What's the Best Stove for *all* Conditions?

11:22 p.m. on June 2, 2011 (EDT)
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What's the best stove for *all* conditions?.

It's kind of a general post, but as you read through it, you may get an idea of what stove makes the best choice for what conditions.

Enjoy,

HJ

7:11 a.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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30" Propane with a pilot light. Usually found in houses which are warm in the winter and provide good shelter from summer storms. May not be the best for hiking but they are the best stoves for all conditions I can think of.

2:12 p.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

30" Propane with a pilot light. Usually found in houses which are warm in the winter and provide good shelter from summer storms. May not be the best for hiking but they are the best stoves for all conditions I can think of.

 lol.

Next time I'm out backpacking, I'll keep that in mind.

HJ

6:55 p.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Whenever someone asks this sorta question I immediately think, WHY?

Why would anyone want all purpose equipment when their lives will depend on it sooner or later.

I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on masses of specialist gear that is chosen specifically for its intended purpose and nothing else. I use 5 different snowboards, 3 stoves, 3 tents, at least 3 outerwear shells, 5 backpacks, who knows how many boots.......... All this has been refined over the years too, there used to be a lot more!!

This gear's been acquired over 25 years of many technical sojourns into the hills and with it comes the experience to know where, when, how and why we use the gear we do.

All up, if it's for casual weekenders in different climates for small groups then an MSR Reactor can't be beaten. It is my go to stove for small groups in just about any climate except extreme alpine. 

7:42 p.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I like Alcohol stoves in the late spring though early fall. But they dont work real well when the temp lowers into the 20s. I just picked up a Brunton butane stove for next winter. BTW winters here are mild.

10:32 p.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Paully said:

Whenever someone asks this sorta question I immediately think, WHY?

Exactly, Paully, exactly.

If you look at my blog post, you'll see that I list 12 different stoves. This is my subtle way of saying that there really isn't one stove that's going to be best in all conditions. In particular, in my "personal" stoves list, I try to go through a few of the pros and cons of the particular stoves and when I might use them.

I do however like the Primus Omnifuel which can burn canister gas, gasoline class fuels, and kerosene class fuels. It'll work well at very low temps, can handle a wide variety of pot sizes, and can also use canister gas for when you need to cook indoors/in a tent or when you just don't want to hassle with liquid fuel.

Even the Omnifuel isn't the best in all conditions. For a fast and light type trip, I'd rather take a small top mount canister stove or maybe a small alcohol stove.

Why would anyone want all purpose equipment when their lives will depend on it sooner or later.

I have spent tens of thousands of dollars on masses of specialist gear that is chosen specifically for its intended purpose and nothing else. I use 5 different snowboards, 3 stoves, 3 tents, at least 3 outerwear shells, 5 backpacks, who knows how many boots.......... All this has been refined over the years too, there used to be a lot more!!

This gear's been acquired over 25 years of many technical sojourns into the hills and with it comes the experience to know where, when, how and why we use the gear we do.

All up, if it's for casual weekenders in different climates for small groups then an MSR Reactor can't be beaten. It is my go to stove for small groups in just about any climate except extreme alpine. 

Wow! Love to see your list of stoves some time.

HJ

9:54 p.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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YES ... a rhetorical question, at best.

Sorta like "How much is a car?".

However; hiking jim did make a good use-sensitive case for various stoves for various conditions.

Will be interesting watching this post-topic ....


~r2~

10:03 a.m. on June 5, 2011 (EDT)
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Not really a versatile stove for all conditions but thought it would fit into this thread.

www.trailspace.com/forums/camp-kitchen/topics/82332.html#91690

7:45 a.m. on June 6, 2011 (EDT)
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If I had to choose just one stove, it would be the Optimus 00, or perhaps the MSR Firefly.  Unfortunately neither are in current production.  Both are simple designs, hot, and can simmer too.  But they are not the lightest stoves. 

Ed

9:57 a.m. on June 6, 2011 (EDT)
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All I have ever owned is a pressurized isobutane stove.  Mine is the kind where the bottle sits away from the burner.  Don't know the brand. I like the low-profile style and the easy use.  I sleep with the fuels so it works in the cold.  I hate the non-refilable cans of fuel since there always seems to be a couple cans with about 2 minutes of fuel in them lying around and they are garbage when they are empty.  Jetboil souds like my next stove though. 

8:32 p.m. on June 6, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

If I had to choose just one stove, it would be the Optimus 00, or perhaps the MSR Firefly.  Unfortunately neither are in current production.  Both are simple designs, hot, and can simmer too.  But they are not the lightest stoves. 

Ed

 Hi, Ed,

Interesting choices.  If you have time, perhaps you could share your thinking behind those particular choices.  For me it's interesting to see the choice but even more interesting to see the thought process behind the choice.

HJ

8:36 p.m. on June 6, 2011 (EDT)
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FromSagetoSnow said:

All I have ever owned is a pressurized isobutane stove.  Mine is the kind where the bottle sits away from the burner.  Don't know the brand. I like the low-profile style and the easy use.  I sleep with the fuels so it works in the cold. 

I'll bet the brain trust here can ID the stove. Do you have a photo? About when did you buy the stove?

I hate the non-refilable cans of fuel since there always seems to be a couple cans with about 2 minutes of fuel in them lying around and they are garbage when they are empty.  Jetboil souds like my next stove though. 

The "leftover" canisters can be used for picnics and day hikes and such where things aren't too critical. Or you can purchase a refiller on eBay. I refill my threaded backpacking canisters with common butane that comes in the "long" butane canisters with a "bayonet" connector. These are the kind that the restaurant industry uses. By refilling, I pay $0.75 per canister instead of $5.00. Of course the refiller isn't (at all) cheap, but I figure it'll pay for itself over time.

HJ

8:51 p.m. on June 6, 2011 (EDT)
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I put my vote in for the Omnifuel if I had to choose just one stove for all my tours. It heats well, eats virtually anything and has functioned for a few years without any problems. But it is noisy (I haven't taken the time/cost of buying the silencer I know is out there) and I miss the smell ot the alcohol stove.

