Cookers^

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Mark99
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Cookers^

Post by Mark99 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:34 pm

Having just spent a week cooking on a Trangier, I can't help wondering if this is the best the 21st century has to offer. What do you serious campers who want tea in under half an hour use?

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AndyC#2
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Re: Cookers

Post by AndyC#2 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:46 pm

Mark99 wrote:Having just spent a week cooking on a Trangier, I can't help wondering if this is the best the 21st century has to offer. What do you serious campers who want tea in under half an hour use?
Primarily an MSR Whisperlite stove, burning unleaded petrol. It's a bit of a faff to light with the pre-heating procedure (which should be done with meths but I tend to just run a bit of petrol into the cup and light that - smokes a tad, but less to carry). I've had it for years and it's never let me down.

Having said that, I recently got a Primus gas stove, one with a hose from the canister to the burner head (I'm not keen on the ones where you perch the pot on the burner on the canister) and piezo ignition (which is a bit hit and miss, carry a fire-steel as well). It's remarkably good - fast, quick & clean to light and packs as small as the Whisperlite. Downside is that you'd need to carry a lot more gas canisters than the 1L bottle of petrol that lasts me over a week with the Whisperlite + the canisters, being disposable, are not particularly ecofriendly (although the fuel maybe more so - ho hum).

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Jurassic
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Re: Cookers

Post by Jurassic » Tue Sep 08, 2009 12:57 pm

If it's just for boiling water the Jetboil is pretty good, I can boil water for a brew quicker on the Jetboil than I can with the kettle at home. Not so good for real cooking but fine for a cuppa or boil in the bag food. For real cooking I'm still using an Epigas (no longer in business) stove I bought back in the late eighties. It has a tube between the burner head and the gas canister (as described in the previous post) which means you can put the gas can in your sleeping bag in cold weather (or at high altitude) to ensure the gas vapourises and doesn't flare up. These type of stoves are also very stable for cooking on.
I used to have a Coleman petrol stove but found it more bother than it was worth, I'd like to try an MSR one though, they look like a really nice bit of kit.

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MikeD
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Re: Cookers

Post by MikeD » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:05 pm

After years of deciding which fuel to use for a trip..... winter - benzin & summer - gas, and finding out if the gas cannisters available will fit my stove...... I have been really happy that I have now a cooker that really is multi-fuel. A bit heavy for hiking but no problem on kayak trips

http://www.primus.se/Templates/Pages/3_ ... ionId=5888

Boils water really quickly and is quite easy to regulate the burner to a simmer

The ETA Power system also saves fuel so is great on longer trips. Primus is also really great with aftersales service etc.


MikeD

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AndyC#2
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Re: Cookers

Post by AndyC#2 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:20 pm

MikeD wrote:
The ETA Power system also saves fuel so is great on longer trips. Primus is also really great with aftersales service etc.

MikeD
I'll second that - I have an Eta Power cooking pot (basically a pot with a JetBoil-style heat exchanger on the bottom) and it's really quick. You can hold you hand next to the pot and the gases coming out the edges exchanger aren't hot at all. The only annoyance, and it's really annoying, is that for some inexplicable reason the heat exchanger ring is exactly the wrong size for my Primus stove, so the pot just teeters on the edge of the exchanger and is really quite unstable - a bit bigger or a bit smaller and all would be fine.

AC.

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Squirrely
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Re: Cookers

Post by Squirrely » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:42 pm

I've tried/owned pretty much every system out there since I've done a lot of rough camping, trekking, mountain stuff (jetboil, MSRs, primus, various gas cylinder stoves, trangias). Over time my needs have varied from lightweight, packs up small, need fuel to last a long time etc.

