Small stove recommendations

 I’m thinking of picking up a small backpacking /minimalist type stove. Something to boil water on etc. 

was looking at the folding type that Wise foods is selling 

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’”
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Original Post

I got one of the made in China knockoff of the MSR pocket rocket, and  set of pans that the stove nests into. I buy the small jetboil fuel canisters and the whole assembly nests together. I've used the same set up to cook coffee and heat water to shave in the field for the last four years, and while it isn't perfect its well worth the $30 price tag for everything.  

How minimalist? 

I for example have gone past minimalist the last couple years, have these heater bags for food, and a tiny titanium wood stove (and some triox tablets) for larger, but still small, cooking or heating tasks. 

Still own something like a dozen other stoves or tablet heaters. Just never use them anymore much. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

The Trangia alcohol stove is a solid mini stove. I have used these things for the last 35 years. My oldest 35yr stove still works and is still in use.

The whole Trangia pot system is light weight and it works.

But you don't need the whole aluminum system. You can buy and use the burner just by itself ($15).

Alcohol (denatured) is easy to get, does a decent job and is relatively harmless (compared to gasoline).

I cannot recommend it, but we have used this stove in restrooms of various mass transport systems to provide us with our coffee fix. Obviously this was decades ago, when we would embark on three weeks backpack trips with just a couple of $20's.....

J: March 2004

L: Texas

The Jetboil is a tank, but not exactly minimalist. The Pocket Rocket is really small. Alcohol stoves are about as minimal as it gets and you can get HEET or denatured alcohol about anywhere.

"Never underestimate the predictibility of stupidity" RIP SSG Brad King. KIA April 2, 2007.

This is how I typically use the Trangia burner nowadays. Just to make some coffee and hot chocolate on hikes with the kids.

Trangia burner (the 35yr old one) with some steel pins stuck in the ground to support the pot.

J: March 2004

L: Texas

For canister stoves, I like the pocket rocket, if I'm trying to go longer distances for a longer duration on foot. If I'm doing freeze dried food or just generally keeping a stove in the vehicle, it's ALWAYS the jetboil. The only reason I don't use a jetboil now is if I am bringing a real cookpot to actually put food in. I keep my jetboil handy strictly for boiling water and don't put food in the container, so it stays clean. 

If you are serious about cooking on a small stove, the best investment is to get a small cook pot with a lid and make a coozy for it. Once you have water boiling or things heated, you can kill the stove and drop the pot in the coozy while it finishes cooking. If you do it like this, you can cook up some dinner and let it finish cooking while you set up your tent. 

If you want to be less reliant on fuel canisters, alcohol stoves are very lightweight but slightly less convenient. You can find the fuel all over, but it does require a somewhat sturdy container. I once went out with someone who didn't understand how quickly alcohol evaporates. After a couple of days of them leaving the container open accidentally, fuel was getting critical, and they were bumming water from my jetboil. 

I used to highly advocate for the MSR Whisperlight international stove because it will literally burn anything you put in it. That's a great SHTF option, but I have moved away from it in favor of canister stoves. Jetboil has a pro-deal, and you can buy the canisters by the case so keeping them on hand isn't a huge problem. I figure that if I run out of fuel, I'll be using wood eventually anyways. 

I would add that some simple google searches will be very helpful if you haven't got a lot of experience with backpacking stoves:

  • Search: Backpacking stove windscreen DIY
  • Search: Backpacking stove pot cozy
  • look for best backpacking stoves of 2018. There have been some advances in stoves, for instance, my pocket rocket is the older version that isn't as efficient as the newer ones. I might be more inclined to look away from the jetboil in the future if someone makes a stove that truly boils faster with more efficiency. 

Some other tidbits would be to see:

  • Does the stove require a sparking device or lighter versus having a built-in ignition source?
  •   Do you need a separate pot or does the stove have one?
  • Do you need other accessories to make it work (pot holders, sponges, stabilizing braces, windscreens, etc)? 
  • Does the system require a storage bag? My jetboil all nests together and drops in the pack but my pocket rocket that nests into the pot leaves the pot messy so it requires a small bag to contain the mess so everything else isn't nasty.

