Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:16 pm Posts: 124 Location: Kelowna, BC
Just returned from a three day/two nighter up Trophy Mountain outside of Clearwater, BC and it was pretty incredible to say the least. Any time that I can get blower pow/face shots in the middle of April is a good time!
I'm just wondering what everyone has found to be the most efficient large cooking pot for winter camping? The average temp was -8C/17.6F at 2140m/7020ft and we (2 people) used my Coleman Xtreme Powermax stove with Powermax fuel (butane/propane blend) which I have used for years.
The pot that I used was a large stainless pot with a lid and a pseudo wind screen that I made up out of an old six pack box and some tin foil...it was surprisingly effective and very scientific ...ha....my preference is to take one large pot rather than multiple pots so I'm looking at a 2.5-3 litre pot which can fill up two 1L water bottles and leave enough for cooking.
I know that I could get a lot better boiling times if I used a better pot with a heat exchanger so I was just wondering what has worked best for everyone else? I love my Coleman stove but maybe it is time to trade up to a MSR Reactor/stove system or the Jetboil Group Cooking System....any recommendations/thoughts/experiences?
Joined: Mon Dec 22, 2008 6:35 pm Posts: 316 Location: Ithaca, NY
Personally I don't fuck around with isobutane for cold weather stuff. I know you can warm them with external packets and in your jacket blah blah, I've even used windscreens CAREFULLY to keep the canister warm. My experience is from an MSR pocket rocket and MSR branded fuel and Snowpeak giga whatever canisters in around 20-30 degree F weather.
My workhorse winter stove is a Primus Omnifuel with a 4L aluminum pot with a normal windscreen. The thing is incredible. Usually boils more water faster than MSR DragonFlys and Whisper lights. Very very stable pot stand as well. Bomber metal fuel pump. Priming is also relatively easy too with the large cotton wick type thing in the bottom that soaks up fuel.
Here's a picture of it in action during snow camping:
A good tight windscreen helps a lot, the lid helps and note the pot insulator I made out of the reflective bubble wrap from the hardware store. Saw another dude use this stuff for this purpose and it makes a world of a difference keeping things warm in the pot! And the foil backing lets you take the pot right off the stove and place it in the "pot cozy".
The bad news is that it is heavy even for a stove in its class. The "no leak" bottle flipping thing they advertise doesn't really work for me as I still get some gas on me when disconnecting but not as much as normal. It's also expensive and not as common as MSR stuff so replacement parts and what not will be harder to come by.
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2009 3:18 pm Posts: 473 Location: New Castle, Colorado
I second aliasptr has stated
I carry a MSR Rocket as an emergency stove and I have MSR Whisperlite International. Previously I had and old MSR XGK for winter camping.
The MSR XGK is the stove to have for winter camping and boiling water, especially for a large group. If you need to cook and fry dishes, then the Whisperlite is great stove.
A year ago, my wife and I had to emergency winter bivouac. That night I could get the Rocket stove started, but in the morning could not. I should have disassembled the stove and put the fuel canister in my sleeping bag to keep the fuel warm. Longer boil time too than XGK.
Now I carry the Wisperlite, wish I still had the XGK!
The XGK rocks.
_________________ Ride the Pow! ---- Venture Storm R 163 (2010), Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter, Scarpa F1 Boots, Bomber Sidewinder Bindings * Prior 172 Fissile (2012) Dynafit Binding/Sparks Adapter
Joined: Fri Oct 03, 2008 8:45 am Posts: 809 Location: Bozeman, MT
White gas stoves are proven as the most efficient snow-melters but they're heavy. Isobutate stoves are lightweight but unless you use one that allows you to invert the canister upsidedown they are ineffective in cold weather. My recommendation is to either:
1. Carry a white gas stove (MSR Whisperlite is the standard) 2. Carry an inverted canister stove system (Coleman, MSR, and Brunton all make versions of this)
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2009 2:16 pm Posts: 124 Location: Kelowna, BC
Thanks for your input everyone! I guess that where I am still at is that I am just looking for a pot with a heat exchanger that is compatible with my stove. I don't really need a multi-fuel stove unless splitboard.com will sponsor a trip to the Himalayas??? Bueller...Bueller...anyone...ha...just kidding.....
