Forum Index » GEAR » Most reliable and field serviceable gasoline stove?


Display Avatars Sort By:
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) - M

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.

robert van putten
(Bawana) - F

Locale: Planet Bob
MSR on 05/01/2013 14:13:08 MDT Print View

If ya will not consider the rock solid, mud simple Old School no-pump stove like the Svea then I'd personally recommend an MSR XGK EX.

Why? Simple brand loyalty I guess. Because I've used MSR stoves since about 1985, and I can operate or rebuild one in my sleep. For much for that time till now, an MSR has been my go-to stove, and I've only had one fail on me twice to the existent that I couldn't repair it in the field in all the decades I've used 'em.

I don't know where your going to or how long your trip is, but if it's really remote make sure the stove burns kerosene and diesel well, as they may be the most available fuels in really back-of-beyond locations.
Consider carrying the expedition service kit if your going places where stove failure would be truly dangerous instead of simply an inconvenience.

I took my 8R to Iceland because I don't have an XGK and didn't want to drop the coin on one for that trip, but I did have the 8R handy and my tests revealed that it would indeed run just fine on auto gas which is the most widely and easily available fuel up there, and the old stoves that use heat to pressurize are the simplest of beasties and I feel very confident indeed that I can always keep one running provided sufficient fuels.
Number two on my confidence list is the MSR stoves, so that would be how I'd run if I were you.

robert van putten
(Bawana) - F

Locale: Planet Bob
XGK simmer - on 05/01/2013 14:20:59 MDT Print View

Oh, and of course you can simmer over an XGK, or any other stove that is temperamental about simmering.
If ya can't dial the stove down as much as you'd like, just increase the distance between the pot and the stove! Think of a pot hanging from a tripod, rocks as improvised pot supports, and the like.

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: Re: Svea or 8R or optimus 99 on 05/01/2013 14:21:23 MDT Print View

The only thing that I don't like about the SVEA is the heat output - 4780 BTU compared to ~8500 for the OmniLite Ti. That's almost 50% less.... I know it's bulletproof and all, but damn....

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: MSR on 05/01/2013 14:23:04 MDT Print View

I used a MSR Whisperlite International for years. Kind of heavy and singed my eyebrows off a couple times but pretty good otherwise. Once it got clogged so I had to take it apart a little, clean out jet with pin, maybe you should figure out how to do that before you go, have the right pin,...

I think all MSR white gas stoves are probably pretty good. What they sell today looks a little different than mine, but I assume works just as good.

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: MSR on 05/01/2013 14:25:21 MDT Print View

Have you ever had trouble with the plastic on the MSR?

Here's a blog I just read:

http://www.pedallingabout.com/2012/10/23/stove-reviews-msr-whisperlite-versus-primus-omnifuel/

"We had to stop using it (the MSR) in the end as the control valve was made of plastic and the thread on it wore away, meaning it was impossible to control the flow of fuel. On the road it wasn’t possible to fix the problem or find a replacement, it would have to be sent away for repair."

Their vote went to the OmniFuel due to the metal construction.

Edited by babybunny on 05/01/2013 14:27:33 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: MSR on 05/01/2013 14:29:15 MDT Print View

If I look in my stove warehouse, I see about six or seven MSR XGK stoves of various vintages. It is about the most easily field-maintained stove that I have ever been around. Plus, you can always find some kind of fuel that it will burn no matter what country you are in.

The most maintenance that I have had to do in the field amounted to re-greasing the pump leather using Chapstick.

--B.G.--

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: XGK simmer - on 05/01/2013 14:33:40 MDT Print View

The XGK has two modes of burning: high and blowtorch. Once you've practiced with it for a while, you learn how to lower the high setting by using low pressure. You won't get a low simmer, but you can cook food without burning. Also, if you need to lower the heat even more, you place an ordinary steel can lid over the center of the burner, on top of the pot supports. That spreads the flame.

--B.G.--

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Went with the Primus OmniLite Ti on 05/01/2013 16:03:00 MDT Print View

I decided to go for the Primus OmniLite Ti. Moontrail had it for $150, I added the $20 maintenance kit, and next day shipping for (gasp) $50 since I have things I need to cook that will go bad, and otherwise I would be spending $15 a day on eating out.

