- Nov 4, 2009 at 7:23 pm #1241423
Zachary CraneBPL Member
@zcraneLocale: Midwest, USA
I'm still debating what stove setup I want to go with. I currently have a little Esbit stove, but it looks like I could get a Snow Peak Titanium (one of the two lightest models) and be at about the same weight with fuel.
I'll mainly be using it to boil water.
That said, how do you canister users like them? When do you opt to take the canister vs. alcohol or esbit?
Thanks for the help!Nov 4, 2009 at 7:32 pm #1542832
Dan DurstonBPL Member
This is a tough call. For the weight, canister stoves can be comparable or even better than alcohol but it's harder to bring exactly the right amount of fuel. If you can precisely calculate how much fuel you are going to need and that happens to be near 4oz, 8oz or 16oz then bringing a canister will work well. The hard parts are what do you do with partial canisters (since they are very weight inefficient to bring) and bringing the ideal number of canisters.
This chart at Thru-Hiker.com shows canister stoves being lighter than a cat can alcohol stove thru the first 7 days and the alcohol only comes out ahead on day 8 but this chart assumes you are packing for a 14 day trip.
http://thru-hiker.com/articles/stoveweight_vs_time_14days.phpNov 4, 2009 at 7:41 pm #1542839
This isn't really answering your question, but if you're not sold on canister, I don't think you can do better than a TiTri Caldera Cone setup. You can burn alcohol, esbit, or wood! I never take a canister stove anymore.
I started with canister stoves, and have moved away from them completely. In fact, I have a new, never used Snow Peak Lite Max I'd be happy to let go for $50 including shipping if you really want a canister stove.Nov 4, 2009 at 7:49 pm #1542842
Zachary CraneBPL Member
@zcraneLocale: Midwest, USA
Hmm… definitely a few things to consider.
Dan – Thanks for the article… very interesting read. I see the author mentions he prefers a canister partially because it's so easy to use and fast cooking.
Doug – I'll have to take a peak at the Caldera stove. I think I read somewhere that you have to have a specific pot for that setup. Is that correct?Nov 4, 2009 at 7:57 pm #1542846
@herman666Locale: Northern Virginia
I have a canister stove, but I've never used it. I started with alcohol, but for the last year and a half I've used a 5 oz. wood stove and the fuel is weightless. I use charcoal lighter for tinder because with care, it will start wet wood. I use about an ounce a week when cooking three hot meals a day. I don't think you can get much lighter unless you use an open camp fire, but that goes against the leave no trace ethic.Nov 4, 2009 at 7:58 pm #1542847
Dan DurstonBPL Member
"I see the author mentions he prefers a canister partially because it's so easy to use and fast cooking."
Canisters are faster but it really depends what vibe you are going for at meal time. Alcohol/Esbit/Wood stoves are all much quieter and about 2x slower than the roar of a canister stove.
For supper, I prefer this chilled out relaxing vibe. I'm not in a hurry to get everything ready etc. However, for lunches (and sometimes breakfasts) I am often in a hurry so I would prefer to save a couple minutes with the canister stove.
With that said, you can usually find something productive to do while your alcohol/esbit/wood stove boils water. In the morning you can pack up, at lunch you can study the map etc.Nov 4, 2009 at 8:14 pm #1542854
"Doug – I'll have to take a peak at the Caldera stove. I think I read somewhere that you have to have a specific pot for that setup. Is that correct?"
Ostensibly, yes, each cone is made for a specific pot. Some places sell them as sets.Nov 4, 2009 at 8:17 pm #1542855
Short trips of 3 or fewer days I use Esbit. For longer treks I use my Ti Jet canister stove as the weight is offset by better fuel efficiency.Nov 4, 2009 at 10:32 pm #1542892
@cbertLocale: N. California
I have several stoves & use them all at various times for various reasons, including whim and what i have on hand or can find when i head out the door.
The canister I use over the wood, esbit or alcohol usually when I'm planning to do more actual cooking instead of merely boiling water, or sometimes if it will be really cold or high altitude or really windy it seems to be less fiddle, easier. or if a multi-person trip it seems easier to do the canister and share a single stove and large pot for all (2-4 people).
Often what else I'm doing will factor in – if I'm pushing other limits, testing gear, etc., I may opt for the canister to keep one portion simpler.
When I was doing JMT a couple years ago, I brought the bushbuddy to save on fuel weight.
