Author Topic: white gas or cannister stove for month long trip in Wyoming/Montana  (Read 10150 times)

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Offline ride4life

My husband and I are doing our first tour alone (I did a 10 day ACA tour last year), and I'm baffled on stoves.  I have my brother's MSR Wisperlite International which takes white gas or really any fuel like kerosine/ gas/ etc.  I've read that cannister fuel is lighter and simpler, and am thinking of buying a cannister stove (like a pocket rocket) instead.  We will cook each day (coffee/oatmeal, and dinner).  I know cannisters may be harder to find, but it seems crazy to buy a gallon of white gas to pour into two 22-oz fuel bottles.  Does anyone know how available cannister fuel is on the ACA great parks route?  Or how long a cannister (or a bottle of gas) lasts?

Offline DaveB

You don't have to buy a gallon of white gas.  As you noted, the MSA will burn almost anything and anything includes unleaded gasoline or kerosene.  You can get one or both at any gas station you pass on the road and only pay for what you need.  If you catch someone filling their car, you might even get it for free for the small amount you need. 

Canisters are specialty items and there are several different and non-interchangable types.  Canister stoves are simpler to use but the canisters can be hard to find unless you have access to a major backpacking/outdoor store like an REI.  These aren't going to be found in small towns. 

Offline Tourista829

I would contact www.campmor.com. They have an excellent customer service department which could properly advise you on the run times on canister stoves verses white gas. If you carry a couple of extra canisters you should not have any trouble finding them on your tour. I have an older Coleman Peak White Gas Stove. Like Dave B mentioned above, which runs off of almost anything. I don't mind the extra weight. I have a special bottle that fits on the underside bottle cage. Between what I have in the stove and the 16oz of white gas, it will run a long time. On longer trips I carry a couple of extra 20 oz containers and the kerosene/gas element.

Offline rvklassen

My husband and I are doing our first tour alone (I did a 10 day ACA tour last year), and I'm baffled on stoves.  I have my brother's MSR Wisperlite International which takes white gas or really any fuel like kerosine/ gas/ etc.  I've read that cannister fuel is lighter and simpler, and am thinking of buying a cannister stove (like a pocket rocket) instead. 
As a point of reference, we switched to canister a few years ago for canoe camping and hiking.  Canisters mostly come in two sizes.  If you're not careful you can go through a small in a single meal.  This pretty much happened when we let the kids cook lunch on the Freycinet peninsula.  They hadn't adequately shielded it from the wind.  Wind screens make a significant difference regardless of the type of stove.  On a five day trip with four people, cooking breakfast, boiling water for soup for lunch, and boiling water for freeze-dried suppers, we go through two large and one small, with some left in one canister.   Last summer we did a seven day by bicycle with two large canisters, and had some left.  We were in upstate NY where there was readily available food with no cooking required, so while every breakfast was cooked, fewer than half the remaining meals were. 

The fuel is lighter per calorie of heat, but the canister is not exactly weightless.  If you are going to need more than what fits in a single canister, you may do better weight-wise with gas, as the fuel bottle is lighter.

We will not be using canister-based stoves on our next tour, partly because of the weight penalty, but more because of the availability.   They are very convenient - easily lit, and the heat is readily regulated - but when they run out, you had better be where you can find a replacement.   Most camping/sporting goods stores have them.  But will you be near one?

Offline paddleboy17

I might put in a plug for alcohol stoves.  These are really simple, and really reliable, as longs as the air temp is above freezing.  You can make them work below freezing, but you need a tea candle as a preheater.  If I remember right, canister stoves have problems at freezing temps too.

I have a Whisperlite International, and my complaint is that the jets can clog.    Cooking anything other than boiling water is a challenge with the Whisperlite (a Dragonfly simmers, but sounds like a jet plane). 

Yes you can get unleaded gas at any gas station.  You can also buy alcohol at most gas stations (Yellow Heat Gas Line Antifreeze), hardware stores (denatured alcohol), or liquor stores (Evernew, 195 proof).

There are lots of alcohol stoves from cottage industry sources.  Don't bother.  The venerable Trangia is indestructable, and only weighs 100 grams.  Trangia sells their alcohol stove with a windscreen and pots.  You can also buy a stove assembly from Liberty Mountain (just look for alcohol stove on Amazon).  I like the Liberty Mountain rig.  You get a stand and a Trangia stove, and you can use your own pots.  You will need to pick up a wind screen.  You can reuse one from MSR, buy one from Arron at brasslite.com, or make one from aluminum flashing sold at your hardware store.  Arron also sells an alcohol stove.  I hear good things about his stoves, but I have never used one.

I have a blog on crazyguyon a bike http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=RrzKj&page_id=145530&v=v.  If you want to click over you can read about testing a couple of meals.  I used an alcohol stove in my kitchen.  There are some nice pictures, and the pics are too large to upload here.
Danno

Offline vanvalks

REI has an informational handout on all the stoves that they sell, including burn times, time to heat a liter of water, weight, etc.  If there is an REI store near you, get this and peruse it.  I'm sure the info is available on their website as well.  (they have these same handouts for most of the major classes of equipment that they sell--sleeping bags, lights, headlights, tents, sleep pads, you name it)

Bob

Offline SweetLou

Kmart also sells white gas. They also sell it in smaller sizes than the gallon. I think they sell it is quart sizes.

