The Evolution of a Winter Stove – Part 4 – Lessons Learnt
Sep 10, 2014 at 12:10 am #1320771Ryan JordanAdmin
@ryanLocale: Central Rockies
Companion forum thread to:Sep 24, 2014 at 5:23 pm #2137335
Years ago, we would wrap a soft plastic sheet like that with one or two layers of ordinary aluminum foil. The foil would deflect enough heat that the plastic would survive.
–B.G.–Sep 24, 2014 at 6:40 pm #2137352
"Hadn't really thought through the whole windscreen heat and potentially melting plastic base issue."
The whole thing is sitting on snow (or else you wouldn't use it) in a cold (-32F) environment. From my experience this stove support base is is not going to melt. First, the plastic base is cooled from below and 'spindrift.'. Plus, the updraft is drawing the heat up and away while sucking in cold air by the base to fuel the combustion, cooling the base.
This stove wouldn't be used for melting snowwater for more than 2 people max so again I seriously doubt the thermal feedback in a winter condition would ever melt that cutting board base.
I use a (*1300ml Caldera cone and inverted feed Optimus Vega in an open door mid, with the pot sitting on the stove and cone open about an inch from its normal set up) foam board wrapped in thick aluminum foil for my winter stove base (9×9" is 70g/ 2.45oz)Sep 24, 2014 at 10:43 pm #2137413
> This stove wouldn't be used for melting snowwater for more than 2 people max
Never bet on something you don't know.
CheersSep 25, 2014 at 6:14 am #2137434
>2 people would likely use a larger pot, encountering the negative large pot stability issues;
>2 people don't like waiting so long for a single source of meltwater, nor depending on a single cloggable stove for a critical need (water) on a winter trip, when for a few ounces more someone brings an additional stove;
a larger group would more quickly (user days) reach the break-even point where a liquid stove would be more efficient.
YMMVSep 25, 2014 at 2:50 pm #2137534
Far too many assumptions there, and mostly wrong.
>2 people would likely use a larger pot,
You do NOT need a larger pot. I use a 1.5 L pot which works fine. As snow melts into water I bail some out into a UL PET water bottle, which is then available to others for use. Done that many times, and it works well. Can generate lots of water that way.
>people don't like waiting so long for a single source of meltwater,
Ha. In winter time you almost always camp earlier than in summer, so you have long evenings in camp. Time is rarely a problem in my experience – and we are only talking about a few minutes per litre anyhow.
> depending on a single cloggable stove for a critical need (water) on a winter trip,
Liquid fuel stoves are definitely cloggable – been there and done that. But getting an inverted canister stove to clog up is a bit more difficult (unless you are silly enough to use Chinese canisters). Basically, it just does not happen.
In addition, cleaning out a canister stove is very simple, and should be a known skill for any winter camper. Read the article. There are lots of other relevant stove articles here at BPL as well.
> break-even point where a liquid stove would be more efficient.
You will need to quote some real figures for that. None of the figures I have, from about 20 years of recording fuel consumption, suggest that would ever be possible. Liquid fuel consumption is between 50% and 100% greater than for canister fuel, and modern canister stoves are as powerful as the liquid fuel stoves. It's an old myth probably dating back to the rather slow Bleuet canister soves of yesteryear.
CheersSep 25, 2014 at 3:06 pm #2137539
"> break-even point where a liquid stove would be more efficient."
There is also the cost factor. Liquid fuel like white gas is a lot cheaper to burn. For only one or two people, that isn't much. As you start moving toward three or four people, it is more significant.
I guess it helps if you grew up as a white gas user. I used to wait until some local store had a sale price on white gas, and then I would go buy three or four gallons.
–B.G.–Sep 25, 2014 at 3:45 pm #2137549
> There is also the cost factor. Liquid fuel like white gas is a lot cheaper to burn.
Yes, but …
Cost of a canister for the weekend: $5?
Cost of car fuel to get to and from trailhead? $30?
Cost of special UL food for the weekend: $50?
Cost of canister stove: $50-$100
Cost of liquid fuel stove: $100-$200
It's a bit like drying dots of toothpaste while still wearing an old pair of heavy leather boots.
CheersSep 25, 2014 at 3:56 pm #2137552Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
"It's a bit like drying dots of toothpaste while still wearing an old pair of heavy leather boots."
Good one Roger : )
I'm impressed that you've sold 100+ of these. That could almost be a business.Sep 25, 2014 at 4:02 pm #2137553
"Cost of car fuel to get to and from trailhead? $30?
Cost of special UL food for the weekend: $50? "
Those must be the costs in Oz.
I think $50 would buy me food for a month.
Good white gas stoves don't cost that much.
–B.G.–Sep 25, 2014 at 4:16 pm #2137555Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
The exact numbers aren't that important, the point is that the cost of cansiter fuel isn't that significant compared to other costs
MSR Whisperlight – $100 at rei http://www.rei.com/product/830341/msr-whisperlite-international-backpacking-stove
Burton Isobutane from Fred Meyers is $3.99 for 8 ounces which is 10 days for me. $4.99 or $5.99 for those of you not close to a Fred Meyers.
Mountain House dinner is like $8 so $50 for a weekend is in the ballpark. Not that I eat Mountain House dinners.
Gas is $4 a gallon. 25 miles per gallon? 100 miles to a trailhead? $32 for a trip? But then that's maybe half or quarter of total costs.
And then there's all the UL gear…Sep 25, 2014 at 4:17 pm #2137556
Show us a picture of 4 people on a multi-day ski trip with 1 caffin stove, surrounded by snow, melting water.
