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#92380 - 03/12/08 08:26 PM Winter Stove for melting snow
altadude Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/03
Posts: 524
I am not looking for a lightweight stove...........

Just looking for one which will melt snow using white gas or kerosene........

And I want it to be safe and very bomb proof (not needing fiddling or needing repairs).........

Just want something which can melt snow for 6 people in a 2 1/2 quart pot.......

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#92381 - 03/12/08 09:52 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
MSR XGK- It does one thing really well-burn at full blast for as long as the fuel lasts. I'm not saying there aren't other, newer, designs that will do the same thing, but the XGK meets all of your criteria and for what you want, one of the older ones would be a good choice.

I don't know much about the new ones; mine was made in the 80's, but I don't expect them to be much different, except in looks. The basic stove design is the same-the housing looks different. The newer ones have a shaker jet (the model II and the newer EX), but mine came with the tool to clean the jet-works just fine.

An XGK will burn virtually any flammable liquid, including kerosene. There are other multi-fuel stoves, such as the Optimus Nova (which I also have) but a lot of people consider the XGK the standard for brute force cooking.

It is loud, obnoxious, hot, and almost trouble free. It is also easy to repair, has almost no moving parts, uses the standard MSR pump and will last for years. Both the stove and the pump are about as simple a design as you can find for a pressurized liquid fuel stove.

Safe? Depends on your definition. No stove is perfectly safe. Just be sensible about priming it and use it outdoors only.

I have set both my stove and pump on fire (not on purpose, of course) and they both were no worse for the wear.

They are pricey, but you can probably find one of the old ones fairly cheap, which is another reason I recommend it-there are a lot of them around.

One more reason to get one-MSR has great customer service and even supports old stoves like mine. They sent me some parts for free a few years ago when I rebuilt mine and asked them about finding parts for it.


Edited by TomD (03/13/08 02:04 PM)

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#92382 - 03/13/08 05:41 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
fos Offline
member

Registered: 05/24/02
Posts: 538
I like the Primus Omni-fuel (I've also used an XGK), because you have the inverted canister option along with liquid fuels. We've used this in the single digits to melt snow for a group of five, worked fine, and we didn't even bother to swap out the white gas jet for the canister jet, so it was burning a little lean on the canister gas.

It's quieter and more controllable and easier to light without a flareup than the XGK, but a skinnier fuel line so maybe a higher risk for a clog with bad fuel. I figure you could purge the line with a canister if it clogged on liquid fuel, but that's a guess/hope and not anything I've read or experienced.

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#92383 - 03/13/08 08:48 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
crackers Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 290
Loc: New York / Istanbul
Quote:
MSR XGK-anyone who recommends anything else has never used one. It does one thing really well-burn at full blast for as long as the fuel lasts.


...or does something like alpinism. XGK's are great, but they're better for base camps than for moving fast.

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#92384 - 03/13/08 10:20 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: crackers]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Quote:
Quote:
MSR XGK-anyone who recommends anything else has never used one. It does one thing really well-burn at full blast for as long as the fuel lasts.


...or does something like alpinism. XGK's are great, but they're better for base camps than for moving fast.


I have no reason not to believe Crackers is right. I didn't mean to imply other stoves won't do the same thing, and have edited my original post to reflect that, but all things considered, for what Altadude intends, the XGK is hard to beat.



Edited by TomD (03/13/08 02:09 PM)
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#92385 - 03/13/08 06:33 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

I use two stoves for this purpose, depending on what I'm doing.

1) SVEA 123 aquired at a garage sale. Once you know how to start one in the cold there is absolutely nothing to go wrong with one. It burns White Gas (Coleman fuel) or gasoline just fine. I normally burn only white gas. This stove also simmers well. (The Whisperlite does not) As this stove is pumpless, if you find one you should practice in cold weather first before going out and depending on it (It's very doable, just know what to do)

2) MSR Whisperlite (Whisperloud) - Mostly idiot proof but clean 'em at the end of the season. It burns White Gas well. My model is not the international so it doens't do kerosene.
Don't burn gasoline in em, clogs it up. Throws a lot more heat than the SVEA can, however I
don't typically blast either stove at full tilt for snow melting. You don't need to.

