15 thoughts on “Camping Gear Reviews

    • Thank you! I would definitely recommend Emigrant Wilderness….Really am hoping to add a blog of all the spots and their corresponding maps some day.

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  1. Hi, A camping newbie here.
    I want to buy my first liquid fuel stove. I would like to know what your recommendations are.
    I have looked through your reviews but to be honest, for me with little or no experience in camping, the reviews are more confusing since you cover a lot of aspects. I don’t see the big picture and have a hard time choosing my first stove. I know I want something that also connects to gas canisters. Does this make sense?
    From what I have looked at, Primus Omnifuel, omnilite, Optimus optifuel, MSR whisperlite universal are what I am considering.
    Also, some were saying that on whisperlite universal one can’t cook food and it works best for just boiling water. This doesn’t make sense to me.

    Thanks for your help.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a tough question.

      Ask ten “experts” and you’ll get 10 different answers. Heck, ask me today vs. ask me last year vs. ask me next year and you might get three different answers.

      But here are my thoughts as of today:

      First to answer your last question, boiling water vs. cooking is really just about a stove’s ability to produce high heat vs. a stove’s ability to simmer. A lot of folks would say that a stove that can’t simmer well can’t really be used for cooking. I would agree, especially with regards to the most extreme examples of such stoves, like the MSR XGK-EX or the Soto Muka. Those stoves produce massive heat, but don’t simmer well at all, so they’re just good for boiling water.

      The Whisperlite Universal isn’t quite that bad. I use it for cooking all the time. It’s trickier to find the right simmer temp, and until you have tried it a bunch and get good at it, you might burn a few meals, but it can be done.

      The Optifuel, Omnifuel, Omnilite are all great stoves and great choices. The Omnilite is the smallest and lightest of the three, and also is much more efficient with fuel. With the Omnilite, one .6L bottle will last 3+ hours easy for me, maybe 2 hours and change on the Omnifuel and Optifuel. The Omnilite packs a little smaller and is a tad less stable, and won’t work well with larger pots (e.g. 2.5L pots and larger).

      The Omnifuel gen1 stove is my fav of the larger stoves, though the gen2 has been working well for me. The gen1, if you can find it, is built a little tougher than the gen2. It lacks refinement, and is a little loosey goosey in some parts, but overall, I think you’re be hard pressed to find a tougher stove.

      The nice thing about the Optifuel is that you use the same gauge bolt for all fuels. With the Omnifuel and Omnilite, you have to change the bolt depending on the type of fuel you use (Same for the MSR Whisperlite). Since you never change the bolt on the Optifuel, there’s nothing to change, no matter what fuel you use. That’s great if you switch fuels a lot and don’t want the risk or hassle of changing those tiny bolts.

      I’m guessing you live on the east coast of the Us, so you have plenty of access to clean fuel (coleman white gas, klean heat k1).

      Right here, right now, i would say the Omnilite is the way to go

      If you plan on traveling internationally to countries where clean fuels are not available, i would definitely recommend the MSR Whisperlite universal. This is because the other stoves you’re considering use a dual valve system. One valve at the pump and one valve at the stove head (spindle and rod system). The valve at the stove end can get clogged up pretty easily with dirty fuels.

      It’s never a problem in the US because everywhere you go, either clean white gas like Coleman fuel, or lpg canisters (gas cans), or K1 kerosene is available. It’s really only a problem if you go to rural parts of Mexico, or plan on backpacking remote parts of China or India, or maybe the Middle East, basically places where fuel regulations aren’t as stringent.

      —-

      Best of luck, and let me know what you ultimately decide on.

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      • Thank you for your detailed response,
        I am biased towards omnifuel a bit.

        I list here my concerns about each:
        Optimus optifuel:
        – I prefer to be able to open up my tools and the “magic” cleaning of the jet makes me uncomfortable.
        – The jet doesn’t change which could be both positive and negative.

        Primus omnifuel:
        – loudness

        MSR Whisperlite universal:
        + It is silent
        – As you say, it doesn’t simmer well
        – If you can even call this a problem, it doesn’t burn diesel.

        So I have two more question, if you don’t mind answering.
        Is burning diesel a very important feature?
        How many of the issues I have said here even make sense?

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  2. I think a lot of what you say makes sense, and mostly I agree.

    Here are some nuanced side notes.

    Quick thought on the OptiFuel, you can actually open it up the same way you would open up the Omnifuel or Omnilite. Maintenance works about the same. The jet fuel nozzle not changing, is, as you mention, both a positive and negative.

    Omnifuel is certainly loud. The Omnilite is pretty loud too. Actually, most of roarer spreader liquid fuel stoves are pretty loud. I think the Omnilite is pretty close in db level to the Omnifuel (though I haven’t db measured it).

    The Whisperlite Universal technically doesn’t burn diesel, but….it can. it’s just that diesel is very dirty fuel, so will clog up the coil generator on the Whisperlite (which can be cleared, by the way).

    This is actually why the Omnilite and Omnifuel both say you can burn diesel in emergencies, but not recommended. Really, the same is true of the Whisperlite. In fact, I’d say the Omnifuel and Omnilite spindle and rod valve will clog faster than the Whisperlite’s generator. To be fair, the spindle and rod valve is a little easier to maintain.

    While kerosene and diesel are different, an easy way to think of diesel is as simply a dirtier burning kerosene. Technically, diesel has a higher BTU per gallon than kerosen, but it also has more lubricity (stuff to gunk up your stove). There are stoves specially designed to work with diesel (my favorite car camping stove is designed solely for diesel, though I use kero in it).

    In real world usage, there are very few places in the US where the only fuel option was diesel. But if you ever end up somewhere so remote that the only thing available was a gas station, diesel fuel as a refill could become important.

    Personally, I’ve never gone anywhere in the US to hike where white gas or kerosene or LPG gas canisters weren’t available, so, for me, at any rate, the ability to use diesel is not much of an issue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for all the time you took to answer me. I decided to go with omnifuel ii for the simple reasons that 1) wherever you search for a liquid fuel stove it is one of the first names that come up and 2) you have said nice things about it in your writings.
      There will be more opportunities for me to buy another stove later 🙂
      Among all the reviews and videos I have looked at, your reviews helped me a lot on making a short list.
      I mention another blog here which has a very nice charted list which may be of interest to someone passing through here
      http://thenextchallenge.org/liquid-multi-fuel-stoves/

      again, thank you. I’ll visit your pages more often now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks. Given the amazing content by so many bloggers reviewing stoves out there, that is a great compliment. The omnifuel 2 is a great choice.

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