- Mar 12, 2018 at 3:52 am #3523916
KEVIN WBPL Member
I have searched the forums and read posts from the last few years. Maybe the best answer is “whatever works best for you” but thought I’d ask anyway since the Troop / Crew does not have much experience using backpacking stoves beyond personal ones.
I know Philmont encourages MSR white gas stoves, but he Scouts are much more familiar with canister and I think the Troop get more use of canister stoves after Philmont. We have not made a decision yet so we can still go with white gas and just train people up if needed. If we go with a canister I am leaning towards the Optimus Vega.
I thought if it was best to go with white gas, maybe to go with a dual purpose stove to use white gas at Philmont then have the option to use canister later (options for Troop use after Philmont), but those are a lot more expensive especially if we need to buy 2 to have a primary and backup.
Any preferences from your experience?Mar 12, 2018 at 4:16 am #3523923
I have a Dragonfly I never use anymore as was going to offer that to our crew because white gas seems to be such a tradition there.
Canister is definitely simpler, and if you are above freezing should be fine. I would just make sure the stand is sufficiently sturdy for the 8 quart pot.
Mar 12, 2018 at 5:13 am #3523939
- This reply was modified 6 months, 2 weeks ago by Bob Shuff.
More and more crews are taking canister stoves and in recent years many if not all of the commissaries at the staffed camps can supply replacement canisters. The only advantage of white gas I can see is that it costs less when you buy it by the gallon. Isobutane stoves are easier to use, more reliable, and somewhat lighter that white gas stoves.
I would look at the Kovea Spider stove but am not sure how well it would work with an 8 quarter pot on top. Avoid the MSR dual fuel stove. Our troop bought some and the little bits for the conversion quickly went missing. Check out the MSR isobutane WindPro Stove. It should hold an 8 quart pot.
if you want to try a white gas stove, check out the SOTO Muka stove. It throws out a lot of heat and once you learn the operating procedure, is a wonderful piece of engineering. The main draw back is that it only works with SOTO fuel bottles so you would need to buy at least two bottles.Mar 12, 2018 at 11:57 am #3523958
TAG in AZBPL Member
Strong second on the recommendation of the Kovea Spider (http://kovea.com/product/spider/). Our crew used that stove last year and it was rock solid and had no problem with the large pots. We liked that the stove was a remote canister stove and that it had a wide, easy to setup base. For the week, we took 3 large cannisters with us and we ended up using about 2.25.Mar 12, 2018 at 3:22 pm #3523988
After watching our scouts learn to use our white gas stoves, our troop switched to canister. They’re simpler and safer than white gas. Add in the number of times scouts don’t properly put the cap on the white gas container and it was an easy decision.
You’ll want a remote canister stove. We’ve only used these with smaller pots, but they worked well and are very light. We intend to use them for Philmont.Mar 12, 2018 at 5:45 pm #3524013
Looks like the Olicamp doesn’t have the pre-heat pressure feature that allows you to invert the canister. Correct me if I’m wrong. I’ve heard that will limit the temperature range, but it will be no different than canister top stoves many are used to for backpacking.
I’m a big fan of the MSR stoves for durability. I have the Kovea Spider – it’s lighter (and cheaper), and I’ve said here that I might start there if buying new stoves for the troop. In addition to this and the Optimus, there are also stoves from Primus and BRS that are <$100. The BRS is also a multi-fuel stove Even so, if you are ever going to use white gas (snow camping for example) the MSR Whisperlite Universal may be expensive, but will last a long time even with scout use.Mar 12, 2018 at 6:50 pm #3524030
We bought the stoves knowing we wouldn’t likely need them below freezing. We’re mostly a car camping troop that cooks with 2 burner stoves. We do a Klondike Derby in WV fairly often, but that has food provided. We did tent in 2 feet of snow while most troops were in the cabins.
If you need a cold weather stove, then choose another option. If not, consider the Olicamp.Mar 12, 2018 at 8:34 pm #3524048
Phillip MBPL Member
I have a Brunton Lander purchased in 2006, Kovea now calls it the Booster +1, it takes white gas or iso butane and there is no need to change the nozzle to switch between the fuels.
At full burn it does sound like a idling F-6 Fighter. But there is something called Quiet Stove I am testing one over Spring will let you folks know what I think of then afterwards.
