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Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove?
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Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove? on 05/01/2013 05:56:53 MDT Print View

I'm going on a long international trip and I need a stove.

I bought the new Soto Muka but was not impressed. I was connecting the fuel line to the fuel canister whilst on the dirt ground and the head of the fuel line briefly touched the ground. I blew off the grit and dirt, but I think some grit had entered the fuel line and clogged it. There is no way to unclog the line in the field so I was screwed. Stove is dead. Plus it has a part called the Generator Unit that the manual says needs to be replaced every 20 liters of fuel. About 100ml is used to run the burner for 25 minutes for real cooking. If it takes 25 minutes to boil a stew or make pasta or something, and you do that twice a day, the stove will last all of 3 months before you have to replace the entire generator unit. There is no way to field clean the unit. The manual says it is precision engineered and just needs to get replaced since any attempt to clean it will not fully do so.

I want a stove that uses gasoline and an array of other easily available fuels that is reliable but also more importantly, serviceable in the field in case it gets clogged or something.

I think modern stoves are like a modern car engine - they work very well, all the custom parts fit perfectly, and are very high performance, but if you need to fix it yourself in the bush or jerry rig something you are screwed.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove? on 05/01/2013 06:50:02 MDT Print View

MSR Dragonfly. I've only used gas in mine, simmers great and for a long time, very adjustable, add a Berniedawg cap, nice and quiet and still simmers great.
Duane

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
thank you on 05/01/2013 06:52:15 MDT Print View

Thank you. Totally field serviceable? Any need to buy replacement parts or can everything be cleaned, including hoses and jets?

Edited by babybunny on 05/01/2013 06:52:53 MDT.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove? on 05/01/2013 07:12:50 MDT Print View

I highly recommend the SVEA123r. It needs routine maintenence about every 10 years and a rebuild every 30-40 years or so.

It is the MOST reliable and dependable stove I know of. The stove alone weighs about 17oz. It varies considerably, about 2 ounces though. The cup is often included in the weight, though. This is only slightly heavier than the origonal Jet Boil (15oz without fuel canisters.) Add in a 3-7/8oz grease pot & spoon and you have a complete cooking system for about 26 ounces. Add a 12oz bottle of WG and you have a complete setup for about two weeks for about 34ounces: stove, pot, lid, cup, and spoon. You can generally get gasoline anywhere, and it will burn car gas, though not recommended.

Field service is nearly nonexistant. Once in a while, the saftey valve can pop if the stove is overheated (In the sun at >100F and cooking on high.) Simply tap it to restore the function, again, if it does not close correctly. The self cleaning needle keeps the jet free of debris. There is only the generator to clog up, but the valve screw, jet cleaner, runs through it providing a self cleaning function. Never had a problem with it. A small amount of acetone or alcohol (10%) can be mixed with WG to clean things out after a couple weeks of running on auto fuel. This is the only maintenece I know of and only if you use auto fuel as happens when you travel abroad.

Erik Basil
(EBasil)

Locale: Atzlan
Re: Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove? on 05/01/2013 07:13:17 MDT Print View

There's always the time-proven MSR XGK: multi-fuel, comes with alternate jets, easy to break down and clean. There are some replacement parts that come in the rebuild kit, but it's highly field-serviceable. It's heavier than that Dragonfly above and, if you don't like the F-14 sound, you'll want one of those silencer heads referenced, also, but it's generally bombproof.

M G
(drown) - F - MLife

Locale: Shenandoah
+1 on dragonfly. on 05/01/2013 07:24:53 MDT Print View

Travelled all over the world with mine and have great memory of changing a cracked o-ring on a Presidential Traverse in -20 weather with very cold fingers. Fully field serviceable but hardly ultralight.

Loren B
(ljamesb)

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
Primus omnilite Ti, followed by MSR dragonfly on 05/01/2013 08:05:03 MDT Print View

All I would say is I wouldn't burn regular gasoline unless it is really a last resort. Depending on where you are travelling to, the Gasoline can be extremely dirty and is the last thing (besides diesel) that I would ever want to use to cook with.

