Stoves^

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
Post Reply
User avatar
Zoe Newsam
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:06 am

Stoves^

Post by Zoe Newsam » Fri Mar 18, 2005 11:56 am

Thinking of investing in a new stove- my current one is a cheapy but goody that uses gas canisters.

Gas v Multifuel (MSR style) v Trangia.

Discuss.

Guest

Post by Guest » Fri Mar 18, 2005 12:03 pm


User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland

Post by MikeB » Fri Mar 18, 2005 6:45 pm

Gas = buy a decent one! And a windshield. Easy, controllable, simple and a royal pain when the gas runs out and you can't get the right cylinder.

MSR = in my humble view, multifuels are the answer - run on petrol - cheap and easy to get fuel - pre-heat with meths though! Reliable and easy to field-strip. Great customer service and easy parts availability. Whisperlite will melt water, just don't expect to have all that much control and getting a low heat is hard. Even with the latest control valve / pump. :-(

Some others are apparantly more controllable? THe other thread has mention of.

Trangia = love them! Dead simple, reliable, nothing to go wrong. With the gas conversion, you've probably got the best of both worlds. Often to be found cheap on eBay although usually with the meths burner - just buy the gas converter afterwards... (There are also some weird ex-Swedish army oval ones advertised and a few knock-offs of the traditional design). Small one is fine for one person and fits neatly thro even a VCP 7in hatch.

Which poses the question - was the hatch designed round the Trangia or the Trangia round the hatch??

Regs - Mike.

Chris Bolton
Posts: 2260
Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 11:33 pm
Location: NW England

MSR Dragonfly

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Mar 18, 2005 7:51 pm

Used an Optimus for many years, but eventually the jet wore and it flared out. It was a brilliant stove. Replaced with an MSR Dragonfly, which is very powerful, controllable, versatile, and pack up fairly small. It's only disadvantage is that it sounds like 747 flying past your ear (but then you'll be used to that, Zoe!).

Chris

ElliottG

Stoves

Post by ElliottG » Sat Mar 19, 2005 8:07 am

Recently added these to my collection of cooking variables:

The Swedish army mess kit (trangia burner, windshield, pans, meths storage - plus two 'free' army mess tins) dirt cheap

http://www.surplusandadventure.com/isho ... r2630.html

and

The Kelly Kettle - which really helps to satisfy the lust for making fire (safely and contained), when the flames come out the top it gets really exciting - also known as the Volcano; although you can use the trangia in the base if you prefer.

http://www.kellykettle.com/default.htm

Elliott

User avatar
Simon Willis
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 1:27 am
Location: Ardnamurchan
Contact:

Post by Simon Willis » Sun Mar 20, 2005 6:53 pm

A very personal thing stoves.... and first you really have to pick your fuel source. And that depends where you're going.

Gas canister. For me the most convenient to use in Europe in most conditions. Relatively quiet & safe, convenient, no leaks into food and available in most mountain areas. With practice (or scales) you can judge/measure how much is left in a can. Not good in really cold conditions as the butane burns off first. MSR Superfly stove screws onto either Coleman or CampingGas canisters (not the puncture ones) so ideal for backpacking in Europe where one or other is almost always available. If cooking for 2 people, a big pan balanced on top of a thin stove, screwed on top of a canister can topple over. Plus it's hard to get a windshield tall enough (balance small ones on rocks, but not ideal). So in the UK, when not going ultra-light, I use a Coleman Alpine Stove. If you are going ultra-light, I'd look hard at the new Jetboil set-up which is a rare, genuine innovation.

White Gas /multi-fuel. Liquid fuel which you pump-pressurise and pre-heat to get to jet, which usually means a small fire-ball to start with. Fast to boil, burns many fuels, and fairly robust, but noisy, need cleaning if you use dirty fuel and you have flammable, smelly liquid sloshing about during the day. When all the bits taken into account, they're not lkight either. However, my favourite choice for extreme cold, developing world expeditions, and melting lots of snow day after day. MSR are the market leaders, and when I toured their Seattle factory were surprised to learn I'd twice managed to break a MSR Dragonfly, once at 13,000ft which was a rather serious pain. Currently, the XGK is their expedition model, so probably the most robust. If you can find them, look at Snow Peak's versions (they make the Jetboil) as their pumps are metal rather than MSR's plastic but didn't used to be available in the UK.

