I used the MSR Whisperlite international for a long time.  Mostly with white gas.  Tried gasoline once ( that was scary)    and denatured alcohol a couple times (that was OK).   The design is really best suited for white gas. 

Last year, I finally picked up a Jet Boil - fantastic.  One thing I did do was take a tuna can and cut out the top and bottom of it and drilled vent holes on the sides all the way around.   It rests between inside the edge of the Jet Boil burner assembly head/ outside the actual burner coil itself and allows food cooking with cookset pots I've got.   its a pretty good set up. 

For turning large quantities of snow into water ad then boiling large quantity, for years, Whisperlight, then upgraded to Dragonfly (sounds like a jet engine when in full scream. Then, XGK, then XGK-EX which can also operate as a lead smelter to replenish your musket balls in a hurry

I have had the MSR pocket rocket for almost 20 years now with no issues. I have the pot that nests the tank coupled with a canteen cup it works great!.

I also had the MSR whisper light I think? for over 20 years even used it to heat water to shave in Iraq in 03, worked fine on JP8. Though I did have to clean it a lot.

My pocket rocket has been my go to for years and I couldn't be happier. It's stupid simple to use so I can cook when I'm stupid tired or my fingers are stiff and cold. I also use a canteen cup style stove with sticks/fuel tabs which works great for a quick hot cup of liquid.

I like the pot coozy idea, might have to steal that one!

geronimo posted:

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... 

sorry to necropost, but I found a thingie! Sansport makes a single pot that is essentially the same as poste above, but it locks itself up into essentially a Japanese Lunch Pot. To me, that is worth the extra $6 and is found here: https://www.stansport.com/blac...o-ii-cook-pot-359-20

They also make a stainless steel version, but for a bit more at: https//www.stansport.com/solo-ii-stainless-steel-cook-pot-359

both are more expensive, but they have features built in that make it worth wile. 

Bart

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I've tried just about every stove mentioned here over the past 30 years. My go to has been the jetboil.  I got mine in 2008 and have done nothing to it but change out the fuel cans as needed. As others here, I only boil water in the cup. I've used the burner with other small pans to cook on (not very successfully since it's on full blast or off), but leave the cup solely for water boiling and storing the stove and fuel can. At first the size of it was a concern coupled with the need for a specific fuel not always found when on the road.  Now I keep several cans of fuel on hand, and for me, the benefits of the system balance out the size.

My defining moment with it came several years ago on a multi day backpacking trip in WV. About 4 days in, it got cold and wet, everything was wet. That morning I woke in my one person tent and decided to try it in the tiny vestibule for my coffee and oatmeal water. It put together in seconds, lit with no issue, boiled water in two minutes tops and warmed my tent without choking me out! I've never looked back.  Today it lives in my campervan ready to go as part of the "coffee kit" and gets used plenty. I can't recommended it enough. 

 

ateixeira posted:

... I've used the burner with other small pans to cook on (not very successfully since it's on full blast or off), but... 

Good note I may have never mentioned: I learned to cook on stoves with poor or no temp control. At home, mom cooked, but from around 12 onward I am at a stove in the woods, and trying to make food with pretty minimal instruction. Pretty quickly figured out what I later found is apparently how a lot of Chinese pan cookery is done: by region. 

Heat is over a small area in these stoves, and dissipates quite rapidly into the pan, more so with lighter weight stuff. There's a hot spot over the burner and not much further, then a medium-hot region as a ring an inch wide, fading out as you go further away. 0

So if you need to /cook/ for real, you bring a somewhat larger pan, and stay aware what part is hot. Place the pan where needed (often I stick it well off center so I have a larger area of middling heat to work with). Place and push things around and stir regularly (as needed for your task) to get the right amount of heat. Use a lid to keep heat in and cook things through. Use a smaller lid (like my coffee pot one) to do that to only part of the pan, etc. etc.  

Another vote for the MSR pocket rocket for size/cost/reliability.  It does not have a self contained ignition source so you do need some way to spark it, however there is enough room in the tight fitting case it folds into for about three of the match books that you find at bars/nice restaurants/etc.    A canister tucks nicely into one of the REI/GSI/Pinnacle/etc pots and you have a pretty small setup capable of heating water, etc.    That, some instant coffee or a pour over setup, and 3 mountain houses packs down pretty damn small and fits under a seat.  

I have a bunch of pocket rockets in various bags and vehicles, and am looking to buy a couple of the Gen 2 units which supposedly get much hotter/faster and  rival Jetboil for water boiling times according to some testing. 

Check out the BRS stove on amazon. I haven’t tried it next to my Pocket Rocket yet, but it weighs 25g and costs $16. 

I love the Jetboil for what it is. It’s a great car stove, reliable and boils water in a hurry. If I was backpacking or being weight conscious it would not be my first choice. 

The Pocket Rocket Ultimate and maybe other models of it have built in piezo igniters. I wouldn't 100% trust it, so ALSO bring some super duper matches as backup, but it's nice. 

MSR also makes a tiny little stick piezo igniter that works with some of their stoves, but it's easily the worst quality item they make. Seems like 1/3rd of them simply do not work. And, this has been going on for years, they don't seem to care. 

So the theme here has been fuel-dependent stoves.  They obviously have many advantages and have their place - no doubt, JetBoil is pretty awesome.  However thinking through my own needs and placing a premium on sustainment/minimal logistics, I've been interested in a lightweight wood stove for quite a while as a different solution.

I recently picked up a Vargo Hexagon wood stove.  I fired it up for the first time today.  Seems like it comes to full burn fast and focuses the heat nicely for cooking.  However, the wood seems to burn through quicker than I expected requiring pretty constant feeding to maintain good heat.  At least that's my initial assessment whipping up some half-assed scrambled eggs.

The all-knowing Youtube has a bunch of dudes recommending drilling additional airflow holes, etc. but I'm skeptical of the need based on what I saw today.

Do any seasoned veterans have/use one of these that can offer any pro-trips to a wood stove novice?  Might save me some frustration along the way.

Previously entered on mobile phone, edited generally for clarity now:

I think I posted my Impressions with it earlier, so some will be repetitive if you have consumed the whole thing. 

The Vargo hex is a very very nice little stove, if you didn't get the titanium then immediately go get that one instead of your aluminum one. Forget weight: it doesn't really transmit heat, so you can stop having a fire by grabbing it, picking it up, and shaking the burning sticks out of it. Wait 20 seconds to cool down, then fold and put it away. Nice! 

It is very small, and there's no way around that. Now, this is a bonus and I ALWAYS have it with me. But, it's small. You need a slightly larger fire than that to make it sustained. This will not keep you warm all nice and will IME go out after 5 to 10 minutes of being unattended no matter how good you are at making wood fires.

For my purposes, a little teeny bit of emergency heat or improvised fuel source cooking, and a way to not light the ground on fire by accident when the dirt is secretly all leaf litter, that's fine. And it makes an excellent base for fuel tablets or an alcohol stove as well!

If Vargo is as bad as selling to you as they were to me, immediately go out and get the inexplicably-secret little alcohol stove. This should be an upsell when you buy, or just In Every Box, but Vargo is stupid like a lot of good gear makers, keeps their systems of systems stuff to themselves. 

Anyway, great accessory because it comes with a delightful tripod that makes the hex stove a lot easier to put cups and pots on top of. You can ignore the burner and still get your money's worth. The alcohol burner is nice, but not as clever as the Esbit; if it had a threaded cap and I could keep alcohol or dragonfuel in it, I'd love it. Nope. But still, also secret: flip it over and the other side is for fuel tablets to sit on. I find they usually work best a bit lower, so just toss the "stove" into the bottom, of the hex frame for tablets. It'll also handle heat for hours so you can use that to light sticks on fire, get your fire going faster etc. 

You need it because the bottom is a grid of holes. Which is important to one of your questions: There's no need to drill holes in it, it has plenty of ventilation on the bottom. Unless you don't understand how stoves work (not you, all the people saying to drill holes in it) and stuff it into the ground, blocking the bottom ventilation. 

When you go to cook, clear a little spot for it, or find a nice flat rock or something. This will not just make sure that it won't light the ground on fire (ask me how I know!) or tip over or whatever, but assures that air flows in the bottom which gives plenty of oxygen and gives you a better fire than side intake would. Since the entire sides are the "feet" I have never had it sink in to even pretty soft ground, even with a big cup (small pot really) on top of it being vigorously stirred etc. 

As seen here, this is the morning after such a hellacious rainstorm we actually called the EX and went and hid. It was plenty wet under the leaves: 

Too lazy to use sticks here, I am cooking off a Dragon Fuel tablet and you can see the stabilizer tripod sticking out. The fuel tablets are... okay. The lid is my cup/pot, the cups visible are other's as we shared one stove for the morning breakfast halt. 

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Updated my — reading it again — gibberish post, and added a photo. Looking for the photo I found these from the MCRD San Diego Command Museum. Unlabeled in a hallway exhibit but IIRC imply WW2 era. Someone more historical will know the web gear. I bet three of you know what model the stove is. So, what IS it? 

