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Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 8:27 pm
by HoosierHiker1202
I’m making my first trip to IR next summer. It will be my first real backpacking trip, so I have a lot of gear to buy. Any recommendations for a good stove? There will be a group of three of us and I imagine we’ll mostly be doing simple meals like the dehydrated options widely available. I appreciate the guidance.

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:06 pm
by bobcat
Any of the small canister stoves would be a good choice. Look into SnowPeak Gigapower stove and MSR Pocket Rocket. Primus Trail Stove is less expensive and less to fold up, but marginally bulkier to carry. Any of these three and similar models from other brands would be good beginner stoves, using the same cartridges. No handling liquid fuels, no priming or pumping.

I also strongly recommend you and your friends do at least an overnight backpacking trip a couple weeks before you head to Isle Royale, to make sure all your gear plans work while you can still adjust.

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 7:48 am
by HoosierHiker1202
Thanks for the feedback. We have a couple weekend trips planned to work out the bugs (hopefully metaphorical only, but we’ll prepare for the literal ones, also).

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:48 am
by Ingo
I'll second what Bobcat said. I use an MSR, essentially what's now the PocketRocket 2, with an Optimus pot that has a heat exchanger on the bottom (https://www.optimusstoves.com/us/us/22- ... e-cook-set). I find that the heat exchanger makes a big difference in boil times. The top serves as my oatmeal bowl.

There's also the JetBoil and other systems that integrate the pot and stove. Folks seem to love them, but I haven't used them.

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 9:04 am
by johnhens
I have the MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe. The best feature of this stove (and any stove you may consider) is the regulator which maintains fuel pressure as the tank gets low or in cooler/cold conditions. I have the MSR Microcket also, prefer the PRD. I have a friend who used a Primus Crux on the AT, liked it.
https://www.msrgear.com/ie/stoves/canis ... l?srd=true

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Fri Oct 04, 2019 2:03 pm
by Base654
I have a bit of a stove fetish. I own most of the stoves from REI and quite a few others. I carry a pocket rocket for my backup when I solo backpack. My primary stove is the jet boil. it's nice because of it's efficiency, but honestly I only bought it because that year's camping budget had extra money.

If your plan is to use dehydrated, any of the mini burners should be fine. I suggest boiling the water then adding the food to the water. I don't like having to store the wet dirty packaging. Don't try to cook with this type, the concentrated heat will instantly burn anything but water. The jet boil burns too.

The bigger burner stoves will often have better heat control and will simmer a little better, but then you will end up burning a fair amount of fuel.

Liquid stoves are best, in my opinion, for longer travel or travel outside the US. I was in Iceland this year and there was one store in the country which had canisters, but kerosene, diesel and camp fuel (aka Coleman fuel) was in every town. The break point for weight comes around 3 meals a day for two weeks. Less than two weeks, the canister is lighter, but more expensive. Liquids are also good for cold weather if it has a preheater. Canister stoves burn fuel much faster when they gets cold. Liquid stoves aren't safe for tent vestibule cooking as the starting process usually involves a puddle of fuel and a big flame until the stove heats up. I concede that, with practice, one can minimize this, but I don't want to be in a burning tent with the only exit being through the flames. Of course, fire in or near a tent is sketchy, the canisters are more controlled (known flame size and instant off).

The two stove that I have that simmers nicely are the MSR simmerlite which doesn't seem to be available anymore, and my old school, one ton, grandpa style Coleman. The others will turn down a bit, but take a lot of attention to keep them burning.

REI used to fire up stoves for you to check out, I don't know if they do that anymore.

I see that MSR makes a universal liquid/canister stove, so I have to go shopping now...

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 12:14 pm
by Tom
I agree with Bobcat1, if it's your first stove, a simple canister model will serve you well on Isle Royale. They are easy to set up and light, and can be used for both heating water, or the occasional pan cooking. Not a huge fan of the MSR series that has one heck of a hot spot; SnowPeak makes some solid designs (with a price to match some days) so look around for a company called Kovea - They make much of the stuff for SnowPeak, and have 'equivalent' models with slight design changes for less cost.
Down the line, as Base654 notes a liquid fuel model is nice to have in the inventory. I've had a MSR International for like a billion years and it's still going strong. They are good for international travel (or anywhere fuel sources may be sketch) as well as winter and altitude use. Make that your second stove.
After that the 'fetish' kicks in. :shock:

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:18 pm
by Base654
I bought the MSR universal liquid/canister... I have't opened it yet. is there any way to stop this addiction?

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:43 pm
by johnhens
Base654 wrote: Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:18 pm I bought the MSR universal liquid/canister... I have't opened it yet. is there any way to stop this addiction?
Don't think of it as an addiction. Think of it as accumulating gear so as to be able to answer questions such as these. Goodwill. Yes, goodwill. Don't ask how many stoves one has.

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Sat Oct 05, 2019 8:38 pm
by bobcat
is there any way to stop this addiction
What worked for me was downsizing my home. I had to select only the best of my gear to keep, and sold or donated the rest. Funny, I am finally satisfied with my gear collection 😀

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 3:49 pm
by booyah
Base654 wrote: Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:18 pm I bought the MSR universal liquid/canister... I have't opened it yet. is there any way to stop this addiction?
Might I suggest alcohol stoves? :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:02 pm
by Base654
I have a couple of alcohol stoves, but I don't find them very convenient. I tend to stay out for a while and like hot meals. The weight of the fuel offsets the weight (or lack there of) of the stove.

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Sun Oct 06, 2019 6:33 pm
by booyah
You may just need to tweak your system...

https://youtu.be/q6xhcOrSl7M

2 cups boiled on 16ml of alcohol

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Wed Oct 16, 2019 6:40 pm
by thesneakymonkey
A simple canister stove is the way to go. I have an original pocket rocket (MSR) and it has never failed me over the years.

Re: Best stove for new backpacker

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 10:24 am
by GHI
I also have an original pocket rocket. I've never had any issues with it. Never cleaned it or had to buy parts or fix anything on it. My buddies have 2 different generations of JetBoil. The newer one boils water a tad faster than the older one. They both boil water quicker than me. The difference is I boil enough water in my pot for dehydrated meal, coffee and a few drops left over to clean my spoon or whatever. Their JetBoil barely holds enough water for a dehydrated meal if I remember correctly. Something to consider.

I also have a Kelly Kettle. It's pretty neat, but kind of heavy and bulky so I no longer bring it on backpack trips.