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Spice1
2005-08-12, 16:46
I'm planning on a cross country trek next year during which I will be in some areas that do not resemble camping in the least. (Think south side of Chicago) I will need a camp stove capable of running off alcohol, white fuel or unleaded petrol, since I won't have constant access to fuel or camping supply stores. I was looking as soda/juice can stoves, and will be experimenting with two of my own on my next outing, but don't think it will serve my needs in the long run. I'm presently using a Coleman Peak which is akward in my pack, not light, but amazingly reliable no matter what I've fueled it with.

I keep looking at both the MSR Internationale and Whisperlite, which both burn White Fuel, Kerosene and Unleaded, (And the Whisperlite burns paraphin???). It's pricy, but small as hell, and was I really impressed with the MSR filter I recently field tested. It seems most, if not all of the MSR stoves use "shaker jets" for cleaners, and I have heard repeatedly that these are unreliable, ocassionally leading to worse clogs than a traditional poker, (due to the added element in there?) I've also heard the plastic pump breaks, which, knowing my coleman, seems likly for me.

The Primus Multi Fuel Himilaya is another stove I'm looking at, which seems even better, mostly due to the metal adjust, and ability to even use pressurized canisters (Which I personally hate (Recylcing, etc), but I like having the ability to so do if need be.) I have read reviews that complain about the inability to simmer with it, which I would consider a serious drawback, since I might well be cooking on this stove every meal for three - six months at a time)

Any body have experience with these, or know of a better multi fuel option?

-Spice

SGT Rock
2005-08-12, 19:37
As far as I know, none of the multifuel stoves will run off of alcohol. They all run off of some sort of petroleum product. If you are not planning to camp during harsh winter, I would reccomend just going alcohol and carry some Esbit as back up.

bird dog
2005-08-12, 20:18
I am no stove guru, but I can tell you about what I have used. I own several stoves but the most used are the Coleman Peak and an MSR Simmerlite. The Peak as you already know is bulky, and heavy, but very well made and extremely reliable. I have never had a problem with it.

The Simmerlite is basically the same as the Whisperlite, but it has an adjustable flame control that allows you to simmer. It has the shaker jet and comes with a light weight aluminum windscreen and a small repair kit.

I have used the Simmerlite several times and have not experienced any problems with it. I have only used white gas, but if Im not mistaken you can purchase a kit to use additional fuels with it (maybe check out MSRs web site for more details). I have followed the manufacturers maintenance instructions to a tee and I believe this is the reason I havent had any problems. The stove is very small and packs easily but is pricy (I think I paid somewhere around $90 for mine).

I know I probably havent helped much, but maybe the info can help in your decision process.

Two Speed
2005-08-12, 20:49
I've got an option for you if you really need to be able to burn gas and alcohol. Go ahead and select the gas stove. In your case it sounds like you may want to go with one of the MSR stoves. While I have a Peak 1 Multi-Fuel and like it, my impression is that the MSR products tend to burn a wider variety of fuels and solvents. If my memory serves the Internationale was the most flexible.

For your alcohol stove, learn to make an expedient "made on the spot with my ol' trusty pocket knife" stove. If you need a separate fuel bottle for the alcohol, plan on buying and drinking a small bottle of Gatorade before picking up your alcohol; just wash any sugary sludge out before filling with alcohol. I use a small (10 oz? 12 oz?) Gatorade bottle anyway. An expedient stove probably won't yield the efficiency of a Trangia or an Ion but the knowledge won't weigh a thing.

GregH
2005-08-12, 21:32
My 15-year old Whisperlite Internationale has never had a problem. I've mostly burned white gas but kerosene and gasoline (leaded and unleaded) all burn well though maybe a bit sooty. Repair parts, if needed, are readily available at nearly every sporting goods store and hardware store in the country. It's been a solid performer.
I'm even able to manage the fuel flow to maintain a reasonable simmer (remember that mine is a 15-year old version). BTW, I'm still using the original plastic pump and I've never had a problem. It's quite sturdy as long as you're not planning to use it as a hammer.

