Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

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Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

Post by Woods Walker » Sun Feb 19, 2017 1:49 am

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.

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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.

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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!

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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!

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And we are burning.

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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.

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All done. That was fast.

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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.

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Taking care of biz in a day camp.

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Conclusion. Liquid gas stoves are my preferred winter option.

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

Post by Halfapint » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:03 am

I always love my white gas stoves, I have 3. Only time I use isobutane is during summe.
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Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

Post by Dooms » Sun Feb 19, 2017 2:22 am

I've found the same. Canister stoves are my preferred for short outings in warm-ish weather, but when things get cold or longer than a few days....the liquid multi-fuel stoves are the way to go.

I actually just picked up a rebuild kit for my Whisperlite International. I've been lucky with it so far, but better to be safe than sorry.

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

Post by TacAir » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:24 am

For melting large amounts of snow... MSR-XGK.

For a quick brew and melt enough to refill the thermos - SVEA 123.

White gas / gasoline (or kero) is the only reasonable stove fuel for winter use. Of course YMMV.
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Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

Post by taipan821 » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:00 am

from a more temperate climate I would add the following
1. where the temperature doesn't drop below 40F the choice isn't as serious, I use all three fuel types and the only reason to take one stove over the other is what sort of stove I need

saying that, Primus Omnifuel, MSR whisperlite international, Optimus Nova+ are all really good bug out stoves
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Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

Post by majorhavoc » Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:31 am

Yep, this is why after all these years I still have my old MSR Whisperlite, even though for fair weather camping I generally prefer an iso-butane stove. I bought the MSR, along with the field maintenance/rebuild kit in the late 1980s. Never had to use the rebuild kit and that thing still chugs along in any kind of weather.

Priming/pre-heating can be a little scary to people if they're not used to how it runs (you basically set it on fire until the priming shot of liquid fuel burns off), but for me at least it's really the only choice for winter camping.

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

Post by teotwaki » Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:56 am

I am a big fan of the XGK stoves from MSR and have an early XGK-2 as well as the military EX series with the unusual tan colored fuel bottles. The stoves can burn white gas (naphtha), unleaded gasoline, diesel, JP-8, kerosene, 100LL avgas and turpentine with the right jets and certain cautions. Maybe better for the ZPAW

For canister stove mountain climbers have experimented with short lengths of copper tube to conduct heat back to the canister. Some manufacturers even tried similar production designs to preheat the fuel.

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Some newer canister stoves deliberately invert the butane canister and incorporate a heating loop near the flame

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Here is a good stoves article. Note the "Zip Stoves". I had not heard of them but it is not a surprise that someone dreamed it up. :mrgreen:

http://www.pmags.com/stove-comparison-real-world-use
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Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

Post by teotwaki » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:03 pm

majorhavoc wrote:Priming/pre-heating can be a little scary to people if they're not used to how it runs (you basically set it on fire until the priming shot of liquid fuel burns off), but for me at least it's really the only choice for winter camping.

I just read that the original MSR stoves used to recommend using alcohol for the priming step and supplied a small plastic bottle in the kit.
https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.co ... r-jet.html

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

Post by teotwaki » Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:12 pm

Check out the noise level of the XGK around minute 10. The whole reason the stove has nicknames like afterburner and blowtorch.

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

Post by TacAir » Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:26 pm

History of the XGK. (https://thesummitregister.com/evolution ... -ex-stove/) Cool pics as well.

Picked mine up in the late 70s.
Fuel cleared for use (listed) was:
White gas (Naptha)
Leaded gas
Kerosene (all variants)
Diesel
Stoddard Solvent
JP-anything
Avgas
Mineral Spirits
DFA (Diesel fuel, Arctic)

Old school may be a bit better than new school
https://www.wildsnow.com/2548/msr-xgk-ex-test-review/

I replaced my Svea 123 with the XGK. I still have it, but the 123 is less a pain to use and a lot lighter. But for bulk snow melting, it is hard to beat the XGK - even if it sounds like a rocket engine in heat....
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Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

Post by Woods Walker » Wed Feb 22, 2017 12:10 am

Some more liquid gas stoves.

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

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The Peak worked.

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

Post by taipan821 » Wed Feb 22, 2017 1:30 am

Huzzah for the Coleman Peak 1!

That was my first fuel stove, and while I have the 'cool' stoves (omnifuel, trangia, evernew, jetboil) The humble Peak 1 still gets used.

Great stove for newbies, since it self primes
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Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

Post by majorhavoc » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:53 am

I used to own a Coleman Peak 1, the pre-multi fuel model, but it did have the stubby folding legs. I used to call it the Lunar Landing Module. That stove had the absolute best flame control of any stove I've owned, but it had an annoying tendency to stop up if you over pressurized the tank. The only way to relieve the pressure at that point was to crack open the fuel cap and vent.

Not a smart thing to do near an open flame (say, a camp fire). DAMHIKT :oops:

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

Post by Redbad » Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:42 am

I agree on the use of a liquid fuel stove in the winter or for use above treelines. There are times when a bombproof stove is necessary for bulk snow melting or for when there is no wood available (or if fires are not allowed) and I use the MSR Dragonfly for winter or for extended wilderness travel (a 1L/ 32oz fuel bottle lasts me around 10-14 days, less if I have to melt a lot of snow).

I find that alcohol gel works better for priming the stove than does liquid alcohol as gel burns for a bit longer.

I also find that I only need to use priming in extreme cold (with white gas) or when using Kerosene and similar fuels (at any temperature).

Like the XGK, the Dragon is NOISY compared to other liquid fuel stoves, so this can be an issue.
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Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

Post by teotwaki » Thu Mar 09, 2017 12:09 pm

This thread prompted me to get out all of my XGK stoves (yes! 3!) and perform some check-ups where needed as well as taking a closer look at the fuel jet differences. My oldest is the shaker jet model from the 1990's and it has been along on the majority of my adventures.
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Stock photo above whereas mine looks a bit banged up but functions great. Some folks out there advocate dumping the shaker jet and going back to standard jets. I upgraded the fuel pump at one point a while back. This stove stays in my offroad trailer as a backup or for quick one-person water and meal heating as opposed to firing up the dual burner Coleman camp stove.

My second XGK is the newer "expedition" model with the fold-in legs and pot support and it has seen light use but it is easier to deal with when setting up.
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My third stove is a mil-issue XGK that comes with tacticool tan painted fuel bottles, green waterproof bag as well as fuel jets for diesel and JP-8. It is reserved for trips where I have to deal with those sorts of fuel supplies.
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One last maintenance task was to inspect and replace fuel bottle O-rings. They become brittle, crack and then leak.
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Re: Winter stove options. My preferred is White Gas.

Post by Dogan » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:07 pm

TacAir wrote:For a quick brew and melt enough to refill the thermos - SVEA 123.
Came here specifically to tout my Svea. I've had 2 over the years, a 123 and a 123R. The 123 was given away to a friend who didn't have a stove, but my 123R has been absolutely bomb proof. And it's that bomb-proofy-ness that has kept me from upgrading to a different model - I've looked at Whisperlites and Dragonflys and other more modern offerings, but they just don't feel as durable. And to be honest, I'm okay with that. The extra few ounces and limited capacity is well worth it when I know the system inside and out (grand total of 2 moving parts) and have absolute faith in it.
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