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Touring and camping - What lightweight multifuel stove?

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Touring and camping - What lightweight multifuel stove?

Old 07-23-10, 05:50 AM
  #1  
Blues Frog
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Touring and camping - What lightweight multifuel stove?

Just wondering about your experience? What model to use and carry on a self-contained trip. Probably starting out with the Katy Trail as I live in the state if Misery. I want to buy one to last several years. TIA Blues Frog
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Old 07-23-10, 06:10 AM
  #2  
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I like the Optimus Nova. It burns white gas or diesel fuel. I typically fly to my starting point, hit a store like REI, pick up a gallon of Coleman fuel and fill up my fuel bottles.
There are other good ones, too. The MSR stoves like the XGK EX come to mind. One reason I like the Nova is the metal pump. MSR uses plastic pumps.

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Old 07-23-10, 06:13 AM
  #3  
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Lots of factors here, so it is hard to say what is best for you. The first thing I'd ask is do you really need multi fuel? If so read no further.

If not, I really like the smallish iso-butane stoves if you will either be carrying all your fuel from the start of the tour or touring in an area where it is readily available. My favorite is the MSR Pocket Rocket. Much cheaper and much lighter than the run of the multifuel stoves. This stove is great for simmering.

I also like the home made Pepsi can stoves. At .4 ounces (about one ounce with pot stand) it is very light. The fuel is heavier per btu, but when bike touring you can generally carry a smallish amount and replenish frequently. HEET (yellow bottle, not red) is widely available and comes in a reasonable sized (12 ounce) container that works well. Simmering is not this stoves forte, but it can be managed with a simmer ring and maybe a diffuser.

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Old 07-23-10, 07:12 AM
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So how multifuel does it have to be (does it have to burn kerosene)? Might help to have your reasoning behind going multifuel, and what you anticipate your needs to be. (Do you like touring during the winter? Are you going to cook a lot of stuff, or just boil water in the morning?) Most stoves out there have something good about them (including the venerable Coleman Dual-Fuel), so some more info might be helpful.
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Old 07-23-10, 07:14 AM
  #5  
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I never did any serious cooking other than heating water and love the little Esbit stoves. Cheap. Light. A step above sterno which went several backpacking trips.
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Old 07-23-10, 07:15 AM
  #6  
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Blues Frog,
A stove is far from necessary on the Katy as there is plenty of warm food/ legal fire pits available. With that said I too prefer cooking to buying food and I dig the Snow Peak giga for its size, stability, and simplicity. It's not multifuel, but unless your somewhere with a lot of altitude and very low temps, it would be ideal. http://www.rei.com/product/643058
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Old 07-23-10, 07:44 AM
  #7  
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When you say multifuel, I assume you mean both coleman fuel and kerosene.

The Nova mentioned above is highly rated but I have had a few quick release valves fail and leak (see photo). If you carry a Nova, also carry a lid for the fuel bottle because if the quick release valve fails you can't use the pump as a bottle lid. They have changed the design, they no longer use the quick release valve that has caused me grief so newer ones probably won't have the problems that I have had.



For liquid fuel stoves, I like the Primus Omnifuel. It will also operate on the pressurized fuel canisters like those made by MSR so it will operate on the widest variety of fuels. They have redesigned the pump on this since I bought mine, I assume the new ones are as good as the old ones are.

Omnifuel requires different jets for each fuel type but the Nova does not require changing jets. If you change fuels frequently, that is another factor to consider. Nova is also a little more robust that the Omnifuel when collapsed and packed.

