Author Topic: Touring Stove  (Read 65356 times)

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Offline flounder

Touring Stove
« 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?

Offline wanderingwheel

Touring Stove
« Reply #1 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.


Offline staehpj1

Touring Stove
« Reply #2 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.
  • Use a stove the burns alcohol, gasoline, or white gas.
  • Ship isobutane fuel to yourself or have someone at home do it for you via ground mail (domestic mail only). The package must have the following label attached on the address side of the package:

"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

Online Westinghouse

Touring Stove
« Reply #3 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.

Offline flounder

Touring Stove
« Reply #4 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.

Offline staehpj1

Touring Stove
« Reply #5 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).

Offline mimbresman

Touring Stove
« Reply #6 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!

Offline paddleboy17

Touring Stove
« Reply #7 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.


Offline staehpj1

Touring Stove
« Reply #8 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

Offline mimbresman

Touring Stove
« Reply #9 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|:

Offline staehpj1

Touring Stove
« Reply #10 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.

Offline Peaks

Touring Stove
« Reply #11 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.

Offline paddleboy17

Touring Stove
« Reply #12 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.


Offline staehpj1

Touring Stove
« Reply #13 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

Offline mimbresman

Touring Stove
« Reply #14 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.