Doesn't happen 99% of the time.
So again, roger, I don't think that guy's stove base is going to melt.
Maybe our disagreement is a matter of context regarding winter conditions in oz and the southern rockies. The pic above is May 25 of this year where I play.
(Edit to add) Snark reserved. Unlike the mod.Sep 25, 2014 at 8:17 pm #2137605Paul McLaughlinBPL Member
Hard data based on my experience and testing.
1)I have recorded my fuel usage on ski trips dating back numerous years. All WG. Basic numbers are that for one person, melting snow at both breakfast and dinner (i.e., finding no running water) I average 85 gms or 3 oz. (by weight) of fuel per day. For two people same situation, I average 124 gms of fuel per day.
2) to compare stoves I ran a test where I primed the stove (if needed) and brought 12 cups of water to a boil (from 50degree starting water) in a 4 liter pot. MSR Simmerlite and Whisperlight both averaged 43 gms to do this: my Coleman F1 Ultralight used 34 gms of fuel. What makes this test particularly germane is that the amount of WG burned is almost exactly half of what I use per day solo, thus this accurately recreates the single burn I make in the morning or evening and thus the ratio of prime to burn is accurate.
3) I carry the smallest Sigg bottle with the pump in it(5 oz empty of fuel but with pump) and full of WG, then additional fuel is in PET bottles (I choose relatively thick and stout bottles to be on the safe side and have never experienced a leak).
4) So for an 8 day trip solo, my weight of WG and containers is 24+5+1.5=30.5 oz. that's 24 oz. of fuel, 5 oz for sigg bottle with pump, and 1.5 o for 500ml plastic bottle.
5) Same trip canister:544 gms of fuel, so one 450 and one 110 gm canister, or 23.5+7=30.5 oz
Thus the weight of fuel and containers is the same. And since the weight of the pump in my case is included in the fuel container weight, the simmerlite stove weight – 6.35 oz. – can be directly compared to a remote canister stove weight. so with a Caffin you are ahead by about 3 oz; with a Kovea Spider (which is about the lightest commercially made remote) you are ahead by less than half an ounce.
6) For an 8-day trip with two people, the WG starts to pull ahead. I'd need 36.4 oz of WG, so I'd have 44.5 oz of fuel and container with WG, and I'd need 816 gms of canister gas, or 47 oz with containers (2, 450gm cans). Around 10 days with 2 people you'd offset the weight savings of the Caffin.
But you'd never get very far ahead because you're still dealing with the fact that you burn more WG than you do canister gas. The WG only stays ahead because you can carry it in such light containers. And at particular numbers of days it could swing the other way if the canister gas needs come in right at a quantity that matches the canister sizes while the WG just goes tips over to an additional plastic bottle – it's that close.
a) This is based on one burn each meal – I light the stove once in the morning and once at night. If you prime more often that that you will lose ground.
b) The canister stove used for comparison is an upright, and testing published here on BPL (and done by the man himself) showed uprights having better fuel efficiency than remotes. But whether that is due to burner styles, and might not apply to the Caffin which is an upright burner fed remotely, is an unanswered question. the only upright canister stove I own is suspect (Bulin B-5) and thus I did not rely on the numbers I got when testing it – it used just as much fuel by weight as the WG stoves.
My final take was that for me it's so close that it doesn't matter, and thus not worth buying a new stove.
It's worth noting that the MSR stoves do not have the reputation for fuel efficiency that the venerable Svea 123R has. But I don't have numbers for a Svea so I can't compare accurately.Sep 25, 2014 at 10:08 pm #2137630Nick GatelBPL Member
@ngatelLocale: Southern California
I have one of the early Whisperlites and a 40+ year old Svea 123. I still use them ocassionally. So the dollar cost average per year is pretty low. I have several canister stoves that are obsolete, canisters are no longer available. Roger's favorite PowerMax stoves are obsolete, canisters no longer available.
Gas canister fuel costs 4 times (or greater) more than liquid, plus there is the disposal problem with spent cartridges.
But hey, this is BPL– you know, buy more and let it end up in the landfills. Oops… I meant pack less, be more. ;)Sep 26, 2014 at 1:55 am #2137650
> So again, roger, I don't think that guy's stove base is going to melt.
Oh, you are probably right there. I hope.
> a matter of context regarding winter conditions in oz and the southern rockies
I'll refer you to When Things Go Wrong for what we can get here in Oz. The snow may not be as deep (sigh), but the winds can be brutal. I think the top wind speed clocked at a pass on the road to the highest ski resort was something like 240 kph. I know we have had to crawl through that pass at times: we could not stand.
CheersSep 26, 2014 at 12:46 pm #2137767
"I think the top wind speed clocked at a pass on the road to the highest ski resort was something like 240 kph."
The old Scotsman calls that a fresh breeze.
"I know we have had to crawl through that pass at times: we could not stand."
I was once calibrated for windspeed. It took wind of 50 or 60 mph to knock me over.
–B.G.–Jan 12, 2015 at 5:43 pm #2164090
Duncan Cheung has alerted me to a very good source for jet cleaning wire: Beading suppliers! 30 gauge (0.25 mm) brass wire would be excellent. Do not go any thicker. Web sources by the hordes, although fronting up to one and just asking for a foot of wire might be sufficient (and cheaper).
CheersJan 1, 2018 at 5:09 pm #3510355tom cBPL Member
I the ~3 years since this wrapped up, has there been any significant improvements in commercial models? Anything to recommend?
If not, any thoughts/plans on doing another production run?
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