If you are doing a short tour (days) where it won't be cold, the pressurized canister stoves are probably best but if you are going for weeks or will be in cold weather, the liquid fuel stoves are probably better.
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Old 07-23-10, 07:54 AM
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I decided against compressed gas canisters as a personal preference. The Katy will be my first multiday trip. Only the beginning. I won't have the jack to buy many meals and want to carry most if not all needs. I plan on a long list of foods and drinks to prepare with mostly water or a little olive oil (pancakes). Might buy a meal along the way. I like pie, ice cream, barbeque, or chocolate for a treat. Those might lure me from the trail as I know historic things can grab my attention. Back to the stove, I just want light weight and fuel options. The Katy isn't the only place that calls me.... Thanks for the ideas. I will consider them all. Anyone have any other observations or preferences? Specific models? Thanks again and good luck on the roads and trails. Blues Frog
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Old 07-23-10, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Blues Frog View Post
I like pie, ice cream, barbeque, or chocolate for a treat. Those might lure me from the trail..
Dont miss Dotties Cafe in Hartsburg then. Best food for 50 miles either direction. It is right on the trail and you can tent camp right in the town park. Have a great ride!
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Old 07-23-10, 08:32 AM
  #10  
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I like my MSR Dragonfly, although there are lighter, more compact options available. It burns White Gas/Super Fuel, gasoline, kerosene, deisel and possibly jet fuel if you happen to have any of that laying around. The two qualities I like the most are its power and its super-fine flame control. The latter is helpful when you cook more elaborate meals.

Downside to me is the noise at full throttle. It sounds like a jet engine. But you usually don't have to turn it up to 11 for long unless you are boling a very large pot of water.
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Old 07-23-10, 08:47 AM
  #11  
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I had the Optimus Nova, it stopped working, I can't remember exactly what went wrong.

I have the MSR Dragonfly, it works great but is excessively heavy and large. However, if you are doing real cooking, it does have a nice big platform for the pot, which leads to fewer meals dumped in the dirt

I'm currently using the SnowPeak butane stove, because it is so very small and fast & easy to set up. It's not that great for complex cooking, though, because the pot platform is so small and it just doesn't crank out the heat the way the Dragonfly does.
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Old 07-23-10, 11:20 AM
  #12  
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optimus crux or pocket rocket both brilliant .
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Old 07-23-10, 01:31 PM
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stoves... ya no doubt, you can go round and round about stoves.

http://www.asanacycles.com/Asana_Cyc...her_stove.html

I've been using this Packafeather stove...
the reality is that my cooking has changed.

in the past I've even used a tipi and wood burning stove...
so there is the whole gamut to pour over...

my latest preference is to go lite
therefore I rarely cook, and if I'm inclined to do so, I'm quick to simply make a stove out of a soda can.
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Old 07-24-10, 04:14 AM
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That Packafeather looks cool for an equipment junky like me. I think I will end up with a packafeather, Trangia, and a pump up multifuel. Not to mention several pop can stoves for alcohol. Thanks for all the ideas. God Bless y'all. Blues Frog
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Old 07-24-10, 05:22 AM
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Originally Posted by AsanaCycles View Post
stoves... ya no doubt, you can go round and round about stoves.

http://www.asanacycles.com/Asana_Cyc...her_stove.html

I've been using this Packafeather stove...
the reality is that my cooking has changed.

in the past I've even used a tipi and wood burning stove...
so there is the whole gamut to pour over...

my latest preference is to go lite
therefore I rarely cook, and if I'm inclined to do so, I'm quick to simply make a stove out of a soda can.
Sort of the polar opposite of the high-tech, extra cool packafeather is the super cat stove, my personal choice. 46 cents plus a homemade wind screen. I prefer it to the pop-can stoves that need a separate pot stand to hold the pot up above the flame. Like Staehpj1 said in an earlier post, the yellow cans of Heet are available at most gas stations, in a nice 12oz container.
Everything you could ever want to know about the cat stove, and more, and then even more, and then stuff you really didn't want to know, is here. http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/SuperCat/index.html
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Old 07-24-10, 06:27 AM
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I second the MSR Dragonfly. I use it for backpacking (I don't take a stove for bike touring). The Dragonfly is one of the best SIMMERING stoves on the market. The "jet engine" noise that is mentioned in reviews is really an exaggeration---the noise doesn't bother me at all, and I'm a noise hater.

My favorite slightly heavier, cheaper stove is the Coleman Exponent Feather 442. It does well in cold weather. It's a very simple stove---the fuel is self-contained. Just pump and light. No external fuel bottle to mess around with. They last for years.
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Old 07-24-10, 10:07 AM
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My personal opinion is that on any tour longer than a few days the only stove that makes sense is one that can burn unleaded gas. I don't want to try and find butane cannisters out in rural America (or anyplace else where I'm not familiar with what the stores carry,) I don't want to carry a bunch of butane cannisters or more than one gasoline bottle, and I don't want to buy a gallon of Coleman fuel and have to deal with what to do with the leftover after I fill my 1-liter bottle. Unleaded gas is available virtually everywhere, and it's cheap. My average cost to refill my bottle is between 25 and 50 cents, depending on how many days between fillups. It takes about 5 minutes to stop at a gas station, dig out my bottle (I know right where it is) fill it up, wipe it clean, put it back, pay my 32 cents, and get back on my way.

