Small Efficient Stoves- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Small Efficient Stoves

    I am switching modes of travel this winter (from ski to bike) so all the small questions! I am a long time believer in my Whisperlite stove...but I am interested in something lighter to bring on the bike. What are thoughts on alcohol stoves or other. My main concern is not only lightness...but I don't want to be waiting 20 minutes to boil a liter of water.
    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Weird Eh
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  3. #3
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Esbit stoves are growing on me. The only downside is the residue. Nothing to spill. Drop an esbit tab in the snow, or in a lake, and you can pick it back up and light it. The stoves themselves are incredibly simple and light.

  4. #4
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    esbit

    anybody done any realworld testing on the esbit...ie time to melt 1qt snow, time to boil 1/2qt water, etc? at room temp, 0f, -10f, -20f ? I am carrying one in my survival kit but didn't get it until spring and didn't get any testing done...Did do a test an Alcohol Stove using yellow-bottle HEET, seemed to do a good job, but was done inside, while drinking beers and I don't remember details...
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  5. #5
    It's All About We!
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    Alcohol stoves are great. I love using them in the summer. I have both a Trangia and a Brasslite. But winter-time use, they just take way too long. I've never been able to use them in the winter. If I recall correctly, don't the mushers use alcohol cookers to cook their dogs' food during the races? Boy, if it's 10 degrees or colder, I'd be hauling a Whisperlite + whitegas.

  6. #6
    Photog Cyclist.
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    Don't mess with success. There is a reason the Whisperlite is the standard. Light, simple, reliable, & fun to set on fire while lighting. Seriously though the Whisperlite is very solid.
    We ride and never worry about the fall
    I guess that's just the cowboy in us all
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  7. #7
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    Try the MSR XGK. It is bomb proof, multi-fuel, and simple to repair (although I have never had too). It is even less likely than the dragonfly, whisperlite, and Internationals to gum up or be problematic. There is a reason why this has been the choice for winter expeditions for the past 20 years.

  8. #8
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    depends on where you take it

    an MSR white gas stove is the benchmark stove if you're serious about boiling water quickly and real cooking. If you just need an emergency stove an alcohol or Esbit stove will do, but don't plan on doing any real boiling or cooking with them. They'll do it but it'll take a while. I have an MSR XGK stove for serious trips and an alcohol stove for "just in case" trips where I don't really plan on using it.

    Keep in mind, if you're flying commercial with your bike/gear they don't allow the gas stove. We somehow made it to Kotzebue on Alaska Airlines with our XGK, but couldn't make it out of Kotz with it. Even though there was no fuel attached to it, the sensor picked up the residue from use and we were not allowed to bring it.

    So my advice is go with an alcohol or Esbit stove if you're not in a hurry cause you can fly with those stoves, just not the fuels. And if you're riding the Iditarod Trail, you won't find Esbit tabs in the villages, but you will find "Heat" fuel additive you can burn in your alcohol stove. You will also find white gas for MSR stoves in most villages but you won't find fuel canisters, which you can't fly with anyway. You can always build a fire, that's if you can find a tree....

    So if you're not flying to goto a ride, go MSR white gas stove if you really want to cook.

    Just my opinion

    Pat

  9. #9
    Wood chips are stupid
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    Quote Originally Posted by patirwin
    an MSR white gas stove is the benchmark stove if you're serious about boiling water quickly and real cooking. If you just need an emergency stove an alcohol or Esbit stove will do, but don't plan on doing any real boiling or cooking with them. They'll do it but it'll take a while. I have an MSR XGK stove for serious trips and an alcohol stove for "just in case" trips where I don't really plan on using it.

    Keep in mind, if you're flying commercial with your bike/gear they don't allow the gas stove. We somehow made it to Kotzebue on Alaska Airlines with our XGK, but couldn't make it out of Kotz with it. Even though there was no fuel attached to it, the sensor picked up the residue from use and we were not allowed to bring it.

    So my advice is go with an alcohol or Esbit stove if you're not in a hurry cause you can fly with those stoves, just not the fuels. And if you're riding the Iditarod Trail, you won't find Esbit tabs in the villages, but you will find "Heat" fuel additive you can burn in your alcohol stove. You will also find white gas for MSR stoves in most villages but you won't find fuel canisters, which you can't fly with anyway. You can always build a fire, that's if you can find a tree....

    So if you're not flying to goto a ride, go MSR white gas stove if you really want to cook.

    Just my opinion

    Pat
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  10. #10
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    -12f

    With two esbit tabs and about 25 minutes I was able to make 1qt of slightly warmer than tepid water at -12f...I might have been able to get it a bit warmer if I had lit the second tab sooner...easy to use, just set it and forget it, other than adding snow and fuel tabs...no pumps and no valves...

    The Esbit will remain in my survival pack (no fuel to spill) but I am going to research alcohol stoves for making water whilst futzing with my whisperlite and meals / water...

    would packing a white gas stove / empty bottles in a pelican case keep vapors in check for air travel?
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  11. #11
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    I have run into the flying with the fuel bottle issue before. It needs to be new (never used) and in your checked bags. I left behind and donated many a bottle to local folks and teenagers.

  12. #12
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    superlight -vs- water

    D-Man,

    in the Iditasport and the Ultrasport races, I used an esbit stove in case of emergency, but never actually used it. I was always able to make a checkpoint and get water before using the stove to melt snow for water. Yes, it will work, but it's not the most efficient way to hydrate. Make sure you have a good wind deflector or it'll never work.

