Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption
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Eric Swab
(ericswab) - M

Locale: Rockies
Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/21/2011 20:05:15 MST Print View

I used the MSR Windpro for the first time this past weekend, the canister was inverted. I took a brand new small (net 3.8 ounces) Snow Peak canister. I was kind of shocked how fast it used fuel, it ran out melting snow after breakfast on day two.

In my mind it didn't do much work, the trip was two days, heated water for lunch (12oz), made dinner and a hot drink with water from a stream, melted about 1 1/2 quarts of snow that night, then breakfast, then maybe melted another quart of snow before the canister ran out. I was using the windscreen with a 1.5 liter pot and keep shaking it until it finally ran dry. Evening and morning temps were about 15 degrees, I kept the canister in my sleeping bag.

It looks like to me if I wanted two hot lunches, one dinner, and one breakfast and had to actually melt snow (instead of using some from a stream) the 8oz would be close especially with lower temps. There are things I could do to improve pot and screen efficiency some.

How much canister fuel are you taking per day for winter trips?

I also could exchange it at REI for a Whisperlight or may try to hang on for the new Universal stove.

Thanks

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/21/2011 20:44:29 MST Print View

Hi, Eric,

Your fuel use sounds a little high. Was this a solo trip? My planning number for trips where I'll be melting snow is about 60g per day for a two person team and maybe 40g per day for a solo trip.

Of course you want to use the windscreen. I try to arrange the screen so there's about a thumb's width of clearance all the way around the pot, but no more. And definitely use the heat reflector underneath the stove.

Were you running the stove with a pretty high flame? The higher you turn up the stove, the more fuel you'll burn to melt the same amount of snow.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Lot of run time on 11/21/2011 21:03:58 MST Print View

To me, melting snow takes a long time and burns the fuel up. I've used a small MSR canister for a 8 day summer trip, heating 12 oz. water in the evenings. I only use my old Int'l in the winter on snow trips.
Duane

Eric Swab
(ericswab) - M

Locale: Rockies
Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/21/2011 21:59:42 MST Print View

Jim,

Thanks for the guidelines, it was a solo trip, used the bottom heat reflector and had the windscreen at about a one inch gap. I tried to keep the flame as low as possible but it seemed like the longer it ran the higher I would have to turn the knob to keep a good flame, figured it was due the canister cooling and pressure lowering, but when melting snow I had it all the way open. I wanted to make a cozy but didn't have time before I left.

My pot measures 5" diameter by 5.5" tall, I think a shorter wider one would be better. Maybe a different pot or using a bell shaped lid is the answer along with the cozy.

What is your pot of choice with this stove for solo winter?

Eric

Eric Swab
(ericswab) - M

Locale: Rockies
Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/21/2011 22:03:57 MST Print View

Duane,

I have a pocket rocket but haven't used it much, seems like the original canister lasted forever, mostly on car camping trips. May still switch to whisperlite but it seemed like from what I read the windpro can work well in the winter too.

Eric

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/22/2011 06:53:38 MST Print View

Those quantities look about right to me - melting snow uses a lot of fuel. In fact, just melting a lump of snow requires the same amount of heat as heating the resulting water to 176F (80C). So, to make boiling water from snow uses about double the fuel than if you started with water.

I recon the small 100g canisters are good to boil 6 litres/quarts water so if you are melting snow as well that would equate to 3 litres/quarts.

A heat exchanger pot will help reduce fuel use, but if you expect to have to melt a lot of snow, a liquid fuel stove may work out cheaper in the long run.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/22/2011 12:28:44 MST Print View

HJ is the expert on stoves, so defer to his advice.

But my experience last year using the Wind Pro in snow was not stellar. First, I did not do the modification to make it easier to invert the canister. So inverting it was an inconvenience. I used the reflector and set up the windscreen properly. Had the same issue of needing to constantly adjust the flame when temps were in the 20s F. And it seemed to use a lot of fuel. I had several partially used canisters on my desk I was going to weigh and determine the actual amount of fuel used, but ended up skipping that exercise. There was just too much of a fiddle factor with the Wind Pro. Maybe all of this is user error.

I am going back to my Dragonfly this winter. I also have a Whisperlite, but since I am using a larger pot than normal to melt snow in winter, I prefer the Dragonfly. I don't mind the jet engine noise of the Dragonfly, as it tells me the stove is burning :) For me the Dragonfly is easy to use and I have confidence in its reliability. Yes, it weighs more... but doesn't everything in winter?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/22/2011 12:59:48 MST Print View

Nick, I'm surprised to see so much flame "fade" in the 20's F.
Eric, You were running in a little colder temps, so flame fade makes a little more sense, but I'm surprised you had to adjust the knob so much.

