Adventure Cycling Association Forum

Bicycle Travel => Gear Talk => Topic started by: flounder on October 02, 2008, 01:32:03 pm

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: flounder on October 02, 2008, 01:32:03 pm
I will by making my first TransAm tour this upcoming May and I was wondering which stove I should take that's light, affordable, easy maintenance/use, and easy to find fuel for if we run out during the trip.

I wouldn't want to spend more than $100 if possible on it.

Any ideas?

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: wanderingwheel on October 02, 2008, 02:16:59 pm
Many tourists do not carry stoves since it is often the same price and better quality to eat at cafes and restaurants as compared to cookng for yourself once you get away from the coasts.  Also, cooking and cleaning can be a hassle that many wish to avoid.  Most touring, especially on something like the Trans-Am, is not like backpacking where you have to bring everything with you and often need to cook, or at least heat up some water.  You will be passing many stores a day and can always pick up fresh food or something hot when needed.  Don't be surprised if your stove finds it's self languishing at the bottom of your pack after the first week or so.

That said, I do bring the cooking gear on occasion, my favorite stove for long trips is the Coleman Feather 442.  It will run on either white gas (aka Coleman Fuel, usually easy to find), or gasoline if needed.  I find the stove much easier to use than any other white gas stove, and it even can function at settings other than "off" and "afterburner" (not that I often need that, though).  A full tank will last me about a week of continuous use, but you will need to carry a fuel bottle to hold the gas you purchase on the road.


Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 02, 2008, 03:00:18 pm
I loved the Pocket Rocket we used on the Trans America, but it was impossible to find fuel for in the middle of the country.  I suggest two possible solutions.

"Surface Mail Only
Consumer commodity
In any case getting stuff at post offices via general delivery is a great tool if you have someone at home to ship for you.

If I travel alone and don't plan any elaborate cooking, I am likely to just use a pepsi can stove.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 10-2-08 @ 12:03 PM
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: Westinghouse on October 02, 2008, 03:03:41 pm
If you insist on carrying a stove, I will tell you about the lightest, efficient stove you can carry. It burns denatured alcohol, but not under pressure. It weighs about four ounces. Place it inside an old coffee can with some holes near the bottom and top. It is not as efficient as the air-pressure types, but it does the job quite well, with a savings in price and weight. Actually, I have used the pressuried kinds of stoves, both canned gas and free flowing, and the difference in efficiency between the pressurized stoves and the alcohol stove really is negligible and unimportant. The alcohol stove really gets heats food very well, so well in fact that you have to let it set quite a while before you can eat it. It really boils it up.

A featherlite stove can weigh 2 pounds, and you still have to carry the fuel. The alcohol stove is the best I have come up with for weight, expence, and trouble-free operation.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: flounder on October 02, 2008, 03:41:45 pm
If I were to use the alcohol stove, where would I get the fuel and how do you normally carry it (fuel)? It sounds like a great idea.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 02, 2008, 06:02:59 pm
Check out:

One of the easier ones to find is sold at gas stations and general stores as gas-line antifreeze such as HEET brand (Yellow is Methanol, Red is Isopropyl. You want the Methanol).

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: mimbresman on October 02, 2008, 08:18:31 pm
I like carrying a stove...but I like making coffee in camp. I've used all types of stoves; commercially made alcohol stoves (on a sea kayak expedition) to old Svea(s) to Coleman Peak 1 to MSR's. They all work fine, but the new homemade alcohol stoves are way cool. Very light, simple, and they work! Here a link ( I haven't made one yet (I am a science teacher...I like to tinker) but I think I will. On the kayak trip, we made coffee daily, and even made coffee cake and brownies on the thing. I like them because there are no moving parts. Very cool!

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: paddleboy17 on October 03, 2008, 12:05:12 pm
I have an MSR Whisperlite International white gas stove.  It is pretty rugged and dependable.  The stove also fits in the center of an MSR Alpine cookset.  The Whisperlite will simmer if you are patient.

I carry my 22oz fuel bottle in an external pocket of rear pannier.  You can fit the fuel bottle in a water bottle cage, but I would worry about dust on the stove pump.  You can usually find white gas anywhere.  In a pinch, my stove will burn gasoline or kerosine.