I still think the metal pump is better in the long run.
People have had the OmniFuel for years with no problem.
Includes a fuel bottle.
The pot stands are a bit narrower so better for boiling water in metal cups.
Simmers naturally. No need for workarounds.
Flexible hose - this may actually turn out to be a detriment, I don't know yet.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Svea or 8R or optimus 99 on 05/01/2013 17:53:05 MDT Print View

Yeah, the heat output is not real great. For fuel efficiency, it is ideal. You can turn it down to about 700-1000BTU, depending on fuel and tuning. It gets about 13L per 4oz tankfull on low, maybe a bit more, depending on starting temp. Other stoves burn much hotter. On high, you only get about 8-9L. A 12oz PET bottle will go about two weeks at my usage and weighs about 10oz, including a second cap for filling. DO NOT try to put auto-fuel in a PET bottle though. They get quite brittle. For two people, it takes a 16oz bottle(~12oz in weight.)

robert van putten
(Bawana) - F

Locale: Planet Bob
If it has such a low heat output then why... on 05/02/2013 11:19:44 MDT Print View

Heh, maybe the Svea and 8R has less heat output on paper –

But if that is so then why is it that in Chip Rawlins exhaustive “Cruel world stove tests” published in Colin Fletchers “The Complete Walker IV” , out of quite a pile of stoves that were tested, the single solitary stove that performed as it is advertised to do was the little ‘ol Svea?

Every single other stove tested – Including the mighty MSR XGK – Failed to live up to its published specifications for boil times.
And as James pointed out, they are frugal little beasties when turned down, which makes cooking real meals with real ingredients while out in the field a real possibility.

I know my old 8R is a heavy dinosaur, but I simply love being able to just plop it on the ground, open it up and light it. After fiddling with MSR stoves for decades, having to assemble them before every use and disassemble them afterwards, and having to worry about pump leathers and cracked fuel lines and plastic pumps and clogged jets, I truly appreciate the simplicity of the old wick fed Optimus stoves. And alcohol stoves for that matter, with no moving parts, especially for short ultralight trips where I’m just heating water.

Am I a fossil clinging to ancient rites and techniques? Yeah, probably. But on my thru hike attempt of the AT next year, it will probably be a Svea in my backpack, so I can go to any supermarket, buy real food and cook up heaping amounts of decent hot food for my wife and I, with no concern at all for fuel availability or the reliability of my little brass stove

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: If it has such a low heat output then why... on 05/02/2013 11:23:20 MDT Print View

If you do not need a real blowtorch, then the XGK may be overkill.

I don't carry one unless I am either doing a lot of cooking for a group, or if it is a winter trip and I need to do a lot of snow melting.

--B.G.--

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: So undecided. on 05/02/2013 13:16:34 MDT Print View

Victor,

Many stoves are sold with the claimed ability to burn different fuels, but not all fuels are created equal.

White gasoline, kerosene, and canister gas are the best fuels for a petroleum type stove, period. You can get by sometimes with aviation gasoline, jet fuel, and automotive gasoline, but they should always be a second choice and they may shorten the life of the generator of the stove and will require more cleaning/maintenance. Diesel is never a good choice, no matter what the directions on a stove say. Fuel oil and home heating oil are equally bad. "Bunker" fuel (used for ships) should be avoided at all costs; it's even worse than diesel. Eat your supper cold before considering the use of bunker fuel.

Kerosene is typically the internationally available fuel. Bring some coffee filters and filter what fuel you buy through a coffee filter, and you'll avoid a lot of grief that way as you put it into your fuel bottle.

Fuel names vary by region. Kerosene isn't always called kerosene. In some parts of the English speaking world, it's called paraffin. Outside English speaking countries, the sky's the limit. The best, most current international fuel names list that I know if is maintained by Doron Papo and can be found at: International Fuel Names.

Specific Stove Recommmendations
OK, so above, you have my general thoughts about fuel types. Let's talk specific stoves.

As much as I like the Svea 123R, I don't think it's a good choice for international travel. It runs best on white gasoline which is not readily available world wide. Yes, you can run it on automotive gasoline, but the stove will clog more often. The Svea 123R is definitely a better choice than an Optimus 8R, Primus 71, Optimus 80, or Optimus 99. The Svea 123R is still in production; those other stoves in the same class are not. There's a reason for that. A Svea 123R wouldn't be a bad choice, but it cannot run on kerosene.

