which backpacking stove to use

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longri
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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by longri » Mon May 13, 2013 10:25 am

I don't understand the speed and simmering argument. My friend's white gas stove boiled very quickly, as quickly as my canister stove would have in those conditions and most likely faster in very windy and cold condtions. I did not use a stopwatch to check so maybe his stove took 25 seconds longer to boil a liter than mine would have. Is that the kind of difference that impresses women? I doubt it.

His stove also simmered quite nicely.

But despite decades of experience he did start a fire with it so I'll reserve judgement on the whole thing.

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AlmostThere
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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by AlmostThere » Mon May 13, 2013 7:54 pm

Scouter9 wrote:=D> Chicks dig fast stoves and hot chocolate. Everyone knows that. :nod:

Speed to boil does matter to some folks, including me: in those times when it's cold out, when one desires hot water sooner than later, when it's windy and raining, it's nice to have a stove that "goes to eleven". This is why many of us use(d) the venerable XGK white gas stove, for example. Based on personal experience using a variety of fuels and stoves, I appreciate that my canister stove can simmer low *and* boil fast, as desired.

If you never need or want to boil fast, that's cool. De Colores.
Guess what? I'm a chick. I don't dig you a'tall. I make my own hot chocolate and better than the packets you get at the store.

I'm pretty sure none of the stoves I have used have failed to boil water, and frequently I am faster at it than the wanks with their old white gas stoves that they STILL can't manage to prime correctly... by the time they are done getting it all put together, primed, re-primed, taken apart, put together again, and blown off their beard a second time... or hey, there's the ones that just break.

Considering I use a cat can stove half the time, that says something.

Fast is just for yuppies who think they need it.

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rlown
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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by rlown » Mon May 13, 2013 8:03 pm

wow.. can we talk about stoves again?

I do use both. depends on who's carrying what and what we're cooking. fast boil: great. simmer: fish.. I don't own a can stove, but i go with some who do.

Not seeing the problem. Pick one and learn. It's not set in stone people. jeez.

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LMBSGV
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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by LMBSGV » Mon May 13, 2013 10:19 pm

One of the things on this thread that has me a bit mystified is starting a fire with white gas stoves. I’ve been using white gas stoves since 1973, beginning with a Svea through a succession of Colemans, in nearly every temperature from the teens on up, at altitudes from sea level to 12,000 feet, and under every sort of condition of snow, wind, and rain and the only fire I’ve started lighting a white gas stove is in the burner of the stove.

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longri
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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by longri » Tue May 14, 2013 9:39 am

LMBSGV wrote:One of the things on this thread that has me a bit mystified is starting a fire with white gas stoves. I’ve been using white gas stoves since 1973, beginning with a Svea through a succession of Colemans, in nearly every temperature from the teens on up, at altitudes from sea level to 12,000 feet, and under every sort of condition of snow, wind, and rain and the only fire I’ve started lighting a white gas stove is in the burner of the stove.
You've never seen this? I have on multiple occasions. Usually it's just overzealous priming. One time the stove in question had a seam failure during operation and was emitting a jet of fire. It looked like it was going to explode. The most recent example was simply that the valve had accidently been turned on a bit without the owner noticing it. Even though the bottle had not yet been pumped fuel wicked its way out onto the surrounding soil. When he lit it the whole area around the stove erupted in flame. Harmless, in this case.

White gas stoves are more likely to flare. They stink more too. I would avoid cooking with one inside a tent, especially on the tent floor itself. I sure wouldn't prime one there. But a canister stove on the tent floor is no problem. They can flare too but it's avoidable.

I agree with rlown. All of these stoves do the job and most of the differences are really just user preference.

One thing that often gets overlooked in stove discussions is that you don't need a stove in the summer. Taking no stove solves all of the technical problems and weighs less too.

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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by Scouter9 » Tue May 14, 2013 3:44 pm

Same here: I've seen others goof into an area fire from over-priming with white gas to the point it might be considered a "spill" and I've seen an old Svea go on a flaming rampage --I think due to overheating the stove under a large pot. I've also seen a pretty big area fire that destroyed some gear when the gasket on a pressurized MSR bottle leaked and they managed to ignite the spill. Whatever, those mistakes didn't dissuade me from using any of the white gas stoves. Okay, my interest in Svea stoves was pretty much nipped in the bud, but not because of the fuel, ha ha!