I concur with an earlier post that if you only want a quick brew there is probably not much better than a jetboil - it is cool and dinky. However, if like me, you need something that can last you a few weeks, on a single tank, very quick heating, easy lighting, wind resistant etc, I'd heartily recommend an MSR dragonfly. It packs up small, has two valves so the flame is controllable, you can easily light it in really strong wind and it can be used (with some care) in a tent (providing you put a rock under the stove to avoid burning your tent floor). I've ran it on meths, ethanol, petrol, diesel and paraffin and never had it fail. I don't even bother with matches or a lighter, I just use one of those flint strikers which are happy to work even when wet. If this were a poll I'd give it 5/5 as its the best stove I've ever owned!

cheers
Neil

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Squirrely
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Re: Cookers

Post by Squirrely » Tue Sep 08, 2009 1:55 pm

P.s. my girlfriend can also light it without the fireballs that have been so characteristic of her efforts with all other stoves. This may not be a problem you suffer from but, for me, this is a big plus!!

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MikeB
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Re: Cookers

Post by MikeB » Tue Sep 08, 2009 2:14 pm

Assuming your Trangia experience was with meths, then get the gas conversion kit. As long as all you need to use are the standard trangia pots / kettle then I think it's hard to beat for easy use and lighting and ease of use in poor conditions.

Mind you, I've never thought the meths burners were notably slow in real use and I used only Trangias for years. I keep meaning to buy the gas conversion set but have yet to.

I've also got an MSR Whisperlite which I love - mainly for it's quirky behaviour, the need to know exactly what you're doing with it, all the possible combinations of things which can go wrong but be fixed "in the field" and it's total reliability so far - and the ease with which it will burn water!

Not so wonderful for gentle simmering tho. I recommend MSR hard-anodised pots with it as they distribute the heat so much better than stainless steel. Overall cost = big bucks tho.

Mike

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woody
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Re: Cookers

Post by woody » Tue Sep 08, 2009 3:16 pm

As per MikeB

Get a gas conversion kit, or for that real fireball experience, an optimus nova conversion. Then you get all the power and versatility of a multi fuel stove in the indestructible trangia base. Awesome. Wouldn't bother with a jetboil or similar from msr and primus unless you need it all to be light weight eg for hillwalking. They won't last.

Cheers

Edit: forgot to say optimus has been much more reliable in the field than msr in my experience. No brand allegiance, just randomly bought one and it never failed or clogged in five years whilst friend's msr's broke down and broke.
Rain rain we want rain

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MikeB
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Re: Cookers

Post by MikeB » Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:47 pm

woody wrote: optimus has been much more reliable in the field than msr in my experience. No brand allegiance, just randomly bought one and it never failed or clogged in five years whilst friend's msr's broke down and broke.
I've heard similar stories - aalthough mine has been totally reliable in the 9 years I've had it - and it's always run on unleaded! That said, I've heard bad thigns about using unleaded in petrol stoves and have just discovered a product called Aspen 4Twhich is sold for chainsaws and the like. Not all that easy to find, but a discussion over on Songofthepaddle suggests it's a viable alternative to Coleman fuel.

I've jsut bought 5 ltrs of the stuff for marginally under £14 - which compared to £6 for 500mls of Coleman seems like rather good value and it appears to work rather well too.

It seems that not only can unleaded foul up the evaporator tubes in petrol stoves, but it'll "go off" after a few months which increases the chances of clogging, and it's also rather nasty stuff from a health perspective. Certainly my health seems ok, but if unleaded is used in a Coleman stove it will clog the tube and the only way to fix it is to replace the tube. Having once been left with an inoperable stove on a trip I know that only too well, and a pal's 3 burner Coleman stove had some probs this summer too.

MSR's really need the windshield to be used with them, and it's worth having the titanium stove base too especially if used on any form of surface where the wire legs can sink. AndyC#2 mentions pre-heating with meths and I'll second that - MSR instructions say to let some petrol run into the pre-heat cup but I find that is a really smokey, dirty way to light the thing and leaves it all covered in soot if it's done with ordinary petrol. With Coleman, or Aspen it's somewhat cleaner.

