Stoves

Discussion in 'Equipment' started by ibgary, Jul 3, 2015.

  1. ibgary

    ibgary Long timer

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    I've been camping and using different stoves and fuels for about 35 yrs. My most used/reliable/versatile, has been the MSR wisperlite. That's because, for me, it has been simple, dependable, easy to clean although it rarely needs it, and I can burn regular auto gas in it.
    My search for the best stove started while riding up the Pacific coast with my son Rob, back in the early 90s. We spent most of a morning searching Monterey, unsuccessfully for a canister for the Gaz stove, which I still have. On our next trip I took a Wisperlite. I expected white gas to be easier to find, and it was. Over the yrs I tried different white gas and multiple fuel stoves, but always came back to the wisperlite. The other stoves, except the Gaz, were just to loud.

    Last yr. I started looking at alcohol stoves and I even made a couple. This yr, over 13 nights of camping I have gone back and forth between alcohol and a canister stove. Although I love the simplicity quiet and easy use and great flame control of the canister stove, I'm still concerned with finding fuel when traveling. With the alcohol stove I have no concern about finding fuel. It's been available almost every where I've looked. Gas stations (Heet), grocery stores, hardware stores, pharmacies.

    Now the reason for bringing this subject up is an observation I made while doing some testing with different stoves and fuels while in the garage. I noticed that with white gas there is some smoke and after burn residue, but much less than with auto gas or kerosene. With canister stoves and alcohol it is virtually non existent. This is an issue when trying to keep my cook set and what it touches clean. Based on availability and cleanliness my choice of stove has now gone from the tried and true Wisperlite to an alcohol stove.
    What's your stove of choice, and why?


    🚍🐉☝
    #1
  2. ruin

    ruin Been here awhile

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    MSR Dragonfly, same reasons you bought the whisperlite. Basically the same as a whisperlite but a bit sturdier and with an adjustable flame. I don't really care if it burns a bit dirty when an ounce of fuel goes twice as far. Pack light! :)
    #2
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  3. catweasel67

    catweasel67 RD04

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    A Trangia for me. And a cloth bag. As with the OP, it's easy to buy fuel for (on this side of the pond) and real easy to cook with.
    #3
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  4. Hikertrash

    Hikertrash Wasted Rock Ranger

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    Msr pocket rocket. I only use a stove for boiling water when backpacking or motorcycle touring so I wanted something that was fast to set up and use. I've never NOT found canisters when backpacking and when motorcycle touring, one canister has been all I've needed for up to 2 weeks. If i ever thought I'd need more, they can be found in most hardware and camping stores.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I337 using Tapatalk
    #4
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  5. jsb223

    jsb223 ADV Rookie

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    canister stove fan myself.

    I have a coleman micro peak 1 and a cheap ebay $8 special that works great as well.
    #5
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  6. mslim

    mslim If it's worth doing... it's worth overdoing

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    Yep old style Gaz canisters are virtually non-existent in the USA. I am using a Primus Classic Trail isobutane. It's a little heavy for gram weenie backpackers but good enough for cycle camping. I like it cause it is rugged and can simmer (Big +!) and costs $20. Only downside is the expense of the canisters ($5) and that they aren't as good at high altitudes.

    I am having my two SVEA 123's refurbed as they have earned their keep for many years and I still like them for backpacking. Burning Coleman fuel and letting them warmup properly they do not soot up your pans too bad but basically you are right in that the isobutanes are superior in that respect to white gas stoves.

    Slim
    #6
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  7. Maggot12

    Maggot12 U'mmmm yeaah!!

    Joined:
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    I have a whisperlite international, many alcohol stoves, a small wood burner....

    but what gets the most use is this... 6 bucks

    [​IMG]

    And i just got this, better for a larger pot, and more stable.... 12 bucks

    [​IMG]
    #7
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  8. sasho

    sasho Dual Personality

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    Same here!! I love the damn thing... At this price I want to buy a bunch and give them out to people.

    I couldn't find fuel for it in Europe though... it is not possible to carry a fuel canister on a plane.
    #8
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  9. portablevcb

    portablevcb Long timer

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    Where are you going that would have trouble finding fuel canisters? Every place that I have found white gas I have found canisters.