The MSR Dragonfly has an inline filter at the tip of the fuel line. This filter can clog easily on dirty fuels. Not a problem in 1st world countries, but I wouldn't take it to a 3rd world country. It's a more sensitive stove than some of the others.

The MSR XGK is a very robust stove and will burn just about anything. It doesn't as you point out simmer well. You can bring a simmer plate for it.

The MSR Whisperlite Universal will simmer. It takes some fiddling, but it will simmer, and it will simmer far better than something like a Soto Muka. You have to have low pressure in the fuel bottle (1/5th the normal number of pumps) and the bottle needs to be half empty. The jet is pretty easy to change on a Universal, and the Universal will burn canister gas, which is nice where available. Of course the Universal can only use threaded canisters. In many parts of the world, only puncture type canisters are available. In other parts of the world valved canisters will be available, but they'll be the non-threaded kind (Camping Gaz).

The Primus Omnifuel and Omnilite are very nice stoves. They have an advantage with canister gas in that they do not need a fitting change to burn canister gas vs. liquid fuel where as a Whisperlite Universal does. They are excellent simmering stoves. They're a little more complex than a Universal, and they will perhaps require a bit more maintenance. Either would be a good choice, the Omnilite is lighter and better for 1 to 3 persons. For more than 3, perhaps the Omnifuel is a good choice.

The Optimus Nova has had a lot of quality control problems as of late. Supposedly they are fixed now, but...

There's my take on the various stoves. A lot will depend on which countries you're going to and what cooking capabilities you want to have. An XGK might well be the most robust of the above lot, but it's not really a cook's stove. It's a water boiler and snow melter. It was originally designed by a mountaineer for mountaineering.

I definitely would not take a Dragonfly to a 3rd world country. Just too sensitive.

Maybe the Nova if they're really fixed the quality control problems.

That leaves the Universal or the Omnifuel/Omnilite. The Omnilite is the lightest of the bunch. If the price doesn't scare you, it's a nice stove. The Universal is cheaper and simpler. The Universal also has a cable down the fuel line. If deposits build up from using things like automotive gasoline, you can use the cable and a pair of pliers to scour out the generator and fuel line. The Omnifuel/Omnilite is a much better simmering stove (easy, can be done on a nearly full bottle, total control). The Universal can be made to simmer, but it takes some knowledge and some fiddling around.

There's my take. Hope that helps,

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Zorg Zumo
(BurnNotice) - F
Re: Re: So undecided. on 05/02/2013 13:28:17 MDT Print View

I guess I don't see what the problem with diesel would be. Do you have some bad experience with it you could share?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Went with the Primus OmniLite Ti on 05/02/2013 13:31:48 MDT Print View

I decided to go for the Primus OmniLite Ti. Moontrail had it for $150, I added the $20 maintenance kit...
Good choice. Do however see my fuel recommendations, above.

Includes a fuel bottle.
The included one is kind of small. You might want to make provisions for carrying more fuel. Plastic PET water bottles can be used to hold fuel. I've stored fuel in them for a month with no problems. You want to avoid ones with a gasket in the lid. The gaskets typically are not fuel resistant. Single piece lids usually work best.

Flexible hose - this may actually turn out to be a detriment, I don't know yet.
No worries. It's a good thing. Packs up well. Of course be smart and keep the fuel away from the flame (except maybe with canister gas in very cold weather), but the flexible fuel line is great. The inflexible fuel line on a W'lite Universal is something that really bugs me and in certain cases can actually be a safety hazard (with a 450g gas canister for example).

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: So undecided. on 05/02/2013 13:42:24 MDT Print View

I guess I don't see what the problem with diesel would be. Do you have some bad experience with it you could share?
It just generally burns very dirty with a lot of soot which leads to clogging problems. Of course, at least in the US, there are different grades of diesel. Diesel #2 is what is usually sold for motor vehicles. Diesel #2 is what I'm thinking of that burns very dirty. In colder climates, Diesel #1 is available. Diesel #1 is cleaner burning and should work about the same as kerosene from what I've read. I haven't tried it.

Caveat: I'm not a petroleum engineer. :)

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: Re: Went with the Primus OmniLite Ti on 05/02/2013 16:55:07 MDT Print View

Thank you for all the tips!

One questions about the Omnilite - the reason I said I wasn't sure about the flexible fuel line is because more flexible generally means thinner, and thinner can mean easier to clog and harder to clean.

