Winter lighter / stove

11:24 a.m. on December 4, 2003 (EST)
37 reviewer rep
747 forum posts

In really cold windy weather getting any stove lit can be a chore. Sometimes its even too windy in your vestibule and not having hot food or coffee or water makes camping in Winter a real drag. Even white gas stoves need to be preheated and preheat flames are easily blown out.

In place of my BIC I now carry a "Master appliance Microtorch" model MT-5. It weighs 1.7 oz full of butane and is refillable. It is as it says a microtorch that can be used for soldering. The flame is about 1.5 inches long and HOT! It will not blow out in ANY wind and has a built in piezo lighter - just keep it warm in your pocket. If you've ever used a whole book of matches and still not got your stove lit this is for you. If you're trying to light an alcohol stove this can help, and the long powerful flame makes it easy to point it down into a stove in a windscreen.

While I'm on the subject of Winter stove lighting I want to ad this. I collect stoves of all kinds and in my own humble opinion the very finest most reliable easy to light and easy to adjust Winter stove is a Coleman Xtreme. There is no preheating required just turn it on and light it and it will simmer or put out 15,000 btus with the twist of a knob. There is only one caveot - push the fuel bottle vertically into the snow, do not lay it flat on the snow, and put something under it to keep it from melting into the snow. Remove the fuel bottle if there seems to be any leakage which is very rare.
Jim S

5:29 p.m. on December 4, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

Just a Casual Thought

Could you use your torch/flame thower to warm up the small tube at the top of my Whisperlite and thus avoid the pre-warmup flareup problem? Might be a lot safer cooking that way in your vestibule (yes, with all of the disclaimers about cooking on, near, in, or under your tent/shelter.)

7:17 p.m. on December 4, 2003 (EST)
37 reviewer rep
747 forum posts
Re: Just a Casual Thought

Quote:

Could you use your torch/flame thower to warm up the small tube at the top of my Whisperlite and thus avoid the pre-warmup flareup problem? Might be a lot safer cooking that way in your vestibule (yes, with all of the disclaimers about cooking on, near, in, or under your tent/shelter.)

No - not enough heat output. I do cook in my vestibule but as I say - I use a Coleman Xtreme which requires no preheating and does not flare up. Bill is much better at lighting white gas stoves than I - maybe he will comment.

I HAVE used a cannister stove to preheat an XGK and it almost lit with no flare up. I have used a lighter similar to the microtorch to heat a whisperlight enough to get the white gas to start burning though.
Jim S

12:33 a.m. on December 5, 2003 (EST)
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Is your "torch" like the windproof lighters? Doesn't sound like it if it has a 1.5 inch flame. A big problem with the windproof lighters is that they don't work well at altitude.

A thought for Paul - Fire Ribbon (or the other similar products) work pretty well if you put a bit of the paste on the generator tube (that's what the curved section of the fuel line is called). No flareup, just preheats the critical part of the stove so you get vapor instead of liquid coming out.

I have actually had very little problem with wind, once I learned a bit about proper wind shields some years back. We even cooked in 50 knot winds on Denali with no problem (except that at -40 it takes a long time to melt snow and boil the water). Basically we just dug a pit kitchen with wind walls, then used the tin shields around the stove (too bad MSR no longer makes tin shields - the aluminum fatigues, where the tin wouldn't. My newest one is aluminum and has cracked in less than a year, while I have a 30 year old tin shield that is still going strong).

I will be off on a couple of climbing and ski trips for the next month, so no comments for a while. Just got back from a snow camp in the Sierra - except there was hardly enough snow to make it worth while.

10:17 a.m. on December 5, 2003 (EST)
37 reviewer rep
747 forum posts

Quote:

Is your "torch" like the windproof lighters? Doesn't sound like it if it has a 1.5 inch flame. A big problem with the windproof lighters is that they don't work well at altitude.

No - it is actually a torch with a long cone of flame - think "mini propane torch". I haven't tried to use it above 7,500'.

Quote:

I have actually had very little problem with wind, once I learned a bit about proper wind shields some years back. We even cooked in 50 knot winds on Denali with no problem (except that at -40 it takes a long time to melt snow and boil the water). Basically we just dug a pit kitchen with wind walls, then used the tin shields around the stove

My version of this idea is to dig a small hole in the snow about 2 feet deep, then dig horizontally about a foot and a half and create a mini snowcave for the stove.
Jim S

12:44 p.m. on December 5, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

Other info: see "high country lighter" at...

http://mtncommunity.org/cgi-bin/dcforum/dcboard.cgi?az=lobby

posted under "backcountry" (not skiing).

Quote:

-)

1:51 p.m. on December 6, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

i would strongly NOT recommend the colibri Xtreme lighters even though they boast they are altitude adjustable. i got one for xmas last year & it has failed to work all of the time at moderate altitudes of 8300 ft. then back at sea level it works fine. an expensive, but worthless piece of gear. i know my local rei store stopped carrying them after they got so many returns.

i would recommend the microtorch style lighters (bernzomatic ht100). so far mine has worked flawlessly at altitude (8-10k). the jet style flame makes it easy on the fingers to light stoves & kindling. the flame doesn't bend upwards near your fingers like the disposables. the disposible lighters are a proven fallback, but these lighters make it so simple to get your fire started i haven't needed to resort to my bic.

at $99 for the colibri, here are some better alternatives:

bernzomatic ht100 = $15
master mt-5 = $13
blazer pocket torch = $30
astro mini butane torch = on sale $2.85 @ the toolwarehouse (have seen people use these cheapos & they seem to work)

=================================

as far as stoves, i can't stop raving about the snow peak gigapower (gst-100a)titanium stove. it's piezo starter works flawlessly in the snow at altitude (8-10k). it's a canister stove so you're gonna have to sleep with the canisters to keep them from freezing. it's the lightest stove out there. the stove, fuel, fork & backup lighter all fit inside the snow peak solo cookset making it a neat little lightweight package at around 16-18 oz total.

for white gas, i use the msr dragonfly. it's a nice stove. easy to use & prime, but very loud. it can use a wide variety of fuels including kerosene & unleaded auto fuel in a pinch. the msr titanium spoon is the wrench in case you need to field strip it.

these days i've been sticking to the gigapower though. it's nice to just click it on & heat up some grub with no fuss.

2:00 p.m. on December 6, 2003 (EST)
37 reviewer rep
747 forum posts
Blead the Colibri

Quote:

i would strongly NOT recommend the colibri Xtreme lighters even though they boast they are altitude adjustable. i got one for xmas last year & it has failed to work all of the time at moderate altitudes of 8300 ft. then back at sea level it works fine.

Had the same problem with mine. The manual mentions "bleeding" from the filler to eliminate what they call air blocking or something like that. Anyway fill it then press down on the filler and let out a short blast of gas then refill it. I've never had a problem with it at altitude since, but when I want to really completely fill it, I bleed it for half a second then finish - do this out of doors.

BTW the Microtorch does have a valve on it that should allow adjustment for altitude.

2:25 p.m. on December 31, 2003 (EST)
(Guest)

Quote:

i would recommend the microtorch style lighters (bernzomatic ht100). so far mine has worked flawlessly at altitude (8-10k). the jet style flame makes it easy on the fingers to light stoves & kindling. the flame doesn't bend upwards near your fingers like the disposables. the disposible lighters are a proven fallback, but these lighters make it so simple to get your fire started i haven't needed to resort to my bic.:

There are excellent copy-cat versions of the HT100 which cost 5-6 dollars. Having used one for two years with no performance issues, I believe that their quality is up to par as well.

Frank

July 24, 2014
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