Sep 18, 2013 at 4:00 am #1307760
I am planning on getting a new gas stove for family trips (2 adults and 1 child)and am trying to decide between the Fire Maple FMS-117T and Kovea Spider, but have a few questions:
1. Any other stove options I should consider?
2. I know this is a very complex subject (I've been reading numerous threads about it and am still not certain) but at around what temperature does being able to invert the canister become important. Not looking for a physics lesson, just a good rule of thumb if one exists:)
3. What is the maximum pot size that would work well for each stove?
4. Any reported reliability issues with either stove?
5. Any other differences between the two stoves I should be considering?
I am tending towards the Fire Maple as this is BPL after all:). Also it could replace my Primus Ti for those solo and father and son trips where I don't take esbit or alcohol. However, I don't want to be a total weight weenie and am prepared to carry a few extra ounces if there are real advantages in doing so.Sep 18, 2013 at 6:36 am #2025736
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
Maybe Roger's stove would be better? Less weight? Works better? You'de have to PM Roger.Sep 18, 2013 at 6:49 am #2025741
I got the kovea spider and it's a really nice stove. It's very low to the ground and can hold very large pots. Also, the flame can be adjusted to just about any level, so great for cooking/simmering.
You can Google for long term reviews (there's one from Hiking Jim of Adventures in Stoving and another from another blog)….
Just make a foil windscreen and you'll be all set.
Also, for temps, around 20* F is when you want to invert it. You need to run the drive in normal upright mode first for about 30 seconds to get the tube preheated then turn the flame as low as possible Then slowly turn the canister over. The flame will increase add it begins to receive liquid fuel and fluctuate for a couple seconds but the best tube will vaporize it and you can adjust the flange lower again.
The Spider was my first remote stove so I practiced inverting it at home and it was pretty simple.Sep 18, 2013 at 8:16 am #2025766
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
1) Nope, not going to recommend any.
2) This depends on what temp range you are out in, There are tricks to using "toppers" down to about 20-25F. Remote canisters can be used down to as cold as WG stoves…usually with no real weight savings, though. Fiddle factors become important. Fuel efficiency, cost per Liter, maintainence, reliability, etc all become part of your decision. Generally a topper starts failing at about 40F. Freezing is "close" to the limit using no tricks.
A remote canister stove is better, at least with temp range and usually with fuel efficiency. But, these are invariably heavier than "toppers" because of the additional supports and hose needed. This means more fiddling with connections and set-ups before you can start them. Some are real good in cold conditions. But all of the good ones in cold conditions require a bit of "priming", in the sense that the preheat loop needs heating. Roger's stove uses a metal heat conductor witch will take longer than a loop. But, still the time is short. (His stove is also about 3.25oz, about the best I have heard of for this class of stove…better than a lot of plain "toppers".)
3) Pot diameter is a trade off with surface area to absorb heat and surface area to radiate heat. Taller pots radiate more than shorter pots. They also absorb more. Heat Exchangers are nothing more than increasing the surface area of the bottom to absorb heat better. An 8" diameter pot nearly bottoms out a camp stove on low…increasing diameter to 9" does nearly nothing. Anyway, thare are too many variables to say one is better than another. But generally a 5.5-6" pot about 2L works for all conditions for a group of 3-4. On very low heat, a smaller 5" pot works nearly as well for smaller 2 person groups. Heat screens, like the Caldera set-ups, also use the sides to absorb heat.. These are excelent solo, sometimes 2-person set-ups.
4-5-6) ignored for now.Sep 18, 2013 at 9:48 am #2025796
I'd get the spider unless you want to go for one of Roger Caffin's creations.
I think for family use the remote is nice because:
-More stable with larger pots/pans
-easier to safely use a windscreen
-the extra stability means safer for kids to use when they are old enough that you feel comfortable teaching them to use the stoveSep 18, 2013 at 1:22 pm #2025890
1. Optimus Vega (I don't have one, but it looks well designed, it's big enough to handle larger pots and has a nice mechanism to hold the canister inverted).
2. 40F. Altho' a new canister will work upright at much lower temps, when it's 1/4 full (or less) then the limit is about 40F.
Important note: if you want an inverted canister to work when its below freezing, the canister has to be used inverted from full. It's no use inverting it after you have already used half of the contents in upright mode (you may already know this).Sep 18, 2013 at 1:27 pm #2025892
Thanks everyone. Just to clarify, both these stoves are remote canister stoves. I think the Fire Maple FMS-117T used to be called the Fire-Maple FMS-117V Ti when it was reviewed on BPL. Definitely not looking at a topper for a family trips stove.Sep 18, 2013 at 1:45 pm #2025898
I have no experience with remote canister stoves, but I took a look at FireMaple 117t photos and it seems it has no preheat tube. I would consider similar FireMaple 118 if you intend to use the stove in lower temperature.Sep 18, 2013 at 1:53 pm #2025904
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
FMS-117T is a remote canister stove, but it is NOT a winter stove. You can not invert the canister (safely) with this stove. As noted by OP, for that you need the FMS-118.
