May 25, 2010 at 12:38 am #1259410
@benjammin21Locale: The Grid, Brooklyn
This summer I'll be going out for a week long trek in the High Sierras. 7 days, most of which will be above the tree line. I want the absolute lightest cooking system possible, super ultra light. And I want to keep my expenses low, super ultra cheap.
I would consider a wood burning stove, but they can be heavy for one, and secondly I worry about not having fuel.
So I'm thinking alcohol stove.
Need to boil 2 cups of water daily for dinner is the goal. Think literally as light as possible and as little space as possible. Any ideas on where to start?May 25, 2010 at 12:57 am #1613488
@dirk9827Locale: Pacific NorthwestMay 25, 2010 at 12:59 am #1613489
Yes, if you are going to be mostly above tree line, then forget about a wood stove. I agree, an alcohol stove sounds like the best bet, especially since you mentioned limited water boiling.
Either get an alcohol stove that is suited to your intended cook pot, or else get a cook pot that is suited to your intended alcohol stove. Some alcohol burners give you a good vertical flame suited for a narrow cook pot. Other alcohol burners give you a broad flame suited for a wider pot. If you have a mismatch, you will have bad fuel efficiency or worse. Use a simple wind screen (aluminum foil) and make sure that the wind doesn't blow it away.
(I have at least one burner of each type, so I have to stop and think about my cook pot and what I am trying to heat.)
If you test this at home, measure how much alcohol you use. Then for the trip, assume that you will use more alcohol by at least 50% because the weather will be colder. OTOH, as you get up to higher elevation, the boiling point of the water will be depressed (like 200 F), so the water boils even though it is not as hot as at sea level.
If you happen to have any Esbit fuel sitting around, you might want to pack four cubes of it as an emergency fuel stash. Use it for the situation where your alcohol storage bottle leaked, or the weather was colder than you expected and you needed some extra hot water.
–B.G.–May 25, 2010 at 1:03 am #1613491
Something like this is probably what you're looking for:May 25, 2010 at 1:21 am #1613494
I agree, the Gram Weenie type of burner is one that I had in mind for a broad flame.
I constructed mine out of a 3-ounce aluminum bottle that I purchased for $1.50.
The tough decision is when purchasing the denatured alcohol to burn in it. A gallon, or a quart?
–B.G.–May 25, 2010 at 2:58 am #1613496
@antigLocale: Pacific Northwest
Do yourself a favor and get the Caldera Cone Ti-Tri. That way you'll have one of the best alcohol stove systems and still be be able to burn wood fuel if you find someMay 25, 2010 at 8:49 am #1613554
@arichardson6Locale: North East
The caldera tri-ti, while great, isn't the lightest stove for this application.
If you are bringing alcohol with the assumption that you will need to use it every night then burning wood one night is actually counter productive. Once you bring the alcohol you need to use it to lose weight.
Wood stoves above tree line just don't provide the same weight advantage they would below tree line. You end up carrying the weight of a bunch of sticks.May 25, 2010 at 10:12 am #1613603
Kevin BeedenBPL Member
> 7 days, most of which will be above the tree line.
> I want the absolute lightest cooking system possible, super ultra light.
> And I want to keep my expenses low, super ultra cheap.
> as little space as possible.
> Need to boil 2 cups of water daily for dinner is the goal.
> So I'm thinking alcohol stove.
If you really only need to boil 2 cups (474ml) of water per day, then you'll need about 20ml of alcohol per day, so 140ml in total. Call it 150ml, weighing 120g.
Then add a fuel bottle; a 250ml soda bottle weighing 20g.
For low cost, low weight and small pack size, go for a MYOG red bull burner (7g), and a MYOG cone clone (~25g, depending on pan size). If you go for a fissure cone clone, it will fit in the pan, in most cases (as will the burner, lighter, etc). Add a fuel measuring cup at 3g.
So that's 55g for the burner, windshield, pan support and fuel bottle. Just under 2oz.
