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Fuel usage per day OH vs canister


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Home Forums General Forums Food, Hydration, and Nutrition Fuel usage per day OH vs canister

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  • #1282811
    Jake D
    BPL Member

    @jakedatc

    Locale: Bristol,RI

    Ok, I'm trying to sort out what I want to do for cooking.

    I already have a pocket rocket but have not used it enough to determine how many days I can get out of it.

    I also like the look of the Gram weenie pro. I figure 1oz per meal but if folks know better I'd love to hear about it.

    I'd do hot breakfast at least sometime and hot dinners most of the time. Would love to do a test during a few days doing the Pemi loop in prep for the Long trail later in the summer.

    thanks
    Jake

    edit: if it helps. probably 1L 5" wide AL pot at the moment.

    #1809942
    Roger Caffin
    BPL Member

    @rcaffin

    Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe

    Very rough rule of thumb:
    Figure on twice as much white gas as butane/propane, and three times as much alchol as butane/propane.

    Cheers

    #1809944
    Jake D
    BPL Member

    @jakedatc

    Locale: Bristol,RI

    kinda hard to double and triple stuff when you don't have much to judge from. i've unfortunately been doing more car camping while rock climbing with my propane coleman than i have backpacking with my whisperlite or pocket rocket.

    was hoping for more of 10 meals per canister or 1oz OH per meal got something like that?

    #1809952
    Bob Gross
    BPL Member

    @b-g-2-2

    Locale: Silicon Valley

    It's simple. Start cooking your breakfast and making your coffee using your Pocket Rocket. Pretty soon you will know how much you can get out of one canister of butane or one ounce of alcohol.

    –B.G.–

    #1809960
    Chase Norton
    Member

    @micronorton

    +1 to Bob's comment. Thats the main way I learned how much fuel I bring. From there, you can tweak it for the trail pretty easily.

    #1809962
    Jake D
    BPL Member

    @jakedatc

    Locale: Bristol,RI

    i guess i thought someone on here would have used a full canister at some point to boil a couple cups of water for breakfast and another couple for dinner.

    #1809963
    Travis Leanna
    BPL Member

    @t-l

    Locale: Wisconsin

    You can see how much fuel you use with a used canister as well. Just weigh the canister before you boil some water, then weigh it again afterwards. Weighing in grams will be more helpful.

    How long a canister lasts will depend on the conditions including water temp, pot, windscreen usage, ambient temp, and wind.

    Do a couple of tests outdoors. Set up your stove and windscreen, take note of how much water you used, the water's starting temp, and the canister weight.

    You can extrapolate your findings and get a good idea of how long a canister will last for your personal style of cooking.

    But, I'm sure some people have some generic ballpark figures for you as well.

    #1809964
    Jake D
    BPL Member

    @jakedatc

    Locale: Bristol,RI

    ahh.. weighing is a good idea. maybe it will stop raining tomorrow long enough to give it a try outside.

    Edit: approx 16L for 8oz can. according to MSR.

    #1809969
    James Marco
    BPL Member

    @jamesdmarco

    Locale: Finger Lakes

    Jake wrote:
    "kinda hard to double and triple stuff when you don't have much to judge from. …"

    I agree, you have to know your overall consumption per day. Example, camper A uses 1.75oz per day of WG. Camper B uses about 2.5oz per day of Alcohol. Camper C uses about 1oz per day of IsoButane. These are all roughly equvalent in terms of fuel usage. The convienience of multipliers lets you convert easly between fuels and pack for two weeks as opposed to two nights.

    However, canisters only come in prepackaged cans, about doubling their weight. Alcohol and WG are generally repackaged into light plastic bottles, about 1 to 1.5oz each for up to 20oz. How do you compare these fuels?

    Stoves can be directly compared, but there are many styles. Some use 50% as much fuel as another. Some use a variety of settings for testing, giving misleading advertisement claims. (Especially boil times vs quantity of water boiled.) How can you compare usage from these stoves?

    Lots more questions… Really, you have to form some sort of base line for your own consumpion on a daily basis. Bring 12oz of Alcohol/WG for a weekend, see how much is left when you get back. Adjust and add in an extra day. Use a full 8oz canister for a weekend, weighing before you leave and when you get back…well, you cannot adjust these, 4 or 8. One trip out will help a LOT. At the end of 6 trips, you should have someting nearly dialed in exactly(2 for each main type.) Be carefull of running short, some places do not allow cook fires, for various reasons. I would suggest allowing an extra day for all liquid fuels: WG, Kero, Methanol, Ethanol. Spills happen… Real world is MUCH different from testing in your kitchen which will be different from mfg claims which will be different from a testing lab.

