This Month's Gear Guru Question:by Backcountry Bob
Q. I am a newbie to backpacking and am in the process of acquiring gear. Right now I am looking to buy a stove. There are several different kinds and so many models to choose from. Each seems to have advantages and disadvantages. What kind of stove would you recommend for someone just starting out?
A. Hi Jeff,
There are two main types of stoves available to the outdoor enthusiast; canister stoves and liquid fuel or white gas stoves. Their are distinct advantages and disadvantages to both. Let's first take a look at canister stoves - a great example is the MSR Superfly. It is both compact and extremely lightweight, great for going fast and light. It also is super easy to use, most have a piezio-electric starter; just push a button and a small spark ignites the flame. Lastly it is very clean, just screw the stove onto the canister and your cooking. Some disadvantages are they tend to blow out in wind, are not very stable with a heavy pot over them, they're very hard to tell how much fuel is left in them, and you have to cart out a bunch of empty canisters on those longer trips. The main disadvantage though is in cold temperatures (below freezing) they lose pressure and become almost useless, a big consideration for Winter use. Liquid fuel stoves such as the MSR Dragonfly tend to be bulkier, messier because of the fuel, they can be more dangerous due to flare-ups, and also tend to be heavier. The advantages are that they burn hotter and more efficiently, are way more stable, you always know how much fuel you have and are not affected by temperature at all. It really depends on the type of camping you do and where you do it. I have both varieties of stoves and use them when appropriate. I do most of my camping in Winter or on glaciers where I need to melt lots of snow for water and cannot have a stove that's temperature dependant. I need a stable stove that won't tip over, especially when melting snow. For most of my Summer trips I use a liquid fuel stove as well just because I'm familliar with how much fuel I use and will need. (generally 4 ounce per day for Summer, double that in Winter) For those quick trips, especially overnighters or for when going fast packing with minimal gear, the canister stove is the way to go. Good luck and happy camping!
This month's Gear Guru question was submitted by Jeff from Highlands Ranch, CO. He will receive a Nalgene bottle for his question. Enjoy Jeff!
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