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How Much White Gas Do I Need?

4:51 p.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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How much white gas should one bring on a trip? I don't know that I can give you a one-size-fits all answer since so much depends on the individual and conditions, but I've got some ideas that may help you get a handle on the issue.

P1050849.JPG

Please join me as I briefly examine How Much White Gas Do I Need?

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

6:11 p.m. on April 6, 2012 (EDT)
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Excellent and thanks once again. I am going to be cheeky, lazy and ask, if it doesn't take you too much time, could you put the metric measurements in brackets after all the imperial ones, Jim? I see you did it for the daily consumptions but not the totals.

I am looking forward to a canister version of that as well.

I echo the warning about non-OEM bottles. I used a cheaper bottle once to store some petrol for a tour (filled it the correct level) and the screw top cracked off overnight. Luckily it didn't happen on the road. Such a thing has never happened with the OEM bottles.

12:22 a.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Your numbers pretty much match my experience with my Optimus Nova (old version).  I figure on about 1.25 fl oz per person per day.  And my cooking habits are similar to yours.

5:38 p.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Pathloser said:

Excellent and thanks once again. I am going to be cheeky, lazy and ask, if it doesn't take you too much time, could you put the metric measurements in brackets after all the imperial ones, Jim? I see you did it for the daily consumptions but not the totals.

Sure.  I'll update it when I get a chance. 

 

Pathloser said:

I am looking forward to a canister version of that as well.

With canister gas, I'm usually alloting 20g/day for a solo hiker or 30g/day for two.

 

HJ
Adventures In Stoving 

5:39 p.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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lambertiana said:

I figure on about 1.25 fl oz per person per day. 

That sounds about right.  My use varies a bit trip to trip, and I've rounded up to keep the numbers conservative.

 

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

6:47 p.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Post updated to include metric units of measure.

 

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

 

11:05 p.m. on April 7, 2012 (EDT)
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Great timing Jim!!  I am trying to figure out if I need a different fuel bottle for my upcoming WCT trip.  It is scheduled for early May.  The red bottle I have, not a MSR, does not quite fit the Optimums Nova (original) I have, close but it's a NO GO.  I most of the time use it as a secondary bottle, but I often don't need it.  But the small bottle that cam with the Nova is probably the 10 oz size.  I often worry about running out of fuel.   I guess the best thing to do it to take the pump with me to try in on different bottles.  Just make sure it's fully dried out first. :)

I think I will figure 2 oz per day to be safe and allow me to make hot lunches (Ramon) for the trip.

As always, you the Man!

Wolfman 

2:36 p.m. on April 8, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi, Wolfman,

 

If you get a chance, post how it goes.  I think 1.5 fl oz/day will be enough, but it won't hurt to allow a little extra.  I'll be curious to hear what your actual usage is.

 

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

7:16 a.m. on April 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Jim, I am going on a weekend trip on April 20 to 22, Shi Shi Clean up, and plan on only cooking with the stove so I will keep track of that an let you know how it goes. 

By the way, do you know the conversion from liquid to weight?  I was thinking I could weigh the fuel and canister before and after and that would give me fuel usage.  I don't have anything small and accurate that I would want to pour gas in.  Wife might kill me for that! :)

Wolfman

12:28 p.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman, 

The conversion is about 0.75g/ml.  In other words, 100ml would weigh about 75g.  Half a liter would weigh about 375g.  One liter would weigh 750g.

If you want to be conservative, you could use 0.7g/ml as your conversion factor.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

12:57 p.m. on April 10, 2012 (EDT)
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1oz fuel = 4cups water to boil at 60deg sea level (roughly)

3:58 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Thanks Jim, that is really useful. I am going to check out your blog on a regular basis.

7:05 a.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Jim, I think I will just post the before and after weight in ounces and let you work it out.  :D  You being the genus and all.  :)

Wolfman

4:28 p.m. on April 11, 2012 (EDT)
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Hmmm, 2.25 ounces per day for two people sounds on the light side but is probably close to about right.

My wife and I usually keep to a very simple menu based upon boiling up a quart of water and shutting the stove right down.

On one of our typical five night trips we will take a full 20 ounces of gas and with our  Wisperlight  make three hot meals a day plus the occasional additional pot of hot tea or coffee and we’ll make it out of the woods with very little gas left in the bottle, but I have never measured the amount. 4-6 ounces leftover, I’d guess, but that really isn’t too far off the mark.

I wouldn’t consider going on such a trip without a tip-top full 20 pounce bottle though.  

1:46 p.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Pathloser said:

Thanks Jim, that is really useful. I am going to check out your blog on a regular basis.

