Forum Index » GEAR » Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for cannister


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Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/24/2013 18:01:19 MDT Print View

With the Fire Maple FMS-300T weighing 1.6 oz, I am starting to question if I will stay with alcohol stoves or switch back to canisters. I am leaving for my AT thru in a couple of weeks. There are so many advantages to the canister in terms of being user friendly and foolproof and now the weight difference is minimal. When I think about all the times I have spilled alcohol, caught my gloves on fire, set a table at a shelter on fire and several others mishaps I am about ready to throw in the towel. My biggest concern will be resupplying along the AT. I haven't bought the Fire Maple yet but have an older Snowpeak and love just to be able to pull it out, screw on the canister and cook. Are any of the rest of you thinking the same thing?

Edited by billreyn1 on 03/24/2013 18:28:51 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for cannister on 03/24/2013 18:24:41 MDT Print View

"Are any of the rest of you thinking the same thing?"

Actually I was thinking not to hike with you -- you sound accident prone :)

As long as canisters are readily available I would go that route. Is this stove going to last over the trip? Have you used it a lot?

Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/24/2013 18:28:08 MDT Print View

I guess it does sound like I am a little accident prone but that does represent many years of use and two years of working in wilderness therapy where I used it almost daily.

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
They make safety scissors for a reason on 03/24/2013 18:28:29 MDT Print View

Yea, you probably should stay away from alky stoves. I wouldn't want to camp next to you - it would be hard to enjoy my dinner with you running around on fire.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Esbit on 03/24/2013 18:30:48 MDT Print View

I've gone to Esbit for the reasons you've mentioned. I have a hard time justifying the extra weight of the canister plus stove when I'm solo but I gravitate towards it when I'm with my kids. I'd use my alcohol stove if I was doing a long through hike or traveling somewhere where I was worried about picking up Esbit or a canister once I got off the plane but that's about it.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/24/2013 19:12:03 MDT Print View

You will never convince ALL the alkies.

Cheers

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/24/2013 19:15:57 MDT Print View

> When I think about all the times I have spilled alcohol, caught my gloves on fire, set a table at a shelter on fire and several others mishaps


You should start drinking AFTER you try to light your alcohol stove. :) Honestly, the biggest mishap I've had is a flare-up because of too much alcohol in the stove.


Winter: Canister all the way!
3 Season: Alcohol!

Richard Fischel
(RICKO) - F
"you will never convince ALL the alkies." on 03/24/2013 19:47:09 MDT Print View

there are support groups for that.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/24/2013 19:57:19 MDT Print View

And what's the problem with using alcohol stoves?

hair on fire

Tyler Miller
(FightingTheTide) - F - M

Locale: Southeast
Re: Re: Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/24/2013 20:04:08 MDT Print View

At what point do you guys think it's wise to switch to a canister stove? I'm asking about temperature ranges, wind, precipitation, etc.

Jan S
(karl-ton)
Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/24/2013 20:09:51 MDT Print View

"Are any of the rest of you thinking the same thing?"

No. But not because I think that the stoves are bad. The whole fuel system seems like a bad idea though from an environmental perspective. Having no way to refuel (as in go to a store get your gas and carry on) or recycle (bring the canisters to a store, have the remaining gas emptied out, get them tested and shipped back to stores) those fuel canisters always seems like a huge waste to me. But then I live in a country where soda cans have mostly been banned and non-recyclable plastic bottles can be brought to any store and you get some money back that you paid extra while buying the bottle. Yes, there is a word for it, but I haven't found a useful translation for it. The whole system is probably as unique as the German tax laws.

Edited by karl-ton on 03/24/2013 20:19:00 MDT.

Drew Jay
(drewjh) - F

Locale: Central Coast
Alcohol vs Canister on 03/24/2013 23:03:34 MDT Print View

Lately I've been analyzing actual carry weight between different alcohol setups (Caldera Sidewinder, Flatcat, white box/bottle stoves, cat can, Zelph stoves etc.) vs the lightest canister setups.

