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#215975 - 01/30/11 03:31 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: jzmtl]
gonewiththewind Offline
Veteran

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1517
MSR Reactor stove has a pressure valve you get every ounce out of it, it works at high altitudes, is very efficient and works in very cold temperatures.

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#215982 - 01/30/11 04:29 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: jzmtl]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2921
Loc: Alberta, Canada
The limitations of cannister stoves in cold weather are well known. You might get away with a cannister stove if you baby it. For casual use, it might work for you; but for life-or-death, it's pretty dicey. Liquid fuel is the choice for reliability.

When I had a Svea, I'd pack a little square of 1/4 inch plywood to set it on. It kept things stable in snow, and provided enough insulation to keep the tank warm. Perhaps that might help with a cannister stove?

Here are some real-world reviews, including cold weather use, of the MSR Pocket Rocket from Mountain Equipment Co-op customers. Mostly, they echo the comments posted above. They suggest a range of cold-weather tricks, including keeping the cannister inside your jacket, laying on hands to warm it during operation, and putting the cannister in a small pan of warm water.

http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_detail.jsp?PRODUCT%3C%3Eprd_id=845524441932337&FOLDER%3C%3Efolder_id=2534374302696549



Edited by dougwalkabout (01/30/11 04:30 PM)

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#215999 - 01/30/11 08:10 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: speedemon]
MostlyHarmless Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 06/03/09
Posts: 982
Loc: Norway
+1 on the limitations of the different gas mixtures and the difference on "liquid feed" and "gazified feed" operation. I use a trangia gas burner that is purposedly made to replace the alcohol burner. Liquid feed + one of the best wind screens available = succes!!

Originally Posted By: speedemon
At that temperature range, you're going to have to rely on "tricks" to get them to work. Warming the canister in your coat helps alot. Another trick is to set the canister in dish filled with water when you go to use the stove (helps keep it from cooling off when you use it in freezing weather).


One particular trick is thick copper wire. Loop it around the canister and leave just enough wire so you can stick it into the fire. (The wire, not the canister).

Another trick with flexible fuel lines is to put the canister inside the pot you're heating. Only works if the fuel line is long enough.

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#216074 - 01/31/11 06:10 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: hikermor]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: hikermor
The very traditional SVEA 123 and similar models are quite compact, having about the same profile as a canister stove like the Pocket Rocket. Due to the brass tank, they are heavier, but you have a compact unit with its own self contained fuel supply. You will need a pot support and windscreen. Carry additional fuel in a separate container if you wish.

I have never tried Esbit tablets in really cold weather; I am a bit skeptical about their value in that situation.
Esbit in my experience has a relatively weak flame. For melting snow, I wouldn't recommend although for emergency use, maybe it has some value.

The Svea is kinda heavy, but it does the job. You can get a mini pump for it which helps get it going in cold weather.

Seriously though, if you've got an Omnifuel, it doesn't get much better than that. You can run it in inverted canister mode for intermediate cold weather and with liquid fuel in seriously cold weather.

I don't know that there's a "magic bullet" out there of a compact, light stove for cold weather use. Maybe the Borde stove, but they're tough to find and have their drawbacks.

HJ
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#216077 - 01/31/11 06:14 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: CANOEDOGS]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: CANOEDOGS
for the temps that you are talking about,10 or so below F i don't think you will find any off the shelf Gaz stove that would work without adding heat exchange gizmos to warm the fuel.i have see Gaz stoves that had a heavy wire wrapped around the cart that was exposed to the flame at one end and warmed the cart to keep the fuel working plus a cozy of some sort around and under it.
The "wire in the flame" trick does work, but it could be dangerous. Too much heat feedback and the canister could explode. I'm not saying "never, never, never," but know what the risks are. Use the "ouch test" frequently. If you touch the canister with your bare hand and you say "ouch," shut 'er down quick.

Be aware also that if your canister is on the edge of overheating and your pot boils over, KABOOM!

I've not tried it personally, but the "wire in the flame" trick is fairly well known. Just be freaking careful.

HJ
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Adventures In Stoving

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#216078 - 01/31/11 06:19 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: gonewiththewind]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Montanero
MSR Reactor stove has a pressure valve you get every ounce out of it, it works at high altitudes, is very efficient and works in very cold temperatures.
The MSR Reactor is the hottest thing out there. It boils ultra fast, but it is neither light nor compact.

The Reactor, high tech as it is, is still subject to the laws of physics. Get things cold enough, and the Reactor will die just like the rest of them.

However, there's one other factor: altitude. The higher you go, the lower the surrounding pressure. Just as water boils at a lower and lower temperature the higher you climb, so also will LPG vaporize (boil) at a lower and lower temperature. That's why you'll hear mountaineers report good results with a Reactor even in cold weather.

What's the exact amount of elevation that one has to gain to offset a one degree reduction in temperature? I don't know. Anyone with a physics or chemistry degree care to chime in here? Personally, I wouldn't go out in cold weather at high elevation unless I were absolutely sure my stove were up to the task.

HJ
_________________________
Adventures In Stoving

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#216081 - 01/31/11 07:16 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: Hikin_Jim]
hikermor Online   content
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 7372
Loc: southern Cal
My understanding is that canister stoves have been used satisfactorily at high altitudes (Himalayas) for years.
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#216090 - 01/31/11 08:17 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: hikermor]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Yep. Even some of the old Bluet stoves worked way up high, and they were 100% butane which turns to liquid at 31F/-0.5C. If you're going to be above 26,000' (8000m), feel free to use your canister stove. wink

Wish I could give you a formula as to how cold you can go at a given altitude. I saw a chart showing the relationship between temperature and altitude for gas canisters once in an old copy of "Off Belay" magazine. Maybe I can find a copy and post that.

HJ
_________________________
Adventures In Stoving

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#216104 - 01/31/11 11:22 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: Hikin_Jim]
jzmtl Offline
Addict

Registered: 03/18/10
Posts: 530
Loc: Montreal Canada
Originally Posted By: Hikin_Jim

Seriously though, if you've got an Omnifuel, it doesn't get much better than that. You can run it in inverted canister mode for intermediate cold weather and with liquid fuel in seriously cold weather.


The original plan was for something to store in backpack while ski in relatively remote locations, so unfortunately omnifuel is too big and heavy for the small pack I will have.

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#216105 - 01/31/11 11:33 PM Re: Butane canister cold weather performance? [Re: jzmtl]
Hikin_Jim Offline
Sheriff
Pooh-Bah

Registered: 10/12/07
Posts: 1804
Loc: Southern California
Get you a bigger pack bro.

In all seriousness, I have been blogging about light weight four season stoves lately: http://AdventuresInStoving.blogspot.com

The first two entries in January wouldn't apply to what you need, but the second two would. I have two more such posts yet to go: the Wind Pro and the Borde stove. You'll see a schedule on the blog. If the latter posts, once they're all up are all too large or too heavy, then plan to go without a stove. In other words, you're not going to get much lighter or more compact for four season use than what I'm posting unless you want some one off custom stuff. I've seen some very nice custom stuff with precision machining and milling, but that kind of stuff is way over my head.

HJ
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