If I was starting out buying kit I think I'd go the "Trangia running on gas" route - that said, the canisters can be a little hard to find and they have to be disposed of after use so there is an environmental aspect with them too. I've got one Trangia which is 35 years old - still perfect of course as there's nothing to break. I think I've replaced the sealing ring on the burner cap once. Lovely bits of kit.

There is another "time" factor and that's what I call "total time to tea" - which stove, I wondered, produces a brew quickest, from taking it out of the boat, in real conditions, to producing a brew. We played with this a while ago - this discussion has the details. The quickest way to boil water turned out to be a Kelly Kettle - followed closely by a meths Trangia (although there was an allegation of foul play). MSR was last - - - so faffy to set up. I still like it tho! A proper "man's stove".

Mike.

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Mark R
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Re: Cookers

Post by Mark R » Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:49 pm

Yes, Trangia with gas conversion.

What I especially like about this set-up is its self-contained stability - I can look/walk away from it, and assume that it won't all fall over.
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MikeB
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Re: Cookers

Post by MikeB » Tue Sep 08, 2009 4:54 pm

True.

But the very best cooker is called the SEDI.

As in "someone else does it" - ideally the cook in a hotel with easy access to the water. Otherwise known as "credit card kayaking".

For the price of an MSR set up with decent pans, base, utensils etc you could get at least 10 decent pub meals - - -

Mike.

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Squirrely
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Re: Cookers

Post by Squirrely » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:29 pm

Hi Mike,

you are dead right about unleaded. It has additives in it that go off pretty quickly and which leave gummy deposits. If you alternate the fills with a different fuel these deposits are cleaned up. Paraffin is best. Diesel works really well in MSRs with either of the supplied jets but one of them is much less efficient/more smoky. I've tried my friends whisperlite and it was much, much more difficult to use than the dragonfly - presumably because the former is basically on or off and this makes it spluttery and flarey, problems you just don't get with the dragon fly.

My all time favourite stove, however, is my old mans brass Primus stove. It is the forerunner of all MSRs/primus etc. He got it for his 21st birthday and it still works almost 40 years later (with no spare parts ever having been needed). It is cubic, made of a lovely gold brass, folds out to a stable, wide cooking platform. It has the density of mercury, weighs about 6 kilos, and I cannot recommend it for anything other than weighing the boat down to make it more stable, but I still love it as it is a classic!

cheers

Neil

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bradkarma
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Re: Cookers

Post by bradkarma » Tue Sep 08, 2009 5:30 pm

for kayak camping, I can't be bothered with the Whisperlite.

I use this:

http://cascadedesigns.com/msr/stoves/fa ... rt/product

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Re: Cookers

Post by AlanTelemark » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:46 pm

If speed is the priority, carry a flask. If unfaltering reliability is the priority, the Trangia wins. Tried many types of stoves for mountaineering, ski touring and paddling and still go back to the Trangia. After been badly let down by several top selling pressure stoves eg Dragonfly, XGK etc whilst in remote locations i have given up on them, (had 2 brand new Dragonflies break on an exped. and could not be repired in the field). Have even used the Trangia in winter in Norway and at altitude, its slow but reliable.

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Re: Cookers

Post by Chris Bolton » Tue Sep 08, 2009 6:58 pm

For many years I used an Optimus 96 paraffin stove. Very reliable, hardly ever needs any maintenance, fits into a box about 12cm by 20cm by 7cm. After about 20 years the jet was getting a bit worn, and I used the wrong size wire to clean it, enlarging it a bit more, and then it burnt very sooty. So I moved to modern technology and bought an MSR Dragonfly, which I ran on paraffin. It was wonderful for about a week, then clogged up, requiring about 30 minutes of dismantling and cleaning the feed pipe. Same again 5 days later. Gave up and bought a new burner for the old Optimus, which has been fine ever since.