Take the Soto Muka for instance - SUPER flexible cord. Thin. But when a grain of grit gets inside, you are completely, utterly, irreparably screwed. There is no fixing it in the field.

The MSR hoses are thicker, and after examining them I feel that they are more tolerant of grit and would be easier to clean.

I haven't seen the Omnilite so I'm really crossing my fingers that the hose is both flexible AND easy to clean if it clogs with something.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Went with the Primus OmniLite Ti on 05/03/2013 10:46:23 MDT Print View

Victor,

The best policy of course is to a) filter all fuel as you put it in your stove's bottle and to b) keep grit out of the stove, but clogs in the fuel line can happen. Flushing with fuel is about the only thing I can think of for most stoves.

MSR liquid fuel stoves (except the Dragonfly) have a cable that can be pushed/pulled so as to scour the fuel line generator. You still have to flush (a lot) because pulling the cable can break loose a lot of scale and such.

Clogs at the jet are the most common, so that's actually what you want to focus on in terms of being able to clear a clog on a stove.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Just tried my OmniLite - not able to keep my pressure cooker at pressure on 05/03/2013 15:33:57 MDT Print View

I just tried my OmniLite for the first time. I used auto gas for the first try since that's all I had at the time. I cook with a 2.7L GSI Halulite Pressure Cooker. The Soto Muka had no problem bringing it up to pressure in a jiffy and keeping it at pressure.

With the OmniLite, I waited for 20 minutes. Still no steam hissing sound. At first I thought that the cooker was the problem, so I re-adjusted the lid, checked all the valves, etc. Then finally after 40 minutes I heard the hissing sound, but unlike with the Muka where I turn down the flame and the hissing sound would be consistent for the next 20 minutes of cooking, even with the OmniLite on full blast the hissing could barely be maintained.

I'm going to try again with Coleman Fuel. The Muka puts out 15,000 BTU and cooks fine on auto gas. The OmniLite does 8,500 BTU. I'm not sure if this is enough for pressure cooking.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
XGK dual use on 05/03/2013 16:22:22 MDT Print View

No denying the XGK is one tough rugged stove.
It is reportedly dual use as well: it can be used to hammer tent stakes in.

Cheers

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Just tried my OmniLite - not able to keep my pressure cooker at pressure on 05/03/2013 16:23:59 MDT Print View

That seems strange that an OmniLite wouldn't be able to power a pressure cooker at home, but I'm not familiar with that pressure cooker (never tried one for backpacking).

Have you tried boiling water in a regular pot and comparing the times? The OmniLite is a less powerful stove, but 20 minutes? And then 40 minutes? That's crazy. Something's off here.

I guess you have to try it on white gas and also with a regular pot and get a feel for what it's doing. The pressure cooker should just be driven by steam. How much water were you using?

Mine puts out a decent amount of heat (note: mine has been modified with an after market silencer from QuietStove.com)


HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: XGK dual use on 05/03/2013 16:33:04 MDT Print View

"It is reportedly dual use as well: it can be used to hammer tent stakes in."

It is totally unsatisfactory when used to hammer railroad spikes in. I should take mine back to REI to get a refund.

I saw one guy try to use a full aluminum Sigg fuel bottle to hammer in a tent stake. You can just imagine how that ended up.

--B.G.--

robert van putten
(Bawana) - F

Locale: Planet Bob
Pressure cooker? on 05/03/2013 16:57:01 MDT Print View

Victor,
I wish you'd mentioned you use a large pressure cooker from the beginning!
It doubles my recommendation of an MSR XGK.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Just tried my OmniLite - not able to keep my pressure cooker at pressure on 05/03/2013 17:10:30 MDT Print View

8500BTU is a LOT of heat. As I said, octane boosters in auto gas slow the burning down. In a car, this prevents "knocking" from predetonation. In a stove, this means it burns slower. It probably was not up to spec with auto-gas. I believe the Muka will have the same problem, but less noticable because of the initial power.

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: Pressure cooker? on 05/03/2013 18:36:58 MDT Print View

It's not a very large pressure cooked - it's tiny in fact when you consider that I can only use about half of the 2.7L volume for cooking.

However, I didn't think that it would be a problem. And pressure cookers still need to simmer. I can't have an XGK on full blast - it's good for getting it up to pressure, but once at pressure the heat must be turned down to a semi simmer. The Soto Muka was barely able to do it.