What I keep coming up with is that unless you are using a SUL type system (1oz stove with absolutely minimal fuel carried) to simply heat 2-4 cups of water a day, the intial carry weight of a canister setup is lighter, often considerably so. The alcohol stove systems don't reduce actual carried weight until more than halfway into your trip/halfway to your resupply. At that point you've already reduced overall carried weight (by simply eating your food) to the point where the weight saved by your lighter stove setup is moot,or at least it is to me... Even the SUL setups only reduce initial weight by 3oz or so in a best case scenario, i.e short trip.

Since I like to cook and not just heat water I just don't see any point in alcohol stoves for me, other than fuel availability and the fun of fiddling with them and trying to beat the system (done a bit of that...)

Now of you incorporate wood burning it could change the picture, haven't done any breakdowns on that.

Edited by drewjh on 03/24/2013 23:31:03 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Locale: MaxTheCyclist.com
Vargo Titanium on 03/24/2013 23:24:53 MDT Print View

I just got this, don't know why more people don't use it. I have yet to get out there with it, but after looking at all my options I haven't seen a salient argument against it. Unlimited fuel!
Vargo

Mark Fowler
(KramRelwof) - MLife

Locale: Namadgi
Re on 03/24/2013 23:40:54 MDT Print View

Having graduated over the years from petrol (Optimus then MSR) to metho (Trangia then lightweight MYOG setup) I have now settled on gas. The reasons are simplicity, ease of use, relatively light, use in tent vestibule and often usable due to fire restrictions. While I like the idea of wood burners, the last two reasons mean I am very unlikely to ever carry one.

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Vargo Titanium on 03/25/2013 00:25:57 MDT Print View

"I just got this, don't know why more people don't use it. I have yet to get out there with it, but after looking at all my options I haven't seen a salient argument against it...."

Woodstoves are cool but...

When it's 0500, barely light outside, freezing cold and windy, I usually just want a f@cking cup of coffee without having to get all bushcrafty.

Casey Jones
(cjsbug) - F
Re: Re: Vargo Titanium on 03/25/2013 00:31:15 MDT Print View

"Woodstoves are cool but...

When it's 0500, barely light outside, freezing cold and windy, I usually just want a f@cking cup of coffee without having to get all bushcrafty."

If you could "like" a post on BPL, this would get mine.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/25/2013 01:28:29 MDT Print View

Canister stoves are hot and quick. I'm rarely at high altitudes or snow camping, so there are no issues. It's a two minute setup and water boiling in another 3. If you really cook rather than boil water, canisters are the only way to go. My stove and fuel canister fit in my cook pot, leaving nothing fragile to worry over and nothing to leak or spill. There's little or no soot to deal with either.

For a small group, a canister stove can crank out lots of hot water and each member can carry fuel without specialized containers.

I like Esbit for a really UL setup for an overnight or day hike to make soup or hot drinks. I can't spill that either!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/25/2013 02:59:34 MDT Print View

> At what point do you guys think it's wise to switch to a canister stove?
I would suggest 'when you leave the front door' myself.
OK, I'm biased. But I have used a LOT of stoves of all sorts.

Cheers

Christopher *
(cfrey.0) - M

Locale: US East Coast
Re: Vargo Titanium on 03/25/2013 03:14:15 MDT Print View

Salient argument 1: "Fire ban" = west coast summer
Salient argument 2: Soot
Salient argument 3: (See "bushcrafty" above)

That should get you started.

Ike Jutkowitz
(Ike) - M

Locale: Central Michigan
Re: cannisters on 03/25/2013 04:04:25 MDT Print View

I'm with Jan. Alcohol, esbit, and wood give enough options without resorting to disposable canisters. As my wife commented on the Keurig craze, "Crapping up the planet one little cup at a time..."

Disclaimer: I produce garbage too. I recognize there are many happy canister users. This is just my rationale for never wanting to try one.

Edited by Ike on 03/25/2013 04:27:50 MDT.

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
Garbage / recyclability on 03/25/2013 05:10:55 MDT Print View

I agree, the one use canister is the main reason that I resisted gas for a long time.