Either it a good choice. Kerosene is fine but smells more and is harder to get lit up (you'll have more stove flaring), so if you have a choice, white gas.
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#92386 - 03/14/08 09:08 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
crackers Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 290
Loc: New York / Istanbul
Quote:

I have no reason not to believe Crackers is right. I didn't mean to imply other stoves won't do the same thing, and have edited my original post to reflect that, but all things considered, for what Altadude intends, the XGK is hard to beat.



SMack!

For melting snow for 6 folks, bring 2 XGKs! And bring a kerosene filter / make one yourself!

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#92387 - 03/14/08 10:17 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: crackers]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
One thing about an XGK-at least the old ones-they have a separate jet for kerosene that has a small "K" stamped into it. If you get one and intend to use kerosene, be sure to have the right jet for it. New stoves come with both, but if you get a used one and it doesn't come with it, you can get one from MSR.

Crackers is right, melting snow for 6 people will be a tedious project, so expect to spend a lot of time tending to the stove. Don't forget to bring the water to a boil, even if momentarily, to kill whatever bugs may be in it. This way, you have treated your water at the same time, so no need to filter it, unless there is something else in the snow, like heavy metals, you need to remove.
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#92388 - 03/14/08 09:16 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
Paul Offline
member

Registered: 09/30/02
Posts: 778
Loc: California
My snow camping stove is a whisperlite. But for a party of 6 I would not bring just one stove. probably even for 4 I would bring a second stove. Otherwise it's going to be a long haul to melt snow and cook dinner for everyone. I'd go for 2 stoves and I'd bring a 4-quart pot for each one. I use a 2-quart pan for 2 guys and sometimes wish it was bigger. Fuel-wise, my experience has been 1 liter of fuel each person lasts us a week in spring sierra weather (warm days, meaning you can keep adding snow to your water bottle during the day and it melts so you don't have to melt as much on the stove).

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#92389 - 03/15/08 05:29 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
obi96 Offline
newbie

Registered: 01/04/07
Posts: 10
Loc: Vermont
MSR XGK of course, it has the reliability of an AK-47 with the power and noise of a shuttle launch.

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#92390 - 03/15/08 06:07 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
altadude Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/03
Posts: 524
Thanks everyone for the good advice......

Often we camp in cabins (I know I am a wimp)..........so we have a wood stove and we use the gas stove and the wood stove to melt snow...........

But when we tent we do bring two stoves for 6 people........

A

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#92391 - 03/16/08 09:01 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Hi TomD

I know you love xgk...
XGKs are wonderful workhorses, but I never carry mine anymore. My Coleman Xtreme puts out as much heat, lights and turns off easily, no priming, it can simmer and I feel safe using it in my tent. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

Melting water for 6 people is not an easy task and without a very efficient setup it may well be impossible. Use the pan with the largest bottom available - at least 7 inches, and use a good windscreen that fits close. and have something to set the stoves on, like 1/8" plywood or something similar.
<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
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#92392 - 03/16/08 04:46 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: Jimshaw]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada

Yeah but it says "Coleman" on it. I'd have to get over my instantaneous associative memory that equates seeing that word with "balky unreliable cheaply made piece of crap" <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#92393 - 03/16/08 05:10 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: phat]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Phat
I'm sure Coleman stole the idea from some good company that they purchased. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/crazy.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" /> Don't Coleman canoes just make ya think of quality? <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />

I hear they wanna discontinue the line and the fuel - figures. I may go out and buy up $100 worth of fuel. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />

When we awoke to a freak storm with 50 mph winds and minus 5 degrees I was pleased to be able to light the Xtreme in the vestibule and melt snow for coffee and instant oatmeal. The instant on makes lighting under such circumstances possible, ANd the positive shut off valve means no white gas fumes on cool down. They are poisonous by the way. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
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#92394 - 03/16/08 06:47 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: Jimshaw]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Jim, As you may recall, I have a Coleman Xtreme, which I bought after using yours on our trip. Mine is the single burner, slightly lighter model.

