Author Topic: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?  (Read 15385 times)

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« on: April 08, 2008, 11:46:27 am »
Having been quite fired up* by the thoughts of doing some summer S24O rides this year, my mind has turned to the thought of the kit I'll need.  Fortunately, I own pretty much everything necessary to ride somewhere, camp and ride home.  But you know what it's like, as soon as you start contemplating some new endeavor, you start savoring the thought of what new lovely, shiny things you can justify buying...

One of the the good things about the S24O though, is that it forces you to pack light and really get the best usefulness/weight ratio going on.  Where cooking equipment is concerned, this would appear to mean the combination of hideously expensive titanium cookware, pitted against a lightweight Portable stove of some kind.

You don't really need the Ti lovliness, though.  Steel, ally and plastic will suffice.  And you can make your cooker yourself - witness the humble Beverage-can stove.  Apparently, most of the walkers on the Appalachian Trail choose one of these for their light weight, simplicity and cheapness.

I've tried to make one and it's not as easy as it sounds.  Although there are how-to videos on YouTube and posts all over camping and survival forums (as well as Zombie Squad, natch...) I'm beginning to see why people still buy them from eBay, ready made.  I've yet to take my eyebrows off, but playing with meths is never going to end well, is it?

Anyhoo, what I wanted to ask was whether anyone's built one of these babies?  And if you haven't, do you use a Trangia or a gas system?  I rather like the look of the MSR gear (to go with the blingy Ti pots and cups) but I'm really sold on the low weight and simplicity of alcohol stoves.

Apparently, from the reviews I've read, if you're not wanting a Trangia, all the ready made ultralight Ti alcohol stoves are pants and you're better off with a pop-can stove.   Of course, you'll need a pot rest anna wind shield an' stuff as well.

What do you use?



*Badoom-tish!
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2008, 11:51:08 am »
I love my Coleman petrol stove but it's probably a bit on the large side for a cycling trip, good for motorbike camping though. I had it for years in fact it went all round Europe with me once.
I really want one of these Bushbuddy ultra light wood burners.
I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that.

Becky

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2008, 11:51:17 am »
You could try getting in touch with this guy:

http://juniperstove.wordpress.com/

He builds tin can stoves all the time.

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2008, 11:57:49 am »
Oddly, I have a Coleman stove as well, Pat.  Stranger still, I used to take it on motorbike trips, too - it's ideal to sling on your bike for cups of tea at rallies!

You could try getting in touch with this guy:

http://juniperstove.wordpress.com/

He builds tin can stoves all the time.

Mmm - fascinating idea, Becky.  Not what I'm after (too heavy, too slow and too mucky) but I like the look of them anyway.  I can see the advantages for disaster relief, definitely.
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2008, 12:02:57 pm »
Oddly, I have a Coleman stove as well, Pat.  Stranger still, I used to take it on motorbike trips, too - it's ideal to sling on your bike for cups of tea at rallies!

You could try getting in touch with this guy:

http://juniperstove.wordpress.com/

He builds tin can stoves all the time.

Mmm - fascinating idea, Becky.  Not what I'm after (too heavy, too slow and too mucky) but I like the look of them anyway.  I can see the advantages for disaster relief, definitely.

If you could put a coleman stove or similar inside instead of the wood fire it would make a fantastic wind shield.

Or an XGK II or Whisperlite.

I do like the idea of that stove. Neat and reasonably elegant.
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2008, 12:03:58 pm »
I'd go for gas rather than a Trangia, unless you want to be waiting a long time for your tea... ;D

MSR do some lovely gadget-y goodness ;)

Or you could do what the old boys did - leave tea-making stuff hidden at points on their club runs so you don't have to carry stove, mug etc...  ;D
Getting there...

bikenerd

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2008, 12:05:31 pm »
I use a full size Trangia 27-2 when car camping with my girlfriend.  Just about big enough to do porridge for two or a pasta meal for two (quick cook pasta).

But when I'm on my lonesome I have used a mini Trangia and a Coleman F1 lite gas stove with the mini Trangia cookware.  I looked at building one of those DIY meths stoves but decided they were too unrefined.  Some notes based on what I read about DIY stoves and my experiences with the above two stoves last year.

