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#169798 - 09/25/12 10:26 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
To share a different experience, I've used a Pocket Rocket ever since they came out, and have no complaints or bad experience. (It did fail to boil once, but in all fairness, it was on a push-the-gear-limits January trip, and zero degrees. smile ) A friend of mine has had equal success. In case locale and type of user might affect the results, I would point out that we are both strictly recreational, weekend hikers, who hike in the Eastern US forests, and use it to boil about 12 ounces of water for freezer bag meals, and maybe make a pot of coffee or tea.

I've also tried the Snow Peak Giga, but found I liked the Pocket Rocket better - as with many of my other gear decisions, it was more subjective than objective, as I never had any problems with the Giga, either.


And of course, I replaced the deficient PR with a Giga, which has been a much more efficient and stable stove for three years of loaning, burning, and SARing - the prongs haven't bent or loosened, it hasn't been as tippy, the pot sits straight on those four prongs instead of being off kilter on two straight and one loose and slightly-warped thin little supports, and I have yet to bother taking the Giga in its original hard plastic case anywhere - in fact, I don't know where the case is. The PR would scratch the inside of any pot I put it in - if I could find a pot in my collection that it fit into. If I didn't put it in the heavy plastic case (that doubled its weight) I'd tear or scratch something in the pack. It put holes in the small microfiber sack I tried to use. As a solo hiker I kept wanting to take small two cup pots, narrower ones, that the PR just would not nest into if I also wanted to put the canister in. The Giga, on the other hand, fits into anything I want including the GSI Minimalist I use for SAR - with the pot, folding spoon, and silicon grip plus a mini bic lighter. And it doesn't have sharp edges, so doesn't do any damage.

Yep, it all depends on what you do and how you want to use it.
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#169799 - 09/25/12 10:43 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Happy Birthday Glenn Roberts Offline
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Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2000
Loc: Southwest Ohio
About the fit-in-the-pot thing: I always wrapped the PR in the small microfiber cloth I used for drying the pot (and other things) to avoid scratching. Despite MSRs website picture, I could never get the canister and stove in at the same time.

And to come clean: I did get a MicroRocket this summer, and so far, so good. Stove and canister both fit into the Titan Kettle just fine. Only used it once, so far, so can't really comment on performance yet; it didn't seem any different in fair-weather use. The pot supports do seem better, though.

Depending on the pot, I can see how 4 supports instead of 3 would help. How do you like the Minimalist?

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#169803 - 09/25/12 11:56 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts


And to come clean: I did get a MicroRocket this summer, and so far, so good. Stove and canister both fit into the Titan Kettle just fine. Only used it once, so far, so can't really comment on performance yet; it didn't seem any different in fair-weather use. The pot supports do seem better, though.

Depending on the pot, I can see how 4 supports instead of 3 would help. How do you like the Minimalist?


The Minimalist is pretty nice, though heavier than I wanted it to be - but durability is what I needed for SAR. (I am starting to duplicate basic items so the SAR pack can stay packed all the time. Continually switching gear around leads to leaving stuff behind.)

The handle on my beloved forty dollar titanium pot from REI is bent out of the sleeve and unsafe to pick up boiling water with - and of course, all they have now is nonstick. Leading to a recent purchase of a smaller Evernew uncoated pot for the leisure backpacking trips...

The MicroRocket looks like a big improvement - but of course, I don't really need to buy another stove. crazy (Or so I tell myself. We'll see...) One of my friends, a former Whisperlite devotee, got one for summer use - he really likes it. The pot supports look more durable and it folds a lot smaller.

One of the things I liked about the Giga is the windshield. Though it is another heavier-than-necessary item, I use the stainless steel original as a template to make light versions out of heavy foil.