But like others here, on trips in summer I usually take the gas cannister stove. It is easier to set up and I do not need matches or anything to ignite it.

4:12 a.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
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hikin_jim said:

whomeworry said:

If I had to choose just one stove, it would be the Optimus 00, or perhaps the MSR Firefly...
Ed

 Hi, Ed,

.. perhaps you could share your thinking behind those particular choices...

HJ

 

  1. Both stoves are completely field serviceable.
  2. Both stoves have adjustable flames that are capable of real cooking and simmering.
  3. Both stoves can generate a large hot flame.
  4. Both stoves are convertible to multiple fuels.
  5. Both will work in any weather condition any other stove can operate under.
  6. Both are easy to start (once you understand how to prime liquid fuel stoves).
  7. Both have reasonably good pot stands.

Much as I love the ease of use a canister stove offers, I have also been plagued with a myriad of mishaps, inherent in the fundamental design of all current canister stoves. I had a canister stove that failed due to a plugged up chamber within the stove body. 
Super-Fly-Stove-Blockage.jpg

This obstruction was accessible only by cutting the stove in half.  I also had canisters leak when decoupled from the burner so both could be packed away.  Brand of canister didn’t seem to matter.  Likewise I have attempted to put said stoves in my pack coupled to the canister only to have the valve open, or damage the canister due to forces applied to the coupled unit while inside my pack.

Ed

10:18 a.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
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I used to be of the mind that I wanted a different piece of equipment that was ideally suited to each condition I might encounter.  Now, I'm moving the other way - trying to winnow down the amount of stuff I have.  I don't know if a "one stove fits all" exists, so I'm considering moving to a simple alcohol stove, and an MSR Internationale.  I could use the same windscreen, pot, and fuel bottle for both.  The alc. stove would work in most seasons, and the MSR would work for groups and in cold weather.

10:32 a.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
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Seth said:

I used to be of the mind that I wanted a different piece of equipment that was ideally suited to each condition I might encounter.  Now, I'm moving the other way - trying to winnow down the amount of stuff I have.  I don't know if a "one stove fits all" exists, so I'm considering moving to a simple alcohol stove, and an MSR Internationale.  I could use the same windscreen, pot, and fuel bottle for both.  The alc. stove would work in most seasons, and the MSR would work for groups and in cold weather.

 Hi, Seth,

 

An alcohol stove for three season use augmented by an MSR Whisperlite International for cold weather and groups is a very workable strategy.  One caution:  I wouldn't use an aluminum bottle to store alcohol.  I've talked to guys who have had their alum. bottles corroded by alcohol.

 

HJ

10:42 a.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

4. Both stoves are convertible to multiple fuels.

Multiple fuels? Convertible? An Optimus 00 runs on kerosene. Yes, you could run it on jet fuel (which is basically kerosene) or something like that, but "convert?" What type of conversion would you employ?  What other fuels would you use besides a kerosene class fuel? I hope you don't mean a gasoline class fuel. A gasoline class fuel in an Optimus 00 would be extremely dangerous. 

Likewise, an MSR Firefly runs on gasoline class fuels and is designed to run on Coleman type fuel only. Maybe you could run it on unleaded automotive gasoline in an emergency. What other type of fuel would you run in it, and how would you convert to that fuel?

HJ

10:52 a.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
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OttoStover said:

I put my vote in for the Omnifuel if I had to choose just one stove for all my tours. It heats well, eats virtually anything and has functioned for a few years without any problems. But it is noisy (I haven't taken the time/cost of buying the silencer I know is out there) and I miss the smell ot the alcohol stove.

But like others here, on trips in summer I usually take the gas cannister stove.

 Well, of course an Omnifuel can run on canister gas, but by "gas canister stove," I think you mean a smaller, probably upright (top mounted) canister stove.  I do the same thing.  The Omnifuel is a lot of stove to lug around for a fair weather trip.

OttoStover said:

... I do not need matches or anything to ignite it.

You may already be aware of this, but it's not a bad idea to still bring matches or a lighter. Those piezo electric ignitions do sometimes fail.

HJ

6:01 p.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
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1: Yes Jim, i ment a top mounted burner.

2: If you knew me, you would know that I always carry extras of all kinds for safety and comfort, especially lightweight ones like matches and lighters.

 

7:47 p.m. on June 7, 2011 (EDT)
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OttoStover said:

If you knew me, you would know that I always carry extras of all kinds for safety and comfort, especially lightweight ones like matches and lighters.

 

 Kinda figured, but one never knows.  Better safe than sorry.

HJ

8:41 p.m. on June 8, 2011 (EDT)
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hikin_jim said:

whomeworry said:

4. Both stoves are convertible to multiple fuels.

Multiple fuels? Convertible? An Optimus 00 runs on kerosene. Yes, you could run it on jet fuel (which is basically kerosene) or something like that, but "convert?" What type of conversion would you employ?  What other fuels would you use besides a kerosene class fuel? I hope you don't mean a gasoline class fuel. A gasoline class fuel in an Optimus 00 would be extremely dangerous. 

Likewise, an MSR Firefly runs on gasoline class fuels and is designed to run on Coleman type fuel only. Maybe you could run it on unleaded automotive gasoline in an emergency. What other type of fuel would you run in it, and how would you convert to that fuel?

HJ

My friend has a 00 with several orifices, one for white gas; likewise my Firefly is capable of multifuel use by changing orifices.  Cannot recall if these orifices were standard options, or something we picked up custom, but they have worked fine for decades.

Ed

1:26 p.m. on June 9, 2011 (EDT)
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A VORTECH1000 MAX Is a great go to stove in all conditions. My best Bug-Out stove.

4:54 p.m. on June 9, 2011 (EDT)
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The short list would include a trangia 25 or 27 for non-winter use.  If you include all season, anywhere, anytime, I might say an optimus 111B, C or T.  I prefer the silent burners of the C and T, but the roarer burner on the B is better in foul weather.

