Stability and performance in wind the priorities
We did my first bivvy for quite a while (and MoS's first ever) last weekend, on top of Y Garn on the Nantlle Ridge - it went off really well, some heavy rain overnight but only while we were safely 'bagged', and a strong enough wind to keep the midgies off most of the time. But it got me wondering whether there's an ideal stove to use when you haven't got the shelter of a tent porch, flat ground could be at a premium, and at worst you might be trying to operate it from the confines of a largely zipped bivi bag.
For camping we often use an Optimus Nova multifuel with a couple of pans and cook 'proper' food. This time we took the little Snowpeak Gigapower, used with a foil windshield enclosing 3/4s of it. It worked ok but gas use was certainly heavier on account of the wind. We simplified the cooking, but we're still looking at soups, rice or pasta, etc. i.e. basic cooking rather than boil-in-the-bag or Wayfarer-type stuff.
My first thought was maybe a Jetboil? But reviews leave me uncertain whether it's actually a good performer in the wind, and the stability looks uncertain although the canister legs probably help as does the fact that it all clips together.
There's also the MSR Reactor which by all accounts is bombproof in the wind, but slightly unstable and the pan doesn't lock on.
Both of these integrated units also leave the question of what to do if you want a second pan. And are they much use for anything except boiling water?
I wasn't particularly considering meths. I guess a Caldera Cone might be quite good for stability and wind performance? Again it ties you to a specific pot, doesn't it?
And then I remembered that I've still got the Trangia that I used for years and years, and a gas converter unit for it! So is this still the ultimate stove for stability and wind resistance, that also allows multiple pans and simmering, admittedly at a weight penalty?
Anybody got any direct experience of the Jetboil or MSR Reactor in particular, or any other ideas? Thanks.
I've got an original jetboil and you still need a bit of shelter from the wind particularly for lighting it. Not too bad once going but flame gets blown around obviously. It can do reheating of soups and stews with the flame low. I have a suitable titanium long handled spoon for stirring and eating from it. You can buy extra pots but obviously they wont sit inside one another.
I use a Caldera tri-ti for pretty much everything these days; it is pot specific and not sure if it would fit with your cooking of food(?).
It's a great 'light and forget' stove though (as a water boiler).
Personally, I prefer gas stoves that do not mount on top of the cyclinder for 2 reasons: stability and less exposure to the wind.
I have the Primus Gravity EF II, which is actually too powerful. Have a look at the Primus Spider. With the windshield, not only does it protect the flame from the wind, but the cooking pot also.
for me bivvying is about simplicity and minimalism- can't see the 'fun' in attempting even 'simple' 'cooking' in potential wind and rain. I'd want at least a tarp over me in poor weather.
For an overnighter I might take some nice 'heavy' real easy cook food such as a decent tortellini and quality ready made sauce (with some nice salad n cheese) - which takes about 5 minutes to 'cook'
or even some LWWF and nice bread. (and salad)
I would use a caldera cone for 2 people- I have a clone for an AGG 1.3l nonstick pot which will work with a trangia burner and simmer ring (or homemade pesi can equivalent ) . It's easy to make one for a type 25 Trangia pan.
If I was to use gas, it would be a remote - I can't be bother babysit canister-top stoves for actual 'cooking' on uneven ground - ok for a quick boil of water I s'pose. for real stability, say a Primus ETA Packlite or the larger ETA or even a Trangia with gas.
Like Ed, I value the 'light and forget' approach
padstowe wrote (see)
Hi Matt C, If you like the idea of meths but are worried about the clone only fitting one pot CP made a script for a strata which will fit on top of your clone allowing a smaller pot to nest inside. Maybe you could pm him for more info?
or , if you use a stove inside the clone which has a built in pot stand (as I do - the starlyte), then a smaller diameter pot can sit inside the cone on the stove, and still be realtively windproofed.
or just have a cone and stove for each pot - it's not as if they weigh much compared to say a trangia - can nest cones when packing.
Thank's for this post Matt, I have been thinking about a meths stove for bivvying. I am happy to take gas and pans if I'm in a tent and in a porch and make an experience of it but I agree with mole I like the stripped down aspect of bivvying. I did think on my last bivvy that a simple brew would have been a real treat and it looks like you could have meths/burner & stove for under a 100g ?
I might have to pick Ed and Moles brains a bit further
Probably not applicable to Matt, but if your using wet food like "Look What We Found" and only going for a night, how about MRE Heater bags? They work out at around 50p and 40g each iirc.
I've never used as you can't do a brew or soup, but an ex-squaddie mate used to use them night fishing and it seemed pretty simple. You just add water to the heater bag to start the process and pop your food pouch inside.
Simo wrote (see)
and it looks like you could have meths/burner & stove for under a 100g ?
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Thanks for all the interesting comments so far.
I think my jury's still out on the Jetboil. I may look a bit further down the Caldera Cone route. I'd kind of neglected the remote cannister stove - we actually have a Primus Gravity but have relegated it from use lately since it started playing up, only flaming across parts of the burner head - might be time to look at replacing it.
Nobody used the MSR Reactor?
When it comes down to it, I've got several things that will do a decent enough job. I suppose I'm just wondering if something exists that's so much better for the use I'm envisaging that it's worth getting.
The comments also show, as ever, that we're all into this outdoors lark for slightly different things and that affects our choices. For me the bivi-ing is simply about sleeping out with a view of the hills and stars and the feel of the air, more than you get by shutting yourself into a tent, but that doesn't mean I particularly want to forego some of the other aspects I enjoy. I've always found the cooking side of camping a nice way to fill some time and, especially going out as a couple rather than solo, the act of preparing and eating some kind of reasonable meal is certainly more sociable than munching on a packet of custard creams!
Yup...over priced, over specced and not that efficient - compared to a simple pot with a windshield...
Only fools allow to be parted with their money for one of them....
(...only joking...couldnt resist pulling Bedders leg)
I've used the MSR Reactor, it copes with wind fine as there isn't a direct flame.
A set of Primus canister legs will overcome any stability problems and the pot itself is fairly stable as it's quite wide.
I've not tried to 'cook' food in it but as a water boiling device there is nothing else that comes close. It puts the Jetboil well into second place!
Sig's are a waste of bandwidth...
I've used a 125g canister up in 3 days wild camping, brewing 2 to 2 1/2L of water a day. Not sure how that compares to other systems though...
EDIT: Opps... wrong size of gas... 250g would be inefficient!
But...if memory serves me right (being serious now) like the Jetboil quite a heavy piece of kit - and...again if memory serves me right, somewhat expensive - so...
It will have to be very efficient to come in "lighter" overall (stove and gas) on a trip than a pocketrocket/windshield/pot setup. From memory - I think CP did the maths and it needed 3 days to break even.
Cost wise...lets see, pocket rocket clone, £7, windshield...free to £5 depending on source, pot - £10 tops.
MSR...£100 (just done a quick and dirty google). Difference in purchase price (call it) £75.. thats a lot of gas to save just to break even. OK, so it will be quicker in windy conditions...but by how much (ask the question as I dont know)?
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