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OldTripper
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05/15/2023 07:08PM  
I'm just curious as to what folks are using nowadays and why.
I guess I'm most interested in the why...

For decades I was a liquid fuel guy because that is what my Coleman 502 and Feather 400 used. In the late 70s or early 80s, I had to try the MSR Rapidfire canister stove. I liked it. No fuel to spill, nothing to pump up, just spin on a can and light. Granted, the cost per ounce of fuel was more than Coleman fuel, but for the amount I used it I was OK with that.

Then I started doing a lot of winter camping and the canister stove just wasn't working out for me so I went back to liquid fuel types. I liked my XGK and Whisperlite, but they had two speeds, off or wide open. For this reason I would mostly just use these stoves to melt snow for freeze dried meals and instant oatmeal.  

I know you can do things like only pump the bottle one or two times for a lower flame or use flame shields to do some cooking on, but I never really got into "cooking" any meals with those stoves, I just melted snow. And for some reason I never started using the 502 or Feather 400 for winter camping either. I'm not sure why. Might have been the frequent refueling or pumping the metal pump in freezing temps.

Then I picked up an MSR Dragonfly. I used it for many years as my do-anything stove, it was awesome. It did everything from melting snow to making pancakes. The only thing I don't like it was the noise (like the other MSR stoves). Anyone who owns one knows what I mean.

Now I'm back in the lower 48 and am using the 40 year old Rapidfire again. For shorter trips of 1-3 days, I'll even use an alcohol or wood stove just for a change. I absolutely love the fact that alcohol and wood are perfectly silent!!

So, like I said, I'm just curious as to what folks are using and why.
Thanks for your comments.
 
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05/15/2023 08:35PM  
I'm a canister stove/fuel user for the same reasons you listed - basically simplicity - and I don't winter camp so that's not an issue. I don't cook meals, just boil water. I don't use enough for the cost to be prohibitive. It's permissible during fire bans unlike my alcohol stove or twig stoves, so no worries there and a backup stove weighs only a couple of ounces. The canisters are easily recycled here.
 
andym
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05/15/2023 08:53PM  
Switched to canisters for the ease of teaching everyone on a trip how to use the stoves. Otherwise I wound up needing to light them when people couldn’t remember how to prime the liquid fuel stoves. Also appreciate the ability to simmer quietly.
 
YetiJedi
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05/15/2023 09:02PM  
My preferences:

Canisters for solo tripping - easy and simple to boil water which is 90% of my cooked meals when I'm alone.

Liquid fuel (msr dragonfly) for trips with my kids or dad because we like to actually cook good meals rather than simply boil water.
 
OldTripper
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05/15/2023 10:00PM  
andym: "Switched to canisters for the ease of teaching everyone on a trip how to use the stoves. Otherwise I wound up needing to light them when people couldn’t remember how to prime the liquid fuel stoves. Also appreciate the ability to simmer quietly. "

Priming...
I forgot about that.
I did a trip with a couple others and they didn't know about priming a Dragonfly. They got up before me in the morning and by the time I got up they had started boiling water. My pot and heat exchanger were black with soot!!! A thick black coat of soot! They finally got the stove lit and just let it simmer for a while. Who knows how long it smoldered before it got hot enough to burn clean.
Thanks for the reminder!
 
05/15/2023 10:19PM  
I have a few canister stoves, but I prefer the old white gas stoves. Call me old fashioned or just old, I like my Coleman 533 sportster, or even an old suitcase if I'm not doing too many portages. The white gas makes a good fire starter too in a pinch, which you can't do with canister fuel.
 
andym
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05/16/2023 12:17AM  
At least I never had anyone produce a lot of soot on our Dragonflies. If you want a canister stove that simmers, see the MSR WindPro. The hose between the stove and canister also allows the use of a windshield.
 
billconner
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05/16/2023 05:22AM  
Dragonfly with the dragon tamer which solves the noise and
makes it even better at simmering. But I like to cook, not just boil water, even solo. Plus too old to start over and invest time and money in another system.
 
Sparkeh
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05/16/2023 05:25AM  
Cooking real food= liquid fuel with large burner.
Boiling water= canister/cat can stove.
 
OldTripper
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05/16/2023 07:24AM  
andym: "If you want a canister stove that simmers, see the MSR WindPro. The hose between the stove and canister also allows the use of a windshield. "

I think this is one reason I keep going back to the Rapidfire, because of the hose and the ability to use a wind screen.
 
