best mountaineering gas stove

2:47 p.m. on November 27, 2008 (EST)
2 reviewer rep
5 forum posts


i was wondering if you could let me know of your best 5 gas mountaineering stoves as i am looing for a light weight stove for expeditions which must stand on the ground rather on the top of the gas bottle

anyone have any suggestions - GAS only


3:06 p.m. on November 27, 2008 (EST)
4,347 reviewer rep
6,004 forum posts

By "gas" do you mean compressed gas (that is, butane and butane mixes), that is, canister stoves, or do you mean what is normally meant by "gas", namely "white gas"? I assume you mean canister stoves.

Canister stoves have some serious limitations for mountaineering expeditions, which is why expeditions use liquid fuel (white gas or kerosene) stoves almost exclusively. The major problem is the low temperature problem. Even with the introduction of the inverted canister stoves, the low temperature limitation still exists to some extent (but now at temperatures below 0F, rather than at 32F/0C). A second major problem is the weight problem - although the energy output of butane, isobutane, and propane is similar per weight to white gas and kerosene, you are limited to certain sizes of canister. Thus the weight for expeditions longer than approximately 4 or 5 days (less if it is in sub-freezing conditions) is greater than for liquid fuel stoves. This is because of the weight of all the extra containers. In addition, you should (and required in many areas) be carrying out the empties, with the empty weight of the canisters being significantly more than the empty weight of the typical gallon (or larger) fuel cans used for liquid fuels.

Another serious problem with canister stoves is that the canisters are not available in many part of the world where expeditions go. Given the limitations on carrying fuel on aircraft and other common carriers, it may involve complex logistics to get canisters to the expedition start point. Liquid fuels suitable for use in liquid fuel stoves, on the other hand, are available in virtually the entire world.

Assuming again that you really do mean canister stoves, are you looking for butane and butane mix stoves, or are you looking for propane stoves? The propane bottles are significantly heavier than even the butane canisters for a given amount of fuel.

Having said all that, I am not sure there are 5 canister stoves I would recommend for expeditions, especially of the external fuel bottle variety. Basically, it comes down to a couple of Primus, one MSR, and maybe one Coleman. I don't recommend the Brunton/Optimus one.

7:18 p.m. on November 27, 2008 (EST)
244 reviewer rep
5,195 forum posts

Either a MSR style gas stove with the detachable Sigg type fuel bottle or the Svea 123 if you can find one. I have used both winter camping in Yosemite and they worked the best for me. Just be very careful if you light them inside a tent asthey tend to flare-up when they start. A friend had his tent evaporate in an instant when his Svea flared at incinerated his tent, he was left to the open elements that night.

9:23 p.m. on November 27, 2008 (EST)
0 reviewer rep
391 forum posts

I have a Brunton-Optimus Nova liquid fuel stove that I highly recommend; it has features for safety I find superior to any other stove I know of. I also have an ancient MSR blowtorch and it works, but, is not suitable for simmering.

I have both Brunton Crux and Snowpeak Litemax canister stoves and have had several other backpacking stoves over the years; however, I do not use canister stoves for winter camping.

I would NEVER and I mean NEVER ignite ANY liquid fuel stove in a tent or vestibule and am not too keen on having my canister stoves inside my tent, either.

Try a Nova, it is a fine piece of gear.

12:04 a.m. on November 28, 2008 (EST)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

I have had mixed results with the Nova. The pump broke on mine right away and although the fix was simple, it took an email to Sweden to get a response from Optimus. Brunton no longer reps Optimus and good riddance, they never responded to my emails about the problem. It also clogged up after only one use and that was with brand new fuel. Had to take it apart to fix it.

My Nova also froze up last winter. Once I dismantled it and took out the fuel filter, it worked okay, but I still don't trust it. At least it comes with a tool to take it apart and no wonder, given the problems I have had with it.

I would never get anywhere near my tent with a stove unless it was a life and death situation and even then, I would think hard before doing it.

7:51 a.m. on November 28, 2008 (EST)
2 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

Thanks for all of your replies

I have a MSR Firefly and think its the best petrol stove ever - never had to service it and always lighted first time

regretfully the Youth group i am attached with have a policy that only gas stoves can be used

not knowing an awful lot about gas stoves i was wondering if you could name a few stoves you woudl highyly recommend

the Branton looks pretty sexy, but i dont know what its like + where i could buy one in the UK

any comments about the Branton AF or any other gas stoves you could recommend would be gladly received

i am looking for something thats light, stable and sexy


1:36 p.m. on November 28, 2008 (EST)
4,347 reviewer rep
6,004 forum posts

paul -
I am still guessing, since you did not answer the question - you are probably talking about compressed gas, also called LP (liquified petroleum)? I get this from your comment about buying the stove in the UK, and refer to the Firefly as a "petrol" stove. "Gas" is often used in North America to refer to white gas or Coleman fuel, a liquid petroleum product, as opposed to alcohol, kerosene, or compressed gas. What you appear to be asking about is either (or both) a canister stove which contains butane or a butane mix (a mixture of butane, isobutane, and propane in various proportions) or a propane stove. I suspect you do not want a propane-only stove, since the fuel bottles for these are quite heavy (despite the advantages of working well down to -40 deg and having the possibility of refillable fuel canisters).