I think there is an issue with Alcohol and IsoButane stoves with altitude and or cold weather, but I don't remember the details.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 03, 2008, 12:18:56 pm
The reason I don't like white gas (Coleman fuel) is that it is often available only in gallons.  If you stay in campgrounds, you might be able to buy smaller quantities from other campers.  I have seen it in what I think were quart sized containers, but the gallon can still seems to be what is most often available.  I sure don't want to carry a gallon of fuel.

If you want a similar type stove, one of the multi-fuel models will burn gasoline which is always available on the road.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 10-3-08 @ 9:19 AM
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: mimbresman on October 03, 2008, 09:20:39 pm
Buying white gas by the gallon is inconvenient, but if traveling with companions, the fuel could be spread out evenly (if each carries a fuel bottle [32oz]). Another downside is it is also very expensive per gallon.

More on stoves: I took my new-ish Peak 1 Coleman (multi-fuel model with an external tank) on the Katy trail this summer. We cooked only one meal on it, but I am glad we had it with us. We were hungry and there were no stores or restaurants nearby and it was very late by the time we reached camp.

I also have a MSR Whisperlite International. It works well, but a bit more finicky. It is an early model without the self-cleaning jet. Need clean the orifice each time its used. I've mostly used this stove when mtn bike touring.

Stoves are cool because there is nothing quiet as luxurious as drinking some good coffee in camp, especially if its raining.  :8|:

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 04, 2008, 10:05:15 am
Three of us were traveling together and a gallon is still way too much to carry IMO.  Even with a group of three I don't think I would want to have more than a quart.  A gallon of white gas is a lot of cooking and a lot of weight.

If I were only going to cook one meal I would do without, but on a long tour I prefer to cook a good portion of the time.  I do like to eat in a restaurant about once per day on average though and often eat cold breakfast and lunch.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: Peaks on October 04, 2008, 07:28:43 pm
Before buying a stove, first decide what type of cooking you will be doing.

For thru-hikers, their cooking usually consists of boiling 2 cups of water and throwing something in, like Mac & cheese, or Liptons.  If you are cooking for one, and that's all the cooking you plan to do, then a homemade alcohol stove like the Pepsi can stove or Cat stove will work just fine.

If you plan on cooking for more than one, or more elaborate cooking, then consider a white gas stove like the MSR simmerlite or Coleman Peak 1 stove.  Can't fine white gas in small amounts?  Then just use unleaded gas.  That's all we used before Coleman started selling it.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: paddleboy17 on October 06, 2008, 12:06:00 pm
I have a later model MSR Whisperlite, with the self cleaning jet.  So my stove is not finicky.

White gas is more refined than unleaded gas and does not have any additives.  So white gas does not gum up or varnish, and it leaves no odor if you spill it.  But the Whisperlite International will burn unleaded gas, if I could not buy a quart of white gas, then I would refill my fuel bottle with unleaded gas.

It would be worth discussing what kind of meals you can cook on the stove.  Actually, I don't think any of the stoves mentioned will do scrambled eggs and toast.  You are going to cook something that can start out as being boiled.

My metabolism switches over the second day of touring so that I need a lot of protein.  If I have oatmeal for breakfast, I will be hungry an hour later.  My preference is to buy lunch but my touring partners are PB&J guys.  I might add that I have never toured for longer than 2 weeks.

I would like to hear what other do with their stoves.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 06, 2008, 12:35:05 pm
"I would like to hear what other do with their stoves."

We most often do something simple like red beans and rice with some kind of veggie thrown in, or pasta and red sauce, again with some veggies added.  Other times we get more elaborate, but when doing multiple courses we wind up having some of it cool off a bit so we lean more towards one pot type stuff.

A bag of salad tops off a simple meal nicely.

Fresh local veggies are great and we have done just about whatever we found fresh and local.  Some of it is boiled stuff like corn on the cob, cabbage, potatoes, etc.  If we can get fresh green beans, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, cucumbers, or lettuce we grab it up.

Stir fry type stuff works well too, either from scratch or from a bag.

We found chili that we liked in a box (I forget the brand) and also ate some canned stuff like baked beans.

We tend to do more elaborate multiple dish meals when we have a fire to cook some stuff on and keep things warm.

We have done things like eggs (fried, hard boiled, soft boiled), fried potatoes, or pancakes, but usually just eat a granola bar or oatmeal in camp and eat second breakfast on the road.

