Camping Stove Advice Sought

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by BCR, Jan 26, 2005.

  1. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    I recently have increased my camping schedule by 500% for this spring and summer. So I need to plan more than I ever have in the past, so I can be semi-comfortable. That in mind, while cold food hasn't ever gotten to me before, I want to be able to heat up some food/drink.

    So I want a campstove good for one or two people, light enough to carry, easy to use and relatively inexpensive to buy and use. I have considered making a tin can stove, but truly am wanting something I can have confidence in and that will work well and fairly fast. Carrying fuel kind of makes me nervous. Will I have enough, will it leak, will the stove clog? I mean, I can always start a big honking fire in a firepit too, but I won't always want to or have the ability.

    What has caught my eye is the Sierra Zip Stove that uses sticks/twigs, etc. so you do not have to buy or carry fuel. I have read many positive reviews of it and some who say they do not like the blackening of pots that comes from smoke (that doesn't bother me). I can get a stove, accessories and pot/skillet/lid that fits for $49 from WiseMenTrading, which beats any other price I have seen for the stove. I figure I can make a grill top if that is something I want later. Cooking in a pan doesn't bother me.

    Anyone use these and have any negatives? Any better ideas?
     
  2. Walt K. in SW PA

    Walt K. in SW PA Well-Known Member

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    We have several different stoves for camping but the one our family uses most when car camping is a 20.00 single burner propane Coleman stove that uses those small propane bottles, which are recyclable. On sale you can get them for 1.80 and they last a good while. Small, light, and very convenient. Coleman also makes a 2 burner thats similar to the classic gas tank model for about 55.00.
     

  3. Tango

    Tango Well-Known Member

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    Do not get the Whisper Lite by MSR- it is too light and unstable to do anything but give heartburn prior to the meal- all reviews to the contrary. Hiking stoves, in my experience, are not worth the expense. I'd go with the carbon activated heaters to heat food with if you're hiking. If you're not going to hike with it, I think the coleman double burner (or single burner) propane stove is a great stove for the money. Its not too heavy or cumbersome to walk with for a short distance (though hiking is out of the question) and it works very well and quickly in a camping situation. The propane canisters are not going to leak on you.
     
  4. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Might consider the old reliable Sterno stove which is about a light as they come, can be folded pretty compact too. The fuel cans are also light but can be a bit bulky. Good burn time for the fuel. Disposable fuel container.

    http://www.hqcompany.com/hexamine_fuel.htm

    Like whatever most situations, a combo method of using twigs, sticks in some situtions with a pot and some fueled stove in others is best. Like when raining or time is of the essence or you just don't want the effort of a wood fire. Best systems always have options and try to maximize the advantages of each.
     
  5. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    An older Coleman stove would be nice-there were single, double, and triple versions of campstoves made, and, if maintained, should last your lifetime. Some have already lasted 2! Here is a good site to look at for info. on fixing as well as safety, and some for sale every so often under ready to ship after clicking on "Items For sale", and of course you can email the guy and get one fixed for you for a "stove to order", though I'm not sure how much he'd charge for an old one and a rebuild: www.oldtownyucca.com/coleman

    I've ordered lamp parts from him and they are good to deal with.
     
  6. sylvar

    sylvar Well-Known Member

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    Will you be hiking? If so how long will you be out at a time?

    That looks like a cool stove. A little heavy for my tastes, but still manageable concidering you don't have to carry fuel. But, you do need to find dry fuel when its raining. Something to think about. Plus it needs batteries. On short trips that isn't a problem though.

    Of the newer stoves out there I have used the MSR XGK Expedition and Brunton Optimus Crux. The Expedition is pricey, but it works like a dream at altitude and in the coldest weather. The Crux weighs NOTHING. seriously, it only weighs 3 oz minus fuel. However, it isn't a good cold weather stove.

    I guess to answer you question...It depends on what kind of trips you are taking.

    Have fun! I wish I could increase my camping schedule by 500%.

    Sylvar
     
  7. Dreams30

    Dreams30 Lady Rider

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    The coleman double burner duel fuel stove that we have hasn't worked yet. I would not recommend buying one.
     
  8. JWH123

    JWH123 Well-Known Member

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    If you'll be doing car camping where weight isn't much of an issue, I'd recommend looking at yard sales and auctions for 2-burner coleman fuel stoves, they're pretty easy to find, often for $5-10.

