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Bike Packing Camp Stoves

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Old 12-18-17, 09:19 PM
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5kdad
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Bike Packing Camp Stoves

I watch many biking tour videos. I notice many use the type camp stove that requires the disposable propane canisters, such as the PocketRocket or JetBoil. It would seem much more practical to me (and more convenient to refuel), to use the refillable gasoline type stoves, such as the WhisperLite.
What is the advantage of using the disposable propane?
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Old 12-18-17, 09:29 PM
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The primary advantage is ease of finding fuel and no mess.

I have a stove that will run any fuel source, MSR International, I believe. I have run it off white gas (clean) and gasoline (filthy). I would take this one with me if I was touring in Central / South America or Africa.

I still prefer my 1st generation 10 year old Jet Boil, works in all weather at most elevations. I like the form factor, ease of use, efficiency of fuel, french press ad on etc. Its a well thought out package. A few other companies make similar systems. If money was not a consideration, I would look at the MSR Reactor.

If you want to go lighter weight and save a lot of money, look into making your own pepsi can stove. If anything, its a fun project.
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Old 12-18-17, 09:35 PM
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I have both types of stove and have used the white gas one most often. But there are some advantages to the butane/propane mix cartridge type:
1) low cost - the ~$7 'orange box' ones from Amazon work great and include a built-in lighter
2) low weight (about 3 oz.)
3) convenience - instant start, very easy to adjust flame heat
4) easy to find fuel in reasonable size cartridges vs. sometimes only finding gallon cans of white gas
5) no issue with airline travel since fuel cartridges are purchased at destination.
Alcohol stoves have some of these same advantages (but also some cons).
I expect multiple stove types to continue to coexist as each type has its own set of pros vs. cons.
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Old 12-18-17, 09:38 PM
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I've been traveling stoveless for well over a decade, but the buzz I hear on the trails is that the canisters are very easy to resupply these days and are getting increasingly popular.

I second the pepsi can alky stove idea, as long as you're not cooking for a large group or using it to melt snow. If you cook more than one meal per day, alcohol may not be the best fuel in terms of calorie density.

Ah yes, the "Whisperlite"--neither of which is true.
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Old 12-18-17, 09:39 PM
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I think it depends for how long and where you are going to ride. In long tours, crossing undeveloped countrys, where finding a canister is unlikeable, the ones using solid fuel or any kind of fuel that you can purchase in a gas station is the best. But normally going with a setup like that is going to take away one of the precious mounts in the bike for water bottles, on the other way canisters can be stored anywhere inside your bags. JetBoil also is way quick to boil water than a universal stove.
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Old 12-18-17, 10:22 PM
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the jetboil is really fast at boiling water. it doesnt do anything else well but i have become accustomed to it and its extreme ease and reliability. if boiling water will make your meal, you'll have it quickly and easily at the end of a long ride. plus the canisters last a really long time!
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Old 12-18-17, 11:34 PM
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I had been using naphta (coleman fuel) stoves since childhood until a second Dragonfly pump failed. I had forgotten an alcohol stove in my pannier and used it for the rest if the trip. I haven't used nahpta since.

Canister stoves are lighter, smaller, easier to use and simmer much better than liquid stoves. I met someone who got his empty naphta fuel bottle taken away at the airport. Nahpta usually comes in 1L or 4L containers while fuel bottles are 1L or smaller so chances you'll have extra fuel to carry or dispose. You can refill a canister but it's not very practical during a tour.

On a bike trip, I bring both a canister and alcohol stoves. They weigh 31 grams together. The alcohol stove can be made on the spot with a pocket knife:
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Old 12-19-17, 12:13 AM
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The canister stoves burn very clean compared to the other options and generally are able regulate a simmer better.
Very small pack size is also part of the mix.

I use a variety of stoves but I think I like the Trangia best due to the convenience of it.
The soot though does get on my wick.

I think next trip it with be with a pocket rocket and canister.

I'm very impressed with the Kovea Spider which I think will be my next purchase.
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Old 12-19-17, 12:23 AM
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Originally Posted by 5kdad View Post
What is the advantage of using the disposable propane?
Weight and lack of mess mostly. They're a little less fiddly than some liquid fuel stoves too.

