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Thread: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

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    Woods Walker's Avatar
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    Default Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Sometimes the question comes up what's the best winter stove. During cold weather stove options are very important considerations and more so if yea have to melt snow. I am talking about backpacking type stoves excluding wood burners which are very well suited to the task but not always practical for every situation. So here are a few options that people sometimes ask about.





    1. Alcohol stove.
    2. Esbit Stove.
    3. Jetboil.
    4. Pocket Rocket.
    5. MSR Whisperlite International.


    I have more stoves but these seem representative of what people often enquirer about. Here are my views of each stove type during winter conditions around my neck of the woods. New England.


    1. Alcohol stoves. Here is one boiling water during an outing.





    They can be primed in cold conditions but simply don't have the energy to melt enough snow and ice. This is a requirement when liquid water is all frozen. Not the best option for winter IMHO.


    2. Esbit stove. I don't use them in winter as they also don't have the energy to melt a larger quantity of snow and ice so lets move on.


    3. Canister stoves. These include the Jetboil and Pocket Rocket. Behold!





    Despite what some claim these can be made to work in the cold. That said there are cold weather issues. I need to warm the canister in my jacket or sleeping bag first during extreme cold and tend to be reluctant to put the tank directly on the snow. No matter how someone cuts it the cold really does effect canister stoves. Even if warmed first within a jacket or bag the clock starts clicking the second it's exposed to the cold. The pressure starts to drop.


    4. Liquid gas. I believe these stoves are the best options for melting large amounts snow and ice dealing with extreme cold. I have several but use the MSR Whisterlite International for the video as it's the one I pack the most. Now there is no free lunch with this model as there are more things to go wrong than say an alcohol stove. Make sure it's working before fielding and be familiar with maintenance and field repairs. Only had a few issues in the last decade but once needed to work on it at -10F and wasn't happy. They're fast boilers as the fuel has lots of energy.
    Right into the snow. I don't care but will kick some aside.


    Lets make some tea!








    And we are burning.








    One pro to liquid gas is I more easily know how much fuel is remaining and can readily refill the tank. I even have an extra tank and this stove can use gasoline though very much prefer white gas.




















    All done. That was fast.





    Some actual field use.


    Melting snow during a group outing. The tipi was ventilated with door open. Don't do this in an enclosed shelter.





    Taking care of biz in a day camp.








    Conclusion. Liquid gas stoves are my preferred winter option.

    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    You do all the hard work for us. Can't thank you enough for your incredible knowledge and amazing adventures.

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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Excellent review! I use a small canister stove but have not used it in the very cold weather. I probably would not have realized the potential for issues if I took it out for a winter hike. Thanks for explaining!

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    *Flashaholic* carrot's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    For winter excursions I usually use a white gas stove but sometimes convenience gets the better of me and I bring an upright canister stove- the MSR Reactor or Windboiler.

    There's a cool trick I use to ensure that these keep going in very cold temperatures, simply place the canister in a dish full of liquid water.

    Liquid water, no matter how cold, is always above freezing and thus perfectly suitable for warming up a canister. Periodically you should put some warm water from your pot in the dish to ensure that the "warming water" stays liquid.

    Once the weather gets down below 0ºF though this trick can be an exercise in frustration- water freezes awfully quick.
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Some more liquid gas stoves.











    Oh.... 533 is down. Looks like a nick in the plunger (guessing that's the issue) and it will not pressure. Gotta fix that.





    The Peak worked.











    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

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    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    The peak 1 is by far the best stove for extreme cold. A little heavier than others but very dependable and quick to the boil.

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    Flashaholic* ronniepudding's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Good stuff Woods Walker! I've been using an MSR Whisperlite stove for 15+ years, and it's never let me down. Requires a little bit of technique to fire it up without catching the picnic table or ground alight but as you rightly pointed out, practicing with your gear is a part or the deal.

    I can recall only one issue with it... After around 6-7 years of use, a crack developed in one of the exterior plastic parts of the pump. It still worked, but I didn't trust it, so I sent the pump to MSR to be repaired, and they sent me back a new pump with an upgraded design. It was long enough ago that I can't recall how much they charged my for the "repair" (if anything), but I do remember being happy with the outcome. The new pump has been reliable ever since, and the burner part is original and has required no maintenance whatsoever. Great stove, and great company as well.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Propane baby!! Yes the tank is 14oz empty, but I feel the benefits make up for it. I started playing around with this adapter and love it. Opens up a lot of options.

