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Discussion Starter #1
I'm dreaming of spring and backpacking trips, something I'm just getting into. One of the items I'd like to pick up is a packable camp stove. I've seen the MSR variety and JetBoil in use. I'm leaning towards a JetBoil (either Flash or SOL model), my friend is adamant that I should get a MSR (pocket rocket specifically). I see the utility in both, and being that the MSR is so cheap, may well get it as well.

What do you guys have? Pros? Cons?
 

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I have a pocket rocket and really like it. I've done some hiking and overnights the past 3 years and have used it on each hike. I'm getting ready for an AT thru hike in about 3 years when I retire. The other guys I hike with also use the pocket rocket. I bought mine at EMS. We just hiked the weekend after Christmas and with temps in the teens one morning it worked very well. Right now I don't have any cons.
 

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About 10 years ago or more I picked up an MSR Whisperlight International. It wasn't cheap for me then. But 10 years and hours upon hours of use later & I haven't even used the re-build kit I bought when I got the stove. occasionally the jet will get clogged with soot, but a few knocks on a rock and the shaker jet clears right up.

I've packed this stove while back packing many times. I used it to cook several times/week one summer while I was doing a college internship & the kitchen was less than ideal to cook in. More recently it's gone along on dozens of over night padding trips where I was more often car camping than over night padding.

It's an older model, I believe the newer models allow one to simmer better than this one, but I still find it easy to cook anything from eggs and bacon to boiling a pot of water for freeze dried meals. I also consider it easy on fuel & if you would happen to take off and forget to fill your bottles up with white fuel you can top them off with regular gas, diesel, fuel oil, jet fuel or kerosene.

The availability of fuel for me was the greatest draw. I also liked that it had a low profile and a decent base.

Many of my paddling partners love the old school Coleman back packing stove, but I find they sit high off the ground & I don't care for the balance. they pack a bit bulky too.

The downside to the pocket rocket style MSR stoves are the fuel availability. Although they're found easily in most big box outdoors stores or any outfitters it is one less thing that I do not have to remember to pick up. I also didn't care for ending up with an empty fuel can to throw away (recycle). they're tough to do anything other than boil water too. It's hard to beat the price of the stove though...cheap.

The Jet boil stoves are great for boiling water, very efficient, super light. They're good at what they are designed to do & if you're only using foods that you must re-hydrate, a stove of this style is the ticket. If you can sacrifice a bit more space and a few oz of weight, a whisper light or similar style liquid fuel stove may be your thing.

I also haven't taken the plunge, but this stove sure looks like the bees knees - http://www.rei.com/product/846334/biolite-wood-burning-campstove

Good luck!
 

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I use a pocket rocket and love it. I matched it up with a GSI Halulite minimalist. The stove fits inside the minimalist (I remove it from the plastic stove holder to save weight). Had mine for 6 years and love it. My hiking partner has a jetboil and they love it. Can't go wrong with either....its about what makes you happy. I will say this--on one trip my partner kept trying to set up his shield to keep the wind away from his jetboil(which was a pain for him) and I simply lit mine up and no problems
 

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Discussion Starter #5
DustyRoads, my friend just received that Biolite for Christmas. I'll report on it when we break it in.
 

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I use a pocket rocket and like it. It has worked well even in the single digits. The weight of the pocket rocket and fuel is 11 oz. Looking at the BioLite it weights 2 lb 1 oz. I have not had the problem of looking for fuel while on the trail but have not gone that many days that I would need to be looking for a new canister.
 

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Adam - cool, let me know how he makes out. It certainly has a pretty novel idea to it.

Michaux - I hear you there. Those canisters last a while, as for weight. You can't complain with the pocket rocket. My issue wasn't running out on the trail as much as it was having an OS moment when I'm about to head out the door, having to head to a specific store to pick another up. But, I suspect that my thought process would change knowing that I need to have a few on hand & keeping up a good stock.

But lets face it, whisper light, pocket rocket, jet boil. None of them compare to that biolite stove - Only the biolite can charge your cell phone so you can report back during your adventure in the woods to HPA!
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm pretty sure I'm going to pick up a JetBoil and a Pocket Rocket. I can see me mostly relying on dehydrated meals when I'm by myself but if my girlfriend tags along and it's a bit easier hike, the PR would come in handy for a "fancier" meal.
 

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DustyRoads said:
Adam - Only the biolite can charge your cell phone so you can report back during your adventure in the woods to HPA!
That's why I hike in the mountains so I don't have to report back to HPA...
I plan on thru hiking the AT in 3 years and don't want that extra weight. I'm sure it's good. They all have there + and -. Let us know how you make out. Good Luck
 

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A lot of AT thru hikers are using simple alcohol stoves. Fuel is available cheap and light weight. I have a pocket rocket but I find myself taking a simple cat stove or a trangia (spelling) stove. They do not work that well with temps in the low teens. Hopefully you won't see that on the AT.
 