Putting the canister in liquid water will moderate canister temperature changes and should give you a more consistent flame. You can use a little butter/margarine tub (very light) with a CCF cozy around it for the water. If that's too much fiddle factor, then the Whisperlite may very well be a better choice. Your fuel consumption will probably be higher with a Whisperlite, maybe 75g/day for solo use because of priming. I've got some tips for how to get the most out of white gasoline stoves if you are interested.

For solo snow melting, I usually take a plain 1000ml Snow Peak Ti pot. It's not the most efficient. My Jetboil 1500ml (I think it's 1500ml) GCS pot is more efficient, but in calculations published by Tony B (a BPL member), he found that the weight of the heat exchanger was greater than the weight of the fuel savings.

Nick, I too have used a Dragonfly for snow melting. It's heavy, but it CRANKS out the heat. It's also very stable with a big pot. It is freakin' loud though. You can get after market "silent" caps, but they're very expensive. I know a guy who is DIY'ing some new models of after market silent caps. I'll post on BPL what his prices will be like if and when he makes them publicly available.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/22/2011 13:15:08 MST Print View

Jim,

I think part of the problem was the canister was not perfectly inverted. It had a little bit of an angle, because the hose needs to be twisted to invert it so I may not have been consistent liquid feed. I did not want to do the modification that Roger Caffin posted, because working in my warm garage versus on a mountain are two different things. The new Wind Pro is designed to be inverted and would be much easier. I am tempted to buy one and see. I haven't checked to see if they are available, but it seems like a much better option versus the old Wind Pro. But I am still leaning towards the Dragonfly. Don't mind the roar, the supports are better, I can see how much fuel is in the bottle, and I can warm my hands at the same time :)

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/22/2011 22:03:14 MST Print View

Hi, Nick,

That's possible (that you didn't completely invert the canister).

I haven't found it hard to invert the canister. The hose on my Windpro is pretty darned flexible. I just lean it up against something, and it stays put pretty well.


The new Windpro II does look like it'll be a little more convenient in that it swivels AND comes with a canister stand. Worth paying extra for? Not sure.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Edited by hikin_jim on 11/22/2011 22:03:58 MST.

Paul McLaughlin
(paul) - MLife
Re: Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/22/2011 22:39:01 MST Print View

A little comparison:
The use you describe amounts to what I would call one day of stove use - one breakfast, one dinner - plus you heated water for lunch. You used 110 grams of fuel.

On a 7 cooking-day trip with two people using a Simmerlite white gas stove, where we found liquid water 2 nights out of the 7, we averaged 101 grams of fuel.

On an 8 cooking-day trip with 2 people, where we found liquid water all but one night, we averaged 72 grams of fuel per day.

On a 5 cooking-day solo trip where I only had to melt snow one night, using a whisperlite, I used 51 grams of fuel per day.

So your consumption does seem high when you consider that a gram of canister gas has a little more energy in it than white gas does.

Eric Swab
(ericswab) - M

Locale: Rockies
Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/25/2011 08:49:49 MST Print View

@Nick - It is easy to flip the connection so the canister inverts.

@Jim - My usage was probably high due to inexperience with canister stoves, I have used a pocket rocket sometimes (day hikes, car camping, fair weather) and it always has a nice constant flame, and a canister has lasted forever.

I am sure that as the flame started lowering and I started cranked the valve open I was wasting fuel with the Windpro.

@Paul - Thank you for the detailed fuel usage of white gas stoves.

I think I am mostly concerned about performance under harsher conditions like having to melt snow daily, colder temps, and longer trips. The ability to just safely turn it on is great, but having to carry several canisters is not appealing. The more I think about it we have trips to Canada and Alaska planned over the next three years so having a flexible fuel stove, with the ability to bring the amount of fuel we need makes sense, I am going to try an Whisperlite.

When does the Universal come out?

Is unleaded gas similar in performance to white gas?

Eric

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Regulatory approval on 11/25/2011 09:34:02 MST Print View

Per the MSR reps we met in Oregon at a stovie meetup over Labor Day, MSR has to wait now for regulatory approval to market their new stoves. May be this Spring.