This message was edited by staehpj1 on 10-6-08 @ 9:36 AM
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: mimbresman on October 06, 2008, 05:20:35 pm
With a stove, I've cooked all sorts of things; pasta (spaghetti, mac & cheese, etc.), homemade chicken & vegetable soups, quesadillas, red chile & cheese enchiladas (New Mexico food), canned stuff (chile con carne, hash, etc.), scrambled eggs (in burritos), oatmeal, and of course tea and coffee (get the gourmet stuff).
This summer on my short Katy Trail ride, we did pasta. A bag of salad and bread would have been nice.


Title: Touring Stove
Post by: wanderingwheel on October 06, 2008, 09:13:00 pm
If I'm going to go to the trouble of cooking and cleaning, I want the meal to be worth it.  Sure I do soups and chilis and pastas, but that's usually just with the pot.  With the skillet, I'll throw together whatever I picked up that day together and cook it: fish, steak, chicken, vegetables, anything really.  Sometimes it leans towards a stir fry, sometimes it's closer to a mixed grill.  I'll also cook simple pies and cakes if I planned far enough in advance.


Title: Touring Stove
Post by: driftlessregion on October 06, 2008, 10:03:52 pm
The Whisperlite is great and as its name implies relatively quiet. After it came the Simmerlite which as the name implies allows lower flame than the Whisperlite for simmering; but it is as noisy as a train in the forest. If traveling with others, a gallon of fuel can be shared,  depends on the length of the trip. I used only 2 liters on 2 week trip with 2 of us, cooking 2X a day.  Check out REI for comparisons of lots of stoves.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: robo on October 07, 2008, 12:51:58 am
To me, there's nothing more important than my morning coffee.  Instant oatmeal is another ingredient in helping me through those first miles.  I like to use my homemade pepsi or penny stove for this.  As an added bonus, the stoves weigh less than less than nothing and are fun to make.  The alcohol goes in any plastic bottle and is carried in a pannier.

Evening meals usually entail some sort of soup, pasta, rice, or whatever we can find at "the little shop that shouldn't really call itself a grocery".  This can take a bit more time, so I like to use the whisperlight, or, for a more reliable and bombproop option, the MSR XGK.  It is barely heavier than the whisperlight and takes up a bit more space.  I carry the gas in my third water bottle cage.

I've been able to find both kinds of fuel in both the US and Canada, often in one liter containers.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 07, 2008, 07:09:28 am
Robo, I find this more than a little puzzling...

"As an added bonus, the stoves weigh less than less than nothing and are fun to make."
True but the fuel doesn't weigh so little.  Carrying an extra Pepsi can stove can add less than half an ounce, but an extra liter of methanol weighs 1.75 pounds or so.  With the weight of the container it must be about 2 pounds when full.  An extra 2 pounds is a huge deal to me, especially since it only duplicates the function of the other stove.

So any perceived advantage just doesn't compute with me.  It seems like you are carrying at least an extra 2 pounds to do the same thing that the other stove can do just as well or better.

One possible advantage that I could see would be if you really wanted to have two burners at the same time.  Even then it looks to me as if another Whisperlite or XGK with a fuel bottle and a half liter of fuel would weigh the same as a pepsi can stove and a full liter of fuel.

The only other advantage I can come up with is that if you can't find one fuel you can maybe find the other, but the XGK is multi-fuel and has a lot of options for fuels.

Obviously, you can do as you please, but I can't conceive of any way this makes sense unless carrying an extra 2 pounds means nothing to you.  Am I missing some advantage?

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: scott.laughlin on October 07, 2008, 11:34:43 am
I haven't carried a stove for years.  Instead, I depend on a thermos, microwaves in convenience stores, and sometimes cafes.
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: DaveB on October 07, 2008, 11:53:05 am
Some ideas for getting small amounts of fuel for a white gas/unleaded gasoline stove:  

1. Stop at a gas station and approach someone who is filling their car.  Ask them to add gas to your fuel bottle (bring a small funnel) and offer to pay for the 1 qt or what ever it takes.  The cost should be less than $1 even at today's prices.

2. Stop at a gas station and go around to all of the pumps not in use.  Remove the nozzle from the pump and drain the residual gas into your fuel bottle.  Many people replace the nozzle without draining it and a few pumps may provide all you need free.

3.In any commercial or public campground, find someone with a Coleman stove or lantern and offer to buy a small amount of Coleman fuel from their large can.  

BTW, denatured alcohol (ethanol treated to be non-drinkable) is available in most hardware and home center stores in the paint section, often in 1-qt or 1-pint cans.  It is the solvent used for shellac.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: paddleboy17 on October 07, 2008, 11:54:05 am
I guess I should have clarified what you cook to include how you cook it.  