    #1809970
    James Marco
    BPL Member

    @jamesdmarco

    Locale: Finger Lakes

    Jake,
    "and duhh i went to the MSR site and they claim 16L from a 4oz canister. 60min burn time total so one of the big 8oz ones would last for a while."
    MSR uses 8oz cans to test. You must be thinking of 16oz cans. Three sizes generally. 4oz, the most common, 8oz and 16oz.

    #1810005
    Jake D
    BPL Member

    @jakedatc

    Locale: Bristol,RI

    woops.. i read that wrong. 16L for 8oz. i don't think i've seen bigger than that though. I also plan to do the full and empty line by dunking it in the water.

    #1810062
    Hikin’ Jim
    BPL Member

    @hikin_jim

    Locale: Orange County, CA, USA

    Jake,

    My planning number is about 20g of canister fuel per day for a solo trip. In colder weather (late Fall/early Spring), I plan on 30g/day. If I'm melting snow, I basically figure on about 40g/day. If I'm using something like a Jetboil, I figure on using 30% less or so. Those are my planning numbers. A lot depends on type of usage, how warm the local water sources are, whether or not you can find liquid water in snowy conditions, etc. The above numbers are fairly conservative.

    For alcohol, I plan on 22ml (3/4 fl oz) of alcohol for 500ml water boiled. I'm normally using a Caldera Cone. On other set ups, I plan on 30ml (1 fl oz) of alcohol. I don't normally use alcohol in weather below 40F/5C, so those numbers are only valid in temps above 40F/5C. Generally, those numbers are conservative, but a lot depends on your particular alcohol set up. Some are grossly inefficient and require > 30ml alcohol per boil.

    HJ
    Adventures in Stoving

    #1810107
    Jake D
    BPL Member

    @jakedatc

    Locale: Bristol,RI

    Sounds good. I should be happy with the Pocket rocket and start with a large canister and probably grab one during resupply at least once.

    i'll do some experimenting on my warm up hikes this spring.

    #1810196
    Bob Gross
    BPL Member

    @b-g-2-2

    Locale: Silicon Valley

    "i guess i thought someone on here would have used a full canister at some point to boil a couple cups of water for breakfast and another couple for dinner."

    Yes we have, Jake. The problem is that everybody's stove is different, and everybody gets a different efficiency out of it because of windscreen and everything else. Everybody has a different pot. Some people boil only one cup at a time. Some people are doing this in freezing weather, and sometimes it is completely different weather.

    Some people stop the boil around 200 degrees F when it is hot enough to use. Others wait until it is a full rolling boil for a while.

    Everybody is different, and that is why everybody needs to run their own tests.

    –B.G.–

    #1810218
    Anonymous
    Inactive

    "It's simple. Start cooking your breakfast and making your coffee using your Pocket Rocket. Pretty soon you will know how much you can get out of one canister of butane or one ounce of alcohol."

    +1 And then try this with water heated just until little bubbles start forming on the bottom of the pot, ~170-180 degrees. This is all you need for most mountain meals and drinks, and will not require nearly as much fuel as heating water to either 200 degrees or, worse yet, full boil which requires a significant additional amount of fuel to generate what is known as latent heat of evaporation(see link below). Do this with the food/drink you will be using on your trips, weighing your canister before and after each meal to determine how much fuel was used. The difference equals the fuel used. This amount times the number of meals in your trip should tell you approximately how much fuel you will need. It will not be exact if you are going to be hiking at high altitude, but it will give you an approximation.

    http://okfirst.mesonet.org/train/meteorology/HeatTransfer.html

    #1810253
    Hikin’ Jim
    BPL Member

    @hikin_jim

    Locale: Orange County, CA, USA

    > It's simple. Start cooking your breakfast and making your coffee using your Pocket Rocket. Pretty soon you will know how much you can get out of one canister of butane or one ounce of alcohol.

    A very good approach indeed, but of course cooking in a windless kitchen is a very different affair from cooking outdoors. Form your estimate by all means, but be conservative. It's also a good idea to do some outdoors cooking to see what real world fuel usage is like.

    There are tons of windscreen ideas on this site and elsewhere as well as on in a windscreens post on my blog.

    HJ
    Adventures in Stoving

    #1810257
    christopher witter
    BPL Member

    @cwitter

    Locale: Mid Atlantic

    While there are an large number of factors that go into something that seems so simple: stove, pot size, water temp, wind etc… I found this article to be pretty accurate for two entirely different stoves, PocketRocket and the SnowPeak Gigapower.

    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/lightweight_canister_stoves_test_report.html

    #1810479
    Hikin’ Jim
    BPL Member

    @hikin_jim

    Locale: Orange County, CA, USA

    Nice article, Christopher. Been a while since I had read it.