The Kovea Spider is also a good winter stove for inverted canisters.
CheersSep 18, 2013 at 1:57 pm #2025907
@edvinLocale: Gothenburg, Sweden
I have no experience with the Kovea Spider but I recently bought a Fire Maple FMS-118, the heavier version with the preheat tube. Simply put, I don't like it. Sure it's the lightest commercially available stove that will work with inverted stoves and it's cheap but it's huge when folded together and you can't use it with an inverted canister unless you mod it yourself(this have been covered before, search if you need more info). I would take the extra weight and cost for the Kovea Spider anyday if I needed a stove that could be used with inverted canister.Sep 18, 2013 at 2:09 pm #2025913
You should check out Jim's review of the Spider, you can find it on the forums or the link i posted earlier. The spider folds up really compact. I have mine in a Toaks 900ml Ti pot (115mm base) with a Snow Peak 110g canister and Hot Lips and the Kovea igniter and aluminum foil windscreen and a 5"x5" section of nanotowel.Sep 18, 2013 at 2:23 pm #2025920
Will definitely go for the spider if I decide I need to be able to invert the canister. Still a bit unsure at what temp this becomes an issue. I dont go out in the snow but temps of 30f are definitely possible on occasion. Could I work round this by keeping the canister warm at night or is a stove with a pre heat tube the way to go? Thanks.Sep 18, 2013 at 2:41 pm #2025925
As long as you don't go with a < half full canister, you'll be fine. I've used upright canister stoves down into the high 20's (not using a new canister) just fine as long as you use a 4 season mix fuel like msr, snowpeak, etc etc.
But, it wouldn't hurt to keep the canister in your sleeping bag or jacket while you wear it when you're not using the canister to keep the fuel warm.
Look through the forums, I believe there are several threads that deal with using canister stoves in colder temperatures.
Knowledge is power!Sep 18, 2013 at 2:54 pm #2025929
I has the Optimus Vega out on a couple of trips last winter and really liked its remote canister operation.Sep 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm #2025932
At just below freesing an easy way is simply to put the canister in a bowl of water.Sep 18, 2013 at 3:11 pm #2025934
I made up a primaloft gas can cosy with some bits I had left over from a MYOG project, also made some cosies for water bottles.Sep 18, 2013 at 3:17 pm #2025936
Correct me if I'm wrong but…
A canister cozy is only good for keeping it warm prior to use. When using the canister when it's really cold out, as Franco says, putting the canister in some water (even near freezing) is better.
Why? Because as the gas is being used, the canister cools from the expanding gases (like how refrigerators operate). Having a cozy while in use will keep that cold in. Even cold water will be warmer than what the canister will cool to when the temps are really low.Sep 18, 2013 at 3:23 pm #2025938
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I've wrapped #16 solid copper wire most of the way around canister (just enough so it stays on) and the end up and into the flame – heat conducted down to canister
Good down to 20 F easy
(Idea stolen – Bob Gross, someone else, some backpacking book,…)
Or, look at articles how to make windscreen safe so it doesn't over heat canister, and do the oppositeSep 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm #2025947
It helps a lot while it is stored in a tent or pack and in use it will stop the colder air getting to it.
Obviously this my non scientific experience :-)Sep 18, 2013 at 5:03 pm #2025965
Larry De La BriandaisParticipant
@hitechLocale: SF Bay Area
Since the canister will quickly become colder than the ambient air a cozy will keep the canister cold. This is obviously he opposite of what you need.Sep 18, 2013 at 5:46 pm #2025975
I am no genius but I have noticed over the years that insulation works both ways.
That is why you Thermos flask can be used to keep stuff hot or cold…Sep 18, 2013 at 5:55 pm #2025978
It what is the ambient is -10fSep 18, 2013 at 8:58 pm #2026028
It what is the ambient is -10f
You need to get the fuel up to a somewhere around +5F for liquid feed stoves using an inverted canister or around 35F for stoves using an upright canister. You also need to maintain that temperature. Maintain that temp by having a source of energy in contact with the canister that is around 35 degrees and itself maintains that temperature. A warmer source of energy is OK up to a point. 100F is OK, somewhere warmer than that can lead to spectacular (and unfortunate) results. If the can starts out at an adequate temp you can use it in a cozy IF the added energy source is also inside the cozy.
Liquid water can work as the energy source but it will cool as the can sucks energy from it so it might need to be refreshed if running the stove for long (as in melting snow)Sep 19, 2013 at 4:47 am #2026054
I also put the can on some foam to keep it off snow and sometimes put a heat pack under it.Sep 19, 2013 at 5:04 am #2026058
@rcaffinLocale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
> what if the ambient is -10 F
Then you are going to have very cold toes…
However, note that the insides of you pack are a lot warmer than that. Usually you can have liquid water in your water bottle inside your pack.
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