For the youngsters here, the MSR Firefly is a long discontinued MSR stove that is very similar to the Whisperlite.

First piece of advice - forget about using "sexy" as a criterium for choosing a stove. The collectors' garages are littered with "sexy"-looking backpacking and mountaineering stoves that were undependable, broke often (usually in critical situations), were poor performers at best, and basically just didn't work. Look for a stove that functions well under the conditions you will use it. Looks are very much secondary when you are cold, wet, and hungry - the last thing you need at that point is a "sexy" stove that doesn't work.

It would help if you were more specific about the conditions you intend to use the stove. You ask about "mountaineering" stoves. Does this mean you intend using the stove in full-on winter conditions, such as in Scotland in midwinter? From your comment about the youth group with which you are associated having restrictions, I would guess not. Are you talking about hill-walking? Are you talking about summer, going to the Alps or Scandinavia?

The Brunton Vapor AF (which is what I assume you meant by "Branton") is actually Brunton's version of an Optimus stove that will burn both compressed gas and liquid fuels. As Tom mentions above, Brunton (a division of Silva Sweden) and Optimus had a brief association a few years ago, but have since parted company. I am sure you can find the Optimus version in the UK. However, people I know who have used these stoves have had mixed results, ranging from excellent performance (kutenay, above) to total disaster (Tom, above).

Primus makes a couple of multifuel stoves that also take compressed gas canisters and a wide variety of liquid fuels. I have one of the earlier versions (Primus MFS), which I have found to be extremely dependable in a wide variety of conditions. Primus also makes a canister stove that mounts the canister inverted, largely overcoming the cold weather limitation of the older canister stoves.

Please expand on your intended uses and conditions.

2:53 p.m. on November 28, 2008 (EST)
38 reviewer rep
1,902 forum posts

Bill, the Optimus Kutenay and I have is the Nova, which is liquid fuel only. I know they have one that takes a canister as well, but I've never used it. My Nova wasn't a total disaster, but I carry a spare canister stove (Primus Micron) and a couple small canisters, just in case.

My real problem was with Brunton. The fix for my pump took just a few minutes and all I really had to do was glue the pickup tube back in place, but I wasn't sure what kind of glue would work. Once I heard back from Optimus in Sweden, I fixed it. The fuel filter problem was different. I was in Yosemite when that happened and I had to figure out where the clog was. It was the tiny inline filter-a piece of white material in one end of the fuel line that may have gotten wet with water somehow. Once I took that out, the stove worked fine.

The only problem I have read about with canister stoves, other than they don't work well in cold weather, is the occasional leak with the Lindal valve, but other than that, they seem to be pretty much the same except in shape and weight. Mine has a piezo lighter on it and I like that feature. I've read that the lighters sometimes break or quit working after a while, but mine is fairly new, so no problems so far.

The Brunton stoves look "sexy" if you want to call it that, but they are pretty heavy compared to other brands and at least over here, they are really expensive. They are probably more stable than many others like mine that sit on the canister, so that is the tradeoff. I've seen little platforms you can buy or make that hold the canister in place. I think MSR makes one. For winter, I use a piece of blue foam cut from a sleeping pad as insulation from the snow.

8:02 p.m. on November 28, 2008 (EST)
82 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

Iam supprised to not hear anything about the MSR stoves in this post.I have used the XGK since it first came out and there is no better stove,only my opinion and many others,for melting snow into water,most common during winter camping or serious mountaineering through out the world,Very trouble free and uses white gas.White gas is all i would use for very cold camping and travel anywhere.In 30+ years the only breakdown i have had with any MSR stove is one of the o-rings on one of their fuel bottle caps.I also have a whisperlite and a Pocket Rocket,canister style,and all have been rock solid and trouble free.

11:06 p.m. on November 28, 2008 (EST)
4,347 reviewer rep
6,004 forum posts

Skiman -
Problem is we are still trying to find out what his intended usage is. He apparently is associated with a youth group which, like many youth groups, does not allow liquid fuel stoves, but apparently does allow compressed gas stoves (I am reading between the lines here, and making some wild guesses and assumptions in the absence of clear criteria). Also, he did specify having the fuel container (canister?) separate from the burner (from this statement "must stand on the ground rather on the top of the gas bottle"). I am also interpolating from his UK terminology (and texting shorthand). These eliminate all but one of the MSR stoves (namely the WindPro). That's why you saw so little (not completely absent, but only a couple mentions in this thread) of MSR.

