Jan 21, 2010 at 8:16 pm #1254354
I have a Bushbuddy Ultra, which I love. The only time I don't enjoy using it is when It's raining very hard, because I can't cook within my shelter without filling it with smoke.
I've dealt with this by bringing just my 1.5 inch tall .5 ounce MYOG beer can open jet alcohol stove when I expect considerable rain — that way I can cook in my shelter. Since my alcohol stove weighs so little, on certain long trips I would like to bring both, with just 3 ounces of fuel. To save weight, however, I wouldn't want to bring a z-stand and windscreen for the alcohol stove.
Since my alcohol stove fits inside the pot holder of the Bushbuddy (BB) UL, I'm wondering if I can use the BB pot holder as a windscreen and pot stand for the alcohol stove. This would enable me to, for the .5 ounce of the stove and weight of a few ounces of fuel, have a wood burning and alcohol stove that share the same pot holder and windscreen.
It seems to work, but I'm wondering if any of you can foresee any problems I don't. As a windscreen, the BB pot holder is a little more than a half inch from the side of the stove. This doesn't seem to affect its performance. Do any of you know if this set up would be problematic, or inefficient? ThanksJan 22, 2010 at 7:41 am #1565158
@red_foxLocale: South Florida
I have a UL Compact version of the Ti-Tri with an Inferno insert from Trail Designs which does exactly what you are looking for. It fits perfectly in my MLD 850 pot. The cone is made of Titanium to withstand the heat of a wood fire. With the Inferno insert, it is quite efficient in wood burning mode. It is probably not as efficient as the BB, but the efficiency argument kind of goes out the window with a wood stove (unlimited fuel). The UL Compact Titanium cone weighs 0.8 oz, the Inferno insert weighs 0.8 oz, and the 12-10 Alcohol stove weighs 0.5 oz. That gives you a complete system that's suitable for pretty much any type of fuel for 2.1 oz (not including the optional titanium floor, which weighs 0.3 oz). You can even add the Gram Cracker esbit stove for only 0.1 oz.
I realize I didn't exactly answer your question. You probably weren't asking about an alternative to the BB but I thought I'd mention it since this system offers exactly what you are looking for.
-SidJan 22, 2010 at 8:16 am #1565168
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Are the Infernos being offered to mere mortals yet, or still just to special people? I can't find it on the TD website.Jan 22, 2010 at 8:24 am #1565173
Hey, Dean- Just drop them an email and tell them you're interested in one. Shouldn't be a problem…Jan 22, 2010 at 8:26 am #1565176
@jmathesLocale: Southeast US
Gabriel, this might answer your questionJan 22, 2010 at 10:48 am #1565209
JJ, based on the link you sent it appears the pot support of the Bushbuddy Ultra will work as an adequate pot support and wind shield for my alcohol stove. Thanks for the help. It's nice to know I have that option available.Jan 22, 2010 at 11:32 am #1565224
@jmathesLocale: Southeast US
Gabriel- I nest my alcohol stove down inside of my BB using it as the windscreen with pot on top of the BB pot stand, works great for me.Jan 22, 2010 at 11:37 am #1565227
In the video you referred me to this was one of the techniques used. It's good to hear that you've been successful with this method. I'll definitely give it a try. ThanksJan 26, 2010 at 4:05 am #1566301
It's obviously not just the bush buddy that makes a perfect companion to the tiny little alcohol stoves.
Alcohol makes a great companion to pretty much any wood stove.
However, what most people may have overlooked is alcohol makes a superb companion to ISO butane for summer travel. Perhaps a better companion then a wood stove. More on this in a minute.
== why alcohol is an "always carry" ==
Because the latest alcohol stoves like the side jetted alcohol stoves and super cat stove are so light (.5oz and .25 ounce respectively) and simple they are the sort of thing you can and should throw in your bag as a backup.
You don't even need a pot stand or special windscreen.
Indeed why even carry a windscreen? Usually the windscreen for whatever other stove you carry will work, a piece of heavy duty aluminum foil you're probably already carrying for other reasons, or you can improvise a windscreen out of bark, rocks, sleeping pad… whatever. Hence… ONLY the stove and a little fuel need be carried. (And sometimes not even the fuel, more on this later.)