Alcohol. On a five month hike the length of the USA we used an alcohol burning stove made from the base of two coke cans - all the rage among ultra-light hikers in the US. There are two main designs - one with an open chamber based on the Trangia design (which we used) and another with a closed chamber which pressurises, burns hotter and faster. An internet search should pull up all you'd want to know. In the UK they run on meths, but don't ask for that in the States as "Meth" is slang for an illegal drug. There you buy de-natured alcohol in hardware stores, or a brand of fuel line anti-freeze called Heet, or even rubbing alcohol from a drug store, although the latter burns sooty. However, trying to find such alcohol in Spain or Corsica has proved very tricky for me.
S

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland

Post by MikeB » Sun Mar 20, 2005 8:17 pm

Simon Willis wrote: White Gas /multi-fuel. Liquid fuel which you pump-pressurise and pre-heat to get to jet, which usually means a small fire-ball to start with.
Like I mentioned before, avoid the fire ball by carrying a small bottle of meths and use it to pre-heat!

User avatar
Simon Willis
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 1:27 am
Location: Ardnamurchan
Contact:

Post by Simon Willis » Sun Mar 20, 2005 9:02 pm

MikeB wrote: Like I mentioned before, avoid the fire ball by carrying a small bottle of meths and use it to pre-heat!
Which is a great idea when you can find two different fuel sources, one of them being meths. If you like MSR-type stoves, this is certainly the way to go.

However, although you can carry whisky on an aircraft (ethyl alcohol) they're not too keen on you carrying methyl alcohol. Since one of the main attractions of the MSR-type stoves (to me at least!) is their ability to burn multi-fuels anywhere in the world, finding and carrying meths isn't always practical or possible. If I could find the meths equivalent, I'd use my coke-can stove which is ridiculously light, needs no maintenance, is utterly silent and, if it breaks, I can make a new one.
S

User avatar
Zoe Newsam
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:06 am

Decision made...

Post by Zoe Newsam » Tue Mar 22, 2005 12:28 pm

Well, after struggling with my gas burner in a windy campspot on Saturday night, whilst my 2 paddling buddies lit their Trangia (albeit the gas converted version) and left it to get on with the cooking, I've decided Trangia wins the debate for me.

I've gone for the standard meths burner for several reasons:
The fuel in a bottle is more compact and lasts longer.
Once gas canisters reach the bottom third, they are next to useless.
Throwing away canisters every 3 days is not exactly ecologically sound.

So I now have a shiny new Trangia set complete with fuel bottle & contents (30th birthday present!!!) to test on my Easter weekend trip. :0)

Zoe

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland

Re: Decision made...

Post by MikeB » Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:27 pm

zoenewsam wrote: I've gone for the standard meths burner for several reasons:
The fuel in a bottle is more compact and lasts longer.

Zoe
Happy birthday - interesting comment about meths v gas - any comparisons? You suggesteed a gas canister might last 3 days (seems reasonable) - approx how much meths did you use then?

Mike.

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13497
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton

Post by Jim » Tue Mar 22, 2005 1:44 pm

Too late now I realise, but my main preference is a multifuel like my MSR dragonfly. It will burn just about anything with the right jet, and does it quickly. Fireballs are avoided by careful about the amount of fuel you let through for preheat, and having patience to not turn it back on until it is heated enough. I never had an optimus but still have a number of full size primuses (no good for sea kayaking) and I think they are beatiful stoves!

Mikes idea to light with meths is good, has anyone tried the burning paste stuff designed to use with these sort of stoves, I reckon it would be more acceptable on an aircraft?