And then I realized that I was happy to open a can of tomatoes to make a bolognaise sauce to take put through the dehydrator to take with me. There's about the same amount or steel involved.

Cost was the other issue, and they are much more expensive per unit of heat. But then I thought about it, and figured its about $1.00 per person per day. I'll deal with it.

The final thing that converted me, was how much more it gets my family involved. If I'm running a liquid stove, I'm the one doing the cooking. And making the tea. And making the coffee. And making the dessert. With a gas stove, I'm happy to let my wife or kids jump in and do it.

And if there are four of us out for 4-8 days, no one is holding alcohol burners up as a lightweight option!

Ken Thompson
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: canisters on 03/25/2013 06:16:51 MDT Print View

I bring my empty canisters home and they go in the recycling. I'm not out every single weekend. Just a few canisters a year. Driving to the trailhead probably does more harm than a single canister.

Fuel choice #2 is alcohol. Blissfully quiet.

I agree with Rod above also.

Edited by kthompson on 03/25/2013 06:21:07 MDT.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: cannisters on 03/25/2013 07:09:48 MDT Print View

The steel canisters are nearly 100% recyclable and would biodegrade to iron otherwise. Alcohol and Esbit have their respective packaging and manufacturing issues. Wood has LNT and summer fire restrictions to consider.

The only free lunch is a cold one: all cooking options have impacts.

Edited by dwambaugh on 03/25/2013 07:20:10 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: cannisters on 03/25/2013 07:51:13 MDT Print View

@Max Try to use one of those wood stoves in the rain at an AT/LT shelter with 4 others inside ;) not going to happen..

I tried the Alcohol thing and didn't like the pouring, liquid fuel leaking risk, slow boil times. Optimus Crux.. tiny, fast, simple. you can recycle the canisters once you punch a hole in them. 100g I can do at least 18 2c boils

d k
(dkramalc) - MLife
Re: Re: Vargo Titanium on 03/25/2013 08:54:43 MDT Print View

Salient argument 4: ever hear of hiking above treeline?

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Pro canisters on 03/25/2013 09:25:44 MDT Print View

>"The only free lunch is a cold one" Nice turn of phrase, Dale.

I have refilled canisters, but usually to have a different blend of gases in it. I like the can of tomatoes analog - we don't hesitate to use the tomatoes and pat ourselves on the back when we recycle the steel can, but somehow a steel fuel can is different?!?

HYOH, Bring your own stove.

I play with alkie, esbit and have, for large groups, even resurrected various white-gas MSR stoves. Operative word being "play" - on a one or two-night solo trip. All this after starting on SVEA-123s, Optimus 8Rs and wood fires decades ago.

Don't know how much is left in a canister? Got a laundry marker? Weigh each on your gram scale and mark, "Full = 357 grams" or whatever. The label tells you the fuel weight, although when I exhaust one, I weigh and mark all the others of that type, "Empty = 132 grams". Now you can assess its contents instantly (while you're packing). *clever idea ahead (separate post to follow).

Consider that having a less capable stove costs you something, too. If I'm gathering twigs and pine cones, or waiting 12 minutes for a cup of tea, that is time and often heat loss that could have been spent hiking or looking at the stars from inside my warm sleeping bag.

Most commonly for solo trips, I go with cold food (and always for the 30/40-mile day hikes). That has some weight penalty, too, as foods that are reconstituted with water and heat are typically lighter per calorie than the wraps, sandwiches and brownies I bring as cold food. I still come out ahead, but my point is that a more capable canister stove can save you minutes of cold exposure, some ounces of food weight and also be a safety benefit - a couple of branches or drift wood catch fire a lot faster atop a canister stove than a alkie or esbit stove - something I made use of when my wife swamped her kayak once in the surf at 59 North.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: cannisters on 03/25/2013 09:40:47 MDT Print View

Maybe I produce 8 empty canisters a year. I put them in recycling. Aren't they aluminum? So they are re-used pretty efficiently. There are so many other things I do that are much worse.