The Windpro is an excellent stove (basically the compressed gas version of the Simmerlite), but it suffers from the usual cold weather problem. MSR's IsoPro fuel canisters partially overcome this problem, and there are other techniques that are well-known for cold weather for canisters.

The Reactor works well in very cold weather, but the stovetop screws onto the canister, something he expressly said he wants to avoid. I also find that the Superfly can be made to work well in cold conditions, but again, the stovetop screws onto the canister.

7:44 a.m. on November 29, 2008 (EST)
47 reviewer rep
241 forum posts

Coleman Extreme stove is reviewed at this site:

6:04 p.m. on November 29, 2008 (EST)
4,347 reviewer rep
6,004 forum posts

rambler -
Unfortunately, Coleman is planning to discontinue the whole PowerMax line. I am not sure they were ever available in the UK (where the OP apparently is located)

7:33 p.m. on November 29, 2008 (EST)
1,271 reviewer rep
156 forum posts

My MSR Whisperlite has worked FLAWLESSY every winter since 1999. It is a white gas stove, weighs in at about 1 lb not including fuel. Also versatile since you can carry various size fuel bottles.

For summer, in the Appalachians, I use an alcohol stove almost exclusively.

Hope this helps.

9:17 p.m. on November 29, 2008 (EST)
82 reviewer rep
311 forum posts

I think you are correct Bill S in the matter that paul needs to make clear what his statement "gas" pertains to.I read it as white gas but who knows for shure.
Okay Paul H the ball is in your court!

7:31 a.m. on December 1, 2008 (EST)
2 reviewer rep
5 forum posts

Hi Guys

sorry about the confusion and just to clarify a few points then

I am looking for advice on purchasing a gas stove which works on butane or butane/propane mix ONLY
so no petrol stoves

where the main burner unit - the bit you pop your pot onto stands directly on the ground + not on the gas cannister

and from an engineering point of view is both easy + interesting to look at

i need it to use in the UK mountains from march to october / november on light weight hikes from 2-8 days

and will cost less than £100 UK sterling

woudl be interested in your thoughts

1:45 p.m. on December 1, 2008 (EST)
4,347 reviewer rep
6,004 forum posts

Thanks for clearing things up.

UK mountains, March-October/November - this means you are unlikely to have any problems with low temperatures, which is a major weak feature of canister stoves (low temperatures means freezing and below, so below 32F/0C).

canister separate from the burner narrows the field considerably.

The following stoves fit your criteria and are fairly light (in no special order). Since Trailspace is based in the US, these might not all be available in the UK:
MSR Windpro
Primus EtaPower
Snowpeak Gigapower BF and LI and Delta Pod
Primus Gravity EF and Gravity II EF
Optimus Stella
Jetboil Helios and Helios Guide
Brunton Lander
Markill Spider
Coleman Fyrestorm Ti and Fyrestorm SS (no description of reviews on this site, but you can go to the Coleman website for descriptions).

You can find details and reviews on this site at

You may be able to still get the Coleman Powermax stoves. Although these use a different canister from the industry standard threaded (Lindal) coupling that is being discontinued, Coleman sells a fuel adapter that accepts the standard canisters in an inverted position, and hence will work in cold conditions. The Powermax series canister is a clever design that delivers the liquified butane mix through a generator tube to the burner. Since like the inverted canister stoves, the butane is delivered as a liquid, it works in very cold conditions.

Several of these stoves use inverted canisters, which means they will continue to perform at very cold temperatures. The Jetboil Helios, Snowpeak Gigapower LI and the two Coleman Fyrestorm use this configuration.

The Markill Spider is made in UK, so should be readily available.

In addition, Primus, Brunton, Optimus, and Coleman make stoves that will accept compressed gas canisters and liquid fuels. I have the Primus MFS, which I switch between compressed gas, white gas, and kerosene from time to time, and find to perform well. The current version is called the Primus Nova MFS. This would allow you to use the butane for your youth group outings, and liquid fuel for your personal outings where you do not have the restriction to compressed gas.

Given your conditions, I would tend toward the MSR Windpro, even though it does not perform as well in sub-freezing conditions. Since you indicate you would rarely be in such conditions, this would not be a problem.

4:15 p.m. on December 1, 2008 (EST)
18 reviewer rep
133 forum posts

After having a similar discussion with Bill on another Forum, I purchased the MSR Windpro. When inverted, it works fine in cold conditions (low 20F). Even though this is not listed as an option by the manufacturere, you will find, as I have on on numerous other forms, that this is something that is commonly done. It is a very stable stove and has great temperature control (great for cooking pancakes). I will be trying it out soon in sub-freezing temperatures and will post the results on a gear review.

This stove should work great for what you are looking for and is the lightest remote canister stove I have found.

February 19, 2018
Quick Reply

Please sign in to reply

More Topics
This forum: Older: type of snowshoes Newer: How good are old style family tents?
All forums: Older: Wanted: Moonstone Vest Newer: Anyone been to Jan Mayen?