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List of good safe stoves for Bicycle Touring

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List of good safe stoves for Bicycle Touring

Old 04-23-13, 09:06 AM
  #1  
ksisler
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List of good safe stoves for Bicycle Touring

New thread to replace in part the one which Allen G had to kill off.

Desiring to see respectful posts regarding specific stoves that would be suitable for bike touring this summer and which are believed to have no safety or fire issues.

Include a photo if possible of the stove open for use and one of the same ready to put back in the pannier for departure. Include a mainstream source, current pricing a best known at the time. Specs such as weight, heat output, etc., would be welcome.

Please do not post anything about laws, existant or not, or about experiences in Europe, or about one-off weird fuels, etc.

THIS IS NOT AN ISSUES or ADVOCACY thread, nor it is for anyone wanting to throw rocks are each other or to posture at each others manhood or apparent lack there of.

Please stay focused on the intended purpose of the thread.

/K
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Old 04-23-13, 09:24 AM
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Over the years, we've used an older version of Coleman's backpacking stove. Not particularly small, but with a built in fuel tank carrying extra bottles of fuel isn't as necessary. They are reliable, easier to set up and start than MRS style, and put out good heat.
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Old 04-23-13, 11:53 AM
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If I were buying one new stove for summer touring it would probably be the Primus Gravity II Multifuel.

No stove or stove type is perfectly safe; but some are safer than others, and some have fewer prohibitions.

The canister types -- along with the multifuel-plus-canister types, which are more versatile, especially when canisters are hard to find -- are also worth a look, if you are among those who don't mind using canisters.

The MSR WhisperLite Universal is one. Simmer control is not as good as it could be, but there are some tricks that enable simmering.

I've used a variety of multifuel stoves, and prefer the quieter ones. Otherwise, the Primus OmniFuel Titanium would probably be at the top of my list (apart from custom multifuel stoves).

There are reviews of these stoves at www.amazon.com , www.rei.com , and elsewhere. (I would provide some more specific links for you, but for the device I'm on at this moment.)

For a canister-only stove, you might check out the SOTO Outdoors OD-1R Microregulator stove which seems to perform better at low simmers and in colder temperatures than most canister stoves.

The SOTO Muka is another interesting stove with some advanced engineering. It is unusual among liquid gas stoves in allowing you to light the stove directly without priming (though the initial flame is still yellow until it warms up). However, it requires extra pumping and periodic replacement of proprietary fuel tubing.

I like the easy field maintainability, along with the parts availability, if needed, of the MSR stoves. Plus I know them inside out, and understand what to do when or if needed. They have served well as incredible workhorses for me.

I usually use the WhisperLite International and the Dragonfly with gasoline, which works beautifully in these stoves. White gas is preferred by some, and burns a bit more cleanly. You just have to use a little pick (or a piece of wire from steel belted radials) to clear the jet maybe once a month or so with daily usage. It's about as hard as flossing your teeth -- no big deal once you've learned the simple technique. (Some models have a built-in shaker needle, but this may compromise the performance a bit, and some people will remove or replace it.)

Even though I don't use canisters any longer (for a variety of reasons), from a strictly-safety point of view, they probably have the fewest potential issues. The ones that allow you to separate the canister from the burner are probably the safest, and they allow the safe use of a good windscreen (unlike the burner-atop-canister designs which can overheat the canisters when used with a full windscreen). They are not without potential issues, while still probably having the fewest.

With proper care, the multifuel stoves are also fine; but they do seem to require some additional appropriate diligence and care.

Last edited by Niles H.; 04-23-13 at 12:29 PM.
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Old 04-23-13, 12:15 PM
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We use the MSR Pocket Rocket (3 oz.) for most trips. However, for longer trips with uncertain fuel availability we use the liquid fuel MSR Whisperlite International.

I also have a relatively inexpensive Primus that takes most canisters, even those found in Europe. It is heavier, but pretty versatile.

MSR Pocket Rocket with improvised wind screen.