I only use the alcohol burner to boil water "on the run", or if I can't or don't want to make a fire.

Back in the (good old) days when we used to go "hard-core" (3-4 weeks) backpacking we always did our cooking on fires. The pot would hang above the fire using a chain system.

Basically three strands of (double-loop) chain connected at the top and bottom with a key-ring. A third key-ring serves as a slider to "tighten" the pot. This sliding ring "locks" to the "rough" texture of the double-loop chain. Top key-ring has an S-hook attached so you can hang the whole thing on the twine that ties the tripod together. Very simple, lightweight, and has proven to work very well.

 

No tripod on the next two pics, twine hanging down was attached to a rope hung between two trees.

 

With tripod

J: March 2004

L: Texas

Rik posted:

This is how I typically use the Trangia burner nowadays. Just to make some coffee and hot chocolate on hikes with the kids.

Trangia burner (the 35yr old one) with some steel pins stuck in the ground to support the pot.

Not trying to derail this thread but those Stanley cook pots are the heat. Walmart sells a stainless cup that whole kit nestles in

i have 2 sets of those Stanley's 

Jet boil is my camping mainstay but I always have one of these tucked in my rucksack DSC_0290DSC_0291cheap, cheerful, light and small. The fuel can also be used as a hand cleanser and is safe to burn indoors

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If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together    -    African proverb

 

Joined: 2003          Location: At home pretending to be retired (again).

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Something I discovered about "minimalism" over years of occupying patrol bases and preparing hot water/chow...

When employing solid fuel tabs (e.g., Esbit or the like), you usually don't need a stove at all.

Just use available ground materials as a support for canteen cup, small pot, etc.  A couple of small stones, chunks of rock, >thumb thick chunks of twig, pieces of broken urban rubble, expended small arms brass, hand-piled sand/gravel/soil, or anything else (natural or man-made) scavenged to support the cooking container above the flame. In fact, with unfrozen soil, just scooping out a small u-profiled  trench in the ground (just wider/longer than the heat tab) allows you to set the container directly on the ground's surface. A mini-ravine opening (for air) at either end of the burning fuel tab provides enough draft to keep it burning. Kind of a mini-Dakota fire pit concept, but much simpler.

Scoop out a mini-trench in the dirt with your fingers about two inches deep, two inches wide, and longer than wider. Set tab in bottom and light. Straddle that little trench with the base of your canteen cup or cook pot. If you need to put out the flame quickly and haul ass, simply douse the flame with your cup's contents and scoop the handy dirt spill over the heat tab remains.  No hot stove to deal with as you ruck up and move out in a hurry.  

That was my "minimalist" solution for about 90% of three-season tactical water/food heating of whatever was inside of a USGI canteen cup. 

The little folding aluminum stove bodies are certainly handy as stable pot supports and fuel tab storage... and are compact/lightweight to boot. I've got a little Esbit brand folding square version that I've used continuously since the 1970s. Scorched blue from a thousand fires. I came to realize that it wasn't actually a necessity; just a convenience. But I usually pack it anyway if I'm using solid fuel tablets. 

For hard winter use, where Job #1 is melting snow for drinking water & hot food prep, you need something a lot more substantial in terms of BTU output to fuel weight carried... and capable of heating larger volume containers. When I break out a 1.5 - 2 liter lidded alpine cook pot to melt snow, that puppy is sitting on top of a white gas pressurized stove. One of my MSR WhisperLites. A stove that will melt lead ingots in a howling blizzard at sub-zero temperatures. BTDT.

 

 

 

 

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The moral high ground is sometimes just a head on a long pike... - Astronomy

 

A new Plt Ldr is like a first time new mother. The Plt Sgt is a lifelong midwife and nanny. It's your baby, but he knows a lot about changing diapers and other ugly things. - Astronomy

Yup yup. Hence my initial question about how minimalist. I do the little titanium stove because I had a couple times in a row where I was cold because the heat source wasn't directed, it was hard to light due to wind, and/or the ground kept catching on fire.

