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Stove of the Week: Hank Roberts Mini Stove

4:32 p.m. on August 25, 2011 (EDT)
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I haven't done one of my reviews for a while. This week's stove is an oldie (1970's) but a goodie, the Hank Roberts Mini Stove.

P1070226.JPG

HJ

8:08 p.m. on August 25, 2011 (EDT)
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That looks like it will work just fine.  Nothing but what is needed.

8:17 p.m. on August 25, 2011 (EDT)
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You know, some of those old stoves were really good stoves.  Colin Fletcher in his book, the Complete Walker, mentions that he liked this type of stove.  This design is a really good one, but the oddball canister killed it. 

By using an adapter, I've resurrected a really nice stove.

HJ

7:11 a.m. on August 26, 2011 (EDT)
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I LIKE IT!

No flimsy folding pot supports and it looks like it would be somewhat resistant to wind.

3:20 p.m. on August 26, 2011 (EDT)
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It's a good stove.  The fact that there are still so many around even though you can't get their canisters anymore is a testament to the loyalty of their owners.

HJ

7:39 p.m. on August 26, 2011 (EDT)
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I periodically see people online looking for canisters or adapters for them.  I think someone could resurrect the design with a modern canister and do well with it.  The trend is towards the ultalight Pocket Rocket style, but the basic design here has some merit with the built in pot stand and windscreen.

8:29 p.m. on August 26, 2011 (EDT)
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The Hank Roberts type stove really is a nice stove.  It will outperform most gas stoves because it can handle liquefied gas.  In other words, you don't have to rely on the air temperature to vaporize your gas.  You can feed cold gas in straight from the tank on a cold day, and the heat of the flame will take care of business.

If someone used modern materials and did a bit of trimming, I bet the weight (about 8 oz) could easily be cut in half.  The burner and burner column appear to be all steel (heavy).  The "clam shell" is aluminum and really isn't that heavy.

There was a company making adapters, but to the best of my knowledge they finally went out of business.  An adapter isn't that hard to make if you have or know someone who has machine tools available.

HJ

1:50 a.m. on August 27, 2011 (EDT)
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I found this link a few posts above the one you made on thebackpacker.com

http://www.alva.ne.jp/

If you have the google toolbar it will translate the page. You can also use google's translate feature at translate.google.com. They make a bunch of adapters.  Don't know if they still make the one needed because I don't know what the original canister type was called.

7:22 a.m. on August 27, 2011 (EDT)
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3:15 p.m. on August 27, 2011 (EDT)
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HJ, you didn't post a boil time on your tea test or how well the stove simmers.  Is this stove pretty close to other canister stoves?

12:11 a.m. on August 29, 2011 (EDT)
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ocalacomputerguy said:

I found this link a few posts above the one you made on thebackpacker.com

http://www.alva.ne.jp/

If you have the google toolbar it will translate the page. You can also use google's translate feature at translate.google.com. They make a bunch of adapters.  Don't know if they still make the one needed because I don't know what the original canister type was called.

 

Yes, I've seen that site before.  VERY tempting stuff, but most of it is extremely expensive.  I did buy one of their standard threaded canisters (like MSR, Jetboil, etc.) refillers, and I have been very happy with it so far.  I'd love to buy more, but DANG are they expensive.

I don't recall seeing a Hank Roberts type refiller/adapter, but I don't think theyd be especially hard to refill.

HJ

12:41 a.m. on August 29, 2011 (EDT)
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Guyz said:

HJ, you didn't post a boil time on your tea test or how well the stove simmers.  Is this stove pretty close to other canister stoves?

 Ah, I am remiss.  Simmering is important.  I had no trouble simmering with  the Hank Roberts Mini Stove in either vapor feed (upright canister) or liquid feed (inverted canister).

I don't normally list boil times.  First, there are no standards for boil times in order for them to be useful for comparisons.  If there were a standard (1 liter, 40 F water, 5 mph wind, plain aluminum pot with lid, 1 atmosphere pressure), then we could compare boil times stove to stove and have something meaningful.  But there is no standard, so one stove company may be boiling water that is 75F outdoors where another company may be boiling water that is 65F in a windless laboratory.

Second, in my experience, boil times vary greatly boil to boil.  You might get 4:45 on one boil, 5:15 the next, 4:30 the next time, and then 5:05 on the boil after that.  Stove companies usually pick the fastest which is why it usually takes longer to boil water than it says in advertisements.  More "truthful" would be an average of say 10 boils, I personally don't have the time (nor the patience!) to run a lot of boils and average them. 

Third, at least for me, how important is it?  Anything around 5 minutes is fine in my book.  Waiting another 30 seconds for a boil makes no real difference to me.  Now, if it were another 3 minutes, maybe then I'd worry about it, but half a minute either way isn't going to cramp my style.

Lastly, don't forget the basics of stove fuel economy:

-Turn it down! A low flame is much more efficient.  
-Use a lid. Escaping steam = escaping heat = wasted fuel.
-Use a windscreen.  No windscreen = dispersed heat = wasted fuel.

Running a stove on high burns through more fuel than you really need; you can accomplish the same with less fuel if you just run it on a low to moderate flame.

So, to me at least, boil times are the "macho" claim of stove advertisers.  The reality is that anything within reason is fine, and I'd rather turn it down a little bit so I can carry less fuel.

HJ

4:19 p.m. on September 1, 2011 (EDT)
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I bought one of the adapters several years ago and it works fine.  The company making the adapters had bought the rights to the Hank Roberts stove and was selling both new stoves plus adapters.  Sadly I believe they company went under.  I also have a few of the original fuel canisters to burn.  The stove is indeed a great design and since the canister is now connected by a hose you can use a foil windscreen.

5:53 p.m. on September 1, 2011 (EDT)
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My understanding also is that the company that was making adapters did go under.  There are a lot of Hank Roberts "loyalists" out there (it really is a good design), but unfortunately once you have an adapter, you don't need another one, and there wasn't enough business to sustain the company.  :(

Yes, it is nice, once you have the canister attached via a hose, to be able to safely use a windscreen.  The Hank Roberts type canisters developed, rightly or wrongly, something of a reputation for exploding.  Having the canister attached remotely (thus removing the fuel from the source of heat), makes it such that the chances of an explosion from the canister overheating are really remote.

HJ

April 23, 2014
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