The Colemans are good stoves, no doubt. They are easy to use and pretty foolproof.

However, Altadude wanted a stove that would burn kerosene to melt snow for a lot of people. The XGK fits that description quite well.

The advantage I see for the XGK or any other liquid fuel stove over a canister stove of any kind in that situation is that you only need to carry one fuel bottle and pump plus a gallon of fuel in one container and that should last a long time.

I guess the question is how a Coleman cartridge equals how much liquid fuel and I don't know the answer to that one.

Jim, also, don't you have the MSR heat sink thingie that wraps around a pot?

It looks like Coleman has already discontinued the single burner Xtreme stoves. They are now selling a pair of really expensive multifuel stoves. They do have this goofy adapter for regular canisters, but it looks heavy and clumsy.


Edited by TomD (03/16/08 07:04 PM)
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#92395 - 03/17/08 10:03 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: Jimshaw]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
Phat
When we awoke to a freak storm with 50 mph winds and minus 5 degrees I was pleased to be able to light the Xtreme in the vestibule and melt snow for coffee and instant oatmeal. The instant on makes lighting under such circumstances possible, ANd the positive shut off valve means no white gas fumes on cool down. They are poisonous by the way. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />


Positive shut of valve with no fumes. sounds like my svea <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
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#92396 - 03/17/08 05:55 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
altadude Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/03
Posts: 524
Wow!

Lots to think about.

I have a friend who does mountaineering and he recommended to me to use a canister stove setup............yes, we could bring a few stoves but he thinks these work well even to minus 20deg F as long as one stays below 8000ft (easily done in the Northeast)........just to keep the canister in your jacket before using.......

What do people think of this?

He feels they are easier to use and don't clog up...........

I know I suggested that I wanted to use multi-fuels but also am interested in ease of use and as "foolproof" as possible.........

My idea is still a moving topic........

Thanks again for help as always.......

A

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#92397 - 03/17/08 06:11 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
midnightsun03 Offline
member

Registered: 08/06/03
Posts: 2936
Loc: Alaska
Quote:
as long as one stays below 8000ft (easily done in the Northeast)........
LOLOLOLOL

Seems to me there has been some discussion on this topic in the past, and keeping the canister in the jacket (inside the inner layer would probably be best) does work... you can probably keep it warm by insulating from the snow and using a windscreen to help capture the warmth generated.

MNS
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#92398 - 03/17/08 07:46 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:

I have a friend who does mountaineering and he recommended to me to use a canister stove setup............yes, we could bring a few stoves but he thinks these work well even to minus 20deg F as long as one stays below 8000ft (easily done in the Northeast)........just to keep the canister in your jacket before using.......

What do people thing of this.


They will work fine to 20F - that ain't very cold - with a little bit of canister warming you're
fine.

They don't work worth a crap below about 10F - unless you pre-warm them. I don't trust one in anything like winter - but winter here is -20 and -30 (Centigrade).

The problem is isopro has a little bit of propane and a lot of butane - if you burn off the propane in cold weather before getting it warm enough to vaporize the butane, well, you're boned.


Quote:

He feels they are easier to use and don't clog up...........


They are easier to use. they don't need any priming. They don't clog up, but lindal valves (the little ball that holds the gas in when you disconnect the stove) fail. *PARTICULARLY* in cooler weather.

And if you are melting snow, you will need a *lot* of fuel - that's a lot of canisters.

So imo, depends what you're using it for. If you're not much colder than 20F, and you're just doing a bit of cooking and coffee making, canister is great. If you're melting snow for water for a party of people, forget it. White gas. If you want to keep it simple, get a good, simple white gas stove.

Of course, by the time you are *not* melting snow - you can consider alcohol.

I own a canister stove, I use it mostly for daytrips, and making coffee in hotel rooms <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />
In a non-snow melting situation, I use alcohol, in a homemade alcohol stove. It is lighter than the canister stove, and more bombproof (no lindal valve to fail and lose my fuel)

If snow melting is going to happen, I take a white gas stove. using one is really not
rocket science.
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#92399 - 03/17/08 07:46 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
There are several discussions about using canisters at high altitude. No personal experience though, except at 7600 ft. at about 15-30F. In this range, canisters work fine, but for what you want to do, I still think a liquid stove would be a better choice.