Last edited by Doug64; 04-23-13 at 12:19 PM.
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Old 04-23-13, 12:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug64 View Post
We use the MSR Pocket Rocket (3 oz.) for most trips. However, for longer trips with uncertain fuel availability we use the liquid fuel MSR Whisperlite International.

I also have a relatively inexpensive Primus that takes most canisters, even those found in Europe. It is heavier, but pretty versatile.

MSR Pocket Rocket with improvised wind screen.

This what I use too. Fast, light, and easy.
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Old 04-23-13, 12:55 PM
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Had no problems with my Whisperlight Intl. dragon fly does cook better, as it simmers.

need to open the 2 valves in the proper sequence ..

but the canned Iso-butane ones are convenient , if there are places to buy more containers..

Unleaded petrol is widespread, I get 50p worth, as I go..
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Old 04-23-13, 12:57 PM
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list of what makes a stove safe:

1: the operator.



Any stove should be fine.
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Old 04-23-13, 01:10 PM
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Originally Posted by ksisler View Post
New thread to replace in part the one which Allen G had to kill off.

Desiring to see respectful posts regarding specific stoves that would be suitable for bike touring this summer and which are believed to have no safety or fire issues.

Include a photo if possible of the stove open for use and one of the same ready to put back in the pannier for departure. Include a mainstream source, current pricing a best known at the time. Specs such as weight, heat output, etc., would be welcome.

Please do not post anything about laws, existant or not, or about experiences in Europe, or about one-off weird fuels, etc.

THIS IS NOT AN ISSUES or ADVOCACY thread, nor it is for anyone wanting to throw rocks are each other or to posture at each others manhood or apparent lack there of.

Please stay focused on the intended purpose of the thread.

/K
I don't take pictures of my stoves...sorry. But I've used several different ones over the years.

-MSR Whisperlite but never liked it much. It's just too sooty after use for my tastes. Didn't control all that well either.

-Primus Technotrail. A great cheap stove. Works well, controls well and canisters are far easier to find now than they were 10 years ago when I bought my stove. I still have it but the piezo element broke and it doesn't ignite anymore. You can use a match, however. Pot sit a little high on this one and it could be tippy on uneven surfaces.

-Primus Omnifuel. Not cheap. Not light. A bit loud but damn... It burns anything. If you are willing to carry a fuel bottle and the pump (total weight: ~500g), you can use canisters or white gas or gasoline or diesel or kerosene or jet fuel. You have to change jets for the fuels other than white gas and LP. It's extremely versatile and very stable.

-Soto OD-1R I haven't used this one much. I got it for off-road overnight and backpack camping. It's light and it ignites better at altitude than other stoves. That's a concern for me here in Colorado. I've had trouble igniting the Technotrailn and the Ominifuel above 11,000 feet when using canisters.
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Old 04-23-13, 01:14 PM
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I used a Svea 123r or Primus with an aluminum fuel bottle years ago with unleaded gas (I got tired of bumming a liter of Coleman fuel at campgrounds though I usually got it for free because a smelly hairy burnt/tan touring cyclist can be lured away). Nary a problem. I'd use an MSR Whisperlite multifuel nowadays. Never carried matches as you'd be surprised how much flame remains in "empty" butane lighters. I found several along the way in rest areas.
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Old 04-23-13, 02:01 PM
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Another point to consider is stability. The remote-canister designs (e.g. WhisperLite Universal, Primus Gravity II) are more stable than some of the others. The pot is quite a bit lower. This can make a difference, especially with heavier pots or wind.

Some pot-support designs are also wider and more stable than others.

Also, higher initial price is often more than offset by price of fuel.
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Old 04-23-13, 02:14 PM
  #11  
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Experiences with earlier versions of the MSR WhisperLite Series stoves in many cases do not apply or translate well to the newer WhisperLite Universal.

The Universal has better simmer control (far better when using canisters -- but also much better than the older models when using other fuels, like unleaded or white gas).