MikeinMpls
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05/16/2023 08:23AM  
arnesr: "I have a few canister stoves, but I prefer the old white gas stoves. Call me old fashioned or just old, I like my Coleman 533 sportster, or even an old suitcase if I'm not doing too many portages. The white gas makes a good fire starter too in a pinch, which you can't do with canister fuel. "


I've used liquid fuel my entire life, and it's what I know. When I started tripping, that's what there was, so I filled up my Coleman Peak 1 and Svea 123R...and I've never used anything else. I now use MSR Simmerlite, and I bring two on each trip. Canister stoves have their advantages and disadvantages, same with white gas.

Mike
 
05/16/2023 09:55AM  
I have a fairly complete MSR stove collection including the stoves in the OP. Also tinker with alcohol and twig stoves.
The stove I use can change trip to trip but 2 are most often used. Dragonfly and WindPro 2.
The Dragonfly can be quieted with a ported burner cap, It works very well but, is a bit more difficult to get at the get for swapping fuel or cleaning, also it should be ignited with a different lighting procedure. The i.materialize Dragonfly designed by Bernie Adams is the best but is expensive now.
I had several Coleman stoves but got rid of them, not a fan of the burner on top of the fuel tank and just not as powerful as an XGK or most other MSR stoves. My Apex remote tank was simply too fussy to use.

butthead
 
JohnGalt
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05/16/2023 12:23PM  
Liquid all the way. I like the Dragonfly though I should probably get a 'dragon tamer' for it. Personally, I don't like being tethered to buying fuel canisters or sketchy refills & liquid fuel is just way easier to work with (it's also back-up 'fire starter' in a pinch). Liquid fuel performs better at low temps too. The Dragonfly is also more versatile if I ever need to rely on the stove for SHTF type event as it can run on gasoline.
 
mgraber
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05/17/2023 10:07AM  
After years with liquid stoves, mostly MSR brands, I graduated to canister about 12 years ago and will NEVER go back. Way less fiddle factor, no maintenance, super long life, ultra reliable, simmers perfectly with little noise. There are some down sides, and I am not saying they are better, just better for me.
 
OldTripper
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05/18/2023 08:01AM  
Thanks for your comments, I appreciate your insight.
Mike, like you I always bring a backup stove, just in case the Rapidfire fails. My backup is the BRS stove which weighs less than one ounce and is pretty small. Luckily my Rapidfire has never failed me.
butthead, I checked into that Dragon Tamer and you are right, they are a bit pricey at $92!!! Guess I'll be putting up with a little noise for a while!
John, the fact that you just spend a month or two on an extended trip last summer speaks highly of the Dragonfly. I'm guessing you have the new pump design? Did you ever have any issues with it?
mgraber, share your sentiments about canister stoves.

One of the things that inspired this thread was I contacted MSR to see if I could get a maintenance kit for the Rapidfire. I know it's old and no longer produced, but I had to try. After literally 6 months MSR returned my email and said a maintenance kit was not available (no surprise) but they also recommended that I stop using the stove!

For those of you who have the Dragonfly, can you enlighten me regarding the problems with the newer pumps? Since mine is 30 years old I'm sure I have an old pump but I have heard there are problems with the new pump design/function. Anyone familiar with this?
 
OldTripper
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05/18/2023 08:34AM  
Wow, I just checked REI's web site.
They stock only 4 liquid fuel stoves, all are MSR.
They stock 37 canister fuel stoves of mixed brands.
I didn't see that coming!!
 
05/18/2023 08:41AM  
First off a slightly less costly version of the Dragonfly, BernieDawg Midicap for US Military Stoves Works well and I have one, just slight less BTU output.
Dragonfly pumps are specific to the Dragonfly. Original dark blue/grey and red of hard plastic, have good compression but delicate often break,
New pump reinforced plastic and known as 'seahorse' pumps have a bit less compression but are very durable, Dragonfly pumps have larger diameter fitting and a return valve. Standard MSR pumps interchange from Whisperlight, Simmerlight, Firefly, XGK, XGK2, to XGK-E and are greyshades.
New MSR pumps available around $45.

