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#38388 - 07/07/14 09:26 PM Stoves
bfranke Offline


Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 2
Loc: SoCal
Hi all, newb here looking for advice on stoves. We plan on a 2day summit the week of 7/21. My buddy has the "jet boil" system which worked good at San Gorgonio. Just want to make sure the propane/butane system works good at higher elevations. Or should I look into the white fuel burners?
thanks

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#38389 - 07/07/14 09:29 PM Re: Stoves [Re: bfranke]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
Canister stoves work fine at Trail Camp. If it is cold out, just drop the canister into your sleeping bag to keep it warm (or keep it in your pocket), and it will start right up the next morning. Self-ignition can be a bit flaky at altitude/cold -- good to bring matches as back up.

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#38392 - 07/07/14 11:11 PM Re: Stoves [Re: bfranke]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
I really discourage people from using the white gas stoves unless they are very very familiar with them. They have their virtues, but I think they are a somewhat controlled explosion. Somewhat.

I always seem to get gas all over things, and they are a lot heavier.

Akichow is right on with the tricks for warming canisters. works great.

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#38395 - 07/07/14 11:25 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Ken]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Yeah, and some of them actually require a certain amount of sloppiness to prime them (not as bad as the Svea, of course....inherited two of them, but just keep them around as momentos)

I went on a trip where everyone had a jet-boil, and I was amazed at how ridiculously easy they were to handle (I have a Dragonfly, or something like that...white gas) I pretty much gave up on hot meals because I dreaded dealing with the stove 'issues'.
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#38408 - 07/08/14 08:41 AM Re: Stoves [Re: Bee]
wbtravis Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1239
Loc: Corner of Jack Benny and Roche...
If you forget to sleep with the canister, give it a bath.

Put the canister in bowl of water, this will improve performance.

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#38433 - 07/08/14 05:22 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Bee]
saltydog Offline


Registered: 02/03/11
Posts: 1541
Loc: Valley Ford CA!!!!
Originally Posted By: Bee
Yeah, and some of them actually require a certain amount of sloppiness to prime them (not as bad as the Svea, of course....inherited two of them, but just keep them around as momentos)

I went on a trip where everyone had a jet-boil, and I was amazed at how ridiculously easy they were to handle (I have a Dragonfly, or something like that...white gas) I pretty much gave up on hot meals because I dreaded dealing with the stove 'issues'.


Bee: Lemme know when those Sveas, get underfoot: I'd be glad to provide a new home and life for them. I own several MSRs, but a full Svea 123 is one of my essentials. BTW, every gas flame, including that Bic, is a controlled explosion.
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#38435 - 07/08/14 05:49 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Bee]
Bulldog34 Offline


Registered: 11/12/09
Posts: 1254
Loc: Atlanta
Originally Posted By: Bee
I went on a trip where everyone had a jet-boil, and I was amazed at how ridiculously easy they were to handle


I've been using the same Jet-Boil for over 5 years and have never had a problem at any altitude (12.5K') or temperature (low twenties). I hear regularly that you can't trust isobutane/propane at low temps or elevation, but that's not been my experience. Can't personally speak to JB's performance at higher elevation or frigid temps, but I know people who can and swear by it.

I have a hiking buddy who is a big liquid fuel fan. We go on a trip, he brings his cherished MSR, I bring my JB. I'm usually drinking coffee while he's still fiddling with his connections, priming it, setting up the wind screen. It is ridiculously easy to use, lightning fast (Jet-Boil), and compact. The only downside I've experienced is that, due to it's tall nature, it can sometimes be tricky to balance. And, of course, the auto ignition fails after a few years.

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#38437 - 07/08/14 07:50 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Bulldog34]
Ken Offline


Registered: 10/29/09
Posts: 742
Loc: Los Angeles
Another issue may be that there has been a distinct change in the mixture of gases in the canisters. I think they used to be butane/propane, and there was a problem with one gas burning off preferentially. But I think they are all different and better now.

I don't hear people complaining of the problems I used to hear, with the modern mixtures.

