First Tour Should I get a Stove?
I'm touring this summer in Europe for three months. I have everything I need so far but i wanted to know about stoves.
I will be mostly camping and staying in hostels. If any of you have stoves: What is a good a cheap way to use a stove, a.k.a. what are some cheap stoves to buy. I like the idea of having some soup at night and some tea in the morning. I also want to know how long the gas canisters last. i know this depends on how often you use them, but if I used it for 10 min for 45 days, would that be enough. I just don't know where to get gas in europe.
If you are going to use it infrequently, you could use an alcohol stove. You could even make one out of some soda cans. You'd be able to buy the alcohol in any apothecary. (Note that this will likely be more expensive than other kinds of fuel.)
You might prefer something more heavy-duty for "real" cooking but this might work for heating up some water or soup.
As a guess, you might get 5-8 days out of a canister (on the low usage side).
People in Europe camp. Some of them use butane/propane stoves. Camping/outdoor stores would be places to buy fuel.
Last edited by njkayaker; 05-13-10 at 02:52 PM.
If you will be staying in hostels, or in campgrounds that have outlets, you might consider using electricity. It's usually free. It's clean. It's relatively safe. There are no fumes.
Originally Posted by cracker7213
Most of the fuel-burning stoves aren't so great indoors.
Among the options:
October 2009: I'd kill for a cuppa...
Before we bought our water heating element, there were many moments when I could have killed for a cup of coffee or tea. But let's face it, getting out the multi-fuel stove each time and firing it up, especially when you are not camping, is a real pain in the neck. Well, we no longer have that problem.
There are many makes and models of water heating elements and the cheapest on the market go for just a couple of dollars. You can find them in camping stores, travel departments or electrical stores. So, if there is electricity, then you can have boiled water at any time of the day or night. Not only handy for a well deserved cuppa or pot noodle snack, but you can treat the tap water you are not quite sure in a matter of minutes.
Another possibility is some kind of lightweight hot plate.
Hot pots are also a possibility.
This is a good one (you might want some kind of adapter or converter for European sockets and voltages; or you could pick up something similar in Europe),
I've used it many times, and it has exceeded expectations. It has also more than paid for itself through the free fuel.
[Hot pots seem as though they could be hacked; but I haven't tried it yet. You could probably remove the heating element, convert it into a small hot plate, and use it with an aluminum or other lightweight cooking pot. The heating element isn't designed for this, though -- and it might burn out relatively quickly, if you were not careful to keep it in good contact with something (like a water-filled pot with good heat conduction) that would prevent overheating of the element. And you would want to be careful about safety issues. Or maybe there are small hot plates available in Europe.]
If you want cheap fuel, this is it.
Wood is also free in many areas; but it isn't so great indoors.
The cat can stove and its variants are cheap and easy and light. The fumes should not be breathed in poorly ventilated areas, though. I wouldn't want to use them in indoor situations.
Electricity has worked best for me indoors. On some tours, the outlets are plentiful enough, especially indoors.
Last edited by Niles H.; 05-13-10 at 04:31 PM.
Can't go wrong with this: http://www.trangia.se/english/2924.mini_trangia.html. We picked one up even though we have a perfectly good gas stove. Weighs almost nothing, comes with a pot and pan/lid, runs on fuel you can get anywhere, and is much more convenient than any other method short of walking into a cafe for getting a cup of tea first thing in the morning.
An immersion electric heater is an interesting idea and it might be useful even if you had a stove.
Originally Posted by Niles H.
Fuel stoves or fires indoors is a bad idea (this should be clear and well-known).
Some hostels have kitchen areas. Some hostels might have rules about cooking outside of designated areas.
Cooking over wood is rarely ever worth the trouble it takes (especially, just to heat liquid).
These are alcohol stoves. You can make equivalents out of soda cans!
Originally Posted by sunset1123
Last edited by njkayaker; 05-13-10 at 04:52 PM.
You can make an alcohol stove out of a soda can, or you can buy a Trangia with a cookset to go with it. The soda can stoves look like throwaway jobs to me, a Trangia with a cookset will keep your pots more stable and the flame will be protected from wind, so your food will cook faster. Do a little research online about how to make a soda can stove, and look at the different Trangias and make your choice.
Gas cartridge stoves are very popular in Europe, but different cartridges are used in different areas, so as you move from country to country you might find that you are no longer able to get cartridges for your stove.
Hostels either have kitchens or don't allow you to cook at all. If the hostel has a kitchen there is no point in bringing a hotplate or immersion heater. If the hostel does not have a kitchen, they probably won't want you using your hotplate or immersion heater. Most campgrounds probably won't have electrical outlets at the tent sites.
White gas (Coleman fuel) is obscenely expensive and hard to find in most of Europe. Most stoves that run on white gas/Coleman fuel will also run with varying degrees of success on unleaded gas, but filling up a fuel bottle at a gas station is tricky, and not all gas station owners will approve. If you use a white gas/Coleman fuel stove or an alcohol stove, clean it thoroughly and remove all traces of fuel and the smell of fuel before you try to bring the stove and fuel bottle on the plane to or from the tour. Even after you've cleaned the stove and fuel bottle thoroughly you might get hassled by the airline check-in counter staff. Cleaning a stove after it unleaded gas (or kerosene, or diesel) has been burned in it will be more difficult than if you only burned white gas or alcohol in it.
Here's a little help with what fuels are called and where to get them:
Although I would have to disagree with some of the other statements above, I am not in a mood to disagree in writing.
Something that hasn't been mentioned yet (here or elsewhere, as far as I know) is the art of stealth cooking.
It's fun. Some straightlaced types would call it sneaky or evil. It can be fun, though. I've done it in libraries.
A knapsack or day pack and an immersion heater or a fast hot pot (or an electric kettle, which is very similar to a hot pot, but uses a beefy and fast built-in immersion heater/coil that comes attached inside the kettle) is the basic idea -- speed and stealth, no smells and silence.
No one knows, so no one cares and no one gets upset.
Play safe, though.
Most hostels in Europe (the old 'western Europe', can' vouch for Eastern Europena countries of the old 'Soviet block') have kitchens so you shouldn't have a problem with a place to cook. If all you'll be doing while camping is simply boiling water or quikly heating a meal, try a GAZ Bleuet butane/isobutane canister stove. These are the blue canister ones that are made by a Swedish company Camping GAZ, I believe; they have a website with the different countries they sell in. The stove-part of the set-up is small and easy to pack. The stoves and the fuel canisters are availabe all over Europe. Availability here in the USA is pretty good, too; not as avaialbe as USA made MSR stoves, but I don't have a problem here in Southern California. The canister may seem bulky, but its easy to pack. And the complete stove is easy to to light - turn it on, touch a match to the burner, and your ready to heat up a brew. Perfect for using to heat water or the occasional night out at a campsite or in a forest.
Camping gas stoves are clean and convenient but check out the compatbility issues and availability in different counties. They come in screw fit (with resealable valve) eg Coleman and non-screw fit eg camping Gaz.
They are quite bulky for solo cyclists.
You can get adapters to use either style of canister.
I tour cook-free; there are times when cooking would be nice but mostly its not worthwhile as a solo rider.
Why not wait until you are in Europe to decide if you need a stove? A stove may or may not be a problem on airlines. It might look suspicious to someone, in which case you lose it. There are plenty of pleasant places to get food and drink in Europe such as cafes, bars, bistros, pubs etc., so why spend your time huddled over a camp stove?