Author Topic: Lightweight stoves  (Read 2901 times)

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Offline Alan Kimber

Lightweight stoves
« on: December 31, 2017, 11:08:08 am »
Hi Folks,
I'm planning part of the GDMBT, south from Banff, next July. My 'go-to' stove is an MSR Reactor. I have either 1litre or 1.7litre pans. My question is..."How many gas canisters to carry, to see me through sections before buying another can?" I don't plan on rushing and will only have freeze-dried grub. One large canister okay between restock? Thanks Alan

Offline dkoloko

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2017, 11:57:32 am »
My question is what makes you think you can buy a replacement cylinder easily when one runs out? I've found canisters difficult to find.

Offline Iowagriz

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2017, 12:19:45 pm »
You won't have problems in the larger towns of the Divide route. Most of those are mountain/tourist towns catering to outdoorsman. But plan ahead somewhat.

Eureka, Whitefish, Helena, Butte, Steamboat, Breck, Salida will all have them. I'm not as familiar with the smaller towns in between.

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Offline jbruced

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2017, 01:55:58 pm »
I use a Simon stove which is an alcohol burner when camping etc. When I planned my 6 week kayak trip on the Ohio and Tennessee rivers and was trying to figure out how much fuel for the stove was needed I cooked with the stove at home several times. By doing this I learned how much fuel was needed each time I used the stove then did the math to figure out how much to carry and when to resupply.

With canisters you won't be able to measure the volume needed but you should be able to work out how many meals you can prepare per canister. Keep your meal cooking pretty consistent each time and you should come up with a reasonably accurate estimate. I would also recommend carrying one additional canister that you hopefully will not need to use.

Offline Alan Kimber

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2017, 06:44:24 pm »
Thanks for the replies so far. It's good to get as many opinions as possible to form an opinion. I'll also plan ahead and contact the settlements in between and check the distances. Week long sea paddling trips in Scotland, away from towns can use up a couple of big cans, but that is with heavier food to prepare and cook. The MSR Reactor is a very quick stove to boil water for fast-cook food, so maybe five days between cans. As you say, I'll check it out on a week long Scottish off-road trip to see how much gas I use.

Offline RonK

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #5 on: December 31, 2017, 06:59:17 pm »
I cannot comment on the availability of gas canisters in the US, but I've always though it prudent to carry (and easier to pack) two 220g canisters rather than a large one. Used 2-3 times a day to cook oats and heat water for soup, drinks and re-hydrating meals I can usually get at least 6 days out of a canister using the pot-cosy method.
Cycle touring blog and tour journals: whispering wheels...

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2018, 01:34:57 pm »
According to the specs, 8 0z. of fuel will last 1 hr. 20 min. at max flame. Average boiling time is 3 min. Sounds like a canister will last more than five days if all you are doing is boiling water for dehydrated food once or twice a day.

And while I don't know about Eureka (Was just there last June but didn't pay much attention to what was there), I agree that finding fuel in Whitefish, Butte and Helena shouldn't be a problem. E.g., Bob Ward's in Butte carries MSR, Jet Boil and Optimus stoves. It should have canisters. Montana Army Navy in Whitefish advertises MSR canisters on their website. I think the last time I was in Whitefish and needed liquid fuel I got some at Sportsman & Ski Haus. Both are on U.S. 93 just south of the center of town.


Offline RandyOakley

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2018, 03:44:08 pm »
FWIW:  I used the following setup on the Pacific Coast Route last summer:

Trangia alcohol burner with simmer ring
Vargo Titanium Hexagon Backpacking Wood Stove as a stand
HIGHROCK Lightweight Compact Folding Camp Stove Windscreen (amazon)
3/4 Liter pot
11 inch ceramic coated "fry pan"
1 liter plastic soda bottle for fuel

The alcohol stove is silent and easy.   With the windscreen wrapped close around the pot boil times for coffee in the morning were reasonable. The simmer ring would let me cook stuff like eggs, bacon and pancakes.

Canister stoves are great -- but finding canisters out in small towns is uncertain.