But for true minimalist, backup/emergency or super-duper UL work: totally can do as Astronomy says. Heater tab, or firestarter. Know how to make campfires from wood. even if you cannot dig a hole or don't want to, stack up sticks to protect or balance your cup. Easy. Done it many times. Often, just when too lazy or it would be too noisy, etc to break out the stove, also. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

I bought a Coleman Fyrelite from a member here.  Used it a few times on a camping trip and it boils water for cups of coffee, etc very quickly. Like holy fuck that was much faster than I thought.

I also used it turned down pretty low.  It’s like a jet engine when you crank it on high. 

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What is left when honor is lost?

Something that's important to note for anyone looking at putting together a kit. Your cookpot will heat faster if it's wider than tall. Most of the ultralight guys are running cylindrical pots that are tall and skinny with tiny titanium stoves. This arrangement works well for the small stoves like the BRS stove (which is a badass stove for lightweight use). A shorter and wider pot will expose more of the surface to the usable heat your stove is putting off, which makes your water boil faster with the byproduct being less fuel used. 

The best solution I've seen for the pocket rocket type stoves, that have a wider pot capability than the BRS, is to use a "grease strainer" from Amazon or Walmart. Less than $10 for a super light and legit cook pot. You can then take some of your old foam mat and wrap it with foil to make your pot cozy, that'll also help save fuel. Now you only need a fuel canister, pocket rocket (or some other super light gizmo stove with a decent pot support), piece of sponge, mini-bic, spoon, and bandana to live like you're homeless. The bandana is your pot holder, which is critical to maintaining your sanity because you can jam it all in the pot for transport and the bandana takes up the extra space, so you don't hear that shit rattling around. 

I'm on the fence between trying the Pocket Rocket 2, or sticking with my Jetboil for a backpacking trip next month. It's not until I read threads like this that I realize I might have a gear problem... 

standeasy posted:

Jet boil is my camping mainstay but I always have one of these tucked in my rucksack cheap, cheerful, light and small. The fuel can also be used as a hand cleanser and is safe to burn indoors

Not the old issue hex stove?

Could probably build a shed with the amount of those I've used. I hope I never smell hexi again. Dread to think what harm breathing those fumes used to cause. 

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If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together    -    African proverb

 

Joined: 2003          Location: At home pretending to be retired (again).

For a canister stove, I'd recommend the Primus Classic Trail Stove. You can pick them up for less than $20.00, it's rated 4.5 stars on Amazon with 168 reviews & the thing is a work horse.

"Number 7 was interesting. My third leadoff homer in three games. I had used the same bat for the first two homers. I had planned to keep using that bat until I broke it. But while I was on deck, I put it back & took out another bat. You want to know that it's you and not the bat."- Brady Anderson, Baltimore Orioles.

 

Home: Eugene, OR. USA

standeasy posted:

Could probably build a shed with the amount of those I've used. I hope I never smell hexi again. Dread to think what harm breathing those fumes used to cause. 

“Heat tab, heat tab, it makes me cry. It’s good for food but burns my eye.”

I remember acting as OPFOR for another platoon in the Fort Pickett MOUT site about 23-24 years ago.  We were in a basement and in through a loophole comes an M18.   The thrower has removed the tape from the bottom and, with a cleaning rod, chipped loose some of the content so it could be replaced with a bit of heat tab.  Worse than CS and surely toxic.  We thought we were going to die.  There was a bit of strong “discussion” afterwards.

Joined: 9/1/2004          Location: The Big Bend.

Hexamine: 

Esbit's Material Safety Data Sheet states combustion can create formaldehydeammonianitrogen oxidehydrogen cyanide and ingestion may cause nauseavomiting, gastrointestinal disturbances, and kidney damage. When burned, the chemical oxidation of the fuel yields noxious fumes, requiring foods being cooked to be contained in a receptacle such as a pot or pan with a tight fitting lid.

Triox:

I have never found them as noxious burning, but also can find no specific summary. If anyone knows how to read MSDS: http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9925338

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

CROZ3212 posted:
standeasy posted:

Could probably build a shed with the amount of those I've used. I hope I never smell hexi again. Dread to think what harm breathing those fumes used to cause. 

