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2AirIsHuman
member (22)member
 
08/27/2020 09:42PM  
I have backpacked extensively in the past and car/RV/boat camped in more recent years. My last overnight backpacking trip was probably in the 1990s. I used a MSR whisperlite then which I have recently given away to my daughter (who is now 22). I also have a Coleman one-burner stove from about 1980 (I believe it's a model 502). I previously had a 1950s era Coleman roarer (probably a model 530) of my Dad's that I gave away. I've had the big green metal box Coleman two-burner stoves that used to be popular. I used the old Optimus box stoves with the roarer on a three-week trip in the 1980s and sort of liked them better than the MSR (more stable and easier to use but heavier).

I have a heavy propane stove that I still use for car trips and have an alcohol stove aboard my sailboat. I had a lightweight propane one that was supposed to double as a grill that I hated and finally gave away.

I've never used the ultralight isobutane canister stoves because I like late fall camping when it gets cold, and because having to pay $1 per ounce for fuel offends my sensibilities. That said, I am open to new ideas.

I have not used any of the solid fuel stoves and am curious about them.

I have not used any of the stoves that take 10 ounce butane cans, the ones that are popular for tableside use at restaurants. I am concerned about their weight and cold weather performance but, again, am open to ideas.

As my kids get older I am looking at organizing trips for 2-6 people. I use a combination of freeze dried food and scratch cooking depending on the nature of the trip (weight constraints, trip duration, and ambient temperature being the main factors).

I want to get with the times. What has changed? What is still the same? What works best?
 
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08/27/2020 10:45PM  
I've had great luck with liquid MSR stoves like the whisperlite. Dragonfly if you want the best flame control and most stable base. Whisper or others if you want a bit smaller/lighter. They all use the same bottles and pump, fuel stays good for quite a few years if you don't happen to use it
 
billconner
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08/28/2020 05:51AM  
Love my Dragonfly with Dragontamer. Bought a backup when on sale so I'd never be without.
 
08/28/2020 07:19AM  
So many great options, I have the dragonfly with the dragon tamer. It is pretty quiet now and really offers precision flame. That is my workhorse. I take a Snowpeak titanium lite max Snowpeak litemax I bought it on a whim, it was on clearance for 20 bucks. It works great. We bring one canister with this stove as a back up or if we need to cook 2 things nat the same time. It is really simple, and can simmer. I love the simplify design light weight of the Snowpeak.

I prefer the dragon tamerfor cooking. Wider base for bigger pots, I prefer refillable fuel bottle.

Really comes down to preferences.

T
 
08/28/2020 07:23AM  
I have and have used a variety of stoves - Coleman white gas double and single burners, Coleman double burner propane, Coleman canister stove, alcohol stove, and my current favorite - a JetBoil Sol canister stove.

I boil water for dehydrated meals. I like that it is simple, compact, light, efficient, quick, useable during fire bans unlike alcohol stoves, solid fuel, or twig burners. Fuel is ready available (cost is $5.49 per 8.11 oz.), very hard to spill and will not leak fuel all over other things. I'll use 6 to 6.25 oz. of that on a 2-week trip. The JetBoil stove locks into the burner ring and so I haven't knocked one off the burner since I switched to it :). The canister stoves are so light that you could carry a spare for a couple of ounces although there is little to go wrong. It works well to a little below freezing.
 