Seeker
2005-08-13, 00:26
i'm not expert either, but here's my take:

i own a Peak, and it's about 13 years old. only thing i've ever had go wrong with it was when i let the pump valve ring dry out, and i had to soak it in fuel to get it going again. (only took about 5 minutes.) i find it too heavy to carry backpacking, though i love it for car camping. base is a little narrow too, so you have to be a little careful.

you mentioned 'paraffin' with a question mark... that's british english. means kerosene, i think.

the whisperlight international is simply a whisperlite with a slightly larger fuel hose, enabling dirt and impurities in a wider variety and quality of fuels to make it to the burner. i own and use a simmerlite. yes, they're expensive. i got mine about $15 cheaper than 'new' off Ebay, including the shipping. i like it, but made the mistake of buying the 11oz fuel bottle later. (it came with a 22 oz one). the 22oz burns better, and longer, with less pumping (something about the relative airspace inside the bottle vs fuel left in it, and the size of the bottle. my brother explained it to me. i don't understand. i just know the smaller bottle makes it really finicky, while the larger bottle works better). you can indeed run unleaded gas through it, but it will gum up faster than if you'd used white gas/coleman fuel the whole time. you just have to learn to take it apart and clean and/or repair it (which applies to anything you take into the woods).

like Sgt Rock said, alcohol is your best bet for solo travel in 3-season hiking. you should be able to get it anywhere there's a walmart, lowe's, or home depot, which is dang near everywhere anymore. i keep my fuel in a 12 or 20 oz soda bottle, using a contrasting cap (vs the little ring that stays behind when you twist it off) to warn me (actually, more of a warning to others) that it isn't something to drink.

JAK
2005-08-13, 12:59
I would suggest having a good small alcohol stove like the ION with its potstand and windscreen.

Then if you run out of alcohol don't hesitate to simply pour 1/2 oz of some other liquid fuel into a tealight tin and use a scrap of cotton or paper as a wick. Use the potstand and windscreen from the ION or whatever other alcohol stove. 1/2 oz is the most fuel I would burn at one time in this way. Should be good for about 500 BTU, to boil 2 cups of water or heat up 4 cups. Any liquid fuel will do in this situation, with the ones higher up the list being less smokey. Personally I would use any light coloured vegetable oil if I ran out of alcohol. You can also eat it. At 17000 BTU/LB it is a very good lamp fuel and you can cook with it if you can stand a little smoke. You can try this right now at home as long as the wife is out of the house and your home and life insurance is all paid up.

Naptha or Coleman Fuel - may not need much of a wick.
Unleaded Gasoline
Vegetable Oil - Light Colour less smokey
Vegetable Oil - Dark Colour more smokey
Kerosene or Diesel
Candle Wax - not a liquid but it will quickly melt into one with a cotton ball or paper wick. Smokey though.

No matter which fuel you use one tealight at a time is about right. They all flare up a bit at the end. For a wick a simple circle of paper 1/2 the diameter of the tealight works very nicely with vegetable oil. For a faster smokier burn use 2 concentric wicks spaced apart.

Spice1
2005-08-13, 15:04
I will be doing a fair amount of winter camping during the trip, but since I will have three homebases sending supplies and maintaining unused gear, it would not be a problem to have the "other stove" sent out as autumn falls into winter. Alcohol does seem like a good bet, but now I'm curious also about cook quality. I'm heading out tomorrow night to the Black Diamonds regional park to spend two nights out solo, so I will probably build a can stove today and try it out while out there.

As for Parafin, I once had a (realy shi**y) folding stove that burned soolid fuel blocks that looked like parafin wax, (Like esbit, but realy dirty). It was hyper smokey, had the tendancy to drop burning wax underneath it, but I used it in zero degree weather with no problems, except that if I didn't have four feet of snow to put out the small wax fires it created underneath it, I probably would have cooked myself along with half the mountain. It was simply a small brass box that unfolded, with the sides of the top becoming the legs and the middle of the top holding the pan. That was why I was ??? about parafin on the international. !!!WAIT, had to google it to find something similar, since I feel my explination is a bit wierd. This is not the same as my old crap stove, which I bought at the PX for six of seven dollars, but the stove itself was identical, but the fuel tab were different.

http://www.northernmountain.com/detail/529919?src=froogle

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As for the contrasing caps, let me say bad idea. I worked in the nightclub idustry for along time, and for a while there was a drug, GHB which people mixed with water. Problem was, if you drank any alcohol then used it, it could lead to cardiac arrest. So in order to tell the difference between "good water" ad "bad water", the kids would wrap the bottles in electrical or duct tape. This also would seem to serve as a good way to carry tape for repair and first aid kits. The cap would definatly serve to let me know, but I can just see a friend drinking my "water" without asking and geting a mouthful of fuel. My girlfriend would probably douse me in the rest of it and use me for flint strike practice should this happen.

Spice1
2005-08-13, 18:57
Oh my god! I was just discussing stove options with a friend of mine who has never camped a day in his life. However, he spent a few years in prison, where they take everything from you and have to make due. He showed me how to make an insane stove that he called a baby bunson.

Take a roll of toilet paper and unwind a few feet onto your hand. Rol the end at your finger tips inward about an inch, then flip it over and do the same thing. You should now have a donut shaped roll of paper about 1.5 - 2 inches high. Light the ends. The wierd pocketing of it gives is almost a 2 minute burn time, and he claims three of them will boil a can of water. I'm going to videotape him doing it and post it in a day or two.