    If it is a real issue then get a gas stove so you can use fuel from the bike. Then carry an extra canister of of fuel both for the bike in emergencies and for the stove.
    #9
  10. Jim K.

    Jim K. Long timer

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    Since I'm an "only boil water for coffee" kind of guy, I settled out on the old Esbit stove. It folds to the size of a deck of cards & 6 fuel tabs fit inside it. The stove, coffee, sugar, & spork all fit inside my 750cc kettle. It's not the hottest or fastest, but it may well be the lightest & smallest. (I also discovered that a cube cut off of one of those greasy "firestarter" sticks works just fine in it as well, & burns even hotter than the Esbit tab)
    #10
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  11. ruin

    ruin Been here awhile

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    Curious about what you eat when you're out. It's usually instant stuff for me (mountain house, oatmeal, etc) so I'm 'cooking' a lot in the pot (jetboil 1.5L).
    #11
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  12. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    Tried many over the years and keep going back to my 1971 purchased Svea123.
    #12
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  13. Motopsychoman

    Motopsychoman Not a total poseur

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    Whisperlite International. I still have my original Whisperlite from 1984 as well. If it burns, I can cook.

    Considering the Dragonfly, but it doesn't pack small enough.
    #13
  14. PNWet

    PNWet Been here awhile

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    My current favorite stove is a recently acquired used Svea 123r.
    #14
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  15. GCecchetto

    GCecchetto Long timer

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    Primus ETA Spider, Outstanding stove.
    #15
  16. Joel1

    Joel1 Been here awhile

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    I still use my MSR Whisperlite, can't even remember how many years I've had it. It does produce soot until it's up to temperature and burning properly, but I just wipe it off when done, no issue. I like it over the canister stoves because one bottle of fuel last a long time, for me anyway. I don't like burning auto gas because of the Benzene and other additives. Naphtha seems easy enough to get anywhere I go. Most of my trips are planned and I would have what I need anyway. I also used to have a Svea 123R that I liked, nice compact unit, but the MSR won out for me in the end.

    Joel
    #16
  17. mcrider18

    mcrider18 Been here awhile

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    I like my Trangia too. Dirt simple and fuel is available in nearly every store and gas station.

    http://www.paddling.net/guidelines/showArticle.html?612

    METHYL HYDRATE: known also as methanol, wood alcohol, or wood spirits, or gas line anti-freeze. No longer distilled from wood, but instead reformed from the methane in natural gas, this clean burning fuel is widely available at hardware and paint stores across the country, and provides the best power density of all the fuels we tested. It is however poisonous (don't drink it, or spill it into waterways) and can be absorbed through the skin, so care should be taken when handling it. Trangia's 500 ml or 1L bottles are perfect for storage of fuel (alcohol or petroleum) and refilling of the stoves, as the push button on the spout ensures there are no spills or drips.

    MARINE STOVE FUEL: also known as denatured alcohol, it's ethanol (the alcohol in booze) mixed with methanol. The methanol is added to prevent people from heading down to the local marina on a Friday night instead of the liquor store. This burns cleanly as well, and had nearly the same burn times as methyl hydrate.

    ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL: also known as rubbing alcohol, can be used in the stoves provided it's 91% or better (lower concentrations will NOT burn). While probably the most ubiquitous fuel source, widely available in drug stores, it produces a lot of soot, so should be considered a "2nd string" fuel, when others are not available

    GEL FUEL: generally used for fondues, it can be used in a Trangia stove, but I would only use it if i had absolutely nothing else. The burner cup has small holes designed to improve the burn of fluids, so gels don't take advantage of this. In addition to the slowest performance, gels also leave a residue in the burner that needs cleaning. Having said that, it is comforting to know that I could take some of my alcohol hand cleaning gel and make a cup of tea with it if I had to.

    Trangia Stove Fuels
    Burnin' Ring of Fire
    For our burn time tests, we used a 25 series windscreen, the stock alcohol burner cup, and the stock aluminum 0.9 L kettle. Tests were conducted at Algonquin Park in Ontario (approx 289 metres above sea level) in July (summer) at temperatures in the high 20's, low 30's. Test consisted of time it took to boil 750 ml of water, including set up of cookset from it's packed state. We did not test petroleum fuels in this run...