“Heat tab, heat tab, it makes me cry. It’s good for food but burns my eye.”

I remember acting as OPFOR for another platoon in the Fort Pickett MOUT site about 23-24 years ago.  We were in a basement and in through a loophole comes an M18.   The thrower has removed the tape from the bottom and, with a cleaning rod, chipped loose some of the content so it could be replaced with a bit of heat tab.  Worse than CS and surely toxic.  We thought we were going to die.  There was a bit of strong “discussion” afterwards.

That was pretty common in the 80s and 90s.

Lead to some "interesting" AARs....

And Counseling sessions.

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...

There were rumours that Brit squaddies would throw hexi blocks along with sweets and stuff to the Bosnian kids who would run alongside UN convoys begging for food. Hopefully no-one ever actually ate any

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If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together    -    African proverb

 

Joined: 2003          Location: At home pretending to be retired (again).

To be evil? Because refugee types could use heat I think. As long as you explain it to them and they use it right. 

I long wondered why heater tablets didn't come with a clear idiogram saying "FIRE" and a match attached to each one to make it self-contained, and obvious to everyone what it is?

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Re: heating tabs, that definitely happened in Afghanistan with French forces. 

Complete French rations were handed out...local kids ate some of the tabs, got sick, came to the FOB clinic...new orders came down to rat-fuck the rations and take out the heating tabs.

There were also non-halal rations that "accidentally" handed out.  


 

Joined: 03 OCT 2006        Meatspace Coordinates: The Smoke

standeasy posted:

Jet boil is my camping mainstay but I always have one of these tucked in my rucksack DSC_0290

What is that fuel made of? I'm guessing that it's alcohol based if you can clean your hands with it. Are they solid, or are they gel squares?

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Doug

If I mention Corona, I ain't talking about beer.

 

"It's your turn to do until it's not."  TA

 

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JOINED:  9/20/09     LOCATION:  Outside of KSA Finally!

Firedragon: https://www.firedragonfuel.com/product Even has an NSN FWIW.

Details except for ingredients: https://www.firedragonfuel.com/firedragon

Best I can find is the gel in a bottle is "made from ethanol." No idea of ingredients otherwise. Will ask as I think a friend has some and is more versed in some of this stuff. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Gel that sort of liquefies as soon as it starts to burn.

Performance test here (I've had better results than the guy in this video): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NgddehvUUJU

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If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together    -    African proverb

 

Joined: 2003          Location: At home pretending to be retired (again).

Looks like it is not as powerful as hexy...but it won't gas you (beyond CO2) in confined spaces.

Or leave that tarry crap on heating surfaces.

Once tried jellying 95% lab ethanol (side line of test tube jelly shots) for field use (heating & morale) but had issues stabilizing it...particularly in very hot conditions.

You can also buy it in plastic bottles (250mls and 1ltr). Great for bbq lighting as well as camping

I believe it's all made from UK-sourced bio ethanol.

It made news when officially adopted by UK Mil:

https://www.gov.uk/government/...fuel-production-line

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If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together    -    African proverb

 

Joined: 2003          Location: At home pretending to be retired (again).

Linz posted:

Welsh!  So you can drink it...?

Seriously, I wonder if that 250ml would sub in for the Isopropyl I carry around?

This alternative is definitely drinkable.....basically legal moonshine.  Pricey and not available for sale in all states:

https://www.shop.lavinotheque....sEAQYASABEgK1ZfD_BwE      

It can also be used in alcohol stoves.  So you can cook and make yourself a cocktail as you wait for your water to boil. 

Everclear has been around the US for a long time...lol.

While it is generally meant to be mixed down, you can <cough> drink it straight. Be warned... <cough> it is potent <cough> and has a rough <cough> finish when drinking by the shot.

On the upside, you can find it damn near everywhere... from grocery stores, to big box stores, to 24 hour stop-and-robs.

The price has come up a bit since highschool somewhat (750ml used to be 15.99) but it has not increased in price as bad as Budweiser, Unleaded 87 octane, or Pepsi since the 80s.....

