Our guide to helping you choose your perfect hiking stove At Hiking.com.au, with such a large range of cooking systems on offer, we understand it can be difficult knowing which one will be the right one for you. This guide is designed to provide some handy information to help in choosing your perfect stove.
Hiking.com.au has an extensive range of stoves suitable for bushwalking, backpacking and expeditions.
With such a large range to choose from it can be difficult to know which stove is going to be right for you.
In order to select the right stove there are a few questions you will need to ask yourself.
How many people will you be cooking for?
The amount of people you will be cooking for will dictate the size of pots and therefore the size of stove that you will require. If using larger pots consider a stove with wider pot supports and a good wide stable base.
How long will you be going away for?
For trips of a couple of nights a gas stove will pack up small and weigh little. Heading away for over a week though and you'd have to carry multiple gas canisters increasing both pack size and weight. Liquid fuel stoves on the other hand can be weighty to carry for an overnighter but will come into their own for longer trips.
Where abouts will you be using the stove?
If you plan on using the stove while travelling to remote countries multi-fuel stoves are the stove of choice as you may have limited access to fuel types and need a stove that will burn whatever fuel you are able to find.
What climate/altitude will you be using the stove in?
Temperature and altitude has a big effect on the performance of some stoves. Gas stoves are fine for temperate environments but don't perform well in the cold or at altitude.
Below is an overview of the types of fuel commonly used by hiking stoves and some of their pros and cons.
Types of Stoves
Light and packable.
The majority of todays gas hiking stoves have folding pot supports and flame controllers allowing them to pack down very small. In many cases a folded stove and gas canister will be able to fit inside a pot set offering an extremely compact cooking solution.
Relatively safe and easy to use.
Most modern gas stoves attach to the gas canister via a threaded resealable valve. Simply screw the stove onto the canister, turn on the gas and light. Some stoves now also come with a piezo electric lighter attached for added convenience.
These stoves do not require priming.
The gas is in a resealable canister and therefore cannot be spilled.
Easy and accurate flame control
Gas stoves have a flame control knob allowing you to adjust the flame from a full boil to a quiet simmer.
As mentioned earlier gas is clean burning, leaving less residues on you pots, and burns with a hot flame.
Canister loses pressure over time.
As the fuel inside a gas canister is used up the pressure inside the canister is reduced resulting in a lower maximum flame output.
Performance reduces with temperature.
Cold weather will reduce the pressure inside the gas canister and this will lead to a reduced maximum flame output.
Not good in cold weather
Cold weather also causes the pressure inside the gas canister to be reduced which in turn reduces the stoves performance.
Difficult to estimate how much fuel is left in a canister.
Due to a gas canister being a sealed unit it is impossible to accurately estimate how much gas is left in it
Canisters are not easy to dispose of.
Empty gas canisters have to be carried back out from any hike. Once they are home it is very difficult to dispose of them due to remnants of gas left in the canister.
|Jetboil's Crunchit has helped to solve the problem of how to dispose of used gas canisters. The Crunchit punctures the gas canister allowing any remaining gas to escape and making it ready to recycle.|
Stoves can be unstable
Most gas stoves screw on to the top of a relatively small diameter gas canister and the pot is then placed on top of the stove. The small base size and high centre of gravity of the set up can cause it to be unstable.
Cannot be used with a wind shield
Unless a gas stove has a similar design to the MSR Whisperlite Universal, pictured above, which uses a remotely positioned gas canister, placing a wind shield around the stove should never be done. It is very dangerous as heat can be directed down from the stove around the canister potentially causing the canister to explode.
The down side to this is that it leaves the stove more exposed to the elements which can lead to the stove being less efficient
A New Style of Gas Stove
In recent years a range fo fully integrated gas cooking systems have come onto the market. Their aim is to, through the use of specially designed burner heads, wind shielding, heat exchangers and in some cases dedicated pots, provide a more themally efficient interface between the stove and the pot, creating a lightweight cooking set up that is more economical on fuel and more effective in harsher environments than traditional gas stoves.
Liquid fuel stoves:
While some of our liquid fuel stoves burn only white gas/Coleman fuel, today, the vast majority are multi-fuel stoves. They are able to use some if not all of these fuels; white gas, kerosene, unleaded petrol, aviation fuel, jet fuel and diesel. Some are even able to use gas canisters as well.
Versatility (Multi-fuel stoves).
Due to there ability to burn a large range of fuels Multi-fuel stoves are an excellent choice when travelling to remote parts of the world.
Most liquid fuel stoves have a wide base and wide pot supports. Unlike most gas stoves they sit directly on the ground as the fuel bottle is remote from the stove. The increased stability and wider pot supports make them great for cooking with larger pots and ideal for group cooking.
|The MSR Dragonfly has a wide base and pot supports making it an ideal stove for larger pots and group cooking situations.|
Can be used with a wind shield.
As the fuel bottle is located away from the stove it is possible to use a wind shield with most liquid stoves. This protects the flame from the elements and helps to retain heat around the pot making the set up more thermal and fuel efficient.
|MSR's Solid heat reflector and windscreen can help boost the performance of most liquid fuel stoves that have their fuel bottle placed remotely from the stove.|
Fuel is cheap.
Having a reuseable fuel bottle means that you only have to purchase the fuel. Even when only using white gas, the most expensive of the liquid fuels, the cost of fuel will be far cheaper than gas. Be aware, most fuel bottles are sold separately to the stove and will need to be factored in for the initial purchase of the stove.
Work well in the cold
Being able to pressurise the fuel bottle, preheating of the fuel in the generator to vapourise it and the ability to use a wind shield mean that liquid fuel stoves are able to perform well in cold conditions.
If you appreciate your peace and tranquility while cooking in the outdoors a liquid fuel stove might not be the best option as they can be noisey.
Require more maintenance than gas stoves
Due to additives in certain fuels or their less refined nature liquid fuel stove are more prone to clogging of fuel lines and jets thus requiring more maintenance to keep them functioning efficiently
The majority of liquid fuel stoves require priming, priming heats up the main body of the stove including the generator tube this initiates the vapourisation of the fuel before it leaves the jet allowing a more effcient burn and reducing the risk of flare ups.
Heavier than gas stoves
Liquid fuel stoves are generally more bulky and heavier than todays lightweight gas stoves, spirit stoves or solid fuel stoves
More likely to spill the fuel.
As liquid fuel stoves use a refillable fuel bottle there is a greater likelihood of fuel being spilled.
Require more skill and practise to use.
Compared to most other stoves a liquid fuel stove requires more skill and practise to use safely and to keep maintained. That being said if you learn how to use them properly they offer far more versatility in both types of fuel burned and conditions they can be used
Easy to use and require little maintenance.
This style of stove has few if any moving parts requiring less maintenance. They are easy to fill and light.
Low heat output.
Spirit stoves have a fairly low heat output and will hterefore take longer than liquid fuel or gas stoves to boil water for example
Can spill the fuel
Using a liquid fuel and needing to be refilled there is always a chance of spilling the fuel. Make sure when refilling the stove that the flame is completely out and the stove has cooled down.
Solid fuel stoves.
Simple to use
No flame control
The information above attempts to provide you with a bit of an overview of stoves to help you make a more informed decision when buying your next stove from Hiking.com.au. If you do have any further questions regarding any of our stoves please feel free to an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us 02 9972 0061