(P. S. What kind of fucking nerds am we that I go to this museum and take photos of the stoves, and you are looking at it?) 

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shoobe01 posted:

Updated my — reading it again — gibberish post, and added a photo. Looking for the photo I found these from the MCRD San Diego Command Museum. Unlabeled in a hallway exhibit but IIRC imply WW2 era. Someone more historical will know the web gear. I bet three of you know what model the stove is. So, what IS it? 

(P. S. What kind of fucking nerds am we that I go to this museum and take photos of the stoves, and you are looking at it?) 

M1942 mountain stove?  Pretty sure the shorter/fatter coleman was designed for the mountain cook set.  I used to have one as well as the taller/skinnier standard GI WW2 stove.

I picked up an Esbit alcohol burner and started playing around with a pot stand for it. After several somewhat...unstable...concoctions, I started rummaging around in my pile of stuff. I picked up a Sterno emergency stove at some point and dug that out. It has a large, square pot, a cup, a substantial spork thingie, and a folding stand. 

The folding stand is perfect for this application and while a little bit on the large side, is not super heavy and folds flat. It is the red enameled one, not the silver one. The silver one is a touch too tall for the Esbit burner. 

Bart

I don't know why I hadn't thought of this before, but a can of sterno would be a pretty solid option for a short backpacking trip. You could rig up some sort of sleeve/enclosure to support a pot by using a slightly sturdier can. You can extinguish it by putting the lid back on, and keep reusing and extinguishing it until you run out of fuel. It's gel, so it won't spill. And if you need a "real" fire, it makes a great firestarter. 

We keep Sterno cans around by the case for parties and stuff, so I snagged a few once and used them as a supplemental cooking heat source. They were okay, never got anything to a boil, so maybe need some surrounding stove to make them work better? Yes, nice they can be stopped by just putting the lid on, and are cool enough to pack after about 1 minute. 

Dunno why I never thought to use them otherwise. Good idea really. And when all burned out, they are just a featherweight, totally safe, aluminum can. You have to pack it out, but it's the cleanest, lightest trash you could want. 

I used this orange thing (flare holder someone said) as a pot stand for them, and have used it for an Esbit alcohol stove as well, before I started getting even lighter weight. 

FWIW, the aluminum pot is a nesting French set. Not bad, packs small and good space for cooking, heating bags, etc. but not as ultra lightweight as I'd prefer. 

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I use the Sterno kit as a back up for heating, not so much boiling as it is Sterno and only does so much. It is actually designed just to keep stuff warm, so there's that. The red stove was a surprising little 'oh, this will actually work' find.

Bart

shoobe01 posted:

We keep Sterno cans around by the case for parties and stuff, so I snagged a few once and used them as a supplemental cooking heat source. They were okay, never got anything to a boil, so maybe need some surrounding stove to make them work better? Yes, nice they can be stopped by just putting the lid on, and are cool enough to pack after about 1 minute. 

Dunno why I never thought to use them otherwise. Good idea really. And when all burned out, they are just a featherweight, totally safe, aluminum can. You have to pack it out, but it's the cleanest, lightest trash you could want. 

I used this orange thing (flare holder someone said) as a pot stand for them, and have used it for an Esbit alcohol stove as well, before I started getting even lighter weight. 

FWIW, the aluminum pot is a nesting French set. Not bad, packs small and good space for cooking, heating bags, etc. but not as ultra lightweight as I'd prefer. 

I have a stove like your orange one there (it's green) I use it with one of those little brass Trangia alcohol burners, works fairly well, boils s canteen cup of water in around 12-15 minutes.  Decent, but doesn't get super hot.

I only use it for cooking and making coffee out on the porch when the electricity's out (I've scrambled eggs on it in a pan, made oatmeal, pancakes, etc.), or when camping out of a vehicle.

For backpacking/light travel, I still love the little Esbit stoves w/ fuel cubes.  When it's really cold out, 2 cubes are better than one.

These, and the alcohol stove, are very "wind sensitive", but we compensate for that in various ways, like piling rocks around them, or getting the Esbit down in a small hole.

Usually cooking in a canteen cup, or other small camp type cups or pans.

I've tried little wood burners, but it's a pain in the ass harvesting wood for 'em, and keeping them going, just to pop a squat and eat a can of soup on a cold day.

ETA: I've learned to hate aluminum cookware and mess kits, they get ridiculously hot, yet cool down very quickly, food doesn't stay hot, just wierd...YMMV.

I still love the hell out of a good ol' canteen cup, after all these years.

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