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Discussion Forum - Gear ! - Lightweight Camping Stove


Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Wed 11th Aug 2010, 10:35
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
Thanks Chris. A very informative summing up. Like all gear, it's a matter of priorities and trade-offs.
Posted: Fri 6th Aug 2010, 21:05
Joined: 1972
OH; dam! You have got me going. On the Appalachian Trail, on a wet night in a crowded shelter this subject will keep a discussion in play until everybody has gone to sleep. So let's consider the ins and outs of all the available options.

1.Solid fuel tablets. These don't even need a stove. Just dig a shallow hole in the ground, insert the tablet, light it and put a cook pot over the top. I use a mini-trangia wind sheild as a more convenient pot stand.
The upside: Nothing to go wrong or maintain, 1 tablet will boil a pint and reconstitute a meal of Lipton rice,and, being unleakable and unspillable, can be carried in baggage on a plane and the rate of tablet usage easily monitored.
The downside is that the tablets are rather expensive with low availabilty, there is no ability to simmer and they blacken pots with soot. They are particularly useful as a back up means of cooking.

2.Wood burning stoves.They are usually available from on line suppliers. Essentially they are concentric metal rings with the furnace in the inner so that combustion air, blown in by a electic fan, is heated to give a fierce fire.
The upside: usually an unlimited supply of fuel unless all wood is sodden or you in a desert and ,of course you can carry the stove on a plane.
The down side: Slow to start, emits smoke, blackens pots, rather bulky and expensive.

3.Alcohol stoves. To have the full benefit you should make one for yourself using whatever design you prefer from those available on the Web or even U tube.
The upside: Very sustainable as you make them from litter found by the side of any road and they burn a zero carbon fuel. Again I use a mini Trangia wind shield to house the burner and then 35ml of alcohol will boil a pint in 5minutes. The stove is very light and reliable with fuel that is readily available in a number of guises as as varnish thinners in builders merchants, medicinal alcohol in pharmacies, as dish warmer fuel on cookery counters, and fuel line cleaner in garages, and even as stove fuel in camping shops.
The downside: Alcohol is a low calorific value fuel so you have to carry a lot of fuel, the flame is scarcely visible in direct sunlight and you cannot carry it on a plane. Also the flame burns with low intensity and so unsuitable if you have to melt snow for water.

4.Liquid fuelled stoves( white gas or paraffin). Manufactured by Primus and MSR these stoves consist of two components; the burner and the fuel bottle that are screwed together to operate. I have had the burner confiscated at airport security on the grounds that it had been contaminated by fuel.
The Upside: The flame is very fierce and can boil a pint of water in less than 3 minutes and in some designs have the capability of turn down the flame to a simmer. The fuel has a high calorific value and so the weight of the burner is more than off-set by carrying less fuel. These stoves are most suitable for winter of above the snow line camping.
The Downside. The stoves are expensive and rather complicated devices although they are in practise reliable and field maintainable(easily stripped) in event of failure down. White gas is readily available in the USA but not so in Europe and also it is highly volatile and so dangerous if spilled.

5.Gas Stoves(normally burning a butane/propane mixture). My favourite stoves, particularly when eqipped with electronic ignition, so that the flame can be used with high efficiency being turned on and off as desired.
The upside: Lighter, cheaper and more relaible than liquid fuel stoves. They use fuel are very efficiently with a high turn down range from full flame to a low simmer.
The down side: There are several and incompatible methods for connecting the gas tanks to the stove head so that in France you may have to use a Camping Gaz burner. Also it is difficult to monitor gas usage except by the unreliable method of shaking the tank and listening to the swirling noise. And of course one a gas tank is spent you have still have to carry it out as waste.

To summarise: Choice of stove is a matter of"horses for courses". Consider where you are going, and for how long, and whether or not your jourmey is in a wilderness or passes close to places where re-supply is possible.
Author: Colin Baker
Posted: Sun 18th Jul 2010, 15:37
Joined: 2009
Local Group: Bristol & West
I have just been using the white box stove from http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/page17.asp , its an alcohol stove but very efficient. its very very light and works extremely well, theres also nothing to go wrong which is a bonus when youre 2 hours from any civilisation. cant recommend it highly enough :-) £19!
Author: Richard Smith
Posted: Wed 12th May 2010, 9:01
Joined: 2010
Local Group: South Wales
Oh crikey - I knew this was going to be a difficult one.....! Thanks for all your help and advice!

