Jul 15, 2012 at 5:54 pm #1292031
I'm curious what the weight savings are on a alcohol stove kit vs the Jetboil Sol. I just started my research on alcohol stoves today. I may be wrong, but I don't really see a durable solution that saves you a significant amount of weight. The Jetboil Sol Ti weighs 9.9 oz. By the time you get a WB stove, wind shield, Ever new UL .9L pot, and an alcohol container, I think you're close to 7 or 8 oz. With all of the "bells and whistles" that the Jetboil has, is there really a better alternative that can save you enough weight to be worth the trouble?Jul 15, 2012 at 6:10 pm #1895008
It depends.. (always does)
Here is one scenario :
2 days walk.
JetBoil Ti 280 g, 100g of fuel (new can) 195g tot 475g (16.5 oz)
Caldera Cone (500ml pot, burner and cone) 130g. Fuel for two days (for me…) 140 g (inc spare fuel and container) tot 270g (9.5 oz)
FrancoJul 15, 2012 at 6:29 pm #1895013
Jetboil Ti 9.9 oz + empty canister 3.3 oz = 13.2 oz
The three setups below;
SP 900, GW, windscreen, lid, empty bottle = 6.2 oz
SP bowl, Ti esbit wing, windscreen, lid = 3.1 oz
Heiny, lid, GW, windscreen, empty bottle 3.6 oz
Savings of 7 to 10.1 oz carry out weight, is that significant enough?
Plus you can use alcohol to start a camp fire. My personal preference is to just bring the SP 900 and use rocks to make a stand and fire under.Jul 15, 2012 at 6:43 pm #1895020
any cannister is better than alcohol after about 5 days (if do 2x boils per day) due the alcohol wt being 2x the isopro fuel wt. Theres a chart here somewhere, but you can do math yourself.
Alcohol is really for relatively short trips, or ease of resupply on longer ones, and ability to carry exactly what fuel is needed. I personally like that its basically silent and compact as well.
If you are going out for 4 days, bring alcohol
If you are going out for 10 days or more, bring the jetboil.
In between, figure out whats best for you.Jul 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm #1895033
Thanks guys! It looks like an alcohol stove it is.
KC, the GW, is that a manufactured stove, or did you make it yourself?Jul 15, 2012 at 7:56 pm #1895049
GW for gram weenie, sorry for the abbreviation. I agree with above, if you are hiking for 10 days or in groups of 3-4 or more the jetboil is great. I usually hike solo or with 3 max, 4-5 days, 40-60 mile trips.Jul 15, 2012 at 9:11 pm #1895070
Don't know where you hike, but here in SoCal alky fires are banned with open fires, leaving canisters the lightest option when open fires are banned.Jul 15, 2012 at 9:14 pm #1895071
I hike in the SierraJul 15, 2012 at 9:15 pm #1895072
You can put together a durable alcohol setup for about half what a JetBoil + empty canister weighs. In theory the superior fuel economy of the JetBoil pays off on trips of 5+ days, but the reality is a bit more complex for two reasons:
1) Just because the JetBoil theoretically makes back the weight in fuel savings over longer trips, you only realize the weight savings if you happen to have a canister that contains roughly this amount of fuel you need.
Example: At about 5g/pint, the JetBoil will only burn 50g of fuel over 5 days @ 2 boils daily. The standard 8oz canister starts with ~220g of fuel, so you really need to have one on hand about 1/3 full to come out ahead. If you take a full canister for that 5 day trip then you'll never make back the weight in fuel economy. Even a full 4oz canister won't make that 110g of fuel back in 5-6 days at 10g fuel burnt/day.
2) All of the discussion so far has referred to the 'starting weight' of a cook set up (ie. "5oz alcohol kit + 10oz of fuel is heavier than a 10oz Jetboil setup + 4oz of fuel). This fails to consider that the most weight of the alcohol setup is consumable, so it's going to decrease much faster than the JetBoil setup. Even if the alcohol is a bit heavier on day 1, it's likely lighter for days 3-5 and have a lower 'average weight' over the course of the trip.
Example: Your alcohol setup weighs 5oz and you're taking 10oz of fuel. 'Starting Weight' is 15oz, but you're burning 2oz/day. Therefore you start Day 2 at 13oz and Day 5 starts off at just 7oz. So the weight drops from 15oz to 5oz by the end of Day 5 for an average of 10oz.
A Jetboil setup with 10oz of stuff and 4oz of fuel starts lighter at 14oz, but it will still weigh 10oz by the end of the trip for an average carried weight of 12oz. So it's lighter on Day 1, but heavier for most of the trip.
This leads into a discussion of 'starting weight' vs. 'average weight' but it's really up to nature of your trip. If Day 1 is really hard then starting weight matters more and vice versa. On a recent 6 day trip I hiked on Day 1 but then packrafted on Day 2 and Day 3, so I didn't actually hike many miles until Day 4. While a JetBoil would have had me carrying less on Day 1, by taking alcohol I was able to carry quite a bit less weight for the main hiking portion of the trip on Days 4-6.