He also demonstrated a simple way of making a punk to keep an ember going for fifteen or twenty minutes, by twisting the toilet paper then rolling it against your pants leg.

Not that I'd ever use this outside, or consider it useful outside of the dire situation if I should ever get lost in the woods for a week while looking for that pit toilet at campsite 16, I figured I'd share since knowledge, as often quoted, is half of survival, (or at least funny tricks at barbiques.)

-Spice
Who is pretty verbal today, as he heads into a fourth straight week of camping with 0 days taken off work.

JAK
2005-08-13, 23:34
I enjoyed your last two posts. Winter eh. It get's pretty cold and windy around Chicago I'll bet. I haven't used a lot of alcohol in winter. I burn sticks mostly with a Kelly Kettle. I wouldn't suggest the Kelly Kettle for liquid fuel. It is also no good for melting snow.

I still think if you have a good alcohol stove and pot stand and windscreen, you can burn any other liquid fuel in just a tealight with the same pot stand and windscreen. It is easiest to experiment with a 1/2 oz tealight and vegetable oil. Experiment with different wicks. Any scrap of dry paper or cotton will do, but shape and size makes a big difference on smoke. With a good windscreen and the right wick you should be able to heat up 2-3 cups of water in 10-15 minutes without too much smoke. It might not be as efficient as the alcohol stove, but it is more BTU/oz to start with so you might be able to get comparable results with the same amount of fuel, just a little more smoke. In winter you will want to put something like a piece of blue foam pad and aluminum tape under the tealight so the olive oil will heat up better.

I think vegetable oil is safe enough to work with if you only have 1/2 oz of hot fuel in play at any given time and don't spill it on yourself. Rock on Mr. Spice.

JAK
2005-08-15, 20:16
Oh my god! I was just discussing stove options with a friend of mine who has never camped a day in his life. However, he spent a few years in prison, where they take everything from you and have to make due. He showed me how to make an insane stove that he called a baby bunson.

Take a roll of toilet paper and unwind a few feet onto your hand. Rol the end at your finger tips inward about an inch, then flip it over and do the same thing. You should now have a donut shaped roll of paper about 1.5 - 2 inches high. Light the ends. The wierd pocketing of it gives is almost a 2 minute burn time, and he claims three of them will boil a can of water. I'm going to videotape him doing it and post it in a day or two.

He also demonstrated a simple way of making a punk to keep an ember going for fifteen or twenty minutes, by twisting the toilet paper then rolling it against your pants leg.

Not that I'd ever use this outside, or consider it useful outside of the dire situation if I should ever get lost in the woods for a week while looking for that pit toilet at campsite 16, I figured I'd share since knowledge, as often quoted, is half of survival, (or at least funny tricks at barbiques.)

-Spice
Who is pretty verbal today, as he heads into a fourth straight week of camping with 0 days taken off work.OK I had to give this a second read. Part of what might be going on here is that in addition to the toilet paper itself the toilet paper is going to absorb some waxes and oils and fatty acids and lactic acid and stuff from the skin. This has to add something to the combustion, not only slowing it down a bit but also adding fuel. Cool. I'm not sure I want to be cooking my food with bag cheese.
But I suppose using it as a firestarter or for boiling up some water wouldn't hurt, eh. Takes the foam off your beer also. :beerglass

Iceman
2005-08-16, 03:36
Spice, drug users use baby bunsons to heat up all sorts of neat things, mostly illegal. But hey, maybe they are on to something! You should see what a meth "chef", can create with a cart of goodies from the local drug store. If only we could pursuade them to use their minds for something good, maybe we would get a new lightweight stove or something out of them?

Hey Sarge, maybe we should get in contact with some incarcerated drug fabricators for some interesting tips? (Just an idea...)

SGT Rock
2005-08-16, 06:25
Naw, I figure we are operating close enough to efficiency. Those drug manufacturers have been known to blow themselves up on occasion.

JAK
2005-08-16, 09:37
I think vegetable oil is safe enough to work with if you only have 1/2 oz of hot fuel in play at any given time and don't spill it on yourself.I should qualify that by saying that vegetable oils typically boil at 570F, and 1 oz has enough heat in it to bring 3 oz of flesh to a boil, and if the sticky mess catches fire the oil alone has enough heat of combustion in theory to boil and cook 6-8 pounds of flesh. So not only would my vegie-stove be slow and smokey, it is potentially far from vegetarian. Vegetable oil is probably best left on salad.