I think my original intent was to point out that while making do with what the OP already has is perfectly acceptable and probably preferable while getting the initial planning and shakedown trips (hopefully there will be short trips to try out the gear and see what really does the job and what falls short?) under way, it would also be a mistake to assume that there aren't replacement items that are both light(er) and perfectly workable as well as economical. I brought up stoves as a perfect example. It's entirely possible to spend two bucks (on a can of Fancy Feast and an oven liner pan, from a dollar store) and have a stove that boils water in less than five minutes. And it weighs less than even the lightest of canister stoves. My cat can stove barely registers on a gram scale.
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"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

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#169808 - 09/26/12 12:15 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3917
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
And to come clean: I did get a MicroRocket this summer, and so far, so good.


lol

So, how's that new addition on the "Gear Rooms" wing of your house coming along?


Edited by billstephenson (09/26/12 12:15 AM)
Edit Reason: typos...
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#169815 - 09/26/12 07:27 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Happy Birthday Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2000
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I think stoves was a great place to start. I've found that most people make the biggest savings in 3 places: Pack (can't do anything about that until other gear questions are settled), Tent (especially if you can go from 2-person to solo size), and kitchen. A change in cooking style can facilitate a change in stove (from Whisperlite to Fancy Feast can), which will also drive simplification of cooking utensils. (The change from stainless steel to titanium is a dollars-and-sense issue - and that's not a typo on "sense.")

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#169816 - 09/26/12 07:28 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: billstephenson]
Happy Birthday Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2000
Loc: Southwest Ohio
It got derailed; my bride thought she needed a sewing room worse than I needed a gear room, and since she watches HGTV more than I do, the basement got a makeover. smile

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#169818 - 09/26/12 09:43 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Glenn Roberts]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
It got derailed; my bride thought she needed a sewing room worse than I needed a gear room, and since she watches HGTV more than I do, the basement got a makeover. smile


I gave up.

I have a gear living room, dining room and upstairs bedroom. lame
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#169822 - 09/26/12 10:30 AM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
balzaccom Offline
member

Registered: 04/06/09
Posts: 2087
Loc: Napa, CA
Glenn--I'll add our voices to the defenders of the Pocket Rocket. We've got about 100 trail days and 750 miles on ours, and it has never given us any problems. We did buy a cute little plastic set of tripod legs for the fuel canister, and that makes it much more stable.

And we get more than a week of backpacking out of each fuel canister, cooking for two of us, breakfast and dinner....
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#169837 - 09/26/12 05:56 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
ETSU Pride Offline
member

Registered: 10/25/10
Posts: 933
Loc: Knoxville, TN
Originally Posted By lori
Originally Posted By Glenn Roberts
To share a different experience, I've used a Pocket Rocket ever since they came out, and have no complaints or bad experience. (It did fail to boil once, but in all fairness, it was on a push-the-gear-limits January trip, and zero degrees. smile ) A friend of mine has had equal success. In case locale and type of user might affect the results, I would point out that we are both strictly recreational, weekend hikers, who hike in the Eastern US forests, and use it to boil about 12 ounces of water for freezer bag meals, and maybe make a pot of coffee or tea.

I've also tried the Snow Peak Giga, but found I liked the Pocket Rocket better - as with many of my other gear decisions, it was more subjective than objective, as I never had any problems with the Giga, either.


And of course, I replaced the deficient PR with a Giga, which has been a much more efficient and stable stove for three years of loaning, burning, and SARing - the prongs haven't bent or loosened, it hasn't been as tippy, the pot sits straight on those four prongs instead of being off kilter on two straight and one loose and slightly-warped thin little supports, and I have yet to bother taking the Giga in its original hard plastic case anywhere - in fact, I don't know where the case is. The PR would scratch the inside of any pot I put it in - if I could find a pot in my collection that it fit into. If I didn't put it in the heavy plastic case (that doubled its weight) I'd tear or scratch something in the pack. It put holes in the small microfiber sack I tried to use. As a solo hiker I kept wanting to take small two cup pots, narrower ones, that the PR just would not nest into if I also wanted to put the canister in. The Giga, on the other hand, fits into anything I want including the GSI Minimalist I use for SAR - with the pot, folding spoon, and silicon grip plus a mini bic lighter. And it doesn't have sharp edges, so doesn't do any damage.

Yep, it all depends on what you do and how you want to use it.


