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Gas Canister Stoves Question

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Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby OzSwaggie » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:02 pm

Hi All

I know this is a bit of a "how long is a piece of string" question, but I'm just after guidelines.

We've always used alcohol stoves when hiking/camping but have just become aware of the fire restrictions in Inyo meaning these are not permitted this year. So we're going to buy a gas stove and propane/butane canisters.

We've never used this type of fuel before, so have no idea how much we are likely to use each day. (We know exactly how much fuel we use with alcohol, sigh.)

Can anyone give a rough guide? We'll be around 9-10,000 feet most of the time and probably we'll boil a one-pint kettle four times per day... Any guesses as to how long a canister might last? What size would we need to last four days?

many thanks

Donna



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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby Carne_DelMuerto » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:15 pm

Donna, while I can't answer your question directly, there are a few threads on this forum that address this. One quick search yeilded this:

viewtopic.php?f=15&t=3704&p=21839&hilit=Fuel+comparison#p21839

Try a few different terms and I'm almost positive you'll find the info you seek.
Wonder is rock and water and the life that lives in-between.
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby frediver » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:40 pm

Don't 4get a wind screen.
IMHO 1 med can should get
you 3 days, 2 cans a week.
If you run the 1st can out early
you can adjust with your 2nd.
OR
One large can with a 100gm.
sm. can as backup.
For 4 days a single lg. can would
be my choice.
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby OzSwaggie » Sat Jul 06, 2013 6:54 pm

Thank you frediver, that is great! I did do a search and look at other posts about gas stoves etc but they seemed awfully technical and as we are flying out in twelve sleeps now I found them a bit intimidating!

So a large (8oz? / 240g?) canister with a small (3oz?/ 100g) for backup for four days? That sounds great, and won't weigh much more than the alcohol would have. Just wondering, did you factor in our usage (4 - 5 pints boiled per day) which I think is fairly high (there are two of us)...

Thanks again, this site is so great for allowing people to share experience, saves us all independently reinventing the wheel!
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby frediver » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:18 pm

Rereading.
Nope small is 100gm
Med. Is 8oz
Lg 16oz.
Ruff guess 5 min. Per boil. The specs
say less but lets avg.
A med can will last about 1hr on hi. and boil a liter
under 4min. if you believe the advertising.
At one time rei had a stove fuel/time chart.

lots of ways to futz numbers. Do you simmer or
use the stove on low to keep water warm. Do you
start with warm or Cold water. Etc.

Don't 4get a wind screen. Don't fully enclose the stove,
let it get some air so it does not overheat.
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby OzSwaggie » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:23 pm

Hmm, so we should get somewhere between 12 and 20 boils from a medium canister, (8oz) and that means at our rate of consumption a medium should last three days, which is I think exactly what you advised in your first post. I am covered in admiration! Thanks again!
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby OzSwaggie » Sat Jul 06, 2013 7:25 pm

PS - thanks for the tip about not fully enclosing the stove with the windscreen, we did do this with the alcohol stove (overheating not a problem) so a very valuable piece of advice!!
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby tim » Sun Jul 07, 2013 6:54 am

Do the fire restrictions (http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/home ... rdb5375855) really prevent use of your stove? They permit pressured liquid fuel, like white gas. it's hard for me to understand why alcohol would be any different.

Carrying a stove on a plane would seem to be more of a challenge - a few years ago a friend was told he could take his white gas stove on a flight unless it had never been used, because there might be residual gas in the bottle. But that was soon after 9/11 so things might be less strict now.
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby Wandering Daisy » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:45 am

My husband and I get 5-6 days from a medium canister. On a 9-10 day trip we use the large canister that is equivalent to two mediums (can only get these at REI). When I solo I use one medium canister for 7-8 days. We actually cook, not just boil water.

Three factors that really save us gas is 1) solar pre-heat water for dinner and 2) use a wind screen and 3) use "pot cozies". First thing in camp, we get water and lay it facing the sun, on a black stuff sack. One hour of heating really warms the water. Most food does not need to be boiled or even simmered for the 10-minute recommended cook time. After I add food, I simmer it for 2-3 minutes then turn off the stove and wrap the pot in a cozy. I make pot cozies from that bubble wrap with one foil side. I cut these to wrap around the pot and attach with a rubber band and cut two round pieces to cover top and bottom. 5-10 minutes in the cozy finishes the cooking. I actually like my food "al-dente" . If you have freeze dried food, it is good to soak it before cooking. My wind screen is a home-made one that weighs nothing. A friend made it for me - I think it is made from a round candle reflector. You can buy screens designed for specific stoves. With a canister, it is important NOT to restrict air flow around the canister itself. The "screens" actually attach to the stove ABOVE the canister. Even with a canister, you have to find a cook site well protected from wind. And some stove systems like the jet boil use a pot that has a heat exchanger. With these systems, if you just boil water, one person can actually go a week on one small canister.