9:20 p.m. on June 9, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

My friend has a 00 with several orifices, one for white gas; likewise my Firefly is capable of multifuel use by changing orifices.  Cannot recall if these orifices were standard options, or something we picked up custom, but they have worked fine for decades.

Ed

 Ed,

You might be able to run an Optimus 00 on white gas a couple of times and get away with it, but a 00 is NOT designed to run on gasoline class fuels .  Please caution your friend.  Using gasoline in a 00 could be fatal.  The only exception might be if you always ran the stove at max and never tried to adjust the flame.  God help you if you ever in a moment of forgetfulness tried to adjust the flame.  Hope his life insurance is paid up. 

As for a multifuel Firefly, it could work on kerosene.  You'd need a jet with a smaller orifice.  I personally wouldn't do it since kero won't burn as cleanly, but it could be made to work.  I don't believe different jets came standard with the Firefly.

HJ

9:26 p.m. on June 9, 2011 (EDT)
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shippen said:

A VORTECH1000 MAX Is a great go to stove in all conditions. My best Bug-Out stove.

 Now, if you had a financial interest in the Vortech1000, you would disclose that, now wouldn't you?

HJ

9:31 p.m. on June 9, 2011 (EDT)
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alan said:

The short list would include a trangia 25 or 27 for non-winter use.  If you include all season, anywhere, anytime, I might say an optimus 111B, C or T.  I prefer the silent burners of the C and T, but the roarer burner on the B is better in foul weather.

 Can't argue with you too much there.  Good choices although the 111 is a heavy beast.  Ugh!

I might go with a "plain" 111 (no letters after the 111) over a 111B.  A "plain" 111 burns kerosene whereas a 111B burns gasoline.  If the pip in the NRV in the pump gets hard, a 111B can have a fireball/flare.  It hasn't happened to me, but I've talked to guys to whom it has happened.  If gasoline flares on a 111B, it's like a flame thrower.  I'll stick with a "plain" 111 with kerosene.  Kerosene is far less volatile and far safer.

HJ

11:18 p.m. on June 9, 2011 (EDT)
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I prefer white gas to kero, but that's just me.   Heavy yes, but 111's simply never break down.

6:22 p.m. on June 10, 2011 (EDT)
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alan said:

I prefer white gas to kero, but that's just me.   Heavy yes, but 111's simply never break down.

 White gas certainly is easier to prime and burns cleaner than kero.  Just be aware that if that little rubber pip down in the pump hardens over time, you could have an explosive situation when using gasoline.  With kerosene, you'd still have problems but not explosive ones.

If ever you see the pump rising of its own accord, shut the stove down immediately.  If the pump rod rises up on its own, that's a sign of a poor seal.  Behind that seal?  Gasoline.  Can you say "boom?"

HJ

8:16 a.m. on June 13, 2011 (EDT)
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hikin_jim said:

You might be able to run an Optimus 00 on white gas a couple of times and get away with it, but a 00 is NOT designed to run on gasoline class fuels ... 

As for a multifuel Firefly, it could work on kerosene.  You'd need a jet with a smaller orifice.  I personally wouldn't do it since kero won't burn as cleanly, but it could be made to work.  I don't believe different jets came standard with the Firefly.

HJ

 I may be wrong identifying my friends stove as a 00, since Optimus sold several models of stoves that have very close resemblance to the 00; Nevertheless his kit includes several orifices for different fuels, and the stove has provided flawless white service for several decades.

As for the Firefly, I do not recall how I came to possess a kerosene orifice; I could have fabricated it myself, but since I do not remember doing this I am inclined to believe I purchased it somewhere.  In any case the kerosene orifice works fine, too, though I think the white gas set up burns hotter IMO.

Ed.

2:41 p.m. on June 16, 2011 (EDT)
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My vote goes to the home made zen pepsi can stove with a home made pot stand to keep it insulated from snow and stable on other surfaces. I've used mine at 10k feet in winter and in the Maze in June with never a glitch. No moving parts, cheap easy to use, light and I'm into the hundreds of meals with mine already. It also has the advantage of a very fast learning curve and zero chance of explosion. The only down side is that denatured alcohol is getting up there in price; $7 or so per qt. 

6:39 p.m. on June 16, 2011 (EDT)
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I agree with the pepsi can stove (or whatever can you use...mine is V8). I have used it in the middle of summer and in below freezing temperatures in winter and have never had a problem.  Denatured alcohol can be found almost anywhere and in a pinch heet in the yellow bottle from the local gas station works just fine.  I have used mine for 6 years now without a single problem. And nothing can be it's light weight.

9:02 p.m. on June 21, 2011 (EDT)
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whomeworry said:

I may be wrong identifying my friends stove as a 00, since Optimus sold several models of stoves that have very close resemblance to the 00; Nevertheless his kit includes several orifices for different fuels, and the stove has provided flawless white service for several decades.

Do you have a photo?

   

whomeworry said:

As for the Firefly, I do not recall how I came to possess a kerosene orifice; I could have fabricated it myself...

Ed.

Interesting.  What type of lathe do you normally use?

HJ

9:16 p.m. on June 21, 2011 (EDT)
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masondi said:

I agree with the pepsi can stove ...  I have used it in the middle of summer and in below freezing temperatures in winter and have never had a problem. 

The reason I didn't mention an alcohol stove is a) their general vulnerability to wind (the exception being Trangia type set ups) and b) their low power in cold conditions.  Although an alcohol stove can be used for snow melting, would you really want to?  I can handle an alcohol stove for solo or duo fair weather travel, but for something like snow melting, it's just too darn slow.

That said, there's a lot of room for individual preference.  Some people swear by kerosene (relatively safe, widely available, all weather).  Others by alcohol (clean burning, widely available, requires no heavy stove, silent).  Still others by gas (can't spill, quick, convenient)...  You get the idea.

HJ

9:59 p.m. on June 21, 2011 (EDT)
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hikin_jim said:

whomeworry said:

I may be wrong identifying my friends stove as a 00...

