-mount fuel efficiency on 09/26/2011 16:04:18 MDT Print View

Article says:

> A conventional top-mount stove is simply not as fuel efficient as an integrated stove

I understand this is all quite complicated as the variables are many but I must say I consistently get these results from a conventional top-mount:

52 pints heated / 8 oz canister

Burner is a Coleman F1 UL (77 gr)
Pot is the most common Titan kettle (90 gr without the lid)
Lid is the usual aluminum foil (aprox. 3 gr)
Windscreen is made out of a pie baking pan (aprox. 8 gr)

For a total of 178 gr or 6.3 oz

Water is heated, not boiled (hot enough for the typical meal rehydrated in a bag). Moderate/low flame. All pints were heated on the field in the summer mountains so it's as representative of real conditions as it can get.

This is quite as good as the best integrated stove in the review for 1+ oz less weight. I never noted (or cared about) the heating time, it was acceptable; one minute more or less won't usually make a difference to me. I know the comparison with the report tests may not be fair though. I just wanted to show what can be made with a most conventional, simple burner.

In my limited experience, I think a good windscreen is key even in calm conditions. That and a low flame, a properly sized pot and some discipline to keep an eye on the operation to turn the stove off when the water is hot enough. And I like the simplicity and low bulk of the whole arrangement (even the shabby looking windscreen) over the more polished and colourful Jetboil.

It's still good to see Jetboil tried to make it light and efficient.

Great report, as usual.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Conventional top-mount fuel efficiency on 09/26/2011 17:27:08 MDT Print View

> a good windscreen is key even in calm conditions. That and a low flame, a properly sized pot

How very true!

> some discipline to keep an eye on the operation to turn the stove off when the water is hot enough.
And not leave the stove running for a few minutes through lazyness - a very common problem with liquid-fueld stoves since they take a bit of priming.

Cheers

Warren Greer
(WarrenGreer) - F

Locale: SoCal
Basically on 09/26/2011 21:33:26 MDT Print View

The integrated stove is good for that really long trip vs. an Esbit stove which is good for week-long trips and much lighter, especially at an near the end of a trip. It has no empty canister to carry back home. But the Esbit is slower to heat the water, though it has never bothered me.

With the kind of progress noted in these integrated stoves, it may not take too many more years where they are competitive on a shorter trip basis. (though five days is long for me, for sure. Its neat to see the improvement and the convience.

Will and Janet, monumental effort. What BPL should be all about.

-PS please don't spank me cause' I brought up Esbit in a gas stove discussion. It's relevant just like Ross' alchohol comments.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
windscreen on 09/26/2011 22:12:02 MDT Print View

one note about windscreens for jetboils ...

i just sit with it between my boots /shoes and huddle around it with my back to the wind ... seems to work decently enough

if its windier ... repeat with addtional bodies around it .... they wont complain over a chance to warm their hands ...

Dave U
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Rockies
Re: Basically on 09/26/2011 23:36:17 MDT Print View

"PS please don't spank me cause' I brought up Esbit in a gas stove discussion. It's relevant just like Ross' alchohol comments."

I won't spank you but no, the alchohol commentary was not relevant in a discussion about CANISTER STOVES.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
stoves and snow melting on 09/27/2011 07:22:16 MDT Print View

Great article Will.

Ever since I saw the Eta Express in action I was hooked for multiple person hikes. While I normally use it for trips that Dave and I share cooking gear I have used it for a group of seven on one trip (9000' elevation). At 90 seconds to boil 2 cups of water for 5 freeze-dried meals it had no problem taking care of everybody. By the time the next meal had its water measured and the package prepped it was time to reload.

>>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.

I think it would be better to see how long it takes to hit a target amount and measure the fuel that it took to get there. Most trips see me melting at least 4 L at a time, the first 3 go into insulated holders and into the sleeping bag and the last is for dinner and drinks.

I have only used white gas or my Coleman Xtreme for snow melting duties but would be interested in seeing if these stoves could handle it at 0 F temps.