I have experience with two unleaded-burning stoves. I bought a Coleman 442 in 1992. It has a self-contained fuel tank. I also bring a small (1/2 liter) MSR bottle. When the MSR bottle is empty it's time to stop and refill. Recently my students gave me an end-of-the-year teacher present consisting of a nice gift certificate to a mountaineering store. I used it to buy an MSR Whisperlite Internationale. I'd heard good things about it and thought it might be a step up from my Coleman, which was getting pretty old.

Here are my inconclusive results so far:

Weight: I haven't weighed the two rigs to compare (which is one reason why this is inconclusive.) The Coleman definitely weighs more than the Whisperlite, but when you add in the weight of the larger bottle on the Whisperlite, plus the windscreen, I'm not sure. I'll have to get a postal scale and really find out. For now, for my purposes, I think weight is a tossup.

Convenience: The Coleman has a big advantage here. With the Coleman, all you do is pull it out of it's bag, pump it a few times (30?) and light it. Then pump it a few more times and that's it. With the Whisperlite you have to unfold the legs on the stove, insert the pump into the fuel bottle, insert the fuel hose from the stove into the pump, unfold and flatten the windscreen, lock the ends of the windscreen together to close the ends and make it circular, pump a few times (30?), open the valve and let some gas dribble onto the pan at the bottom of the stove, close the valve, light the gas, let it burn (with lots of yucky, toxic-I'm-guessing, black, sooty smoke) for a few seconds to raise the temperature of the "intake manifold", then at the last second before the flames burn out, open the valve to start the stove burning.

When you finish with the Coleman you wait a few minutes while it cools, fold the legs, and put it back in it's bag. When you finish with the Whisperlite you have to pull the fuel hose out of the pump, fold the legs back up (getting soot all over your hands), lock the fuel hose into the folded legs, remove the pump from the bottle, set it aside to dry, unhook the ends of the windscreen, flatten it, fold it, flatten it again, then put everything back into the sack.

The Coleman is MUCH more convenient. It's also much cleaner. I started using paper towels to clean up my Whisperlite before putting it away. I still couldn't seem to do it without getting soot on my hands. Also there's a really thin layer of soot that forms on the underside of the stove. It blows off or falls off and blows around, getting on things you don't want it on - other things on the table, clothes, etc.

So, does the Whisperlite have any advantages? I guess the windscreen makes it work better in a howling wind. I used it in Utah this spring when there were 30 mph sustained winds and gusts over 50. I was able to cook my food with no trouble and I think the windscreen contributed. I never had an issue with wind making the Coleman ineffective in 16 years of use, although I can't remember any windstorms quite as bad. I know there were lots of windy days however. Inconclusive.

I think the Whisperlite simmers a little bit better than the Coleman, though neither of them simmers very well.

Reliability: The Coleman continues to work fine and I've never done a thing to it. Every once in awhile something clogs and it doesn't burn very hot, but with a little shaking it works fine again. The MSR had similar issues during the first week I used it. However, the instructions say to turn it upside down and shake it, and it will clean itself. I did this and it worked. I guess I'll have to use the Whisperlite for another 15 years to have a true comparison.

Conclusion: I don't have a clear conclusion. I'm taking another tour in a week and I'm not sure which stove I'll take. I'm leaning towards the MSR because it's newer and I think a little lighter, but I'd sure like to weigh the two (Whisperlite plus 1-liter bottle vs. Coleman plus 1/2 liter bottle.) Knowing me, I'll probably buy another Coleman 442, just so I can compare it against the year-old Whisperlite. I sure miss the convenience of my old 442.