I don't see how anyone can do stir fry, pies, cakes, etc. with a white gas stove or any other portable stove.  I don't have room for a dutch oven, so I don't know how these got made.

As for me, if I did marinara sauce from a jar and pasta, I would be in trouble because there is not enough protein in it to sustain me.  

Beans and rice from a bag are OK, but it does use a lot of fuel to cook, and I don't advise riding behind me the next day.

On my last weekend trip, my touring partner and I were each responsible for one dinner.  He boiled instant brown rice, with canned chicken, and canned black beans.  Very filling, although the chicken has a funky smell to it (taste is OK).  I boiled canned ham with instant rice-a-roni.  Actually, I attempted to saute the ham with a little olive oil before adding the water, rice, and seasoning packet.  Also very tasty, no funky smell, ham has a funky texture.  We both used white gas stoves.  

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: Westinghouse on October 07, 2008, 02:35:17 pm
I have a mass manufactured alcohol stove so light you can barely feel its weight when you pick it up. Through over twenety little holes it jets the flames upward one foot where they all meet at one point of concentrated heat. Place it in a low coffee can with vents for air, put the pot on top of the coffee can, and the full bottom of your pot will be covered with fire with fire venting out the air holes and climbing the sides of your pot. In a short time your food is so hot you can not even begin to eat it. If you carry HEET for fuel you can get it for $1.34 at Wal Mart and gas stations. It comes in volumes in containers much lighter than a quart of denatured alcohol.

When it comes to light weight, ease of use, cooking efficiency, and low cost, a well made alcohol stove is the best deal for the touring cyclist. At least that has been my experience so far. I have carried all kinds of stoves. The alcohol stove is the best.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: scott.laughlin on October 08, 2008, 03:23:14 am
Using HEET for fuel makes a lot of sense.  You can build your own stove in a few minutes, if you're so inclined.  Go to


for instructions.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: paddleboy17 on October 08, 2008, 06:17:04 pm
OK, I will come clean.  Perhaps I have been guilty of white gas snobbery.  I did go and visit (
and I will admit that I am intriqued.

But I am not much of a machinist.

So I did an online look up for commercial stoves.  Wow, what a cottage industry.  Here are the ones that looked interesting.

I would love to hear who uses what and what experiences anyone has had with these stoves.  The ION looks interesting to me, but I know nothing about alcohol stoves.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: WesternFlyer on October 09, 2008, 02:14:37 pm
If you use an alcohol stove please read the Zen Stoves website about various types of alcohol based fuels and possible toxicity of some fuels like HEET!

I have used a Trangia alcohol stove for nearly 40 years  It has never failed me.  I have pulled up on a beach in my kayak, emptied the burner of salt water, filled it with ethanol in the pouring rain and wind and had dinner cooking in less than a minute.  I did replace the simmer ring this year because the rivet, after years of abuse and salt water, finally corroded through.  What I like about it most is its quietness.  Striking the match is the loudest noise you will hear.

Western Flyer
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: flounder on October 15, 2008, 11:16:37 am
Thanks for everyone's advice, I bought the Coleman Feather 442 Dual Fuel Stove ( I hope it works ok. It's pretty light and small.

Thanks again!

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: bogiesan on October 15, 2008, 10:35:50 pm
That would not have been my choice for your weight consideration but
most Colemans have a nice simmer, crucial if you're going to try to live
on your own real cooking rather than just boiling water.

Please come back after your trips and tell us how you got on, eh?

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: Westinghouse on October 20, 2008, 07:52:56 pm
I too bought the feather 442 stove. Sure, it worked just fine. However, it is nearly impossible to get fuel from a powerful gas hose at a gas station into the very small hole in the stove. In fact, I could not do it at all. You will need to find a larger gas can you can pump the fuel into, and then funnel the gas from the can into the stove. No larger gas can available? No gas. You can buy white gas, but that comes in only gallon sizes from everything I have seen thus far.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 21, 2008, 08:19:25 am
I typically carry either an iso-butane stove or an alcohol stove, but have used a gasoline stove when backpacking.

A lot depends on the gas pump.  Some are tougher than others.  I have managed to pump gas into a Sigg bottle with some difficulty.  It isn't impossible, but some spillage is likely.

I have read of others who just went from pump to pump and dribbled the gas that left was in the hoses into their fuel bottle (when the gas station was closed).