In summary, it varies. Depends on your cooking style. But anyone can save gas with wind screen, cozy and pre-heating.
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby HikeSierraNevada » Sun Jul 07, 2013 2:45 pm

At the risk of being repetitive, I'm also surprised that an alcohol stove would be banned due to fire restrictions. I would double check your source on that one.

I typically get at least 6 days out of a medium canister. I just completed a 4-day trip with my wife and two kids and did not empty a medium (8oz net) canister using an MSR Pocket Rocket. I brought a small canister as a backup and never used it. We boil 2 liters at a time for coffee and oatmeal for breakfast, and dehydrated meals for dinner. We camped at 10,000 and 8,000 ft, cold water, custom windscreen - an aluminum pie pan that just wraps around the burner and the base of the pot. Do NOT enclose the canister as the trapped heat could cause an explosion (unlikely, but it could ruin your meal and a bit more). I also have an ultra light Esbit stove that makes a lighter backup alternative than a second canister.
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby Tom_H » Sun Jul 07, 2013 3:58 pm

I have two canister stoves, a complete Jetboil system and a Soto OD-1R Micro-Regulator. The Jetboil came with a windscreen. The Soto came out in 2010 and won awards from several groups (including Backpacker magazine). REI doesn't carry it anymore, but on their tables it was rated as the most fuel efficient. Reviews by the groups that gave the awards say that it performs better than other canister stoves at high altitude and cold temperatures. It does seem to work better for me than the Jetboil. Here are some reviews:

http://www.backpacker.com/editors-choic ... gear/14015

http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Backpacki ... Soto-OD-1R

http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews ... 0Peterson/

Here is a seller:

OD-1R Micro Regulator Stove by SOTO Outdoors on Amazon.com

When I am baking with my Omnia (previously Optimus) mini-oven, I use the Jetboil because the three pot support arms are longer and the oven is more stable than on the short arms of the Soto.

Not all of the canisters are purely propane; some are mixtures of propane with butane and/or isobutane. Some of the stove manufacturers recommend a specific mixture for their stove. I don't know how much difference it makes if you don't go with the one they recommend.

I also preheat water by putting the water container inside a little black plastic bag and setting it in the sun for an hour or so. For a cozy, I use a lightweight kid's lunch pail made of nylon fabric and insulation. It sits upright with a freeze-dried pouch and lays flat for a bowl of soup, oatmeal, etc.

I have tended not to use the windscreen on the Jetboil because its radius is smaller than the pots or billy cans I use. I haven't found anything for the Soto, but would like to. I always try to find a well sheltered location for the kitchen. I try to cook away from where I sleep, especially if in bear country.

For many years I used the NOLS cook from scratch group system, but as I get older weight matters more and I just use freeze-dried pouches or instant oatmeal and grits for breakfast most of the time. This uses less fuel than having to simmer for extended periods. We used to take a big frying pan, but now use a small thin foldable one, if we take it at all.

Canister stoves are so much simpler than pumping white gas or building fires like we used to do. I know alcohol is simplest of all and the stoves made from soda cans weigh next to nothing. They can be really good on short trips when you're going for super-ultralight weight. Canister fuels get about 3 times as many calories of heat per ounce as alcohol though, so for longer trips, canisters turn out to be more weight efficient. The stove and can weigh more, but you can carry fewer ounces of fuel.
Last edited by Tom_H on Tue Jul 09, 2013 9:43 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Gas Canister Stoves Question

Postby AlmostThere » Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:26 pm

Alcohol stoves do not have a valve, so are considered "open flame" and the ban applies. Sadly, my dozen or so will remain in the box while I continue to use my good ol' Snow Peak Giga.

Also a factor - the kind of fuel you use. I have gotten some fuel mixes that have noticeably *less* efficiency and get me less burn time than Snow Peak or MSR brands. Don't bother with any brand you don't recognize - MSR, Primus, Snow Peak, or JetBoil fuel for me. Really cheap off market canisters can also have impurities in the fuel that clog jets.
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