Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Stoving 4

First off, a slight correction; I said that the JetBoil was only good for boiling water. That's not quite true, as it comes with an accessory pot-holder of sorts that allows you to use it with virtually any pot, frying pan, kettle etc:

As alluded to, with the proper adapter, the Zip can be perched on top of a cheap aerosol-type butane canister:

It's not a perfect solution though. Apart from being quite tippy and top-heavy, I've found it to be inefficient as well, especially as you're trying to consume the last third or so of the contents of the canister. The pressure drops considerably and the usual 2-minute boil can take twice as long. The canister in the photo above was nearing the end, and it took a full 5 minutes to get a rolling boil, and that's indoors with no wind. I suspect however, that a full canister will perform better, but this does give a vote of confidence for the authentic JetBoil canisters. ( I should mention that I have the "Zip", the cheapest JetBoil and it does not have a fancy regulator built in to the burner. This probably exacerbates the pressure drop problem). See Here for more info on these adapters and the like.

Most of my other stove oddities are just that. I have an old Garcia Camping Gaz stove, but those C206 piercable cartridges are a thing of the past. It's kind of sad because I have the lantern too:

I have another old Coleman 5411 Picnic Stove, but it too takes an extinct butane canister. I am fooling with it in the hopes of attaching a different style:

Then of course there's the old 3-legged propane jobs. I have one but I don't like it or use it:
One more, it's just like the photo below, but the name is "World Famous"...yeah right  :)  This one you just refill like a butane lighter, by holding the butane against an inlet valve on the bottom...

One more noteworthy mention, a BBQ/Grill that sits atop the PowerFist or other similar butane stove...works like a charm, if not a little too hot. Technically not a stove I guess:

It's just as well for me to keep going. Stay tuned for Stoving 5...

Monday, March 12, 2012

Stoving 3

When it comes to those canister stoves, I became a bit of a convert once I discovered that there were plenty of hoses, adapters etc that would allow them to use the butane that you can get from Home Hardware in a pack of 4 for $9.99. That's about $10 for 32oz of butane. In contrast, the tiny 3.5oz canisters are around $6 a piece
$10 for 4-8oz cans
$6 for 3.53oz
The problem is that the connectors are different and you must use some kind of adapter. Additionally, the cheaper canister perches the stove on top of a tall skinny and often unstable base. Here's a look at a common adapter gizmo:
If mounting the stove like this is not for you, there's also this type that connects at right angles:
Also, if you scour Ebay, you'll find other options that include braided hoses and the like, as in the following picture:
All of this will allow you to have a nice canister stove, save the expensive canisters for the hard-core use, and use the cheap butane when you have the room. The cheap ones don't perform as good in cold weather, but you can't have it all :)
In keeping with the canister stoves, I have one final nice one to comment on. It's from the JetBoil folk, but it's their basic stripped-down cheapest model; the JetBoil Zip, likely designed for the snobbier snotty outdoor posers, but I have one anyway :)
JetBoil Zip, collapsed for packing
Zip Set up
 This thing has one function, and that's to boil 2 cups of water. It does this in just over 2 minutes, and one tiny 3.5oz canister will do 24 boils, or about 12L of water. There's some sort of funky flux-ring heat concentrator on the bottom that prevents the sides from getting overly hot. You actually leave the neoprene cozy in place.  Review HERE...
More to come in Stoving 4 :)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stoving 2

...I left off talking about alcohol stoves, and in particular, knock-offs of the old brass Trangia burner. These burners need to be married to some sort of pot stand or holder.While it's easy to fabricate something (3 nails inserted into the burner in tripod-fashion work ok), I have a nice set from Esbit that comes with the entire burner assembly, a pot stand, and 2 pots. It's a versatile little setup:
Esbit Spirit Stove Set
As you can deduce from the picture above, this set also comes with a little stand to allow it to burn solid fuel tablets. This is another source of fuel that deserves mention. Anyone who had a steam engine as a kid might remember these. They are white tablets, round or rectangular, and made of HEXAMINE. Each one burns for a few minutes, but the heat is not easily regulated and they are pretty susceptible to wind. Good for emergency or backup use in case your real stove packs it in. The infamous Coghlans folk sell a folding metal stove that comes with the round tablets. Replacement tablets are a bit pricey, but the local Dollarama sells a knockoff complete with 12 tablets, all for $2...hard to beat.
What else is in the old Stove Arsenal I wonder? Let's switch to the Canister Stoves. I have some of them too. My first is an imported model, readily available on Ebay for less than $20. It has an ignitor, works well, and boils water very quickly:

Next up is my Brunton Talon. I have not really used it yet, but it seems to be a well-made unit:
Finally, in the canister stove department, I wanted one with a slightly larger burner, worthy of a frying pan so to speak. Another cheapo from Ebay:
All of the canister stoves above are a bit costly to operate. I get around that with a series of adapter gizmos that allow it to burn the cheaper aerosol styled butane gas.
More on that in Stoving 3...

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Stoving ?

Is there such a verb as "Stoving"? I'm not sure, but a quick mental inventory revealed that I now have over 20 camp stoves. Some burn white gas, some car gas, kerosene, propane, butane, butane-propane mix, and even alcohol to round out the mix. I call it an interesting hobby, though some might prefer "sickness". I'm ok whatever the judgment.
My tiniest is an alcohol burner called the Gram Weenie Pro. It's very similar to the homemade YouTube pop can varieties, but a little more refined. It weighs in at less than one ounce, burns for about 11 minutes on one oz of fuel, and easily boils 2 cups of water within those specs. Here it is in action:


At the other end of the size scale, is my Coleman 3 burner classic from 1962. See more on that one by going to this Blog Post.

When I was a teenager, I plunked $20 from my summer job down on a one burner Coleman 505B. I've had it for over 30 years, and it has never failed to light. See the following picture (yes I have a twin pair):
Coleman 505B
Over the years, I have added a couple of new similar Coleman one burner models to my arsenal. They include the 550B, and the Feather 400 series. The 550 comes with a 2nd generator that allows the use of kerosene...
550B One Burner

Feather 400 series
At the classless cheap end of the spectrum is the Princess Auto PowerFist butane stove. These are marketed under more names and colors than I can list, but generally they are all the same. While they don't really come with any old fashioned back woodsman charm, and likely won't singe your moustache (don't ask) like the Coleman afterburners, they are nevertheless quick, convenient, and work well...
PowerFist Butane Stove
There was a time when I would never choose propane or butane, but only white gas. However, the fact that the white gas now routinely sells for 7 or 8 bucks a litre has both challenged the associated economies, and softened my stance.
Back to the alcohol end of things, they are worth having as well. First off, they're a little safer as alcohol is not a petroleum product and as such, is not as volatile as the gasoline varieties.  By-products of this include lower performance, especially if it's cold out, and longer boiling times. The kettle of water that boils in 4 minutes on a gasoline stove often requires 10 minutes on an alcohol burner, and you had better shelter the latter from any wind. One nice thing about the alcohol burners is the fact that they are SILENT, with no jet-like roar of the Coleman stove...they all have their place. Additionally, fuel alcohol is easy to get. Many gas line anti-freeze concoctions burn fine, along with methyl hydrate from the paint section, as well as that blue fondue fuel from the Dollar Store. The old standby alcohol burner has been the brass classic from Trangia. I have a couple of knock-offs of that, one an ALOCS, and the other a German offering from Esbit:
ALOCS Burner w/ Stand
Esbit Alcohol Burner w/ simmer ring & cover

...that's enough for one post. To be continued...

Monday, March 5, 2012

Winter Solitude

...received the following snap from my brother. An obvious slight towards the fact that he's retired and relaxed, and I aint. Revenge is a dish best served cold....Levity aside, it is a nice shot  :) In his defense, he did send it to several other folk, so maybe I'm just bitter...hee...hee...

Winter Reprieve

Over the last 12 months, I've taken off in an airplane 50 times, from 16 different airports. From normal sounding names like Toronto an...

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