  • Both of these need a windshield to get the best out of them, but you can easily make one from the disposable roasting trays you can get from supermarkets.  Remember to leave holes in the bottom so the air can get in.  
  • The F1 gas stove boils 1/2 litre of water in half the time the Trangia does.
  • There's no way of recovering the fuel from a DIY stove, you have to let any unused fuel burn out which is, obviously, wasteful.  With a Trangia you can screw the cap back on and use the fuel later.
  • Carrying meths is a lot heavier than carrying a gas cylinder and lightweight stove, quickly overcoming any weight advantage you have with a lightweight stove.  For an overnighter, you should be able to get enough fuel in just the Trangia burner for a cup of tea and porridge in the morning.  So you don't need to take a fuel bottle.
  • You can't refill a meths stove when it's hot.  If you don't put enough fuel in at the beginning you have to wait until it's cool enough to touch before filling with meths again.  When car camping we take two burners! :)
  • My friend did the Pacific Crest Trail last year and used a Primus mulitfuel stove!
  • The Trangia mini cookware is really good, worth the £20 in itself.  You get a free burner and pot stand then.
  • Gas stoves are less environmentally friendly.  Some municipal tips will let you recycle them, though.  Vent all the gas out of them first by attaching the stove and leaving it open (and outside) for a couple of days.

My conclusion: I didn't bother making my own when such a product as the Trangia mini exists for £20.  For compactness and lightness the Coleman F1 lite stove (or MSR Pocket Rocket - they are nearly identical) plus mini Trangia cookware is hard to beat and reasonably cheap as well.
I'd recommend you buy a mini Trangia and see how you go.  They really weigh next to nothing (350grams including burner, pot stand, pot, lid / frying pan and pot holder IIRC)

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2008, 12:06:42 pm »
Mini Trangia

The wait isn't that long for your tea. 

<edit>

I have a 500ml Trangia fuel bottle.  Fullof meths weights 540grams - just weighed it.   Very safe way to transport your fuel though.

</edit>

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2008, 12:07:01 pm »
I'd go for gas rather than a Trangia, unless you want to be waiting a long time for your tea... ;D

Why does it have to be either/or?

Trangia with gas is really quick, very efficient and clean. Love it myself.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

clarion

  • Tyke
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2008, 12:08:18 pm »
Fair point, but my stove cost a lot less than that converter....
Getting there...

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2008, 12:08:52 pm »
Coleman petrol every time for me too...
It's nice not to wait all day for the coffee/tea...

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2008, 12:19:51 pm »
Coleman petrol every time for me too...
It's nice not to wait all day for the coffee/tea...

Bivvy rules apply.

Arrive.
Set up stove.
Put up tent/lay out bivvy gear
Stove is now boiling.

It's all about planning.

How about people with their stoves performing a standard cooking time test and post the results?

The test would be to raise 250ml water from 4 degrees (ie from the fridge)  to boiling.

I'll do that with a trangia gas stove. Standard duosal pan (large).

..d
 
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #12 on: April 08, 2008, 12:23:22 pm »
I'd like to join your test David but I only have a Trangia 25 and a Trangia 27 to hand at the moment, not a mini.  I'd use the 27 being smaller and with the pan lid on boiling will be quicker.

bikenerd

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #13 on: April 08, 2008, 12:25:56 pm »
Coleman petrol every time for me too...
It's nice not to wait all day for the coffee/tea...

Bivvy rules apply.

Arrive.
Set up stove.
Put up tent/lay out bivvy gear
Stove is now boiling.

It's all about planning.

How about people with their stoves performing a standard cooking time test and post the results?

The test would be to raise 250ml water from 4 degrees (ie from the fridge)  to boiling.

I'll do that with a trangia gas stove. Standard duosal pan (large).

..d
 

It should be done out in the garden for a real world test! :)
The Trangia mini is reasonably quick in still conditions but takes an age in wind as the flame gets blown around a lot.

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2008, 12:31:12 pm »
Coleman petrol every time for me too...
It's nice not to wait all day for the coffee/tea...

Bivvy rules apply.

Arrive.
Set up stove.
Put up tent/lay out bivvy gear
Stove is now boiling.

It's all about planning.

How about people with their stoves performing a standard cooking time test and post the results?

The test would be to raise 250ml water from 4 degrees (ie from the fridge)  to boiling.

I'll do that with a trangia gas stove. Standard duosal pan (large).

..d
 

It should be done out in the garden for a real world test! :)
The Trangia mini is reasonably quick in still conditions but takes an age in wind as the flame gets blown around a lot.


Unless you use one of these  Or even just the judicious placement of pannier / rucksack, barbag, etc upwind of the stove.

I have also cut a beer can lengthways, taken out the top and bottom and used it pressed into the soil to act as a windshield.

bikenerd

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2008, 12:31:39 pm »
Here are some pictures (seeing as I'm working from home today)

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2008, 12:37:59 pm »

Unless you use one of these  Or even just the judicious placement of pannier / rucksack, barbag, etc upwind of the stove.

I have also cut a beer can lengthways, taken out the top and bottom and used it pressed into the soil to act as a windshield.