Final conclusion: Either of these stoves would be a good choice. Again, the ability to buy fuel in any gas station is the trump factor for me.
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Old 07-24-10, 10:23 AM
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I've got the Primus Omnifuel stove. Only problem with multifuel stoves is if something goes wrong with your fuel container. For instance on one tour I forgot mine and could not get a replacement. It would be a ton easier to just buy a canister stove that can use walmart canisters...unless you truly need a multifuel stove... which most of us in north america dont.

Also they require more maintenance, are more expensive and harder to use.

Otherwise the Primus is an excellent stove and does the job well. I would say unless you are on your way to get a ticket to a place where youd need one, start with a regular canister stove and get a multifuel when you are ready to go to those other places.

http://www.backcountry.com/outdoorge.../PMS0001M.html
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Old 07-24-10, 10:27 AM
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I've always used white-gas stoves until a Dragonfly pump failed twice, and have been using a SuperCat alcohol stove since. I put a lid from a salsa jar under to prevent spillage and it helps warming up the stove. One of the best gear change I've done.
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Old 07-24-10, 12:46 PM
  #20  
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Originally Posted by Aquakitty View Post
I've got the Primus Omnifuel stove. Only problem with multifuel stoves is if something goes wrong with your fuel container. For instance on one tour I forgot mine and could not get a replacement. It would be a ton easier to just buy a canister stove that can use walmart canisters...unless you truly need a multifuel stove... which most of us in north america dont.
I generally agree with that, but...

One thing that I did not stress enough is that the canister fuel is not always frequently available on route. The notion that all Walmarts have them is just not true. On the TA we stopped at every likely store from Pueblo eastward and didn't see a canister for our Pocket Rocket until near the Kentucky Virginia line and that was in a church "take what you need" pantry for cyclists staying there.

Then when planning for the Sierra Cascades trip I assumed that being near the PCT fuel would be pretty available. Still we decided to take a pepsi can stove as a backup. It was a good thing we did because we didn't run into canisters until Yosemite on day 20 of the trip. Granted we never saw a Walmart on this section of the trip.

Now unless I know I will have canister fuel or am willing to not cook if I don't find some, the Pepsi can goes along as a spare. That isn't bad though because the Pocket Rocket weighs about 3 ounces, the Pepsi can stove weighs about an ounce including the pot stand, and the wind screen that I use for both weighs about an ounce. So for a total of about 5 ounces I have two stoves and the ability to find fuel just about any where.

Edit:
Another option is use general delivery to ship or have someone else ship isobutane fuel to yourself on the road via ground mail (domestic mail only). The package must have the following label attached on the address side of the package:
"Surface Mail Only
Consumer commodity
ORM-D"

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Old 07-24-10, 02:45 PM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by gregw View Post
Sort of the polar opposite of the high-tech, extra cool packafeather is the super cat stove, my personal choice. 46 cents plus a homemade wind screen. I prefer it to the pop-can stoves that need a separate pot stand to hold the pot up above the flame. Like Staehpj1 said in an earlier post, the yellow cans of Heet are available at most gas stations, in a nice 12oz container.
Everything you could ever want to know about the cat stove, and more, and then even more, and then stuff you really didn't want to know, is here. http://jwbasecamp.com/Articles/SuperCat/index.html
the beauty of the multitude of aluminum can stoves is that once you've made one or two, its another skill you've learned
therefor
its another item that you don't have to carry
(if you prefer)

I just did 1000 miles in 7 days on the TDR, Banff to Butte
no stove

obviously stoves are a degree of comfort
I'd dare to ask if they are connivence

but I do understand the need/desire to have one.

I love the Kifaruproducts that I always tour with.
ranging from the ParaTarp and Parka
to a 4 or 8 man tipi complete with wood burning stove

obviously the tipis are like a studio apartment
complete with heater, and of course you can cook on those stoves
they just use any kind of deadfall you can scrounge up

even the ParaTarp accepts a small stove.

as of last year, I've been more focused on less weight on the bike, and more riding
or at least focusing on minimizing the items I'd carry and use everything

just like everything else, stoves fall into that category of modular use vs route
maybe the route necessitates a stove