Sometimes I cook on an open fire without a stove, where appropriate.
The alcohol or esbit I mostly use on short trips when going light – just to boil some water for a meal or two and for coffee or tea. I've cooked trout with alcohol and bushbuddy, but it's not as easy or predictable (bushbuddy doing poached works pretty well, but that's the only good method for it).Nov 4, 2009 at 11:04 pm #1542900
@alanlLocale: Bavarian & Austrian Alps
Most of my overnighters are bivvying in the north eastern Alps. The NE Alps are limestone country where surface water above the treeline is rare, so even in summer you're often melting snow to cook your dinner.
I've been a Trangia user for thirty years and have nothing against alcohol stoves in principle, but my experiment with a Cat Stove on my last trip was a fiasco. I want my three kilowatts!
So, what should I buy? The only canister stove I have at the moment is the very powerful but far from light Trangia gas burner. (I considered putting that inside a Caldera Cone – quick way to melt the cone, I assume?)Nov 4, 2009 at 11:19 pm #1542907
Mark VerberBPL Member
@verberLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
On solo trips I would typically use alcohol… just recently switched to esbits. I found no matter how many days esbits is light for my needs than a canister. My solo needs are very basic… boil between 10-18oz of water with minimal hassle.
I pull out the the canister for three reasons. The primary reason is if I need to boil a lot of water quickly… like on a group trip. I found most alchohol or esbits stoves aren't well suited to boil 2l of water at one time. Second, if I am doing fancy cooking where simmering in a cozy isn't adaquate. [This is fairly rare]. Third, if I expect I will be cooking in an enclosed space I go for a canister because it generates an 1/5 less carbon monoxide than my ion stove, and 1/10 esbits.Nov 4, 2009 at 11:21 pm #1542908
@antigLocale: Pacific Northwest
Not only might the Caldera Cone melt if you were to put a canister inside it but you should never use a large windscreen with a canister. This is especially true for such an enclosed windscreen like the Caldera Cone. Your canister will definitely overheat and explode.
As far as alcohol stoves, I love the Trangia as well. I'm quite bummed that no company is making a titanium version of it. The Trangia alcohol stove however, is nothing close to being lightweight. It is about the weight of a canister stove and about 3-4 times as much as a standard alcohol stove. That being said, the Caldera Cone is a good choice if stability and wind is a concern. The Packafeather Featherfire is also nice and versatile because it could simmer.Nov 4, 2009 at 11:55 pm #1542909
@whatcomfallsLocale: Southcentral Alaska
PerfectNov 5, 2009 at 6:04 am #1542940
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
Section hiking the AT I prefer the esbit. I use the Ti model I bought here at BPL with a Caldera cone built for my pot. Very efficient.
On the JMT last summer, I used the T-Peak one with the piezo lighter. I was very impressed with how little fuel it used. I even had to boil drinking water for a two days.
I made a wind screen modeled on the Snow Peak wind screen. I extended the walls with aluminum foil going up the sides of the pot. The aluminum foil by itself tore and had to be hand held, so I have now modified it using a piece of screen. I found when the aluminum foil went all the way around, it stifled the flame, so it just goes half way around and I face it into the wind.Nov 5, 2009 at 7:22 am #1542961
I use a variety of stoves. To me stoves are NO different than sleeping bags and tents – having a couple setups is important. Then you can match it to what you need.
I honestly prefer canister stoves due to ease of use. Simplicity – light up and go.
There are times though alchy is easier. Again it depends on where and when.
I prefer canister stoves in high fire season as they are allowed (often alchy is banned though many don't know that!).If it is for longer trips and I know exactly how many boils I will need the canister comes. Short trips I often tuck an alchy in.
It also depends on the pot setup I am using. I own around a dozen sets or so so lots of options!Nov 5, 2009 at 7:47 am #1542971
@sprucegooseLocale: New England
>>…you should never use a large windscreen with a canister…Your canister will definitely overheat and explode.<<
I've been using a nice big windscreen and heat reflector for years with my canister stove. Never had anything explode yet. I think this is covered here at BPL somewhere.
I agree that it's probably not a good idea to use a Cone for this purpose, though.Nov 5, 2009 at 8:13 am #1542990
@lori999Locale: Central Valley
I have a pocket rocket and have tried to sell it but settled on keeping it for car camping. I use alcohol stoves – I take a simmer stove AND a boiling stove if I need to, and have fried things over it in a small frypan as well as boiling water, which is all I've ever needed to do…. Sometimes I boil something in a (not ziploc!) bag, like a vac-seal omelette.
