Life-long Liquid Fuel Stove Guy Goes Canister

12:07 a.m. on April 3, 2013 (EDT)
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OK ... so after contemplating this for years, and using only liquid fuel stoves for the past nn decades, I've finally decided to try a canister stove :).  I guess the upper 30-something pound pack on the JMT last summer influenced me to try harder to lighten up.

So I decided on a Snow Peak Litemax Titanium.  It's approximately 1/5th the weight of (and much more compact than) my trusty old Simmerlite.

I'm not crazy about the logistics of the fuel canisters, but figured it's worth trying.  And I'm not sure yet about using a wind screen (seemingly almost always necessary in the places I go), since I'm not keen on putting a wrapper around the burner on top of a can of compressed gas...  for this reason I considered a "remote canister" model.  But I figured if I was going to do that, why even bother, it wouldn't save that much weight & bulk over the Simmerlite.  So I went "all the way" and just found the lightest/highest rated model/most compact model I could find.  I considered the MSR Micro Rocket, but in side by side comparisons the Snow Peak seemed to be reviewed more favorably.

So I'm looking out try this new fangled gadget :-D.

12:33 p.m. on April 3, 2013 (EDT)
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I have been using cannister stoves since my first in 1978. I had a couple liquid fuel ones like my old MSR but have not used it since 1980 on a winter camping trip from Jan-May in the high Sierra of California.

I use a Pocket Rocket MSR stove I have used now about 12 years. The fuel cannisters come in 2,4 and 8 ounce sizes.

My cooking methed is to bring the water to a boil, add the pasta, stir, turn off the heat, insulate the covered cooking pot and let it rest for about 10 minutes. The pasta still cooks and the water temp drops only about 30 degrees, but cool enough to eat. This saves fuel and can make a 8 ounce cannister last for about 2 week or more. I cook just one meal a day, but also have hot cocoa some mornings. 

I learned this cooking method working as a chef. I was making macaroni one day for macaroni salad. I had just got the water boiling when I got busy with food orders. I had added the pasta, so I turned off the hat, covered the pot and thought I would finish it later. 30 minutes later I finished the orders and returned to the pot. The pasta had absorbed all the water and had reduced in temperture by only 50 degrees. It was ruined but I learned a valuable lesson on cooking pasta!

This works great for Spaghetti where one normally simmers it for 10-20 minutes, but you have to stir it or some of the pasta sticks and burns to the bottom of the pot. My method still cooks the pasta but nothing burns.

Any instant soups and other things that have to be simmered work this way as well. Save fuel/money!

I also have figured out just how much water to use for the pasta so I don't have to empty any precious water out, or I add crackers or something to take up the extra water.

When camping in the winter with having to melt snow to make water you learn quickly how to conserve water.

5:34 p.m. on April 3, 2013 (EDT)
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 Blasphemy! Say it isn’t so!

( Uh, now that you’ve gone all “canister” on us you don’t got any nasty sooty ‘ol liquid gasoline burning Svea 123s for sale now would ya? )

In 2010 I went on a cycle tour of Iceland and took along an Optimus 8R because it can burn auto gas. It runs hotter on the stuff than on white gas so some care is needed, but it burned anything I could pour into it, including some nasty old stale, foul flammable liquid I found in a gas can abandoned in the interior desert.

  My companion had one of those little butane/propane stoves, and had to run it on one pound propane cylinders, the only thing he could find.

They cost 3,000 Ikr each, ( about 30 bucks at the time, now more like 25 dollars ) and he went through 1-1/2 pounds of propane on the trip.

By contrast, I didn’t spend a dime on fuel the whole trip because I was able to scrounge up enough burnable liquid from that abandoned gas can and other travelers leaving the country.

I’m usually ranting about light weight but I still can’t part from my liquid fuel stoves, either gas or alcohol.

