An every-so-often look at some of the gear I use. Why? Because I am lazy when asked questions and would rather write once and then copy and paste the link in perpetuity! 😉
This time, “The Quiver” will be about stoves.
As typical for me, I don’t claim these are the best. Or the most efficient. Or the cheapest. Or the lightest.
I am also doing these articles because a concept of a gear list is rather hazy for me. I take different gear for different trips.
It is just what works for me and my needs.
I’m out in all four seasons and do a variety of trips.
While I could theoretically cook all my backcountry meals on a small isobutane stoves, that would be silly (and rather inefficient) for some of the trips I could do.
I don’t believe in the “one tool to do it all” principle. I, do however, believe in one good tool to do a certain task.
In any case, here are the various stoves I use depending on the trip. I wrote something more general, for backpacking stoves, earlier.
Currently here are the stoves I use.
- No mess – No fuss – No stove! More so in the previous seasons when Colorado was hot and dry with open flame bans, going stoveless was wonderful.
- Cool and/or wet weather? Esp for Fall when solo? An alcohol stove Though I use an alcohol stove less now than in the past, an alcohol stove still has a place in my kit. Though people are proponents of one alcohol stove over another, I find functionally they really aren’t that different. Some are spill proof, some are more heat efficient, some are lighter, some are simpler…they all burn alcohol, their wheelhouse is really for “boil and cook” type meals, they are best for ~10 boils or less (if solo) and they all take ~10+/- minutes to get water boiling. If you are still interested in the differences, Jim, aka “The Adventures in Stoving Guy” has a much better take on the specifics than I ever could. ( As an aside, Jim has an excellent site that examines gear in a very engaging manner without getting too wonky vs other sites. There is a niche to discuss gear in an informative and detailed manner..most people just do it badly. Jim does it well IMO. )
- Quick overnight with a buddy? Open flame bans and want a hot drink? Or I am just feeling lazy? The Hornet BRS-3000t is inexpensive (~$15-$20 with shipping), compact and less than one ounce. You have to deal with canisters and it is generally for “boil and cook” type meals only..but a handy tool in my kit.
- Taking someone with me or doing “real” cooking in the backcountry? The no longer made, but wonderful and little, Coleman F1 is a workhorse. Simmer well, wind resistant and puts out at as many BTUs as a Jet Boil (if not as fuel efficient..but more versatile)…a forgotten gem. This stove that weights the same as an MSR Pocket Rocket and cost the same, but was so much better, did not sell well is a shame.
- If I am winter backpacking and doing lots of snow melting, I take the no-longer made MSR Simmerlite. I have an old Whisperlite (that I should get rid of), but the Simmerlite is a bit lighter for a white gas stove. I’ve only had one slightly malfunction with the Simmerlite, but it pulled through ( I had to prime it a bit more to get it going). I could use a remote canister stove for winter backpacking, but that would require another tool I frankly don’t need. And even remote canister stoves start faltering around below zero and require a little bit of TLC.
- Road trip? Solo car camping? Quick bivvy before a backpacking trip? My first ever camping stove! A one-burner propane stove. Fuel can be found almost anywhere. It is simple to use and uber-reliable. Packing up one cold winter camping trip, when the day time temps where in the single digits and it was snowing, my someone and I quickly had a hot drink to bring on the walk over to the visitors center. We were going to get the road report from the ranger and so no reason to not being cold while doing it. We were bundled in down coats, wore heavy balaclavas and insulated pants…and was drinking hot chai. (Quick story: The ranger checked on the three parties in the campground. The weather went to below zero temps that night. He also wanted everyone to check on road conditions before we left. When he came to our site and saw it was us, he gave an “Oh..it is you two.” and did not seem overly concerned. 🙂 )
- Car base-camping? I bring the Coleman 425 white gas stove with a propane converter for our five-pound propane tank. Best of both worlds! Another warhorse. Some routine maintenance and it still works like a champ. White gas for really cold temps; propane for ease of use. When I am car camping, no matter how remote, I do not see the need to do just “boil and cook” type meals. I have a cooler full of ice with some fresh veggies, fruit, meat and eggs to make some wonderful meals. While space is an issue with car camping, weight ain’t…. I can cook meals worthy of the last name.
So that’s my quiver of stoves.
It may change. It may not. But as Summer 2015, these are the stoves that I use.
All these fine pieces of equipment were purchased with my own funds. Except for the Coleman 425. That was a Christmas gift from a girlfriend fifteen years ago. Don’t tell the someone that…
The only thing that I don’t like about the single burner propane stoves is how high and tippy they are. I’ve got one of the Texsport/Stansport single burner stoves that sits flat and has a tube that connects to the propane canister. My own first stove is a Coleman 502 Sportster made around 1967. It’s heavy, but it’s reliable and I still use it to this day. Not much for backpacking, but it sure works well on a picnic table.