Alcohol also have a number of other nice intangibles besides weight:
– No spending $8 on a canister every few hikes – $10 for a gallon of alcohol can last a season.
– No library of half used canisters at home waiting for the perfect trip
– No tossing metal canisters in the garbage frequently
– Zero risk of mechanical failure – you could make a crude stove out of natural materials (ie. bowl shaped rock)
– QuietJul 15, 2012 at 10:01 pm #1895084
Nice post, Dan. I just learned something.Jul 16, 2012 at 4:35 am #1895108
@jaseLocale: A tent in my backyard - Melbourne
+ 1 on the benefits of alcohol stoves.
…nothing beats the practical simplicity borne from the silence of an alcohol stove.Jul 16, 2012 at 4:36 am #1895109
Just make sure you are including your pot in your alcohol weight. I own the Backcountry Boiler II so similar weight as Jetboil Sol Ti. So the main advantage is the fuel weight on shorter trips and backup ability to burn wood.Jul 16, 2012 at 5:06 am #1895112
In addition to everything already mentioned, typically speaking, alcohol stoves take up less pack volume than canister stoves if that's a concern. The TiTri Caldera Cone Sidewinder is a fully-realized cooking set up and it fits into most pots (it fits into my .9L short pot including fuel) with plenty room to spare for additional kitchen wares.
I couldn't fit my canister stove + canister into a pot unless I was carrying a much larger pot than I needed (read: even more weight).Jul 16, 2012 at 5:33 am #1895114
@wufpackfnLocale: NC/TN/VA Mountains
I'm a big fan of both and a couple things factor into which one I take.
1. Group Size. If I'm going with 2+ people the Jetboil can just be a lot easier and faster. I can easily handle the cooking needs of 5 or 6 people with one Jetboil (Requirement is only boiling water for meals). Can't imagine doing that with an alcohol stove setup.
2. Weather conditions. If the weather is going to be cold and windy, I'm taking the Jetboil. Sure you can make it work with an alcohol stove and I have done it many times. However when the temps are below freezing and the wind is howling, I much prefer the quick boil time of the Jetboil.
As I get older and more experienced I have started factoring in ease of use and simplicty into my evaluation process. Not all about the weight. Does carrying an extra pound or two really effect your performance? Maybe it does for some, but I can't tell any difference.
BradJul 16, 2012 at 6:39 am #1895122
Dan. Good post.Jul 16, 2012 at 7:58 am #1895145
If you like good coffee, the Jetboil along with the french press accessory is worth its weight in gold!Jul 16, 2012 at 8:41 am #1895158
I find that I supply the stove (or stoves) for each of my trips. If it's just one or two of us then alcohol wins. As soon as you get to where you need to boil multiple quarts of water for a meal the Jetboil always comes along.
I usually go with 3-4 friends and the only time we really get to sit and chat is while we're eating our evening meal together. That means it's really nice for everyone to be eating at the same time – not half the group eating while the other half waits for water to boil. The Jetboil virtually eliminates that lag – we just leave the first meal in the coozie a little longer.Jul 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm #1895251
@sgiachettiLocale: Boulder, CO
like others have said: solo, under 4-5 days, alcohol is lighter. I went for a jetboil for ease of use and simplicity. I also wanted 1 UL stove that would work for all 4 seasons. Its not the very lightest, but its light and its a great setup.Jul 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm #1895329
@eileensdLocale: The Sierra or the SF Bay Area
"No library of half used canisters at home waiting for the perfect trip"
Boy can I relate – I have a huge Rubbermaid container full of partially used canisters waiting for the "perfect trip." It's so wasteful! As someone who would really like to reduce the amount of trash I produce, this one of the main reasons why I now try to use my alcohol stove whenever possible. I've used the same two Platypus bottles for years :) Reduce, reuse!
"No tossing metal canisters in the garbage frequently"
This brings up a different topic – where to dispose of used canisters? I've dealt with them in various ways (I seem to recall taking them back to REI in the distant past!) and I know it depends on where you live; but I wish the information was easier to find, and I wish proper disposal was more convenient. Regardless, reading this made me bristle… do you really toss them in the garbage? Is this your only option? I'm moving soon, and I hope I have a better option than throwing them away. I don't know what to do other than shake my head when I think about our landfills… hopefully we're each taking advantage of the "best" way available to dispose of empty canisters.Jul 16, 2012 at 8:26 pm #1895337
I know REI sells the device that can be used to aid in crushing empty containers. Once crushed they should recycleable with any metal recycling center.Jul 17, 2012 at 3:01 am #1895375
Short solo trip = alcohol
More than a few days or used as a group stove = Jetboil
Personally, I choose my Jetboil Sol Ti everytime. I just had too many mishaps with alcohol. Got a nasty burn once and another time had a bottle of fuel leak in my pack. It was contained for the most part, but I had no fuel. FOR ME, alcohol was great in theory, but not in practice.Jul 17, 2012 at 7:03 am #1895393
Brad Fisher: As I get older and more experienced I have started factoring in ease of use and simplicty into my evaluation process. Not all about the weight
Well said Brad.Jul 17, 2012 at 7:11 am #1895394
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
Alcohol Stove vs Jetboil Sol Ti – weight savings, is it worth it? Yes.