Personally I like my Dragonfly. Nothing quite like waking everyone up with a stove that sounds kinda like a jet engine.
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Old 12-19-17, 01:56 AM
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You mention bikepacking; if you mean bikepacking which is sort of the ultralight version of touring rather than the more "traditional" touring you may find that the likes of the Whisperlite simply too big for a bikepacking setup. To compare my new gas stove setup will be a Soto Amicus.



and to give you an idea of a bikepacking setup, this is my bike setup for a 750 km 10 day remote bikepacking ride. This includes my food for about nine of those 10 days and water for the first three days.


Salsa Mukluk by Andrew Priest (Aushiker), on Flickr

and at the other extreme, my Surly Long Haul Trucker in remote touring configuration [had to carry 35 litres of water for one stage]:


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Old 12-19-17, 02:13 AM
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I don't think that are lighter. You always need to carry an extra so when you run out of fuel in the middle of cooking, you can switch over and continue. With a Whisperlite International you can manage with just one bottle. Also, even in rich western countries, you can easily be in a place where there is no shop selling canister gas.

Finally, protect the earth. Use and discard should be a crime.
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Old 12-19-17, 02:23 AM
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Adventures in Stoving has an interactive gas estimation spreadsheet to help estimate one's planned gas needs and hence carry just what you need.

Plus one can use an adapter to drain the remaining gas in one canister to another to again reduce the number that may need to be carried.
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Old 12-19-17, 02:41 AM
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I used whisper lite until I tried to fly with it. Even empty, the canister was rejected and I had a plane to catch so I ditched it in the trash...sadly. My trip was to Wyoming. I bought a pocket rocket after I landed there and was using it for at least five years exclusively until I switched to solid fuel and alcohol fancy feast stoves. Now I use the three, interchangeably depending on the type of trip.
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Old 12-19-17, 06:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Aushiker View Post
Adventures in Stoving has an interactive gas estimation spreadsheet to help estimate one's planned gas needs and hence carry just what you need.

Plus one can use an adapter to drain the remaining gas in one canister to another to again reduce the number that may need to be carried.
I take my hat off to you Aushiker, you've got that lack of bulk/weight down to a very fine art.

The Salsa, kitted out, looks great, but hard to appreciate just how well you've gotten the essentials honed down until you mention having been away for such a duration with what appears to be less than I carry for a long weekend.

I look forward to reading your write up (after the madness of xmas I'm sure) of your trip and of your thoughts regarding your Double Rainbow tent.
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Old 12-19-17, 06:25 AM
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Old 12-19-17, 07:24 AM
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Erick L
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Originally Posted by waddo View Post
Finally, protect the earth. Use and discard should be a crime.
I never understood this. People put disposable canisters as a con but fuel containers are discarded just the same.

The risk of not finding canister is why I also carry or learned to make an alcohol stove.
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Old 12-19-17, 08:04 AM
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There is a good discussion on stoves here.

When possible, I use Esbit on solo hiking trips. Canister otherwise (pocket rocket. Tried cheaper model, didn't last). I also have a Whisperlite, never used. Heavy, requires priming. But could be used everywhere.
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Old 12-19-17, 09:30 AM
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Trangia

I vote for the Trangia alcohol burner.-used it last summer on a circumnavigation of Lake Michigan with absolutely no problems. It can burn denatured alcohol-available at hardware stores in the paint department; Heet-available at most gas stations in the northern tier; rubbing alcohol-90%- available at pharmacies; or even high-proof drinking alcoholic drinks - think Everclear.

The stove is bomb proof and very quiet. But there is a weight penalty-carrying around pints of fuel. Also, it heats at a leisurely pace. So if you want to eat in a few minutes, this is not the stove for you.

Also, if you are bikepacking vs. bike touring, finding fuel might be an issue.

That said, this stove is very popular in Europe for bike touring; motorcycle touring.

Check it out.
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Old 12-19-17, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo View Post
I don't think that are lighter. You always need to carry an extra so when you run out of fuel in the middle of cooking, you can switch over and continue. With a Whisperlite International you can manage with just one bottle. Also, even in rich western countries, you can easily be in a place where there is no shop selling canister gas.

Finally, protect the earth. Use and discard should be a crime.

I normally use a liquid fuel stove, but if you aren't a moron it's pretty easy to get away with the bare minimum amount of fuel regardless of what you're using.

And to be honest, chances are that those fuel canisters are among the last thing you should be worried about with regards to waste.
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Old 12-19-17, 11:10 AM
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I use Snowpeak Litemax canister stove exclusively now. After using Liquid, Trangia, and wood stoves when I hiked a lot, I've learned to use canister stoves properly and I was set.