Deb
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Mon 10th May 2010, 8:21
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
To throw another idea at you, the wood burning stove, looks rather a fine idea (a bit expensive) if you want self sufficient - and never run out of fuel. Not over heavy either (as you don't cary any fuel), may look at the idea myself.
http://www.backpackinglight.co.uk/product398.asp?PageID=118
Matt.
Author: Gordon Stone
Posted: Sun 9th May 2010, 11:23
Joined: 2007
Local Group: East Lancashire
If you had been following my blog, you will have seen that I have had the same decision making - http://gordonsgr10.blogspot.com/

Here's the words from my post on April 21st:
I also took the opportunity to sort out cooking equipment and chose a Gelert PZ micro - at 88g this nicely fits along with a 220g gas canister into the Optimus Terra Weekend Cookset. I had been considering the Jetboil or Pocket Rocket stoves but decided their limitations outweighed their strong points.

The PZ micro is half the price of the Pocket Rocket (that and Jetboil were on my original shortlist). The problem with Pocket Rocket and Jetboil is that they are great for boiling water (or boil in the bag) but too uni-directional if you wanted an even heating spread.

Mark at Outdoor Action in Blackburn was extremely helpful in determining the choice. As you are in East Lancs Group, I suspect you may know of the shop.

I ought to get out and test it along with the tent!
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Sun 2nd May 2010, 23:44
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
Alcohol stoves are addictive! My new habit of stopping the car and jumping out to retrieve old coke cans and (the prize) red bull cans is driving Jane to distraction. I now have a large bin liner full of "old cans" in my manshed. Is this normal? I think so.
If you are into DIY stoves, try this site, many hours of ecentric playfullness ahead.

http://zenstoves.net/
Matt.
Author: Richard Smith
Posted: Thu 29th Apr 2010, 7:35
Joined: 2010
Local Group: South Wales
Thanks both - we've picked up the MSR Pocket Rocket (£27) and are having a play with it this weekend. Last time I did the GR5 I remember gettng fed up eating cold food all the time, and ended up not eating enough - so we want to take something hot for the evenings when we're wild camping..... and between you and me, if Rich doesn't have his coffee first thing in the morning, he'll be impossible!!!

Thanks for the advice, and I'll check out the site too!

Deb
Author: Elton Ellis
Posted: Tue 27th Apr 2010, 18:51
Joined: 2006
Local Group: Surrey
I recall that Chris Dawes had some interesting info/links on his website on equipment used on US trails, but his website has gone AWOL. One DIY option is here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverage-can_stove

Alternatively you can do as I do on summer trails: eat cold food. Avoiding the whole cooking scenario saves a lot of weight, and you could probably get a hot meal in a passing village if you're pining.
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Mon 26th Apr 2010, 22:47
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
Mind you, a lot depends on what sort of cooking you are planning to do, if you are travelling lightweight, I guess you are planning on mainly heating water and adding to some form of dry food (I'm thinking cheap supermarket options, porridge, noodles, rice, dead potato etc.). You can keep fuel consumption to a minimum by using a 'pot cosy' of some sort (simple insulation round the pan), add the boiled water to food and insulate and let stand - rather than wasting fuel 'simmering for 5 minutes'.
As a cheap backup stove you could carry a very simple coke can type meths burner (less than an ounce) and some meths, in case you can't find another gas canister somewhere. Matt.
Author: Richard Smith
Posted: Mon 26th Apr 2010, 21:15
Joined: 2010
Local Group: South Wales
Thanks for that - we'll look into it!

Deb
Author: Matthew Hand
Posted: Mon 26th Apr 2010, 18:14
Joined: 2001
Local Group: Mid Wales
Can't really fault our MSR Pocket Rocket, though we have nothing else to compare it with. Combine it with a titanium pan (MSR are good but expensive) of whichever size you think for two of you for meals. We recently bought some titanium 'Snowpeak' pans from an E-bay shop in US, cheaper than equivalent over here. Think about a windshield (could make one) if you are heating/cooking outside. Hope this helps, Matt.
Author: Richard Smith
Posted: Mon 26th Apr 2010, 14:16
Joined: 2010
Local Group: South Wales
We're off to the GR5 in August and are going fully self-sufficient (barring the occasional ice-cream shop which is an essential for me!).

I'm looking into good, light camping stoves and I'm getting lost and confused!

We need something as lightweight as possible, and something that we can buy fuel for abroad (we're doing Geneva to Chamonix). One-pot meals are the order of the day, so we're not talking trangias complete with kettle, frying pan and bowls.....

Any ideas? Reviews on the Pocket Rocket and the Jetboils would be useful if anyone has used them! It only has to feed two of us!

Thanks

Deb

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