It's too bad they can't be refilled.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Clever Canister Concept on 03/25/2013 09:44:46 MDT Print View

In my last post, I mentioned how I weigh all canister types on a gram scale before and after use so I can assess their contents by weight. I've been kicking around two other techniques:

There are little "postal" scales, most often used to sell marijuana before digital scales got so cheap. There was a alligator / roach clip on one end and you held it up from a pivot point. The angle it hangs from shows the weight. They were in the 0.1 to 4 ounce range and we'd need something in the 3 to 12 ounce range for butane mix canisters.

http://www.rollies.com/Scales/HandScales.htm look at the bottom of the page for a very clear diagram.

Another style would be a classic balance beam, but with a short arm for the canister and a long arm for a counterweight. I'm trying to think of a standard weight you'd have with you all the time (the mini bic lighter gets lighter with use), I might settle on a SAK Classic. An indent at 0% and 100% (for each canister type) would let you see exactly how much is left at any time. The canister could be held up by a lindel thread or a strong, small magnet. Ohh, ohh!, one's titanium spork could be notched and pivoted to do this, adding no weight.

But better than the above would be to float the canisters and have 0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100% float lines printed on the side. Toss it in the sink or lake and see how buoyant it is. I'll be playing with that later today.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Re: Re: cannisters on 03/25/2013 09:53:17 MDT Print View

Jerry: They are steel, not aluminum. I just checked 20-year-old MSR, 10-year-old MSR, last year's MSR and some Coleman canisters with a magnet and they were all steel. I wish they were aluminum, but I only see the 10-, 20-, and 40-pound (propane weight) propane bottles in aluminum, mostly for maritime use for the corrosion resistance, but up here, I also see them flown to remote locations and swapped out due to the lower air freight costs.

The butane mix canisters be refilled. Just not safely by most or legally by any. Or maybe?. . . . Clearly the classic one-pound propane canisters can't be transported across state lines if refilled due to Federal DOT regulations. It is the transport, not the refilling that is illegal. Anyone know about BP canisters?

Edited by DavidinKenai on 03/25/2013 09:55:18 MDT.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
alcohol vs canister on 03/25/2013 10:02:35 MDT Print View

First... I have never had a moments trouble with my alcohol stoves. I don't understand all of the setting things on fire and spilling that the OP mentions. I have seen a canister stove turn into a fireball and I have had a companion have one leak all the gas out after removing it from the stove so they are not entirely trouble free, but problems with either type of stove should be very rare if they are handled properly.

My deciding factor for which to use is how much fuel I expect to use between resupply and which fuel is more likely to be available where I will be restocking. I figure, that for most of my trips canisters start to be a lighter option if I will be about a week or more between restocking points. That would be shorter if using it for a group, melting snow for water, or boiling all water.

When backpacking I really prefer to try to restock at least once every 6 days rather than carry a heavy load of food so I most often use my alcohol stove. If sharing the stove I smitch to canister for shorter trips than that.

On long bicycle tours I have sometimes had trouble finding canisters for sale and alcohol seems to be pretty much always available. So for that usage I generally stay with alcohol as well even if sharing the stove.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
canisters on 03/25/2013 10:06:14 MDT Print View

On the objections to canisters based on the supposed problem of recycling the container... Are they really that much worse than alcohol or other liquids that come in a plastic bottle or metal can?

Edited by staehpj1 on 03/25/2013 11:17:27 MDT.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: canisters on 03/25/2013 10:21:19 MDT Print View

>"On the objections to canisters based on the supposed problem of recycling the container... Are they really that much better than alcohol or other liquids that come in a plastic bottle or metal can?"

Coming from the days of a gallon of white gas in a steel can (fuel weight : container weight about 15:1), I was struck by how wasteful these new-fangled canisters seemed with a ratio of about 2:1). Do the other detractors date from a similar era? Except for maybe buying a gallon of alcohol and keeping it at home, everyone buys their fuel in smallish containers nowadays. So I agree, this trait is shared by all non-wood stoves.