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 21, 2008, 08:49:03 am
Different strokes, but 24 ounces isn't pretty light in my book.  It is about the heaviest solution I would consider and then only if I already had it and nothing lighter.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: tgpelz on October 21, 2008, 03:06:17 pm
Considering my total weight, plus my bike and my panniers, my 10 liter MSR water bag and my 120 0unces of water bottles that I carry, the weight of my fuel and my stove is minor.

I have the MSR whisperlite.  Before a trip, I fill the bottle for the stove and make sure that my spare is filled.  This I have never ran out ... yet.   I must admit that I usually am on 5 day trips, not a month long trip.

I admit that the majority of my meals are purchased.  However, my wife and I like the freeze dried food and Ramen noodles at least once a day.

Thus, I use the stove only about once a day.  

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 22, 2008, 08:39:58 am
I gotta ask...  Where do you tour.

You say you carry "my 10 liter MSR water bag and my 120 0unces of water bottles".  That would seem to suggest travel in arid and remote areas.  Then you say "I admit that the majority of my meals are purchased."  Which seems to suggest services are readily available.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: Westinghouse on October 22, 2008, 12:38:16 pm
Five day trips are five day trips. I cycled 93 days on one tour. Realities encountered on long and short distance tours might be very different. My experiences bicycle touring have always involved long distances, and that is one perspective I use in discussing matters related to bicycle touring.

I am sure any of the stoves mentioned here would serve well enough, but for weight, cost, and efficiency, I say the small alcohol stove will meet the need.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: biker_james on October 23, 2008, 07:50:01 am
I find these little stoves intriguing, and they look pretty good for the size weight and price, at least when cooking for one. What about when cooking for two or three-do they have enough heat to boil a large pot of water? I'm just having trouble imagining that they throw anywhere near the amount of heat that my Whisperlite does, so the idea of waiting an extra 20 minutes for dinner doesn't sound great after a long day riding.

This message was edited by biker_james on 10-23-08 @ 4:50 AM
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: paddleboy17 on October 23, 2008, 12:37:45 pm
At the start of this thread, I was a white gas snob.  Maybe even worse than that, an MSR white gas stove snob.

Based on some earlier remarks, I got intrigued and looked into alcohol stoves.  My research was not inclusive, but I like this one:
Jim Woods Super Cat Stove (  The stove is based on one 3oz cat food can with some holes in it.  There is no stand.  You dump alcohol in the can, torch it, let it burn for 30 seconds to heat the fuel, and set the pot on it.  Flames will shoot out through the holes in the can and heat the pot.
My experiments were done in Michigan (750' above sea level), and at temps down into the the high 40s (F). I can't wait to use these stoves on my next camping trip.  Do your experiments at night so you can see the flames.  And yes, you will need a wind screen (I used the one from my Whisperlite).  And yes, I can live with the fact that this stove will only work above 35 (F).

I would take several of them on your trip.  Why?  They only hold an ounce of fuel, enough for 6-8 minutes of burning.  That should bring 16oz of water to a boil, but if it does not, you can add alcohol to cool 2nd stove and use it to finish your meal.  With multiple stoves (which we do with white gas stoves anyways), you can boil water for hot beverages and cook dinner.

I am going to use a water bottle (appropriately marked) to hold the alcohol and carry it in the 3rd water bottle carrier (at least my bike has one).  I know some people carry their MSR fuel bottles in the same spot, but when I did it the pump mechanism got dirt in it.  I am sure that I can find room somewhere for two Super Cat stoves in my gear.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: flounder on October 24, 2008, 12:36:22 pm
I'm going to try that Super Cat alcohol stove! If anyone else tries it I'd like to know how it goes. I assume for a long tour you'll need plenty of alcohol and plenty of cans. My only concern is wind but wouldn't it work fine if you can block it? Let's hope so. I'll try it at home and see what the results are.

Great site!

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: WesternFlyer on October 24, 2008, 01:21:43 pm offers generic malleable aluminum windscreens you can customize to you burner/stove at a good price.  I use one with my Trangia Spirit Burner when biking to save weight and space, and it does decrease cooking time.  I used a standard paper punch to put two rows of holes about halfway around the bottom of the screen to get a better draft.

Western Flyer
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: bogiesan on October 25, 2008, 11:30:22 pm
> I am going to use a water bottle (appropriately marked) to hold the
alcohol <

Water bottle? What kind of water bottle? You want an absolutely
dependable and positive seal and you need room for the fuel to

What you want is bottle that is labeled "approved for fuels."

