Wood stove hikers...do you carry a "real" knife?
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Luke Schmidt
(Cameron) - MLife

Locale: The WOODS
Lint on 12/05/2011 19:42:40 MST Print View

Dave I know you know what you're doing but for everyone else's sake let me say I've had mixed reasults with lint. The quality of the lint depends on what the lint comes off. We tried using lint from a camp washer one time and I think most of the laundry was non-cotton towels. It didn't burn very well. On the other hand it can work quit well at times. It may not be UL but we had a concoction we called "Diesal Dust." I dont' know if other people make it or not but it was basically a bag of saw dust with some diesal mixed in. Very good for lighting a big fire in a hurry.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
3 Season vs. Winter on 12/05/2011 19:50:41 MST Print View

I am concentrating on winter use here. From what I recall on previous winter trips, the snow has a drying effect on sticks over time. (If it isn't raining, and it's too cold for snow to melt, stick dry out!) With this information, and the types of small sticks I need (watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XE1FNmAWOoY), I'm not sure I need a knife.

For 3 Season backpacking, at this point I rock Esbit or Alcohol, so no need for knife, even in wet conditions.

Brian UL
(MAYNARD76)

Locale: New England
Re: 3 Season vs. Winter on 12/05/2011 20:05:33 MST Print View

The only problem I have with that hex stove for winter is the size. For winter I would think you will want more heat for more and faster snow melting.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Re: 3 Season vs. Winter on 12/05/2011 20:08:43 MST Print View

Agreed, I had thought of the Littlbug Junior as well as the Emberlit Ti stove. Both are a little bigger, but weigh significantly more (no windscreen needed with Vargo). Time will tell.....I also factored in the possibility of carrying the Vargo stove 3-season with my Heiny pot which is inly 3.5 in wide. I would need the smaller vargo stove with that pot unless I wanted to carry extra weight of Ti tent stakes as a pot stand (3 season weather I use sticks for tent stakes).

Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: 3 Season vs. Winter on 12/05/2011 23:58:15 MST Print View

Cold snow will draw out the moisture from smaller twigs and branches. Bigger, non standing logs will get waterlogged and stay frozen all winter. When it rains, water will shed off standing deadwood but will wet any horizontal, unsheltered wood and it will totally soak anything on the ground.

I don't have much experience in the snow, but in my climate during the wet winter, yes, I do need a sturdy fixed blade for fire making. Preferably a folding saw as well. It's called a one stick fire or a split wood fire. I recommend watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sawri36ga1Y Being able to make a fire using just your ferro rod and wood shavings as tinder is a very important skill to know.

Now, depending on your type of woodland it might be easier than that. A braodleaf forest usually requires processing bigger, harder wood to get anything dry. If you have a lot of shelter conifer branches, that should work. Unsheltered branches are going to be wet all the way through. If you have birch bark, you can just keep piling it on until it lights. Pine resin makes really good tinder as well. So don't worry about the long term weight of your firestarter, you can just replenish that.
Either way, just get out there with a folding saw and a mora. Test out different tinders and woods in dry and wet conditions. It's fun. You will find out what you need and don't need very quickly.

I have never even used an alchohol stove, but I would assume a 3oz mora would be much lighter than fuel. Besides, you can use it to carve points and notches on ridiculously big to pound into the frozen ground. A razor blade is a sad excuse for a knife if you ever have to use it for anything more than cutting open mountain house meals.

Edited by justin_baker on 12/06/2011 00:00:51 MST.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
I would on 12/06/2011 03:06:50 MST Print View

My opinions on this were formed by a single incident where I was caught largely unprepared by a freak snow/sleet/hail/rain storm (yes, I got them all over 12 hours or so) which was violently intense. I was pretty miserable when I crawled into a prepared campsite with an established fire ring and I tried to get a wood fire going to warm myself up but all I had was a teeny non-locking folder with a 1-inch blade. I never did get a fire started. Granted I still had a grand time since I was the only hiker for miles who hadn't fled, but...

Never again.

I bought a horribly over-priced knife from Mission Knives. For the price I paid I thought the damned thing should have jewels and precious metals encrusting it, but it is a lightweight 4" fixed-blade knife. Sharpening it is different, but not difficult. I still tend not to carry it on weekenders where bailing out is easy, but for anything longer I would.

