Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pacific Crest Trail - Backpacking Stoves and which one to choose

Here I sit broken hearted, stomach growling because I can’t get my stove started. That might be pushing it, but picking the right stove can be tough. It really depends on what you are going to do, where you are camping, and how long you plan to be out on the trail.

For the past 15 years I have been using an old Optimus, that my stepdad past on to me. I am not sure how old it is, but it is a great little stove and I have never needed to buy a new one. But, since it only uses white gas I have decided not to use it on the PCT.

There are so many backpacking stoves to choose from. I have been researching, trying some out, and very soon I will make my decision of which one to take.

You have your multi fuel stoves like the OPTIMUS NOVA, which weighs 15 ounces and folds down to a nice compact size. This is a very smooth working stove. Optimus also makes the Gravity stove which is lighter and it very efficient.

MSR makes the XKG.EX multi fuel, 14 ounces, compact, very tough and good for mountaineering. It is not so efficient on fuel, and maybe not as good for hiking. Another stove by MSR is the Dragonfly. It is lightweight, multi fuel and may be a better choice for hiking. It folds down small for packing. It isn’t great for simmering, but ok on fuel.

The Whisperlight is on the same page as the Dragonfly. It is also lightweight, folds down small, very tough, and great for hiking. It is also multi fuel and a good all around stove.

The new Brunton Vapor does it all and you can use canister fuel like; propane or butane. Then with a twist of the housing which adjusts the jet, you can burn any kind of liquid fuel, like white gas, kerosene, diesel and auto fuel. You name it, they all work. It is very efficient, lightweight and folds down for packing. I will most likely be using this stove for my Pacific Crest Trail hike.

I also researched canister stoves, like the new MSR Reactor. It uses ISO butane and is lightweight weighing 20 ounces. It is compact, fuel efficient, and a good tough stove.

Then there is the Optimus Stella Plus which uses propane and butane, ultra light, very compact. I like this stove. It is efficient and simmers well.

Now, for the super ultra light stove like the MSR Pocket Rocket. It only weights 3.5 ounces. It doesn’t get any smaller than this. It is a great little stove. For fuel it uses ISO butane which is great for backpacking.

I would most likely buy a canister stove if I knew for sure that I would be able to re-supply the fuel as I hike along the PCT. Besides that, I am not sure if the Post Office will let you mail fuel?

So, for me it is going to be the Brunton Vapor or the Optimus Nova. With either one of these stoves I should have no problem refueling along the trail. I only wish I could test them all.

Let me know if you have used any of the stoves above.

Happy Cooking, and thanks for reading!