Glad it's useful.  Should have done it from the beginning.  I normally try to include both English and Metric units.

 

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

1:48 p.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

Hey Jim, I think I will just post the before and after weight in ounces and let you work it out.  :D  You being the genus and all.  :)

Wolfman

 That works.  Grams if you've got a gram scale are usually a little more precise, but if ounces is what you've got, ounces will suffice.

 

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

3:55 p.m. on April 13, 2012 (EDT)
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EtdBob said:

Hmmm, 2.25 ounces per day for two people sounds on the light side but is probably close to about right.

My wife and I usually keep to a very simple menu based upon boiling up a quart of water and shutting the stove right down.

On one of our typical five night trips we will take a full 20 ounces of gas and with our  Wisperlight  make three hot meals a day plus the occasional additional pot of hot tea or coffee and we’ll make it out of the woods with very little gas left in the bottle, but I have never measured the amount. 4-6 ounces leftover, I’d guess, but that really isn’t too far off the mark.

I wouldn’t consider going on such a trip without a tip-top full 20 pounce bottle though.  

 I hear you.  When I plan how much fuel I need, I use some fairly conservative numbers (2.25 fl oz/day for two people is conservative in my opinion), and then I add a little for safety's sake.  I generally try to have at least one extra day's food and fuel.

 

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

11:41 a.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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Hey Jim, What do you use for a scale?  I have two commercial kitchen scales, both OZ, one goes to about 20 OZ, and the other about 5 lbs.  I would like something that has a little higher top end, as a lot of my gear is far from light weight. :)  Still working on all of that.

Wolfman

12:39 p.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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On my Far North canoe expeditions, we generally figure from 1/4 to 1/3 litre of fuel per day for six people. This includes breakfast and dinner, some simmering, hot water for dishes and drinks. Variety of stoves, 111C, XGK, Whisperlite. The thread differences on fuel bottles is very valid when doing long trips with large groups. I've got older Sigg bottles, some have MSR bottles and some have Primus bottles. Note that a lot of bottles(if not all) recommend not filling all the way to the top to leave room for expansion.

2:47 p.m. on April 14, 2012 (EDT)
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I generally allow 2 oz. of white gas per day for solo trips if I carry only one stove. 2.5 - 3 oz. per day for two people. I carry more fuel than many people do because I enjoy cooking and I am rarely on a strict dehydrated food diet.

I can easily get by on 1.5 oz. per day if I also carry an alcohol stove as a supplemental stove (a side burner if you will) for heating water, making tea, coffee, or simmering something while I cook other items on the white gas stove. However heating water to brew tea or coffee will burn .5 to .75 oz. of alcohol.

I only carry two stoves on trips where I plan to stay put for a couple of days after hiking in and I'm not trying to travel light or cover a lot of miles each day. I like to just play with the stoves sometimes and experiment some.

As HJ says, there is not a "one size fits all" answer. When I was trying to establish how much fuel my style of camping / backpacking required I just took more than enough a few times and kept track of how much I used - then I read about or thought of ways to conserve fuel.

I always plan for an extra day of food & fuel just in case I need it, every once in a while I do.

Mike G.

3:01 p.m. on April 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Trout I agree with 2oz, it is my light amount.  Otherwise I take 3oz per day if weight permitted.

9:56 p.m. on April 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

Hey Jim, What do you use for a scale?  I have two commercial kitchen scales, both OZ, one goes to about 20 OZ, and the other about 5 lbs.  I would like something that has a little higher top end, as a lot of my gear is far from light weight. :)  Still working on all of that.

Wolfman

 I have a Kitchen Chef digital.  It will do either grams or ounces.  I find grams a whole heck of a lot easier to work with.  I do everything in grams (especially addition!) and then convert to oz at the end.  I think it maxes out around 5lbs though.  I have a conventional bathroom scale for weighing my whole pack.  My gram scale I just use for things like pots, food, stoves, etc.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

12:15 a.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Erich said:

The thread differences on fuel bottles is very valid when doing long trips with large groups. I've got older Sigg bottles, some have MSR bottles and some have Primus bottles.

I'm not clear here.  Have you found some thread mis-matches?  In other words have you had some problems?  Most of the fuel bottles should be interchangeable although I've found that MSR pumps have trouble with Primus bottles (Primus pumps work fine in MSR bottles). 

 

Erich said:

Note that a lot of bottles(if not all) recommend not filling all the way to the top to leave room for expansion.