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#38439 - 07/08/14 08:38 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Ken]
Akichow Offline


Registered: 04/07/10
Posts: 659
Loc: SF Bay Area
I've had problems at trail camp starting a stove with a cold canister. But generally been able to work it out. Separately, the autoignite is definitely tempermental when the canister is cold. Matches are a total must.

I've read that MSR uses a better gas mix than the others in its canisters. I usually use Snowpeak (I have a Snowpeak stove) but I understand that, notwithstanding the mfrs recommendations, any isobutane canister with the standard threading may work. I haven't tried this myself much and can't claim to be an expert on this topic. Hiking Jim is the resident stove expert. http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/

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#38448 - 07/08/14 10:49 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Akichow]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
I'll put in a plug for the white gas (Coleman fuel) stoves. If you learn how to light one, they work just fine. But I have seen really smart people get into trouble with them.

The right way:
1. Connect everything.
2. Pump the tank to pressurize.
3. Open the valve, allow a spoon full of fuel to fill the stove's little warming reservoir.
4. Turn the valve off! (This is where people screw up.)
5. Light the stove, watch it burn almost out, 30-60 seconds. This heats the metal parts so when you re-open the valve, what comes out is vaporized fuel.
6. Open the valve. If you wait until the flame is out, light it right away.

For big groups on a long trip, the white gas stove is overall lighter than the canister ones, because the weight of those pressurized canisters adds up. I've also gone snow camping with snowmobiles, and the Coleman fuel stove is best for carrying and burning enough fuel to melt snow for water. In frozen environments, you don't have to worry about keeping the Coleman fuel warm enough.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

But... I don't carry a canister stove anymore. They are all too heavy. The titanium wing / Esbit tablet stove is what I use.

Here's the stove folded, 0.4 oz (11 g):


Here's a view as I use it. I add a homemade wind screen: 2" high aluminum foil cylinder. Stove, fuel tablets, lighter and windscreen all fit loosely in a quart zip-slider bag.


$20 on Backpacking Light

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#38450 - 07/08/14 11:06 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
Guilty as charged for not doing #4!


BTW, that's a really concise step-by-step...that teaspoon of fuel is very important, too(#3).
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The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#38452 - 07/08/14 11:21 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Steve C]
lynn-a-roo Offline


Registered: 08/14/10
Posts: 625
Loc: OrangeCounty
STEVE C.

Right on! Your instructions are perfect except for the fact you forgot that one has to put their thumb over the hole of the piece of the pump one has to push in and out (re: old coleman stoves) to pump up pressure. I feel like I'm an expert at the ol' green coleman stoves.

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#38456 - 07/09/14 12:16 AM Re: Stoves [Re: lynn-a-roo]
Steve C Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 7209
Loc: Fresno, CA
Originally Posted By: lynn-a-roo
STEVE C.

Right on! Your instructions are perfect except for the fact you forgot that one has to put their thumb over the hole of the piece of the pump one has to push in and out (re: old coleman stoves) to pump up pressure. I feel like I'm an expert at the ol' green coleman stoves.


My little backpacking stoves didn't have that hole, but Coleman stove pumps do (they open/unscrew, too).

One more thing: Before you head off on a camping trip, sometimes those pumps need a drop of 3-in-1 oil to lubricate the leather or rubber seal that traps and pushes the air when you pump.

Bee, I had a doctor buddy try to light one once, and he had a big two-foot billowing flame before I realized what was happening and closed the valve!

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#38492 - 07/09/14 09:38 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Bulldog34]
catpappy Offline


Registered: 03/06/10
Posts: 120
Loc: acworth, ga
Hey Gary, it's me John. I think you were mentioning me in your post. MY MSR Windpro is a canister stove not white gas. The reason I bought it was for the fact I used to do a good bit of winter hiking and still try to when I can. The Windpro is a remote canister stove meaning the canister can be inverted for extra umph if needed in cold temps. Also I like to actually cook when backpacking sometimes (pork marsala - umm) and the low profile works well with a 10 inch pan. Jet-boils and Reactors are darn good stoves though.