Add whatever pan you've got, or want to buy, and choose a burner design to suit it; narrow flame ring/cone for a pot with a small base. If the burner doesn't suit the pan, you'll potentially waste a lot of fuel as the flame passes uselessly up the side of the pan.
Replace the lid of your pan with one made from a can wall opened up, flattened out, and folded over the edge of the pan.
Practice beforehand in equivalent conditions to convince yourself that you know how much fuel to take. And protect your stove from wind to make the best use of the fuel you've got; pack, rocks, etc. for a makeshift first stage windbreak.
If you were going really minimalist, you could forego the cone, and take three Ti pegs at about 2g each, but you'd have to make a very good makeshift windbreak, and you wouldn't get the increased fuel efficiency that the cone provides. Or just support the pan on handy rocks…
I've seen people suggest Esbit tablets, but my UK experience with hexamine blocks put me off solid fuel when I was a kid. I should have a play with Esbit, as I'm assured they burn quite cleanly, and have a higher energy density than alcohol. Of course, you can't so easily measure just enough Esbit to boil X ml of water…
Apologies for any 'egg-sucking' in this post…May 25, 2010 at 10:36 am #1613620
Just created this thread…
Kitchen kit that weighs in at just over 1.75 oz, and requires only 13-14 ml of alcohol (HEET) to boil 2 cups in 8 minutes.
Seems it might be just what you're looking for.May 25, 2010 at 11:42 am #1613641
Keep in mind that in some of the national parks of California, there is a no-wood-fire elevation limit, and you are not allowed to have any wood fire above that limit (which tends to be just below timberline). Each park has its own limit, but it tends to be around 9600'-10,400'.
So, even if you had wood there, you could not have a legal fire, and that takes you back to the alcohol burner.
–B.G.–May 25, 2010 at 11:48 am #1613644
James PatsalidesBPL Member
@jamespatsalides-comLocale: New England
How about considering just taking 7 esbit tabs and a little piece of Ti or Al to sit the esbit on to burn it (unless you can get ahold of some fireproof material to sit it on???). Then, use a SUL windscreen (MYOG from an aluminum baking pan) and three Ti stakes to mount your pot above the esbit.
Depending on pot size/material one esbit tab should be enough to boil 2 cups… not sure how much esbit tabs weigh, but they're pretty efficient burners – you just need to be careful of the environmental impact (hense having the base plate or fireproof material underneath…
Just a though…
Cheers, James.May 25, 2010 at 11:56 am #1613649
James PatsalidesBPL Member
@jamespatsalides-comLocale: New England
— I've seen people suggest Esbit tablets, but my UK experience with hexamine blocks put me off solid fuel when I was a kid. I should have a play with Esbit, as I'm assured they burn quite cleanly, and have a higher energy density than alcohol. Of course, you can't so easily measure just enough Esbit to boil X ml of water… —
Had the same experience with Hexamine in the UK (20 years ago now) – very dirty and stinky. However, have to say that I recently used an esbit tab (when I ran out of alcohol) and was pleasantly surprised, especially since it is essentially the same thing as hex. The nasty molten residue is identical, but I think the smell is not as toxic as I remember hex… I was also wondering if it was the standard British Army issue hexamine stove thingy (or our propensity to cook inside the basha) which caused some of the nasty stinky problem???
I'm carrying a couple of esbit tabs as back up to alcohol now, but, given the OPs comments, thought it might be an interesting option. :-)May 25, 2010 at 11:59 am #1613651
Stephen AdamsBPL Member
I like the beer can stove because:
1. One, 1/4 oz Esbit will exactly boil 2 cups
2. I can take exactly the amount of tablets I need.
3. no weight of bottles for alcohol
4. I can use in the vestibule of my tent. I would never try that with alcohol as I have seen a friend catch himself and his tent on fire with alcohol.
5. 3.5 oz includes pot
6. Foster Pot is easy (and fun) to replace
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