    I've outfitted my family pretty well so far:
    2-burner fuel
    3-burner propane (including BBQ-tank adapter hose)
    1-burner dual-fuel
    and 2 fuel single mantle lanterns.

    All of these were under $10 each. All but the first one listed were in like-new condition. All work perfectly fine.

    I'm partial to coleman fuel. For me, one fill-up lasts a weekend. The propane bottles seem too expensive to me.

    John
     
  9. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

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    Is that a newer one? If so, I'm not suprised. The older ones (like pre-1970's) are the best. My favorite is one from the 1930's that works like new. My favorite lantern was made in the early 20's, and my favorite gasoline table lamp was made in 1912. Can you tell I like the older stuff? Lasts so long if taken care of-but many times they were'nt, so need repairs. Be sure you know what you're doing though-pump up a tank full of as much air as possible, and submerge in water. Look for bubbles-if bubbles for several minutes, you have a leak. Sometimes air trapped in pump cylinders can give off bubbles, so watch them for a while to see for sure. Cracked/rusted/etc. tanks must be discarded or not used, leaky threaded joints or pumps can usually be repaired. Stress cracking in older tanks is a problem with certain brands. Coleman stuff is usually good though.

    P.S.-that 1920's and before stuff needs the burner pre-heated, as they do not light instantly. Be sure you know what you have before lighting anything. Here is a good site with a Q&A archives and page with plenty on this stuff: www.lampguild.org

    Heed all the safety info. there!
     
  10. whodunit

    whodunit Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have one of these and they are wonderful! Have had it about 11 years and still going strong. It very easy on AA batteries. Heats a 12 inch stainless steel skillet with ease. The blackening of pots and pans is no problem IMO just clean off with oven cleaner later. I use produce bags for wrapping the stove peices when packing it back up so the inside of my pans dont get sooty. We never have had a problem finding fule for it even when everything is soaked you can still find dry little sticks, pine cones under trees.

    I highly recomend and that is a good price, I think I paided about 60 some for ours.
     
  11. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    for car camping i'd suggest a coleman white gas stove. cheap, efficient, long lasting. all that. For hiking, i have seen the new whisperlites which are a bit quieter and have a large base so they don't fall over. My favorite however is a Svea Optimus. It's small, lstable, light, all brass, uses white gas, is efficient, has only one moving part, has no pump to break, never clogs, lasts a lifetime and isn't that expensive. Although it came with a little set of tools to unclog it, mine has never needed cleaning and i've been using it for over 15 years. i have never had a problem carrying fuel for it either. I did a quick search and found a webite...http://www.optimus.se/products/svea/
    enjoy camping.
     
  12. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

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    See, I really like my MSR Whisperlight. I find it to be as stable as any other backpacking stove and very reliable.

    The Svea I grew up with is still going strong. My dad won't let me have it, though.

    I recently tried out a Primus Technotrail isobutane stove for a local hiking magazine, and that is one nifty little stove! It weighs 3 ounces by itself and has a piezo-igniter so you don't even have to fumble with matches. One of those goodies just might make it's way into my pack one of these days.
     
  13. BCR

    BCR Well-Known Member

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    This is all great, and I thank you. I really don't want to buy fuel and, thinking on it further, I hate how gas grills smell and so I doubt any of these fancier stoves will win me over. In talking to you all I realize I do not want to try to find fuel for a stove, even though I can carry enough for my 5 day trips easily. I would like to think this might be one of those items that would also add to my preparedness stash, so not needing special fuel would help.

    In reviews the Sierra will burn damp wood after started with drier pieces. Not a big deal in WV, just means you have to get the stuff underneath other twigs or carry a small starter twig/cotton ball, etc.

    Please keep posting comments as in searching this site I realize we have little camping-type information. In fact, I will be posting some more questions.

    Edited to say that I put an ad in a local penny saver to find one there if I can first.
     
  14. Mastiff

    Mastiff Well-Known Member

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    Have a small Seva as well as a GAZ stove and lantern for back packing /light weight camping and a triple burner white gas Coleman for car camping.
    Hard to beat that old tripple burner Coleman. Picked it up used many years back for $4.00...
     
  15. ChuckinVA

    ChuckinVA Well-Known Member

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    If you coat the bottom of your pans with liquid soap, the blackening will wipe right off when you clean them.
     
