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Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Yet another stove thread on 10/27/2012 08:40:15 MDT Print View

Sorry for bringing this up - I know it has been discussed at length on these forums and in the excellent articles here about fuel/stove efficiency - but as my kit evolves I am starting to experiment with non-canister stoves.

I have been using a soto micro with a snow peak mini cookset and frankly, it's pretty sweet. But I can see the value in eliminating all the partial cans of fuel I have around the house, and the annoyance of bringing more than one can on a trip (how much is left EXACTLY?). I normally just do 2-4-day trips throughout the year with 1-2 long ones thrown in. Next year I'd like to do the whole JMT (at a leisurely 21-ish day pace) and would like to try my hand at alternative stoves in the meantime. I generally make coffee and oatmeal for breakfast and FB cooking for dinners.

I'm getting my hands on a Heineken pot/homemade alcohol stove, as well as a whole caldera cone ti-tri sidewinder kit for my evernew .9 shallow pot.

As a possible convert to the world of non-canister stoves, what should I be looking for/wary of/excited about while trying alcohol/esbit/wood stoves?

What is your go-to stove of choice and why?

Obviously I need to experiment and see what I like, but which fuel system should I choose and why??

Yes, I realize this is mostly an intellectual exercise at this point, but there are basically TOO many forums and articles out there and I'm having a hard time sifting through it all. So help a girl out....

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Yet another stove thread on 10/27/2012 09:03:43 MDT Print View

hey there.

ah the cook kit... we have all probably gone through a bunch of them in our hiking life... I know I sure have.

Here is a video of my favorite setup using a can pot rather than a Ti pot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3pOllVruYFY

This setup is 56.73 grams (2.001 ounces). If the Zelph pot would have been just a wee-bit smaller it would have broke the 2-oz mark.


-Abela

Brian Johns
(bcutlerj) - M

Locale: NorCal
What do you cook? on 10/27/2012 16:34:32 MDT Print View

I think it depends on your back country menu plan. I have enjoyed the switch myself. I have Caldera set ups or my Snow Peak 700 and Evernew .9 liter pots. Actually have an MSR 850 Kettle and Ti Tri come too.y favorite is the SP 700, it's a caldera fusion, a 2-piece cone that stores in my pot and b/c it's Ti, can burn wood as well. You have to wait longer for your hot meals, but if you mostly rehydrate pouch or zip lock meals, I prefer it. Set it and forget it, 6-10 minute later your water is ready to make a beverage or meal. If you do a lt if in-pot cooking, stir fry, or more complicated "cooking" ou will probably prefer the gas stove. For short trips, alcohol will almost always be lighter, though.

This week I put together my favorite, well lightest set up yet. A Suluk 46 Ti windscreen and Zelph StarLyte stove with a 24 oz. Heineken pot. It weighs about 3.7 oz. with the lighter, towel, stove lid (allows or fuel saving for later), and a Trail Designs silicon band to grab the pot by or protect my lips. This is almost half the weight of my Cone set up including the Ti floor for wood burning mode. I know others have lighter - mostly esbit - set ups, but I prefer the cleaner pots I keep with alcohol. I suggest switching over for short trips and seeing how you like it. For me, it worked great. Light the stove, go set up the gravity filter or shelter and I'm good to go a few minutes later. To me, it also seems safer for cooking under a tarp or in a tent vestibule in inclinate weather. If you keep our stove and fuel warm enoug, it performs better in below freezing conditions too.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Yet another stove thread on 10/27/2012 21:48:42 MDT Print View

You can measure an empty canister and a full one in water. If you mark it in both places, then you know about how much is left by simply setting it water anywhere, even while you are hiking. Hikin Jim did an article on this.
http://seattlebackpackersmagazine.com/how-much-gas-do-i-have-left/

As far as what you choose for hiking long distances, it depends.
How long between resupply? once every 4-5 days, 5-8 days, 8-14 days?
How far to hike to get to a post office or resupply? 2-4 hours, a day?
What kinds of fuels are available at the resupply? Small stores often don't have esbits, or kero. Often canisters can be difficult, too (you are not supposed to mail them. I think a pacel post service is OK.))
How do you cook? Boiling water only? Steam Baking, frying some foods, macaroni, etc?
What do you cook? FBC, or, Fetuccini Carobara with fried trout? Stew and potatoes?
How often do you cook? Once, twice or three times a day?
How much do you need for each meal? 2 cups per meal, or, 3cups of coffee and 2 cups of oatmeal?
What is your tolerance for cleaning soot? Wood, Esbit, and kero all produce some.
What is your tolerance for odors? Esbit smells bad. Wood smoke flavours water. A spilled drop of Kero will stink for a week.
How do you like to hike? I like light when I start, lower than that at the finish is of lesser importance. Alcohol is heaviest to start, pretty light to finish. WG is often lightest to start a longer hike, heaviest to finish.

There is no one answer that will satisfy every criteria. I like to bring a cone and alcohol stoves (set up for a modified grease pot) for solo hikes of 2-3 days. For a week to to 13 days, I bring my SVEA and 10oz(12floz bottle & fuel)of fuel. An Alcohol stove outfit for 13 days is too heavy with my usage.

I boil about 2L per day using about 3/4oz of fuel including priming with the SVEA.
I burn about 3oz per day of yellow HEET per day including priming.
I burn about 3 tabs of Esbit per day. (Edit: should be about 3oz per day)
Total weight: SVEA + fuel = 27oz (discounting the cup.)
Total weight: Stove/cone + Alcohol= 37oz
Total weight: Stove/windscreen + Cannister=~36oz (Gave these away 5-6 years ago.)
Total weight: Stove/cone + Esbit= ~34oz (quite sooty, I don't use it anymore.)