You can also get fuel for alcohol practically anywhere. Especially in the northern climates where you can not only get denatured alcohol at a hardware store (or in a pinch rubbing alcohol at a grocery store), but also HEET gas line anti-freeze at practically every gas station.
*I did an informal pole hear in Michigan and Ohio over the last 3-4 months and found Heet in every single gas station I stopped in except two. I lost count at 40 gas stations. Of course you can also buy HEET at every automotive store without fail, some hardware stores, and even a lot of grocery stores as well.
As has been said knowledge and skill weigh nothing. The best skill you can develop for alcohol stoves is to study up on alternative fuel sources for alcohol and where you can find them. Experience is a key to skill, so play your own little game and even if you're not using alcohol do your own informal pole every time you go in someplace and note sources of alcohol stove fuel. Every area is different but I'm willing to bet on my experience no matter where you are there are always sources.
On that note there's one reason I can think of why NOT to carry an alcohol stove and that is you're very experienced at building one and can build a good one out of practically anything in a few minutes with only a knife. I.E. a pop can, a cat food can or any small metal container.
== Alcohol and wood ==
Right now (for the winter) I'm carrying an alcohol stove and my wood gas stove (a 5.5oz home made one). It's a great combination because among other things.
1) I can use the alcohol stove to lite / prime the wood gas stove. Works especially well when everything is wet because .25 oz of fuel will burn for 5 minutes or so.
2) I can use the alcohol stove when I can't or don't want to use the wood gas… i.e. when I'm in a hurry or wood fires or disallowed or when in a small enclosed space like a tent, tarp, shelter.
Meanwhile the wood stove means virtually unlimited fuel so I can burn it not just for cooking but for warmth and the general pleasure of having a campfire.
Unlike a campfire it leaves no trace, is relatively smokeless and uses so little fuel I can burn it all night (8+ hours) on an small arm load of wood (not that I ever burn that much).
The key I found with my wood stove is making it big enough it can not only burn tiny scraps of wood cleanly for cooking (smokeless) but also 9inch to foot long branches un-split for long sustained burns. Video: http://vimeo.com/8418187
== Alcohol and iso-butane ==
What I'm most looking forward to is taking my alcohol stove and an ISO butane stove on trips this summer.
Why does this makes a perfect combination?
ISO-butane is far and away the hottest and most fuel efficient stove type on the market.
The stoves themselves are extremely compact and light (though not as compact and light as the latest alcohol stoves).
The fuel cartridges are also extremely light and compact.
To be specific ISO butane gives more energy for cubic inch of space and every ounce then any other fuel source. Even when you take into account the packaging / canister weight itself.
However ISO-butane does have some Achilles heals.
One disadvantage is their poor performance in cold weather. This can be negated somewhat by warming the cartridge in your clothing and insulating it from the cold ground when using it. Some ISO stoves like the jet boil can even be held or hung. (I love that Tinny at Minibull Designs seems to going in this direction with alcohol even if he doesn't yet reaize it himself. ;)
ISO butane stoves biggest Achilles heal is the poor availability of butane cartridges when on the road/trail. This combined with the problems gauging how much fuel is left means you either need to really overestimate your fuel since when you're out you may just be S.O.L.
Enter the alcohol stove.
1) You don't even need to carry anything more then the stove as you know you can pick up alcohol along the way when the ISO butane runs out.** Hence all you need carry is your .5 or .25 oz alcohol stove. Again, no windscreen, no pot stand carrying necessary.
2) When/if you do run out of ISO butane fuel you don't have to carry the spent ISO butane cartridge, not that it weighs much empty anyway, but it is less bulk and clutter. (Please, just make sure you properly dispose of the cartridge in nearest trash can and not in the woods or campfire.)
All in all this combination is far lighter, more compact, and more versatile then the wood stove combination. Many would also point out that it's soot free.
**strategies for picking up alcohol fuel in this scenario**
As mentioned above you don't need to carry any alcohol fuel (just the .25 or .5oz alcohol stove) until you run out of ISO or near run out of ISO. The question is choosing your moment when to pick up some alcohol fuel.