I think canisters work better at high altitude because of the pressure differential. They don't need to be as warm to work well at high altitude. Some canisters have different fuel mixes of butane and propane that affect how well they work. There was some discussion of that a while back.

If you go with a canister, you could get the Coleman Expedition double burner stove like Jim has. The Coleman cartridge seems to work better in cold weather because it picks up the fuel differently than a typical gas canister.
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#92400 - 03/17/08 09:38 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
bmisf Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 629
Canister stoves can work in those colder temperatures - we just used one in Yellowstone and temperatures were as low as -14 one night.

There are tricks, though:

- You need a stove with a remote canister (e.g. the Primus Multifuel) and you need to turn the canister upside down (so, the valve and line are at the bottom)
- The stove needs a preheat tube running through the burner

This lets the stove pull the liquid components of the canister fuel out and make use of them efficiently, whereas if the canister is right-side-up, you only get whatever is still gas, and the liquid stays at the bottom of the canister.

It helps (but isn't necessary) to put the canister in some lukewarm water if you have it, or to put a chemical hand warmer on top of it. And, either way, you'll be better off with a heat sink pot (like the Primus ETAPoweror Jetboil GCS pots), or the MSR heat exchanger, plus good shielding from the wind, which will help increase efficiency.

With all that in place, the canister stove will work quite well for melting snow for water - about as efficient and fast as the liquid fuel stoves. We generated water for a group of six with a single stove set up this way several nights in a row.

This setup is also just as safe as Jim's for cooking in a vestibule (we used the canister stoves inside igloos as well).

Oh - and canister stoves work *better* at altitude - that (and the fact that they're less fiddly) is why they're the stove of choice on Everest and other high mountaineering destinations.

As for the liquid fuel stoves, they certainly can crank out BTUs for melting snow, and they're probably better at really extreme temperatures, but more and more I'm starting to see the value in sticking with canister stoves. The last blizzard I was in, I was grateful for the canister stove (a Jetboil) that I could use - carefully - inside my tent.

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#92401 - 03/18/08 12:05 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: bmisf]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Steve, On Patagonia's website, there is a video with one of their sponsored climbers going through the gear he took to Nanga Parbat. The stove he had looked like a MSR Windpro (he didn't mention brand names, just pulled stuff out of a bag and talked about it). Whatever it is, it has the hose on it. He made an interesting point-titanium may be lighter, but aluminum conducts heat better. He had a homemade heat sink for his pot-looked like it was made from roof flashing or something similar.

He mentioned doing just what you suggest-using a canister upside down. The Coleman like Jim and I have has an adapter you can buy to do the same thing-run it with a standard canister.

The last thing I need is another stove, but a stove like the Primus Gravity MF II is tempting. Which one were you using?

ps. How was the Yellowstone trip?


Edited by TomD (03/18/08 12:10 AM)

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#92402 - 03/18/08 03:08 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
ringtail Offline
member

Registered: 08/22/02
Posts: 2296
Loc: Colorado Rockies
I think the perfect winter stove is the Trangia 27 with the gas burner running in inverted mode.

Very stable and IF one were to fire up the stove in a tent that is the one I use...no would use.

The canister still needs to be warmed for ignition and the stove should be lit BEFORE the canister is inverted.

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#92403 - 03/18/08 04:17 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: ringtail]
huskyrunnr Offline
member

Registered: 05/29/05
Posts: 54
Loc: E. WA
Trangia, good idea. Or a scaled up version, maybe with a stove constructed from a Fosters can. A friend of mine melts snow for herself and three dogs using some sort of coffee pot alcohol stove she rigged up. Here is what I use for 8 dogs and myself. It is a 5 gal. metal paint bucket from the dumpster with a stockpot that nests inside but the stockpot handles hold it up from the bottom of the paint can. the can has 4 or so large air holes around the bottom. An Origo marine alcohol stove sits in the bottom. Very fuel efficient but slow compared to most other Mushers stoves.

