Apr 9, 2013 at 8:53 am #1301487
I'm splitting this thread off from another thread.
Jerry Adams wrote: >The Reactor is ridiculously heavy.
Have you seen the new smaller, lighter Reactor? It's significantly lighter than the original (pre-2009) Reactors. I hardly ever use my original 1.7L Reactor unless I plan to melt serious snow. It's just not worth it; it's such a heavy beast. But they re-designed the pot ca. 2009, and it's a lot lighter.
Original, beefy 1.7L Reactor pot (left). New, lighter 1.0L Reactor pot (right).
In 2013 (January), they came out with a 1.0L version. It's still heavier than a JB, but it's windproof whereas a JB really isn't. A JB has better wind resistance than an ordinary upright, but it can't compare to a Reactor. I'm pretty much liking what I'm seeing with the new 1.0L version of the Reactor. I just got it, but I expect that I'll actually get some use out of it as opposed to my old, original version 1.7L Reactor (which mainly sits).Apr 9, 2013 at 11:21 am #1974449
Oh, and if I'm citing a weight savings, I suppose I could mention what those weight savings are. :)
The original 1.7L Reactor pot weighs 341g (without lid), which is a ratio of 0.20g/ml. The new Reactor pot weighs 172g, which is a ratio of 0.17g/ ml. So, even though smaller pots usually weigh more per unit of volume, the new Reactor actually weighs less per unit of volume. The weight savings here aren't just from a smaller pot but rather from a redesign. Note: Both the original and the new mini Reactor use the same burner.
The new 1.0L Reactor pot is 169g less than the original (pre-2009) 1.7L pot. They've reduced the weight by nearly half. That's pretty significant.Apr 9, 2013 at 12:34 pm #1974484
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I'm still not convinced that it's any better (if as good) than my MSR Dragonfly, which is the best simmering liquid fuel stove I know.
With the Dragonfly I can use my aluminized fiberglass cloth Backcountry Oven to bake and a 1 liter Jetboil finned pot for melting snow more efficiently. Plus I always use my MSR windscreen, which works very well.
MSR 1.0 Reactor? I doubt that it will interest me. But thanks for the update. It shows that Cascade Designs' elves are still working away in their skunk works.Apr 9, 2013 at 12:42 pm #1974488
I used the original Reactor at 11,000 feet in temperatures of -6C with wind howling at 83 KM per hour. It boiled a litre in about 2 minutes. Will your Dragonfly do that?Apr 9, 2013 at 1:15 pm #1974502
It sounds like you're on the right track in terms of efficiency, but it's in windproofness that the Reactor really shines. Yes, you can use the MSR windscreen on a Dragonfly (indeed MSR's founder, Larry Penberthy, originated the concept of a remote liquid fueled stove with a windscreen, a concept that shot MSR ahead of the competition in the early 1970's). But in 83kph (52mph) winds? The typical Dragonfly will take a beating — although augmenting with the hood from the Outback oven will help. It would be interesting to compare the two set ups ("vanilla" Reactor vs. Dragonfly+windscreen+Outback Oven hood). It would also be interesting to compare a Trangia 27 with a gas or liquid petroleum fuel set up to a Reactor.
What is the weight of your D'fly + bottle + windscreen + Outback Oven hood + Jetboil pot? I'm thinking the Reactor may have the advantage here. Do you have a photo of your set up? If you're using a tall JB pot, I'd like to see how that works. Not so sure about a tall pot in this setup. The wider 1.5L GCS pot I think would be ideal.Apr 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm #1974519
@davecLocale: Crown of the Continent
Good news on the real weight savings of the 1 liter Reactor. What I like about it, v. a Jetboil, is that it doesn't feel cheap and fragile.
I loath the Dragonfly. A finicky design made worse by that awful, always-clogging fuel filter. To say nothing of the noise.Apr 9, 2013 at 4:43 pm #1974608
I loath the Dragonfly. A finicky design made worse by that awful, always-clogging fuel filter. To say nothing of the noise.
Yeah, I've gotten bit by that fuel filter. One trick in the field if you don't have a spare filter: Pull out the filter (carefully!), taking care to deform it as little as possible. A safety pin works reasonably well for this. Then, with a sharp knife, shave off the first hair's width thickness of the filter. Replace the filter. It's saved me before. I very much dislike that in-line filter, and I think it's totally unnecessary given that MSR has now put a filter on the fuel pick up tube on the pump, which is where a filter ought to be. The filter on the the pump can be cleaned with white gas and scrubbing if needed. I think carb cleaner would work too, but I haven't tried it.Apr 9, 2013 at 4:45 pm #1974610
To say nothing of the noise.