Canisters are easily recycled so don't worry too much about waste.
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Old 12-19-17, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by waddo View Post
You always need to carry an extra so when you run out of fuel in the middle of cooking, you can switch over and continue.
One way to gain a good estimation as to how much fuel is in your isobutane container is to take the canister when full and place it in water so as it floats and mark the water line. When you empty that fuel container, again float it in water and mark that water line. Now you should be able to transfer those same water lines to any new canister of the same variety. It's generally pretty easy to find somewhere to float your canister so as to have a pretty good idea when you're running low. But yea, when you get low, nice to have a second one or cat stove to get you by.
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Old 12-19-17, 12:40 PM
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I'm into ultra-compact camping and keep things sub-30L for bicycle and ADVmoto self-support touring where you only need food for a day or two. Backpacks are larger having to haul all your food, of course, but otherwise I use all the same base gear for all three.

After trying cannister and gas systems, I've settled on Everclear (190 grain) and Toaks Siphon stove - the kitchen is so tiny and versatile, I EDC it. Cleaner/sterilizer, dehydrated vodka drinks, stove fuel, and a luxurious deep heat soak sauna before bed/early mornings when it's a bit chilly.
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Old 12-19-17, 12:46 PM
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Pros: Lighter, smaller, cleaner, easier, works better at high altitude, no priming.

Cons: More expensive (in the long run), not nearly as available as liquid, most wasteful in terms of throwing away cans (or more of a pitb for hanging onto them and recycling them at some point).
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Old 12-19-17, 01:53 PM
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I use both liquid fuel and also the butane-mix type stoves.

The liquid fuel stoves work much better for cold temperatures because you use a pump to pressurize the fuel container, but the canister stoves are pressurized by their own gas pressure, which is greatly reduced at lower temperatures. There are work arounds for this, you can put your fuel canister in a warm water bath in a shallow pan, in some situations that could be a hassle or if you do not have a spare flat pan it may be impractical.

If you are on a budget and use a stove a lot, usually a liquid fuel stove which has a higher up front cost can have much lower operation costs because liquid fuels usually give you more energy per dollar. I can buy a gallon of Coleman fuel for about $12 at the local farm supply store. If I bring my own Kerosene can, I can buy Kerosene in bulk for less than $4 a gallon at that same store. (For the past few trips I have used a mixture of one third Coleman fuel and two thirds Kerosene in my Optimus Nova stoves or my Primus Omni-Fuel stove.) But some stoves are not rated as multi-fuel, they need coleman fuel.

But if you do not use a stove very much, the butane mix canister option can be more cost effective. The canisters cost much more than liquid fuels, but the stove costs less to buy. For fewer camping trips, this may be best.

Liquid fuel stoves usually are heavier than the butane-mix type stoves. A friend of mine that is ultra light when she backpacks, she only buys the freeze dried foods where you add boiling water to the pouch to rehydrate and eat. If you are an ultra light camper like that, you would never consider carrying the weight of a liquid fuel stove.

Liquid fuel stoves take more time to get started if you are thirsty for your first cup of coffee in the morning.

When priming a liquid fuel stove you get a lot of flare up, not so with the butane mix stoves. In inclement weather I sometimes will cook in my tent vestibule, but only with a butane mix type stove because the flare up from priming a liquid fuel stove could be quite hazardous in a tent vestibule. You really have to have some experience with your stove to feel safe in cooking in a vestibule, I do not have that feeling of safety with my liquid fuel stoves.

Airline travel with a liquid fuel stove is a much bigger hassle and there is the chance of your stove being confiscated.

Those are a few of the differences.

Originally Posted by 5kdad View Post
I watch many biking tour videos. I notice many use the type camp stove that requires the disposable propane canisters, such as the PocketRocket or JetBoil. It would seem much more practical to me (and more convenient to refuel), to use the refillable gasoline type stoves, such as the WhisperLite.
What is the advantage of using the disposable propane?
The canisters you are talking about are not propane, they usually are a mix that is mostly butane and/or isobutane with maybe a little bit of propane. The canisters are at much lower pressure than propane canisters.
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Old 12-19-17, 02:00 PM
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I use the trangia 27 alcohol stove, a click stand to hold it and a .75 L SS pot. The stand breaks down and the stove and stand fit in the pot. I use denatured alcohol. The simmer cover on the stove works great. It will ( moment of silence please) also burn 10 yr old barrel proof bourbon in pinch. 63 %. I thought I really needed some hot oatmeal that morning instead of 2 shots of bourbon. Probably a good choice.
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