Here is what an origo marine stove looks like:

http://www.swego.com/mall/canister_stoves.asp

In a pinch, you can just build a fire in the bottom of the paint can with sticks.



Edited by huskyrunnr (03/18/08 04:25 PM)
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#92404 - 03/18/08 08:44 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: phat]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
Phat
actually isobutane has no propane and only an isomer of Butane <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />which has a lower boiling point <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />- around 14 degrees vs 32 degrees for regular butane if I remeber right. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />You don't burn off "the top" with isobutane like those "mixed cartridges" that you mentioned.

Isobutane does realy make a difference but as YOU know - evaporation will cool the fuel eventually and you must rewarm it or the flame goes away. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />
<img src="/forums/images/graemlins/smirk.gif" alt="" />Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
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#92405 - 03/18/08 08:53 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: bmisf]
Jimshaw Offline
member

Registered: 10/22/03
Posts: 3938
Loc: Bend, Oregon
brimsf
Hi Steve
quote
__________________________________
"As for the liquid fuel stoves, they certainly can crank out BTUs for melting snow, and they're probably better at really extreme temperatures, but more and more I'm starting to see the value in sticking with canister stoves. The last blizzard I was in, I was grateful for the canister stove (a Jetboil) that I could use - carefully - inside my tent." <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/tongue.gif" alt="" />
______________________________________

Yep its like "thank you for having me take this stove on this trip". The morning I mentioned the gusting wind was trying to rip my eldorado from its moorings, which fortunately consisted of 4 skis shoved into dense snow. <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/shocked.gif" alt="" />The tent was shaking so violently that it beat you if you sat up. There was no way to have lit the Bibler hanging stove even. In the vestibule there was effectively a wind because the side blew back and forth so priming would have been hard with white gas.
Jim <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/cool.gif" alt="" />
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#92406 - 03/18/08 10:37 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
bmisf Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 629
Hi Tom -

The stove was someone else's but looked just like my Primus Multifuel. We also had a Primus ETAPower, and I had a Nova+ I'm testing (its valve froze up after a few hours of use; had to use pliers at home to finally get it unstuck).

The Yellowstone trip was great - pictures here:

http://www.brilliantmedia.com/bp/yell/

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#92407 - 03/18/08 10:53 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: bmisf]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Nice pics, Steve. I take it the snow coaches took you somewhere, then you skied off to where you camped? Did they come pick you up again or did you ski back to somewhere else?

Looks like a really interesting trip. I remember seeing some of those thermal pools when I was there as a kid years ago.
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#92408 - 03/19/08 08:24 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
crackers Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 290
Loc: New York / Istanbul
Quote:
Steve, On Patagonia's website, there is a video with one of their sponsored climbers going through the gear he took to Nanga Parbat. The stove he had looked like a MSR Windpro (he didn't mention brand names, just pulled stuff out of a bag and talked about it). Whatever it is, it has the hose on it....


A few thoughts, in no particular order, constrained by the large volume of work I am currently shirking.

His name is Steve House. The stove was a wind pro.

Personally, I've had the responsibility of running a snow melt operation / kitchen for 6 people for about 10 days twice.

My experience is that I would bring two XGKs and a gallon of white gas. Cannisters are my preferred stove for 90% of things in the world, but not for this. It's just the wrong tool.

BTW, wait till you see the new upside down turning, hanging compatible, wide base jetboil helios, (unless of course you already have...) which will be out at the end of the April. The double secret rumor mill (lets ask jasonlivy...) says that MSR might be working on an upside down reactor...

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#92409 - 03/19/08 09:27 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
bmisf Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 629
Hi Tom -

The snow coaches took us to Old Faithful, where there's a winter lodge and cabins. We stayed in the latter for a night, then skied/snowshoed off into the backcountry.

The group actually went on for a full 10 days - I was only there for four (had to go out early for family obligations). There will be podcasts and articles about the trip in future editions of backpackinglight.

Crackers - yep, saw the news on the Jetboil stove, and interesting to hear that they'll do a remote canister Reactor. Probably good news all around - with the caveat that a lot of these efficient canister stoves have really bad CO emissions. Definitely some caution due there.

