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Old 04-05-13, 01:37 PM   #26
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I know you don't believe me but even in 2010, I found them in such diverse Walmarts as Colby, KS and Mena, AR. Although I try to darken the doors of Helmarts as little as possible, I found them in 2012 in London, KY and Huntington, WV. In 2003 and 2005, I couldn't find them for love or money along the Missouri River or along the Columbia but finding them now is just not an issue.
Walmarts in cities near National Parks often have all kinds of backpacking, camping, shooting, fishing and hunting items that you will never see in a "normal" suburban WM.
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Old 04-05-13, 01:48 PM   #27
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I can think of no more useless item to carry on a tour than an ice pick and I've tried the nail thing, it didn't work. The Jetboil device is way easier to use.
Yeah, cause I absolutely stated that I have used an ice pick while on a tour. That would be an at home device used on a canister carried out of a backpacking trip.
If you can't improvise something to punch a hole in a canister, then it sounds as though this device is perfect for you.

I joke with most of my engineering and or lab friends, Sure it works in practice, but will it work in theory. The less pedanticly asburgery ones who can laugh at themselves tend to get it.
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Old 04-05-13, 07:37 PM   #28
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Thanks for sharing this.

Where have you found the EthaMax?
At Big Lots, a discount/clearance store. The website on the bottle, ethamax.com, is gone, though.
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Old 04-05-13, 08:26 PM   #29
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Sure it works in practice, but will it work in theory.
I like that
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Old 04-06-13, 08:14 PM   #30
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Guys, fuel is so 70's; get into the 21st century. You don't need to carry fuel anymore.

I have been using one of these for the better part of a year now. http://www.biolitestove.com/ Once it is warmed up there is only a tiny bit of soot output and it charges my cell phone and GPS. Plus it provides a small and virtually smokeless camp fire... It is a little bit of a challenge to modulate if you want to do fine cooking, but for boiling water, it beats the heck out of my MSR Whisperlite for speed, and, NO FUEL TO CARRY!

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Old 04-07-13, 01:10 AM   #31
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This stuff is half the price of HEET and burns the same in my alky stove...

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Old 04-07-13, 07:12 AM   #32
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Guys, fuel is so 70's; get into the 21st century. You don't need to carry fuel anymore.