The Primus Omnilite Ti would get my vote over the dragonfly. Primus has a very good track record so I think this would be a very safe bet (I have not used it for prolonged periods of time though, but would put my trust in it). It is lighter and packs quite a bit smaller than the dragonfly and I find is just generally more pleasant to use. Also I believe it is more fuel efficient. One bonus is that it will burn gas canisters whereas the dragonfly will not. This means if possible for any side trips or for when you return home, that you can leave the fuel pump at home saving 3.5 ounces or more.

Exact weights here http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/primus_omnilite_ti_multifuel_stove.html

MSR Dragonfly: Used mine for months straight and is as reliable as anything. You can get a repair kit for it which has everything you are likely to need to replace. it;s heavy though

Exact weights here http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/msr_dragonfly_multifuel_stove_with_591ml_fuel_bottle.html

They both allow simmering, but sound like freaking jet engines most of the time so you might want to get a silent cap for them (http://www.ebay.com/itm/QUIETSTOVE-SILENT-BURNER-MUTER-DAMPER-CAP-4-MSR-DRAGONFLY-STOVE-/321117975303?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item4ac41f7307) if you need to be stealthy for any reason. For an extended trip, fuel usage is quite often the key factor in saving weight so maybe also get a pan with a heat exchanger. Oh and don't forget that if you are going somewhere extremely cold, the plastic fuel pump components may fail on you so maybe take some extra spares.

Edited by ljamesb on 05/01/2013 08:16:43 MDT.

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
Venerable Coleman on 05/01/2013 08:27:30 MDT Print View

I've certainly heard good things about the Svea 123 - but only have direct experience with the venerable Coleman 533 dual fuel sportster. A buddy has one and I've used it with him a few times - his is a decade or so old and runs like a top with no servicing. Like the Svea you see various permutations still selling in working condition on that auction site from the 60's.

Not the prettiest but less expensive than the 123 and certainly the multifuel MSR/Optimus models.

http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-1-Burner-Sporter-Liquid-Stove/dp/B0009PUQAU

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: Re: Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove? on 05/01/2013 08:58:27 MDT Print View

I looked into the SVEA and I thought that using gasoline was a big no-no?

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Re: Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove? on 05/01 on 05/01/2013 09:01:07 MDT Print View

The old Svea 123's are great, but only use white gas, auto gas will cause big issues. Optimus makes a few stoves, but I've seen folks have some issues with a stove here and there.
Duane

Phillip Asby
(PGAsby) - M

Locale: North Carolina
gasoline on 05/01/2013 09:01:27 MDT Print View

Coleman Sportster

Forgot to add the Coleman specifically can use unleaded gas... one reason it's a popular stove with motorcycle tourers/campers.

Edited by PGAsby on 05/01/2013 09:07:00 MDT.

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: Re: Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove? on 05/01/2013 09:15:01 MDT Print View

Thanks. So comparing the XGK and the Dragonfly, the XGK is basically a jet engine. It has no simmer option. Therefore it's not really good for actual cooking, as would be the case for long term international living that has a mix of backpacking and car camping, right? I am impresses by the service record though - apparently there are still XGRs floating around from the 1970s.... Whereas my Soto broke after 2 weeks.

The Dragonfly is just as bombproof and field serviceable without the need for replacement parts? Even the hose? The Dragonfly apparently can simmer. I'm envisioning a situation where I never have to buy replacement parts (sourcing is the problem if you're in the middle of Africa, for example) and I can just scrub out parts with water and my Leatherman and be good to go again.

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: Re: Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove? on 05/01 on 05/01/2013 09:19:14 MDT Print View

Oh, I see. But the new SVEA with the self cleaning magnetic needle thing can use gasoline just fine?

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: Primus omnilite Ti, followed by MSR dragonfly on 05/01/2013 09:50:37 MDT Print View

I'm really liking the Omnilight Ti.

