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John D

Liquid fuel backpack stoves

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Anybody out there still use liquid fuel stoves, or have the lawyers shut you down? Our troop has an old Optimus white gas stove from the '70s, the kids call it "A-bomb" because it can flare up and is a bit tricky. We also use a MSR Whisperlite gas/kerosene/jetfuel/yak-pee flexible stove when we trek in Asia or Africa, it burns anything. What's your favorite?

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Liquid fuel stoves are now a requirement in many areas. And with LNT, more so than ever...

 

As to favorites I've owned and used MSR's XKG's and Whisperlites...however my current stove is the Primus...works the same as the XKG. On the plus side it is much more stable, and will burn not only liquid fuel, but also cannistered gas. The downside, it's a bit more heavier than the XKG......

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I use an MSR Dragonfly. It allows for multiple fuels and has a second valve that makes it much easier to actually cook on the trail. The XKG and Whisperlite don't have this feature. Some of the Optimus stoves do, though they may be a bit more expensive. I think the Dragonfly is a bit better choice for most scouting situations when compared to the XKG or Whisperlite (because of the second adjustment valve), but both are good stoves.

 

On old A-bomb, make sure that someone in your troop (registered adult) gains some expertise on operating, cleaning and maintaining the stoves the troop owns. Rebuild kits are available for even some very old stoves with a little effort. Read understand and live by the Guide to Safe Scouting when it comes to stoves (VII - Fuels and Fire Prevention).

 

If your old stove has the reputation it does, have someone competent inspect and repair it. Using something that "...can flare up and is a bit tricky", may not be the best idea especially if it has not been rebuilt for a while.

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I still use liquid fuels. I use stoves from the whisperlite to coleman. My seasoned scouts like these and the junior scouts like the propane. Propane has a problem in the cold. When using the stoves on snow, a piece of 6"X6" plywood or closed cell foam mat work well for a base and barrier from the snow.

 

What I like best is that I can use the always-available fuel for the lanterns also.

 

When backpacking, its easier for each scout to carry a fuel container than sticking a propane bottle in a pack for the entire trip. Refillable rules.

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Yes refillable rules. I have manitained and rebuilt our white gas stoves for years. However they are geting up in age and the troop has decided to go propane to use on overnights. This does have the disadvantage of the scouts not knowing how to maintain their personal stoves on trips that they can't carry the propane bottle...haven't found a volunteer yet to carry the hoses and gear in their pack yet. Propane is quicker on heating but cumbersome.

 

YIS

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I like liquid fuel. A fuel canister takes up less space than a propane tank and I'm sure it lasts much longer. Also, the idea of dragging an empty propane tank around irks me.

 

Oh, for the good old days when you could build a fire where ever you went.

 

 

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We just purchased the Primus Omnifuel. Its an improvement on the award winning Multifuel. Some stoves are all out or nothing, but most of the new stoves have great simmer capabilities. I like the fuel bottle on the Primus because you just turn the bottle over to turn the stove off and it burns the residual fuel in the lines. This eliminates the messy and dangerous fuel spills.

Doug

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"We prefer propane because the boys are not temped to poor some of the fuel on the fire."

 

That's understandable. When I was young, we'd have great fun seeing who could hit the charcoal grill from the longest distance with the lighter fluid. Watching the fire race up the stream was neat. Never had a ka-boom, we found that the flame never got near the nozzle because the fluid was moving too quickly at that point. Great fun but I'd clobber my son if I caught him doing it.

 

 

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