Out of this entire post, the most amazing thing I noticed is how you could feel the weight of the Pocket Rocket's plastic case versus without.

Edit: My apology to the original poster for being somewhat responsible for derailing this thread. grin


Edited by ETSU Pride (09/26/12 05:57 PM)
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#169847 - 09/26/12 08:15 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: ETSU Pride]
Bunny Offline
newbie

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 14
Hey no sweat here. I'm grateful for "all" opinions, thoughts, antidotes, asides, salacious quips, should'as, could'as, would'as, and I certainly find the information very helpful to get us to our goal.
I've assembled an aluminum can stove, as per my favorite how to meme; YouTube, and it burns alcohol - more or less as I'm told they do. Can't beat it for cost, at 5 cent deposit here I'm into this for a dime plus my time. They do weigh next to nothing. I'm of the opinion right now, after having assembled this one, that there's no point in the thing even having jet holes. Seems to me you may as well pour an ounce or two of alcohol into an open can cut in half and light it up. Then again I'm not a jet propulsion engineer and perhaps there's an efficiency that is realized with the jets, granting longer burn times for less fuel, or even greater British thermal units dispersed over wider nucleation points. Truth be told I'm just an older fellow who wants to go for a long walk with my wife, and I want hot chow twice a day, and a coffee, blackly bitter, much like my thoughts when my feet hurt so good after clocking twenty miles down the trail!

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#169849 - 09/26/12 09:09 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: ETSU Pride]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By ETSU Pride


Out of this entire post, the most amazing thing I noticed is how you could feel the weight of the Pocket Rocket's plastic case versus without.

Edit: My apology to the original poster for being somewhat responsible for derailing this thread. grin


Ounces add up to pounds. You start with the big five, reducing the weight by pounds. And then you whittle away at the ounces until more pounds are gone....

And, I begrudge the lousy un-packable nature of the useless weight of the plastic container. Where do you put it in the pack? On top of all the other irritating things about the stove, it was just another thing to annoy me that I would not otherwise need to pack that thing. Single use items are another thing I try to reduce.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#169850 - 09/26/12 09:34 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: lori]
Happy Birthday Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2000
Loc: Southwest Ohio
I agree, Lori, that little red case is a giant waste of plastic. If they hadn't put that sprue hole in the bottom, it might have been usable as a cup or even a measuring cup. (My one complaint about the Titan Kettle is that it doesn't have measuring marks.) As it is, it's not usable for anything. I don't know where mine is, either. I always just wrap the stove in a small towel and store it inside the kettle, with the fuel cylinder on top of the kettle (an MSR cylinder fits nicely into the grooves in the lid), and the titan spoon goes, bowl down, inside the kettle with the handle sticking out the spout. The whole neat package goes in a small stuff sack. Not that I'm obsessive, or anything. smile

The MicroRocket case is better: no sprue hole. But it's still not worth carrying; too small for a decent cup, and my Nalgene bottle has measuring marks.

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#169852 - 09/26/12 10:17 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
Happy Birthday Glenn Roberts Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/23/08
Posts: 2000
Loc: Southwest Ohio
Well, we can all see how this is shaping up: Welcome to the Dark Side, Luke! smile

If you like the cat stove, you'll probably fall in love with the hardcore ultralight gear: Tarptents, quilts, frameless packs, chemical purification instead of filters, etc. It's not a bad path to go down, either. Some manufacturers to check out include TarpTent, Gossamer Gear, and Six Moon Designs - I've used some of their gear and found it well made and functional, although I returned it or gave it away. The Tarptent Rainbow was a neat single wall tent, but I ended up choosing a Carbon Reflex tent (mostly subjective reasons; the Gossamer Gear pack (one of the GVP originals) was way too big for me to ever come close to filling, and the SMD pack had a torso that was just too short for me.

I've gotten down to an 18 pound load for a summer weekend, using mainstream gear and ruthlessly winnowing out the unnecessary items (my back contends that the chair kit is no longer a luxury.) If, in a few years, I need to drop a few more pounds, I'll head straight to Six Moon Designs for a starting point. I'm sure the true ultralighters on the forum can lead you to other gear sources.