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look up sterno folding stoves. they fold flat for packing and use cans of sterno as fuel. easier to pack then propane. only thing is there is no adjustment for the amount of heat.
 

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I have a pocket rocket I got about 6 or so years ago. I have used it quite a bit and never had a problem.
Jet boils look nice but never used one so I can't report on it.
 

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Pa. Slim said:
look up sterno folding stoves. they fold flat for packing and use cans of sterno as fuel. easier to pack then propane. only thing is there is no adjustment for the amount of heat.
I have one and it seems to take forever to boil water for making coffee.
 

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Sterno seems to take a month of Sundays to boil water. I've had a pocket rocket for several years and have had no complaints. In college I think I must have used it every weekend, and on a few class trips.
 

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depends on how much water you want to boil. a buddy and I used to use one to cook hot dogs when we were kids. had an old messkit and canteen in a pack when we were roaming the woods. didn't take that long to boil them, but we were never in that big of a hurry. we liked it just for the convience.
 

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Whatever you get, practice with it.

I have a pocket rocket combined with a Optimus HE cookset. If you are going for the PR, the HE (heat exchanger) it is a perfect match. In summer temps, I can bring 2 cups water to a rolling boil in 58 seconds. It is best for boiling but you can simmer with one, just takes a fine touch. I have used mine pretty hard for the 3 years I have had it.

One large isopro canister lasted me a 5 day canoe trip with some left. Boiling 2 c water for breakfast and about another 2 c making coffee. I didnt cook every lunch, maybe half. For dinners it was Chicken alfredo or beef stroganoff or something of the type. They required a boil and some simmering then finishing with a lid on and wrapping the pot in a towel and letting it sit for 10 min or so.

I have seen the jetboil system and like them, seems like you are restricted to the jetboil system. Esbit type stoves work and they take up very little space. I used a Esbit for about a year. Isopro is a lot nicer to use. I see the sterno with the scouts, and they work.

recipe I did for the scouts;


Chicken Alfredo, (works with any of the packaged side dishs)



1 Alfredo pack (knorr pasta sides type, make doesnt matter, mix might change but every one I have used is about the same.)

Powdered milk ( carnation seems to be favored in the troop, I cant tell a differance)

8oz canned chicken breast (the can means that you have to haul out the can, but the plastic packaging is about 300x more expensive.)

Butter buds (they really are not bad at all)

Can opener (one he can use, remember weight matters)

Freezer bags ( you will use a lot of these)

Cook set and stove with lid for pot (cheap light lids can be cut out of a aluminum pie tin)

Spork

lighter (small bic)

Towel OPTIONAL (or anything that will wrap around your pot)



In a 1 quart freezer bag (at home) put, 1/6 cup dry milk, 1 tbsp Butter Buds and the package contents of the Alfredo.

Pack that with a 8oz can of chicken.

Open the can of chicken, drain juice into a safe area like the fire pit. Light the stove, boil 2 cups of water. Empty contents of the freezer bag into the pot. Cut the heat back and stir occasionaly for 2-3 min. Add chicken and stir for 3-4 min or until you see the sauce getting thick. Put the lid on and take the pot off the stove. Wrap the pot in a towel or an artical of clothing. That will keep the contents hotter and the noodles will absorb moisture faster. If you dont want to use that method, just leave the lid on, you just leave it sit a bit longer. Leave it alone with the lid on for 10 min. The noodles will expand and the sauce will get thick. Eat with spork.



Notes



For the smaller scouts who have not started eating everything all the time yet, you could probably halve the pasta part. 8oz is about the smallest chicken can I have found.

You can substitute shrimp which is good or possibly tuna which I never tried.

Rice sides are pretty much the same.

The same set up works for Beef Stroganoff. You can by cooked hamburger in packs and you have to do a little more adjusting with portion size.
 

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Good looking out Varmintist I may try these myself they look pretty delicious.
 

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I've pretty much moved from canister / fuel bottle stoves to a Vargo Titanium Hexagon woodburning stove and/or a Vargo Titanium Decagon alcohol stove (or an aluminum can hobo stove). The Hexagon woodburning stove burns twigs, so you don't have to carry fuel. It folds up flat and takes up only slightly more space than a compact disc in your pack.

For the alcohol stoves, fuel is cheap and available almost anywhere. Because they are so light, I often carry the woodburning stove and an alcohol stove so I can burn wood "or" use the alcohol stove inside the woodstove, which serves as a great wind screen.

The beauty of these is they are so light and simple, with no seals to blow out or moving parts to break, and fuel is readily available. What you give up, is having to gather / feed twigs with the wood stove (which may or may not be an issue for some people), lack of temperature control (non-issue for boiling), and slightly longer boil times with alcohol (like, 2 minutes). Alcohol can be a little finicky to light / prime when temps are in the teens and below (though it hasn't been a major problem for me), and at high altitudes (which you obviously won't find in PA).
 

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Check out Flat Cat Gear on the web, I have an alcohol burner and an Esbit burner. Both stoves work great and are ultralight.
 
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