Inaki Diaz de Etura
(inaki) - MLife

Locale: Iberia highlands
Ryan's results on 09/27/2011 11:27:36 MDT Print View

By the way, I'm puzzled by Ryan's results:

> We boiled 30 pots of water on a single 100g fuel canister in conditions that averaged 45 degrees, windy, and rainy
...
> for 30x0.7L pots of water

That'd make about 42 one-pint boils. This is almost twice as efficient as stated in the test results (50+ one-pint boils for a 8 oz canister). Am I missing something?

Brett Ayer
(bfayer)

Locale: Virginia
About Fuel Consumption of the SOL AL on 09/27/2011 17:55:04 MDT Print View

I think the review is very informative and fair.

I have the JB Flash and the JB SOL AL.

As for fuel consumption in the real world. We took the SOL Al on a 6 day E2E of Isle Royale NP this summer, and after heating water for 2 meals a day for 3 people for 6 days, we still had fuel left in the 1st canister.

We left the used 1st canister and the 2nd full one we brought along at the ranger station (for the hiker box) when we got on the sea plane to leave.

We did not weigh the canister or time our boils, but I know I have never used that little fuel on any 6 day hike in my life. I am a JB SOL believer.

Levon Jensen
(LevonJensen) - MLife

Locale: Canadian Rockies
heads up on 09/27/2011 18:51:35 MDT Print View

awesome review, made my purchase easier haha:P

amazon has the jet boil ti on 25% off right now for anyone on the fence about buying one.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004RA03LK/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Regulator Valve vs. Needle Valve on 09/29/2011 14:41:49 MDT Print View

If I'm reading this chart correctly,


It took about half the time (roughly 200 seconds vs. roughly 400 seconds) for stoves with regulator valves to boil water in cold, calm conditions than stoves with a needle valve. Am I not reading that chart correctly?

What would account for this? The very same stoves do not show this difference in time to boil under warmer conditions. If it's not the regulator type valves, then what is causing these three stoves (Sol Al, Sol Ti, and Reactor) to boil water in half the time than the others (Eta Solo, PCS, Zip, and Flash)?

HJ

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Sol Ti on 09/29/2011 14:55:32 MDT Print View

I have moved from an Optimus 8R through pretty much everything including cat stoves. The latest has been a Sol ti and I couldn't be happier. Much faster than my PCS, more fuel efficient, and burns evenly to the last drop. Did I mention that I don't have to cup the cannister in my hands to keep it going in cold temps?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Regulator Valve vs. Needle Valve on 09/29/2011 16:25:19 MDT Print View

Hi Jim

You are correct. The Jetboils do not go too well in the cold, while the small uprights work quite well. The reason is fairly simply: geometry.

With an open upright stove there is heat reflected from the flame and the pot back down onto the canister, warming it up and raising the pressure in the canister. More pressure, more flow, more oomph. In fact, that is why you need to monitor the temmperature of the canister when cooking, to make sure it does not get too hot (ie hotter than you can touch).

But with the Jetboils there is no heating of the canister. The underside of the stove acts as a baffle, blocking the heat and radiation. So the canister gets/stays cold, the pressure stays low, and the flame stays low. Long boil times.

The Eta Solo has the same problem of geometry, but it is not a great stove anyhow. The Reactor creates a LOT of IR radiation, and apparently some of it does get reflected back down. More than I had expected in fact. It also generates a huge amount of CO - take care.

As for the very long boil time with the Gnat in the wind: what do you expect? But no-one in his right mind would run the Gnat, or any other upright stove, like that in the wind without a good windscreen. Will's windscreen only goes half way around the stove (see picture); if you wrap the windscreen 9/10s of the way around the stove (as I always do) the wind has little effect.

Cheers

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Regulator Valve vs. Needle Valve on 09/29/2011 16:29:11 MDT Print View

"if you wrap the windscreen 9/10s of the way around the stove (as I always do) the wind has little effect."

Absolutely.

That still leaves a narrow slot for air induction, especially if it is on the downwind side of the pot.

--B.G.--

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Regulator Valve vs. Needle Valve on 09/29/2011 16:43:06 MDT Print View

Roger Caffin wrote: You are correct. The Jetboils do not go too well in the cold, while the small uprights work quite well.


Take a very close look at that table of Will's. Exclude for the moment any non-Jetboil stoves -- look only at the five Jetboil stoves. Two of the Jetboils work well in the cold (turquoise colored bars). Three do not. How can this difference be accounted for?