I prefer alcohol stoves, probably because they seem more foolproof – not a lot can happen to a White Box. I suppose you could clog jets but there's a safety pin in my emergency ziploc.Nov 5, 2009 at 8:21 am #1542995
@johnnybgood4Locale: New Hampshire
I like alcohol for backpacking for the following reasons:
* Super quiet
* I only boil water
* I know exactly how much fuel to bring, and can easily see out in the field how much fuel is actually left (a lot of people calculate their fuel needs then throw in an extra cylinder "just in case")
For car camping I use a cylinder for cooking and white gas for boiling large quantities of water.Nov 5, 2009 at 8:27 am #1542999
W I S N E R !BPL Member
My stove depends on what I'm doing.
I love the Snowpeak Gigapower (2.5 oz. Ti manual version). So easy- screw it, crank it, done.
I typically carry it when I'm trekking with my children- so much easier/faster for feeding hungry kids, cooking hot chocolate, keeping the hot food rolling out of the kitchen.
I'll also carry it on longer trips…4-5+ days. At that point I think they're about as weight-efficient as alcohol. The Snowpeak, according to this site, also has a low monoxide output- I've cooked in tents with it quite a bit- no risk of spilling burning alcohol, flare-ups, etc.
On short, fast, and weight-conscious trips I just don't cook, use a scout fire, or carry an esbit tab.
On a few occasions the canister has saved friends with alcohol stoves that weren't pressurizing well/cooking too slow at elevation.
Wood is typically my go-to if possible. But as far as stoves are concerned, I've never had an alcohol/esbit setup that I've felt didn't involve too much fuss- windscreens, fickle boil times, etc.Nov 5, 2009 at 8:49 am #1543008
The trick with windscreens and canister stoves where the fuel is directly under is to not use a tight screen, nor to have it go around all the way. You want some ventilation so it doesn't over heat.
OTOH, if you use a remote canister stove like a MSR WindPro, it comes with a windscreen that wraps around. Those are fine, as the fuel is set away.
I should add that in canister stoves, remote ones are often more stable if you are using larger pots (2 and 3L size), as they sit just above the ground. I find traditional canister stoves (fuel on bottom) work best with smaller loads for best stability.Nov 5, 2009 at 8:53 am #1543010
What kind of canister stove you get should also be determined by what you need it to do 90% of the time. If your majority of cooking is boiling water, get an MSR Pocket Rocket or similar. It is a hot stove, with a highly focused flame. It like so many in that class do suck fuel, but are efficient.
If though you like to actually cook and simmer meals, get one that is slower, that is easier to dial down and adjust the flame. You will pay more in most cases, but it is well worth it. The flame tends to be larger, spread out. Even heating is your friend. Boiling with these blows though, they are much slower. OTOH they often use 1/3 less fuel as they sip.
So consider it carefully, go try them out and have fun!Nov 5, 2009 at 9:30 am #1543019
@goldenmeanieLocale: Los Angeles
Like many here, I have a few stoves for different trips/uses… but, I love my Vargo Jet Ti canister stove… and they can be found for as little as 30 bucks online.Nov 5, 2009 at 10:28 am #1543046
Hart –BPL Member
@backpackerchickLocale: Planet Earth
Had it a few years along with snowpeak solo titanium cooker. Love it. easy to control flame. auto ignition no longer works but hear that is pretty typical. I only boil water and I can't be bothered with anything fancy! screw type canister is idiot proof. just got my first liquid fuel stove since cartridges aren't available where i am and petrol is.Nov 5, 2009 at 10:37 am #1543050
Ethan A.BPL Member
@mountainwalkerLocale: SF Bay Area & New England
Mark, I agree that alcohol stoves aren't suited to boiling larger volumes of water, but one thing you can do is use 2 alcohol stoves (they barely weigh anything) if you have two pots with you (especially if you are going with a partner).
"Third, if I expect I will be cooking in an enclosed space I go for a canister because it generates an 1/5 less carbon monoxide than my ion stove, and 1/10 esbits." – Do you mean the canister generates 1/5 the carbon monoxide of your ion and 1/10 of your esbit stove, or, just 1/5 and 1/10 less than those stoves. If the former, that's a huge difference. Good to know.Nov 5, 2009 at 5:37 pm #1543207
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