Backcountry stove question

Romans

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Joined
May 15, 2013
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1
Location
Southern Illinois
Original question from OP. YES.
I back pack frequently. What we do is split items. Ill carry stove, pots and kitchen items. My buddy will carry certain things.
Like extra water, fire starters/ kit.
You still need a small fire starter yourself. But he carries the main.
Have a load out, and know how his pack is loaded. Where items are. And always have a backup.
You might carry an alcohol/ soda stove for backup.
Yellow heat is the best.
Not everyone has a ton of money to spend on stuff, so you make do.
Above all eat good. Enjoy the time with friends. Stop once in a while to marvel at God's creation. Be in the moment. Don't push yourself or put to much pressure on the 30 thousands of a second that it takes the round to exit the barrel.
Stay safe, live for the little things. Breathe, and be in the now.
Romans.
 

QuietTexan

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Nov 16, 2020
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170
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Texas
If you're using store-bought dehydrated meals, get a pouch:

You can make them out of windshield sun screens, mailing pouches, etc, but that ^^^ is an example of a store-bought one that does make a big difference in rehydrating. Especially at altitude where the lower boiling point of water comes into play (194*[email protected],000ft vs 212*[email protected] sea level). I'm on the edge of being an ultra-lighter, but more in the sense that I'll not carry items vs. carrying heavy items. I'm I'm carrying the weight of fancy dinners, a pouch is fine for the weight-price in that it makes them more enjoyable. On the flip side I'll carry no-cook meal options to drop weight instead of risking weather exposure by carrying only a puffy and no fleece in the mountains where rain can impact heavily.

I did a test once - I put an MSR fuel can (pressurized) for a Pocket Rocket stove in my deep freezer, and kept track of how much water I could boil with it versus one at 70* house temp by pulling it out and lighting it off outside in the mid-30s before it warmed any. I figured out that carrying a larger fuel can instead of the smallest I normally carried was more than enough to melt enough water for me for a particular trip I had planned. Yes, cold makes cans work less well. But if that's enough to make a meaningful impact on your trip, you should probably be carrying a liquid fuel stove.

In regards to backups; two stoves would be silly, just light a regular fire if you're that far up the creek. I love my Solo Stove but I'm not carrying it to backup a real stove because rocks exist and I can build a very small fire ring out of them. An eye dropper of bleach and an Esbit tablet will keep you from crapping yourself to death and you can light fires in the rain. Total weight is an ounce, IF you're on a trip where you need the time those buy you. Some trips you can drop gear and walk out before there are any real safety concerns if something breaks. Giardia isn't that bad after the first time.... also not as widespread as people worry about.

I've actually used the mini-stove for Esbit tablets, but not for "boiling" dinners, just to make non-cook trips more enjoyable in that I can have warm instant coffee in the morning. Some things I'm not willing to pass on, and hot coffee is worth the 4oz it add's to my pack.

I have used yellow HEET (99% methanol) before and it does have a higher energy content than ethanol, but when I'm packing a penny stove I carry 190 proof Everclear. My thought process being that as I carry unsealed dehydrated foots, ethyl alcohol won't make me go blind if my fuel leaks on my food. Just not a risk I want to take, low percentage as it is.

Fun fact about HEET though.. everyone should carry a bottle in the winter. If you ever get really stuck somewhere bad in your vehicle, you take out your spare tire, CUT THE VALVE STEM OFF, (built a fire around the tire if there are any materials), pour the HEET on it and light the tire on fire. The SAR team will notice that kind of smoke signal.
 
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Ricky C

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Feb 12, 2019
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Location
Fairbanks, AK
Hey, I have had a jet boil since they first came out. I still have the original, still works great. It’s been on numerous fly in trips, straight back packing, boat, four wheeler, and snow machine trips into the Alaskan back country. It’s never failed me, if it’s a little chilly I put the canister in between layers for a couple minutes. Then I’m good to go. As far as the tipping over issue, I just make sure the spot I’m putting it on is flat. Might have to kick a flat spot into the ground. I haven’t really had any wind issues, if it’s really windy the stove and I are hunkering down out of the wind anyway. If it’s so cold out that your freeze dried meal is going cool off before it rehydrates I put it inside my clothing layers, it stays warm and provides you with some extra heat too. With some meals don’t forget to stir once in the middle of the rehydration/ heating process or you’ll have some crunchy bites at the end. Take Care
 

Wyodog

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Jul 18, 2012
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279
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Wyoming
I give my 2 cents here knowing that is all it is worth. It is a good idea to share items to reduce weight which is something I regularly practice. However I like to have my own stove. There a few reasons for this but mostly I just like having my own. It is sure nice to have my stove if I am hunting alone for the day and want a hot drink of meal, also when we finish for the day I am tired and hungry and don't want to wait for my turn and the stove. Stating that the fuel requirement is the same for 2 people using 1 stove or 2 which is most of the weight. I don't use Jet boil so my stove and titanium pot are actually lighter and I would carry the pot anyway for hot drinks or a cereal bowl.