    GOOD TINT!

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Could not agree with the OP more. I live in the northern Chicago suburbs and do a lot of winter camping. Isobutane stoves are great, except in winter. Isobutane fuel is made up of butane and propane. The butane stops becoming a gas (volatilizing) at 31F and propane stops at 11F. So between 31 and 11, you only have the propane to burn. Yes there are isobutane stoves that don't rely on the gas, they burn the fuel as a liquid, but I don't have one of those. Liquid fuel stoves don't have this problem.

    But, after a recent backpacking trip where I was the only stove and I was boiling a lot of water to purify and make drinks, i got tired of the constant pumping of the fuel bottle. So with a little extra money, I bought the Biolite stove thinking that it could run and run and run to boil lots of water.

    I was wrong! I mean, it can, but feeding that thing enough twigs to boil 2 liters of water, let alone melt enough snow to do that, could be daunting. Also, when there is snow on the ground, finding fuel is even harder. So for my most recent trip, I brought along some wood fuel pellets. These were AWESOME!!!! The stove ran non-stop. We cooked on it. We boiled water on it. We cooked some more on it! And 2 cups of pellets gave us a burn of about 2 hours.




    I know the purpose of the biolite is to not have to bring fuel, but with 18 inches of snow on the ground, that's not an experience I want. But bringing a gallon bag of pellets (while heavy) made for a pleasant cooking experience.


    But if you had to have one stove, make it a liquid fuel that is compatible with different fuels. My MSR stoves can burn white gas, gasoline, diesel, kerosene, jet fuel and unicorn tears. It's the Swiss Army knife of stoves!


    Todd

  10. #10

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Quote Originally Posted by shooterSVT View Post
    Could not agree with the OP more. I live in the northern Chicago suburbs and do a lot of winter camping. Isobutane stoves are great, except in winter. Isobutane fuel is made up of butane and propane. The butane stops becoming a gas (volatilizing) at 31F and propane stops at 11F. So between 31 and 11, you only have the propane to burn. Yes there are isobutane stoves that don't rely on the gas, they burn the fuel as a liquid, but I don't have one of those. Liquid fuel stoves don't have this problem.
    Propane is -44F, not 11°. But there's still only 15-20% propane in these canisters depending on the brand/mix and the rest is isobutane or butane, so you're point still stands. Once your burn off that 20%, you're stuck with the rest that may not even vaporize in the cold.
    GOOD TINT!

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    Flashaholic* Christoph's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    I've been using a MSR wisperlite since 92 it has never failed to burn and have not had to take it apart or repair anything yet. I am still using the original heat shields and wind screen.
    C
    Chris

  12. #12
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christoph View Post
    I've been using a MSR wisperlite since 92 it has never failed to burn and have not had to take it apart or repair anything yet. I am still using the original heat shields and wind screen.
    C
    This is great to hear

  13. #13

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Christoph View Post
    I've been using a MSR wisperlite since 92 it has never failed to burn and have not had to take it apart or repair anything yet. I am still using the original heat shields and wind screen.
    C
    I hear that a lot...it's a classic!
    GOOD TINT!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    I use a Jetboil flash for hunting in late October through the end of December. It has worked perfectly for me to make a cup of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, soup , or a freeze dried meal. It is nowhere near as demanding as winter camping.

    My brother has the biolite and using the pellets is a great idea and I will pass that along.

    Bob

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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Quote Originally Posted by shooterSVT View Post
    So for my most recent trip, I brought along some wood fuel pellets. These were AWESOME!!!! The stove ran non-stop. We cooked on it. We boiled water on it. We cooked some more on it! And 2 cups of pellets gave us a burn of about 2 hours. I know the purpose of the biolite is to not have to bring fuel, but with 18 inches of snow on the ground, that's not an experience I want. But bringing a gallon bag of pellets (while heavy) made for a pleasant cooking experience.

    Todd
    Yes.