The more I use them, the more I appreciate the instant heat and therefore the fuel saved in not priming. But importantly, at least for me, canister stoves are so easy to relight, I turn them off immediately, whereas I'd often leave a white gas stove on low to avoid restarting it.

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Containers on 03/25/2013 10:52:52 MDT Print View

I guess that you could buy gasoline, diesel, or kerosene at the pump and use a reusable container.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: canisters on 03/25/2013 11:14:31 MDT Print View

"Coming from the days of a gallon of white gas in a steel can (fuel weight : container weight about 15:1), I was struck by how wasteful these new-fangled canisters seemed with a ratio of about 2:1)"
I use the 100g Jetboil canister so it's a dead even 1:1 ratio (3.5oz each). My assumption is that the local recycling plant will accept the expired canister but I need to double check. The municipality I live in isn't all that progressive so there's a good chance they won't. They won't accept glass as it's a negative benefit for them to recycle it and apparently they don't care about landfill (shakes fist at the man.)

I’m interested enough to ask the landfill the next time I’m out there to see if aerosol canisters are recycled or just disposed of and if so, would they accept isobutene canisters.

I've had some emotionally significant experiences with white gas so I doubt I'll ever go back unless I plan on melting snow. Even then, I'll probably give an inverted canister a try.

Back to the OP, the 3.5 oz empty canister is one of the hurdles I have a hard time justifying when solo. As an Esbit user, this is at least 7 - 16oz boils for me

Edited by IDBLOOM on 03/25/2013 11:26:45 MDT.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/25/2013 11:37:17 MDT Print View

"set a table at a shelter on fire"

That was you? Man, I think you've been at every AT shelter before me, multiple times in some cases.... :)

I used an alky stove for a while, and a tablet stove, and I keep coming back to my canister -- and it's not even the lightest one. The only downside is the need to carry a second canister when the first is getting low -- or the willingness to toss the not-empty canister in a hiker box when resupplying with a new one.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/25/2013 11:39:54 MDT Print View

"The only downside is the need to carry a second canister when the first is getting low"

I car camp frequently, like near the trailhead, and can eventually use up all the canisters with small amount of fuel.

Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for cannister" on 03/25/2013 11:56:55 MDT Print View

Hey Ken, yeah I have been secretly scouting out your shelter locations and setting all the tables on fire! LOL! But seriously, if you fool with alcohol stoves long enough you are probably going to have fire get outside the stove some or at least some spillage. All my mishaps over the years have been small and were quickly extinguished. But I do agree about not wanting to carrying the second canister. How many boils do you get out of the small canister?

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/25/2013 11:58:22 MDT Print View

my gf has one of those Snow Peak canister lanterns that we use sometimes car camping that is another good use for almost empty canisters.

i don't get the resupply thing.. 8oz gets you 8-10 boils of alcohol where 8oz gets you 15-20 boils out of a canister. depending on the length of a long trip you might not need to resupply fuel at all (JMT, Long Trail). what if you do a short section.. 2-3 days then you have to do another short section and not resupply or carry extra fuel. Town stops aren't always a nice 5-6 days apart like clockwork.

in the end people are going to like what they like. i'll "spend" a few ounces for convenience and speed.

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
The Great Stove Wars on 03/25/2013 12:01:35 MDT Print View

These threads amuse me. :)

Much like religious faith, seems as if many people have The One True Stove (TM).

It is possible to have different stove for different purposes...or just because. :) Sometimes I'll take an alchy stove when solo and want a hot meal. Other times I'll take a canister stove if the aim is more social. Sometimes I'll even go stoveless because I am lazy at heart and don't want to futz with anything. :)

Remember the mantra, there is no such thing as the "best' gear. Just what is best for you, your desired goals and own personal preferences.

Bill Reynolds
(billreyn1) - M

Locale: North East Georgia Mountains
"Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for cannister" on 03/25/2013 12:08:43 MDT Print View

My intent was never to convince anybody to change I just wanted to see if others had experienced some of the same frustrations that I had and apparently there are quite a few that for whatever reason have changed to canisters. I am sure that after my thru there will be times when I use my alchy setup but the more I think about cooking for 5 months on the AT canisters are looking pretty good.