I had one just like that I've just passed on to juliet. I use it the other way up, so that the hinge pins peg it into the ground.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #17 on: April 08, 2008, 12:45:13 pm »
Windshields are a key bit of kit for efficient cooking. How you make them is up to you.

I'll start a testing thread shortly.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Charlotte

  • Dissolute libertine
  • Here's to ol' D.H. Lawrence...
    • charlottebarnes.co.uk
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #18 on: April 08, 2008, 12:58:51 pm »
Nice one, David!  Any excuse for some fun with fire  :D

If nobody else has one, I can do the big ol' Coleman stove if needs be.  I'll have to get some fresh fuel or siphon some petrol out of Bertha, though.  At least my old motorbike would give up her fuel at the petrol tap.

Although I only have the smaller, packable one, our Liz is something of an expert at firing up the the duel-burner superheavyweight Coleman stove.  Another skill learned at Camp Cameltoe on PBP...
Commercial, Editorial and PR Photographer - www.charlottebarnes.co.uk

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #19 on: April 08, 2008, 01:02:16 pm »
Nice one, David!  Any excuse for some fun with fire  :D

If nobody else has one, I can do the big ol' Coleman stove if needs be.  I'll have to get some fresh fuel or siphon some petrol out of Bertha, though.  At least my old motorbike would give up her fuel at the petrol tap.

Although I only have the smaller, packable one, our Liz is something of an expert at firing up the the duel-burner superheavyweight Coleman stove.  Another skill learned at Camp Cameltoe on PBP...

I used an optimus 22B - twin burner petrol stove to great effect. Very powerful and very loud. 7 litre pans boiled in fairly short order. Did I mention it was loud? You had to SHOUT at the cook.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

andygates

  • Peroxide Viking
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #20 on: April 08, 2008, 01:19:08 pm »
I'm the anti-Ray: anything I set fire to goes out.  Sparks and tinder?  Pff.  Sticks?  Chortle.  It's not until you get to petrol and straw that I can be sure of a flame.  So the hobo stove, while intriguing, isn't on my personal list of things to rely on.

Try, sure, because who doesn't want to savage a bean can with their Gert Knife and make a stove?  But not rely on.  Not use for, say, morning coffee.

These days I have a Snow Peak Giga Power folding stovette.  It's only good for boiling water and heating stuff from not-hot to hot - no Trangia simmer here - but it'll do a litre in two minutes and then fold up small enough to be confused with your FAK and GPS.  Mostly I travel light with heatables or dehydrated stuff, so it's ideal.

The jet-propelled NAAFI - a twin burner Coleman suitcase petrol jobbie - lives in the van...  The Trangia Mini is a waste of space and is gathering dust, but the pots it came with are great.
It takes blood and guts to be this cool but I'm still just a cliché.
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Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #21 on: April 08, 2008, 01:25:53 pm »
The Trangia Mini is a waste of space and is gathering dust,

Sorry to thread hijack but can I relieve you of it then please?

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #22 on: April 08, 2008, 01:33:25 pm »
I usually use a gas stove - cannister top usually, or remote burner if I anticipate coldish weather.
However I'm in the experimenting stage with a pepsi can stove - a version of the Penny Stove.
Experimentation was stopped by running out of meths, and I really need another go to get proper sealing.

When I'm satisifed with it, I'll get a MyTiMug or similar, and see if I can get weekend cooking kit incliding fuel into the mug.

Performance numbers to follow, when I'm at home and the water has chilled off in the fridge.

David Martin

  • Thats Dr Oi You thankyouverymuch
Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #23 on: April 08, 2008, 01:51:19 pm »
I usually use a gas stove - cannister top usually, or remote burner if I anticipate coldish weather.
However I'm in the experimenting stage with a pepsi can stove - a version of the Penny Stove.
Experimentation was stopped by running out of meths, and I really need another go to get proper sealing.

When I'm satisifed with it, I'll get a MyTiMug or similar, and see if I can get weekend cooking kit incliding fuel into the mug.

Performance numbers to follow, when I'm at home and the water has chilled off in the fridge.

Just take the water straight from teh mains after it has run for a wee while.

..d
"By creating we think. By living we learn" - Patrick Geddes

Re: Lightweight camping stoves - build your own?
« Reply #24 on: April 08, 2008, 03:41:54 pm »
Well, I've just built a pepsi can stove.  I only had white spirit to hand as a gas though, and it just burnt with a yellow flame out the top.  The occasional burst of flame from the sides, but nothing more.  I'll try another with more vents and using some proper alcohol next time.  It was promising though - sooty, but able to warm a can of water quite easily.