Do you have a photo?

   

whomeworry said:

As for the Firefly, I do not recall how I came to possess a kerosene orifice; I could have fabricated it myself...

Ed.

Interesting.  What type of lathe do you normally use?

HJ

Optimus 00:
I has already emailed my bud to confirm the stove's model Id, but he hasn't replied back with this info.

Lathe:
Don't own one, but during the period I purchased the Firefly, I was employed in aerospace manufacturing, and had access to the tools, or personnel if the project was above my abilities.  That said I have fabricated orifices for other purposes (I built a couple of prototype back packer's white gas lanterns back in the 1980s).  I simply cored bolts on a drill press to create the orifice openings.  Trial and error determined the final design.

2:34 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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The pepsi can stove, like most others, works best with a wind screen not integral to the stove. I made mine by stapling the leftover Guinness Draft can sheeting to other like sized alum. can material (AZ Ice Tea) and just wrap it around my 1.5 L, tall profile pot for transport and storage. This is much lighter than the normal wind screen. As to the output, I made the burner holes a little larger than normal and use the simmer  ring quite often. For reliability, weight, cost and simplicity it can't be beat

2:49 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Interesting. 

If you get a photo of your friend's stove, I'd be interested in seeing it.  I hope it's not a 00 because that would be really dangerous, but I'm not sure what it could be.  There are some common stoves that sort of look like (if you take the wind screen off) a 00 that run on white gasoline:

Svea 123

Primus 71

Optimus 80

Juwel 84

Radius 42

I'm really curious now.

HJ

9:25 a.m. on July 11, 2011 (EDT)
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I resonate with the original question... some folks simply don't have the fund for a 5+ stove collection.

The stove that I depended on in grad school when I could only justify one stove was a MSR Whisperlite international. Certainly not the most efficient or simmerable choice. But, it served me well in all the conditions I experienced (CO Rockies).

10:52 a.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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I think I have a Optimus Nova, I know it is a Multi-fuel (Liquid) stove and looks like the new Novas, but is not black, it's all stainless steel, and the bottle is silver aluminum, that came with the stove.  Is their a way to determin the model on these types of stoves?  I have had mine for 4 or 5 years and it works great, but I don't hike in the winter or at very high altitude. 

I was also wondering if someone could enlighten me to the difference between "white gas" and Gasoline, I was under the impression that they were basically the same thing.  Other then all the crap that is put in your gas.  Also will this stove run on DA?  

Thanks for any feadback.

Wolfman

1:11 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

..I was also wondering if someone could enlighten me to the difference between "white gas" and Gasoline, I was under the impression that they were basically the same thing.  Other then all the crap that is put in your gas...

Other than the "crap" they are very simular, albeit WG has a lower (<80) octane.  Used WG once in an emergency to reach a filling station - the engine wasn't happy.  In any case that crap is not good for you, so don't fuel your stove with gasoline.

Ed

7:39 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Many, many, many, many ... moons ago you could buy gas from one of the oil companies right at the pump that could be used in place of Coleman's. I'm pretty sure it was Mobil. I'm not sure if it was exactly the same but I remember it did not have the usual red coloring and was the same color.

7:43 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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That wasn't gas that was moonshine. :)

10:16 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Cleric said:

I resonate with the original question... some folks simply don't have the fund for a 5+ stove collection.

The stove that I depended on in grad school when I could only justify one stove was a MSR Whisperlite international. Certainly not the most efficient or simmerable choice. But, it served me well in all the conditions I experienced (CO Rockies).

 Really, it's pretty much a rhetorical question to ask what's the one stove that will be best for all conditions.  Generally, one stove will excel in one set of conditions while another stove will be a better choice for another set of conditions.

You can however get a decent all-around stove.  I carried an MSR Whisperlite as my sole stove for many years, and it did everything from snow camping to summer trips.

If I were however to branch out to two stoves, I might get a simple upright canister stove for fair weather trips, something like a Snow Peak GST-100, and a remote canister stove that can handle liquid feed (i.e. inverted canister) operation for wind and cold, something like a Coleman Xtreme.

Since I use my stoves on a regular basis, if I were to branch out to a third stove, I'd get a liquid fueled stove since they're so cheap to operate.  I used my old 1960's type Svea 123 (pre "R") this past weekend, and it worked great for pennies.  A 100g canister of gas costs about $5.00.  The equivalent white gasoline, about $0.30, and there's no empty canister to send to the landfill.

HJ

10:33 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

I think I have a Optimus Nova, I know it is a Multi-fuel (Liquid) stove and looks like the new Novas, but is not black, it's all stainless steel, and the bottle is silver aluminum, that came with the stove.  Is their a way to determin the model on these types of stoves?  I have had mine for 4 or 5 years and it works great, but I don't hike in the winter or at very high altitude. 

I was also wondering if someone could enlighten me to the difference between "white gas" and Gasoline, I was under the impression that they were basically the same thing.  Other then all the crap that is put in your gas.  Also will this stove run on DA?  

Thanks for any feadback.

Wolfman

 Wolfman,

Take a look at this blog post about the Nova.  If yours matches some of the features described in the post, then you've got a much better stove than the current Novas.

A Nova is not designed to run on alcohol.  Alcohol can eat seals and gaskets and such.  I wouldn't try it on alcohol if it were my stove.

Automotive gasoline is generally more volatile than Coleman type fuel and automotive gasoline contains a lot of additives -- additives that can clog a stove and whose fumes aren't particularly good to breath in.  Coleman type fuel is less volatile than automotive gasoline, is more stable (I've used Coleman fuel that was 30 years old without problem), and has anti-rust additives.

HJ

10:45 p.m. on July 12, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

Many, many, many, many ... moons ago you could buy gas from one of the oil companies right at the pump that could be used in place of Coleman's. I'm pretty sure it was Mobil. I'm not sure if it was exactly the same but I remember it did not have the usual red coloring and was the same color.