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: Re: Just tried my OmniLite - not able to keep my pressure cooker at pressure on 05/03/2013 18:52:07 MDT Print View

The Muka was completely unfazed with auto gas. I really like the high output of the Muka and the easy lighting. It would be fine in a tent vestibule because the initial flame during priming isn't 1-2 feet high like the OmniLite's. But I hate that it clogged already from grit, there's no way to maintain / repair it in the field, and some critical parts require complete replacement as part of the natural life of the stove.

Another thing that I didn't like about the OmniLite was that I couldn't get it to light with a firestarter and a knife, the kind that makes lots of sparks. No matter when I did the fuel just wouldn't light. I had to get a match and actually hold the fire up to the OmniLite to prime it. It appears if I'm out in the bush I first have to use my firestarted to get an actual flame going before this stove can work. That's a fantastic thing to think about when it's wet out. I had no problem lighting the Muka with my sparker.

The stove legs could be a lot more sturdy too. They flex quite a bit if the cooking vessel is twisted on top of the stove. The Soto Muka legs are superior in every single way - they rotate into a much more compact, symmetrical package. They are very sturdy and have no issues with heavy pots and twisting. They are just as wide as the OmniLite legs, and they are also close enough as to allow boiling water in small metal cups.

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Gas stove with pressure cooker. on 05/04/2013 08:18:50 MDT Print View

Victor, from figures I found online:
typical kitchen stove burner: 7000 BTU/hour ('monster burner'=12000 BTU/hour)
So by the specs your OmniLite should put out more power than a typical kitchen stove.
This should be more than enough to bring a pressure cooker to pressure.

PS I'm pretty sure the Hawkins Classic Pressure Cookers, aluminum, in 1.5L and 2L sizes are lighter than the GSI. If you're interested I can weigh my 1.5L and 2L. I love these things.
http://www.amazon.com/Hawkins-Classic-Aluminum-Pressure-Cooker/dp/B002MPQH5S/ref=sr_1_1_m?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1367676947&sr=1-1&keywords=hawkins+pressure+cooker+3L

Pete Staehling
(staehpj1) - F
Pressure Cookers on 05/04/2013 08:31:09 MDT Print View

I'd be interested in those weights.

Victor Lin
(babybunny) - F
Re: Gas stove with pressure cooker. on 05/04/2013 08:39:12 MDT Print View

I'd love to see those weights as well. I thought GSI was the only one that made small pressure cookers. I think 2.7L is perfect though - anything less and it's strictly a one-person cooking vessel.

The GSI may be defective. I'm not sure. I actually don't have a household stove top to check it with.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Just tried my OmniLite - not able to keep my pressure cooker at pressure on 05/05/2013 19:10:48 MDT Print View

The Muka was completely unfazed with auto gas.
It's one of the few. Do note however that you'll have to replace the generator sooner if you use automotive gasoline.

...the initial flame during priming isn't 1-2 feet high like the OmniLite's.
Try priming with alcohol. It's much easier to control the amount, you don't get anywhere near the amount of soot, and the flame is much smaller.

HJ
Adventures in Stoving

Walter Carrington
(Snowleopard) - M

Locale: Mass.
Hawkins pressure cooker weight. on 05/06/2013 21:13:46 MDT Print View

1.5 liter Hawkins Classic pressure cooker = 930 grams = 2 lb 0.8 oz.
I'll have to dig out my 2L to weigh it, but it is only a little heavier.
There are non-structural plastic handles that could be removed that would save a few ounces, but you might need to gloves if the handles get hot. I think if you attacked the metal parts carefully with a grinder or file you might save a little more weight before compromising the structural integrity.
I've never had the Hawkins 3L.

You can sometimes find these in Indian grocery stores. Some of the other brands just don't seem to work as well. Hawkins also makes stainless steel cookers (heavier) of the same design and the Futura, hard anodized aluminum with a thick base (heavier). You want the 'Classic' aluminum. For home use, I've had Presto pressure cookers and another design similar to the GSI and I just like these Hawkins pressure cookers better. I use them frequently at home.

If you ever come across a 1 liter aluminum pressure cooker try to weigh it. I've seen, and lost, a reference to a 1 lb cooker which would be wonderful for me.

The standard is to fill the pressure cooker 2/3 full, so the 1.5 liter will actually cook about 1 liter of volume which should work for 2 people. If you're careful you can go a little fuller than 2/3.