I doubt that you need to go as wild as I did, but I'd want something at least as big as the larger Victorinox blades.

Edited by acrosome on 12/06/2011 03:19:33 MST.

Roy Staggs
(onepaddlejunkie) - F

Locale: SEC
My little list O stuff on 12/06/2011 13:06:58 MST Print View

I have a Ti-Tri Caldera Cone with the Inferno insert. Three things I take when I plan on burning wood.

1. ARS folding saw at 5 oz.
http://www.ars-edge.co.jp/world/02products/product_01foldingsaw.html

2. If I probably won't need a knife, a Cold Steel Bird and Trout. http://www.coldsteel.com/birdtroutknife.html

If I may need a knife, a Cold Steel Finn Bear. http://www.coldsteel.com/finnbear.html

If I will need a knife, a Benchmade 151 Griptilian. http://www.benchmade.com/products/151

If I will be fishing add a Leatherman Squirt PS 4. http://www.leatherman.com/products/product.asp?id=22&f=8&c=1

3. One of two fire starters.

Wet Fire Tinder. http://www.ultimatesurvivaltech.com/ust_website/root/wetfire_tinder.html

Or for a lot less money - Weber 7417 FireStarters Lighter Cubes. http://www.amazon.com/Weber-7417-FireStarters-Lighter- Cubes/dp/B001AN7RGG

Using the Wet Fire or Weber cubes you can start a fire just about anywhere, anytime. If the wood is dry, just shave some of the cube and hit it with a fire steel, match, lighter or whatever. If the wood is wet you may need to burn the whole cube but you will have a fire.

That ARS saw is a cutting machine and one of the best gear purchases I have ever made.

If you cord wrap the grip on the Cold Steel it will help if you need to do some whittling.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: My little list O stuff on 12/06/2011 13:31:21 MST Print View

For trips up to 4 days I use those Weber cubes... great, cheap buy and they work well to give me one boil w/ my Heiny Pot @ dinner, plus a warm breakfast (no boil) the next morning.

Only kicker with them is that they are not individually wrapped, and when exposed to air they eventually dry out.

I take out however many I need for my <4 day trip and place them into the rice cakes bag I store all my cook kit in (get sooty!) and seal it off best I can. Have you found a way to seal the Weber cubes for longer?

Roy Staggs
(onepaddlejunkie) - F

Locale: SEC
Storage on 12/06/2011 14:05:30 MST Print View

I take them out of their original package and pack them in a screw top plastic container. It has worked so far. I think I'll go out to the gear shed and fire one up just to make sure.

Yep, shaved a little off and hit it with a fire steel scout. It went up like a house afire.

Chad Miller
(chadnsc)

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Re: Wood stove hikers...do you carry a "real" knife? on 12/06/2011 14:15:39 MST Print View

I myself do not use a wood stove when backpacking but I do hike with a couple of people who use the Bushbuddy stove. Both of them comment on how when hiking on trails with established campsites it's great how their is always an ample supply of small twigs provided by other hikers who have used the fire ring.

Neither of the two people I know who use the Bushbuddy have carried a knife with a blade bigger than two inches or heavier than a couple of ounces.

I hope this was helpful.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: Storage on 12/06/2011 14:18:04 MST Print View

I'd rather avoid the weight of the plastic container if possible and just carry the cube(s) in the rice bag I tie off as I'm carrying my sooty pot in that anyway....but I'd be interested in how long your cubes have been in the plastic container and out of the orig. packaging. Thanks.

Roy Staggs
(onepaddlejunkie) - F

Locale: SEC
Storage on 12/06/2011 18:51:07 MST Print View

Bryce, I remove the cubes from their original packaging and store them packed into the plastic containers. When headed out I put 3 or 4 in a zip lock bag. They are so light you can take extras! The last order I made was just shy of a year ago so they will keep in good shape for at least that long. Some of them may have been in there for a couple of years. I really don't know for sure when I made my first order.

Edited by onepaddlejunkie on 12/06/2011 18:53:47 MST.

Chris Bell
(Hobbit) - MLife

Locale: PA Wilds
Winter boil time on 12/07/2011 18:46:19 MST Print View

Typically the boil time just about doubles with my bushbuddy during the winter. The apparent dry wood still has a higher moisture content than other times of the year.