 True white gasoline is just gasoline without additives.  Back in the day, they started adding tetraethyl lead and dyed the gasoline red so as to distinguish it from "white" (plain) gasoline.  WC Coleman designed his original lanterns to run on just such white gasoline which was indeed available from the pump.  I can remember buying white gasoline in rural areas into the 1970's for our Coleman fueled stove.

At some point, the Coleman company started making it's own formulation of fuel (post WWII?).  Their fuel was less volatile than true white gasoline, more stable, and had rust inhibitors.  However, as a name for the general class of fuel, the term "white gas" or "white gasoline" has remained (in the USA).

HJ

6:07 a.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

Many, many, many, many ... moons ago you could buy gas from one of the oil companies right at the pump that could be used in place of Coleman's. I'm pretty sure it was Mobil. I'm not sure if it was exactly the same but I remember it did not have the usual red coloring and was the same color.

  No.   That would have been Amoco.   They have always had undyed gasoline.

~r2~

11:49 a.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks hikin Jim, great thread!  I do have the orginial model!  :)  I also left you some questions.  :D

Wolfman

7:09 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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I haven't seen the best all conditions stove yet, but for me, it would be a modular design, with these features:

a lightweight stove made of titanium, with interchangeable but sturdy pot supports to allow for adjustment to suit different pot sizes (depending on solo or duo trips vs larger groups = bigger pots/pans). It would have a rotating burner manifold, allowing for remote or cannister mounting, and would be an all-fuel stove, with a quick-change system like that on the Brunton Vapor AF (simply rotate the outer burner cup to adjust the jet for liquid vs gas fuel). The stove would come with two-flame spreader cups to adjust flame profile to pot base-surface area.

It would be part of a cooking system, much like the MSR reactor or the Primus ETA MF, with lightweight but efficient heat-exchanger equipped hard-anodized cookware. In it's cannister-mount configuration, with the short pot supports and the legs removed, it would wiegh 2.5 oz without the modular piezo ignition, 3oz with it. The 2 included windscreens (ala Primus ETA express cannister mount and the ETA MF for remote mounting). When in it's remote cannister config, it would weigh 6.5 oz with piezo ignition in gas mode. with the pump, it would weigh 11 oz.

All seals would be gasket free but leakproof to allow burning of denatured alchohol in the stove. The included liquid fuel bottle would be ultralight and adjustable in size from .25 to 1.0 liters in capacity, with an ultralight titanium billet and alluminum fuel pump.

I don't see anyone making this stove anytime soon, however. it would also cost waaaaaay too much.

7:51 p.m. on July 13, 2011 (EDT)
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Wolfman said:

Thanks hikin Jim, great thread!  I do have the orginial model!  :)  I also left you some questions.  :D

Wolfman

 I replied on the blog, but I'll include my reply here also:

Wolfman:

I don't know of a downloadable copy of the old manual, but I'll keep my eyes open.

As for the windscreen, that's a standard MSR windscreen, which you can buy on-line or at REI, etc.  The MSR windscreens work pretty well with most remote fueled stoves (like the Nova).  Brunton, Primus, and Optimus all sell windscreens if I recall correctly.  You can also make one yourself.  I definitely recommend using the windscreen.

HJ

11:46 a.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Okay here's a couple of stoves, one tongue in cheek the other I believe to be the best hiking stove for all but extreme conditions.

The serious one:
2000004124_500.jpg

Pros:

10,000 Btu

  • Only $14.88 at Walmart
  • Propane powered. No priming. Easily obtained. No cold problems. (if you voluntarily go some place cold enough that you are going to have problems with propane you should have known to take a specialty stove.)
  • Stable. Dig a cat hole and put the canister in it.
  • Handles big pots easily.
  • According to Walmart's web site it'll burn for 2.2 hours on high and 9 on low. The stove at my house quit recently.  While looking for the "ideal" stove to replace it with we cooked on a coleman 2-burner.  I've got 5 people in my family and you can cook a lot of food on just one canister.
  • Canisters are refillable from propane tanks with the proper adapter.
  • Cheaper than isobutane/propane mixes
  • Built tough
  • No stinky fuel or clogged jets like white gas.


Cons:

  • Heavy fuel canisters.
  • Stove not the smallest or lightest.
  • You can't tell how much fuel is left.

The Group Cooking System replacement or the Queen needs tea NOW.

Woodland Power Stove
woodland_power_stove_p1_.jpg

combined with


coleman_gemini_power_pack_p1_.jpg

Gemini Power Pack

Listed as an alternative to a 20 lb tank. Not sure you may need and adapter.

Pros:

  • 5,000 to 65,000 Btu. Like I said cup-a-tea for the Queen REAL QUICK.
  • Stove folds to 12x12x2.5 inches only weighs 5.5lbs
  • Power Pack 8.4 x 12.5 x 13.6 inches weighs ~2.5lbs w/o propane
  • TOUGH made out of stainless steel and supports up to 100lb.
  • Built in wind screens

Cons:

  • Heavy for hiking. But if you need this much power your group is probably pretty large and you can spread the fuel around.
5:03 p.m. on July 21, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

Okay here's a couple of stoves, one tongue in cheek the other I believe to be the best hiking stove for all but extreme conditions.

The serious one:
2000004124_500.jpg

Pros:

10,000 Btu

  • Only $14.88 at Walmart
  • Propane powered. No priming. Easily obtained. No cold problems. (if you voluntarily go some place cold enough that you are going to have problems with propane you should have known to take a specialty stove.)
  • Stable. Dig a cat hole and put the canister in it.
  • Handles big pots easily.
  • According to Walmart's web site it'll burn for 2.2 hours on high and 9 on low. The stove at my house quit recently.  While looking for the "ideal" stove to replace it with we cooked on a coleman 2-burner.  I've got 5 people in my family and you can cook a lot of food on just one canister.
  • Canisters are refillable from propane tanks with the proper adapter.
  • Cheaper than isobutane/propane mixes
  • Built tough
  • No stinky fuel or clogged jets like white gas.