Also makes another dual stove called the Hydra and claims it is quieter.Mar 15, 2018 at 9:33 pm #3524850
Brian CrainBPL Member
@brcrainLocale: So Cal
We did canisters in 2015 and really struggled throw enough BTUs to “hard boil” our cleaning and cooking water, even then we tore through isobutene at a rapid pace. This time we have been prepping with and plan to take white gas, the Whisperlite Internationals that can convert and remote canister (inverted or upright). They aren’t the lightest option (tried light last time) but they aren’t fidgety, easy enough to use, and should something need fixing Philmont has all of the parts on hand.
Here is your test: If you can load a non-insulated aluminum 8qt pot (ye old nested patrol box pot) without the lid and get ~60oz of water to sustain a rolling boil for 10 minutes then your stove is good enough – if not then keep searching. That’s about how long it will take for most Scouts to sterilize everyone’s mess kits each cooked meal.Mar 16, 2018 at 9:15 am #3524925
Do you know, I don’t think I have ever sterilised cooking gear either at home or in the bush. Hot water and a drop of detergent – yes of course, at home and in the bush.
CheersMar 16, 2018 at 10:38 am #3524930
Philip, Good recommendation to test the stove with the pot you will use at Philmont.
I am not following the purpose of the hard boil. Even when I (rarely) use heat to purify my water at high elevation, I just bring the water to where it barely starts to bubble on top. My recollection is that the heat death point of Giardia and Crypto and E coli are all way below 190 degrees.
Also the stove experts on BPL have shown on multiple occasions that the BTU content of white gas and the isobutane mixtures are about the same. So any inefficiencies that you experienced would have been from the stove itself or the stove with pot combination. I know I got my troop to stop taking the 10 quart pots and switch to 3 quart and 4 quart pots for snow camping because it took forever to melt snow in them since we were using a lot of fuel just to heat the air around the big pot.Mar 16, 2018 at 10:44 am #3524933
the BTU content of white gas and the isobutane mixtures are about the same. So any inefficiencies that you experienced would have been from the stove itself
My measurements have shown that a canister stove uses about half the fuel you actually use with a white gas stove. The inefficiencies caome from priming and the reluctance to turn the stove off when it is not needed for a minute. Needless to say, the white gas enthusiasts (and vendors) don’t like these results.
I got my troop to stop taking the 10 quart pots
But then in what do you boil the moose you just speared? Kill your own food bushcraft thing …
CheersMar 16, 2018 at 5:03 pm #3524987
Scouts are not bushcrafters and Philmont methods might not be progressive enough for the BPL crowd, but they bring over 20,000 scouts and adults into a wilderness experience each summer that may inspire some to a lifetime of outdoor adventures.
Current rules require an 8 quart pot for cooking and a 4, 6 or 8 quart pot for cleanup. The boil times are to dip sterilize the mess kit items in the pot of boiling water before each meal. I’ve heard rangers drive compliance or allow alternative methods to varying degrees. I’m planning for our crew to be compliant. We’ll still have biodegradable soap for other purposes.
On your own – HYOH. At Philmont, follow their rules. It took me awhile to reach that point, but I’m committed to make this the best possible experience for the scouts.Mar 16, 2018 at 5:55 pm #3525005
Yes I agree that Philmont’s procedures are very very conservative and are designed for the 1000s of Scouts that pass through every year, many with very little backcountry experience. But I was asking about the 10 minute rolling boil. We just dipped our bowels into the same water we used to cook our food. I just checked the Philmont site and the video says 3 seconds. http://philmontscoutranch.org/TrekPreparation/Dining/BackcountryCooking.aspx
The clean up video at the same location also says 4 quart pots are available and I am pretty sure the wide bail handle pots in the video is a 3 liter stainless steel EvernewMar 16, 2018 at 6:29 pm #3525012
The scout that has to carry that second pot will be thankful to carry the 3 or 4 quart pot. I’m a first-timer so can only relay what I read or hear. I thought the 2nd post was a mandatory gear list item.
It was Brian Crain above that said 10 minutes was typical for a scout to complete the process. Maybe that includes the time the scouts are rummaging through their packs to find that mess kit!
After stressing about the weight of the cook pots, tents, bear bag ropes, etc. I finally let it go, and expect that Philmont will hand our crews what they need in basecamp and the scouts will accept them gladly. Stoves and tarps are still TBD so I appreciate the discussions, ideas and experience I’m reading on BPL.