Another way to keep the canister warm is to get a chemical hand/foot warmer going and wrap it and the canister in a sock. I did this a couple mornings when the temps got down to around minus 6 and it worked great.

Salty, talk about a blast from the past - I have two Optimus 99's I bought in 79 for when I thru hiked the AT. Both still work great and I use them from time to time. That flame roar would drown out a waterfall at full throttle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJJcay2w_Tk
John

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#38494 - 07/09/14 10:31 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Steve C]
Bee Offline


Registered: 09/22/09
Posts: 1261
Loc: Northern California
I could probably do a timeline of my life based on the stoves I have used

Coleman: Dad thought that he needed to cover his checklist of what he needed to own to be an official American -- Coleman was on the list! (yes, I remember the little hole that you had to cover..)

Svea: A beautiful work of art. I remember watching a friend cook a gourmet meal in a 10" skillet precariously balanced on the tiny stove. The best part was watching him douse the assembled stove(comes in a tiny cannister) in fuel & light it on fire (I thought he was nuts) Worked great every time.

MSR: I still have not gotten the hang of this one.

JetBoil: The Stove for Dummies (me) Absolutely brainless compaired to the others

Homemade Alcohol Stove: Don't try this at home....or on the trail. The flame is almost invisible, & it's a good way to start a forest fire AND it does not burn at a sufficiently high enough temp for many applications



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The body betrays and the weather conspires, hopefully, not on the same day.

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#38562 - 07/11/14 04:38 PM Re: Stoves [Re: bfranke]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: bfranke
Hi all, newb here looking for advice on stoves. We plan on a 2day summit the week of 7/21. My buddy has the "jet boil" system which worked good at San Gorgonio. Just want to make sure the propane/butane system works good at higher elevations. Or should I look into the white fuel burners?
thanks
You should have no problem with canister gas stoves. There's nothing about altitude that affects canister gas stoves.

Now, piezoelectric ignitions on stoves, yes, those tend to fail, particularly above 10,000', sometimes lower, and they also tend to fail with age. A (flint ignition!) lighter and matches are always a good idea. A piezoelectric ignition on a lighter works even less well than on a stove and can fail as low as 7000', so like I say make sure your lighter if you bring one has a flint ignition. The once with the little wheels you crank hard on with your thumb are flint ignitions. A standard Bic has a flint ignition.

As for the gas itself, in warm weather, weather generally above 50F/10C, it doesn't make one bit of difference which brand you buy. Coleman at Walmart is generally the cheapest, but they only sell the 200g size.

In colder temperatures, look for isobutane/propane mixes only. Jetboil, MSR, Brunton, and Snow Peak are all good. Coleman, Primus, Optimus, Glowmaster, etc. all have "regular" butane to some degree or another and aren't good for cold weather.

Generally upright canister stoves (like a Jetboil, PocketRocket, etc.) are good down to about 20F if you use isobutane/propane fuel. It helps even more if you start warm and keep the canister warm. You can start warm on a cold morning by keeping the canister next to your body (under your jacket or in your sleeping bag) before you cook, and you can keep the canister warm by placing it in pan (or ziplock or whatever) full of liquid water. Warmish or tepid water is fine, but do not use hot water which could cause the stove to flare.

Stove nerdily yours, smile

HJ
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Backpacking stove reviews and information: Adventures In Stoving

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#38563 - 07/11/14 04:40 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Akichow]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Akichow
Canister stoves work fine at Trail Camp. If it is cold out, just drop the canister into your sleeping bag to keep it warm (or keep it in your pocket), and it will start right up the next morning. Self-ignition can be a bit flaky at altitude/cold -- good to bring matches as back up.
Good advice on all counts.

On this, "just drop the canister into your sleeping bag", just remember that you have to be in the bag too in order to provide the warmth. smile Otherwise, a cold canister in a cold sleeping bag will stay... cold.