I have seen mistakes/failures with canister stoves, too. Usually, it's before the stove is lit when threading the canister on, or off: the valve either releases fuel early or closes too slowly/never and the result is a jetted cloud of very cold fuel. Where there's no flame nearby, this is mostly inconvenient in terms of discomfort and loss of fuel. Nothing's foolproof.

Obviously, it gets down to what one likes. Many people like canister stoves because they're lighter, faster, better looking and attract wild coeds who enjoy hot chocolate. Others prefer a more old school, or an even lighter, approach. To those offended or threatened by the notion that some might prefer the alternative you haven't chosen: "Lighten up, Francis."

I note that the OP in this thread has a nice, new stove right now and is going to have a great trip. :nod:

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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by paul » Tue May 14, 2013 6:31 pm

A while back I wanted to see if I could get my snow camping stove setup to be lighter. So I did a little testing on fuel usage. The numbers that I came up with showed that for my typical usage snow camping (light the stove once in the morning and once in the evening, each time melting some snow and boiling water for the meal, with no need to simmer), and for a week-long trip, there was virtually no difference in total weight at the start and at the end. The white gas stove used more fuel for each burn, but I can carry white gas in a plastic bottle, so once I get past the amount of fuel that is in the small aluminum bottle which holds the pump, the white gas is lighter per unit because it's not in a steel canister.

Now most folks here are talking about summer use, not snow camping. But this information is still apropos if you consider it in terms of long trips or larger groups where fuel usage goes up. In those situations, a white gas setup can be lighter simply due to the fuel container effect.

And just for fun, these were the consumption figures I got: I boiled 12 cups of water each time, with theater at 50 degrees starting temperature each time, and brought it to 210 degrees ( better to measure the temperature than try to judge the point at which it is boiling). My two MSR stoves - Whisperlite and Simmerlite - both used 43 grams of fuel for this. My Coleman F1 Ultralight (canister top stove) used 34 grams of fuel.
I chose 12 cups of water because I thought bringing that amount to a boil might be a reasonable simulation of melting snow for 2 liters of water and then bringing that to a boil. This turned out to be the case, because the fuel usage I measured came out to be almost exactly half of the amount of fuel I have used in the past for each day while snow camping - assuming I have to melt snow, which I don't always have to do as sometimes I find open water.
One thing I would emphasize is the fact that my style of cooking does not require me to shut the stove off and restart it. With a white gas stove a restart usually means re-priming, which uses fuel. So if you stop and start the comparison swings in favor of the canister stove for sure.
And of course on convenience and ease of use the canister stoves win, at least in summer use.

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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by rlown » Tue May 14, 2013 7:28 pm

nice report Paul. but i'm sure i don't have to slather my expedition with white gas if I stop and restart.. It's just pumping it bit more.

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longri
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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by longri » Tue May 14, 2013 8:45 pm

Yes, that's the downside of canisters, the weight of the metal containers. Imagine spending a month in Alaska using canisters!
paul wrote:And just for fun, these were the consumption figures I got: I boiled 12 cups of water each time, with the [wa]ater at 50 degrees starting temperature each time, and brought it to 210 degrees ( better to measure the temperature than try to judge the point at which it is boiling). My two MSR stoves - Whisperlite and Simmerlite - both used 43 grams of fuel for this. My Coleman F1 Ultralight (canister top stove) used 34 grams of fuel.
Did you boil 12 cups all at once?

The efficiencies of your stoves are very different:
MSR Whisperlight and Simmerlight - 56%
Coleman F1 - 68%

(assuming an LHV [edit: was LLV] of 46 kJ/g for propane/isobutane and 44 kJ/g for white gas)

That's actually better than I have ever managed to get with at-home tests.
Last edited by longri on Fri May 17, 2013 7:50 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: which backpacking stove to use

Post by paul » Thu May 16, 2013 9:09 pm

Yes, 12 cups at a time each time, in a 4 qt. aluminum pot with a lid modified to allow the thermometer to stay in the water while the lid was on.

Your stats on energy per gram are somewhat different from what I have read elsewhere - I was under the impression that canister gas has about 15% more energy per unit of weight.

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