7:28 p.m. on April 3, 2013 (EDT)
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I sold my Pocket Rocket last Spring and wish I had it back.  I picked up a Micro Rocket, very loud which I've only used in the field once.  I have the Giga Power GS100? I think it is, super fast not loud like the MR.  I've had a 4 oz. canister last 8 days with one hot breakfast, so they are convenient and simple.

 I collect stoves, so I don't worry much anymore over weight or bulk unless on week long vacations.  I switched to a Caldera Cone two years ago now almost and have since acquired quite innocently three of them.  A cone for a .9L, .6L and the lastest a .550L pot which will be my go to system for long trips now, unless I have to boil over 2 cups of water, then it will be the cute .6L pot system.  The CC system only uses in 6 days, about 2.5 oz of denatured alcohol, for hot dinners and one hot breakfast.  I wouldn't worry about your canister over heating unless boiling or cooking something a long time.  You can always feel it, plus, the fuel leaving it cools the canister down.  I had an old Optimus 8R get its fuel boiling before the SRV in the cap blew, sending a short flame out of it, so you can use that as a gauge as to how much heat the canister may take.  I had used the stove to boil and sterilize two small pots of water, which I see now is too long for it to run on high.

Duane

7:54 p.m. on April 3, 2013 (EDT)
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good for you. I've had my snowpeak giga power for 12 years now, it's just as solid as the day I bought it. the only thing with these stoves is you have to watch canister temp when cooking with big pots or with a windscreen. as long as you monitor your canister temp you'll be ok.

2:17 a.m. on April 4, 2013 (EDT)
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Traditions die slow, ehh Bill?  Well welcome to the 1960s!  :)  At least that is when I recall canister stoves hitting the US market.  I am no doctrinaire when it comes to fuel types.  I use both canister and pumped gas stoves. The canister model goes on short trips at or above freezing; while the liquid gas stoves go on colder trips, choice being predicated on the physics affecting fuel performance at lower temperatures.  I also use the liquid stoves on trips over ten days, as the bulk storage of liquid fuels makes these stoves lighter for extended trips.

While I have no biases regarding fuels I prefer stoves that can simmer.  And I have purchased many stoves over the decades.  Stoves are the only gear I buy just to see if they are better than my current equipment.  My favorite pump stove is a MSR Firefly.  This stove was sold for a brief few years in the early 1980s.  I do not know why it was discontinued – I suspect a lawsuit.  The Firefly performed like the XKG series, except you could throttle it back to a candle simmer.  Its only draw back is it is loud.  I like the stove so much that when they took it off the market I bought several dozen maintenance kits for it, so I could continue using it the rest of my life.  My favorite canister stove is an MSR WindPro.  By no mean an UL stove, but with a good control valve, oversize burner head and a wide flame pattern, it is one of the best canister stoves out there for real cooking.

Ed

1:37 p.m. on April 6, 2013 (EDT)
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Haha, I was kidding about it being "new fangled", though it seems that way to me :).  Early in life I used big Coleman stoves, then along the way I had a Coleman Peak 1 "backpacking" stove, and a Svea 123R, then the Simmerlite.

These days my backpacking "cooking" really consists of boiling water.  I make instant oatmeal (and tea, or sometimes Starbucks Via) for breakfast.  For dinner I've taken to using minute rice, couscous, etc with a seasoning packet & added tuna/salmon/spam.  I use the "cozy" method Gary Palmer described, and it seems to work pretty well for me.

The difference in bulk & weight between this & the old Simmerlite is almost comical.   What took me so long? :)
stoves-1.jpg

p.s that's a METAL tag on the new Snow Peak stove.  I don't recall the last time I bought something that came with a metal tag attached.

One thing is SnowPeak doesn't seem to have online/electronic versions of their manuals like the other vendors.  I carry manuals for all my products with me on my trips (as PDFs in iBook).  This only came with a paper copy, so I guess I need to scan it.