Erik Basil
(EBasil) - M

Locale: Atzlan
No doubt using my canister on 03/25/2013 12:09:12 MDT Print View

I also use up the partially-spent canisters for car-camping, unless my gram scale tells me there's enough in there for a particular trip.

I come from white-gas stoves and arrived at Canisters with a view based on exposure to the Bluet stoves that, in my experience, reliably failed over and over for others around me in the snow, at Camp 4 in Yosemite Valley, in Kings Canyon...etc. I upgraded to an XGK and kept that in service for many years. Although I recognized it was large when packed, it never fails, puts out plenty of heat and fuel was simple. Canisters looked wasteful and "doubtful", too.

Alcohol stoves were my next stop, but only a brief one as I was thoroughly bummed with a skilled buddy's stove performance in cold, blustery weather and realized that this genre is too slow and too finicky for me. Even though I love the MYOG aspect of these stoves, I want horsepower and a larger hammer.

It was a Pocket Rocket that blew me away and led to to look hard at canister stoves. The Optimus Crux I wound up making my "regular" puts out heat like the XGK, lights instantly and easily without priming, doesn't soot up anything, and with a cook kit, full canister of fuel, spork, lighter and windscreen weighs the same as only the stovehead of the XGK.
I punch holes in the empties with the Jetboil prong tool and recycle them along with other metal cans, so the "waste" is neutralized, at least in reference to other fuels, etc...

Being able to crouch down in blowing, 40f rain and put together the stove, fire it and boil water for coconut water tea to warm up my hiking partners, in about 3 minutes total even though I'd managed to get chilled and was shaking... is something I couldn't do with either the XGK or any alky stove (not to mention my emergency hexamine). Others might have no problem, but "a man's got to know his limitations", ha ha!

For me, the canister stoves are lighter, faster, stronger and *better* than any other options for a reliable cook system. Reviews that demonstrate how light some of the new stoves (like that FM 300t or the 117t's I just bought for Patrol Stoves) are, just cement that for me.

John Vance
(Servingko) - F

Locale: Intermountain West
Cannisters on 03/25/2013 13:18:31 MDT Print View

I used an optimus 8r for a decade, MSR Whisperlite for two decades, alky for 2 years and then moved to cannisters - currently a Jet Boil Sol ti. Convenience and speed sealed the deal for me. Most of the time all I ever need is hot water above tree line. This accounts for 95% of my trips.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Crazy Light on 03/25/2013 13:28:37 MDT Print View

Alcohol stoves are just "crazy light". As is Esbit

Yeah, you can contrive a scenario where they're a little lighter, but after a while sanity will return to you and you'll go back to canister

(Just being provocative here. Feeding frenzy. Maybe I should "keep day job" rather than trying to be comedian.)

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for cannister" on 03/25/2013 13:36:16 MDT Print View

With a good windscreen--essential!--I easily get 14 boils out of a 4 oz. canister. This starts as a pretty light set-up and just gets lighter every day. So one 4 oz canister for a week of backpacking. Simple as pie. Of course, I'm a boil-only guy.

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Alcy here on 03/25/2013 14:24:06 MDT Print View

Alcy here for the simple reason that stoves cost money. I started up on a budget, bought $3 worth of alcohol and widdled a stove out of a beer can, of which I already had a few laying around for some reason, and viola! Since starting up, I've never seen a reason to buy anything. My stove always suffices. But then, maybe I just dont hike as hard as all of you, I can always wait another minute or two for my ramen.

Besides, Wisner always has the coffee ready by 0500 anyway.

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: "Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for cannister" on 03/25/2013 14:48:06 MDT Print View

Jeffrey,

Just wanted to clarify that you are talking about 4oz of fuel above and beyond the 3.5oz canister itself? I assume so as that's what my Soto will boil from a 7oz 100g Jetboil canister.