Chris

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Re: Cookers

Post by Owen » Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:05 pm

AlanTelemark wrote:If speed is the priority, carry a flask. If unfaltering reliability is the priority, the Trangia wins. Tried many types of stoves for mountaineering, ski touring and paddling and still go back to the Trangia. After been badly let down by several top selling pressure stoves eg Dragonfly, XGK etc whilst in remote locations I have given up on them, (had 2 brand new Dragonflies break on an exped. and could not be repired in the field). Have even used the Trangia in winter in Norway and at altitude, its slow but reliable.
I'm another one that's had nothing but trouble from MSR stoves (XGK and Whisperlite). The trangia whether meths or gas has never let me down.

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MikeB
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Re: Cookers

Post by MikeB » Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:13 pm

Squirrely wrote:Hi Mike,

you are dead right about unleaded. It has additives in it that go off pretty quickly and which leave gummy deposits. If you alternate the fills with a different fuel these deposits are cleaned up. Paraffin is best. Diesel works really well in MSRs
Interesting - having had the unpleasant experience of spilling both paraffin and diesel on clothes - and indeed petrol in a tent (dont ask - - ) I dont like them much for the stove in truth - the Aspen stuff seems rather less "smelly" than unleaded btw and to all intents and purposes the smell has disappeared from my hands after todays experiments. Petrol would still be lingering. A paraffin spill in the boat will leave a heck of a mess. Petrol - not good, but less noticable. Meths - a bit of a stain and that's it.
My all time favourite stove, however, is my old mans brass Primus stove. It is the forerunner of all MSRs/primus etc. He got it for his 21st birthday and it still works almost 40 years later (with no spare parts ever having been needed). It is cubic, made of a lovely gold brass, folds out to a stable, wide cooking platform. It has the density of mercury, weighs about 6 kilos, and I cannot recommend it for anything other than weighing the boat down to make it more stable, but I still love it as it is a classic!

cheers

Neil
Ah yes. Nothing to beat the sound of an old Primus, especially one fitted with a roarer burner! And, as you say, long lived. A REAL man's stove and you sure have to know how to work them properly! I've got several Tilley lamps and wish I could get them into the boat - wonderful things. The modern Coleman pressure lamps are nothing like as good overall.

Mike

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Squirrely
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Re: Cookers^

Post by Squirrely » Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:38 pm

Well, if there is a consensus in all of this it seems to be that Trangia are indisputedly the most reliable as they have no moving parts but require the patience of a saint. Hence the original posters thread.

It also seems that people have difficulties with MSRs being unreliable. Whilst that flies in the face of > 10 years of usage with no problems for me, it seems that others are having difficulties, and it is hard to ignore this if one is purchasing a new stove.

However, as Mike has alluded to, and something with which I agree, there is the important 'cohones' factors to be considered, where high volume, blow back and risk of fire are an integral and valued part of the whole experience. If the meal doesn't come with a risk of singed eyebrows, damaged eardrums or smelling of petroleum, the important feelgood/smell bad factors are missing from the outdoor experience.

On a more serious note, if you use the wrong fuel for a given type of container, the linings can solubilise, or slough off, and block lines in any brand of 'pressurised fuel' stove. I wonder if this is a contributing factor to some of the problems people have had with these types of stove? Anyway, I always carry the trangia stove inside my pots in case of emergency! Its tiny and although I've never had to revert to it, its nice to have in case!

cheers
Neil

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mitch
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Re: Cookers

Post by mitch » Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:41 pm

Mark R wrote:Yes, Trangia with gas conversion.

What I especially like about this set-up is its self-contained stability - I can look/walk away from it, and assume that it won't all fall over.
Since it doesn't use the gas canister as a base, they can be any shape. I believe you can use the cheap hair spray sized canisters of Butane from Focus as they have the same threaded connection.

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MikeB
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Re: Cookers^

Post by MikeB » Tue Sep 08, 2009 7:48 pm

Squirrely wrote:On a more serious note, if you use the wrong fuel for a given type of container, the linings can solubilise, or slough off, and block lines in any brand of 'pressurised fuel' stove. I wonder if this is a contributing factor to some of the problems people have had with these types of stove? Anyway, I always carry the trangia stove inside my pots in case of emergency! Its tiny and although I've never had to revert to it, its nice to have in case!

cheers
Neil
Interesting thought. What probs are people having with MSR's?

