Lightest fuel/stove combo for 8 days?

11:40 p.m. on June 11, 2012 (EDT)
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So far (from my own gear) the lightest 8 day stove/fuel combo I can find is my Trail Designs CC Sidewinder ti stove W/ Gramcracker ESBIT holder and sheet aluminum "floor" and 24 ESBIT tablets.

That's 3 tabs /day at 1/2 oz. per wrapped tablet =12 oz. fuel assuming hot breakfast and dinner. Often I only need 2 tabs per day.

The Trail Designs alky burner is great but the fuel weighs too much for 8 days.

Anyone have a better setup?

12:57 a.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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Lightest I have is ESBIT.  But I much prefer either my Caldera Cone or my Jetboil SOL Ti.  The Caldera Cone and Jetboil workout to about the same "start weight" on a weeklong trek, though the CC ends up lighter at the end.

9:17 a.m. on June 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I do recommend the Esbit stove. I recently spent 9 days in the Olympic Wilderness where all I used was that stove. Great for boiling a cup of water for tea or coffee. Awesome if all your using is dehydrated foods.


12:35 a.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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OK guys, your lightest stove/fuel combo is ESBIT but WHAT kind of ESBIT stove or burner do you have? Some are so tiny they can fit in a front jeans pocket when folded. But they are not very fuel efficient.

9:29 a.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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There are people here that have a lot more experience with these than I do, but I think liquid alcohol stoves are hard to beat for weight.

I have a Whitebox Original, have used it a few times, and I am generally impressed given the constraints on what this kind of stove can do. It is a relative heavyweight in the field at about 1 oz for the stove and 1 oz for the windscreen, because it is made of heavier aluminum than the soda-can types (i.e. the Minibull Elite at <0.3 oz -- not made anymore?).

I think these stoves in general (but maybe especially the pressurized ones like the Whitebox or the homemade Penny stove) burn and heat extremely efficiently, and will boil water in a few minutes using just an ounce or two of alcohol. You will also find DIY instructions on various web sites, i.e. Zen. They are also inexpensive -- the Whitebox goes for $20.

Downsides: good for boiling water only, no haute cuisine; "pot on top" models like the Whitebox are tippy, you need a good flat surface; not so good in cold, snow, wind; flame is invisible in daylight; you have to learn to calibrate your fuel because you burn all the fuel you load into the stove for any one burn. But if you want light weight and all you need to do is boil and pour, this is probably the way to go.

2:17 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Check out the articles on Backpacking Light if you're a subscriber. All the tests show that after just 3 days canister fuel (yes!) is lighter than alcohol, given tiny canister stoves like a Pocket Rocket, etc.  And other studies show ESBIT lighter than alky after 4 days with similar stove weights.

My Trail Designs Sidewinder ti cone stove is so efficient (Conical windscreen & GramCracker tablet holder W/aluminum "floor") that it's slight weight penalty over say a Mini Bull stove is offset after 4 days.

ESBIT and FireLite fuel tabs are slightly hotter than alcohol. Given they leave a residue on the pot bottom but otherwise they have some conveniance advantages. i.e. Blow them out and re-use later, no liquid to spill and so on.

If somehow a liquid fuel mix could be developed that gives alky-type stoves another 20% more BTUs then I'd go for them. As it stands now even the best EVERCLEAR alky fuel doesn't have enough BTUs to be weight efficient in week-long trips.

But...  I carry a Thermarest ProLite mattress for comfort instead of my Ridgerest pad so you may want to carry the extra fuel weight of alky for your reasons. We all have our "favs" in gear.

You may want to look into a small Caldera Cone & the alky burner that comes with it for better fuel efficiency. The Caldera Cone's thermal efficiency is legendary. Trail Designs has fiddled a LOT with alky burners until their current design is one that burns best at all altitudes. Who knew that altitude and stove design interacted? Well, they did.

Happy Trails, Eric

8:14 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I don't use Esbit myself  because I need to do more than just boil water, although I won't dispute their low weight.

Of the light stoves I have my preferences just depend on the trip location & duration.

Provided I can utilize it where I'm going, a small TLUD or a true Wood Gas stove is hard to beat for overall weight during a longer trip. I don't like the single wall (non wood gas) stoves though, they tend to be smokey and don't burn efficiently. They also give you the option of longer cook times without the penalty of carrying more fuel.

I have several Alcohol stoves and I prefer the pressurized ones coupled with a good windscreen. To me a good alky set up should be able to boil 2 cups of water with 3/4 of an ounce of fuel, some will do it quicker than others, but if fuel efficiency is paramount then I don't worry too much about the boil time.

My Snow Peak Gigapower is one of my favorite light stoves. After about 4 days I think it becomes lighter than the alky set up due to better fuel efficiency.

Then if I'm being really lazy I might just carry all snacks for a weekend trip and leave the stoves at home. It is fairly easy to make coffee on a small twig fire in the morning to get going.

Mike G.

8:32 p.m. on June 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I have found that if you make or adjust your alcy stove so that it takes about three minutes to boil two cups of water you will be farely close maximum efficiency. That is under prime conditions, in my garage for me with 65° ambient temp. I have several diff stoves and that seems to be the general rule of thumb with all my stoves.

9:36 a.m. on June 15, 2012 (EDT)
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Don't know if you can have fires where you are going, but I read about a guy who hiked the AT with only a pot.  He only used squaw fires for cooking.   Got to where he could get one ready to cook in 4-5 minutes. 

You could carry a soda can stove and a few ounces of alcohol if you couldn't find dry fuel.

3:17 p.m. on July 4, 2012 (EDT)
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dont eat,lightest

June 25, 2018
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