    Our results:

    METHYL HYDRATE: approx 9.5 minutes (includes 1 minute set up time)
    MARINE FUEL: approx 10 minutes (includes 1 minute set up time)
    ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL: approx 12 minutes (includes 1 minute set up time)
    GEL FUEL: approx 15 minutes (includes 1 minute set up time)
    HAND SANITIZER: approx 18 minutes (includes 1 minute set up time)
    BUTANE ATTACHMENT: approx 4 minutes (includes 2 minutes set up time)
    A burner cup full of marine fuel burned for 35 minutes. (approx 100 ml)
    Methyl Hydrate is the least expensive fuel at about $2.60 per litre, marine fuel runs about $4.75 per litre, and isopropyl about $8.00 per litre.

    The above fuels are only ones that should be used in a Trangia stove. Fuels that should NOT be used include: Varsol, Paint or Laquer Thinner, Turpentine or Mineral Spirits (don't let the name fool you, it's petroleum based).

    #17
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  18. GreatWhiteNorth

    GreatWhiteNorth Long timer

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    Like you, I'm curious about the pros & cons of the various fuel types and particular models of stoves. I've turned into a bit of a stove collector - am convinced it's an illness, but a relatively harmless (and quirky) one.

    My collection as of today.. just added a MSR Whisperlite a few days ago:

    [​IMG]

    Not pictured are the two stove setups I have packed on my bike - an MSR Pocket Rocket LPG canister stove (boils 200 ml water in 30 seconds!) which I use with the Optimus Terra Weekend HE cookset. For quiet mornings camping where I don't want to disturb anyone, and am not in a hurry, I use the Trangia alcohol stove with the Trangia Triangle... and that Optimus cookset fits on that Triangle stand like it was made for it!

    [​IMG]

    I like and use Coleman liquid fuel too - The Coleman Featherlight 442 and the Optimus Svea 123 are fave stoves of mine (work well) but I'm not fond of the smell (and taste!) of the fuel or priming paste... gotta be careful not to let that contaminate cookware and other things.
    #18
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  19. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    I'm another big fan of the Trangia. I have had a model 27 - the small one - since 1982. The windshield and stand hold both pans and burner - alcohol or gas - and handle - with the frypan making the lid. I got a strap with mine, now comes with a bag too. As compact as it comes.

    The original Swedish Military one becomes available occasionally, and is quite cool.
    http://www.surplusandadventure.com/...ing-eating/trangia-stove-mess-kit-330662.html
    its use is slightly different https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9eBybI85xQ8

    About 10 years ago I cut the hole in the side of the windshield - the only mod necessary - to fit the accessory gas burner. The gas cooks for longer and is hotter but more easily controllable, so proper meals are easier.
    The standard fit canisters like these http://www.amazon.co.uk/Pack-of-four-gas-canisters/dp/B000B8JMZU are available everywhere, supermarkets, building supplies, as well as campsites and outdoors shops. In *Europe*.
    I also have an adaptor for the big camping gaz refillable cylinders for use in the car and one for the bluet sealed canister too. Gotta have redundancy!

    There is great produce in the south of France, seems a shame not to access it.
    Just making coffee is a breeze with either, although I use a Bialetti 2cup now with a home made platform which works well.
    In the old alcohol days I used the "chuck coffee in boiling water and let steep" method, this meant I could put the supplied fry pan on top as a lid and put crossiants in that to warm.
    If staying for my normal long as possible time, I buy a cheap frypan for cooking bigger stuff like chops. Sauteing potatoes or a stir fry is easier in a big pan too.
    #19
  20. nickguzzi

    nickguzzi Long timer

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    Shared an emplacement with an exarmy guy. He used an esbit stove. He only used a corner of a block to get fire started, then piled on twigs from under the hedge to build a fire sufficient to make coffee or mre. As mentioned packs to nothing, and burning local stuff ekes out the block/starter.
    #20
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