My experience with liquid fuel stoves in the past has been good - but I was impressed with the performance of the Primus stove with the remote, upside-down canister in some pretty harsh and cold conditions. Definitely made me rethink my past preference for liquid fuel in winter.

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#92410 - 03/19/08 11:32 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: bmisf]
TomD Offline
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Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Hey Steve, I'll keep an eye out for the reports on BPL. The snow coach looks like a great way to get into the backcountry, given the size of the park.

Interesting about the stove. I saw a couple of reviews of the Primus Gravity MF and it seems to have some problems running liquid fuels. Brunton has a new one, but it's a bit heavy and really pricey ($180), so I may look at the other Primus-the one that looks a bit like the Nova. That one sounds like what you all had.

The upside down canister idea is what makes the Coleman work-same idea with a different design. But if Jim is right, those may be collector's items soon. I wrote to Coleman about this but didn't hear back. That doesn't bode well. If a company is on the verge of obsoleting a product line, they are unlikely to let anyone know, so they can dump existing stock on unsuspecting buyers.

Did you figure what caused the Nova to freeze up? When mine clogged in Yosemite, I pulled out the filter and that seemed to solve the problem. After that, it worked fine.
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#92411 - 03/21/08 07:46 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
crackers Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/06
Posts: 290
Loc: New York / Istanbul
Quote:
... I wrote to Coleman about this but didn't hear back. That doesn't bode well. If a company is on the verge of obsoleting a product line, they are unlikely to let anyone know, so they can dump existing stock on unsuspecting buyers..


Actually Tom, store buyers are the first people to know and end user buyers are the last. That way the stores can run huge discounts on the stoves and make extra money clearing them at out incredibly low prices...

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#92412 - 03/21/08 11:22 AM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: crackers]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Crackers, that makes sense. STP, Overstock.com and other online discounters make their money selling leftovers. With a "stand alone" item like a jacket or tent, this isn't an issue, but with a product like a stove that needs a renewable supply of fuel to work (or a product that uses a proprietary battery or cameras that use a certain size film) discontinuing the product usually means the renewable item is not far behind.

One reason a stove like the Svea 123 is still around after almost a hundred years in spite of all the newer models and brands is because it is a simple design that uses a commonly available fuel.
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#92413 - 03/21/08 12:38 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
Crackers, that makes sense. STP, Overstock.com and other online discounters make their money selling leftovers. With a "stand alone" item like a jacket or tent, this isn't an issue, but with a product like a stove that needs a renewable supply of fuel to work (or a product that uses a proprietary battery or cameras that use a certain size film) discontinuing the product usually means the renewable item is not far behind.


Leading to planned obsolescence so the customer has to buy the new model.

Quote:

One reason a stove like the Svea 123 is still around after almost a hundred years in spite of all the newer models and brands is because it is a simple design that uses a commonly available fuel.


Companies make more money selling your disposable stuff that they can sell you another in 5 years, than selling you something that'll last.

Consumers don't punish companies enough for proprietary lockins and planned obsolesence schemes, in all industries. It's a real shame.
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#92414 - 03/21/08 04:36 PM Winter Stove for melting snow(liquid fuel!) [Re: altadude]
300winmag Offline
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Registered: 02/28/06
Posts: 1342
Loc: Nevada, USA
I use an MSR Dragonfly white gas/kerosene/car gas/fuel oil "multi fuel" stove. It not only has the BTU output but is dead reliable. I always use it with its foil windscreen for maximum efficiency.

This stove can simmer like no other liquid fuel stove I've seen. The low simmer capability saves gas when cooking. To me winter is the time to use the BEST suited gear for the climate. White gas stoves get my top endorsement.

Eric
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#92415 - 03/21/08 07:48 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
bmisf Offline
member

Registered: 09/15/03
Posts: 629
Quote:
Did you figure what caused the Nova to freeze up? When mine clogged in Yosemite, I pulled out the filter and that seemed to solve the problem. After that, it worked fine.