I rather like that idea of carrying a Trangia burner and some meths as "back up". There are one or two folk making wonderful little meths burners out of everything from old Coke cans to wondefully turned and machined aluminium (at a price for these).

Mike.

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lg18
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Re: Cookers^

Post by lg18 » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:29 pm

Squirrely wrote:Well, if there is a consensus in all of this it seems to be that Trangia are indisputedly the most reliable as they have no moving parts but require the patience of a saint.
Many gas cannister-based cookers require even more patience if there is wind blowing the flame about or if the cannister is running low. Like Alan, I have used many types in all sorts of situations, and now (at least for sea kayaking) always just pack the good old Trangia. Can't beat it. And it even comes with an integral frying pan (lid)! Stable, reliable, won't let you down. Yes, slower than gas thingies in perfect conditions, but faster/as fast when the going gets tough!

Lucy

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steve-m
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Re: Cookers^

Post by steve-m » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:05 pm

Interesting thought. What probs are people having with MSR's?
MSR Dragonfly stoves; when they are good they are very very good when they go bad they are *********!!!!!!!!!!
And they usually let you down just at the end of the day when you are gasping for a refreshing cup of hot soup.

The jet can block up but that can be cleaned. The real problem comes when the O rings or the control valve needles fail, you either get no fuel coming through or petrol sprays out of the joints, catches fire and threatens to set fire to a field as happened to me on the Isle of Wight! The various service kits are OK but it can be tricky to replace the O rings in a satisfactory way, or perhaps following having the whole pump unit on fire, the O rings seatings were less than perfect!
I ended up buying a whole new pump unit from Needlesports (very good for MSR spares).
MSR Dragonfly Stoves, are a basically a stonking bit of kit but, in my view, let down by flimsy technology with the pump unit and the connections.
Steve-M Shropshire

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Douglas Wilcox
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Re: Cookers^

Post by Douglas Wilcox » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:43 pm

I have just checked and I have all of the above stoves except for the gas conversion for my Trangia . My two oldest are a 1918 half pint paraffin brass Primus that my great uncle bought and a 1969 half pint paraffin brass Optimus that I bought in 1969. Both still work but the 1918 one let me down badly a couple of years ago. In its defence, Tiso got me spare washers, although it took them two weeks! Embarrased by the delay, they did not charge me.

The only thing I will say about my MSR stoves is that they are permanent residents in my Optio drawer.

The only stove I can be bothered with now for 3 season, sea level use in the UK is the gas Primus Etapower EF. The insulated case is great for keeping your dinner warm so you don't need to rush to eat it before it gets cold.

The paraffin stoves still come out in winter.

Douglas

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MikeB
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Re: Cookers^

Post by MikeB » Tue Sep 08, 2009 9:58 pm

Basecamp.co.uk are good for getting bits for old stoves and lamps.

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Re: Cookers^

Post by Owen » Tue Sep 08, 2009 10:24 pm

MikeB wrote: Interesting thought. What probs are people having with MSR's?

Mike.

On the whisperlite the fuel comes out of the bottle through a flexable pipe into a ridged metal pipe and on to the burner. Where the flexable pipe fits onto the metal pipe, I've had this joint come apart whilst the cooker was alight, flamethrower.

I've had the pump crossed threaded and leak petrol which was ignited when lighting up. Not funny when two of us were bivying on a ledge two foot wide by eight foot long with the cooker between us.

On Mount Kenya two days walk in, in Bolivia four days from any road and five from a village I've had them stop working never to run again. "Handbreaks on canoes", "trapdoor on submarines", "tits on bulls" etc.

Tourer
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Re: Cookers

Post by Tourer » Tue Sep 08, 2009 11:36 pm

Squirrely wrote:Hi Mike,

you are dead right about unleaded. It has additives in it that go off pretty quickly and which leave gummy deposits.
Probably that's what I've done to my Primus Multifuel 5405 - all cleaning with the wire inside the tube lasts only for one or two burn cycles, fiddling the wire through the jet.. then it cloggs up again.