Finish weight for SVEA: about 18oz (stove & bottle)
Finish weight ofr Alcohol: about 6.5oz (cone, stove & bottle)
Finish weight for Canisters: about 17oz (stove & cans)
Finish weight for Esbit: about 6oz (cone, stove & wrappers)

So for roughly a two week trip, at my usage, I take WG. Canisters are not usually available within walking distance of the trail(read a full day of road hiking, usually.) Alcohol is "iffy", sometimes all I can find is isopropynol which doesn't burn that well, leaving soot on my pot...I don't use alcohol for longer trips so I should have removed it from the above list, anyway...too much "starting" weight. I don't use esbits: sooty and smelly. I don't use canisters, the weight of the can kills them except for single short trips (about 3 days) but I would bring alcohol for that short of a trip.

To me, this says they are about equivalent give or take. Therefor, I take what works for me. (This data is all approximate based on my real use. I have had one very light WG stove that went through about 4 times more fuel: The Simmerlite. This one is just plain terrible on fuel. The old Whisperlite isn't much better. Several others were not too bad, using about double or less the amount of fuel: XGK, Dragonfly. The most important determiner in fuel consumption is turning the stove down. If it cannot do a low simmer(~750BTU) steadily, it will burn LOTS of fuel.)

Edited for clarity...

Edited by jamesdmarco on 10/29/2012 20:16:19 MDT.

Alex Eriksson
(aeriksson) - M

Locale: Austin, TX
Re: Re: Yet another stove thread on 10/28/2012 23:38:01 MDT Print View

Now that's some number crunching! Thanks for this comparison. As a noob I thought it was well explained.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
All your questions answered... ;o) on 10/29/2012 13:05:33 MDT Print View

Jen,

1st-> DETERMINING REMAINING FUEL IN CANISTER STOVES:
Place the full canister in a pan of water and mark the waterline with a scratch mark
(Put the canister in sideways to preclude air from being trapped in the concave bottom.)

2nd-> do the same process in your cook pot with the canister in camp to check the fuel level of a used canister. (It will float higher)


COOKING WITH "ALTERNATIVE" FUELS:

I prefer my Trail Designs Caldera Cone Sidewinder and 3 cup aluminum pot. It's thjeir smallest model, I believe.

The Sidewinder comes with an alky burner made SPECIFICALLY for that stove.
But I like the included ESBIT "Gram Cracker" tablet holder. This tab holder and the cone work FAR better than any ESBIT stove I've tried to devise on my own. ESBIT, not alky, does it for me on longer trips. It keeps the weight down better on trips longer than two days. I figure 1 1/2 tabs per meal.

If you like you can purchase the optional Inferno wood burner insert kit and you will find it is a HOT woodburner because it's the very efficient "gassifier" design, like a Bushbuddy. I like it for winter camping B/C it means I only have to carry tinder but no fuel.

Yes, the sidewinder or larger Tri Ti is 'spensive because it must use titanium to resist the heat of burning wood but it's worth it over time.

Edited by Danepacker on 10/29/2012 13:07:49 MDT.

Mark Ries
(mtmnmark) - M

Locale: IOWAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!
Esbit weight on 10/29/2012 19:14:06 MDT Print View

James I dont understand where you are coming up with 34 oz for esbit weight. If finished weight is 6 oz then 28 oz of tabs would be 56 tabs enough for 18.66 days at 3 per day. Am I confused about something? Also what is the fuel capacity of a svea? I assume this is a 123? What do you carry extra fuel in? Im not trying to start an argument just trying to understand cause svea stoves are a cool piece of gear and white gas is cheap and works good in the cold.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Esbit weight on 10/29/2012 22:21:02 MDT Print View

My fault, sorry Mark. Should be about the same as alcohol: 3oz per day. I had forgotten that was for two cup batches, not liter batches and never went back to change it. I really pays to have people jog my old head sometimes. My mistake, sorry. Good catch!

The same with the SVEA 123r. The actual stove and wind screen weighs about 17oz. I believe it was 17.2 oz, but don't quote me...the weights vary between the old ones and the newer non-swedish ones. The newer ones are both heavier and different (I bought three others, poor quality control.) Anyway, the bottle weighs about an ounce (.9oz) 17+1=18oz total finish weight. Note that the bottle and fuel weighs about 10oz, even though it is a 12floz bottle. (A PET water bottle works well for WG. DO NOT use it for auto gas, the additives are not good for the plastic. I have been doing that for many years. But, make sure you use a different bottle, and, lable it. WG can be quite toxic if someone were to drink it.)

For cold weather use, they also have a midi pump. This supplies pressure to the fuel generator when it is quite cold (ie <10F.) This will improve cold weather performance quite a bit and pays in winter. If used in normal weather, it will add about 1000BTU to the maximum output, but, it weighs about 1.5oz. I can do a LOT of priming with 1.5oz.

The SVEA will hold ~4oz of fuel in the stove. This will burn about 50-60 min on high or about 4-5 hours on low. The SVEA is hard to take out on week ends, though. It always weighs just over a pound. But on longer trips it really makes sense to me. Weight isn't the ONLY consideration. Volume is much less than alcohol. A two liter bottle of alcohol, or, a svea + 12oz bottle? It is fairly rugged, unlike an alcohol stove. It has never needed field maintenence or "anual" rebuild kits. It is reliable, it always works. I never worry about the stove when I head out: grab it and go.