For me this is simple because I bike tour mostly and because alcohol fuel is widely available where I commonly tour. I can just wait until I run completely out of ISO-butane and then at most I go one night without hot food or light a fire. (In fact I never had to go without hot food.)
However others may be more reliant on fire (i.e. for water purification) and alcohol fuel sources may not be quite as readily available (i.e. a remote area). Then it's best to pick your moment and perhaps carry a bit of alcohol sooner.
You could just rely on regular old fire for a couple days until you can pick up alcohol.
You could carry just 3-4 ounces of alcohol or whatever you might need before you could refuel.
You could make sure you always have some food that doesn't need cooking.
You could (and probably should) carry alternative water purification means (i.e. iodine tablets, MSR miox, steripen, etc., etc.)
You could simply identify when you're running low on ISO and plan a head and then be an opportunist and only pick up alcohol a day or two in advance.
Even if you're using fuel / food drops (i.e. on a thru-hike) there's still little reason not to carry a .25 – .5 oz alcohol stove. That is unless (as mentioned above) you take into consideration you can improvise a fairly good one in minutes with anything from a pop can, a can of cat food, or any small metal container. :)
Anyway, there are many, many strategies.
That said, there are of course some instances where alcohol stove might not come in handy… i.e. a month long trek in the Alaskan brooks range where you might not see any people or roads at all let alone a sorce for alcohol. On the other hand… maybe fish oil will burn in a super cat stove. (Inuit Kudlik anyone? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kudlik)
The bottom line is ISO butane with a back up of alcohol is pretty much the most efficient / flexible / lightest and and cleanest option around.
What's more you've always got plan C. A campfire. A very good option in an emergency (i.e. you fall in freezing water or need a signal fire), and I just love how quickly ISO or alcohol will start wet wood if you need a large fire and need it now. Cotton balls or tampons with wax/petroleum products work wonders too just a little slower. A personal favorite is cotton balls and bag balm since I already carry both.
Alternatively with wood you're obviously lugging a relatively bulky and heavy (5+ ounce) stove, even when you're not using it. There's soot. And even if you're not carrying fuel for the wood stove you still always need to have a bit of alcohol on you at all times in the various instances you can't use a wood stove.
== multi-fuel stove + alcohol? ==
This is only a mention.
A multi-fuel stove like the MSR dragonfly, whisperlight, Optimus stoves or other various stoves don't make much sense to carry with an alcohol stove.
For one thing the fuel sources for these (kerosene, whitegas, unleaded or diesel gas) are much more available then alcohol.
The fuel is darn near as hot and efficient as ISO butane.
They are in a sense a go everywhere / do everything stove, but they are usually comparatively bulky and heavy because you need to take into account not only the added weight of the stove, but also the fuel pump and pressurized fuel bottle.
Then there is priming, the complexity, the reliability and the durability issues… i.e. clogged fuel pump/filter or fuel ports. Do you really want to deal with these when you're life is on the line? By comparison ISO and alcohol are so simple and reliable.
In the end it's lighter, more versatile, simpler, more reliable to carry two of some other type of stove then to carry one mutli-fuel stove.
That said, to each his own.
And in conclusion… I write to much. :)Jan 26, 2010 at 4:49 am #1566302
@ Sanad Toukhly (Red_Fox) even though I know how much the Tri Tri Inferno weighs it blows my mind to hear you say it (or read as it were).
BTW, the efficiency issue isn't blown completely out the window with wood. It is still great to NOT have to process the large amounts of wood necissary for a campfire. Not just the reduction in work, but also the reduction in impact.
We can cheer pretty much all backpacking wood stoves on that point.
That said the biggest issues for me with a wood stove are
1) How cleanly does it burn?
2) how high maintence is it
While some soot is inevitable it's nice to not have smoke in your eyes and lungs and large amounts soot on your pots.
Then there's the constant feeding of wood issue.
I decided right from the start there are two ways in which I'd want to use my stove and I wanted it to work well both ways.
First it should work for cooking on. Second, since I intended to use it primarily for winter camping it should work superbly as a heat source.
This second point appears to be something no other ultralight backpacking stove takes into account and some might say for good reason… i.e. you're asking to much, the stove would need to be to large / to heavy.