My back up/second ring is another MSR - the pocket rocket gas burner. Screws onto any normal disposable bottle (some require considerable tightening), weighs a few grams (titanium) and lives happily inside my cookset. The bottles are relatively big and heavy but cheap and easy to get hold of and fill all sorts of odd spaces in the boat. Windshield is useful, fish crates and plastic barrels found on location are favourite....

Another tip for the dragonfly or other multifuel stove - get a base for it! I got mine in the states but it is just a plastic disc with clips for the stove legs and elastic to wrap over the bottle making the stove a faily solid stable unit, that you could pick up and throw if it was becoming a hazard!

My extra extra backup is a hexmine stove. Rarely had to use it since doing survival camps in the scouts!

JIM

User avatar
Zoe Newsam
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:06 am

gas usage

Post by Zoe Newsam » Tue Mar 22, 2005 2:45 pm

MikeB wrote
You suggesteed a gas canister might last 3 days (seems reasonable) - approx how much meths did you use then?
Don't know yet- I'll use it for the 1st time this weekend. But the instructions suggest allowing approx 500ml meths per person per week.

Zoe

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 7958
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland

Post by MikeB » Tue Mar 22, 2005 3:20 pm

Sounds about right - a long time since I've used mine (except as an additional cooking source) but iirc I used to reckon about 250 for 2 folk for a weekend.

A lot depends on whether you remember to put it out when not actually being used - LOL. I used to use a tin mug to smother it, or drop the closed simmer ring in. Saves destroying the rubber seal in the lid!

Enjoy - great cookers. Mike.

PYROMANIAC

Starting paste and low gas output

Post by PYROMANIAC » Tue Mar 22, 2005 7:29 pm

Starting paste works fine. One small squeezy tub lasts a week - if you're careful. Dont squeeze it all round the priming cup - concentrate around and under the fuel pre-heat tube (the one that passes through the flame on its way to the jet). Like a lot of things - trial and error 'til you get the quantity correct.

2/3 empty gas cylinders - notice how the condensation builds on the outside of the cylinder? Why? Answer - the cylinder, and the gas within it, is drawing heat out of the surrounding air (reducing the air temperature below the dew point and condensation occurs). The gas needs this heat to aid its evaporation ( Latent Heat - remember school physics?) and exit to the burner. With a fully pressurised cylinder gas flows more easily out to the burner jet.

Yes I know one gas evaporates more easily than the other, but try providing a heat sink for the cylinder.

When the output falls put the cylinder in a spare pan, bowl etc of water - even cold water works - notice the difference in output from the stove. This is clearly more stable if you are using a remote cylinder stove.

You'll lower the temperature of the water, but unfortunately not enough to use this to make ice cream.

Whatever stove you use get a windshield, or make one (multifolded kitchen foil with air holes) that surrounds stove and pan.

Pyromaniac

Gas stove output

Post by Pyromaniac » Tue Mar 22, 2005 10:48 pm

Whoops - for 'heat sink' read heat source.

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13497
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton

Post by Jim » Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:48 pm

I seem to recall an article in either High or OTE many years ago about the Bloody Obiminable Mountain Burner or BOMB for short, and yes I'm sure they misspelled Abominable to make the acronym work! The principle was to make a sleeve for the gas bottle, with copper tubes that run up and over the burner below the pan as a heat exchanger to warm the bottle for increased efficiency. The warning that went with the plans was to only use it at high altitude because there was some risk of blowing yourself to pieces if you overheat the bottle, which is likely at normal altitude.

So whilst soluitions such as insulating your gas bottle, or putting it in a pot of water (which will soon be warm relative to the bottle when you use it) are practical and worth trying out, actually using a heat source is probably best left to the pyromaniacs. Mind you a hand warmer gel and some good insulation might be safe enough.

Oh yeah, and the tip about putting the starting paste around the preheat tube is great for a coleman or primus, but my dragonfly doesn't have one! I have puzzled over this for a while and realise that it is a combination of high pressure and the heat around the jet that vaporises the fuel at the jet without preheating the fuel line- The secret is to get fuel into that wick around the base of the burner so that the entire burner is heated, ditto if using paste.

