British Army Cooker No.12 Review (Diesel/Kero only)


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Base stats:
– BTU:  7,500 (Kerosene/Diesel)
– Weight:  169 oz (10.5 lbs)

If ever there came a day when I had to get rid of most of my stoves, the British Army Cooker No.12 would be among the very last I would be willing to part with.  It’s built like a tank, and in fact, was specifically designed to go into the British Scorpion light tank, and designed to take a massive amount of abuse.  It is very heavy, but there are few portable stoves on the market designed to stand up to a rugged environment quite like the British Army Cooker No.12.

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Evernew Titanium DX review


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Base stats
– BTU:  4K-9K (depending on wood)
– BTU:  7K
– Weight:  3.15 oz
Stove comparison chart

As a stove kit, the Evernew Titanium DX is about as versatile and light as it gets.  The entire kit contains 4 pieces, and depending on how you put the system together, it can be either an alcohol stove, or a wood burning stove.  As a very thin all titanium unit, it is insanely light. Continue reading

MSR XGK EX Review


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Base stats:
– BTU:  10,500 (White Gas)
– Weight:  13.2oz min
– Weight:  17.2oz max

As the original and therefore de facto king of fuel bottle based liquid fuel stoves, there isn’t much about the stove that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over, in reviews all over the world, and in every language.

The XGK EX is arguably the linear, direct descendant of the original fuel-bottle based liquid fuel stove, created by MSR founder Larry Penberthy in 1969, after realizing it was inefficient to carry a fuel bottle in addition to a stove + tank “lunchbox” type stove.   Continue reading

Load-out: Mid-weight “warm-up” pack


For this first load-out example, I figured I’d start smack in the middle.

All my mid-weight packs are based either on the Gregory Pack Baltoro 75 or the Berghaus Centurio 45.  This particular load-out is based on the Baltoro.  A great (but heavy at 5.6 lbs empty) pack with articulating hip belt, a good set of compartments, a large center pocket, and ideally for me, an angled water bottle pocket that keeps its shape to make taking out and putting back a water bottle while hiking very easy.  This is about a 30+lb pack once some fancier food (like a few cans of spam, maybe some eggs in a coleman 6 egg carrier, tortillas, cheese, maybe some fruit), and of course, water are added.

Every year, the mid-weight load-out is designed for the first non-snow camping trip of the year.  Hiking would not exceed 4 miles (each way) and 1000 feet elevation (Starting at around 8000 feet altitude and getting up to about 9000 feet at the campground).  As the first trip of the year, it’s really the “warm-up” trip to get psyched for the rest of the season.

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MSR Whisperlite Universal review


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Base stats:
– BTU:  5,300 (LPG vapor)
– BTU:  10,300 (LPG liquid-inverted)
– BTU:  9,500 (White gas)
– BTU:  7,300 (Kerosene)
– Weight:  11.5 oz min, 19.4 oz packed
– Stove comparison review

The short:  If you’re looking for a liquid fuel stove, and are willing to compromise on a little weight and size to get better reliability, the MSR Whisperlite Universal is hard to beat.  It is the goto choice for many experienced backpackers who need reliability in the field.

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Soto ST-301 (Review)


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Subtitle: An expensive replacement for a $30 portable Asian butane stove.

Base stats:
– Usable with wind screen:
– Power: 12,700 BTU
– Weight” 24.9 oz (including carry bag, not including fuel)
– Boil: 35oz to rolling boil in 11 minutes

The skinny: While not a large stove by car camping standards, the ST-301 butane stove, coming in at 1.5 lbs, is a substantial piece of gear with solid metal parts.  There is an attention to detail that is all about being a full on car camping stove, with ruggedness and long life, in a diminutive package. Continue reading

Primus Omnifuel 2 Review


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Base stats:
– BTU:  10,500 (White gas)
– Weight:  12.3 oz min, 15.9 oz packed
Stove comparison review

The skinny: An evolution of the original Omnifuel, more refined, more precision focused, with a detail oriented addition of features, while still remaining rugged and reliable.