Uses more types of fuel than the MSRs, lighter, can use my existing canisters, can simmer, is a little less in the BTU department, but I'm just not sure about the reliability and the serviceability.

I hear of MSRs from the 1970s. I have no idea on the Primus stuff though, especially the Omnilite which is new. Again, if something clogs like a fuel line or a jet in the bush, I need to fix it with water, a multi tool, and sticks, essentially. Sorry to keep hammering this point in. I'm still not happy with my Soto breaking. I had to drive 1.5 hours back to Denver in the middle of the night to get to an REI so I can return this thing after spending 2 hours in the dark taking apart this thing and trying to fix it.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove? on 05/01 on 05/01/2013 10:14:49 MDT Print View

"Oh, I see. But the new SVEA with the self cleaning magnetic needle thing can use gasoline just fine?"

Ha, hay...the cleaning needle is mechanical. Turn the key well beyond full and it will push it's way through the jet, cleaning it. No shaker jet technology... way too complicated.

You can use auto fuel with it, as with most WG stoves. WG is usually pentane & hexane with some other volotiles in it. No oxygenators, detergents, and other additives. It burns very cleanly with no soot. Auto gas is mostly hexane, septane with small amounts of octane and other volotiles. It has additives, detergents, oxygenators, octane-boosters in it. These do nothing for the stove, 'cept slow the burning down a bit, and, leave a sooty residue. The oxygenators(?) can lead to break down of plastic and rubber parts. The SVEA 123r doesn't have any, except at the fill cap. The valve gasket is graphite, which is not effected by auto-fuel. Avoid breathing the fumes, of course. Cooking/boiling water should always be done with a lid. The fill-cap should last about a year or so if you use auto fuel a lot. I simply used cut up cardboard for a few weeks till I could get a new one after about 20 years. But, I only occasionally use auto-fuel. Auto-fuel does NOT burn as hot as WG...about the same as WG on medium. Use the cheapest, lowest octane fuel for it...it usually has the fewest additives.

There are a number of other things that CAN be burned. In a pinch, and for short runs to boil 3-4 cups of water, benzene, acetone, and others can work. These also produce bad combustion byproducts...or, can be harmfull by themselves.

MSR stoves are generally not too good with auto fuels...too many rubber and plastic parts that will go bad.

The SVEA is a simple stove using simple physics to work. There is very little to break, hence the extremely high reliability and durability. I have dropped an armload of firewood on mine, it still works, though I had to straighten out some dents. Extreme overheating, running it totally out of fuel on high, can damage the internal wick. So, fill it before every use. It will run about an hour on high, but I have never needed to run it that long. Running out at lower flame settings does not seem to hurt it. It is capable of cooking for four, but, really, is a two person stove. The weight can be a bit much for a solo hiker.

Loren B
(ljamesb)

Locale: London UK, Greenville USA
Re: Re: Primus omnilite Ti, followed by MSR dragonfly on 05/01/2013 10:38:58 MDT Print View

The omnilite ti is new, but as far as I am aware the fuel pump and burner mechanism is identical to the primus omnifuel which has been around for a while. The only difference that I'm aware of is that some of the exterior components are smaller and made from titanium hence the reduced weight. Here is a comparison between the two http://www.bushcraftuk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=88930

From what I have read, the omnifuel is just as reliable as the dragonfly if not more so. One benefit to the omnifuel/omnilite is that it has a metal fuel pump shaft as opposed to the msr plastic one which is probably more prone to failure from dropping it etc. http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/forum/gear/msr-dragonfly-vs-primus-omnifuel/34103.html

As for spare parts etc. I guess it depends on how vitally important it is to have your stove functioning 100% of the time. If it is crucial for staying alive (boiling water etc), I'd say that extreme circumstances require extreme precautions so just take a backup stove, all the possible spares you might need and steripen and filter etc. for water.

Edited by ljamesb on 05/01/2013 10:41:41 MDT.

robert van putten
(Bawana) - F

Locale: Planet Bob
Svea or 8R or optimus 99 on 05/01/2013 11:13:42 MDT Print View

I agree with the old school of thought.