Top tip would have to be to avoid using all the fuel you are carrying whenever it is possible to get a campfire going early enough for cooking on. Remember cooking fires are small and ideally little more than embers, you can always rekindle it as a bonfire when you're done.

JIM

Dave Thomas
Posts: 1734
Joined: Sat Oct 11, 2003 10:36 pm

Post by Dave Thomas » Wed Mar 23, 2005 8:25 am

So whilst solutions such as insulating your gas bottle, or putting it in a pot of water (which will soon be warm relative to the bottle when you use it) are practical and worth trying out
Insulating the gas cartridge without including a heat source would make matters worse - the vaporisation of the gas would be drawing heat out of the liquified gas which could not be replaced from outside so the temperature (and vapour pressure of the gas) would fall faster.

The 'bowl of water' trick sounds plausible and worth trying, though.

Dave Thomas

john campbell
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Feb 19, 2005 5:26 pm
Location: Ayrshire

Stoves

Post by john campbell » Wed Mar 23, 2005 4:59 pm

Joined the debate late but I have used a Coleman Dual Fuel Burner 533 for many years and it has never let me down. Very reliable, stable and quick though not the lightest. 2.5 hours burn time on max power.

One thing to consider in the gas vs liquid fuel debate is the environmental impact of all those disposable empty gas cans.......Liquid fuel in a refillable container works every time for me.

John

User avatar
Simon Willis
Posts: 679
Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2004 1:27 am
Location: Ardnamurchan
Contact:

Post by Simon Willis » Wed Mar 23, 2005 7:13 pm

There's a discussion about the environmental impact of gas cartridge stoves here on the OutdoorsMagic Forum with the sensible suggestion that the companies start a recycle scheme
S

Speciman
Posts: 54
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:41 am

Post by Speciman » Thu Mar 24, 2005 12:36 pm

I use an Optimus Nova multi liquid fuel stove.. field serviceble, compact and light for a liquid stove... uses white gas, unleaded, meths and even diesel.

Have a got a Primus micron gas stove too but its not that suited for colder and windier environments.. plus its more expensive to run.. using unleaded fuel my Nova costs pence to run... also petrol stoves tend to burn a lot hotter than gas.

User avatar
Zoe Newsam
Posts: 1427
Joined: Mon Nov 22, 2004 11:06 am

Hooray!!

Post by Zoe Newsam » Wed Mar 30, 2005 1:39 pm

Well, I'm pleased to report that the standard meths-burning Trangia was an absolute triumph! We used it for breakfast & dinner for 2 people over 4 days & it used about 500ml of undiluted meths- the manufacturers state 500ml per person per week, so almost exactly right. It was easy to use in windy conditions (ie no faffing about trying to find shelter for it), and I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly it boils.

Problem solved!

Zoe :0)

User avatar
Jim
Posts: 13497
Joined: Sun Apr 21, 2002 2:14 pm
Location: Dumbarton

Post by Jim » Fri Apr 01, 2005 10:25 pm

I've been cooking for 2 people for 7 days and I've used a little over a litre of petrol in the dragonfly (always boil water with it, generally use the heat exchanger on the smallest pan I need for maximum speed), and 1 500g gas bottle on the pocket rocket (ideal for the delicate touch, extra capacity and the warming the washing up water). Was having terrible trouble with the dragonfly early in the week in gusty crappy conditions even using fish boxes as tables and windshields, but after I finally got round to cleaning the jet properly it was just fine. Funniest moments were a couple of times putting the biggest pans on with the alu windshield wraped tight around - not enough oxygen getting in and smothered the stove, they really do burn well!

My hexamine stove is untouched.

Barbeque lighting fluid is not a meths replacement, well not a successful one anyway, one of our trangia users got a bit low on fuel towards the end of the week and hadto experiement!

Our fires are not the sort of things you can cook on, put it this way, alu cans melt and steel cans start to disintegrate in them.....

JIM

Post Reply