I've done some outdoor "hobo-esq" living with the tipi and living on the cheap, where I'd sent up camp and stay at least 2 days, cooking, tea, a book or two, etc...
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Old 07-24-10, 02:56 PM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by BigBlueToe View Post
My personal opinion is that on any tour longer than a few days the only stove that makes sense is one that can burn unleaded gas. I don't want to try and find butane cannisters out in rural America (or anyplace else where I'm not familiar with what the stores carry,) I don't want to carry a bunch of butane cannisters or more than one gasoline bottle, and I don't want to buy a gallon of Coleman fuel and have to deal with what to do with the leftover after I fill my 1-liter bottle. Unleaded gas is available virtually everywhere, and it's cheap. My average cost to refill my bottle is between 25 and 50 cents, depending on how many days between fillups. It takes about 5 minutes to stop at a gas station, dig out my bottle (I know right where it is) fill it up, wipe it clean, put it back, pay my 32 cents, and get back on my way.

I have experience with two unleaded-burning stoves. I bought a Coleman 442 in 1992. It has a self-contained fuel tank. I also bring a small (1/2 liter) MSR bottle. When the MSR bottle is empty it's time to stop and refill. Recently my students gave me an end-of-the-year teacher present consisting of a nice gift certificate to a mountaineering store. I used it to buy an MSR Whisperlite Internationale. I'd heard good things about it and thought it might be a step up from my Coleman, which was getting pretty old.

Here are my inconclusive results so far:

Weight: I haven't weighed the two rigs to compare (which is one reason why this is inconclusive.) The Coleman definitely weighs more than the Whisperlite, but when you add in the weight of the larger bottle on the Whisperlite, plus the windscreen, I'm not sure. I'll have to get a postal scale and really find out. For now, for my purposes, I think weight is a tossup.

Convenience: The Coleman has a big advantage here. With the Coleman, all you do is pull it out of it's bag, pump it a few times (30?) and light it. Then pump it a few more times and that's it. With the Whisperlite you have to unfold the legs on the stove, insert the pump into the fuel bottle, insert the fuel hose from the stove into the pump, unfold and flatten the windscreen, lock the ends of the windscreen together to close the ends and make it circular, pump a few times (30?), open the valve and let some gas dribble onto the pan at the bottom of the stove, close the valve, light the gas, let it burn (with lots of yucky, toxic-I'm-guessing, black, sooty smoke) for a few seconds to raise the temperature of the "intake manifold", then at the last second before the flames burn out, open the valve to start the stove burning.

When you finish with the Coleman you wait a few minutes while it cools, fold the legs, and put it back in it's bag. When you finish with the Whisperlite you have to pull the fuel hose out of the pump, fold the legs back up (getting soot all over your hands), lock the fuel hose into the folded legs, remove the pump from the bottle, set it aside to dry, unhook the ends of the windscreen, flatten it, fold it, flatten it again, then put everything back into the sack.

The Coleman is MUCH more convenient. It's also much cleaner. I started using paper towels to clean up my Whisperlite before putting it away. I still couldn't seem to do it without getting soot on my hands. Also there's a really thin layer of soot that forms on the underside of the stove. It blows off or falls off and blows around, getting on things you don't want it on - other things on the table, clothes, etc.

So, does the Whisperlite have any advantages? I guess the windscreen makes it work better in a howling wind. I used it in Utah this spring when there were 30 mph sustained winds and gusts over 50. I was able to cook my food with no trouble and I think the windscreen contributed. I never had an issue with wind making the Coleman ineffective in 16 years of use, although I can't remember any windstorms quite as bad. I know there were lots of windy days however. Inconclusive.

I think the Whisperlite simmers a little bit better than the Coleman, though neither of them simmers very well.

Reliability: The Coleman continues to work fine and I've never done a thing to it. Every once in awhile something clogs and it doesn't burn very hot, but with a little shaking it works fine again. The MSR had similar issues during the first week I used it. However, the instructions say to turn it upside down and shake it, and it will clean itself. I did this and it worked. I guess I'll have to use the Whisperlite for another 15 years to have a true comparison.

Conclusion: I don't have a clear conclusion. I'm taking another tour in a week and I'm not sure which stove I'll take. I'm leaning towards the MSR because it's newer and I think a little lighter, but I'd sure like to weigh the two (Whisperlite plus 1-liter bottle vs. Coleman plus 1/2 liter bottle.) Knowing me, I'll probably buy another Coleman 442, just so I can compare it against the year-old Whisperlite. I sure miss the convenience of my old 442.