The Nova+ even ships with a cautionary note tucked into the manual, saying not to tighten the valve closed too hard. I think that's what happened - the stove was hot and the metal expanded, and I closed it pretty hard when it suddenly shut down. It cooled, the metal contracted, and it was locked shut. Because the new valve design works by rotating a fuel line, rather than using a "handle" for the valve, it loses some torque to the rotation of the fuel line, and thus it's almost impossible to open it back up by rotating the line once it's stuck closed. That's why it took a pair of pliers.

It's a poor design, in my opinion. There are some things they could do to fix it, which I'll outline in my report (e.g., at least make sure the valve stem has flat sides that would allow the included tool to turn it in the field, rather than requiring pliers)...

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#92416 - 04/09/08 06:24 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: TomD]
altadude Offline
member

Registered: 11/16/03
Posts: 524
Quote:
MSR XGK- It does one thing really well-burn at full blast for as long as the fuel lasts. I'm not saying there aren't other, newer, designs that will do the same thing, but the XGK meets all of your criteria and for what you want, one of the older ones would be a good choice.

I don't know much about the new ones; mine was made in the 80's, but I don't expect them to be much different, except in looks. The basic stove design is the same-the housing looks different. The newer ones have a shaker jet (the model II and the newer EX), but mine came with the tool to clean the jet-works just fine.

An XGK will burn virtually any flammable liquid, including kerosene. There are other multi-fuel stoves, such as the Optimus Nova (which I also have) but a lot of people consider the XGK the standard for brute force cooking.

It is loud, obnoxious, hot, and almost trouble free. It is also easy to repair, has almost no moving parts, uses the standard MSR pump and will last for years. Both the stove and the pump are about as simple a design as you can find for a pressurized liquid fuel stove.

Safe? Depends on your definition. No stove is perfectly safe. Just be sensible about priming it and use it outdoors only.

I have set both my stove and pump on fire (not on purpose, of course) and they both were no worse for the wear.

They are pricey, but you can probably find one of the old ones fairly cheap, which is another reason I recommend it-there are a lot of them around.

One more reason to get one-MSR has great customer service and even supports old stoves like mine. They sent me some parts for free a few years ago when I rebuilt mine and asked them about finding parts for it.


I am "this close" to pulling the trigger on an MSR XGK..........does it burn alcohol?
Another stupid question........just wondering.........

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#92417 - 04/09/08 07:17 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Nope it doesn't (and don't put alcohol in the unlined MSR fuel bottles - they don't like it) but it'll pretty much burn anything from white gas to car gas to kerosene to lamp oil to diesel, to BBQ lighter fluid.

They're kind of heavy (not my thing for solo backpacking) - We have an old one. I run it on kerosene for hunting spike camps. It has in the past digested white gas just fine (still my first choice), car unleaded (clogs up a bit more), and Diesel fuel (clogs up and smokes on startup a more). It broke once a long time ago and MSR "fixed it" (basically turned it into a new stove) for the princely sum of 15 dollars... It definately would be a good stove to melt a heck of a large lot of snow on.

One thing to note if you buy one, I usually still prime this one with alcohol. I carry a small alky in my pocket when hunting big game, and once i started doing that, and therefore had a bottle of methanol in camp, I figured out to prime this old guy with alcohol rather than drizzling a lot of kerosene into it an torching it off to prime it. The alcohol flares a lot less and produces a lot less smoke yet still heats it up just fine.

I carry the whisperlite or svea on winter backpacking trips because, well, I don't need the kerosene for other reasons and am fine with white gas, and this old xgk stays in the spike camp stuff in storage <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> - at least in my case this is also the old kind with the fixed fuel line - so the whisperlite packs a lot smaller - the new XGK's have a flexible fuel line like the whisperlite though.

Don't even think about saying the word simmer anywhere near one - nobody will hear you say it while it's running anyway <img src="/forums/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" /> As long as you're fine with that, and the weight, it's a good choice.
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#92418 - 04/09/08 07:56 PM Re: Winter Stove for melting snow [Re: altadude]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
No it doesn't, according to MSR. I think the reason is that alcohol eats the gaskets in the pump.