It also has an improved pot support and stand, along with some other improvements.
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Old 04-23-13, 02:20 PM
  #12  
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Bought one of these last year. Works great.

http://www.rei.com/product/660004/sn...r-stove-manual
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Old 04-23-13, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by ksisler View Post
Desiring to see respectful posts regarding specific stoves that would be suitable for bike touring this summer and which are believed to have no safety or fire issues.
No safety or fire issues, at all? Regardless of how they're used? Respectfully, we're talking about devices that bring water to boil by live flame... you need to keep the potential fire and personal injury hazards in mind all the time. Doesn't mean you have to be preoccupied with the hazards all the time, just remember what you're dealing with and take due care. Many people manage to cook their meals with all kinds of camp stoves without inflicting personal injury or starting forest fires.

I have a Trangia stove and both alcohol and gas burner for it. I like the alcohol burner because it's very quiet and works well (relatively speaking) in colder temps. Gas burner is quick, easy to adjust, but prone to freezing (not the correct technical term, but it doesn't work well when it gets colder). And I hate the noise it makes.
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Last edited by Juha; 04-23-13 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 04-23-13, 02:31 PM
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I bought an early model JetBoil for backpacking to save weight over my Svea123. I decided to take the JetBoil on a bicycle tour in 2006 and I had problems finding canisters, at times. I switched back to the Svea123 for touring convenience. Two years ago I bought a Snow Peak Ti stove (1.9 ounces!) to save weight backpacking, replacing my JetBoil I used it on my last tour and didn't experience problems I had earlier, finding canisters.
Its just too lightweight and too easy to use!
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Old 04-23-13, 02:57 PM
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Ultra light option works great and weighs that of a feather, just don't be an idiot and you're fine

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Old 04-23-13, 03:58 PM
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If you factor in the weight of fuel, the differences start to look very different as the number of days increases. Alcohol is a much heavier and less energy-dense fuel.

Bike tourists and even some backpackers and climbers are often willing to take a little added weight for increased performance. And on longer trips other stove systems are close in weight, or even lighter.

I've never seen a discussion of the differences among stove types in how many different things can go wrong -- or a list of potential oversights that result in accidents. To get a clearer picture of safety issues and relative safety issues.... Some stoves simply have fewer or less likely potential accidents, user errors, or pitfalls associated with their use. But that would be a topic for another thread. Knowing what can go wrong could help increase awareness and safety.
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Old 04-23-13, 04:35 PM
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My favorite is my penny alcohol stove. However, if I was going to be out for more than about four days, I'd bring my Coleman F1 ultralight and a canister or two.
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Old 04-23-13, 07:49 PM
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I use two stoves, each with its ups and downs.

One is the MSR Pocket Rocket - lightweight but not the lightest (and still uses fuel canisters; the other is the MSR Whisperlite Int'l. The former I use for most backpacking/bikepacking outings. The latter is for long trips and international travel - anywhere bombproof reliability becomes necessary and where I'll be using lots of fuel.

What's great about the Pocket Rocket is its size and relative lack of weight and bulk, and its extreme simplicity. Just turn on the jet, spark it, and you're good to go. Heats very quickly and a fuel canister goes a pretty long way. Downsides - the fuel canisters are relatively expensive, not to mention produce waste once I'm done with them. But quick, clean, completely carefree and easy to use.

However, when I want to save money on long trips where I'll be using plenty of fuel, or if I expect to be in places where I can't buy gas cans, I have the Whisperlite to bring in as backup. It'll burn basically any kind of fuel, although I've only used it with regular gasoline. It's also got an integrated self-cleaning mechanism and is reputed to last basically forever and never break down. That has been my experience so far. Because gasoline is so very cheap, it'll save me a bundle on gas costs when I use it. Its ~$100 cost including a gas can fairly quickly pays for itself if you use it a lot.

It does have downsides, though, not the least of which is its weight (a pound vs 3 oz for the Pocket Rocket) and bulk. It also takes a few minutes to start working - you have to prime it first, wait a certain period of time, and then start the actual jet, and if you screw this up (not that it's overly difficult, but I still do mess it up sometimes) you have to wait until it cools down before you can try again. Also, using gasoline generates a lot of soot, which is guaranteed to get all over your hands and things. However, for a cross-country bike trip, and certainly for international travel, it's the one I'd take.
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Old 04-23-13, 09:01 PM
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Penny alcohol stove, running on denatured alcohol. Although I respect every other option mentioned here.
You need to ask 3 questions before considering this.
1 How often will I use the stove?
2 What fuel do I prefer to work with?
3 How long will my tours be?
That, and your budget, will narrow the choices. Affinity for gadgetry will also play a role.
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Old 04-23-13, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist View Post
list of what makes a stove safe:

1: the operator.



