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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...

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