1:27 p.m. on April 7, 2013 (EDT)
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their Japanese website has all the manuals...:P

1:36 p.m. on April 7, 2013 (EDT)
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That's helpful, thanks!  <grin>

They shipped me two copies of the paper manual too - one in Japanese and one in English...

8:58 p.m. on April 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Keep yer liquid fuel stove for winter camping!

9:07 p.m. on April 10, 2013 (EDT)
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300winmag said:

Keep yer liquid fuel stove for winter camping!

 +1(dependent upon temps of course.)

9:14 p.m. on April 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Yep for sure.  Plus if I ever go on any long trips again, like the one I took last summer, I'd use the Simmerlite again for the weight savings of bulk fuel vs a pack full of canisters.

10:10 p.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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bheiser1,

You can make a DIY windscreen that attaches to the stove above the canister and shields the burner / pot from the wind.

I made one for my GigaPower Micro Max out of a tin foil pan I found at the Dollar Store, it resembled a pot pie pan but about 2 inches deeper.

Snow peak does something similar on their GigaPower LI (liquid injection) 1000 stove, although it doesn't extend up around the pot.

It's good to see another TS member who eats Spam, I love fried Spam.

Mike G.

10:32 p.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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I'm a Spam fan too. I also like carp.

Ya know the best way to cook it?

Nail it to a board and throw it in a tire fire. After it is done pull the board from the fire, remove the fish, and eat the board. ;)

10:39 p.m. on April 12, 2013 (EDT)
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Actually I have to admit I never ate spam before last summer.  I was looking for something high in calories and fat to supplement my lean trail diet for the 30-day trip.  I added the spam to couscous, rice, or pasta with extra water left in, and added various spice mix packets.  I was surprised, I actually liked it! :)

Trouthunter, thanks for the tip about the DIY windscreen.  I will look into that!

8:47 a.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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I use both canister and liquid stoves for teaching scouts,. I learned to cook decades ago with an old garage sale Coleman white gas stove and I thought that was a plus compared to building a fire. I now use a Canister stove for summer and winter outings. As long as the temps are above zero, I have no problems. I too, use a dollar store wind break for my stove only I use a flattened out rectangle shape, which doubles as a prep surface

11:09 a.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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There is no perfect stove.  In 50 years I have gone from fire to Optimus 80, to MSR to Optimus Cruex cannister.  Jonathan just sold me a Coleman Peak 1 for canoeing and deluxe backpacking.  I like the stainless steel Brunton 2 burner propane for truck camping, hunting and deluxe canoe trips.

2:06 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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Rick-Pittsburgh said:

I'm a Spam fan too. I also like carp.

Ya know the best way to cook it?

Nail it to a board and throw it in a tire fire. After it is done pull the board from the fire, remove the fish, and eat the board. ;)

 Eat the board - haha!

8:31 p.m. on April 13, 2013 (EDT)
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it would have a funky fish flavor - yum!

12:20 p.m. on April 15, 2013 (EDT)
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After a long, high calorie day like skiing all day with a pack, or riding 25 miles in a snowstorm, Spam is one of the great things to eat.

There was an expedition of Californians that tried to ski to the North Pole.  they brought what they eat at home- salads, pasta, cheese.  They crapped out within a week because they couldn't keep warm. 

7:46 p.m. on April 15, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine said:

After a long, high calorie day like skiing all day with a pack, or riding 25 miles in a snowstorm, Spam is one of the great things to eat.

There was an expedition of Californians that tried to ski to the North Pole.  they brought what they eat at home- salads, pasta, cheese.  They crapped out within a week because they couldn't keep warm. 

 Exactly!

Everyone has different likes & dislikes regarding food but the bottom line is you have to fuel your body if you expect performance.

----------------------

Beheiser1,

I tried to find a photo of the windscreen I made for my GigaPower but I may have deleted it. It wasn't my idea originally, and I don't remember the webpage where I saw it.

It does work good though.

Mike G.

September 16, 2014
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