08/28/2020 08:13AM  
Canister fuel is a mixture of butane and propane for most makers. The butane is the problem in cold weather. Propane added improves cold performance but works at a higher presure, beyond what a lindal valve (the common valve used in the industry) canister can safely use. With a simple adapter you can use the butane cans with any canister stove. The butane fuel works fine above 30 degrees.
Solid fuel bricks, Esbit, trioxane, are fairly costly per ounce of water boiled and slow but steady output.
The Dragonfly from MSR is close to the Optimus box stove in burner design. A cup style rarer burner with a plate flame spreader. It is more powerful, lighter in weight, very adjustable flame with a fuel tank valve and a needle valve near the jet. Popular, but loud like the box stoves silent ported burner caps can be fitted that reduce the sound substantially but adds a bit more complicated ignition sequence with more potential maintenance. It is a favorite of mine.
For simplicity and use above 20 degrees a remote fuel tank canister stove is hard to beat. Stable, easy to ignite, great adjustable flame. MSR Windpro and new version Whisperlight Universal, Primus Gravity and Express Spider, lots of oriental makes, are good examples. The canister top stoves are lightest and most compact. Fitting on top of the canister the are tall and less stable and using a full windscreen is dangerous due to canister over heat/pressure.
Wood gasifyer, twig, alcohol, and a pile of homemade stoves find an audience among campers. Have some advantages and their share of disadvantages. Primary for me is low heat/time to boil.
I'd start with fuel choice, likely liquid petrol or petrol gas under pressure (canister). Then a stove style/size. Then a brand and model to obtain.
Style and size offer several choices. Try to match burner size and flame to the pots/pans you use. Consider a windscreen into the choice it concentrates the heat and saves fuel.
Ask more as you pursue your particular stove.

butthead
 
Pilgrimpaddler
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08/28/2020 08:24AM  
I started out with a Coleman single burner stove (Sportster) but found it to be pretty heavy and not the most stable platform for larger pots so I switched to an MSR Simmerlite, which was certainly lighter though not any more stable. Next, I got a Whisperlite. I typically use the Whisperlite as my main stove and bring the Simmerlite as a backup. The extra stove doesn't add much weight, it uses the same fuel bottles as the Whisperlite, and it provides some additional peace of mind. I haven't used the canister stoves but many people seem to like them; I just can't justify switching to one when I'm perfectly happy with my current setup.
 
Jackfish
Moderator
 
08/28/2020 09:04AM  
I've been an MSR Whisperlite user for probably 20 years. Not sure why I opted for the Whisperlite over the Dragonfly, for example, but that's what I did. I just really like it. Sure, it doesn't have the precise flame control of other stoves, but between fuel bottle pressure and the valve itself, I've gotten pretty good at cooking at lower temps. I cook pancakes and fry fish, make bannock, etc. with excellent success (most of the time), but if I want to boil water, I crank it up and it only takes a few minutes. Maybe someday I'll look at something different, but I have to wear out my Whisperlites first.
 
08/28/2020 09:26AM  
Jackfish: "I've been an MSR Whisperlite user for probably 20 years. Not sure why I opted for the Whisperlite over the Dragonfly, for example, but that's what I did. I just really like it. Sure, it doesn't have the precise flame control of other stoves, but between fuel bottle pressure and the valve itself, I've gotten pretty good at cooking at lower temps. I cook pancakes and fry fish, make bannock, etc. with excellent success (most of the time), but if I want to boil water, I crank it up and it only takes a few minutes. Maybe someday I'll look at something different, but I have to wear out my Whisperlites first."
+1

However, i do have a Twig stove that I have brought on a few trips that I really like too. Can't use during a fire ban, so I bring both my Whisperlight and my Twig stove.
 
scotttimm
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08/28/2020 09:41AM  
Lots of options listed above - but one option we always bring with us is a Jetboil. In our camp it has two main functions - boiling water for coffee, and boiling water to add to freeze-dried meals that only require adding hot water. The Jetboil is super efficient, compact, sips fuel, water boils in about one minute. We love having coffee quickly and with minimal effort. I make our own freeze-dried meals (backpacking-style), but it would be perfect for the Mountain house type of meals. They use the same fuel as other little, super lightweight stoves, which we bring to cook one pot meals in, fry fish, etc. I have the inexpensive coleman version, I'll put links below. JetBoil does have a $9 pot-support accessory so you could use it with regular pots and pans. Works for us.
Coleman Backpacking Stove
JetBoil
 
AdmAckbar13
member (48)member
 
08/28/2020 10:51AM  
A few years ago I got into ultralight backpacking and switched from an isobutane stove to a small, incredibly light alcohol stove. The one I use is the "Fancee Feest" stove made out of a cat food can with a built in pot stand and carbon felt wick to move the fuel. If all you're looking to do is boil water for re-hydrating meals and making coffee it's absolutely perfect in my eyes.

