Anyone have experience with a Fancy Feast stove at elevation? I tried the 3 oz. size on a short backpack in the Ozarks over the weekend and was amazed at how well it worked. It boiled a 2 cups of water in less than five minutes on about 1/4 cup of fuel. How much more fuel can I expect to need at treeline in Colorado? Any other Fancy Feast stove altitude issues I should be aware of? Thanks in advance. - Kent
Thanks Lori. I'm planning a multiday trip in the San Juans this summer and thinking of leaving my Whisperlite behind . So I'll pose a few more questions. Do you use it for any purpose other than boiling water? Do you use the 3 oz. can? How much alcohol do you take per day per person? (I know that depends on what it's being used for, but any info would be most helpful). I much appreciate the info shared on this great forum! - Kent
Loc: Meadow Valley, CA
With the dinged up Olicamp pot I have, I can't make a good seal on the one I made a few years back. Seems like you used up quite a bit of fuel though. My Caldera Cone setup (2.2 oz) uses less than 3/4 oz of fuel to boil 1.5 cups of water in 7-9 minutes? Duane
You have to remember that you use less fuel for less water, and not everyone boils water every meal. I used about an ounce to boil .7 - .9 liter of water, half an ounce for half that amount. And if you filter the water first you don't have to get the water boiling, just hot enough for tea or rehydrating the meal. I do water at breakfast and dinner just for me and always had enough left to wash out the bowl, wash my hands and face, and a few ounces left over. Being more exacting about it would let you dial in on just what you need for fuel.
I've made a simmer cat (fewer holes) and taken it along too for steam baking or simmering on the few occasions that I do more than boil. You can get 15 minutes of burn time out of the same amount of fuel with a simmer stove.
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Yes, 1/4 cup=4 tablespoons. That is a LOT of fuel to heat two cups of water. Most of us expect 2 cups to boil on 2 tablespoons or less of fuel. If you are simply having a hot beverage and rehydrating pre-cooked food, getting the water to about simmering should be enough. Most pathogens that bother humans die at 180 F. This probably won't kill spores like cryptosporidium or giardia, though.
You can save a LOT of fuel getting foods that require actual cooking up to boiling for a minute or until your fuel runs out, then insulating your pot. Something like beans that might need a long cooking time may require this "coasting" method combined with a few repeat boil episodes. Many of us carry an insulating sleeve made from windshield reflectors or water heater insulation (Reflectix)or simply wrap our pots with a hat or fleece jacket.
Maybe everyone already knows this, so please excuse if so. At higher elevation and lower pressure, water boils at a lower temperature, so you should not have to use as much fuel to bring it to a boil (unless the flame burns cooler for some reason). However, the water will stay at its boiling point temperature until it's completely boiled away, so that's why food takes longer to cook at altitude. You are cooking it at a lower temperature.
My chemistry professor used to do a demonstration with a small vacuum chamber and a cup of water. He would lower the pressure inside the chamber until the water would boil, at room temperature.
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Right. Back in the olden days, when I was a girl, this was actually covered in school. While water is "boiling" at a lower temp and some foods will cook more slowly, some will never be "done." For example, the starch in potatoes usually won't break down unless one cooks them in a pressure cooker at elevation.
People who count on boiling water to kill Giardia, etc., will need the water to boil longer to kill the spores. It might be more weight- and cost-effective to filter water in this case. Mountains on the east coast probably are not high enough for altitude to have this impact.
Loc: California (southern)
Actually, most of the bad guys will die if you boil the water at any altitude, including the summit of Everest, where the boiling point is around 165 degrees F. the temperature at which milk is pasteurized and at which cooked meat is considered to be "safely cooked" ( my understanding, at least). Just bringing the water to a good rolling boil should be sufficient at any altitude. I believe many people are being excessively cautious by prolonging the boiling time for disinfecting purposes.
Loc: Eastern MA, USA
Right. Nearly all pathogens die by the time water is heated to 180 F. It doesn't have to be boiling to kill most "germs." Spores and cysts are another story. That is why medical tools or supplies are (or were 40 years ago) sterilzed in an autoclave which provided pressurized steam heat and there was a prescribed time to maintain the heat and pressure. We don't NEED this in the field for the most part, but just be cautious about spores and cysts.
My latest hole configuration is much more efficient. -- brought a liter of water to a rolling boil on less than on oz. of alcohol. I can't believe how little fuel I'll need for a week long solo trip. Thanks again for the info everyone.
brought a liter of water to a rolling boil on less than on oz. of alcohol.
That's much more impressive! A whole liter on less than an ounce. Your first stove was way too fast. Slower burning stoves are more efficient to a point. They can be so slow as to never get to a boil, of course. You need to find the right combination for your pot and windscreen setup.
Elevation hasn't seemed to make a difference to me. I used mine at 12,200' last summer. Colder temps can make it harder to light and you must wait longer before putting on the pot.