 Well, not so much, at least with liquid fuels which expand and contract very little.  The issue isn't expansion but rather pressure.  If you have only a small "air space" in a bottle, each stroke of the pump will be placing a volume of air into the bottle that is quite large compared to the total volume available.  The pressure will get very high.  You want to allow sufficient "air space" so that the pressure, when operating the pump, isn't too great.  The same thing applies to something like a Svea 123 or Optimus 8R even though they don't have a pump.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

12:19 a.m. on April 17, 2012 (EDT)
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trouthunter said:

I generally allow 2 oz. of white gas per day for solo trips if I carry only one stove. 2.5 - 3 oz. per day for two people. I carry more fuel than many people do because I enjoy cooking and I am rarely on a strict dehydrated food diet.

I can easily get by on 1.5 oz. per day if I also carry an alcohol stove as a supplemental stove (a side burner if you will) for heating water, making tea, coffee, or simmering something while I cook other items on the white gas stove. However heating water to brew tea or coffee will burn .5 to .75 oz. of alcohol.

I only carry two stoves on trips where I plan to stay put for a couple of days after hiking in and I'm not trying to travel light or cover a lot of miles each day. I like to just play with the stoves sometimes and experiment some.

 What?  Playing with stoves!?  Why, that's un-American or something.  ;)

My record I think is 12 stoves on one trip.  Sometimes I've carried multiple gas canisters, alcohol bottles, white gas, and ESBIT.  All in a (stovie's) day's work.  :)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

2:31 a.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi Jim!!  So I used the Nova last weekend camping on the beach with my son.  We went out Friday and came back on Sunday.

Meals went as follows;

Friday:  Dinner - Mac & cheeze and browned kabasa sausage, & hot drinks (2 pans, 2 people)

Saturday:  Breakfast - Oat meal and hot drinks (1 pan heat water only, 2 people)

Lunch - 2 Ramon - (1 pan twice, 2 people)

Dinner - Instant Patios and Tuna, and hot drinks (Should have saved some of the sausage!) (1 pan, 2 people)

Sunday:  Breakfast - Pancakes and hot drinks (2 pans - 2 people)

Starting weight 18.5oz, ending weight 14.5oz.  Total weight of fuel consumed 4oz. 

So how many fluid OZ was that?  Sorry no gram scale yet. ;0

I am counting this as 2 days, often I would not eat a hot lunch anyway.  And for body count, I am not sure I could cut it in half as a lot of the meals would be the same size anyway.  So maybe 1.5 on the body count. 

So How did I do?  (Time to use that magic brain and do the math! :D )

Wolfman

10:37 a.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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Magic brain?  lol.

 

Well, 4oz is about 113g.  You guys didn't do a full two days (six meals).  You did five meals, so I'm going to call your trip 1 and 2/3 days, which means you're using about 68g of fuel per day. 

 

If we use a density factor of 0.75, that works out to about 90ml/day or about 3 fluid ounces/day -- for two people.  My usage is about 2.25 fl oz/day for two people, which is a little lower than yours, but that makes sense since I'm usually keeping it pretty simple.  I don't normally make pancakes or brown sausage, doing both of which will use more fuel.

 

So, for you, for two people, for this style of cooking, your usage is about 3 fl oz/day.  If you did more simple cooking, your usage would drop, and if you didn't have a hot lunch, of course your usage would again drop. 

 

For one person, I usually figure on about 2/3 the fuel usage of 2 people.  I think cutting fuel usage in half is too much.  It's more efficient to cook for two than one. 

 

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

6:51 p.m. on April 26, 2012 (EDT)
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what's for dinner

1:52 a.m. on April 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Steak and Bakers!!  Let me know when their done, I'll be right over!! :D

Thanks Jim, see I knew that magical gas sniffing brain of yours could figure out this complicated stuff!

So for 2 people with my normal cooking habits, 3 fluid oz per day

For me solo 2oz per day, with probably some extra left over.  I'm good with that, better then being short. 

Would you think 4oz per day if I added another kid to the batch?  Probably as we would still be eating the same stuff, usually I just get less, which is not a problem. :)

Keep up the great work, I look forward to reading your next blog post.

Wolfman

11:15 a.m. on April 30, 2012 (EDT)
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4 for 4 sounds good

12:41 a.m. on May 9, 2012 (EDT)
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went on a 2 day camping with my wife and 2 kids. started with my 30fl.oz MSR bottle filled at the fill line.

cooked rice and noodles, boiled water for coffee and choco drink for 2 mornings, fried eggs, bacon and simmered a pre cook beef strips. 

went home with my liquid gas just a little above the mid. i assume i was consuming around 4-5fl.oz per day
P1080717.jpg

11:23 p.m. on May 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Elmer, If you don't mind.  What kit is that fry pan from.  If looks like my steel kit but the fry pan s not coated like that.  Any info on it or were you got it would be great!

Thanks

Wolfman

April 23, 2014
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