------------------------------------- "A True Warrior knows neither Left or Right"  Looking for a doc who can fix my allergies.. Stupid People and IED's...

One thing I didn't say about the little wood stove I got is that I ponied up for the titanium. And, it sorta changed my life. Because of the thermal characteristics of titanium. When done with the fire, I can grab the edge of the stove, tug so it turns back into a flat shape, dump the fire to the ground, stomp out (or bury...) the fire, then immediately fold and pack the stove. 

I never use my Triangia alcohol stove anymore, basically because it's such a chunk of metal. And because it stays hot forever. 

Does anyone make a tiny, light, and preferably titanium alcohol burner? Thinking that instead of solid fuel tablets for quick/emergency fire making, I could then stick it in the bottom of my little wood stove as a windshield and potstand, and use small amounts of alcohol/gel to light fires etc. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

Why do so many companies make cool products, then hide them. Followed some links and suggestions and found.... this! 

Why the hell didn't Vargo just tell me that they make an alcohol burner for the "wood stove"? 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

cashonlycow posted:

Maybe a Vargo Triad...I have an older version and only used it with fuel tablets, tried it with alcohol but it didn't work too well for me. Honestly that is probably more me than anything else, as others have had much better luck with iy.

https://www.vargooutdoors.com/triad-stove.html

Stupid thread. Now I'm gonna spend money.

I was looking at the Amazon reviews on this, and the main user beef is with priming. You have to fill it to the top and light it in order to get a bloom. Waste of fuel. Some enterprising souls figured out that if you use a priming cup, it blooms very quickly. One guy uses a cut down soda can base, but any flat little container would work. Put 5-7 drops of fuel in the priming cup, light, slide under the stove, and listen for the hiss. As soon as the fuel in the stove vaporizes and hisses, light it up. But the time the 5-7 drops of fuel is burned up, you are up and running. The consensus seems to be it isn't the hottest alcohol burner out there, but it's very efficient. Pouring unused fuel back into the bottle could be accomplished with a little funnel, but would otherwise be a pain. If Vargo put a screw top on this thing so you could store fuel in the stove, it would give Trangia some serious competition. 

Regarding the Vargo wood stove, people are modding by adding some 3/8 in holes on the sides to increase air flow. Supposed to be very good once that's been done. I am intrigued. 

I am thinking I may pick up this little burner/wood stove combo.

 

Adversity is another way to measure the greatness of individuals.  -Lou Holtz

Maskirovka posted:
cashonlycow posted:

...

...If Vargo put a screw top on this thing so you could store fuel in the stove, it would give Trangia some serious competition...

Only reason it's sitting there, not ordered. Fuel+stove in one, plus go ahead and use it full for priming is the one good thing about the Trianga. (Except they have shitty seals). 

As far as pouring fuel back: the legs on the triad are funnels, purportedly. 

 

Maskirovka posted:
...Regarding the Vargo wood stove, people are modding by adding some 3/8 in holes on the sides to increase air flow. Supposed to be very good once that's been done. I am intrigued...
 

I quite love my little Vargo Hexagon, and what I have found is that, I think,  people are stupid. 

The bottom is nothing but ventilation. So many holes it is hard to put tiny sticks into it in fact. If you shove it down into soft earth, or you let ash accumulate under it, sure it stops venting. So instead of drilling more holes: just don't do that. If not on a hard enough surface, dig a tiny (1/4") pit under it, works fine then. 

The one I want is not the triad but the Converter which fits onto the top of the Hexagon. 

https://www.vargooutdoors.com/converter-stove.html

BUT, and they hide the features. easiest to see in the video:

  • The little pointy stand is not welded on, so you end up with a better potstand, plus can store it more easily. 
  • Bottom is indented for fuel tablets, gels. So the vented stove bottom is no longer an issue, just flip the alcohol burner. 

But it does look hard to get fuel out of, and has no lid. Maybe I'll try to find a little jar it'll fit into or something. 

The things that will destroy America are prosperity at any price, peace at any price, safety first instead of duty first, the love of soft living and the get rich quick theory of life. – Theodore Roosevelt

 

Joined: 19NOV2004   Location: Mission, Kansas

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