Cons:

  • Heavy fuel canisters.
  • Stove not the smallest or lightest.
  • You can't tell how much fuel is left.

 

Some people do use propane stoves for backpacking, but it's a pretty small minority.

As for the stove you're specifically referring to, that thing is heavy. The stove itself is 2.3 lbs. A full tank with 16.4 oz of fuel weighs about 30oz (1.9 lbs.). So, with one tank of fuel, your cooking set up weighs 4.2 lbs (without pots/pans). And both the stove and the tank are bulky.

By contrast, a lot of canister stoves designed for backpacking weigh 3 ounces or less and their fuel weighs 13oz (gross) for a 230g size, for a total of one pound (without pots/pans). In other words, you're carrying over four times the weight of a normal backpacking canister stove if you're carrying the Coleman propane stove shown, not to mention how much more room it takes up in the pack.

A backpacking stove is lighter still if you use a 110g sized canister which weighs 7oz gross, for a total of about 10 ounces vs. 67 ounces for the Coleman propane stove.

HJ

2:23 p.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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I have the earlier model of the Coleman one burner that I bought for $2 with 3 partly used cyl. I use it for car camping and at trailheads before BPing and/or after. Good stove for that and I love the peizo electric starter. For BPing ? nix, Bulk and weight too high.

4:58 p.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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It doesn't exist and if it did I don't want it. I would rather have multiple stoves designed for specific conditions.

Do you want one stove that just gets ya by in all conditions or one that excels in the conditions for which it was designed....

Kind of a no brainer for me.

7:20 p.m. on July 23, 2011 (EDT)
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This is kinda like asking "what is the best footwear for all conditions?" or "what is the best shelter for all conditions?"

1st big question is what do you consider the best to be? Best at what?.... Being lightweight, durable, user friendly, etc.

                                                        OR

....cooking for a family reunion in the middle of a desert? Or a keggar on a glacier?, maybe tail gating?.... Uggghhhhhh....

 

On a serious note, if you want to get an idea of what would be the "most adequate" stove for all conditions I think this whole question should be started at what is the "most versatile" fuel for all conditions then go from there. Once you do that the use of a Pocket Rocket, Coleman stove, etc may very well be eliminated from the equasion.

"All conditions" is somewhat vague. Are we talking 8000m peaks? Rainforest? Desert? The sub-tropical regions? Lower 48? Alaska? I could go on and on but I think ya get the idea. :)

8:47 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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If we are dreaming large and in color, then my choice would be a KAP Arctic.

8:48 p.m. on July 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi, Rick,

You've basically hit the nail on the head.  There is no stove that's going to be best in every condition.

Still, it's an interesting rhetorical question and it'sinteresting to see the thought process behind people's choices. 

If you do have that kegger on a glacier, be sure to invite me.  ;)

HJ

1:52 p.m. on July 28, 2011 (EDT)
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I figured that was where you were going with this one. I kinda wanted to see the responses as well. I found some quite interesting.

HJ, I will let ya know on the "keggar on the glacier."

2:32 p.m. on July 28, 2011 (EDT)
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alan said:

If we are dreaming large and in color, then my choice would be a KAP Arctic.

 Oh, yes!  (drool)  Wouldn't it be nice? 

You can approximate a KAP Arctic by taking a Trangia windshield and base and adding a Nova burner to them.  I believe a Finnish company is selling conversion kits.  I've thought about getting one, but I seldom travel in such extremes of temperature where I would need one.

Gadzooks, they're a fabulous stove though.


1251657710-Adapterit_e.jpg

That's not an original KAP Arctic.  That's a Trangia set up with either an Optimus 111C or 111T burner set up in it with the adapter kit I mentioned.  That's about as close to a KAP Arctic as you're going to get (which is pretty darned close by the way) unless you get lucky and find one of those rare and valuable stoves. 

The real McCoy:


kaparctic2.jpg

HJ

9:51 p.m. on July 28, 2011 (EDT)
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I've got the parts to cobble one together, just need to find some time to make it happen.

1:27 p.m. on July 29, 2011 (EDT)
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Hey Hikin Jim: What can you tell me quickly about the Svea 123, I have one, but have never used it. Thanks

6:06 p.m. on July 29, 2011 (EDT)
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richard riger said:

Hey Hikin Jim: What can you tell me quickly about the Svea 123, I have one, but have never used it. Thanks

 I can tell you it's one of the most reliable stoves ever built and that many good design elements came together to make one of the most popular stoves ever.  To my knowledge, it's the only camp stove that came out in the 50's that's still in production today.

Rather than getting too wordy, maybe I'll post a couple of photos and a video.  How's that?  Scroll all the way down for the video.

Brewing up on a rainy night.
P1050092.JPG

If you look closely, you can see the handle of my tea pot against the lights of greater Los Angeles.
P1050098.JPG

A little closer view.

P1050077.JPG

P1050087.JPG

Priming the stove.
P1050079.JPG

Flame shot.
P1050093.JPG

Tea time!
P1050096.JPG

A rather soggy Hikin' Jim.  Tea was just the thing.
P1050099.JPG

Video demonstration:

By all means let me know if you have any specific questions.

HJ

6:25 p.m. on July 29, 2011 (EDT)
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alan said:

I've got the parts to cobble one together, just need to find some time to make it happen.

 Post pics!

HJ

9:31 a.m. on July 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks HJ.  I've seen pictures ads and posts about the Svea 123 for a long time.  First time I saw one in use.

3:24 p.m. on July 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Guyz said:

Thanks HJ.  I've seen pictures ads and posts about the Svea 123 for a long time.  First time I saw one in use.

 Well, sorry about the shaky hands.  I've got a little tripod now which makes for better video.

Hopefully, though, you can see the basics from the video on how to use one.  They're really great stoves and rock solid reliable.  Nothing to go wrong.  They're just a tank, a valve, and a burner.  There is no pump or fuel hose.

HJ

1:10 p.m. on July 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Hi Hikin' Jim: Hey thanks for the pictures and the video. The way you talk makes me want to go out and try it soon on the trail after I get used to it at home. I assume that the valve like thing on the fuel cap is an emergency relief valve ? 