Getting back on track, it sort of depends on the hiker. If you are in a group, simply require every person to bring their own stove, pot and windscreen. For 5oz, this is an easy carry. For 2 people, it is possible to split the weight of a Jetboil among both or even three people. For larger groups, every 2-3 people will need another stove up to the maximum trail sized group.
I think the weight issue has been pretty much resolved, because the discusion has moved to other things that need to be factored in. Light weight packing is not ALL about weight, something we often fail to consider.
Anyway, alcohol is usually the lightest up to ten days. For longer times out, you may need to perform your own calculations, because at ten days the difference between Alcohol, canisters, esbit and WG start looking different enough at the start and finish to become less important and more about the type of hike you are taking. That is early mountain climbs, or, later mountain climbs? Canoing then hiking, or, hiking then canoing? Even at ten days this has a pretty drastic influance on when you want the weight to change fastest. As Dan said, you can sort of choose when to carry less, even if it means a bit more to start with.
In every case up to ten days, alcohol is always the lightest weight for average carry weight…even out to 12 days, the most I bothered to check this time through. It also has the highest starting weight for ten days. (I use about 3oz/day average over ten days. Some will use less. 4 cups of water in the morning, 4 cups at night, including 15min simmer for cooking.) For short trips(2-4days) alcohol is always a bit lighter than the Jetboil. Duration does matter, but it is far less important than other things at ten days.
An example: Canisters are within 4oz at 12 days, average. But you need to carry about 1.75 pounds of food per day for twelve days. Or, about 20 pounds. I do not think 4 oz is all that noticable in a 32 pound pack weight. So, I am kind'a going out on a limb, and I will simply call them fairly equivalent at that range. (Water is not included, it always needs to be present.)
Volume and usability become more important than raw weight for durations of a week or more.
For me, overall volume is very important. I use the smaller 2200ci Murmur for up to 10 days. And the obsolete MiniPosa for up to 15 days. The compact SVEA and a 12oz bottle of fuel will last 12 days, a 16oz bottle is more than enough for 15days. I will note that WG only weighs .8oz per floz. Alcohol is slightly heavier, but only by a couple hundredths of an ounce. Canister gas *used* to be 4oz but I believe it is only about 3.88, nowdays. The volume of fuel and containers gets pretty high at 10 days. The SVEA and a 12oz bottle is about the smallest. Canisters are all about the same as alcohol requiring *about* the same volume as a 32oz bottle. 3-4oz canisters(or one 8oz can and one 4oz can) is lighter than a 32oz bottle of alcohol, though. But, you always carry the canisters. With a small plastic bottle, I can reduce volume as I go, but this is not important on the trail. Only the starting volume is considered. Your pack volume does not increase after that. COnsidering *just* volume for ten days out, I will bring the SVEA, as I do.
Usability can get devided into several categories: temperature, group size, blustery conditions found at altitude, personal preference, difficulty of use (setup, knock down chores,) durability, reliability, legal requirements. Probably some others I missed (off the top of my head.) Personal preference has a lot of factors to consider, alone. As an example: some value the "turn the knob and press the button" feature of a jetboil. Some don't mind the extra fiddling of measuring fuel, setting up a cone, and lighting an alcohol stove. Or, like me, filling, priming, and lighting a WG stove. Or, the fussing needed to get an Esbit tab out of the wrapper, setting up the stove and, especially, lighting the tab. There is no way to evaluate these factors, generally.
There is more to think about than raw weight when you do UL backpacking. So, I cannot say that any weight savings is worth it in combination with all else that is specific to your needs for your trip. What I will say is to evaluate all components before trying to answer your own question. To do that, you need a lot more information than a weight comparison. Asking is it worth it in this group is like putting a mouse on a cats paw and wondering if he will grab it. Light weight is ALWAYS worth it…Jul 17, 2012 at 7:19 am #1895395
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I'll acknowledge that both alky and canister stoves have a place, as several people have already mentioned. But for day to day use I just like playing around with alky stoves. They are brutally simple, no valves, no o-rings, non-pressurized fuel, etc.
Also, the JetBoil Sol Ti is ONE product, and one with issues. (Most canister stoves/pots are heavier.) Have there been any more reports of people melting the fins off?Jul 18, 2012 at 2:43 am #1895605
"Also, the JetBoil Sol Ti is ONE product, and one with issues. (Most canister stoves/pots are heavier.) Have there been any more reports of people melting the fins off?"
How many people have really had issues with that? There was a post by Hikin' Jim who posted on multiple sites about it, but I haven't really seen it elsewhere.
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