I carry a mora knife, about a 3 inch blade, when using the wood stove in case I need to open up larger sized wood to get to a dry center.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Interesting... on 12/07/2011 19:00:31 MST Print View

A Mora weighs about 4oz or 113.4g and a Weber fire cube weighs 11g. So if I did not bring a Mora to split wood, I could bring <10 Weber fire cubes and still be ahead of the game when trying to start wet wood.

This guy did a similar test with back country boiler:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mFzr79Pfl4&feature=related

Chris Bell
(Hobbit) - MLife

Locale: PA Wilds
wet wood on 12/07/2011 19:36:18 MST Print View

Bryce

Had to laugh when I followed the video link. Heber and I backpack together and forgot that he had made that video. Thanks for the reminder. We were out on the West Rim Trail in Pa this past spring and he fired up the boiler after a day of hard constant rain. The fire cubes work! I'll have to give that some thought as I could just as easily leave the mora at home.

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: wet wood on 12/07/2011 19:53:07 MST Print View

Pretty cool. I'd say w/ the small diameter twigs/sticks I'd use in the Vargo stove, Esbit/Weber Fire cubes would be better in the winter up to a certain amount of days, then a knife would prove lighter on longer trips.

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
depends on your style and fiddle factor on 12/07/2011 19:55:10 MST Print View

Bryce, it depends on what your needs and skills are. If you are out on a multi-day trip and need to melt snow for 2 liters every night and morning, then a small stove and twigs may not be for you. If you have good fire building skills, your needs are less and you don’t mind feeding twigs all night, then a larger knife and small wood saw is not for you.

When we need to melt snow, we take a larger knife that can split wood and a small saw. We use hobo stoves with a 2L pot and a larger feed hole. This way we can leave the branches large (3 feet) and slowly feed them into the HOBO fire - sit back and relax. This has a benefit as a small bonfire - not bad entertainment when it gets dark at 5pm.

Being so concerned about grams while winter camping, might not be the safest idea.

Dave

Bryce F.
(bster13) - MLife

Locale: Norwalk, CT
Re: depends on your style and fiddle factor on 12/07/2011 20:42:43 MST Print View

Agreed on the fiddle factor. Every step along the way to going SUL for 3-season has had a potential increase in fiddle factor. I know I won't be SUL for Winter, but I'll be damned if I don't try to go as light as possible. :p

Can't say I've paid attention to water intake in previous winter trips because they have been base camp trips at a lake w/ day hikes mostly. So if I'm taking in a lot of water, I guess I was thinking that with so much time "in camp" w/ the limited day light in the Winter, it would afford me some time to melt snow and occupy myself.

This guy is able to melt some snow in a 1qt canteen it looks like:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNf--xVOv4M

Now, not sure if other hiking buddies would go nuts having to wait for me while they have pressurized stoves? Not sure. Figure he'd be able to fully melt 1qt with 1 "charge" of wood in the stove from the looks of it. I'd have to boil roughly twice that amount to fill a 2l. Would there be too much ash and unburnt wood/fuel in the stove to do it twice w/out emptying out the stove? Not sure. But fortunately I've arisen my love of fire and plan to test some stuff out on day hikes. I'm going to give it a shot with a .9l Ti pot. We'll see. :)

David Goodyear
(dmgoody) - MLife

Locale: mid-west
nice stove on 12/07/2011 21:06:26 MST Print View

Thanks for the link. Not a bad little stove. Good design. Wish it was a little bigger. You still could leave the barn door open on that stove and feed larger sticks in - once the fire is established. This would save some fiddling and cutting. One bit of advise. if you dont have a tight fitting lid on your pot you will be drinking what we call smoke water. I found that out the hard way....not so tasty.

Good luck on your quest and keep us posted.


Dave

P.S. if we carry MSR stoves, then we make sure that the wind screen is a hobo for back-up.

Justin Baker
(justin_baker)

Locale: Santa Rosa, CA
Re: Re: depends on your style and fiddle factor on 12/07/2011 21:08:34 MST Print View

Bryce, do you have birch trees around your woods? If so, you really don't even need to carry starter cubes. Birch bark is waterproof and works well. Also try using pine resin. Good stuff to try out on a day hike.
I believe the mora #1 is around 2 3/4 oz with the sheath. Stick tangs give the most knife for the weight.