I have I believe found the truth to be otherwise.
video of a recent protype: http://vimeo.com/8418187
For the purposes of cooking constant feeding is ok but it's vital that it burn clean. For cooking I wanted it to burn anything from twigs and pine cones to small chunks of split would and charcol. Shag bark hickory is far and away my favorite fuel source. So hot, so clean, so efficient so readily available here in michigan, even in wet weather. Requires no tools (knife or saw) to process. Not to mention smells great.
As a heat source (winter camping) constantly adding fuel would not work but some smoke was ok. Therefore I wanted my stove to be able to take as long as 9-12 inch sticks as big as three or even four inches across un-split. (Though with all wood fires, splitting is much preferred.)
The solution was making the burn chamber tall and narrow to increase convection, improve reflective heat, accommodate small 3-4 inch sticks for cooking, and for heat handle sticks protruding several inches above the top.
(The base also needed to be wide for the stake of stability.)
Of course anything that sticks much if any above the top of the stove smokes a little but this is ok when using the stove as a heat source. Indeed once the stove heats up the heat is so great even sticks sticking six inches out of the top of the stove burn relatively cleanly do the complete combustion.
Finally… I needed to be able to abuse the crap out of my stove. I can even put 5-10 pound logs across the top and often do. This allows me to be lazy and burn unprocessed wood. (Wood to big around to break and too long to stick in the stove.) Once burned in half (which the stove seems to do remarkably fast) it can then be put into the stove.
What's to light? I learned pretty early that while Heineken can and Fosters can wood gas stoves were remarkably hot and efficient they can over heat and melt down when used/ abused as a heat source. Video: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mmeiser2/4079433096/
I say all this, because I'm curious as to how the Tri Tri Inferno hold up in these areas.
Being titanium though thin walled it seems like it can handle some abuse but it also seems the wood burning features are more as a backup then anything. It also seems like I couldn't place anything more then a 6" stick in it.
While great products the primary problem I have with the Bush Buddy and similar products is not only that they pack a little bulky but that they cannot accommodate very large or long wood and so are impractical for much more then cooking.
It appears to me that there needs to be a break from the relationship between the size of the stove and how big it packs. My initial reaction was to make it flat pack, but I found anything less then a round stove to be inefficient. My solution have come from making the stove roll up (similar to the tri tri inferno) to fit in any size pot, no matter how big a diameter the stove is or how tall.
-MikeJan 26, 2010 at 5:46 am #1566309
"All in all this combination is far lighter, more compact, and more versatile then the wood stove combination."
Are you saying that the weight of an ISO butane stove with canister is less than that of a Bushbuddy Ultra? If so, even if you have a Snow Peak LightMax stove (1.9 ounces) and the smallest canister Snow Peak sells (7 ounces), you're still carrying more than you would with a Bushbuddy Ultra (5.1 ounces). As you use up the fuel, however, the ISO butane stove system would eventually become lighter.
There are certainly drawbacks to the Bushbuddy Ultra, like size, fire regulations, soot, smoke and the smell in everything — but in terms of beginning weight it's hard to beat — unless you're using an alcohol stove (.5 ounce) with less than 5 ounces of alcohol.
FYI — I'm not advocating for either system. They both make sense within different contexts, and personal preferences.Jan 26, 2010 at 7:19 am #1566321
It occurs to me that I've overlooked the obvious.
Why not use a wood stove with ISO butane?
The speed, heat and immediacy of ISO butane stove with the longevity and endless fuel source of a wood stove.
1) wood stove as primary stove, ISO as backup
In this case you'd just use the ISO butane in scenarios where no wood fires are allowed, no wood is available, enclosed spaces, you need to cook / boil water in a hurry or as an emergency heat source. I.E. if you fall in cold water.
2) ISO as main stove, wood as backup.
I don't see much point in this scenario, wood stoves are to bulky and heavy to carry around simply to use simply as a backup. Indeed if your ISO butane ran out and you truly need a fire… i.e. in a true emergency you can always light a traditional campfire just as well as you can light a wood gas stove.