Final conclusion: Either of these stoves would be a good choice. Again, the ability to buy fuel in any gas station is the trump factor for me.
I also had a 442
and for some reason I thought it would be better than the MSR Whipserlite

but as I'd discover, the 442 is jet rocket
the Whisperlight simmers way down...

stoves in general are huge mechanical complexities
and fun to take a part and rebuild
something about the human mind that (well... at least my mind) that likes to pull things apart

of canister stoves, I think my favorite, therefor the one I would not let go, is a SnowPeak GigaPower

for me the big thing about stoves, is versatility

one thing that I've grown to dislike, is the loud hissing that so many stoves make.

back to the HEET fueled soda can stoves, they make zero noise, and all you have to do is just light the fuel
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Old 07-24-10, 04:27 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by ClemY View Post
I like the Optimus Nova. It burns white gas or diesel fuel. I typically fly to my starting point, hit a store like REI, pick up a gallon of Coleman fuel and fill up my fuel bottles.
There are other good ones, too. The MSR stoves like the XGK EX come to mind. One reason I like the Nova is the metal pump. MSR uses plastic pumps.

This stove rocks, seriously. I carried one for years in the army and it will burn anything, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel, you could even pee in the tank after a three day bender and it would burn.
Its really tough too, takes a lot of abuse and keeps going. There are several other similar stoves on the market, MSR XGK (fantastic but not as much flame control, basically a blowtorch) MSR Whisperlite International (what I currently have, only burns kerosene and white gas and gasoline I think. I only use white gas now so can't remember). They are really good but a little tempremental.
While I prefer canister stoves for going lightweight, if you are going to remote areas you can't beat a liquid fuel stove. Most regular white gas stoves will burn anything flammable, just jam up a lot.
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Old 07-24-10, 04:32 PM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by AsanaCycles View Post
the beauty of the multitude of aluminum can stoves is that once you've made one or two, its another skill you've learned
therefor
its another item that you don't have to carry
(if you prefer)

I just did 1000 miles in 7 days on the TDR, Banff to Butte
no stove

obviously stoves are a degree of comfort
I'd dare to ask if they are connivence

but I do understand the need/desire to have one.

I love the Kifaruproducts that I always tour with.
ranging from the ParaTarp and Parka
to a 4 or 8 man tipi complete with wood burning stove

obviously the tipis are like a studio apartment
complete with heater, and of course you can cook on those stoves
they just use any kind of deadfall you can scrounge up

even the ParaTarp accepts a small stove.

as of last year, I've been more focused on less weight on the bike, and more riding
or at least focusing on minimizing the items I'd carry and use everything

just like everything else, stoves fall into that category of modular use vs route
maybe the route necessitates a stove

I've done some outdoor "hobo-esq" living with the tipi and living on the cheap, where I'd sent up camp and stay at least 2 days, cooking, tea, a book or two, etc...
I like a lot of the Kifaru stuff too, a lot, only most of it is just crazy expensive. I have coveted one of those 4 man tipis and a small parastove for years just cant justify 1000 for a wilderness shelter and stove.
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Old 07-24-10, 05:03 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by benajah View Post
I like a lot of the Kifaru stuff too, a lot, only most of it is just crazy expensive. I have coveted one of those 4 man tipis and a small parastove for years just cant justify 1000 for a wilderness shelter and stove.
I totally understand:

I once made a "lean to" type shelter for a hobo using his blue tarp
then scrounged some rocks, made a reflection stove and started a fire, just about under the tarp

the key was to configure the rocks into an "oven" of sorts, with a chimney and use a big rock for a door to control the draw
(think woodburning pizza oven)
and to purposely make the pile of rocks, with its small oven (firebox) to size where a fire would not be huge, but big enough to heat rocks
without smoke and to place a metal bowl upon and cook food.

while the Kifaru stuff is great
and believe me... I mean this stuff ROCKS!

it is representative of a technique
the technique does not necessarily require to purchase high dollar equipment

to a degree, its enough to simply utilize those methods

tipi, wood burning stove... think plains indians

rocks and sticks
HEET and soda cans
plastic bags out of the bottom of trash cans
etc...
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