I have been using one of these for the better part of a year now. http://www.biolitestove.com/ Once it is warmed up there is only a tiny bit of soot output and it charges my cell phone and GPS. Plus it provides a small and virtually smokeless camp fire... It is a little bit of a challenge to modulate if you want to do fine cooking, but for boiling water, it beats the heck out of my MSR Whisperlite for speed, and, NO FUEL TO CARRY!
That is a pretty interesting device, but I'll pass for now. The weight is enough to put me off. It weighs a good bit more than my stove, fuel, spare batteries, and charger combined. So, while I am impressed withe the ingenuity of the device, it doesn't come close to suiting my touring style.
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Old 04-07-13, 01:30 PM   #33
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That is a pretty interesting device, but I'll pass for now. The weight is enough to put me off. It weighs a good bit more than my stove, fuel, spare batteries, and charger combined. So, while I am impressed withe the ingenuity of the device, it doesn't come close to suiting my touring style.
I have to agree with you that the Biolite is on the heavier side when you compare stove to stove, but when you add in a quart of fuel for a conventional stove, the weight difference is gone. Also, the Biolite has huge output suitable for cooking for a large group. If you are solo or just 2 people, and do not cook a ton then conventional options are better. We generally travel on a group or 8 riders and this stove meets the needs of the whole group, so again when you look at the weight to provide cooking for 8 it is a huge advantage for us. Also, if you are extensively in areas where fuel is scarce, the Biolite is a huge plus...
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Old 04-08-13, 04:17 AM   #34
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I`m waiting for a ride report by a Canadian or European traveling in the US who asks around for "meths" and gets directed to the friendly neighborhood crack vendor.
Probably one reason I've avoided touring in the US for the last 10 years. IMO the prevalence of using drugs for recreational uses and the insistance of 'the right to bear arms' is a bad combination and I actually feel safer in Colombia. Colombia - you know - that country that got a bad rap for producing cocane because US 'businessmen' decided to set up shop there - much like US industry has recently done in China for manufactured goods. Spent five years in Colombia - never even smelled grass being used on the streets or ran into a drug addict. And the people are generally pretty friendly.
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Old 04-08-13, 04:22 AM   #35
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I have to agree with you that the Biolite is on the heavier side when you compare stove to stove, but when you add in a quart of fuel for a conventional stove, the weight difference is gone. Also, the Biolite has huge output suitable for cooking for a large group. If you are solo or just 2 people, and do not cook a ton then conventional options are better. We generally travel on a group or 8 riders and this stove meets the needs of the whole group, so again when you look at the weight to provide cooking for 8 it is a huge advantage for us. Also, if you are extensively in areas where fuel is scarce, the Biolite is a huge plus...
Thanks for the post! I usually travel with one or more other people and that looks REALLY interesting! Not only solves the fuel supply issue but would be a non-issue to fly with since there's no fuel tank. Alcohol has been the easiest fuel I've been able to fond internationally, followed by gasoline, then white gas and cannisters only rarely in Colombia and Peru.
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Old 04-08-13, 05:36 AM   #36
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Not only solves the fuel supply issue but would be a non-issue to fly with since there's no fuel tank.
I wonder about that. It would definitely have more burnt smell that just about any other type stove, wouldn't it? I don't know if that might be a problem or not. Does anyone with experience with flying with wood burning stoves care to comment? It is expensive enough that it would be a real shame if it were confiscated.
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Old 04-08-13, 05:53 AM   #37
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I wonder about that. It would definitely have more burnt smell that just about any other type stove, wouldn't it? I don't know if that might be a problem or not. Does anyone with experience with flying with wood burning stoves care to comment? It is expensive enough that it would be a real shame if it were confiscated.
Agreed - I hit their site and went through the FAQ section. The combustion chamber or fuel burning cylinder if you will, is apparently dishwasher safe and cleaning instructions are soap, water and a scrub-brush. That should be enough to get rid of smoke odor and its compressed gasses and the potential for explosion that the airlines are concerned about. I've successfully carried white gas stoves by air but had to wash the whole thing with alcohol and store it with the cap off the empty fuel tank to get it passed. The dissassembly / washing part was a hassle.
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Old 04-08-13, 06:51 AM   #38
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I have to agree with you that the Biolite is on the heavier side when you compare stove to stove, but when you add in a quart of fuel for a conventional stove, the weight difference is gone.
Not quite; the Bio-lite weighs over two pounds. I'd never carry a quart of fuel, but even if I did I think a quart of alcohol weighs 25 ounces plus 2 ounces for the bottle. A pop can stove, pot stand, and wind screen come in at two ounces. So 29 ounces total vs 33 ounces for the Biolite. That is at least close, but...

Since I'd never carry more than 16 ounces of alcohol. By the time I would consider carrying a quart of alcohol, I'd have switched to either a canister stove or maybe a white gas stove. With 16 ounces of fuel, the alcohol stove actually still comes in at about a pound less and the Bio-lite when carrying my maximum amount of fuel. Granted you might also save the weight of a charger, but that is only two ounces or less in my case.

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Also, the Biolite has huge output suitable for cooking for a large group. If you are solo or just 2 people, and do not cook a ton then conventional options are better. We generally travel on a group or 8 riders and this stove meets the needs of the whole group, so again when you look at the weight to provide cooking for 8 it is a huge advantage for us. Also, if you are extensively in areas where fuel is scarce, the Biolite is a huge plus...
I can see where a wood burning stove might really come into it's own in that usage. I would imagine that it probably doesn't meet the charging needs of a large group though.

I have built and toyed with a home made wood burning stove that weighed a bit less than half of what the Bio-lite weighs, but have never actually taken it touring or backpacking. I wonder how much better the Bio-lite works as compared to my home made one, which I find to be a bit more bother than I have thus far been willing to put up with. I considered taking it on my JMT backpacking trip this summer, but decided that I would be above treeline where wood burning stoves are not allowed to be used.

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Old 04-08-13, 07:35 AM   #39
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that Biolite is pretty neat looking. As I have a Whisperlite and it still works fine, Im not really in the market, but that is a pretty neat device.
I guess the only thing I could see as an issue is if you arrive somewhere and everything is soaking wet (mind you, no reason to have a stash of sticks and such in a small bag in your panniers as back up, wouldnt weigh much)

I wonder how it will be long term (fan, battery, electronics)
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Old 04-08-13, 08:59 AM   #40
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The Sierra Zipp stove is a lighter weight version of a woodburning stove. It too has a fan. Heat output can be very high with these stoves.