Alcohol fuel is really easy to obtain in small towns -- any paint or hardware store sells denatured alcohol  Roughly $8 for a quart.  I used 1 - 3 oz of fuel per meal -- depending on how elaborate.

Offline DaveB

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2018, 05:43:58 pm »
According to the specs, 8 0z. of fuel will last 1 hr. 20 min. at max flame. Average boiling time is 3 min. Sounds like a canister will last more than five days if all you are doing is boiling water for dehydrated food once or twice a day.
I'd take both of those specifications with a large amount of salt and plan on a lot less actual use time.   It's like the weight of bicycle components, a lot of the published specs are created by the Marketing Dept. 

Offline Alan Kimber

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #9 on: January 02, 2018, 06:27:40 pm »
Thanks folks. I'll be using gas. My MSR multi-fuel stove is good for cold places, but heavy and not so simple to light as a gas stove. The MSR Reactor boils quicker than most (any?) stoves. It's good to hear the various opinions though and thanks for your time. If I run out of gas I can always light a fire, assuming the guidelines for the environment allow.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2018, 09:47:30 pm »
Liquid gas is not as readily obtainable in campgrounds as it used to be. I have bought a gallon at a hardware store, and either sold back half the can to the store, or gave the other half to a bike shop, saying give to next touring cyclist.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2018, 09:02:20 am »
Liquid gas is not as readily obtainable in campgrounds as it used to be. I have bought a gallon at a hardware store, and either sold back half the can to the store, or gave the other half to a bike shop, saying give to next touring cyclist.
Even selling or giving back half, a half gallon is still an awful lot of fuel to carry IMO.  I'd generally not want to carry more than a quart if even that.  Coleman fuel is sometimes available in quarts, but not reliably enough that I am willing to use it on multi week or multi month tours.

I like to use a pop can alcohol stove on most trips.  The 12 ounce yellow bottle Heet is a nice size to carry and widely available.  Folks complain about the alcohol stove taking a few minutes longer, but I don't get why that is such a big deal.  Once in camp I don't see a few minutes one way or the other to be a problem.  Besides I am typically doing multiple things at a time so I am not going crazy worrying a bout how fast the stove is.

Offline DaveB

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2018, 09:31:36 am »
Liquid gas is not as readily obtainable in campgrounds as it used to be.
If you use a multi-fuel stove it will work fine on unleaded regular gasoline from any gas station.  If you go around to pumps that are not in use you may be able to fill a typical pint or quart fuel bottle at no cost  by draining the left-over gas in a few hoses.   Otherwise a quart will cost less than $1.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2018, 10:21:14 am »
Liquid gas is not as readily obtainable in campgrounds as it used to be.
If you use a multi-fuel stove it will work fine on unleaded regular gasoline from any gas station.  If you go around to pumps that are not in use you may be able to fill a typical pint or quart fuel bottle at no cost  by draining the left-over gas in a few hoses.   Otherwise a quart will cost less than $1.
Yes gasoline may be the most frequently and universally available fuel that you can use.

My complaints are that gasoline stinks if spilled on hands, gear, or clothing and the stove is heavier than my pop can stove.  Also pressurized liquid fuel stoves tend to be a little more fiddly and much more expensive.  Oh, and it seems like it would be a bigger pain to fly with it.  I could see getting it clean enough to be sure of getting it and a fuel bottle through TSA inspections

There are a bunch of advantages for liquid fuel stoves though and while when going light I like my pop can stoves, I have often considered buying a Whisperlite for some of my trips.  It is about 10 ounces heavier than my pop can setup, but for longer backpacking trip or bike tours with more people along it looks like a great stove.  It both has more heat and probably simmers better (but in the reviews I have seen isn't noted for being great at simmering).

Can anyone comment on their experience simmering with the Whisperlite?  How about problems with TSA?  It would be a shame to have them confiscate a $80-120 stove and bottle.

Offline RandyOakley

Re: Lightweight stoves
« Reply #14 on: January 03, 2018, 10:41:06 am »
TSA + gasoline stove is tricky.  Checked baggage only and you need enough time for all the fuel to evaporate so the NO SMELL remains in the stove or bottle. 

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