Maybe I should change the fuel filter and the tube ?

If anyone has an idea of how to really thoroughly cleaning it knows about some stuff to deep clean it (battery acid maybe ?) please come forward !

I first had a MSR Whisperlite that I ran for years on unleaded, clogged every now and then, I could live with that, then it was stolen with a complete climbing kit. The MSR plastic pump came apart every now and then, so I kept a spare just in case. The Primus is heavier but alo sturdier built.

The idea of trying to get a clogged petrol stove going in - 30 degrees (hopefully will xcountry ski tour one day again) lets me resort to the days of old when I couldn't afford these gizmos and always kept a supply of dry firewood in the rucksack, pine cones or such like, or sheep droppings if needs to, and a candle stub, or used some precious oil as a starter. With some experience it is possible to get a fire going even in pooring rain shielded by the pot, my take ome time.

The upmarket version of that is the Trangia system but thenmeth spirit isn't always avilable and more expnsive as well, the fuel of choice in terms of heat output and availability is still petrol. On a long Xcountry ski run the other day I needed almost 3 litres of fluid in a single day, fortunately there where those huts with fire and logs provided by the forestry commision in Finland.

Gas is completely usefless as soon as it gets < 0 degrees or a little bit of wind goes.

Regards

Rainer

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Twix
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Re: Cookers^

Post by Twix » Wed Sep 09, 2009 12:04 am

I still use one of these its getting on a bit now, but it does the job so I don't see the point in replacing it. Think I've had it more than 10 years. Faff free, stable, quick enough and small enough for me and runs on propane/butane mix, so its ok in the cold. Works better with a wind shield.
http://www.outdoorsmagic.com/news/article/mps/uan/53
I think you can still get something quite similar for about £20 although I am sure that there are better lighter etc.

Or I use an MSR Wisperlite of a similar vintage that I borrow if I need it if I can't get gas somewhere. It has been run on unleaded and paraffin, it needs a good clean occasionally and I take a kit if I am going away, there is a wire in the tube that can be yanked out to clean it. Quicker in theory than the gas, but pumping takes time, so I prefer the gas one.

If I had a trangia already, then I would recommend the gas kit, its a nice package a lot of my friends use. I already have pans etc so its not something I would get. I hate the smell of meths and it seems slow to me.

A friend has a kelly kettle (no beard honest) and that is surprisingly rapid for just brewing up.

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Mark99
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Re: Cookers^

Post by Mark99 » Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:24 am

Thanks for the excellent replies. I like the fact that Trangia seems to be coming out ahead, very retro. I must say, we did sort of get into the rhythm of the damn thing, & as it can be safely lit & ignored, tea was usually ready by the time the kayaks were unpacked. The nights we could have a fire for frying stuff & use the Trangia for boiling worked pretty well.

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MikeB
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Re: Cookers

Post by MikeB » Wed Sep 09, 2009 8:34 am

Tourer wrote: If anyone has an idea of how to really thoroughly cleaning it knows about some stuff to deep clean it (battery acid maybe ?) please come forward !
Carburettor cleaner - aerosol can from yer usual car parts place. Spray into the tube - perhaps run the cleaning wire in and out a bit too. Also spray on the wire to help soften any carbon deposits.

I've just pulled the wire out of my Whisperlite and although its got some carbon on it, it certainly didnt need a clean. Never had a blockage on it yet. One thought - the tube and opening for it on the pump assembly are very vulnerable to dust and grit - mine always stays "as one", even in the sorage bag. Not had a pump fail, but I am very aware of the vulnerability of plastic pumps.

I've fixed the pump on a Tilley lamp using a bit of old leather and a washer and nut "borrowed" from a LandRover, with some engine oil to lube the leather. Bet that can't be done with an MSR!

Mike.

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