3) Urgent wood fire
In order to not waste ISO butane you could just use it if you need an immediate wood fire (i.e. in an emergency, wet wood, just pressed for time, i.e. breakfast or lunch).
In this case you could use the ISO butane to do a fast light of your wood stove. (Think of it as your butane lighter on steroids.) You could probably get a pot on to boil in just a minute or two, even with soaking wet wood.
I must admit I much like this scenario.
Though I wouldn't much trust ISO butane for winter travel it sounds like a superb rival to traveling with a wood and alcohol stove in the summer.
In comparing the two the ISO butane stove may way a hare more then alcohol stove but the fuel for the ISO will way about the same or less (4oz canister vs. 4oz bottle of alcohol) and last a huge magnitude longer. 4oz of ISO butane could last perhaps a hundred times longer then four ounces of alcohol. (Anyone have any stats?)
Personal use scenario.
I could picture getting in late to camp (as I'm sometimes prone to do since I love going late into the evening and love the night) and being to exhausted to handle the complexities and patience of wood fires and fire lighting.
In this case I could see not having to find kindling or fiddle with fire lighting as a huge blessing.
I could simply use the ISO butane to light whatever wood fuel I first got my hands on. No fuss, no stress, would work 100% every time… if any trouble I could always just cook on the ISO stove.
== Cons of wood + ISO butane ==
So, I mentioned above comparative cons to the wood gas / alcohol stove combination.
Can't think of many others.
1) ISO cartridges are still hard to find
When your ISO butane cartridge is spent it's still spent, but by using primarily wood you could probably manage your ISO butane fuel extremely effectively. One 4oz canister could last you weeks. Certainly enough time to give you the chance to strategically use the source until opportunity afforded you the possibility of finding a place to buy a new cartridge.
That's not really so much of a con of the combination of wood and ISO butane so much as a huge mitigation of the one major drawback to ISO butane. Indeed if anything it shows a remarkable advantage over ISO butane in place of alcohol.
2) Second, as mentioned ISO does work poorly in the cold.
3) Lighting a wood gas stove with ISO butane requires experience / skill / technique
Again, this isn't really a con. Anything that requires a little experience, skill and technique should be considered an opportunity.
Even if you do only want to do this in emergency, it's best to master the skill before you need it.
You can't just stick an ISO butane into the top of a wood gas stove to light it (unless you want it to explode in your face.) Nor can you hold most wood gas stoves over an ISO butane stove (unless you want to burn yourself.)
However I think you could get at bundle (a nice full handful) of approximately eight to ten inch sticks and twigs and light the ends in manageable groups over the ISO stove before dropping them lit in first into the wood stove. In this manner I think you could have a fire lit in minutes from the time you pulled out your stove including time now negligent time needed for gathering wood fuel.
== something old, something new: why the dual approach rules ==
In summary… darn, I do write to much but this thread is absolutely right on the money for me because it speaks of both the versatility and dependability of fire building methods over the years.
It doesn't matter which combination you use they're all winners. Way to go lighter without loosing flexibility.
I find this dual stove approach fascinating in comparison to traditional bushcraft. It's a paradigm shift in many ways but some values remain the same while new values such as leave no trace and sustainability have been incorporated.
The bushcraft way:
1) open fire lit with flint and steel
2) open fire lit with a waterproof match or "modern" lighter
The UL backpacker way:
1) a wood gassification stove
2) a side jet alcohol stove or ISO butane stove
The similarities and comparisons are numerous.
The dominant overarching idea is that while the technologies have changed to reflect the greater need for low impact camping while the primal needs of reliability and survival are still met.
1) a wood gassification stove does not negate one's needs to know how to build a fire, in fact it supports and enhances the experience / knowledge and skill to carry forward this ancient and primal survival need.
2) a wood gassification stove is extremely dependable piece of technology and if you want wood fire necessary for low impact / no trace camping. However in an emergency one can always fall back on a good old campfire. It is the "flint and steel" of backpacking stoves.
3) an alcohol or ISO butane stove in this use scenario is part of the historic dependable one two punch of modern and convenient technology and age old and reliable methods. It is if you will the "modern lighter" of wood stoves.