What you don't want is alcohol leaking into your panniers.

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: WesternFlyer on October 27, 2008, 12:23:15 am
Almost any # 2 or #5 polyethylene bottle will hold alcohol safely assuming the top is secure and seals well.  Oddly enough not all aluminum fuel bottles are compatible with alcohol.  I know Sigg and Trangia have alcohol compatible aluminum bottles and probably other manufactures have them as well, but check with the manufacturer.  Your local REI salesperson may not know, or assume if it can hold gasoline and kerosene it must be all right for alcohol.

Another consideration is that denatured ethanol is generally sold in quarts (32 oz) cans and most bike bottles are 22 to 28 ounces.  Zefal makes a 1 litter (33oz) standard bike cage compatible bottle but a review on The Bike Forum had a number of people saying the top leaked (not good).  Others said it sealed fine, but sealed fine for water and alcohol are two different standards.  Im going to try one and see.  The original can, although a little heavier, is plenty secure and can easily and safely be recycled when empty, and that is not true of all fuel cans and canisters.

The best way to keep fuel from spilling in your panniers is to not put it there, although alcohol is much less the disaster than gasoline and kerosene are.  The former is water-soluble without the need for detergents to clean up, and leaves no odor.

Western Flyer

  Cooking is like that.  Barbara Kingsolver
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on October 27, 2008, 10:02:25 am
I have always used the bottles that bottled water came in for alcohol.  I have done this for years backpacking, on my sailboat, and bike touring.  I have never had a moments problem.  Even if the alcohol would spill (it never has) it would not be a big deal like gasoline, white gas, or kerosene.  The bottles have been used for long term storage year round on the sailboat for years and the temperature have run the gamut from < 0F to 100F.

I use a different shaped bottle than any that I drink out of and mark them well.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: Westinghouse on October 27, 2008, 02:33:01 pm
If I do the southern tier again this winter, I do not think I will bring any kind of stove at all. I never really used stoves all that much to begin with. If I do, it will probably be the alcohol stove with HEET for fuel. Heet comes in 12 ounce containers in Wal Mart and in some gas stations.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: paddleboy17 on November 06, 2008, 07:05:33 pm
Since my last post, I have continued to build and test super cat alcohol stoves.  Here is what I have learned:

I have simplified Jim Wood's design slightly.  I do the first row of holes 3/8" down, and I do the second row of holes 3/4" down.  I also bought a punch set to make the holes.  The engineer in me just cannot make something with ragged holes. I found taping strips of quadrille graph paper allows for accurate hole punching.  

I have tried other cans sizes and can only report success with a 3oz cat food can and an Underwood Deviled Ham or Chicken can.  The Underwood can has the same diameter, but is taller.  It requires a 2oz charge of alcohol to light.

My travel plans are to use the smaller can for heating water for oat meal of beverages, and the larger can for more substantial meals.  Sorry, but I am a bit of a foodie and will not live on dehydrated food.  My touring buddy is pretty exited about the super cat stoves and will carry a similar set.  We are both tired of the finessing that goes with an MSR white gas stove.

I also have been storing alcohol in a water bottle, for the last 2 weeks.  The bottle is LDPE #4, and it seals adequately tight, and has not melted or otherwise been affected.  It may not have been designed to be a fuel bottle but it appears to work just fine.  As was mentioned in an earlier post, I want to use my bikes 3rd water bottle cage to carry fuel, and this works just fine.

Title: Touring Stove
Post by: WesternFlyer on November 07, 2008, 02:15:10 am
You dont have a second burner or wait for the burner to cool.  Because alcohol mixes with water you can pour a little water into the burner to cool it instantly and then fill it with alcohol.  The water even makes the flame burn cleaner.  You can mix up to 10% water with the alcohol.
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: bogiesan on November 13, 2008, 10:58:53 pm
Found this on
A.} Alcohol stoves definitely have their limitations (mainly cold
weather), but I've had really good luck with them up to 14,000 feet in
summer temperatures. My favorite alcohol stove is the Caldera Kitchen
( ), which incorporates burner, windscreen, pot,
and lid to create a stable and efficient system that boils three cups of
liquid in about eight minutes. It comes in a variety of configurations so
that you can use your existing pots, but the version I tested weighed
only 10 ounces, complete with a one-quart lidded, insulated plastic
container which doubles as a bowl, cup, and carrying case. In chilly
weather, however, you're probably better off going with a lightweight
canister stove it will give you much better boil times, which you'll
appreciate when you're freezing your tail off and jonesing for a hot

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: Westinghouse on December 26, 2008, 11:33:08 am
Bogiesan is absolutely correct is his evaluation. You must first consider your tour, your terrain, your volume of cooking needs, and temperatures before making a decision on which stove to use. The original question was general in nature, and my expressed opinion was intended to be general.