8:42 a.m. on August 1, 2011 (EDT)
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Hikin Jim said:

 They're really great stoves and rock solid reliable.  Nothing to go wrong.  They're just a tank, a valve, and a burner.  There is no pump or fuel hose.

Jim, I take it you do not have to work on it.  (Brother I like that:) The MSR Whisperlites we use at Philmont need to be kitted every year, and at least one of them worked on before we get off trail.  The Svea is a little heavier, but we always have a couples of boys who are horses that need the extra weight to slow them down anyway.

I don't see what you are priming for your preheat.  Does the alcohol go in the cup?

I like the idea of priming with alcohol.  Much cleaner!  That might keep the Whisperlite burning longer.

Great tips!  Thanks!

7:24 a.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Jim ~

What do you think of the ESBIT  solid-fuel folding stoves?

It doesn't  get any more compact, light and simple ....

I'll bet you have a few; and if so, which do you prefer, and why?

The stainless-steel jobs seem to be worthy ....

                                                

                                                       

                                                     ~r2~

1:39 p.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Robert Rowe said:

Jim ~

What do you think of the ESBIT  solid-fuel folding stoves?

It doesn't  get any more compact, light and simple ....

I'll bet you have a few; and if so, which do you prefer, and why?

The stainless-steel jobs seem to be worthy ....

                                                

                                                       

                                                     ~r2~

Robert,

I've only used a few hexamine* stoves, so I won't claim to know all the options. 

However, I do know that I'm not a big fan of the standard "box" type stove that's sold at REI.  It's OK, but unnecessarily heavy in my opinion.

Very little is needed to burn ESBIT.  My preference is a minimalist Ti wing stove like this:  http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2011/01/stove-of-week-tibetan-ti-wing-stove.html  I find it light, compact, and easier to light than the standard ESBIT stove.  Take a look at my blog post and see what you think.

As with any stove with a low velocity flame (e.g. alcohol or hexamine), wind can have a dramatic negative impact on the efficiency of the stove.  I didn't include any photographs of a windscreen on my blog post, but a windscreen is very important with a hexamine stove.

HJ

*ESBIT, Coghlans, Stansport, and Coleman all sell hexamine tabs for use in hexamine stoves.  ESBIT is the most well know brand.  Coghlans is generally the cheapest.

1:55 p.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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richard riger said:

Hi Hikin' Jim: Hey thanks for the pictures and the video. The way you talk makes me want to go out and try it soon on the trail after I get used to it at home. I assume that the valve like thing on the fuel cap is an emergency relief valve ? 

Yes, the valve like thing in the fuel cap is a SRV (Safety Relief Valve).  If too much pressure builds up in the tank, the valve will open and release pressure.

HOWEVER, you do not want that valve to release!  If that valve releases, a stream of hot pressurized fuel and air will jet out of the tank.  Usually, the fuel/air mix coming out of the tank will ignite, and you'll have a stream of flame much like a flame thrower.  This, needless to say, is very dangerous.

Always listen to and look at your stove.  If it starts sounding like a runaway freight train or the flame seems inordinately strong, turn it down.  Avoid letting the tank get too much pressure.

In practice, I've not seen a tank overpressurize, and I've never seen a valve release, but it could happen.  In my estimation, if one operates the stove normally, a Svea 123 is pretty safe.  However, a few basic cautions apply:

1.  Do not fully enclose the stove with a windscreen, rock walls, etc.  You can erect a partial wind block, but do not fully enclose the stove.

2.  Do not use multiple stoves close to one another.  Separate stoves such that they cannot overheat one another.

3.  As noted earlier, look at and listen to your stove.  Get to know your stove.  If it starts behaving in an overly agressive way, turn it down.

HJ

2:07 p.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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Guyz said:

Jim, I take it you do not have to work on it.  (Brother I like that:) The MSR Whisperlites we use at Philmont need to be kitted every year, and at least one of them worked on before we get off trail.  The Svea is a little heavier, but we always have a couples of boys who are horses that need the extra weight to slow them down anyway.

My experience with the Svea 123 is that it is VERY low maintenance. As I mentioned they have a reputation for rock solid reliability. However, there are some things to be aware of:

1. NEVER run a stove dry. There is a cotton wick inside the stove that wicks fuel from the tank up the burner. If you run the stove dry, you can char the wick. A charred wick will not wick fuel properly and can cause problems. Always ensure that your stove will not run dry during the course of your meal preparation. If you char the wick, the wick may have to be replaced.

2. The jet of the stove could get clogged up with soot. If you have the older type Svea 123, bring the cleaning wire that came with the stove. If the jet clogs, just run the wire down the jet to unclog the stove. If you have the newer type, the Svea 123R, there is a needle that is raised and lowered every time you turn the valve. If you have a clog, turn the valve to fully open, and the needle will clean out the jet.

3. The gasket on the tank cap will eventually harden and be ineffective at keeping a good seal. If you're having problems with fuel leaking out or maintaining good pressure, you can a) turn the gasket over (sometimes that's all it takes) or b) replace the gasket. I recommend a flat gasket of the type that came with the stove; such gaskets are available on eBay. I do not recommend "O" rings.

The preceding not withstanding, you should be able to run a Svea 123 for years at a stretch with no maintenance whatsoever.

Also, really the Svea 123 is the same general weight class as an MSR Whisperlite.  There's no pump, fuel line, or external tank.  Especially for short trips, any weight difference is negligible.  One of the reasons the Svea 123 was and continues to be so popular is that its design results in not only a good, reliable stove but also in a fairly low weight.  If you compare the Svea 123 to other stoves of it's class, such as the Optimus 8R, Primus 71, Optimus 80, etc, the Svea 123 is significantly lighter.  A lot of design elements came together to make the Svea 123 the best in its class.  By the way, the Svea 123 is the only stove to come out in the 1950's that is still produced today.

 

I don't see what you are priming for your preheat.  Does the alcohol go in the cup?