  16. sapphira

    sapphira Well-Known Member

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    We have done two cross country camping trips - relatively tame ones, tent, etc. but we hit more often areas that we were not allowed to have a fire at all, in any way shape or form. You should have a stove of some sort or a way to cook using fuel, and never have I heard of a propane canister exploding. Just something to consider. there are national parks that just won't let you have a fire and plenty of private campgrounds that don't allow it when they follow the rules of their county. S.
     
  17. luckypabst

    luckypabst Active Member

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    I swear by (and sometimes at) my Whisperlite - been serving me well for 10 years or so. My favorite part is the ability to burn unleaded gas which at $2/gal is still less than half the price of white gas. Plus unleaded is available EVERYWHERE. It'll burn Kerosene and jet fuel with a simple jet change.

    Aside from it's inability to control the heat at any point between off and full blast - I love it. From my recent trips to the local camping stores I see they've fixed that problem with a stove called the Simmerlite.

    Chris
     
  18. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    I've got a couple I use depending on the circumstances.

    Car camping or on the ATV-comfort camping where weight isn't an issue:

    A good old 2 burner Coleman that runs on Coleman fuel. You know the big green ones.
    http://www.coleman.com/Coleman/colemancom/Detail.asp?Product_id=425F499G

    Were I buying a new model I would buy the model that runs on Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline.

    Lightweight backpacking:

    I use a 1 burner Coleman that uses Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline or kerosene. Looks something like this one:
    http://www.coleman.com/Coleman/colemancom/Detail.asp?Product_id=550B725

    Only weighs a pound or so. I carry the fuel in a anodized aluminum fuel bottle. never had any problems with it.

    Most of the time though if I was packing light (most of the time) I would use the following:
    A US military 1 quart canteen:
    http://www.uscav.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=7537&tabID=

    A cover:
    http://www.uscav.com/productinfo.aspx?productid=7538&tabID=

    I actually prefer an the older style canvas covers with a fuzzy type liner. You could soak the cover and at night the evaporation would seem to cool the water a bit. Just my preference though. The others work just fine.

    A US GI canteen cup and cup stove stand:
    http://www.actiongear.com/cgi-bin/t...x=folding stove&backto=/agcatalog/results.tam

    I pack along some trioxane bars to burn or just use natural burnable material. The canteen clips right onto the alice gear I use while hiking and is just super convenient. I can heat up my drinks or food with the minimum of effort. I think I maybe spent 20 dollars on the whole works from a surplus store including a huge case of trioxane bars that have lasted me for years.

    I also had a little folding stove that used a trioxane tab and you could use a standard boy scout mess kit on it. I accidentally left it sitting on a rock along a river during a float trip and never found another one like it.
    If you want something lightweight and simple then I think the canteen/cup/cupstove combo is hard to beat. I've been using mine for years.
     
  19. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Even though you dot wanna carry fuel with you, i gotta say that i love my "tommy" stove and trioxane fuel tablets, heat water in a few minutes, put out the tablet and light again later... will burn 15 minutes or a little longer maybe..... can carry enough fuel inside the stove for a weeks worth of cooking.... one BS troop i know of carries the stove exclusively as it dont weigh anyone down, fuel dont leak on anything and its nearly fool proof if anything comes that close [fools are everywhere].

    I seen a website for ultralightweight backpacking where they took the seirra to the extreme and lightened it up further by stripping it down to bare nothingness and adding a solar cell for power [battery weighs to much]


    Personally ive used a whole raft of diferent stove types and campfires for cooking, and depending upon what ou are cooking will determine the best type of stove for use.... when horse camping a person can pack in a propane setup with hotwater heater attached..... well at least for base camp.... for spike camps i like to use my 1-2- or 3 burner colemans, depending on who is with me and how many meals are gonna be cooked, sometimes all 6 burners are going.....

    The MSR stoves ive dealt with were ok, but frustrating too.... some of those little propane cylanders everyone is in awe about can be refilled with caution harbor frrieght use to sell the piece to fill from a bigger bottle..... I dont have any of those stoves anymore.... just the white gas ones..... and lanterns too....

    www.brigadequartermaster.com runs a special on the trioxane fuel once in awhile as does cheaperthandirt. and i believe the trioxane is better than the hexamine and have used both.... something i keep in my vehicles, cause the fuel is stable and the stoves are under 10 bux.

    edited to change the url for

    brigadequartermaster and adding to say that idont own stock in them but have never been dealt with unfairly either.

    William