HJ

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Re: Regulator Valve vs. Needle Valve on 09/30/2011 02:29:22 MDT Print View

Jim - this is a test of boil time in cold conditions, so we can assume that the valves on the stoves are fully open. The only thing restricting the gas flow is therefore the jet. I don't have one to check, but I would bet that the Sol has a larger jet than the other Jetboils and this allows greater gas flow when the pressure in the canister is low. This will allow the Sol to work usefully a few degrees lower than the other upright stoves but will not change the fundamental lower temperature limit dictated by the gas mixture in the canister.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Regulator Valve vs. Needle Valve on 09/30/2011 10:55:29 MDT Print View

Hi, Stuart,

Thank you for that.

Will, in his testing specifications, does state that the valves were 100% open (except the Monatauk, where noted).

Will, in his article, mentions that the regulator valved stoves did better in cold-calm testing conditions than conventional valved stoves. His results bear that out: The Reactor, Sol Ti, and Sol Al didn't have a great jump in boil time from the warm-calm test to the cold-calm test where as all the conventionally valved integrated canister stoves did. The Eta Solo, JB Flash, JB Zip, and JB PCS all had quite an increase in boil times in cold-calm conditions over warm-calm conditions.

So, the explanation of the performance difference might lie in the size of the jet? I wonder if anyone has the means to confirm this? (I don't have an instrument to measure jet size).

I don't see any physics/chemistry reason why the regulator valved stoves are performing better in cold-calm conditions than the conventional valved stoves, but it'd still be nice to have confirmation that the difference is due to the jet sizes not the valve type.

HJ

Edited by hikin_jim on 09/30/2011 10:57:34 MDT.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Is It Really Jet Size? on 09/30/2011 11:15:15 MDT Print View

Stuart:

If you have a moment, would you look again at Will's test results?


Notice that warm-calm results, the first bar in each stove's data, are all fairly similar for the first six stoves, somewhere between 150 - 175 seconds to boil*. Will specifies that the tests were run with the valve 100% open: "All integrated stoves were tested at full flame."

If the jet sizes are are larger on some of the stoves, how come the warm-calm results are so similar? Wouldn't we expect the stoves with larger jets to be faster?

If you look at the test results graphic again, there's a clear jump in boil times between warm-calm (the first bar) and cold-calm (the last bar) for conventional valved stoves. There is no such "jump" for the regulator valved stoves. What explains this performance difference? I don't think it can be jet size since the warm-calm results don't show the same pattern. I'm disinclined to believe the regulator valve is the cause, but at the same time I'm not satisfied that we've found a reasonable explanation yet.

HJ

*Actually, Will used a "near boil," but I'll say boil for ease of expression.

Edited by hikin_jim on 09/30/2011 11:57:19 MDT.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Regulator Valve vs. Needle Valve on 09/30/2011 16:55:24 MDT Print View

> Two of the Jetboils work well in the cold (turquoise colored bars). Three do not.

Indeed, and astute. However, I think the answer can be got from the pictures of the stoves shown in the article.
The Jetboil stoves using the older burner effectively mask the canister from any radiation, so in the cold the canister cools down even more (from evaporation) and the pressure drops. That reduces the flame size.
The two Jetboils which do not suffer in the cold are both using the new Sol burner. If you compare the Sol burner with the older one you will see that there are huge cut-outs in the Sol base, and the canister is clearly visible through those cutouts. This means that the canister can get both hot air and radiation from the flames of the Sol burner. The canister will therefore be warmer under a Sol burner, and the gas pressure higher.

Interesting. I wonder whether this was intended, or just coincidental. We will never know.

Cheers

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Regulator Valve vs. Needle Valve on 09/30/2011 17:17:22 MDT Print View

Ah! Now THAT makes sense. I didn't think it could be a bigger jet since the stoves' boil times were all so close under warm-calm conditions.

I just googled some photographs of the new JB Zip and the Eta Solo. They do have some cut outs, but nothing like the cut outs of the Sol Ti and the Sol Al. The particularly large cut outs of the Sol might account for better cold weather performance.

A friend has a Sol Al. He and I will probably take it out tomorrow and see how it runs and what kind of warming the canister experiences.

HJ