Offline staehpj1

When we passed through that area we didn't have any trouble finding canisters.  Personally I think canister stoves are the way to go unless they are hard to find where you will be.  We did find them nonexistent in the middle of the US starting after Pueblo.  Even there I might consider mail drops via general delivery for resupply.  They can be mailed surface mail only.

In the area where you will be I'd carry two cartridges and start looking for a replacement when one is empty.  If you use a lot of fuel, go with the largest cartridges you can find (16 ounce) otherwise the medium sized ones (8 ounce) are about right.  We mostly used the 8 ounce ones, but if traveling alone I might use the 4 ounce ones.

indyfabz

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Does anyone know how available cannister fuel is on the ACA great parks route?  Or how long a cannister (or a bottle of gas) lasts?

As someone metioned, REI has a handout that includes burn times for various toves and fuel soruces.

To give you a practical frame of reference, during a tour last year in Montana and Canada, two us used an MSR Dragonfly with a 22 oz. fuel bottle.  We made coffee eight mornings, cooked 4 "involved" dinners (pasta cooked in one pot and meat and veggies sauteed and simmered in another), burned fuel to heat water to wash dishes and used fuel to start 3 campfires.  We had a good amount of fuel to spare.  And the Dragonfly is a prety fuel hungry stove.

And MSR "Super Fuel" (f/k/a Whitegas) is available in 32 oz. cans.  Other, no-name versions are as well.

Used a canister in Spain for two months.  I was always looking for replacements and ended up carrying several at a time because the type I was using were hard to find.

Offline valygrl

When we passed through that area we didn't have any trouble finding canisters.  Personally I think canister stoves are the way to go unless they are hard to find where you will be.  We did find them nonexistent in the middle of the US starting after Pueblo.  Even there I might consider mail drops via general delivery for resupply.  They can be mailed surface mail only.

In the area where you will be I'd carry two cartridges and start looking for a replacement when one is empty.  If you use a lot of fuel, go with the largest cartridges you can find (16 ounce) otherwise the medium sized ones (8 ounce) are about right.  We mostly used the 8 ounce ones, but if traveling alone I might use the 4 ounce ones.

100% agree.

Offline velo

Re: white gas or cannister stove for month long trip in Wyoming/Montana
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2010, 10:04:22 pm »
I'll put in a second plug for alcohol stoves. Denatured alcohol is available in virtually every hardware store in the western US I've been in. I have a Trangia 25 Series with the hard anodized pots and really like it. It doesn't have as much power as my whisperlite but it is silent and is really good to actually cook on. Having tried white gas, canister and alcohol I've come to use my Trangia as my go to stove for non-winter trips.

Offline bogiesan

Re: white gas or cannister stove for month long trip in Wyoming/Montana
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2010, 11:30:45 pm »
Another plug for simple alcohol stoves. No moving parts, nothing to break, clog, or wear out.  If all you need to do is boil water and heat up canned goods, the alcohol stove is cheap and reliable. If you are cooking omelets you may need the finesse of a canister stove.

Alcohol is universally available in various forms including wood, grain, denatured, and gas drier. You can easily research alcohol stoves on ultralight backpacking sites and from DIY sites. We've seen this discussion here many times, too.

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline cyclocamping

Re: white gas or cannister stove for month long trip in Wyoming/Montana
« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2010, 02:58:36 pm »
Here is an article you might find useful: How to choose a stove for bicycle touring?
www.CycloCamping.com "Gear Up and SAVE on the Best Touring Equipment!
Silver Corporate Partner of Adventure Cycling Association
www.CycloCampingForum.com - www.facebook.com/cyclocamping

Offline Sectrix

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Re: white gas or cannister stove for month long trip in Wyoming/Montana
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2010, 04:57:12 am »
I will put in a suggestion here for an alternative you may not know about.

The Sierra Zip Stove is a stove that burns solid fuel: twigs, leaves, sticks, dry manure, whatever. It uses a fan to preheat air and turn it into something of a blast furnace. A few handfuls of kindling will boil a liter of water in a few minutes. I've done everything from pasta to pancakes on this little guy.

PROS:
- Infinite fuel

CONS:
- Needs batteries
- Moving parts

If you plan on being around anywhere with electrical service of any kind (KOA's, state/most national parks, RV parks, etc) a charger and rechargeable batteries would be an easy way to keep batteries charged. As it is, the stove lasts about a week on a full battery (well, it did for us and we used it only for breakfast and dinner), and most people are more than willing to let you charge stuff overnight. I also used the battery charger to keep my GPS and maglight batteries fully charged.

To me, it seemed it would be easier to find an electrical socket I could use for a night then need to have to search for stove fuel and carry it.

This is the site for the stoves: http://www.zzstove.com

Offline bogiesan

Re: white gas or cannister stove for month long trip in Wyoming/Montana
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2010, 11:13:39 pm »
Yar, the Zip Stove has been around for decades and how has some competition.

www.littlbug.com
www.spenton.com
www.trailstove.com

and many others if you dig deep enough.

Here's a bunch of DIY stove info. The wood stove section is hugely entertaining but not all of them are for backpacking or biking; many are for car camping:
zenstoves.net/LinksGeneral-DIY.htm

david boise ID
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent