Who Uses Canister Stoves?

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    Mark Verber
    BPL Member


    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    According to roger's articles

    snowpeak gs100 21ppm
    ion 114ppm
    esbits full tab 100ppm… oops… I thoigh the esbits was 200ppm.


    Larry De La Briandais
    BPL Member


    Locale: SF Bay Area

    "You can't beat this one:"

    Hey, thanks, I just ordered one! :-)

    Laurence Beck
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    Like Zachary at the top of this thread, I am also beginning to look at various cooking systems. From the many posts it appears there is a definate split in approaches.

    I currently use an MSR Pocket Rocket canister stove with a titanium foil wind screen. This wind screen does not sit tightly around the stove/pot to cause a safety issue though.

    I have been experimenting with the Foster's Beer Can pot on this stove. It's a little unstable but, if I am careful it is workable. I am going to purchase a Firelite 900 or equivalent when it comes available next spring though.

    I only boil water for a meal and a coffee. No more than 20-24oz.

    If I go out on a week long trip then this setup weighs 16.4 oz with the Foster's Can and an eight oz canister (which weighs 11.6oz)

    I have been considering the Caldera GVP with Esbit fuel. From reports, the Caldera GVP weighs about 5.25oz total with the beer can pot integrated. Esbit weighs about 0.5oz per tablet. Would I be correct to assume that I need one tablet for each boil which would be two per day? If so then this would be 8oz for an eight day trip. I guess one advantage with this would be that I could take 2oz for a 2 day trip.

    The total weight of Caldera GVP with eight days of Esbit fuel would weigh approx. 13.25 oz. This is only a 3.15 oz savings over the Pocket Rocket setup with the beer can pot.

    Is there some other advantage with Esbit? (or alcohol?)

    Rand Lindsly
    BPL Member


    Locale: Yosemite


    I'm an esbit user. I find that I never need over one tablet a day….and I typically do what you do….one meal. My experience is that I can get my 2cups of water boiling on somewhere between 1/2 and 2/3 of a tablet….so there is some left over to heat water for cleaning or a drink.

    The other consideration with esbit over alcohol is that you don't have to have a fuel bottle……and with respect to the Gram Cracker at 3grams vs the 12-10 stove at 16gms and a fuel bottle around 20gms…..esbit will save over an ounce in just infrastructure weight.

    Finally, once you have burned through your esbit fuel, you are packing out a 3gram stand……with canister stoves you are packing out a canister stove obviously and a comparatively heavy empty canister for the landfill.

    My $0.2

    Rand :-)

    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    I recently switched to a Caldera Cone from a canister stove and what I really like is being able to only take the amount of fuel I need for a trip. I used to have to carry a canister full of fuel for even an overnighter but now I adjust my fuel to how long I will be out. I have never used esbit, but I know an advantage is that you can blow it out and use one for more than one meal.

    Laurence Beck
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California


    I am definately going to try it out. I am not sure I am going to invest $60 on a complete cone system but I am going to try esbit.

    One thing: I normally cook 2 meals per day. Oatmeal and coffee in the morning and MH Dehydrated plus coffee in the evening. Probably my estimate of 2 tablets per day may be accurate.

    I guess there is an aescetic value to cooking like this – almost like cooking on a wood fire.

    Jim W.
    BPL Member


    Locale: So-Cal

    Maybe I would be better at cutting my pack weight if I were more into asecticism…

    I think the caldera cone is really cool. It doesn't fit into my favorite feeding system that well:

    Get up, maybe have hot breakfast, pack up, hike until the sun hits me.
    Stop for hot choffee.
    Hike a few hours.
    Stop for dinner mid afternoon.
    Hike a few hours.
    Stop for soup or hot drink, then set up camp and go to bed.

    In this scenario I'm heating water four times a day. Sometimes I also steam bake a muffin or cupcake. When the family comes along we don't cook quite as many times, but we do more at each meal- second cups of hot cocoa in the morning, etc.

    On winter day hikes with the kids we often have hot drinks on the trail.

    For us the canister works great. I'm very thrilled by the Jetboil PCS because it is so quick to go from pack to boiling water back to packed. From the time I take my pack off to having 12 ounces of boiling water is less than 3 minutes.

    Laurence Beck
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    That's a pretty nice schedule actually!

    Eric Blumensaadt
    BPL Member


    Locale: Mojave Desert

    I have a Vargo Jet-Ti burner that is very light and has tested to have the lowest CO2 output of canister stoves.

    But, at 1.2 oz. more and with a better, wider flame ring I also got a Brunton Flex. It actually folds for storage. Since it's made for Brunton by Primus it is similar to a Primus Crux but with several improvements. This stove, with its wider heat dispersion, is better for actual cooking than the Vargo because it doesn't create a hot spot in the center of the pot.

    Rand Lindsly
    BPL Member


    Locale: Yosemite


    Not speaking as a vendor of gear….but as an esbit user….one thing you need to be aware of with esbit. It puts off, for lack of a better term, a very "lazy" flame. It's basically just a brick of random fire. As such it really isn't focused toward your pot like stoves and even minor drafts can easily take the heat away from your pot. Also, as a just randomly burning cube, it is burning on all sides. My comment on fuel usage was narrowly to the Gram Cracker where it only allows 3 sides to burn, inside a cone where the random heat is generally captured and hearded toward the pot. It has been quite a while since I've used wings/windscreens, but as I recall you won't get that kind of efficiency. (side note….there are other cones that are much cheaper than $60)

    WRT the canister conversation and Jim QPublic's post…..whenever you are cooking 4 times a day, cooking for groups, melting snow for water….in general pumping out tons of heat for whatever reason…..dead dinosaurs as a fuel source can't be beat. Alcohol and esbit will never have the BTU content of a good vaporized Brontosaurus in a can.

    Rand :-)

    Mark Stalbird


    I'm pretty frugal when it comes to unnecessary spending.
    That said…i've yet to come up with a reason to fix whats not broke so I'm still using my Pocket rocket,its been extremely reliable over the years.

    Yes…all i do is boil water.

    Raymond Estrella


    Locale: Northern Minnesota

    For 3-season hikes I have taken either an Optimus Crux or an EtaExpress depending on how many people are along. (Actually Dave and I take the Eta a lot for just two.) I like the convenience and speed of them. I am a pretty impatient person, that has a hard time holding still. I am horrible about watching pots boil. Canister stoves, especially the Eta keep that in check. In MN I keep a WindPro for use with my kids. Those trips are pretty easy and I carry a lot of weight anyway.

    But I did just get a Caldera Cone Ti-Tri to start using on solo trips and it made a convert out of me on the first night. (Warning: long drawn out post follows. Back Button!)

    I spent all day trying to get to one PCT trailhead after another but kept having to turn back due to snow from a very cold storm that swept through California. I had been expecting decent weather and did not have chains with me. By the time I found one I could get to it was after 2:00 pm and still pouring so I went to a primitive campground to spend the night where there was least some pit toilets. (Nothing worse than a cat-hole in the rain as us cats hate water…)

    I was pretty worried about my first use of an alcohol stove as it was about 34 F and raining plus the wind came up. As I was in a little Tera Nova Laser I did not want to experiment in its tiny vestibule. I only brought 1 oz of Everclear with me and I dumped the whole thing in the center saving a bit for the outer ring. I tried to light it with my lighter and could not get it to go.

    Remembering that I keep 8 REI storm matches in my 1st aid kit, I cover the stove and run to dig them out. I never did see anything on the outer ring catch on fire but I did get a feeble flame going from the stove proper. I got the cone and pot over it and fretted for a long time. OK, it was probably 45 seconds. I decide that this was a mistake and go get my food sack out of the tent to see what I want to eat for cold dinner. I decide to go sit in my truck rather than shed the rain gear to hang out in the tent.

    I did mention not being able to wait, right? About 4 minutes after I lit the stove I went over and saw it just burning away. A couple minutes later it was boiling. It was a bit interesting lifting the whole works off the stove and having it flaring up in the now dark night. I smothered it with the lid of my Titan Kettle and saw that there was quite a bit of fuel left. While most of that day and night are quite forgettable, the Caldera Cone was the bright spot (no pun intended, well maybe a little) and won me over. I expect to use it quite a bit next year when the warmer weather returns. (Hmm, that sounds funny coming from a guy that lives in California, when I get back to the lower elevations then.)

    Esbit is next to try with it.

    Sorry for the long boring post.

    Benjamin Crowley


    Locale: West, now

    In winter I carry a snow peak, cause I cook in my tent some and its just safer for inside a tent. In the summer, its either a whisperlite or I just make a fire. Really I only boil water for coffee. I usually don't even cook food unless I want ramen for a hot food fix, maybe every couple of days. I do drink ALOT of coffee and tea though.
    Nice thing about the snow peak is I can stop on the trail, make some quick coffee or tea, pack it up quick and move on

    Nick Gatel
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southern California

    She said different stove for different conditions, etc. She also pointed out that technically alcohol stoves are illegal in some areas. As an example in the National Forest section of the San Jacinto Wilderness, alcohol stoves are illegal and you MUST be in posession of a trowel for bathroom duty. Don't ask how I know :)

    I use a cone/alcohol stove for mild conditions.

