Buy a small stove these days and it is likely to come covered in dire warnings about the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, adamant that you must not use the stove in any sort of confined space. And yet walkers have been using small stoves inside their tent vestibules in bad weather for many, many years with very few instances of trouble. What is the risk, why are all those warnings there, and how seriously should we take them?

This multi-part Series of articles explores the carbon monoxide issue. Part 1 covered the basic theory underlying how stoves work and how they can generate carbon monoxide. A theory was developed as to the cause of carbon monoxide being emitted. Part 2 covered an extensive amount of laboratory testing of a wide range of canister stoves to test this theory.

All the results found in Part 2 confirmed the theory: carbon monoxide is generated when the stove flame is quenched by having the burner too close to the pot. Factors such as pot diameter do not affect the result, but burner design does. Keeping the flame from hitting the pot too soon and making sure enough air is available are the keys to low CO emissions.

This Part 3 covers laboratory testing of a wide range of canister stoves, of both upright and remote canister variety, to see what sort of performance they have in the factory state. In some cases where a high CO emission was found the effect of raising the pot and increasing the air supply was checked. One especially troubling case is discussed in detail towards the end of the article.

ARTICLE OUTLINE

  • Introduction
  • Recapitulation from Part 1
  • Recapitulation from Part 2
  • Outline and Scope of Part 3
    •  
  • Health and Safety Guidelines
    • Carbon Monoxide
    •  
    • Butane and Propane
  • The Measurements
  • Test Results - Overview
    •  
    • General Analysis
  • Test Results - Individual stoves
    • Brunton Flex
      97 g /3.4 oz
    • Brunton Raptor
      158 g / 5.6 oz
    • Coleman Xtreme
      313 g /11.0 oz
    • Coleman Fyrestorm Ti
      310 g / 10.9 oz
    • Coleman F1 Ultralight
      76.5 g /2.7 oz
    • Jetboil GCS
      568 g / 20.0 oz
    • Kovea Expedition
      448 g / 15.7 oz
    • Kovea Moonwalker
      340 g / 12.0 oz
    • MSR WindPro
      192 g /6.8 oz
    • MSR Pocket Rocket
      86 g / 3.0 oz
    • MSR Reactor
      595 g / 21.0 oz
    • Optimus Crux
      93 g / 3.28 oz
    • Optimus Stella +
      266 g / 9.38 oz
    • Primus Gravity MF
      243 g / 8.47 oz
    • Primus EtaPower EF
      608 g / 21.45 oz
    • Primus Micron Ti 2.5
      69 g / 2.43 oz
    • Snow Peak
      GS(T)100
      74 g /2.5 oz
    • Snow Peak GS200D
      284 g / 10.0 oz
    • Trekka/Gasmate (modified)
      309 g / 10.9 oz
    • Vargo Jet-Ti
      82 g / 2.9 oz
  • Further comments on the MSR Reactor Performance

# WORDS: 10760
# PHOTOS: 48
# TABLES: 3

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