For cold weather and butane you can put the canister in your sleeping bag. I keep one there the whole trip even when it is packed.
 

Wedgy

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Feb 9, 2013
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2,223
It is not so much that the fuel canister (propane, butane, isobutane) is cold but when you release a compressed gas it is cold and can freeze the regulator as well as lowering the pressure in the canister. Liquid fuel stoves don't require nearly as much pressure so they don't have that issue.
 

QuietTexan

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Nov 16, 2020
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Texas
You can solve the low pressure problem on certain canister stoves by running the canister inverted to withdraw liquid fuel instead of vapor. That's obviously dependent on stove design; you cant turn a Pocket Rocket or Jet Boil wrong side up. But remote fuel setups give you this option. The liquid feed requires lower feed pressure and runs more consistently in cold weather.

My most versatile stove is an MSR Whisper Lite Universal. It can run on the traditional low-pressure liquid fuel bottle, but is also designed to run on a canister, both vapor and liquid feed (vertical and inverted). The Wind Pro is a canister-only that you can invert to run as a liquid feed in the cold. Either way, you can boost them some buy putting a spoonful or three of warmed water into the base of the inverted canister once they get going.

If snow is involved (in general, but specifically melting for water), I generally think liquid stoves are better because they don't have pressure issues, and the weight of the stove itself is offset in fuel weight savings because the liquid fuel bottles scale up better than canisters do. Snow takes a lot of energy to melt, meaning it takes a lot of fuel. I found canister stoves had a harder time producing as much water as liquid fuel stoves.

 

ssssnake529

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Sep 10, 2015
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You can solve the low pressure problem on certain canister stoves by running the canister inverted to withdraw liquid fuel instead of vapor. That's obviously dependent on stove design; you cant turn a Pocket Rocket or Jet Boil wrong side up. But remote fuel setups give you this option. The liquid feed requires lower feed pressure and runs more consistently in cold weather.

Not all remote fuel stoves have the option for an inverted canister set up. In order to run inverted, the butane gas needs to be routed through the flame of the stove, which heats the butane into a gaseous state before combustion.

Some remote fuel stoves have this feature. Many don't
 

KSB209

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Sep 17, 2014
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210
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Republic of California
Curious how many of you travel with 2 stoves.? When I go with. Group we have multiple stoves. Usually jet boils and pocket rockets. I have 2 pocket rockets and when I am solo I carry both. Just in case I guess. Thinking about getting a jet boil but the accessories don’t work with the pocket rocket which is why I don’t have one now. I guess if worst case senecio happens I can boil water over the fire too
 

chindits

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Nov 2, 2015
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Yes you will be fine with one stove.

Dunno why everyone is making such a big deal about the cold. I’ve been using the same system on 3 Colorado 4th rifle hunts and 1 cat hunt after 4th rifle all backpacking hunts in outfitter country. It doesn’t get much below -20 around here and I’ve been fine. If it freezes or doesn’t perform right, just put it in your puffy while you do some chores.

The biggest thing to focus on for longevity of your subzero hunts is moisture management of your sleeping bag. With vapor barrier, good sleeping bag and sacrificial top quilt you’ll have no troubles with a cold camp in sob zero weather. You just need the right frame of mind. D9770A54-0590-45C2-B8C1-BC37543A2444.jpeg
 

chindits

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Nov 2, 2015
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Funny thing is you never indicated that you were doing a late season or high elevation hunt. Them early season hunts are usually not bad. Most early storms don’t last more than a few days and once the sun comes out at least in Colorado your golden. Dunno how this thread took a hard turn on cold stove performance. Crazy.
 

Wyodog

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Wyoming
It is not so much that the fuel canister (propane, butane, isobutane) is cold but when you release a compressed gas it is cold and can freeze the regulator as well as lowering the pressure in the canister. Liquid fuel stoves don't require nearly as much pressure so they don't have that issue.
What you are describing is the Joule-Thomoson efect. Compressed gas will cool when when there is a pressure drop, in this case a drop from the casister to atmosperic pressure. That being said the warmer the canister the warmer it is through the gas valve. Fortunately I not ever missed a meal from this while hunting.
 

QuietTexan

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Nov 16, 2020
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Texas
Funny thing is you never indicated that you were doing a late season or high elevation hunt.
He specified a canister stove, and those are the two primary weaknesses of that type of stove so they came up. If he'd specified a liquid fuel stove we'd probably be talking about how to clean the jet when you run unleaded gasoline through one. Which you can absolutely do... if the stove is designed for it, and sometimes even if it wasn't.

 
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