Today’s episode is a TECH SHORT. In this episode, we talk about StoveBench: Backpacking Light’s new protocol for standardizing stove performance comparisons.
We just published our huge Upright Canister Stove Gear Guide, in which we evaluated over thirty different backpacking stoves, eventually putting 17 through a variety of StoveBench tests. In light of that article we wanted to take a few minutes to more fully explain StoveBench.
In developing StoveBench, Ryan’s goal was to create a protocol capable of producing replicable results from home testing spaces all over the world.
Ryan begins the episode by explaining two important metrics: power and efficiency. Andrew gives a little backstory on why it was necessary to create StoveBench, and Ryan explains the protocol’s nuts and bolts.
After that the guys run through a few of the frequently asked questions surrounding StoveBench.
Ryan and Andrew introduce today’s topic: The StoveBench Protocol.
The StoveBench protocol is an effort to decrease variables and increase accurate testing results when measuring the performance of backpacking stoves.
- First of all, what are we measuring?
- What is efficiency?
- What is power?
- Why did Ryan develop StoveBench?
- The need became evident as BPL began researching and writing its forthcoming Upright Canister Stove Gear Guide.
- Manufacturer provided data is dependent upon unknown variables
- Ambient temperature of the lab, fuel, and water
- Elevation of the lab
- Amount of fuel inside a testing canister
- Size, shape, and material of the testing pot
- Temperature of the water before boiling
- Saline content of the water
- And so on!
- Ryan wanted to create a system that could be replicated easily so as to add to the general knowledge of the ultralight community.
- How does StoveBench work?
- What are we testing?
- What data are we collecting, and what tools are we using?
- What is a StoveBench score?
- What are the strengths of StoveBench?
- What type of fuel are we using?
- What is the average sample size of a StoveBench test?
- Common StoveBench questions
- What pot size, shape, and material did you choose as the StoveBench baseline, and what are the possible ramifications of those choices?
- Can StoveBench be applied to other types of stoves: wood burning, alcohol, integrated stove systems, etc?
- Won’t elevation skew the results? In order to get a better stove bench score, couldn’t you just hike up a mountain?
- Aren’t stoves more efficient when you run them below full throttle? How will this affect StoveBench Scores?
- Is this all going over people’s heads? For the average hiker, doesn’t “boil time” just matter the most?
- With the nearly endless combination of fuels, pots, stoves, windscreens, etc, what is the practical application of arriving at a StoveBench score derived from standardizing variables?
- What are some other potential flaws with the protocol, and what can we do about them?
Click here to read the StoveBench protocol for yourself. Make sure to read the forum as well! Also, make sure you are subscribed to the pod so you don’t miss our long Canister Stove episode, coming soon! Finally, be sure to check out our Canister Stove Gear Guide. It’s huge!
Feedback, Questions, Tips?
- Backpacking Light – Executive Producer
- Ryan Jordan – Director and Host
- Andrew Marshall – Producer, Writer, Host, and Editor
- Look for Me in the Mountains – Music
- Written by: Chris Cunningham and Ryan Jordan
- Performed by: Chris Cunningham (acoustic guitar, lead and harmony vocals, harmonica), Chad Langford (upright bass), and Tom Murphy (mandolin).
- Produced by: Basecamp Studios in Bozeman, Montana
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