However, I have burned something called methylated spirits in mine and that stuff is basically denatured alcohol. It was purple and didn't burn very hot. I used it when I couldn't find white gas (Shellite) which is like Coleman fuel.

So, the answer is, can you do it, yes, should you do it, probably not.

Mine is also the old style-the round one with the hard fuel line and plastic pump.


Edited by TomD (04/09/08 07:59 PM)
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#92419 - 04/11/08 10:36 AM Alky and aluminum bottles don't mix! [Re: TomD]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
No it doesn't, according to MSR. I think the reason is that alcohol eats the gaskets in the pump.


Actually, it's not because of the gaskets - is because msr fuel bottles are unlined aluminium, and methyl
alcohol can react with aluminium to corrode it and generate hydrogen gas! (See Section 10 in this MSDS , or the warnings about reactivity here..)

The short answer is basically that some alcohols (particularly methyl) can react with alumnium. Storing
fuel in a bottle you intend to have pressurized flamable stuff in that both corrodes it and generates hydrogen gas inside is generally a bad idea. Don't do it kids.. The reaction is slow and won't happen quick, but it'll happen.

Some aluminum fuel bottles (I think the optimus ones) are lined with plastic (like a pop can is), to make it safe to put alcohols in them. MSR ones ain't. Don't put alky in an aluminum fuel bottle unless the bottle maker says it is safe to do so. MSR doesn't say their stove burn alcohol because they know they don't want people putting alky in MSR fuel bottles.
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#92420 - 04/11/08 10:43 AM Re: Alky and aluminum bottles don't mix! [Re: phat]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada


... and I find it unfortunate in this day and age that important stuff like this is just put in directions as "don't put alcohol in it" with no reasoning why for people, so it gets lumped in all the other stupid warnings on a fuel bottle like "don't use your lighter to see if there is gas in it in your tent at night", "don't put in a microwave with a poodle to dry it out", "Your coffee heated with the stove hooked to this bottle could be very hot, don't pour it in your crotch" - etc. etc. Rather than tell people about the realistic limits of a product we plaster it with stupidity in reaction to potential lawsuits.

Sorry, I'm ranting, but I find it annoying that real stuff like this is not mentioned about products, but
stupid stuff like the above is.
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#92421 - 04/11/08 03:26 PM Re: Alky and aluminum bottles don't mix! [Re: phat]
TomD Offline
Moderator

Registered: 10/30/03
Posts: 4963
Loc: Marina del Rey,CA
Thanks Phat, I always thought that it was the stove-never ocurred to me it was the bottle.

I have two old bottles- an MSR and a Sigg bottle, and I don't remember the few times I put meths in one of them, which one I used. My MSR bottle is not one of the red ones, so that tells you it's pretty old. The outside of it is somewhat corroded-probably by salt air, but I just looked inside it with a small LED flashlight and the inside looks okay. The Sigg has fuel in it, so I didn't look inside it, but the outside is fine other than a few dents.

I also have a newer Brunton bottle-it looks like it has some kind of coating inside it, which the MSR doesn't.

The problem I had was that alcohol in a stove like an XGK gets used up really quickly because it doesn't burn as hot as white gas/Coleman fuel. You will lose the advantage of the stove design by not using the hottest fuel you can safely use.

I suppose if you really wanted to burn alcohol in an XGK, just get a coated bottle for the pump and use something else to carry extra fuel.
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#92422 - 04/11/08 06:54 PM Re: Alky and aluminum bottles don't mix! [Re: TomD]
phat Offline
Moderator

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Quote:
Thanks Phat, I always thought that it was the stove-never ocurred to me it was the bottle.
....

I suppose if you really wanted to burn alcohol in an XGK, just get a coated bottle for the pump and use something else to carry extra fuel.


Yeah, assuming you find a coated fuel bottle (that says it's ok for alcohol) that fits the pump it should be fine, The only caveat I'd say is that make darn sure your windscreen is on the stove to keep the bottle from heating up too much and overpressurizing due to the alcohol boiling. seeing as how some of the old school multifuels with brass tanks would burn alcohol I can't see why the xgk wouldn't (just not that efficiently as you've mentioned).
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