Caution:  There was an issue with an earlier version of the OmniFuel 2 stove.  See photos in addendum A at the end of this review.   (damaged omnifuel photos courtesy of BC).  

NOTE:  This appears to have been fixed with the current version.  See comment from Scott Boyce on Feb 22nd, 2017 in the comments section.

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Soto Muka Review (White Gas & Unleaded only)


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Base stats:
– BTU:  15.800 (That…is…insane)
– Weight:  11.5 oz (including pump, not incl. bottle)
Stove comparison chart

Leaving aside all the incredible details and features that the Soto Muka brings to bear, the most important thing to note, at the end of the day is:

If you want a liquid fuel stove that boils water incredibly fast, like full-32oz.-GSI-kettle-of-water-from-60F-to-rolling-boil-in-3.5-minutes-fast, we’re talking insane levels of heat output here, than the Soto Muka is just what you’ve been looking for.  (NOTE:  altitude below 1000 feet) Continue reading

Edelrid Hexon Review


Base stats
– BTU:  10,326 w/ White Gas
– Weight:  7.1 oz, (16.1 oz incl. pump, bottle)
Stove comparison chart

There are such great features in this stove, I want this to be my favorite.  Scratch that, with one modification (see addendum 1 below), this is now my favorite compact liquid fuel stove.  It is beautifully designed, solves one of the biggest issues with liquid fuel stoves (compactness), and does so without sacrificing value in most other areas.  With one exception, this is a marvel of engineering, and beautifully thought out. Continue reading

ZPacks Arc Haul + Accessories Review


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Base stats:
– 60L, 24oz (without accessories)
– Dimensions: 7.5″ x 12.5″ x 30″ (19 cm x 31.8 cm x 76 cm)

I’ve never considered myself to be an ultralight backpacker.  With lighter and lighter gear on the market, I still turn to heavier gear and luxury items often, and my pack for most trips is between 25-45lbs, depending on planned activities.

I finally got a chance to see what a 20lbs pack would be on a hike.  Could have gone even lighter, but 20lbs is already the lightest pack I’ve ever used by a wide margin, and it’s true that it makes a noticeable difference on a hike. Continue reading

Soto STG-10 Stove Review


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Base stats:
– BTU:  9860
– Weight:  12 oz
Stove comparison chart

Every once in a while, a piece of engineering, a gadget, comes along, that is so well done, that I just have to have it.  Do I need it?  No.  Does it really fit in any scenarios I’m thinking of?  Not really.  Does it compare favorably vs. other gear that I know?  Meh.  And yet, it’s a gadget with engineering so attractive, so well designed, that the only way to properly appreciate it, is to use it.

The Soto STG-10 is just such a device.

Continue reading

JetBoil Zip Review


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JetBoil Zip.

Base stats
– BTU:  4500
– Weight:  12 oz
Stove comparison chart

It’s not the size of the BTU, it’s the efficiency of heat transfer.

The JetBoil Zip has been around a while, and is the lowest cost JetBoil out there.

I already have the JetBoil Sol Aluminum and have been loving it.  But for my wife’s emergency pack, I wanted a JetBoil as well.  Looking at the various models, the JetBoil Zip was the least expensive, so at the risk of missing some features, I picked one up on Amazon. Continue reading

Resources Used


RESOURCES USED ON MY JOURNEY TO LEARN BACKPACKING:

Below are some websites I’ve used to learn as much as I could before starting to try things on my own.

