Sunday, July 25, 2010

Backpacking stoves

Many long distance backpackers carry a stove to cook or warm their meals on the trail. There are a few that like to carry foods that need no preparation to eat, like nuts and dried fruits and vegetables. I prefer to carry a stove to help rehydrate dehydrated meals. There are lots of different makes and models of stoves on the market. You can even make your own stove out of soft drink, beer or cat food cans. The type of hike will help you determine which stove to carry. On a short hike you are not restricted by weight but a longer hike requires you to lighten up on weight. There are trade offs using lighter weight stoves. Lighter stoves often have longer times to boil or to cook foods. I like to keep my pack weight for a 7 day backpacking trip under 11,350 grams (25 pounds) including food and water. I have tried many stoves and each stove has its own advantages and disadvantages.

It is a matter of preference to the type of stove you want to carry on a backpacking trip. I try to carry the lightest stove I can and with the least amount of fuel. I have found that carrying alcohol is safe and light. I have used the beer can stove in a blizzard and had no problem. The Bush Buddy uses wood for fuel but it has to be dry to burn. In a down pour I had to use a solid fuel cube to get a boil. The caldera cone works great but I don't have the patience to keep the seam from bending and binding.

Jetboil cannister stove

Good : Can boil one liter in a short period of time - 1 to 5 minutes, needs no windshield
Bad : Large size and weight 434 grams, needs gas cannister to work

Snow peak cannister stove

Good: Small size, short boil time 2 to 5 minutes
Bad : Needs wind shield, needs gas cannister, heavy 132 grams, unsteady unless a cannister support is used

Small cannister Isopro

Good: I can get about 9 to 10 boils per container
Bad: Gas under pressure, you have to carry it out when it is empty, heavy 236 grams - the 113 gram weight on the
can is the weight of the gas only

Large cannister ProIso

Good: Holds 220 grams of Isobutane/Propane almost twice the small container. Maybe you can get up to 15-20 boils per container.
Bad: Gas under pressure, heavy at 330 grams, you have to pack out the empty container

Brass alcohol stove

Good: Very indestructable, brass, you can regulate the burn
Bad: Heavy at 110 grams, must carry liquid fuel, alcohol

Bush Buddy

Good: A wood or solid fuel stove, you don't have to carry fuel
Bad: You need dry fuel (wood) to burn, heavy at 138 grams, large in size

Caldera cone

Good: Very light at 14 grams (minus cone) , primer plate, cone acts as wind brake and pot holder
Bad: Carry alcohol, one ounce can boil water, the cone tends to bend and is hard to put together

Soft drink can stove

Good: Light and efficient 8 grams
Bad: Must carry alcohol fuel and use a wind screen

Beer can alcohol stove

Good: You can use the soft drink can stove or the solid fuel cube
Bad: You can only boil only about a half liter of water, you need a wind screen, 80 grams

Proverbs 30:8 - Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: