Let's talk cooking stoves...

luke moffat

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Feb 24, 2012
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84
Canisters

- Expensive Fuel
- Can't fly with them
- Tough to find in remote places (aka bush Alaska)
- Are a pain in below freezing weather.

All of which is usually more that counterbalanced by the fact that they are stupid simple, light, compact, and very very easy to use.


Liquid Fuel

- Can / Will burn your eyebrows off
- Bulkier and heavier (mostly)
- Usually require assembly and priming. i.e. less convenient

But fuel is cheap, and some of them will burn almost anything liquid, which is handy at times. And they work just as good at almost any temperature.

Most people are better served by canisters, but for the more interesting trips, liquid fuel has some advantages. Particularly if snow melting or flights are involved. I use both most years.

Yk

Excellent breakdown YK....I don't fly remotely nearly as much as you nor do I do a whole heck of a lot winter backpacking so 95% of the time canister stoves are what I use due to the easy of use and lighter setup and generally faster to get from in the pack to boiling water.

I would have thought the engineer in you would have LOVED the over engineered Soto Muka ;) I have one and like it, I also had a Primus omnilite TI because I needed a stove I could use to burn AV gas on our 18 day TMA hunt and not having the weight penalty for the fuel was a huge help to just drain it from the tanks when we landed on the strip. I sold the omnilite, but am getting another one. I like the ability to use just about any type of fuel with it.

I found the Muka stupid easy to use but all the reviews make it seem like a space shuttle launch for some reason. Oh well. Likely keep both for a while and then sell the loser.

For canister stoves I have been using a SOTO canister of some sort since 2010 in conjunction with a jetboil cup. In 2013 I started using the Soto with the jetboil SUMO and its been awesome for being able to cook 3 MH dinners at one boil or 2 and a hot drink or whatever. And the bigger cup means everything nests inside. Having the larger "flux ring" exchanger seems to be even faster at boiling water than the smaller standard sized jetboil.

For stupid easy off the shelf the jetboil is hard to beat if all you want to do is boil water which is all I do most of the time anyways. But its nice to not have a stove that really only works well with the jetboil cup incase you wanna use a pan or something. Plus I found the SOTO windmaster to be faster than the jetboil stove anyways even with the jetboil pot/cups.

Did a video this spring that kinda breaks down the two canister stoves performance (SOTO/Jetboil):
http://vimeo.com/90294667

I think a guy if he plans to hunt remote Alaska at all should really have 2 stoves, a canister and a liquid fuel. MSR has been in the biz for a long time and used all over the world as has Primus. In my mind when I hear liquid fuel I usually think MSR just cause they have been a main staple for so long, but I really like the MUKA and I hope to run the omnilite through the paces a bit more.
 

luke moffat

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Luke...Have you played around with the MSR Reactor?

Nope I haven't....I hear its bomber and efficient and likely a great option no doubt.

Its just that I can get a Soto Wind Pro for $60, and a Sumo Companion cup for less than $50 and combined it weighs in under 14 oz for about $110 total and is 1.8L for a cup.

Compare that to the MSR reactor which is 19 oz for the cup and stove is around $160.

Both are great and a MSR reactor would work better out of the box with no mods for sure. But I have grown to like the Soto/Jetboil Sumo System as my favorite setup cause the stove itself does required you to use the designated pot if you wanna cook with a pan to fry up a fish (which we have done on multiple occasions) or use the stove to just heat up water in a Titanium cup or something as well. Just gives more flexiblity rather than been married to a single proprietary model of cup/pot to use.

Also the 5 oz difference between the MSR Reactor and the Soto/Jetboil sumo means you nearly carry a 110 gram fuel canister for free :)
 
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Yellowknife

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E
I would have thought the engineer in you would have LOVED the over engineered Soto Muka ;) I have one and like it,.....

......I found the Muka stupid easy to use but all the reviews make it seem like a space shuttle launch for some reason. Oh well. Likely keep both for a while and then sell the loser.

I'm a, ah... "non-traditional" engineer. :) Not much for creative or complicated stuff. Simple is always better for a guy like me.

That said, my experience with the Soto consists a once over inspection in REI. I looked at the instructions and the pump and thought "what the...??" You are the first person I've met that has used one. As I recall, it didn't require priming, which would be a perk I assume. I certainly like the Soto canister stove I have.

I haven't owned a MSR Reactor, but have seen them in action in the field a couple times now. Very well built machines, and very effective and heating water in any weather. Not a bad snow melter either. However, I agree that they are heavy and essentially one trick ponies. I like the standard canister stoves for flexibility. Often as not, I'm using them on 1-5 day trips rather than extended expeditions, and the increased efficiency of stoves like that vs. the wt and $ just doesn't pencil out for my uses If I was using it above treeline and heating water for more than one person all the time, then they might make more sense. Both the ones I've seen used were in the guide business.