I have used it quite a bit. At first the idea was very appealing. But there were downsides that were not immediately obvious before use.

Smoke is much more of an issue than with most stoves. While you are sitting next to it, tending it in one way or another (and it demands a lot more tending than non-woodburning stoves), the smoke very often follows the pocket of air in front of your body. This becomes less and less desirable. Not only is it irritating to lungs and eyes, but there are health concerns associated with it as well.

The smoke and the smell draw attention. This is not good at all for some stealth/wildcamping situations.

Rangers tend at times to frown more heavily on wood-burning than on other small stoves. No-cooking-required foods win here. (As they do in many other ways, including weight and refueling and time.)

I would rather work on further developing or perfecting the art of making small or very small twig fires and stoves from available materials. This system weighs exactly nothing. No alcohol stove system can touch it in weight and bulk. I've done this quite a bit, and it works very well in some situations.

Better yet, in so many ways: no cooking required.

Or mix it up, and use different approaches for different times and situations.
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Old 04-08-13, 09:24 AM   #41
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Probably one reason I've avoided touring in the US for the last 10 years. IMO the prevalence of using drugs for recreational uses and the insistance of 'the right to bear arms' is a bad combination and I actually feel safer in Colombia.

Spent five years in Colombia - never even smelled grass being used on the streets or ran into a drug addict.
Interresting. I was surprised just a few days ago by a thread on CGOAB than mentioned peoples fear of guns as a main reason for not wanting to travel in the US. I never would have thought. Now another mention, just today.

Colombia`s requirement for drug addicts to wear placards proclaiming the fact sounds like a good idea. That way you can never pass one in the street without knowing. EDIT: Also keeps them from being run into by bicyclists while wandering about in a daze! Much safer than being a stealth addict in the US or Canada

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Old 04-08-13, 01:33 PM   #42
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more back on topic, I stopped by a Dollar Tree store today and found that the SMB Fuel Injector Cleaner mentioned seems to have the same basic composition as their Injector and Carburetor Cleaner, their Performance Octane Booster, and their Super Gas Treatment in case you want to experiment with those as well, all 11 oz. for a $1.
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Old 04-08-13, 01:39 PM   #43
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Walmarts in cities near National Parks often have all kinds of backpacking, camping, shooting, fishing and hunting items that you will never see in a "normal" suburban WM.
Um...Colby, KS; Mena, AR; London, KY and Huntington, WV are no where near a National park, unless by "near a national park", you mean with in 300 miles.
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Old 04-08-13, 01:45 PM   #44
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Yeah, cause I absolutely stated that I have used an ice pick while on a tour. That would be an at home device used on a canister carried out of a backpacking trip.
If you can't improvise something to punch a hole in a canister, then it sounds as though this device is perfect for you.
I can't read your mind. You said you used "a scrounged nail or ice pick". A scrounged nail seems to imply something used on tour and, without further information one could assume that you were using an ice pick on tour as well.

Personally, I don't often have a need to get rid of a canister at home because I don't use them there. And, as I said, I tried puncturing a canister with a nail (I actually carry a 16 penny nail as a punch) and it's not sharp enough for the job...even when risking my fingers with a large rock.
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Old 04-08-13, 03:00 PM   #45
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Picked up a couple 11 oz. bottles of this stuff at the local Dollar Tree:

http://www.dollartree.com/SMB-Fuel-I...ex.pro#details

The label said it contained methanol and other proprietary ingredients, but it was clear and burned cleanly in my stoves without leaving any residue, just like HEET.

I've also experimented with an mostly ethanol additive called EthaMax ($1.50 for 12 oz) which did put out a lot more heat than methanol, as would be expected, and stunk a lot more, also expected. It also did leave a small amount of gummy residue in the stove, but was able to wipe it off.

Here in warm southern California, gas stations don't carry HEET, only auto supply stores and Walmart. The SMB stuff is cheaper, and you may try other brands if you can't any other source of alcohol for your stove.

Of course, if you can find a racing gas supplier in your area, you can get methanol by the 5 gal can for a lot less per ounce.
Part of the idea here seems to be to save money.

You might be interested in calculations of the relative costs of different fuels, especially longterm costs.

Ten gallons of these alcohols will cost about 120 dollars, plus tax.