THE GREAT STOVE ENCYCLOPEDIA

There’s no substituting actually using things to really understanding them, but when it comes to stoves, zenstoves.net gets you pretty close.

http://zenstoves.net/StoveSystems.htm

MORE SITES WITH GREAT INFO:

Great stove comparison charts:
– http://www.litekamper.com/stoves.htm
– http://thenextchallenge.org/liquid-multi-fuel-stoves/
 http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/
– http://bc25.com/backpacking-stoves/
– http://www.cleverhiker.com/best-backpacking-stoves
– http://www.hikinghq.net/stoves/stove_compare.html
– http://thru-hiker.com/articles/stoveweight_vs_time_28days.php
– http://www.pmags.com/stove-comparison-real-world-use
– http://mountaingearblog.com/82/mountaineering-stove-efficiency-msr-dragonfly-and-xgk-vs-optimus-nova-vs-primus-omnifuel/

All kinds of great reviews:
– http://www.backpackgeartest.org

About Cuben Fiber:
– http://hikeitlikeit.com/2012/cuben-fiber-roundup/
– http://www.backpackingnorth.com/ultralight-makeover-ditch-the-dome/

About Gas Canister Stoves:
– http://snowboardmountaineer.com/gear-review-jetboil-and-other-canister-gas-explained/

Complete Optimus stove number list. Very useful
– http://www.base-camp.co.uk/paraffin.html

—-

BLOGS/NEWS SITES I LIKE:
– http://www.trektechblog.com/
– http://gearjunkie.com
– http://www.backpacker.com
– http://blackwoodspress.com/
– http://www.outdoorgearlab.com
 http://www.trailjournals.com/journals/pacific_crest_trail/

—-

FORUMS I LIKE:
– http://www.spiritburner.com/fusion/index.php
http://base-camp.co.uk/instructions%202.htm
– http://www.colemancollectorsforum.com/
– http://www.parafinalia.biz/service-sleeved-p-664.html
– http://homepage.ntlworld.com/munwai/homepage.htm
– http://tilleylamp.co.uk/
– http://www.hurricanelamps.co.uk/vapalux_bialaddin_parts.htm
– http://vapalux.com/
– http://classiccampstoves.com
– http://classicpressurelamps.com
– http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/juliands?_trksid=p2047675.l2559
– http://www.ebay.co.uk/usr/parafinalia0115
– http://stores.ebay.co.uk/hootflipflopandfly-at-kibworthdiy
– http://fettlebox.co.uk
– http://lampguild.org/
– http://www.colemancollectorsforum.com/

—-

YOUTUBE SUBSCRIPTIONS I LIKE:
– Great outdoor skills videos,
and narrator is easy on the eyes and down to earth.
A welcome change from the usual rougher outdoorsy
skill learning videos.
https://www.youtube.com/user/PeakSurvival

– Remember the TV Show Dual Survivor?
Get ready to learn skills in overdrive:
https://www.youtube.com/user/wildernessoutfitters

– Hiram is a stove guru, and his video reviews are
excellent
https://www.youtube.com/user/MrHiramCook

– This is a mix of military stuff and survival stuff.
Some of the gear applies to both.
https://www.youtube.com/user/nutnfancy

– Tony Hobbs knows backpacking gear.  I trust his reviews.
https://www.youtube.com/user/yodaquicksilver

—-

There are some great manufacturers out there that have awesome distribution channels already, like Kelty, Big Agnes, Patagonia, Mountain Hardwear, Arcteryx, Sea To Summit, Leki, Petal, Black Diamond, MSR (Cascade Designs), GSI, Coleman, Thermarest, and the like.

But there are some great products come from manufacturers that haven’t quite broken into the mass market, or have, but only with a few of their products. For these companies, I like to keep a closer track of anything they do directly through their website.