Any of the stoves named here would be ok---depending. If the alcohol stove is adequate for your needs, and weight is a consideration, it might be your best  choice. As for myself, I buy food in grocery stores, and eat in restaurants. I have used stoves quite a bit, but not so much in the past few years.

Paddleboy17 really got into the alcohol stove suggestion.

This message was edited by Westinghouse on 12-28-08 @ 4:51 AM
Title: Touring Stove
Post by: bogiesan on December 29, 2008, 10:00:04 pm
Hope future seekers will find this thread and read all the way through. I
recently came across this fascinating take on the classic alcohol stove:

By pressurizing the alcohol reservoir, efficiency is dramatically
improved. You will need a windscreen. Heck, every stove needs a


go, ristretto, FCP/AE
"Read the manual."
Title: Re: Touring Stove
Post by: Westinghouse on February 20, 2009, 01:17:27 am

I was just reading your information on the penny stove. I am going to make one, or maybe a few. Most cyclists who are into touring should see that article.
Title: Re: Touring Stove
Post by: mucknort on February 20, 2009, 09:28:21 am
The Coleman Exponent fits most of your stated requirements, cheap ($60), multifuel (white gas, unleaded, kerosene), and burns hot. Simple, one piece design is nice too. The flame adusts really low for keeping stuff warm. I've never had a problem with mine.
Title: Re: Touring Stove
Post by: IndyPat on February 24, 2009, 10:32:57 pm
I saw some plastic bottled Coleman White Gas that were about 1 qt.  More expensive than the cost per qt of the gal Coleman White Gas can.  In the past, I have bought gas from local campers, some would just fill your bottle.  An other way was to buy the can and then share with the others at the first night camping or the sales reps at the store who camp.
Title: Re: Touring Stove
Post by: AZ Rider on February 26, 2009, 09:45:03 pm
I use an MSR's great because it is a multi-fuel stove, and is
ok to take anywhere in the world due to that versatility. I have used
white gas, kerosene, Stoddard solvent, etc, and never a problem with it.
Title: Re: Touring Stove
Post by: dunedigger on March 01, 2009, 10:54:38 pm
You could always try a solar stove, they are super light, no fuel required, and easy to DIY. Only problem is that its a slow cooker, kinda like a crock-pot. Here is a link to the one I'm gonna try out . . .

and a nice article on solar cooking . . .

Title: Re: Touring Stove
Post by: Westinghouse on March 03, 2009, 08:16:04 am
Solar cooking has been around for quite a while. Of course, you still need fuel, the sun, and if it isn't cooking it isn't cooking. What about those Sierra stoves with the small electric fan in the bottom. I heard they worked just fine. But look at the stove and look at the price. Somthing to me looks way out of kilter. I mean, you could cut a hole near the bottom of a coffee can, jet air in with one of those small, battery operated, horizontal fans, and have the same thing for a very small fraction of the price, and it would weigh a lot less too.
Title: Re: Touring Stove
Post by: staehpj1 on March 03, 2009, 08:43:20 am
You could always try a solar stove, they are super light, no fuel required, and easy to DIY. Only problem is that its a slow cooker, kinda like a crock-pot. Here is a link to the one I'm gonna try out . . .

and a nice article on solar cooking . . .

Looks interesting...
The problem I would foresee is that they are slow and work best mid day, not the time I want to wait on a slow cooked meal.  The sun is low in the sky by the time I am ready to make camp most days.  It also could be pretty limited by cloudy days and in thick tree cover.

So I like the concept, but have trouble imagining it being practical on the tours I have done.
Title: Re: Touring Stove
Post by: dunedigger on March 03, 2009, 10:17:40 am
Yea, that is the only problem. It might be good for the days a person stops early or on days off xD Personally, solar cooking is one of my favorite ways to cook. I have an irrational fear of propane bottles, and making a fire isn't always good for the environment or legal.