    Wood Pellets are 100% legal and they rock.

    Burning them here.



    Or here. One with foraged wood (a bit overstuffed for a wood gas stove) the other pellets.







    Wood pellet burn is flawless and long without the need to stoke.

    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  16. #16
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    That's a beautiful fish Mr Walker..

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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Offgridled View Post
    That's a beautiful fish Mr Walker..
    Thanks Brother. Yup it was nice.






    Looked like a naturalized brown. Stockers aka EHTs aka Elusive Hatchery Trout I harvest with little thought. Well I shouldn't say that. Anytime I take fish or game there always seem to be a second of reflection that I don't get when buying the food at the store. There it becomes like a loaf of bread or package of cheese. With a native or naturalized fish sometimes it will be let go but had my mind on a bush meal and worked up an appetite.

    Wild scallions.



    Hemlock the conifer tree not the kill you dead toxic weed.



    If things were push comes to shove would have eaten the head as well.



    Nice pinkish meat with these types of fish. Not skanky white like the EHTs.





    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  18. #18
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Oh boy that is beautiful . The pink meat is amazing. And great choice on your Knife.

    image post

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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Very nice brother. I got WCF PSK knives in multiple kits and EDC!

    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    I like my Whisperlite stove for winter trips as well, especially with the Trillium stove base that keeps the stove from melting into the snow. However, I've gone through a few pumps using it and don't like them breaking in the field. My Primus Multifuel stove is better as it has a more durable metal pump and will still use butane canisters if the pump does somehow break. For camping in the cold, I like using my Biolite stove with wood pellets and my Sierra Zip stove with natural mesquite charcoal. These stoves provide a mini firepit for keeping warm outside and are a lot cheaper to run than a propane heater (though it is nice to have a catalytic propane heater with the hose attached in the tent and the other end outside attached to a 20 lb. propane tank). If it's in the 20s or warmer, I'll take an MSR Pocket Rocket or Pocket Rocket 2 with some MSR butane cartridges (the other brands don't work down to as low of a temperature).

  21. #21

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    i have this on the way i hope its goood https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Quote Originally Posted by raggie33 View Post
    i have this on the way i hope its goood https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
    In cold weather I bet turning the canister upside down would help. Let us know how this stove works out for you.
    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

  23. #23
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Yes I'm interested in hearing your thoughts on this stove also.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    looks like this 1 and a few others ill keep you all posted
    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...A35YOQA6TV9Z0H
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  25. #25

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    I have a whisperlite. Last time I tried to use it it caught fire. There is leak where the fuel line goes into the stove. Bad O ring I believe. I saw MSR sells an O-ring kit, but I didn't feel like paying as much as they wanted for something I don't use often.

    Ended up buying a Coleman single burner instead and it's been great. I haven't been backpacking for 18 years though.

    When I was a Boy Scout in Kansas I learned a propane trick -- take the canister to bed with you and you'll be able to use it in the morning ;-)

    Back in the 80s we had an assistant Scout Master who had an old Optimus stove. That thing was incredible.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    i found gas for my new grill i have on the way. it was only 1.75 per bottle for 8 ounces a butane
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    dont buy the above stove in my post it worked for a bit then quit.
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  28. #28
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Quote Originally Posted by raggie33 View Post
    dont buy the above stove in my post it worked for a bit then quit.
    Well at least you gave it a shot. Thx for the update..
    Hopefully you were not depending upon it to feed you on an excursion!!

  29. #29

    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    yeah im lucky i aint going camping to april b4 it gets hot.. i was kinda bummed i was so exicted to be able to use the cheap butane canisters got em for like 150 for 8 ounces at a asain grocery store way cheaper then the butane propane camping fuel. .now i have a dpower stove on the way
    LED's have gotten too bright in our stuff. Many nights I'm awakened by my modem lights blinking.had help with my sig thank you for your help.

  30. #30
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

    Good to hear that I'm always searching also. Love reading Mr Walkers posts on this issue because his are always hands on evaluations..

    You'll want to create a good windshield for the dpower as I believe they don't come with one. But it gets good reviews.
    Last edited by Offgridled; 03-16-2017 at 10:10 PM.

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