If you're familiar with the MN Youtuber "Shug" he's big on the Fancee Feest. He has a ton of great videos on his youtube channel where he's using it in all conditions, including in -20 to -30 weather in the winter.

Shug's YouTube Channel

I personally use "Heet" methanol fuel when I go camping and it works great. It can be found at most gas stations and auto stores as gas line antifreeze and water remover. The stove can also be run on ethanol (high proof everclear if you can get it - dual purpose!), white gas and gasoline if you're in a real pinch. Methanol will burn the cleanest and I believe provides the most BTU for the weight.

The stove itself only weighs 0.8 oz and is about $20 shipped. You really can't go wrong for a water boiling-only stove in my opinion. If I were on a trip where I wanted to fry fish I would either do it over a fire (if I brought the Fancee Feest) or take another stove that would have a better simmer flame level.


Fancee Feest Stove
 
08/28/2020 12:26PM  
If you watch enough "Shug" videos you will see he also carries a Whisperlight. For larger cooking duty and in very cold conditions. Shug on his Whisperlight
I don't think I'd ever mention using gasoline or Coleman fuel in an alcohol stove, the potential is not pretty.

butthead
 
08/28/2020 12:42PM  
airmorse: "Jackfish: "I've been an MSR Whisperlite user for probably 20 years. Not sure why I opted for the Whisperlite over the Dragonfly, for example, but that's what I did. I just really like it. Sure, it doesn't have the precise flame control of other stoves, but between fuel bottle pressure and the valve itself, I've gotten pretty good at cooking at lower temps. I cook pancakes and fry fish, make bannock, etc. with excellent success (most of the time), but if I want to boil water, I crank it up and it only takes a few minutes. Maybe someday I'll look at something different, but I have to wear out my Whisperlites first."
+1

However, I do have a Twig stove that I have brought on a few trips that I really like, too. Can't use during a fire ban, so I bring both my Whisperlight and my Twig stove."

+2.

I like my Whisperlite, but I’ve started also carrying a Solo Light Twig stove and love it. I’ve had rainy days where I can just sit under my tarp and cook, then have a mini-bonfire right there. All the wood you need is already laying around the fire grate in abundance.

A lot of knowledgeable and experienced people love their canisters. I am always bothered by what to do with that canister you bring home that’s only 1/4 full, plus having to waste the canister itself. Just my opinion.
 
08/28/2020 03:07PM  
The canisters can be recycled - that's what the JetBoil Crunchit Tool is for. I just use the partials up.
 
LetsGoFishing
distinguished member (108)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
 
08/28/2020 04:12PM  
The Bass Pro Single Burner Propane Stove is what I use. It's cheap and convenient as it uses standard 1lb propane canisters. It's pretty stable and boils fairly quickly. I only get up the BWCA once every couple years, so i am no expert. I use this several times per year along the road to heat up soup or cook hot dogs during trout fishing excursions in WI and IA.
 
08/28/2020 04:23PM  
boonie: "The canisters can be recycled - that's what the JetBoil Crunchit Tool is for. I just use the partials up. "
Thanks for the clarification - I did not realize they could be recycled.
 
TechnoScout
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08/28/2020 08:07PM  
This what warms my heart...
Whisperlite
 
08/28/2020 09:10PM  
TechnoScout: "This what warms my heart...
Whisperlite "


If you want to keep the soot down during the prime use a squirt of alcohol for the prime. No soot residue!

butthead
 
billconner
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08/29/2020 06:02AM  
butthead: "TechnoScout: "This what warms my heart...
Whisperlite "



If you want to keep the soot down during the prime use a squirt of alcohol for the prime. No soot residue!


butthead"


+1 on that. Looking for something like sterno in a tube. Maybe hand sanitizer....
 