Any stove should be fine.
+1 frickin' trillion on this!
A person cooks things with a stove. A stove uses heat to cook things. Heat causes fire. Fire causes big fire. Big fire causes a whole lot of pain for the person trying to cook things with a stove.

The best way to carefully use a stove is to not use one. Just like how some say that the best condom is abstinence.

Josh
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Old 04-23-13, 09:52 PM
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I rarely use a stove any more. I don't know how we know if a stove is safe. I had a very bad experience with a whisperlight, as a trained tech, I don't think it was me, but it is the nature of such things that one does not have a lot of time to focus on causes when one is trying to kill the fire. The fact 50 people chime in saying a stove is safe does not mean anything. 50 people with problems, that is another mater, but 50 people with happy talk probably not all that significant.

Obviously the operator is a big part of the equation, but stoves that require one to be eror free, and never nock them even slightly, stoves that are tippy by nature, do not seem safe to me if one camps in areas where the ground cover is highly flamable.
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Old 04-23-13, 10:17 PM
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+1 for the Trangia. I also have the gas burner attachment , whick works well for me. I use the alcohol burner when I'm travelling solo, and bring the gas if in a group. I like that the whole system is self contained, stable ,and durable. The added weight over an ultralight system is just not that big an issue for me. If I was really worried about a few hundred grams I would lose some weight.

I also have an MSR Dragonfly, which is an awesome stove, particularily if you have to heat large quantities of water or melt snow. I just preferr the Trangia for smaller group/ solo travelling.

As far as fuel cost goes, none of my tours/travells have been budgeted so tightly that cooking fuel cost would be any kind of concern.

When it comes to stove safety, several people have pointed out that safety is a matter of operator knowledge and having a mindset that makes safe operation a priority.

Cheers
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Old 04-24-13, 06:53 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Niles H. View Post
Alcohol is a much heavier and less energy-dense fuel.

Alcohol is less energy dense but it isn't heavier. Diesel weighs 0.83g/ml, gasoline weighs 0.75g/ml and white gas weighs from 0.75 to 0.78g/ml while ethanol and methanol weigh 0.78g/ml.
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Old 04-24-13, 09:33 AM
  #24  
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Safety is largely a function of the operator not so much the stove.

A few but not all of the stoves I have used over the years either backpacking, canoeing, or bike touring are:
  1. Svea 123 - A classic. Works well and can burn white gas or reportedly gasoline. Some folks fuss about the "roar", that I find to be a pleasant and comforting sputter. Too heavy to suit me these days though.
  2. Pocket Rocket (or MSR's newer lighter model) - Great little stoves. I might take it for some trips if I know fuel will be available. If I have to go over a week between restocking on fuel I will take this rather than my alcohol stove, but that doesn't generally happen on my bike tours. I might also take this one if there is a fire ban that allows it and doesn't allow my pop can stove.
  3. Pepsi Can Stove - My go to stove. A much lighter choice until I start needing to carry over a weeks worth of fuel at a time.

I own a bunch of other stoves but they are all as heavy or heavier than the SVEA and have thus been retired except maybe for car camping or possibly canoe camping.
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Old 04-24-13, 10:17 AM
  #25  
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My goto stove is a Trangia 27. The larger 25 is standard for large youth organisations where they investigate the safety of various types.
No moving parts or maintenance. Boil time is sufficiently long to get my tent up, unpack and sort out the tent, then its time for tea.
With careful use of the simmer ring I have cooked 3 course gourmet meals.
Fuel leakage is annoying rather than unpleasant and you can use it as a solvent.

I tried a supercat stove (see robow above) but it is not very stable and is not thermally isolated from the ground like Trangia.
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