For Kotomans uses, the Omnilite does seem to fit the bill. I'd just use it with canisters when the liquid fuel wasn't needed and enjoy the ability to use a windscreen and any kind of pot or pan (including HE ones). I assume he isn't going to be doing these flyouts solo, so the bigger stove isn't likely to be a major handicap.

Yk
 

luke moffat

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Agree 100% if going to get one stove the Omnilite is the one to get just cause you can re-jet it to use with a canister fuel as well as liquid.

That said most of the time if not flying out or not dealing with colder hunts (like in the teens consistently) then a standard canister fuel stove is probably a good thing to have as well.

Yeah the jetboil and reactors like you said are one trick ponies....a pocket rocket or a Soto or the ilk are a lot more versatile. Cause sometimes its the only stove around and you are forced to make due:






But yeah the Muka is pretty nice in that there is no priming. But that isn't THAT big of a deal either IMO. Since the Muka seems to be a discontinued item (yeah you can still buy them in a few places online, but overall they are gone) I would opt for MSR or Primus.

I will saw the Jetboil GCS pot with the SOTO is a snow melting son of a gun though with that 15KBTU under that exchanger ;) :
 
OP
Kotaman

Kotaman

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Unless something new and fabulous comes out soon, I'll be shopping for an Omnilite. One other versatile stove that hasn't been mentioned too much here that has "peaked" my interest is the MSR XGK EX. This thread has been very informational...THanks a TON.
 

ChrisS

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What pot do you use with your Kovea Moonwalker?
After re-reading that post, I should have said it was 1.6 L pot. It's a stoic Ti 1.6l w/ a frypan lid. Its 8 ounces total. Not sure you can get them anymore, but it works ok for cooking.
 

Lawnboi

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Love my dragonfly. I usually end up packing it for longer trips, or when it's cold. Just preference, no half empty canisters laying all over the place, no having to warm up canisters. Something about the smell of burning white gas brings me back to my childhood, cooking hotdogs on my grandpas old Coleman white gas lantern while fishing.

I can cook anything on my dragonfly. Bacon, pancakes, fish, red meat, grouse are just some of the things iv cooked on it away from the vehicle. Thing runs on anything, sounds like a freaking jet engine, and it just works, and as long as your rehearsed on using it, setup, takedown and starting the thing is not a problem. It also rocks for melting snow, puts out some serious heat when it's going wide open.

Iv also got a pr. Not bad for what it is, I only carry it for short trips, when it's warm. Otherwise I don't care for it as much.

Call me old school but I really like my liquid fuel. Are there probably better, lighter and more efficient stoves out there? Probably. But msr makes a hell of a tough stove. If I could afford to play right now I would probably experiment with some other stoves, most notably iv been wanting to try a reactor or maybe the new msr windboil or whatever they are calling it. And maybe a lighter liquid fuel. But for now my dragonfly keeps on ticking, that and the simmer function on the stove makes it super nice if your going cook something more than just boiling water.

And in a pinch iv even used my dragonfly as a space heater. Also be cautious when lighting fires in the tipi stove with white gas, nothing like 3 feet of flames flying out the door of the stove upon lighting to warm you up. And that brings up another point, practice lighting it outside your shelter the first few times. Eyebrows and tent shells can be burnt :).

Being rebuildable is also a plus for msr in my opinion. Kits to rebuild your stove are pretty accessible, as are replacement pumps if needed.
 
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inupiat1

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Oct 25, 2014
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Burien, Washington, United States
Well, liquid would burn at colder temps easier without having to keep it in a warm place and you can't always find canisters everywhere. Liquid requires keeping the pressure somewhat constant but burns hotter.

I use an old Swedish Army Trangia alcohol kit with a Tatonka simmer ring to regulate burn time and heat. If I don't use that, I use a Biolite camp stove and collect twigs or bring along wood pellets. I love using the grill attachment on the Biolite, however it adds bulk and weight. Good thing is that I don't usually have to lug fuel on an extended trip, downside, I spend time collecting or chopping wood to fit in it.
 

Doj4Whlr

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MSR - Whisperlite, Pocket Rocket, Reactor...own all three and you'll be happy. Been doing this sort of stuff for over 20 years and they all have pros and cons. One big thing about liquid: leaks. This very rarely happens but when it does, morale goes down quickly depending on what other gear was affected.
 

jtw

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Olympia, WA
I've ran a dragonfly for years and just replaced my old one this year. No reason to change. I like to cook though and haven't had an mre type meal since boy scouts.
 

Jason Snyder

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MSR - Whisperlite, Pocket Rocket, Reactor...own all three and you'll be happy. Been doing this sort of stuff for over 20 years and they all have pros and cons. One big thing about liquid: leaks. This very rarely happens but when it does, morale goes down quickly depending on what other gear was affected.

Yes, it's a real bummer to get white gas on your expensive gear. Or so I've been told.....
 

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