Personally, I’ll be carrying a Toaks 550 pot without handles, a Ruta Locura carbon lid and a BRS-3000T (or maybe just esbit tri-wing) for my coffee needs. I know it could be lighter, but I think this is respectable by BPL standards. The rangers at the workshop last fall encouraged me and other adults to be as light as possible. They expect the scouts to carry all the Philmont issued gear.Mar 16, 2018 at 6:44 pm #3525013
Our Philmont ranger had no problem with our 4 liter pots… but that was a few years ago. Yes, the Philmont bear protocol is written in stone. Post trek, I did try to have a conversation about damage to trees and soil at the bear hanging sites and got stone walled. But in regard to cooking and shelters, I have found the rangers have some flexibility if the crew (and not the adult leaders) can show them that they have a practiced method that works and aligns with Philmont safety and LNT goals. When we went, I knew that many crews were taking pyramid tarps. I was the adult advisor but I had one adult who asked on his own whether we could sleep under pyramids and was told no. But about 4 hours after we left basecamp I saw a Philmont work crew camp set up with 3 BlackDiamond Megalite mids. :-))
I wonder whether the (apparently) rigid regime on pots is in response to the boil in the bag practice where many crews were carrying, and according to reports. leaving in the backcountry trashcans hundreds if not thousands of ziplock bags.
CheersMar 16, 2018 at 6:49 pm #3525015
They specifically address the trashcan issue with regards to Turkey Bag cooking. I guess I missed that phase.
Most will have probably seen this if they are planning a trek: http://www.philmontscoutranch.org/TrekPreparation/Shakedown/GearSelection.aspxMar 17, 2018 at 7:05 pm #3525161
Stephen EversonBPL Member
My crew in 2013 took MSR Reactor stoves with 1.7L pots. Made for fast boiling of water. We took ziplock bowls with screw top lids for rehyrating meals and to eat out of. Our ranger understood how we were cooking and allowed us to leave the big pots jammed in the locker at basecamp. Clean up consisted of dash of soap in the ziplock bowl, fill with water, swishing it around, and then dumping it down the sump. Never did cook in the 1.7L pots. Only ever boiled water and dipped the bowls/spoons for santizing.Apr 16, 2018 at 3:48 pm #3530708
Philmont is the BSA’s premiere high adventure base. They desire to instill and reinforce many of Scouting’s fundamental methods and goals, the Baden-Powell Patrol Method and Buddy System to be used back at the Troop level and other Scouting events. So many of their techniques are aimed toward practicing these goals.
So don’t resist Philmont’s methods and goals, learn and grow from them.
Two-man tents (especially for Scouts) encourages the Buddy System (and reduces impact on the campsites, 22,000 plus camper each summer).
The duty Scout cooking everyone’s meal in one 8-quart pot and all Scouts sitting and eating (breaking bread) together after reciting the Philmont Grace and another duty Scout does clean-up, all emphasizing the Patrol Method. And sanitizing eating and cookware by submersing them in boiling water helps ensures health and safety in spite of lax clean-up methods of young or careless Scouts.
Some considerations in selecting a stove. Pick a stove that has a remote fuel container which allows the use of a windscreen to concentrate heat to the pot’s bottom and sides to reduce boil time and fuel consumption. Pick a stove that can safely support Philmont’s 8-quart (or 6-qt) pot with 2, 3 or 4 quarts of water plus food (depending on crew size and package directions).
Many Philmont camps are above 8,000 feet, some above 10,000. At higher elevations water boils at lower temperature but air and water temperatures are colder too so boil time is about the same.
You need a lot of BTUs to boil a lot of cold water at higher elevations. Some stove fuels do not work well at higher elevations or colder temps. White gas does. Consider the MSR Dragonfly.Apr 16, 2018 at 6:15 pm #3530738
Does the pre-heat tube on some remote canister stoves improve performance at altitude, or is it just for low temperature use? Now that we confirmed our itinerary (10), I see we will spend 2 nights and almost two full days above 10K around Mt. Phillips. We’ll spend a total of 5 consecutive nights above 9K.