    HJ
    Adventures in Stoving

    #1815419
    Steve S
    Member

    @idahosteve

    Locale: Idaho

    I really went thru this excersise last year when debating the pros and cons for cooking on the SHR. I wanted to eat well, and have the flexibility to do a few different things. I had to decide to use either my gram weenie that I made, or my Snow Peak Litemax cannister. Here are my parameters for use: I wanted hot breakfast EVERY morning. Sometimes I'd like to have tea with my breakfast. I wanted a hot, but simple meal at night. I wanted to be able to occasionally have a hot drink before bed.
    When I did my SHR schedule I came up with needing 8 days of food/fuel before my re-supply. After about the 5 day mark, the volume of alcohol for my gram weenie disqualified it. The cannister was my only hope. I further enhanced my cannister by doing two things. 1) Customized my cook kit, & 2) Adapted a custom cooking style.
    Here's the details:
    I needed at least a cooking pot/bowl/cup that would hold 2 or more cups. I went to Wally World and bought a IMUSA alum 2 1/2 cup mug for $1.97! OH YEAH! I built a custom cozy for the cup, and included a top. I also cut out a top for the cup out of a basic aluminum pie plate. The old thin throwaway kind. I now had a full cook kit that only weighed about 4oz.
    I used my cannister stove to "boil" water, and as soon as the water started to boil, not really a rolling boil by any stretch of the imagination, I would shut the stove off, add my ingredients, and IMMEDIATELY drop the cup into the cozy, and shut it in with both tops. I waited about 10 min for the easy stuff, and about 15 or more for the more complicated stuff, and then would remove the lid, stir again, and it would still be so hot as to need blowing on before eating. It worked amazingly well!
    At the end of 8 days, I still had not used an entire 3.8 oz cannister of fuel! I had all I needed and then some. Now I know I can go that long and still eat well, and have some luxury items to cook as well.
    Final conclusion, THE COZY!!! ITS THE REASON EVERYTHING WORKED SO WELL. CHEAP AND EASY TO MAKE, A REAL LIFESAVER ON FUEL.

    #1815424
    Bob Gross
    BPL Member

    @b-g-2-2

    Locale: Silicon Valley

    Steve, you said that the time varied between the easy stuff and the complicated stuff.

    Can you give an example of each?

    When I am cooking on a backpack trip, nothing is complicated.

    –B.G.–

    #1815560
    Steve S
    Member

    @idahosteve

    Locale: Idaho

    My easy stuff was oatmeal with a handful of dried fruit thrown in, and seasoned instant potatoes which I filled tortillas with. The more complex stuff was pasta or instant rice with assorted dried veggies. Still easy, but typically took longer to reconstitute, and I would let the water get to more of a "for sure boil" before cooking. I was able to let pasta sit for a full 15 minutes and it cooked thru and was still quite hot when eating. After the pasta was ready, I would top off the cup with a pack of tuna or salmon and eat…
    I felt like I found a great compromise with easy cooking and fuel usage, but didn't feel like I lost out on any of the comforts of eating good food, and I still looked forward to my meals each day.

    #1815568
    Brad Rogers
    BPL Member

    @mocs123

    Locale: Southeast Tennessee

    The reason I love my Caldera Cone is that I can boil 12oz of water with only 15mL of alcohol all day in the field. If my calculations are correct, that is 0.417oz per biol.

    #1815658
    Steve S
    Member

    @idahosteve

    Locale: Idaho

    Unfortunatley, a meal with 12oz of water would be only either one breakfast, or one batch of hot liquid. What about the other big meal? ie dinner, and any additional hot drinks etc… When I do the math, that would be over an ounce per day, which was just what my gram weenie uses, and why it disqualified itself for the longer trips. The weight of fuel becomes a negative. For the short trips, its awesome. Also if you only use 12 oz of water for one meal thats great too. Longer trips, and big calories have an influence on the whole cooking scheme.

    #1815659
    Bob Gross
    BPL Member

    @b-g-2-2

    Locale: Silicon Valley

    "15mL of alcohol", "If my calculations are correct, that is 0.417oz per biol."

    I weighed 15ml just now, and I got about 0.36 oz.

    Either we have a calibration error between instruments, or else my S-L-X alcohol weighs funny.

    The reason that I like the titanium Caldera Cone is that I can run it with alcohol, or Esbit, or wood twigs, just depending on the situation. Wood weighs 0.0oz per day.

    –B.G.–

    #1815688
    Andrew F
    Member

    @andrew-f

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    The definitive BPL article on carry weight for alcohol vs. canister stoves vs. other systems: http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/comparative_fuel_efficiency_and_weight_of_stoves_pt2.html

    That article discusses total system weight vs. trip length for a number of different stove types. The break-even point is around 6 days based on their criteria. Keep in mind that even if your alcohol system weighs more at the start, the weight decreases quickly whereas with the canister stove you always have to carry the steel canister.

    Also consider Esbit, which is the lighter than either alcohol or a canister stove. That's what I use now.

    Andrew

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