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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
Moderator

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.
_________________________
Don't get me started, you know how I get.

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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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My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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#92414 - 03/21/08 04:36 PM Winter Stove for melting snow(liquid fuel!) [Re: altadude]
300winmag Offline
member

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
_________________________
"There are no comfortable backpacks. Some are just less uncomfortable than others."

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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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Any fool can be uncomfortable...
My 3 season gear list
Winter list.
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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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