As I mentioned, I have the Kovea Spider and the MSR Dragonfly (and recently got the quiet burner option for the MSR.) I want to do the 10 minute boil test with each. the Kovea Spider has a very small burner, and I’ve only used it on backpacking sized pots (1.3L Evernew e.g.). Also Kovea replaced my original stove (purchased on Amazon) because it was sputtering, so I’m worried about it until I get more use time on this particular stove. Even so I’ve heard very positive things about the Spider on several Philmont threads.
Our troop has older Primus and MSR remote canister stoves, but they are heavier and don’t have the pre-heat pressurizing tube.Apr 16, 2018 at 6:24 pm #3530739
Yes, Philmont emphasizes the patrol method since this is scouting over typical modern backpacking methods. They have their reasons, many due to the volume of people passing through and it’s their place, their rules. It sets a bad example for scouts if you’re breaking the rules.
I’d never take giant pots on any trip our troop would do (other than Philmont prep). You can either do patrol method like Philmont or teach backpacking techniques that scouts can use on their own after scouting. It’s not like they don’t learn the patrol method in every other car camping trip we do.
I’d rather the scouts gain proper skills and techniques.Apr 16, 2018 at 7:26 pm #3530751
I think the pre-heat tube (generator) is only to convert liquid fuels into a vapor that will atomize and burn completely, regardless of elevation or temperature. Other fuels like propane turn into vapor when they are un-pressurized as they leave their pressurized canister and don’t need the pre-heat tube (generator), provided they are warm enough.Apr 16, 2018 at 9:55 pm #3530773
RE; pre heater: My MSR Windpro which burns isobutane and my MSR Simmerlite which burns white gas both have the same pre-heating tube. The DragonFly with its pump has way more moving parts hence has a higher probability of failure (and MSR will sell you all the little bits).
If you are doing side by side performance tests, be sure to use a windscreen with the Kovea, Trail Designs sells some very nice ones that fit or you can DIY with snips and aluminium baking pans.
But bottom line. Take the stove your Scouts know how to use.
CheersApr 17, 2018 at 12:21 am #3530810
The preheat tube is derived from the first Primus kero stoves, where it is needed to vaporise the kero. It still is needed with kero.
The boiling point of white gas (a mixture) is much lower, but you still need a preheat or ‘generator’ tube to reliably vaporise all the white gas. Without it, you get pops and splutters and flares.
The use of a preheat tube on remote canister stoves is partly due to the way early canister stoves were designed: as a derivative f white gas stoves. You change the jet and the air inlet and there you are.
In sub-zero conditions the liquid canister fuel still needs to be heated (or boiled) as butane boils at ~0 C. But it is possible to design a remote inverted canister stove without a preheat tube: I have done so.
A caution is needed here: there are a number of remote canister stoves on the market which do not have a preheat tube and should not be used with inverted canisters – especially in cold conditions.
The Philmont 8 L pot is a dinosaur. It was OK on the original Primus kero stove, but modern canister stoves are NOT (repeat NOT) designed to take either the weight of the water or the diameter of the pot. Philmont’s failure to adjust here leaves them open imho to an accusation of dangerous practice. Yes, I am saying quite explicitly that trying to use a 6 or 8 L pot on a modern canister or white gas stove is DANGEROUS.
CheersApr 17, 2018 at 1:28 pm #3530875
The Philmont 8 L pot is a dinosaur. It was OK on the original Primus kero stove, but modern canister stoves are NOT (repeat NOT) designed to take either the weight of the water or the diameter of the pot. Philmont’s failure to adjust here leaves them open imho to an accusation of dangerous practice. Yes, I am saying quite explicitly that trying to use a 6 or 8 L pot on a modern canister or white gas stove is DANGEROUS.”
This from the 2018 Philmont Guidebook to Adventure, page 15
All crews must provide backpacking stoves and the use of stoves is required. Backpacking stoves must be used with adult supervision … Isobutane/propane fuel stoves are also acceptable….
If using isobutane/propane fuel stoves, be sure that they are designed to hold an 8 quart pot. The safest stoves on the market that accomplish this requirement have a fuel line that separates the canister from the stove. This reduces the reflected heat from impacting the canister and permits the user the ability to adjust the temperature safely.
Smaller one or two person stoves have become available and popular, however they do not meet the requirements for crew cooking (Patrol Method) at Philmont Scout Ranch. A small stove might be a good addition for quick heating of water for coffee, tea or cocoa while on the trail.”
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