At the point where the burner column screws into the fuel tank, there is a little built-in depression. As much as possible, the alcohol needs to go into the little built-in depression. Just take a look at a Svea 123, and you'll see what I mean.

 

I like the idea of priming with alcohol.  Much cleaner!  That might keep the Whisperlite burning longer.

Great tips!  Thanks!

I generally use alcohol on all of my stoves that need priming. It's

a) cleaner, producing far less soot

b) easier to control exactly how much priming fuel I'm using so I don't get a huge, wasteful prime, and

c) much less prone to cause a "fireball" of the type that white gasoline is infamous for.

 

HJ

5:21 p.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
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hikin_jim said:

Robert Rowe said:

Jim ~

What do you think of the ESBIT  solid-fuel folding stoves?

It doesn't  get any more compact, light and simple ....

I'll bet you have a few; and if so, which do you prefer, and why?

The stainless-steel jobs seem to be worthy ....

                                                

                                                       

                                                     ~r2~

Robert,

I've only used a few hexamine* stoves, so I won't claim to know all the options. 

However, I do know that I'm not a big fan of the standard "box" type stove that's sold at REI.  It's OK, but unnecessarily heavy in my opinion.

Very little is needed to burn ESBIT.  My preference is a minimalist Ti wing stove like this:  http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2011/01/stove-of-week-tibetan-ti-wing-stove.html  I find it light, compact, and easier to light than the standard ESBIT stove.  Take a look at my blog post and see what you think.

As with any stove with a low velocity flame (e.g. alcohol or hexamine), wind can have a dramatic negative impact on the efficiency of the stove.  I didn't include any photographs of a windscreen on my blog post, but a windscreen is very important with a hexamine stove.

HJ

*ESBIT, Coghlans, Stansport, and Coleman all sell hexamine tabs for use in hexamine stoves.  ESBIT is the most well know brand.  Coghlans is generally the cheapest.

 

Thanks, Jim ~

Very informative.

I used to have an old WWII military-surplus folding "tin" stove with the square fuel  tabs.   I might be wrong, but I could swear it was kraut (German).   Might have been some kind of galvanized steel.

Where can one acquire one of the Titanium ones like you're showing in your blog ?

I would like to carry one along in my kit, just for a back-up, at the very least.   I tend to be a 'minimalist', anyway.  It might see regular duty.

Cute child, BTW.

                                                       ~r2~

6:38 p.m. on August 2, 2011 (EDT)
81 reviewer rep
422 forum posts

Robert,

I bought my Ti ESBIT stove from a fellow backpacker, so I don't have a store that I can recommend.   However, I just did a quick Google search on "Titanium ESBIT," and a bunch of choices came up.  The Wetfire stove is very similar although I don't think the Wetfire stove is Ti.  Wetfire doesn't make as good a fuel as hexamine, but you could buy the Wetfire stove and then buy one of the various brands of hexamine separately.

HJ

8:55 p.m. on August 24, 2011 (EDT)
173 reviewer rep
100 forum posts

To answer the original question......................

1- The SVEA 123(R)

2- Whisperlite Internationale

 

Reasoning? The SVEA is simple, reliable, tough, classy, and very fun to use. I used it last Yosemite trip a few times because the MSR Pocket Rocket was too easy to light. It burns strong at at least 10,000 feet (highest I have taken the 123). 

I have used the MSR Whisperlite in the Army (mainly Alaska) and we never had any real isuues, and I remember that it worked with basically whatever we wanted to burn. We used it in severe cold more than altitude, but we did stuff on glaciers and Denali. We had one stove per team, so that was 4-5 guys.

My buddy has the modern Primus that is multi-fuel, but I will reserve judgement until we have a few more years on it.

In my opinion, the "best' stove burns multiple liquid fuels, does not utilize a cannister system (pre-pressurized) and is relatively lightweight.

7:54 p.m. on September 27, 2011 (EDT)
81 reviewer rep
422 forum posts

The Svea 123 "fails" on the multi-fuel option, but I agree that it's a really good stove.  It's got a very simple design that is dead reliable.  There's relatively little to go wrong.  It can have a bit of a problem starting in really cold weather, but once it gets going it's really strong.

The MSR Whisperlite Internationale isn't a bad stove although the MSR XGK has a better reputation for toughness, particularly on non-standard fuels. 

HJ

12:59 a.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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59 forum posts

Just found a neet little Optimus 111B. Not sure how old it is or what its worth, but it works! Found them on ebay for $10-460. Think its a 60's erra...

1:23 p.m. on November 25, 2011 (EST)
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422 forum posts

Hi, Ben,

The Optimus 111 series of stoves is a great set of stoves.  It's very possible that your stove could be from the 60's.  That was a very long lived, popular series of stoves.

You probably know this, but the "B" version is meant to run on Coleman type fuel only.  Other versions had other fuels.  To the best of my memory:

111:  kerosene (only).  Roarer type burner.

111B:  Coleman fuel (only).  Roarer type burner.

111C:  kerosene (only).  "Silent" type burner.

111T:  kerosene, Coleman fuel, or alcohol (you have to change jets and such to switch between fuels).  "Silent" type burner.

Important safety issue:

There is a rubber "pip" in the NRV (no return valve) that you should examine.  The NRV basically is a one way valve inside the pump.  The one way valve allows air to go into the fuel tank without allowing air or fuel to come back out.  If the rubber "pip" in the valve is hardened, cracked, or otherwise damaged, you could have an air-fuel mix coming back up the pump shaft.  THAT WOULD BE BAD, REALLY REALLY BAD.  An air-fuel mix + hot stove = flamethrower.  Like I say, really really bad.  If you ever see the pump rod rising seemingly of it's own accord out of the pump shaft, shut down the stove immediately.

You might want to go over to http://spiritburner.com   They have a lot posted on the 111 including how to service the aforementioned "pip."  The 111 is a great stove.  You just need to make sure that it has been maintained, and it should give you years of good service. 

HJ
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