Jon Fong
(jonfong) - F - M

Locale: FLAT CAT GEAR
Re: Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for canister on 03/25/2013 15:10:48 MDT Print View

I think your decision is pretty straight forward: if you are uncomfortable with an alcohol stove, switch to a canister stove. If you are uncomfortable with a tarp, switch to a tent. If you are uncomfortable with a quilt, switch to a sleeping bag. And like others have said before, don’t be married to your gear but pick your gear for the situations that you feel comfortable with. I think that the decision based on weight is secondary to that of having confidence in your equipment.

Best wishes - Jon

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Clever Canister Concept on 03/25/2013 15:46:03 MDT Print View

For estimating canister contents, floating in water does not work too well as they float at an odd angle.
The balance beam is a better idea - how about using a translucent plastic cup or transparent water bottle/bladder as the counter weight, pre-calibrated with marks in grams (or oz) for various quantities of added water?

Casey Bowden
(clbowden) - MLife

Locale: Berkeley Hills
Re: Alcy here on 03/25/2013 16:29:28 MDT Print View

"Besides, Wisner always has the coffee ready by 0500 anyway."

The photo below shows perhaps the best coffee I ever had, thanks Adan.

fgasdgf

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: canisters on 03/25/2013 17:41:02 MDT Print View

Ian Bloom wrote:

> some emotionally significant experiences with white gas

That has got to be an award-winning euphemism!

Cheers

Ian B.
(IDBLOOM) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Re: Re: Re: canisters on 03/25/2013 18:50:01 MDT Print View

"That has got to be an award-winning euphemism!"

For a reasonably accurate reenactment....

"OMG OMG OMG OMG! I'm going to set the woods on fire! OMG OMG OMG! I'm going to jail for setting the woods on fire! OMG OMG OMG!"

The more I think about it, I really don't miss my circa 1984 Coleman Peak One stove even though it holds a position of honor in garage. I actually won it for selling the most fertilizer in my Boy Scout Troop (you can’t make this stuff up folks.) I cannot stand the thought of throwing it away so maybe I'll have it bronzed.

P.s. I didn't set the woods on fire.

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: MidAtlantic
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: canisters on 03/25/2013 19:01:39 MDT Print View

"P.s. I didn't set the woods on fire."

Rookie....

jeffrey armbruster
(book) - M

Locale: Northern California
"Starting to doubt using my alcohol stove for cannister" on 03/25/2013 19:05:34 MDT Print View

Ian: yes, 4 oz's of fuel plus whatever the canister weighs; 3 oz.'s probably. I use an MSR canister; pretty small. So I think that my entire canister set-up, with pocket rocket and titanium windscreen comes in at about 10 oz's. I suppose that this seems heavy, but gets lighter every day. The upside: no muss, no fuss, dependable, no parts to lose or fuel to spill.

Plus, my windscreen--a caldera cone--will work as a wood burning backup.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: canisters on 03/25/2013 19:20:36 MDT Print View

"P.s. I didn't set the woods on fire."

Rookie....

---

hehe I had one of the older pump valves crack on me canoe camping once and had it blow like 1/2 liter of white gas in flame thrower fashion until it was out. Luckily all that got roasted was a bit of leg hair and our breakfast

Adan Lopez
(Lopez) - F

Locale: San Gabriel Valley
Coffee on 03/25/2013 19:55:57 MDT Print View

"The photo below shows perhaps the best coffee I ever had, thanks Adan."

Ha! That was a very good day. My pleasure, buddy.

Ken Bennett
(ken_bennett) - F

Locale: southeastern usa
Re: canisters on 03/26/2013 18:04:37 MDT Print View

The "second canister" thing was for longer hikes. If you have a mostly empty canister and buy a new one at a resupply point, you end up carrying both for a while. Or you end up tossing a partially-full canister.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Re: canisters on 03/26/2013 21:11:57 MDT Print View

yea.. you could also bring a few esbit tablets for a few grams for 1-2 day backup in case your canister runs out