Used alone the alcohol stove and ISO butane divorce themselves from history and the primal skills necessary for survival. While uber efficient and convenient if broken they could leave the user at a dead end as they do not incorporate the primal survival skills into their use.
Even though some of you are saying "well I already know how to light a fire with flint and steel". I remind you that you can never be to practiced at it since environmental conditions are infinite an varied.
Fire lighting is as most skills are only good in so far as you continue to use and develop them. In this way modern backpackers cannot completely divorce themselves from the history of bushcraft. At the very least there is some remote possibility we could need these honed skills to save our lives.
In fact, "remote possibility" is being to nice. When backpacking we're always exposed to the possibilities of freak weather storms, getting lost, encounters with wild animals or some challenge of varying degree. For some it's a large part of what backpacking is about.
It isn't all about the pretty scenery and I wonder if sometimes this is what people experience when they say "it wasn't what I thought it would be". Adversity is possibly inherent in UL backpacking.
Anyway, when these new technologies (the latest ISO butane and alcohol stoves) are used in tandem with a modern ultralight backpacking wood stove these new stoves give us both modern convenience, the security of redundancy (i.e. lighting a fire in the pouring rain) with a fine respect and connection to historical ways.
As neither we in our knowledge and skills nor our gear are perfect by having a little redundancy we can perhaps pay respect to and carry forward this evolutionary narrative. The gear isn't everything but in many cases it speaks more then the photos, texts and books that chronicle it.
This is yet another facet I love of modern sports like UL backpacking, pack rafting, ultra endurance running and cycling.
One last last twist.
You could always just light fires where and when fire rings are provided to keep that historic connection… but once again the dogma (bigger, better cheaper) has run headlong into a culdesac of thought and broken the lineage with history. As pretty much any backpacker on this site will agree our greed for large fires like in other areas of society has caused the majority of camp sites across the nation to become brushed out.
Meanwhile the spread of non indigenous parasites like the long-horned beetle which tends to get spread by campers in cars carrying firewood from place to place is yet another assault.
Hence we come back to the modern UL backpacking wood stove. It is a call for modesty, a new approach, or rather old approaches revisited and revitalized.
Respect of the environment.
Leave no trace.
Take only what you need while leaving plenty for future generations.
I am reminded of where these axioms came from as well as the old native American accounts… something about Europeans always feeling the need to build large fires.
Why this was can only be speculated.
Perhaps it was out of fear or perhaps for warmth, but now that we've thoroughly "conquered" nature and have little to fear maybe it's time to use our "cutting edge" merino wool, polypro, synthetics, down bags, get smart about leaving food out and cooking mess, carry some bear mace if we're not sure of our capabilities, and leave the big fires largely to history while keeping the traditions and skills alive by telling stories over our modern campfires which we have the possibility of sustaining for future generations while keeping the core skill alive.
Damit. Got carried away again. :)
Peace.Jan 26, 2010 at 7:48 am #1566331
@bfornshellLocale: Southern Texas
This is from one of my old MYOG Threads:
Made for a cold weather hike I combined Wood with a much modified Coleman Xtreme stove burner for this Multi-Fuel Stove.Jan 26, 2010 at 2:14 pm #1566466
@cadyakLocale: southwest georgia
Everybody is drinking out of something. So you are going to have a mug of some kind. Unless it is some tiny titanium thing it will probably be a few oz. These mugs weigh in at between 4oz(16fl.oz) to 9.5oz(24fl.oz). However broken down they make a very powerful volcano shaped stove and can be used as windscreens/potstands for a back-up alcohol stove in one type of configuration or another. It seems to speed up boil times by a minute or so than without the mug. The stoves themselves are usually around 3 oz or so. Very fast boil times, and capable of burning for an hour or more if you have enough wood. Doesnt take much.
I meant for this to be in the multiple use photo thread. oops….Jan 26, 2010 at 5:27 pm #1566549
That's pretty amazing dude. I think I have this same mug too. It's not going to insulate to well when your done though. :)Jan 30, 2010 at 2:19 pm #1567976
BTW… if anyone cares you can get mugs almost exactly like this regularly at Walgreens. Fairly reliable source.
The only reason I know this is because I love them for their large size and use them for bike commuting.
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