08/29/2020 07:43AM  
Bill, I just use old Mio or KoolAid bottles for hardware alcohol stove fuel (and they do seal well, no leaks). The bottles hold just under 2 oz. And will prime a Whisperlight Dragonfly, or similar sized burners more than 5 times. Some large ported burners like the Simmerlight take a bit more.
Lighting my Dragonfly
Mautz Ribon Fire Starter was Sterno in a tube. I have used that, it works fine but will leave some residue/ash.

butthead
 
08/29/2020 10:29AM  
Nice video Butthead...another advantage of using alcohol to prime the whisperlite is if you don’t time the ignition right...which I seem to be bad at :) then you can just light the top of the stove burner like you would a canister stove. I have the dragontamer on so maybe doesn’t work with a conventional top? But slick on my operation.

T
 
08/29/2020 11:57AM  
2AirIsHuman: "
I want to get with the times. What has changed? What is still the same? What works best?"


Honestly to answer your question about the only changes that come to mind based off of what you've laid out have been designs that utilize the isobutane canisters that you mention an aversion to. The main advancement is probably in using remote canister stoves which allow you to invert the canister and gain some reliable function in cold temps. The fuel is honestly not all that expensive anymore either.

We also have the "stove systems" now like the reactor, windburner, and jetboil which IMO are a specialized option for when you're on a longer trip solo or in a large group sharing the stove and only plan to boil water, otherwise they're generally not as versatile and not as weight-efficient as other options.

It seems to me like everything else is pretty much the same since the 90s... Some "hipster" options like the twig stoves, hexamine, and alcohol stoves, but not much else. It really comes down to the intended use and personally I find it best to determine which stove I want to use for a given trip considering temps, weight, environment, duration, sharing, pot size, etc.
 
gvsope15
member (6)member
 
08/29/2020 12:01PM  
I really like my Kovea Spider stove. It's a canister stove but has a fuel line, so that it can be used with a windscreen. You can flip the canister in cold weather to improve the flow. It's lightweight, boils water quickly with a windscreen, and works in cold weather.

I share concerns about the empty canisters. I tend to use full or nearly full canisters for the backcountry and then take the ones with a few ounces of fuel left car camping, where I can empty them completely.
 
08/29/2020 03:18PM  
timatkn: "Nice video Butthead...another advantage of using alcohol to prime the whisperlite is if you don’t time the ignition right...which I seem to be bad at :) then you can just light the top of the stove burner like you would a canister stove. I have the dragontamer on so maybe doesn’t work with a conventional top? But slick on my operation.


T"


With a silent cap on, let the prime burn out, then light with a flame at the ported burner head.
Silent cap on a Dragonfly.
A long video 913 minutes) detailing a cap on the Dragonfly.

I do mess with other stove and still have several. including a bunch of DIY alcohol.


butthead
 
2AirIsHuman
member (22)member
 
08/29/2020 09:02PM  
Thank you all for the replies.

Reading the advice here and elsewhere and thinking this through, I do not believe that I want to go back to the Whisperlite or similar naptha-fuelled stoves at this point. I've seen some near misses with out-of-control flareups and one where someone took the fuel cap off a stove that hadn't gone out completely leading to a flame plume 20 feet long. I'm not going to have those problems myself but if I am with friends/family I can't be everywhere all the time and there are too many opportunities for smart people to do dumb things.

I'm going to experiment with the isobutane stoves. When I bought the Whisperlite in my misspent youth the cartridge stoves generally used butane rather than isobutane. They were expensive, only available at backpacking places, and didn't have valves. There was just a seal that got perforated by a needle when you attached the stove, so then you couldn't take the stove off the cartridge until it was empty.

I guess at $0.75 an ounce and maybe 2-3 oz. a day or less stove fuel is never going to be a major expense item on these trips even though it is expensive for what you get.

The remaining question I have is whether any of the twig stoves are worth a second look. My goal is to make tea not youtube videos. I have occasionally done swinging cast iron pots on a tripod over a wood fire as a bushcraft demonstration but it's not what this is about.
 