Oh, and the noise is controllable with the purchase of an aftermarket part. Bit of a weight penalty, but the (greatly) reduced noise is heavenly. Currently working on a review.Apr 9, 2013 at 4:52 pm #1974613
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
"A finicky design made worse by that awful, always-clogging fuel filter."
David, have you considered filtering your white gas before putting it in the fuel bottle?
I've owned MSR stoves for 35 years, and I've never had any sort of fuel clog in a filter.
–B.G.–Apr 9, 2013 at 5:17 pm #1974621
I've owned MSR stoves for 35 years, and I've never had any sort of fuel clog in a filter.
That's all very well and fine, but have you used a Dragonfly much?Nov 13, 2013 at 3:49 pm #2044231
Anyone using this "little" guy? I know its not quite ultralight, but I picked one up today. I had a coupon for LLBean and needed a stove so figured why not. They have a good return policy if things don't work out. It doesn't pack super small either. But, I'm hoping it will be good for quick weekend trips where the non-fiddle factor and speed will mean more time on the trail.Nov 13, 2013 at 6:37 pm #2044283
I have one and its great. I was in a windy rain cloud and our whole group ended up sharing it. It's my current go to stove.Nov 13, 2013 at 8:59 pm #2044345
Great point by Dave U about the efficiency of the reactor at altitude in extreme conditions. It shines in that environment. Perhaps it is not the stove for calm 70 degree summer days. When at altitude in the cold or wind it is a loyal companion.Nov 13, 2013 at 9:17 pm #2044349
"I've owned MSR stoves for 35 years, and I've never had any sort of fuel clog in a filter."
Same here. I pour fuel from the bulk container through a filter/funnel. I Don't use fuel that has been sitting around for a long time – just last week I dropped of a 1/2 gallon of old white gas at our hazardous waste disposal site and bought some new fuels… Just waiting for some snow in our local mountains. I always to the annual maintenance. I don't use the MSR stoves much anymore, except for winter.Nov 14, 2013 at 4:23 am #2044386
@jamesdmarcoLocale: Finger Lakes
"…just last week I dropped of a 1/2 gallon of old white gas…"
WG is pretty stable in a sealed container…no additives to help a car engine run that also break down over time.
Canisters don't break down much either. Easily stored for ten years or more.Nov 14, 2013 at 7:33 am #2044422
Actually is was not technically white gas, but Coleman fuel. From the Coleman website…
"An un-opened container of Coleman® Fuel stored in a dry area with no rapid extreme changes in temperature will remain viable for five to seven years. An opened container stored in the same area will remain viable for up to two years though will be at its best if used within a year."Nov 14, 2013 at 7:46 am #2044433
> "I've owned MSR stoves for 35 years, and I've never had any sort of fuel clog in a filter."
Same here. I pour fuel from the bulk container through a filter/funnel.
Yeah, and I've been pretty diligent about it too. Still, if any schmutz gets in there, the DragonFly is much more prone to clogging than other stoves. The Optimus Nova is the same. The "in-line" filter is good in that it catches things but bad in that it's hard to clean and clogs so easily. The newer style filters at the point of intake are a much better idea: Less prone to clogging, easier to clean. The intake filters are SO much easier to clean in the field.Nov 14, 2013 at 7:59 am #2044435
> Actually is was not technically white gas, but Coleman fuel. From the Coleman website…
Coleman fuel is actually a lot more stable than true white gas. My uncle left me his old 1962 Primus 71 stove (brass, not ultra light but definitely ultra cool). :) He had been in ill health and probably hadn't used it for a quarter century when he died. It still had Coleman fuel inside. On a whim, I fired it up. I burned just fine. Coleman is being a tad conservative in their estimates. If you keep air away, Coleman fuel can last for years and years.
By the way, true white gas is really hard to find in the United States. It is available in some areas where Amish live (apparently they use it for lanterns and such), but other than that it's generally unavailable. Coleman, Sunnyside, and MSR are the principle "white gas" purveyors now. There used to be Blazo (Chevron) and Ozark Trails (a WalMart brand).Nov 14, 2013 at 8:10 am #2044441
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I used MSR whisperlite white gas stove. It clogged up a couple times. I took it apart in the field and got it working.