    As weather/temps deteriorate then it is a canister.

    In really cold, high elevations and plenty of snow melting needed it is white gas.

    Overall I like the canisters for their no fuss convenience.

    Matthew Swierkowski


    Locale: Southeast

    Having used everything except for esbit, I think the other posters here covered it well. It all depends on what you prefer, and your hiking style (i.e. how often you cook, what you cook, length of trips, etc.).

    Me personally, I prefer a canister stove for the convenience. I have used alcohol a good bit recently, and although it is fun and quiet it is does not have a decided weight advantage for me over using a canister stove for the type of trips I do. So, if I have time to fiddle with the alcohol stove I carry it. If I am pounding out mileage and want to be able to cook fast I prefer the canister. I should also mention that I normally only boil water.

    As for the windscreen debate with the canister stove, my hiking bud carries a piece of aluminum flashing that he puts down around the stove. Hasn’t had a problem with it yet, and I’ve used it some without incident. I don’t normally use a wind screen, but if it’s really windy and I can’t get the stove sheltered I used my foam sleeping pad. Held far enough away from the stove it will not be affected by the heat. I would recommend policing it though as one time I tried to prop it up on something only to come back a short time later and find it leaning against my pot. How it didn’t melt any part of it I don’t know (I must have caught it right after it fell).

    Mark Compton


    Locale: West of the Great Smoky Mtn's

    Solo-3 season= Alcohol. Also helps make a fire!

    3 Season w/ kids- Snow Peak Lite Max.

    Winter- Snow Peak Lite Max

    * Most meals are freezer bag cooking and hot drinks… I also have one of the kids bring an alchy stove. I let them do some of their own cooking while I do the majority of it…. As they get older their responsibilities change…

    Sam Farrington
    BPL Member


    Locale: Chocorua NH, USA

    I do for 2 main reasons:

    First, while I will not cook inside a tent, eventually extreme weather can force me to cook under the silnylon awning, and the canister is the only type I feel confident will not flare up toward this quite flammable fabric. Otherwise, I cook well away from the tent because of bears and other furry critters.

    Second, my food system consists of a large sealed pouch of solids (rice, vermicelli, pasta, freeze dried meats etc.) that is cooked first in one cup of water at a simmering boil, and a smaller sealed bag of powder for a sauce, gravy or mashed potato that is added and stirred in after the hard stuff is fully cooked. And my light Snowpeak Ti stove with MYOG Ti windscreen is a great slow and well regulated simmerer at low heat that does not burn the food. The Coleman butane-propane mix canisters are slightly larger and sold at Walmart for much less than the pack shop ones, and one lasts me 5 days, two meals daily, if I don't have to melt snow for water. Also use a light fold up plastic stand from EMS under the canister to add stability. Never go more than 10 days without a drop and stop, so 2 of the Colemans are not much to carry. In a pinch, could always start a small cookfire in most wilderness areas.
    Sam F. at Mt. Chocorua

    John S.
    BPL Member


    Samuel, so you have used those Walmart Coleman canisters for melting snow in winter? It appears your canister stove is one that sits right on top of the canister and not liquid feed.

    Sam Farrington
    BPL Member


    Locale: Chocorua NH, USA

    Sorry to have misled you, as I do not do overnites much in winter. The Spring in Colorado is another matter, however, and travelling above treeline on long ridges(Medicine Bow ridge in the Rawahs, for example), I have had to melt snow to get water to camp. The first time, I was with two shelties (Shetland Sheep Dogs), one of whom wanted to stop for the day, and when I told her "No Water here," she went over to a snow bank and began pushing her front paws into it.
    The stove screws onto the top of the cannister, and yes, I would not expect it to function below around 20% F. Am told that between 20 and 30 degrees the propane burns off leaving the butane in the canister, but have not had that problem, probably because of the high altitude increasing the gas pressure and the Spring sun. Back here in the East in the winter, there are plenty of shelters and cabins to stay in during the winter, and I would go for a small Coleman or other stove using white gas.
    Sam F., Chocorua NH

    James Klein
    BPL Member


    Locale: Southeast

    I was able to use my Snow Peak Giga Power @ ~0degF this past weekend to boil water. It takes some tweaking but can be done.

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