HJ
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Backpacking stove reviews and information: Adventures In Stoving

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#38564 - 07/11/14 04:44 PM Re: Stoves [Re: wbtravis]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: wbtravis
If you forget to sleep with the canister, give it a bath.
Absolutely true, and even better still if you do both. My philosophy (for what it's worth) smile in cold weather with canister stoves is to start warm and keep it warm.

BTW, there are any number of ways to keep a canister warm; water is pretty safe and the one I generally recommend. There are advanced techniques for truly cold weather, but those are not without danger. Heat + fuel = BOOM. Everything in moderation, especially with explosives, yes? smile

HJ
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Backpacking stove reviews and information: Adventures In Stoving

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#38565 - 07/11/14 04:49 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Steve C]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Steve C
The right way:
1. Connect everything.
2. Pump the tank to pressurize.
3. Open the valve, allow a spoon full of fuel to fill the stove's little warming reservoir.
4. Turn the valve off! (This is where people screw up.)
5. Light the stove, watch it burn almost out, 30-60 seconds. This heats the metal parts so when you re-open the valve, what comes out is vaporized fuel.
6. Open the valve. If you wait until the flame is out, light it right away.
Excellent primer, Steve. The main trick with what gas stoves is to a) know what to do and b) get it down pat. White gas stoves are no big deal once you get the priming sequence down.

Now, interesting (but practical!) side note: Traditionally, alcohol was used to prime liquid fueled stoves. MSR used to even provide a small squeeze bottle with their old XGK stoves. Why alcohol? Well, it burns a lot cleaner for one (no soot all over) and two it is a lot easier to control the amount you are dispensing. Most of the big "fireball" flames I've seen with white gas stoves are due to over priming. Alcohol is much less volatile than white gas and much less prone to fire balling. Just something to try next time you're out with your lovely old school WG stove. smile

HJ
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Backpacking stove reviews and information: Adventures In Stoving

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#38566 - 07/11/14 05:05 PM Re: Stoves [Re: Bulldog34]
hikin_jim Offline


Registered: 11/07/10
Posts: 148
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Originally Posted By: Bulldog34
I've been using the same Jet-Boil for over 5 years and have never had a problem at any altitude (12.5K') or temperature (low twenties). I hear regularly that you can't trust isobutane/propane at low temps or elevation, but that's not been my experience. Can't personally speak to JB's performance at higher elevation or frigid temps, but I know people who can and swear by it.
Well, pretty much true, but if you start to dig into the details, it gets a little bit complicated. Let me see if I can be succinct while still technically accurate.

1. Isobutane/propane mixes will generally work so long as the canister temperature is above about 20F at sea level.
2. Subtract 2 degrees Fahrenheit for every 1,000 feet of elevation you are above sea level. In other words, at 10,000 feet above sea level, your canister stove should work down to 0F (10,000 * 2 / 1,000 = 20 and 20 - 20 = 0).

So, really, canister stoves work better at higher altitudes, all else being equal. Of course it can be pretty windy up high, so it's best to shelter your stove down in the nooks and crannies between rocks and such. I'll never know where these old wives tales about canister stoves not working well at altitude come from.

That said, there are hard limits on how cold you can operate a stove, and the closer you get to the temperatures I've specified above, the less well your stove is going to work. Like I say, start warm and keep the canister warm as you cook for best results.

As noted by another poster, with a remote canister stove (where the fuel is connected to the burner by a hose), you can go another 20 Fahrenheit lower than an upright style stove (where the burner just screws into the top of the canister), BUT you must must must have some type of pre-heating mechanism in order for this to be safe. See my article in Seattle Backpackers Magazine for more info.

That said, be careful. Don't take these temperature numbers as absolute guarantees. Sometimes canister mixes vary from what their label says. The numbers I'm giving you are the limits if the canister mixes are precise, but these are not "reagent grade" mixes for laboratories; these are consumer grade mixes. Always allow a margin of safety, particularly in cold weather. But you knew that. smile

HJ
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