    Once I started my own self-supported trips, I quickly realized that my MSR gas stove was the only way to go. For a little more weight and set-up time, I always know I'll be drinking water in 10 minutes or less. And when you're out on the trail at midday, out of water but not ready to set up camp, that 10 minutes means you'll be well on your way before the esbit even starts to warm the bottom of your pot.

    I also like canister stoves for ease of set up and btu's, but they're limited in really cold temps, and hard to find fuel in Takotna.

    So it really does just matter what you're going to be doing with it. There's a place for all the stoves, and I have one of each, so decide what your needs are and go from there.

    I wouldn't count on the Pelican to save the day. And what will you do with it once you start riding?

    Hope this helps

    Pat

  13. #13
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    "Emergency use...

    ...only". I don't plan on having to use the esbit, but if my bike goes through the ice into the river or a slough, I can bust the esbit out of my pack and figure things out...I had been thinking I could use it to make water while I was using my MSR for cooking or watermaking...not a whole lotta experience with Alcohol stoves, but might make a tiddy little package for watermaking...
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  14. #14
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    ...duhh...

    ...so the answer to TSA, in most cases is the USPS...mail your empty bottles and stove to yourself...should work in most instances...Boy, it's a good thing I'm not paid to be smart...

    Anybody know if the MSR Whisperlite Intl. can run off of alcohol (HEET, Thermoaid, etc...)? I'll go home and try it this PM, just hoping to learn from other's mistakes (more entertaining than learning from my own).
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  15. #15
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    FYI- No personal experience but looks good-
    A local will build one for you if you provide the Heineken cans to make these stoves because of the mini keg shape. You can make it without these cans, but it's not nearly as good or effective.

    Link: http://www.csun.edu/~mjurey/penny.html

    If confiscated could make one on site.

    I think I'll start drinking...

  16. #16
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    Two cycle chainsaw oil is great for removing white gas fumes and smells from MSRs. the main campground at Katmai (brooks camp) was littered with these empties

  17. #17
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    Cat Food Stove

    I've made a stove similar to Howley's, but I like the Cat Food Stove powered by alcohol better. It is easier and only a couple of bucks to make.

    http://zenstoves.net/CatCanStove.htm

    I just carry it for emergencies and the winter races.

  18. #18
    Muskoka
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    Quote Originally Posted by 23mjm
    & fun to set on fire while lighting.
    WhisperLites still do that? I threw mine in the garbage years ago, but it was an original model. It was small and light...I'll grant that much lol!
    https://get.google.com/albumarchive/...127?source=pwa

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  19. #19
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    what would happen...

    ...if i were to run alcohol (HEET, thermaid, etc) in my MSR whisperlite Intl.?
    If Huffy made an airplane, would you fly in it?

  20. #20
    Disgruntled Peccary
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    As far as I know white gas burns hotter than alcohol in the first place... so I'm not sure you'd gain anything. The additional concern is MSR's statement about not even using their bottles to store alcohol.. although I'm not sure why that is.
    mike

  21. #21
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    The trangia spirit burner beats the pants of any home made cat stove. If you have just the burner it will carry internally enough fuel for several cups of hot water, a cat stove will require a fuel bottle.

    http://www.trangia.se/english/2917.t...cessories.html

    I've used a trangia alcohol stove for 30 years (not is severe cold though) and they are great stoves that have no parts that break. They won't cook as fast and you have to carry more fuel. The better grade methyl alcohol you can find the better it will cook.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by damnitman
    ...if i were to run alcohol (HEET, thermaid, etc) in my MSR whisperlite Intl.?
    I've tried it...it goes right out. I think the heat makes the alcohol into a vapor and it just doesn't ignite properly. Keeps sputtering and splashes all over.

  23. #23

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    2 Sense

    I agree with Pat (and others)...if you are serious about making water at altitude, in belowfreezing temps, in adverse conditions, with various fuels...the XGK is and has been the standard that all others are measured by. No, it's not the lightest and maybe not the most efficient but if water is a matter of life or death...don't leave home without it. Simple.

    I've been using self priming alcohol stoves for years...one trick is to keep the alcohol in a small reliable plastic bottle and keep it close to the body for preheating. Have only relied 100% on them in the extreme a couple times...won't do that again...but, a good day stove and backup.

    Something that wasn't mentioned much...a good windscreen is essential for any and all stove use...if you can't control the air flow you can't control fire...period...invest in and carry an efficient windscreen, always.

    If you are into carrying compressed gas...MSR has the killer app...the Reactor Stove is an engineering masterpiece...every-time I light it and watch it bring water to a boil in a fraction of the time of any other stove...I just smile.

    ________

    Having said that...I haven't seen any mention of what is one of the most effective ultra-lightweight, biking appropriate, stoves on the market.

    http://www.bushbuddy.ca/

    You folks can mill that one over...having used one for a couple years now......leave it up to the Canucks...works like a charm.

    As always, carry a good windscreen, some starter, and be ready to deal with wood soot.

    there you go...my 2 sense.

  24. #24
    Lighten up.
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    Sold my BushBuddy for a Ti-Tri:

    http://www.titaniumgoat.com/TiTri.html

    Love it. Alcohol, Esbit or wood.

    I have not used it in winter, however. Not yet. But it will be my only stove on this year's cross-country trip (CA > VA).

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