08/29/2020 09:52PM  
A lot of people like the twig stoves, but I can't see enough advantage to take one in addition to another stove. It would add several ounces and I could boil about 35 cups of water with a small canister of 100-110 grams which would probably weigh about the same as the twig stove. The canister stove is simpler, quicker, and cleaner to use. I like convenience. And there's the fire ban issue.
 
LarryS48
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08/30/2020 01:26AM  
Since the spring of 2018, I have used a MSR Pocket Rocket 2 with an isobutane canister for trips in Quetico right after ice-out. I try and buy fuel that has less butane and more isobutane in the mix. That is usually either the MSR or Jet Boil fuel canisters. There are other brands but those are readily available to me. Coleman fuel is also readily available but has a higher percentage of butane so I don't use it. Isobutane has a lower boiling point (11 degrees F, -12 C) than butane (31 degrees F, 0 C) and should give better low temperature performance. I have had no problems on spring trips right after ice-out. I was wondering what other people's practical experience is. How cold can it get before there are problems? Does the brand of fuel make a difference at low temperatures? I have recently seen tests where the fuels with more butane did well at room temperature. However, I like the shoulder seasons and am more concerned about low temperature performance.
 
andym
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08/30/2020 02:04AM  
For the isobutane stoves, we are happy with the MSR Windpro. It is easy to use, I like the remote canister, has a good adjustable flame, and is quiet even when simmering. Before that we used the dragonfly but it was noisy when simmering and the priming makes it hard for some people to light. I like that to be easy because then everyone on a trip gets comfortable stove. Simmering is important to our cooking style but not important for everyone.

And yes, the old Gaz stoves with no valves were a pain at the end of trips.
 
08/30/2020 06:42AM  
Larry-

I have an old JetBoil stove and have used the MSR and JetBoil canisters and been good down to about 25 degrees. I don't think the brand makes any difference beyond the mix. Before the JetBoil, I had a Coleman canister stove and used the Coleman canisters. The performance wasn't as good below 40 degrees, but I don't know if that was a function of the stove technology, the fuel mix, or both (most probable). I have not had to try it yet, but have read that it helps to warm canisters first.
 
08/30/2020 07:53AM  
2AirIsHuman: "Thank you all for the replies.
The remaining question I have is whether any of the twig stoves are worth a second look. My goal is to make tea not youtube videos. I have occasionally done swinging cast iron pots on a tripod over a wood fire as a bushcraft demonstration but it's not what this is about."


Wood can stoves work fine. They are banned for use when a fire ban is on in the BWCA/Quetico (I was told by USFS folks, to prevent possible flareup's from sparks/ignited ash), same for alcohol stoves in general (no way to turn off the fuel supply when spilled).

The canister stoves have come a long way. Some expensive and many quite inexpensive. Oriental sourced makes have opened up the market. Kovea, Alocs, Fire Maple, BRS, and a bunch other/no-name brands. On canister or remote tank fueled, and some convertable like MSR Whisperlight International, Primus OmniFuel, BRS, that can use canister or liquid fuel.

I take the rib about YouTube videos, but just intending to use a photo or video to shorten descriptions, it also helps me remember the thing I have done and what worked, been at this for decades.

$20 no name remote stove Amazon= is an example of an inexpensive starter, a bit fiddly with joints, but perfectly useable and many others listed. I have an Alocs burner I use often purchased off Ebay under $30, on the right left is a MSR Windpro folded behind a no-name oriental stove clone of a Kovea Spider.
I have several canister top stoves just do not use them often, I do like to use a full windscreen.

butthead

butthead
 
MidwestFirecraft
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08/30/2020 11:59AM  
Surprised no one has mentioned the Soto Windmaster. Out of all the stoves that have come and gone through my stable, this one remains.
windmaster
 
andym
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08/30/2020 05:55PM  
We’ve used the littlbug twig stove. Our problem with it was simmering. But if you just want to boil water then that is easy and someone has already pointed out the fire ban issue.
 
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