All kidding aside, if you're trying to reach the weights you listed in the earlier posts, you'll need to head toward the true ultralight gear, and share gear wherever possible.

Enjoy the ride!

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#170455 - 10/12/12 03:29 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
Doc Ears Offline
newbie

Registered: 02/12/12
Posts: 1
Hey guys... this is probably WAY to late in the game. but i figured i would offer some replacement ideas due to the fact that being a corpsman and noting the age that you wish to attempt this awesome yet still doable feat you are aiming for. weight is a significant factor for you guys, the Appalachian trail is long and grams lead to ounces and ounces lead to Lbs. im sure people have said it but the easiest way to reduce weight is through the big three: tent: backpack, and bag. if you can reduce your bag weight that base weight allows for more creature comfort.. the ULA bag is decent yet i believe frame less. if you dont mind not sleeping together, hammocks can be a viable situation and at a pound a peice very light weight, if not and price isn't an option, what gore-tex was a decade ago now enter "Cuban fiber" 11 oz tarp can cover both of you reasonably well and you can still sleep on the ground, use your pads as support in your ULA bags and have plenty of space with food, a trangia or mini bull designs stove. there are a ton of options that can cater to your needs, and as some other posters have already noted, you dont need to do a complete overhaul just mix and match what you need. check out shugemery on you tube and gargoyle products... im not trying to sales pitch but gear availability can help a lot along the way. if you already completed it, please send pics i still hope for the day i can get a few months to do that trail myself. plus im big into the cottage products of the good ole USA
Rah

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#170465 - 10/12/12 05:58 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Doc Ears]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
ULA backpacks have a frame and don't require a pad for support.
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http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#170466 - 10/12/12 06:00 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Doc Ears]
OregonMouse Offline
member

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6760
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Actually, all the ULA packs except the CDT do have frames of one sort or another. The Ohm is sort of in between--it has a removable hoop that is sort of a frame.
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#170507 - 10/13/12 02:15 PM Re: Work with what you've got, or buy new? [Re: Bunny]
BrianLe Offline
member

Registered: 02/26/07
Posts: 1149
Loc: Washington State, King County
I just noticed this thread, and apologize in advance insofar as I haven't read every reply --- thus I might be highly redundant coming in late to reply just to the original post but ...

whiteblaze.net is the clear, one-source place to learn about hiking the AT.

Why are you going south? I suggest that you start north, and definitely do stop about, what, 30 miles in an Neel's Gap and get the "gear shakedown". Yes, they sell gear there, but I watched them go at the shakedown process (by employees that have thru-hiked the AT themselves), and it's not a scam to sell you lots of gear.

Going SOBO (SOuthBOund) is just tougher, I think. You start out climbing Katahdin, and even after I'd hiked 2000 miles or so to get there, that wasn't all *that* easy of a climb. And then relatively early on you're into things like the Mahoosic Notch and most importantly the Whites --- those mountains will kick your butt if you're not in shape, and in fact they'll do some of that anyway.

I'm not saying that you can't do it SOBO, but I think your odds of success go up a bit if you walk northwards from Springer.

Alcohol stove vs. MSR white gas: take the Alcohol stove. Definitely. Make one yourself from a catfood can, it's not hard and for that hike it's way better than a crazy heavy stove.

Old cheapo tent: depends on what you have, and what your budget is. Also depends on what time of year you're going (and in what direction). I personally slept mostly in shelters but I started early so there was little competition. In that context, a really light tent that I carried but rarely actually used was a good choice.

Look through the old $300 challenge article for ideas on how to get decent gear on the cheap:
http://www.pmags.com/300-gear-challenge

Look carefully through whiteblaze.net for the various articles, not just the forum entries, and you'll get lots of ideas on "what to do next" to prepare.

I'd also strongly suggest a shake-down hike of at least 50 miles after you've got your gear mostly together.

So long as your overall health is good I wouldn't worry about age; I was over 50 when I thru-hiked, and I've hiked with guys well into their 60's that kick my butt on the trail.
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