The other thing we may not be thinking about concerning isobutane versus white gas is the cost. A $8-$11 gallon of Coleman fuel will go further than the 2 or 3 canisters you could get for the same money. Both have their place though.
Duane

Diplomatic Mike
(MikefaeDundee)

Locale: Under a bush in Scotland
Melting snow on 11/25/2011 09:45:25 MST Print View

I was given this tip years ago, and it works for me.
Actually turning snow into liquid water uses the most fuel, so after your last boil of the evening, store some of that water in a bottle (i use a Platy) and keep it in your sleeping bag overnight. In the morning, start heating the water and then add the snow. You only need a few ounces of water, and the snow will melt much quicker than if you were using just pure snow.

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
Re: Melting snow on 11/25/2011 10:07:48 MST Print View

yep - i try never to start melting snow from scratch. always appears to works better to have some water in the pot first.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
denser the snow on 11/25/2011 12:22:45 MST Print View

the denser the snow ... the less wasted fuel i find ...

Edited by bearbreeder on 11/25/2011 12:34:30 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Inverted Canister Stove Winter Fuel Consumption on 11/25/2011 22:14:29 MST Print View

I think I am mostly concerned about performance under harsher conditions like having to melt snow daily, colder temps, and longer trips. The ability to just safely turn it on is great, but having to carry several canisters is not appealing. The more I think about it we have trips to Canada and Alaska planned over the next three years so having a flexible fuel stove, with the ability to bring the amount of fuel we need makes sense, I am going to try an Whisperlite.
If you're going into seriously cold weather, liquid fuel is a good option. White gasoline (e.g. Coleman fuel) is a pretty economical way to do things that require a lot of heat (like melting snow). You can also get 1.0L or even 1.5L bottles, so you don't have to carry multiple containers of fuel. MSR stoves are compatible with Sigg, Optimus, Snow Peak, Brunton, and of course MSR fuel bottles. I've had trouble hooking MSR pumps to Primus bottles even though the threads are the same, the Primus threads start further down, and the MSR pumps can't get purchase. Coleman and Soto fuel bottles are not compatible with MSR stoves.

Is unleaded gas similar in performance to white gas?
No. Unleaded doesn't burn cleanly and tends to foul stoves. You can do it, but you'll have to clean the stove way more often. You'll need to know how to clean and maintain the stove. Make sure you get a maintenance kit, probably the Expedition one if you want to burn unleaded. I wouldn't recommend it unless you just can't get anything else. Diesel is even worse. MSR lists a whole bunch of fuels their stoves can burn. But being able to burn a fuel and having that fuel be a good fuel are two different things. The best two liquid fuels are white gasoline and kerosene. Always use those two liquid fuels unless you just don't have any other options.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Don't get stove oil on 11/26/2011 09:30:39 MST Print View

If/when using kerosene, be sure to ask for or get K-1, water clear. Stove oil stinks.
Duane

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Proper winter fuels on 11/26/2011 13:28:50 MST Print View

To me canister stoves are really 3-season stoves. The inverted versions work RELIABLY in "cool" weather (down to freezing). Reliability is the key word.

Below that you REALLY need a pressurized liquid fuel stove (NOT alcohol).
Also a good gassifier type wood stove works very well, say a Bush Buddy or, my fav, the CC Sidewinder Inferno. Carry ESBIT fuel tabs as fire starters. Wood gassifier stoves, by their virtue of having a double wall, work well even in windy conditions. And when you take teh pot off a wood stove you have a nice, windproof campfire. Don't worry that it will be too small. The old Indian saying applies here.
"White man build big fire, no can get close. Indian build small fire, get close and warm."

Like so much of winter camping proper equipmet is really a matter of safety. You MUST have water so you must melt snow. If a canister stove fails or runs out of fuel too soon you're forced to use a wood fire... IF there's wood available.

Finally, regarding lighting all types of fires: survival experts agree that you should carry three types of igniters. i.e. storm matches, 2 lighters and something like Firesteel and a block of magnesium. When it comes to winter fires the "belt and suspenders" attitude is virtually mandatory.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Don't get stove oil on 11/27/2011 10:07:24 MST Print View

If/when using kerosene, be sure to ask for or get K-1, water clear. Stove oil stinks.
Duane

Good point. For kerosene, don't get home heating oil/stove oil/fuel oil#2. Get K-1 "water white" clear kerosene or "Kleen Heat" kerosene "substitute".

HJ
Adventures in Stoving