I tend to buy all my stoves used on Ebay, normally 1/2 new cost. There is no need for a Rapidfire repair kit except for O-rings that fail in the valve and that is not common. Better option is a used WindPro canister stove, lighter more stable.

butthead
 
OldTripper
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05/19/2023 05:57PM  
Thank you for the added info, butthead.
I appreciate you sharing your knowledge.
 
pswith5
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05/19/2023 06:15PM  
OldTripper: "
andym: "Switched to canisters for the ease of teaching everyone on a trip how to use the stoves. Otherwise I wound up needing to light them when people couldn’t remember how to prime the liquid fuel stoves. Also appreciate the ability to simmer quietly. "

Priming...
I forgot about that.
I did a trip with a couple others and they didn't know about priming a Dragonfly. They got up before me in the morning and by the time I got up they had started boiling water. My pot and heat exchanger were black with soot!!! A thick black coat of soot! They finally got the stove lit and just let it simmer for a while. Who knows how long it smoldered before it got hot enough to burn clean.
Thanks for the reminder!"

On the subject of priming, is it ok to use a little denatured alcohol to prime?
 
05/20/2023 12:02AM  

On the subject of priming, is it ok to use a little denatured alcohol to prime?"
I would think that’ll work. You’re just trying to heat up the tube/generator to vaporize the fuel
I have used some gel fire starter right on the generator at the burner. Light it up and as it dies away, open the valve and the burner ignites on the last little bit of flame. One match starting! And no soot. this is on a Whisper Light.
One thing that’s not mentioned is altitude. For obvious reasons considering Minnesota elevations. When you’re up at about 8,000 feet on a cold May night, that little blast furnace cranked some heat very efficiently, So do the canister but not so efficient,they seem to suck the fuel down pretty quickly.
I don’t know the formula but my theory is that weight vs BTUs, the liquid fuel gives more BTUs per pound
imho
Ps last year made me a little biased after running out of canisters on the last morning and getting shorted on the coffee. Never happened with liquid

BTW. Congratulations on entering Liquid Season up there. Paddle on
 
05/20/2023 07:24AM  
Canister store for simplicity.

Most of the time I just bring a pocket rocket type off brand since I just boil water for coffee and dehydrated food. When my one daughter is along I bring a wind pro for a fish fry. I also bring the wind pro for shoulder season trips so I have the option to invert the tank if it gets too cold.
 
05/20/2023 07:50AM  
pswith5: "
OldTripper: "
andym: "Switched to canisters for the ease of teaching everyone on a trip how to use the stoves. Otherwise I wound up needing to light them when people couldn’t remember how to prime the liquid fuel stoves. Also appreciate the ability to simmer quietly. "

Priming...
I forgot about that.
I did a trip with a couple others and they didn't know about priming a Dragonfly. They got up before me in the morning and by the time I got up they had started boiling water. My pot and heat exchanger were black with soot!!! A thick black coat of soot! They finally got the stove lit and just let it simmer for a while. Who knows how long it smoldered before it got hot enough to burn clean.
Thanks for the reminder!"

On the subject of priming, is it ok to use a little denatured alcohol to prime?"


Definitely bring a small squeeze container of some kind of very light non-gas fuel for priming. The priming process is the dirty part of the liquid-fuel stove experience. This will help keep your stove clean. The only downside is that the flame is not always apparent in daylight. Think of those pit fires at Indy car races (they are alcohol-fueled cars). Often the only evidence there's a fire is when the driver or one of the crew behaves in an erratic frenzy. Fortunately alcohol burns at a relatively low temp and can be diluted with water.
 
Bikefishski
  
05/20/2023 11:23AM  
MSR simmer ability - this thread made me find a nice DIY hack on youtube to make MSR stoves actually simmer. I used a Whisper Lite this spring (since one of my kids heisted my dragon fly). i still brought in my Dad's old Peak1 to simmer things at camp. I was frustrated at the lack of any simmer function for the whisper lite. Quick search showed u can relieve the pressure then re-light with only a couple pumps to simmer. another guy had the Jet Boil this past trip. But i needed better coffee that a perculator could produce w basket paper filter. And i shouldn't do the Cowboy coffee or Press because the oils make my cholestrol levels go from normal to way too high! Now i can leave the Peak1 at home for the next trip later this summer. I am a white gas for lifer since i do a lot of winter stuff as well !
 
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