I'm still way behind on the learning curve, but alcohol stoves like the ION and wood stoves like the Kelly Kettle are looking better and better every day. :adore: :tee:

Hog On Ice
2005-08-16, 10:14
I am of the opinion that if you adjust the length of the wick(s) appropriately then you can get a vegatable oil stove to burn without excessive smoke. The approach that I have played with is to use a twist of toilet paper for the wicks and to have multiple wicks to get the heat output desired. The wicks are supported over the oil with either wire loops or .25 inch punched holes in aluminum can side wall sheets or flashing. Adjust the length of the wick above the flashing to control the smoke.

JAK
2005-08-16, 12:29
I am of the opinion that if you adjust the length of the wick(s) appropriately then you can get a vegatable oil stove to burn without excessive smoke. The approach that I have played with is to use a twist of toilet paper for the wicks and to have multiple wicks to get the heat output desired. The wicks are supported over the oil with either wire loops or .25 inch punched holes in aluminum can side wall sheets or flashing. Adjust the length of the wick above the flashing to control the smoke.Thanks HOI. I know you and the Rock and others are way ahead of me but I hope you find my posts interesting for you in a been-there-done-that sort of way. I was initially going for some sort of run away stove with just enough wick to heat it up and ignite it but so far with a tealight and just 1/4 oz it still seems too slow and which means there is more time to do something stupid with very hot oil. Kerosene type pressure stoves can work with vegetable oil, but not without issues, and so a small self-pressuring stove might work, but not without issues. So I think like you say a small multiple wick stove is the path I am currently travelling down. If you look back from a high enough hill you might see me. So I think like you say multiple wicks are the way to go. I think it is also alot safer to start with most all the fuel soaked up into wicks.

Three things that have worked best so far:
1. Burn it like wood: 4-6 sheets of toilet paper with 1/3 oz to 2/3 oz of olive oil and canola oil worked very fairly well in a Kelly Kettle with little smoke. By contrast the Swiss Corked Flask Canteen Stove smoked very very badly and slowly with 1/3 oz soaked into 4 sheets of T.P. This tells me that a draft driven swirling combustion chamber like a Kelly Kettle or a Hobo stove will work but a Swiss Corked Flask Canteen Stove has to many holes and obstructions and the flask is initially to cold to allow a good draft. So in short you can always burn T.P. and vegetable oil like wood but you already knew that.
2. Clam stovelet: Tealight bent into a clam shape with a flat wick just sticking out. This worked well but slow but you could use 3 with 0.1 to 0.2 oz of oil in each clam. Simple and reasonable and has promise but needs more development to work it into a full system with wind screen potstand and pot. Still to sooty for the Swiss Stove even if you go slow. Interestingly bending the Tealight into a tricorn or X-star did not work at all. Very smokey. I think wicks need to be either flat or round. Concentric circles also work.
3. Haven't tried it yet but I think I will try toilet paper wicks in a circle around the inside bottom of a beer can. Not sure yet about the rest of the stove. So I have 1% of a stove figured out. :confused:

Lots of ways to go from here. Maybe air up though the centre? Maybe the can will also be a combustion chamber and/or pot stand or maybe let the outside windscreen define the draft and combustion chamber. I was also thinking of a tealight under the oil stove to preheat the oil but I honestly think the answer to solving the speed/smoke paradox is with the windscreen / draft / combustion chamber combination and that your multiple wicks are just as good at jets for getting vegetable oil up into the air at a rate of 0.5 oz in 10 minutes.

I think for now if I had an ION stove and ran out of alcohol but had some olive oil I would use the ION windscreen and potstand and 3 clam stovelets with flat wicks. It would be slow and it would only heat and not boil and would soot up the pot a little but I think it would get the job done. Those little clams get pretty hot though so you need to do it on foil over dirt.

That might be worth mentioning because it can catch people by surprise. Two reasons why cans or tealight with oil or wax get so much hotter than an alcohol stove. First is because with a boiling point of 570F they can get that hot. Second is because unlike alcohol and water I don't think they have much of a cooling effect when they do boil or vapourize. That is I don't think the latent heat of combustion is very high.

Methanol
Boiling Point = 148.5 F
Heat of Vapourization = 474 BTU/LB
Higher Heating Value = 9,770 BTU/LB
Stoichiometric Ratio = 6.45:1 (Minimum Air:Fuel Ratio)

Ethanol
Boiling Point = 173.3 F
Heat of Vapourization = 361 BTU/LB
Higher Heating Value = 12,780 BTU/LB
Stoichiometric Ratio = 9:1

Gasoline (High Test)
Boiling Point = 100F to 400F
Heat of Vapourization = 140 BTU/LB
Higher Heating Value = 20,250 BTU/LB
Stoichiometric Ratio = 15:1

Still getting data on Canola Oil

I just found a link on mixing methanol with vegetable oil which is interesting. I am still reading it.
http://journeytoforever.org/biodiesel_meth.html