Stoves: Product Design, Info, Use, Maintenance

2:39 p.m. on May 14, 2019 (EDT)
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Hi Folks,

I'm starting to pull together info on different gear categories (for example: stoves) and their sub-categories (for example: liquid fuel stoves, canister stoves, etc).

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced stove user, I'm curious about the topics you wish were better covered when choosing and using a stove, as well as going deeper to find out what you wish you knew about stoves and their design and performance.

  • Maybe you wonder about different features and performance issues.
  • Do you wish you knew where to even start to choose a type or model?
  • Do you just want to know what fuel to buy so you can go camping?
  • Are there questions you would ask a stove's designer?
  • Or questions for a repair shop or about maintenance?

Feel free to be as broad or specific as you like, and as basic or in-depth. I'm curious to see the range of what comes up.

Thanks!

Alicia

5:27 p.m. on May 14, 2019 (EDT)
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Well since we are wishing...

These comments are directed at the OEMs, and stove porn fans who like to test stoves and post reviews for other's consideration.  The goal is imparting more objectivity and consistency into these evaluations:

A standardized test to evaluate and compare pot stability between stoves.  The industry has its boil time for 1 litter; why not a criteria for pot stability?  Such a test would use a standard pot size, but also may additionally post a score for a pot designed by the OEM specifically for the stove model(s).  Results would be on a scale, say 1 - 5, with a better score for passing increasingly more arduous tests. And each test in the rubric would also be standardized, such as a pushing sideways force of X, then Y & Z grams, each applied to the pot along the water line.  This force would be applied so the force vector splits the gap between adjacent pot stand legs on the opposite side of the pot.  You get my drift...

Back to the 1 litter boil time - it would be nice if this test was also performed at several wind velocities.  Some stoves cope better with wind than others; likewise some stove windscreens are more effective than others.

Large volume heating.  1 litter performance is relevant for solo and 2P cooking, but what about larger groups or melting snow?  A one gallon boil time would be informative too.

Ed

9:22 a.m. on May 17, 2019 (EDT)
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Thank you, Ed!

10:29 a.m. on May 17, 2019 (EDT)
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Propane stoves are simple and work in warmer weather. 

Gas stoves under pressure work in all weather but are more complicated.  You have to take one apart at home and learn the idiosyncracies so that they are dependable in the field. 

2:04 a.m. on June 7, 2019 (EDT)
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Go to Backpacking Light and join to read their many stove reviews over the years including themes recent on UL canister-top stoves.

Eric B.

11:21 p.m. on June 22, 2019 (EDT)
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Alicia,

One thing that would be helpful for new backpackers is to list stoves by category/type

EX.

ISO BUTANE STOVES:

 1. CANISTER TOP

 2. REMOTE CANISTER STYLE

MULTI-FUEL STOVES:

1. WHITE GAS & KEROSENE 

2. WHITE GAS, KEROSENE AND ISO-BUTANE

SINGLE LIQUID FUEL STOVES:

1. ADJUSTABLE FLAME WHITE GAS (ex. MSR Dragonfly)

2. NON-ADJUSTABLE FLAME WHITE GAS

3. KEROSENE ONLY (ex. "ancient" Swedish stoves)

ALCOHOL STOVES:

1. COMERCIAL

2. DIY 

ALCOHOL/ESBIT STOVES:

1. CONE STYLE

2. OTHER SHAPES

WOOD STOVES: 

1. GASSIFIER (i.e. TRAIL DESIGNS' TRI-TI AND SIDEWINDER OR BUSH BUDDY)

2. SIMPLE BURN (NON-GASSIFIER)

That's all the types I can think of at the moment.

You could explain the advantages & disadvantages of each general type and sub type.

This post could be a "stickey" that is always up but is updated/modified as new information is available.

Eric B.

6:46 p.m. on June 23, 2019 (EDT)
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ppine said:

Propane stoves are simple and work in warmer weather. 

Gas stoves under pressure work in all weather but are more complicated.  You have to take one apart at home and learn the idiosyncracies so that they are dependable in the field. 

 did you mean butane ? 

Propane works at lower temps than all the other type of gas canister stoves. 

10:34 a.m. on June 27, 2019 (EDT)
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When I was starting, it would have helped me to know what kind of stove best suited each type of activity. 

For example, I wish someone had told me that alpinists don't really use alcohol stoves and that all you need is something to melt water.   

Maybe some sort of chart that had stoves divided into classes/categories with info like:

- stoves for when you travel internationally/multi-fuel

- stove types that are maintenance-free

- stoves to use at high altitude

- most common stove for PCT/AT thru hikers

- stoves used on 8,000 m peaks

- best for cold weather

- heaviest

- longest lasting

- cheapest

Also helpful would be a discussion of the most popular model of each class/category.

Thats my two cents.

 

2:49 a.m. on June 28, 2019 (EDT)
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Jeff,

Me too! My first backpacking stove in the early '70s (I'm a dinosaur) was the famed SVEA 123 with a Swiss SIGG TOURIST cookset. That was pretty hi-tech in those days!

Later I bought an updated Swedish white gas stove purported to be good at simmering. Got it home and found it was not good at simmering. Took it back and bought an MSR Dragonfly, the best simmering petrol fuel stove in the world.

So yeah, new backpackers need better information on stoves and their limitations. For example it may seem that an alcohol stove, being so light, would be the way to go for a long trip. BUT after 3 days the alcohol fuel alone weighs more than a butane canister & Pocket Rocket. Hard lessons to learn.

I've used a Caldera Cone stoves with ESBIT on two Grand Canyon 4 day trips and did just fine.

But for winter that same stove with the Inferno insert is great for melting snow for water. It means I carry far less fuel B/C the wood is available.

Eric B.

9:45 a.m. on June 28, 2019 (EDT)
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Anyone have a good Optimist 80 for sale?  I miss the one that cost $8.95, brass made in Sweden. 

7:06 p.m. on June 28, 2019 (EDT)
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Ppine:
I had a Model 80, and other similar models by Primus that shared the same burner-over-tank design.  The Model 80 specifically was well suited for preparing a quick hot cup of cha while en route.  It is part of my fond Boy Scout memories, when a group of us miscreants would either take off ahead or fall back behind the rest of the troop while on trail, in order to engage in unauthorized activities.  Eventually the adult supervision or toady senior scout designates would find us, enjoying our tea, none the wiser as to what we were up to.

But otherwise, like most of the other 1st and 2nd gen white gas stoves, the whole priming ceremony was tedious, and ability to simmer limited.  There was an after market pump one could fit over the pressure relief valve, but it was only a minnor improvement.  The can (aka pot stand) was very small, making it a challenge to cook over.  The small pot stand in fact was an issue with all of the optimist and Primus stoves of that tank & burner configuration.  Many good memories, but as soon as MSR came out with the XKG, FireFly and WhisperLite stoves, my trove of little Primus and Optimist stoves were gifted away to my needy camping friends. 

Ed 

December 6, 2019
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