list of stove's that can simmer !

10:56 a.m. on December 3, 2002 (EST)

Dear list,
Could anyone please give me a listing of the best stoves that offer simmering as an option ? I like to have the peace of mind that my sauces and stews aren't being scorched to death while not paying constant attention to them ! So far ,I am considering the dragonfly, but there must be others...?? I noticed in an earlier thread that the wisperlight could simmer if properly used, and must admit that according to my experience with that model, simmering is quite an accomplishment ! Sure it will simmer if you hold you're pan a couple inches above the surface!
I'm looking for hands free and worry free simmering !
Any suggestions ^
many thanks


11:00 a.m. on December 3, 2002 (EST)
28 reviewer rep
1,261 forum posts
I can suggest one

can't give you a list since I have only used one. That is the Bluett Camping Gaz. Fueled by a propane/butane mix.

Only problem I have had with this stove in 10 years is once the o-ring fell out. Simply placed it back into position.

11:50 a.m. on December 3, 2002 (EST)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts
simmer !


Dear list,
Could anyone please give me a listing of the best stoves that offer simmering as an option ?

Geez, everyone posting gear questions lately wants to know "the best" whatever. To repeat, "best" is very dependent on the circumstances and personal habits and preferences. But, to answer a part of your question, the "simmering" part ...

Almost all, if not all, compressed gas stoves do a good job of simmering and are highly controllable. This includes not only the whole family of Camping Gaz stoves (also known as Bleuet, owned by Coleman) mentioned by Ed, but compressed gas stoves made by Primus, MSR, Snowpeak, Markill, Coleman (Coleman sells compressed gas stoves under several names), Bibler, and several others. Markill, Bibler, and MSR make hanging stoves or stove add-ons that are particularly convenient for simmer types of cooking, including double boiler applications. The MSR Superfly in the hanging configuration (or at least using the heat shield/exchanger) will boil water as fast as any backpack stove, including the XGK (I have both among my 15 stoves). There are a few deficiencies with compressed gas stoves, as with any stove. One is the cold weather problem, along with the low fuel problem. These both manifest themselves as dropping fuel pressure and slower cooking (not a problem if you are simmering anyway). Two crossover stoves (meaning you can switch between compressed gas and liquid fuel) are made by Primus, the Himalayan MFS (Multi-Fuel System) and Omni. In both cases, they are as hot at full tilt as the XGK, but will simmer. In both cases, the simmer controllability is better with compressed gas than with liquid fuel, the Omni being better than the MFS for simmer control with liquid fuels.

Among liquid fuel stoves, the choice of simmer-capable stoves is much more limited. With practice and user of a simmer plate, you can simmer on most liquid fuel stoves, including the XGK. However, the key word is "practice, practice, and still more practice". But then, that's like the flare problem mentioned in one of the responses to the request for information about the Whisperlite below. If you are having a flare problem with any stove, Whisperlite, XGK, Peak 1, even compressed gas stoves, you are not using it properly. Liquid fuel stoves generally require a priming process (there are some exceptions and some exceptional circumstances where you don't need to prime). Most people overprime and get large flareups, and most do not understand the priming process, hence get repeated flaring while cooking. But that's a different topic.

The liquid fuel stoves that are fairly readily controllable for simmer (and readily available) are the MSR Dragonfly and Simmerlite, Primus MFS, LFS, and Omni, Brunton/Optimus Nova, and Coleman Peak 1. I do not recommend the Colemans, though, because of numerous problems I have seen in use (they are popular with Scout troops, which I work with, because they are pretty cheap. But they do not stand up well to abuse, plus other problems). I only rarely use the Peak 1 International that I own, pretty much only during stove demonstrations and the stove portion of the backpacking class I help teach.

The Dragonfly is quite good in many ways (high flame boils almost as fast as the XGK, very controllable), but there are some special things you need to do when shutting down and some periodic maintenance items that get overlooked. My Dragonfly has been very good in practice, but several people I know have gone through several, and ultimately given up on them, mostly because of operator error (including neglecting the required maintenance). The primary neglected maintenance item seems to be forgetting that the fuel filter (the little white foam thing on the stove-attached fuel line that sits out exposed in your pack) gets clogged after a while. It is included in MSR's "annual maintenance kit," so there really is no excuse for not replacing it every so often (aside from not reading and following the directions included with the stove). In shutting down the stove, it is really important to shut the pump valve and open the simmer valve fully to drain and burn all the fuel in the flexible fuel line. If you do not do that, the heavier components of the fuel accumulate on the threads of the simmer valve and eventually clog that valve, which means the stove dies until you disassemble the simmer valve and clean it according to the directions included with the stove (sometimes it pays to read the manual!). A friend did a ski crossing of Greenland a few years back, with one of the early Dragonfly. The stove failed about midway, and they were unable to get it going. Luckily they had an XGK, which became their sole stove for the rest of the trip. It took a bit of correspondence with MSR after they returned home to Germany to finally figure out the problem, but he has crossed the Dragonfly off his list as insufficiently dependable for an extended expedition.

My Primus MFS is my primary stove, mostly for the capability of switching fuels, but also for its simmer and fast boil capabilities. There are a few things to remember when switching fuels, but those are all in the directions.

So, you have several to look at. If you are not planning on cold weather camping (below roughly 40F), compressed gas is probably the best choice. Once you have decided on fuel type, there are lots of other parameters - bulk, weight, price, and so on. And you will probably end up with 3 or 4 different stoves within a few years.

10:21 p.m. on December 3, 2002 (EST)


The trangia simmers marvellously. But if you want a stove that *boils* as well as simmers you might consider something else :-)

7:37 a.m. on March 13, 2003 (EST)

a.k.a. Rob Gerety

Optimus nova - my favorite
MSR dragonfly - good stove (except too much plastic stuff)

June 23, 2018
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