I took my Optimus 8R on a cycle tour of Iceland and ran it on all sorts of scrounged fuel. In my experience the 8R runs just fine on auto gas.

In fact, in preparation for that trip I experimented and cooked all my meals over the 8R for a week using auto gas as fuel, and had zero problems.

Note - In my experience the 8R burns considerably hotter on auto gas than it does on white gas!
It may just have been my stove -
Note - Use the lowest octane gas available!


I have experienced flame shooting out of the safety valve on my stove several times. Each time the stove was being used with a large several gallon pot and was left turned up as high as it could go and was left unattended. Used properly, there is little danger of this happening, and it is easily extinguished anyway ( Blow out the flame and let it cool! ).

I don't own a Svea yet, but I understand it is near perfection in a small gas stove. I look forward to owning one some day. It certainly is lighter than the steel cased 8R.

A stove very similar to the 8R that I have always wanted is the Optimus 99. Same working guts, just housed in an aluminum box. The lid serves as a nifty pot.

Edited by Bawana on 05/01/2013 11:14:58 MDT.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Svea or 8R or optimus 99 on 05/01/2013 11:29:50 MDT Print View

Many stove users DO NOT recommend using auto gas, it will clog everything up. Use it in a pinch. A couple coleman stoves are made to use unleaded gas, not sure how much servicing they need. MSR is well known around the world, I have many old G,s, GK's, X-GK's etc. they still run great. Use white gas/Coleman fuel, they'll be fine. Most of my old stoves still had the old yellow pumps, easily rebuilt if needed, in plastic to boot. Don't be fooled by the plastic, although MSR had a run of a few years that had bad pumps, the blue/red ones were the worst. I've sent two of those back to Cascade Designs for exchanges. Even then, the pump can still be used as it did not affect the pumping, just the plunger would not stay in because the ears that hold the pump in place would crack. I have three of the Optimus pumps that work on the Nova, 11 Explorer etc. the tubing can come off of them and the NRV can come loose from the end, rendering the pump unusable.
Duane

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
So undecided. on 05/01/2013 13:54:06 MDT Print View

Gah, I'm getting really undecided here:

Primus OmniLite Ti - includes mini fuel bottle, metal pump, 12 oz (341 g) with pump, can use canisters, auto gas (petrol), kerosene, diesel, butane/canister, jet fuel

Primus OmniFuel - higher heat output than OmniLite, does not include fuel bottle, 15.6 oz (441 g) with pump, can use canisters, auto gas (petrol), kerosene, diesel

MSR WhisperLite International - packed weight 15.6 oz (441 g), auto gas (petrol), kerosene, jet fuel, diesel

Optimus Nova + - 15 oz (431 g), kerosene, diesel fuel, jet (aviation) fuel, Optimus Arctic Fuel, and others

MSR DragonFly - stove + pump - 13.8 oz (395g), kerosene, diesel, naphtha, aviation (AV) gas, stoddard solvent, auto gas (petrol)

MSR WhisperLite Universal - minimum weight - stove, fuel pump, all adaptors and jets - 13.7 oz (388 g), canister fuel, white gas, kerosene, and unleaded auto fuel

I am so confused...

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Svea or 8R or optimus 99 on 05/01/2013 14:08:13 MDT Print View

Yeah, I believe the jets can get fouled very easy, since the regular auto-gas can develop a varnish. Again, The 123r has a pin that pokes it out from the INSIDE. You may have to do that every lighting with some fuels. Unleaded, seems to be OK, just burns a bit slower, starts sooty, but it runs OK. The older regular gas would burn much slower due to the additives, I think. Something about raising the octane also slows the burning. After a week or so, add a little alcohol or acetone(nail polish remover) to clean it out. It will burn pure acetone, but may pop the safety after 10 minutes or so with a wider pot. Not a big deal if you are stuck for fuel. Anyway, auto-gas is nearly universal thrughout the world.