The other stoves sound good but I don't see any advantage to them over my old Coleman. My Powermax fuel canister actually sat in the snow all weekend and I never had a problem and that is with an average temp of -8C/17F and the first night it easily got down to -15C/5F. There is zero fuel waste when connecting/disconnecting, no fuel pump/priming to mess around with and The 60/40 butane/propane mix and the liquid withdrawal system delivered all weekend.
From Coleman's website....
Coleman's exclusive high-performance butane/propane (60/40) blend dramatically extends the operational range of backpacking appliances. High altitude and incredible cold don't phase this fuel. It's delivered via a liquid withdraw system that ensures consistent output, even when the fuel level in the canister is low. No fighting the drop-offs you get with propane and butane canisters, which rely on vapor pressure. Each Powermax cartridge has a resealable connection so that you can detach the cartridge to pack it, then reattach it later. No fuel goes to waste. And canisters are recyclable.
Coleman Powermax - 60/40 blend of butane/propane MSR Isopro fuel - 80/20 blend of isobutane and propane Jetboil Jetpower fuel - ?/? blend of isobutane and propane
I just tracked down a really technical chemistry based explanation as to why the Powermax fuel is so effective in the cold and basically it comes down to the liquid withdrawal system. Here is the link http://www.bushwalking.org.au/FAQ/FAQ_Mixtures.htm
Joined: Wed Mar 23, 2005 10:05 am Posts: 1515 Location: Colorado
I tend to disagree with the white gas vs isobutane comments here. For short trips (2-3 nights) I prefer the ease of use, and super fast boil times of the MSR Reactor setup-this is perfect for two to three people on shorter trips. I have no problems with isobutane down to around 0 degrees F, and not having to constantly pump and prime is a huge hassle reliever, and saves time on those early AM alpine starts. For expeditions, and super cold below zero (F) temperatures, then I go for the XGK and the white gas.
Joined: Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:03 pm Posts: 344 Location: Stockton, CA
I haven't used my jet boil in extreme conditions, but I have boiled water quickly at the resort to make a dry soup, and I have used the jet boil pot as you have pictured to prepare those pacs of lentil soup, or rice, or canned stuff, but only in temperatures around freezing, but so far so good!
I want to inform everyone including samh that the pictured device above is NOT for inverting your canister stove. This is ONLY a canister converter for butane stoves that allows you utilize a windscreen with your stove. It safely keeps the canister away from the burner to prevent heat reflection back onto the canister. It also offers better stability by lowering your stove's center of gravity. If you invert a full fuel canister while using this device it can result in a flare-up because there's no generator tube to safely convert the fuel from liquid to vapor. Note: You can safely invert a fuel canister when it's nearly empty while using this device.
The ONLY butane canister stoves that are designed to be inverted are the following...
Snow Peak Li Crab Coleman Fyrestorm Ti Coleman Xtreme Powermax w/ inverted canister converter Jetboil Helios (group cookset only)
MSR also recommends to invert the canister on their Windpro stove when it's almost empty, but it's strongly NOT recommended to invert it on a full canister due to possible flare-ups or gumming up around the valve causing issues. Note: Even though there's a generator tube on the Windpro, it's not engineered to handle the high pressure of a full canister. That's why there's no canister stand that comes with this stove to hold the fuel inverted.
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2006 1:57 am Posts: 1110 Location: Santa Barbara, CA/Ashland, OR
Thanks for checking in. I currently have a snowpeak gigapower and have only used it on spring trips, although it has gotten quite cold at times. The bottom line for me with canister stoves is that you have to carry more fuel then think you'll need because of the pressure issue when they're near empty. This is fine if you also use it to cook while car camping from time to time as I always carry a FULL canister into the BC with me, but the partial ones can work pretty good.
Regarding keeping a canister in your sleeping bag with you, well, honestly, if it's that cold you're probably sleeping with you bootliners too right? And a waterbottle? So just stick the canister in your bootliner and you haven't used any extra space in your bag/bivy.
Also, I live on the west coast, and general ride in the Sierra and Cascades, so extreme cold temps are not a huge concern. This being said, I've used canister stoves down to single digit temps. Again, you just have to prewarm the canister, just like you would with a butane lighter...
...and I KNOW lots of you guys are using butane lighters in all kinds of temps and conditions!
_________________ "Winter is not a season, it's an occupation." -Sinclair Lewis