Ten gallons of gasoline will cost about 39 dollars, including tax.

The alcohol will be considerably less energy dense. Plus it will contain some percentage of water. Plus (this point is rarely factored into the calculations, yet it is significant) it will require more fuel because of longer run times (which entail significantly greater heat losses to the environment, esp. in colder temperatures; and the heat losses need to be replaced). 50% is probably quite generous -- the difference is probably quite a bit more.

So the cost ends up being at least 256.80 (with 7% tax), and probably quite a bit more, vs about 39 dollars.

That would buy you a very nice something, with plenty left over. (A very nice Primus multifuel stove or two, among a wide variety of other things.)

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Old 04-08-13, 05:22 PM   #46
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Ten gallons of these alcohols will cost about 120 dollars, plus tax.
I have a hard time getting too excited about 10 gallons of alcohol costing $120. I think that works out to about 20 cents per day on tour given my typical usage. It is little enough that I don't even consider the cost in the choice between fuel types.
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Old 04-08-13, 05:44 PM   #47
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I have a hard time getting too excited about 10 gallons of alcohol costing $120. I think that works out to about 20 cents per day on tour given my typical usage. It is little enough that I don't even consider the cost in the choice between fuel types.
It depends on how one looks at it.

If one looks at it long term, and there are other things that one would prefer to do with the money, then it can be enough to make a difference. And some people might just prefer to keep the money in reserve.

It also depends on how much of the fuels one is using. Some people go through many gallons. In the long run, it can add up.

Also, there isn't always access to Dollar Tree stores. HEET often sells for more like three times that much, with tax (sometimes more) in smaller towns. If you multiplied the above calculations by three or more, the savings are even more substantial -- the cost for these alcohols could easily go up a few hundred dollars above the amount given, or even five hundred dollars or more [for each (cooking) equivalent of ten gallons of gasoline].

There are definitely, certainly, and most assuredly things I would rather be doing with that money, especially since stoves like the Primus Gravity II are so much better and more versatile for cooking anyway. And more efficient and controllable.

[We may disagree heartily on this -- or at least the perspectives are quite different. No hard feelings, though, old chap. Hopefully, one can look at different perspectives still in a friendly and respectful way....]

In the long run, I would much rather have the Primus plus some number of hundreds in my pocket.
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Old 04-08-13, 05:56 PM   #48
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Interresting. I was surprised just a few days ago by a thread on CGOAB than mentioned peoples fear of guns as a main reason for not wanting to travel in the US. I never would have thought. Now another mention, just today.

Colombia`s requirement for drug addicts to wear placards proclaiming the fact sounds like a good idea. That way you can never pass one in the street without knowing. EDIT: Also keeps them from being run into by bicyclists while wandering about in a daze! Much safer than being a stealth addict in the US or Canada
On the other hand - if you need a placard to help you pick out a drug addict, or a wino, or a number of other things - you have nothing worth teaching your kids.
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Old 04-08-13, 06:00 PM   #49
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It depends on how one looks at it.

If one looks at it long term, and there are other things that one would prefer to do with the money, then it can be enough to make a difference. And some people might just prefer to keep the money in reserve.

It also depends on how much of the fuels one is using. Some people go through many gallons. In the long run, it can add up.

Also, there isn't always access to Dollar Tree stores. HEET often sells for more like three times that much, with tax (sometimes more) in smaller towns. If you multiplied the above calculations by three or more, the savings are even more substantial -- the cost for these alcohols could easily go up a few hundred dollars above the amount given, or even five hundred dollars or more [for each (cooking) equivalent of ten gallons of gasoline].

There are definitely, certainly, and most assuredly things I would rather be doing with that money, especially since stoves like the Primus Gravity II are so much better and more versatile for cooking anyway. And more efficient and controllable.

[We may disagree heartily on this -- or at least the perspectives are quite different. No hard feelings, though, old chap. Hopefully, one can look at different perspectives still in a friendly and respectful way....]

In the long run, I would much rather have the Primus plus some number of hundreds in my pocket.
I'm thinking you haven't done much travelling. I haven't used that much fuel in 25 years.
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Old 04-08-13, 06:08 PM   #50
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"I'm thinking you haven't done much travelling. I haven't used that much fuel in 25 years."
Then it is you who doesn't do much travelling.

I often go through about a gallon per month.

And over the course of years, it adds up.

Over the course of decades, it adds up even more.
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