Worse than that, is it occasionally flared up and singed my eyebrows. Although I admit it was user error.
I've used several brands of upright, many more days, never had a clog.
With an upright canister, the fuel evaporates inside the canister, and only gas flows to the stove. Inherently less likely to clog the stove.
On the other hand, my Coleman Exponent F1 Ultralight developed this nasty habit of leaking the contents of the canister overnight when it got down to about freezing, so in the morning I had no fuel.
In my opinion, no stove is perfect, but upright canister stoves are the simplest, most reliable.Nov 14, 2013 at 8:23 am #2044446
> Great point by Dave U about the efficiency of the reactor at altitude in extreme conditions. It shines in that environment. Perhaps it is not the stove for calm 70 degree summer days. When at altitude in the cold or wind it is a loyal companion.
There's nothing that I'm aware of that makes a Reactor better at altitude than other canister stoves. It's in wind where the Reactor is the outstanding stove.
When I was doing the testing for the post that started this thread, some scouts nearby were super interested in my Reactor when I told them about its windproofness. They had been out in high winds a few weeks before, and their stoves were blowing out. They were having trouble keeping them lit. It's in conditions like those that the Reactor has no equal.Nov 14, 2013 at 8:30 am #2044450
I have used old gas in my SVEA 123 with good results. "Fresh" gas does seem to burn bluer though. There was a time that a gallon of fuel wouldn't last more than a few months, but I am not using liquid stoves much these days. So I will start buying fuel in the quart containers. With the MSRs, I just prefer not to use old fuel… perhaps that, along with filtering and maintenance, is why I have never had a MSR stove failure.
Ah, but maintaining equipment, backpacking and other, seems to be a lost art with the younger generations. I read the owner manuals for everything I buy and follow the manufacturers maintenance procedures and schedules. Being in the car business I can tell you that few owners read the manual these days, other than how to work the stereo.Nov 14, 2013 at 8:37 am #2044453
"Being in the car business I can tell you that few owners read the manual these days, other than how to work the stereo."
Not true! We also read the manual to see how to turn off those darn warning lights that some service or other is due…..Nov 14, 2013 at 8:51 am #2044467
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"Ah, but maintaining equipment, backpacking and other, seems to be a lost art with the younger generations. I read the owner manuals for everything I buy and follow the manufacturers maintenance procedures and schedules."
I believe we're approximately the same (old) age.
I throw away user manuals. If it isn't intuitively obvious, it's a defective design.
(only half serious – I read user manuals sometimes – but what's to say about canister stove, screw onto canister, only an idiot cross threads it, since it's an upright there's nothing to maintain,…)Nov 14, 2013 at 8:58 am #2044473
"There's nothing that I'm aware of that makes a Reactor better at altitude than other canister stoves. It's in wind where the Reactor is the outstanding stove".
Typically at altitude you face higher winds and colder temps thus the conditions are more demanding. The reference to altitude is an umbrella that captures a variety of factors affecting stove performance.
Also, considering canister stoves, the Reactor is not just superior in wind, but also in cold temps. It has an internal pressure regulator, and at least in the less than scientific tests I've done, it can't be beat in single digit temperatures.Nov 14, 2013 at 10:14 am #2044503
> Typically at altitude you face higher winds and colder temps thus the conditions are more demanding. The reference to altitude is an umbrella that captures a variety of factors affecting stove performance.
Ah. OK, I follow; I see what you mean.
My only concern (and it's my own personal stove nerdly concern) :) is that some people don't understand that by "altitude" what is really meant is "the things that typically come with altitude." There's a persistent myth out there that canister gas stoves "don't work at altitude" (this seems particularly prevalent among Scouts for some reason). I usually try to specify "wind" or "cold" rather than just "altitude" because of this rumor — which I'd like to see dispelled. Canister stoves have been used successfully on all sorts of Himalayan expeditions.
Speaking of cold and altitude, for every 1,000 feet you climb, a canister gas stove will operate (about) 2 degrees Fahrenheit colder due to the lower air pressure (all else being equal).
> the Reactor is not just superior in wind, but also in cold temps. It has an internal pressure regulator, and at least in the less than scientific tests I've done, it can't be beat in single digit temperatures.
That's interesting. Others have alluded to the Reactor working better than in other stoves in cold weather. Can you say more about what you've experienced?
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