multi-fuel stove (to simmer or not to simmer)

9:51 p.m. on July 16, 2012 (EDT)
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What are the pros and cons to having a multi-fuel stove without simmer control. I see a few companies making stoves without simmering capability. Is it more powerful, reliable? I see good review for the msr xgk ex and the primus multi-fuel ex. Obviously less moving parts, but is there really that much that can go wrong? Couldn't you just bring a spare control valve? Whats the big deal? Does the straight forward design lead it to less clogging in general? Or is it just sought after because of less moving parts?

4:34 a.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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Fewer moving parts means less to go wrong, assuming the simmering and non simmering designs are otherwise equally sound designs.  Simmering WG stoves generally have two valves, and are heavier as a result.  Simmering canister stoves have larger burner heads to distribute heat and often are free standing, thus they also are heavier than their canister mounted counter parts.  Some non-simmering stoves are intended to be easier to use, provided you aren't trying to simmer.  Simmering stoves are also more expensive than their non-simmering equivalents.  Or so goes the theoretical explanations.

The biggest difference to me is most non-simmering stoves can't simmer.  And those that can require skill and finesse to achieve this.  The weight difference, cost, and reliability issues are minor, and outweighed by the simmering capability, if indeed you decide you need this capability.  I have exclusively owned simmering stoves since the 1960s.  I have experienced no more issues than friends owning non-simmer stoves.  What issues I did experience were not related to the components that facilitate simmering.

Lastly I believe a stove is one of the essential gear items that should be selected based entirely on quality and intended application.  This is one of your most critical pieces of gear.  The cost difference between the cheapest to most expensive stove available is not sufficient to sacrifice reliability or function IMO.  Get the stove that best suits your intended use!


11:23 a.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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For me  -it's all about style.  If you like to fry, bake, or cook more complex meals, I'm sure a simmering stove will be well worth any small penalties you might pay in weight and reliability.  I pretty much boil water, so it's not worth it for me.  I have friends who like pancakes and eggs but my cooking setup would pyrolyze both!

1:52 p.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I like to cook "gourmet" meals while backpacking, so I like a simmer-capable stove.  I currently have an Optimus Nova+, and several DIY alcohol stoves. The latter do not simmer, but I do often carry them because they are so wonderfully light. 

I currently plan to sell my Nova+ and get the MSR Whisperlite Universal. 

My thought is if you don't really do much cooking, and only boil water, you just don't really need a simmering stove.

3:19 p.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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I never simmer anything I cook. I heat the water to a boil, add the usual pasta and then turn off the heat and cover the pot and insulate it. Then let it sit for a little longer than the simmering time. Pasta will still cook without having to simmer and stir the meal to keep it from sticking together or to the bottom of the pot.

I use a MSR Pocket Rocket stove and a one quart MSR cook pot.

By my cooking method I can make a 8 oz fuel canister last me about 14 days. I only cook one meal a day, the rest are eaten dry (cheese, crackers, nuts, GORP, instant oatmeal, uncooked) or are cereal with powdered milk.

10:54 p.m. on July 17, 2012 (EDT)
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MSR WhisperLite Universal Backpacking Stove

4:43 a.m. on July 22, 2012 (EDT)
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Multi Fuel stoves offer additional options in the event iso/butane fuel canisters are not available in your area.   A stove can simmer offers simple dishes such as french toast or pancakes where as a "water-boiler" or "blow-torch" stove cannot.  Simmering does not necessarily mean involved preparation and cooking efforts.   

Your stove is a very important piece of gear.  It provides that ability to prepare good meals.  Having bad meal can turn your adventure into a downer.  Also, in the winter your stove provides water as well (snow melting).

If you enjoy a stove that is quiet and boils water faster have a look at our product.  The QuietStove - it a replacement burner that is used in place of the flame spreader plate.  

Here are several videos of the QuietStove on YouTube.

Quiet Model 107 Dragonfly vs WhisperLite Universal

(from this video it seems the QuietStove is quieter than the WhisperLite)

QuiteStove com cap

MSR Dragonfly with QuietStove Model 107 - super quiet stove - super hot!

If your only task is to boil water then there is no need to consider simmering stoves.  The MSR XGK EX is a super stove for this space.  If you even think you will use simmering in your camp kitchen then get a stove with simmering capabilities.

The MSR Whisperlite Universal can simmer - but it lacks the fine granularity control that the MSR Dragonfly or OmniFuel/OmniLite Ti provides.   Add a QuietStove to your kit and you will have improved simmering, more heat, and much less noise.

7:45 p.m. on July 26, 2012 (EDT)
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i don't seem to have the time to simmer something on a stove. i mean i don't want to leave a stove to do something else while it simmers.

when i cook i cook. i use an MSR Internationale or Svea 123. laltely i've been experimenting with a small beer can Alcohol stove. like i said when i cook i cook. eating is the end result of cooking, but it is also time to relax, sitting near a stove simmering food is not my idea of relaxing


12:40 p.m. on July 27, 2012 (EDT)
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Even stoves that are not designed with a control to 'simmer' can operate with a lower flame. It's more difficult too dilate the flame because it requires a combination of not over-pressurizing the fuel and noodling with the fuel valve. I learned to do this with my old XGK.

The Optimus stove I use now has a much better control, much easier to get a smaller flame. Overall, I have been happy with it.

Being able to use multiple fuel types can be convenient too. I think it is worth having a slightly heavier stove to have added adaptability and convenience.

1:14 a.m. on July 28, 2012 (EDT)
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If you are going to cook things like rice or pasta it is better to have a stove capable of simmering.  I have a JetBoil and it can simmer if you watch it but it will go out occasionally.   I'm thinking about getting an Optimus Crux which has a bigger head because I currently have a problem with things scorching in the spot right over the burner. 

7:16 a.m. on July 29, 2012 (EDT)
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172 forum posts

I got an primus omnifuel and an msr reactor

The Omnifuel have a needle like simmering valve - it's easy to simmer with, but sometimes I feel it doesn't go low as I wish it did when cooking rice (never did stopped me from cooking it). I also never had a problem with this "extra" bit of a stove - and I have it for nearly 10 years now. Sometimes you do need to take it out and clean it, and then the simmering improves.

the reactor is so different - just full on heat!!! not built at all for simmering, but you can make porridge with it...if you are careful...

So to add up my point here - you can cook with different stoves different type of food. Never had any problem with the fact a stove can simmer. did had problems with stoves that cannot simmer - cos they simply don't simmer...

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