SPECIALTY MANUFACTURERS I FOLLOW:
– http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com
– http://www.hyperlitemountaingear.com
– http://www.zpacks.com
– http://www.tarptent.com
– http://oookworks.com
– http://www.bearpawwd.com/tents_tarps/pyraTent.html
– http://www.sierradesigns.com/tents
– http://www.lightheartgear.com
– http://www.suluk46.com/
– http://eastonoutfitters.com
– http://www.sixmoondesigns.com
– http://www.yamamountaingear.com
– http://www.rutalocura.com
– http://shop.bivysack.com (OWARE manufacturer)
– http://locusgear.com
– http://lawsonequipment.com
– http://primuscamping.com
– http://www.optimusstoves.com/deen/optimus-products/
– http://snowpeak.com
– http://www.captainstag.net
– http://eseeknives.com/
– http://www.cilogear.com
– http://www.enlightenedequipment.com
– http://www.jerven.com
– http://www.180tack.com
– http://www.emberlit.com/en/
– https://www.minibulldesign.com/ProductCart/pc/home.asp
– http://qiwiz.net/CookingOptions.html
– http://www.mchalepacks.com/
– http://www.alpackaraft.com
– http://www.klymit.com
– http://www.advancedelements.com
– http://www.hobie.com/products/kayaks.aspx
– http://flyweightdesigns.com
– http://www.nrs.com/product/1630/nrs-packraft?pdeptid=2320
– http://supaiadventuregear.com
– http://feathercraft.com
– http://brasslite.com/
– http://www.evernewamerica.com
– http://biolitestove.com
– http://www.littlbug.com/photo.htm
 http://www.liteoutdoors.com
– http://kovea.com

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STORES I LIKE:
– http://www.sunrisemountainsports.com
– http://anymountain.net
– http://www.rei.com
– http://www.basspro.com

—-
RANDOM FUN/INTERESTING ARTICLES I LIKE:
– http://www.artofmanliness.com/2012/03/22/how-to-choose-a-camp-stove/
– https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/gc/hyndsechchemu3hwrk/enthalpy-of-combustion/

—-

MERCHANDISE!
– http://brassandfire.weebly.com/contact-and-links.html
Cool merchandise from Dan

If you’re into stoves and aren’t afraid to show it (Yeah, okay, that’d be me), there is some great merchandise here!

zazzle

 


 

Japanese stove sites:

Thermarest RidgeRest X Lite Sol Review


RidgerestSolinBackpack RidgerestZ-LiteSol

In a word:  Awesome

Of the 4 most basic items (backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad), a lot of folks might consider the sleeping pad #1. It’s so crucial to getting a good night’s sleep. Very experienced folks might be able to sleep without one, just like the Yanomamo might run in the jungle without shoes, but for most of us, shoes are necessary for walking and running outdoors, and sleeping pads are crucial for a decent night’s rest. Continue reading

Mountain Laurel Designs (MLD), Duomid Review


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What’s there to say about the MLD Duomid, except, I’m impessed.

The Duomid has the best of many worlds with few compromises.

With so many tents on the market, like many folks, i started on the low end, and over the years, worked my way up.  One of the biggest problems apart from weight has always been, for me at least, that most tents have barely usable vestibules. Continue reading

Black Diamond Icon Polar Headlamp Review


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I don’t know much about headlamps.  In fact, until purchasing this unit, the most expensive headlamp I owned was a cheap $15 Energizer headlamp purchased on a whim in the Lowe’s checkout line that served me just fine for activities around the campsite.

Not too long ago, though, I went on  back packing trip where I night-hiked.  The Energizer ran out of batteries before I finished, and visibility was particularly bad due to the tree canopy along the hiking trail blocking starlight and the Energizer just didn’t have the power to see very far. Continue reading

Primus Multi-fuel kit for ETA Power EF Review


Primus Multi-fuel kit

Stove comparison chart

This is a great addition to the ETA Power EF.

I’ve been a huge fan of the ETA Power EF, because of it’s over-engineered fuel efficiency design, but it has one issue for me: the requirement to use gas canisters. While i confess to loving the simplicity and efficiency of gas canisters, a part of me thinks that it’s a good idea to use those less because recycling gas canisters is a pain and results in more trash. Continue reading

L. L. Bean King Pine 4-person tent Review


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I’m a big fan of a variety of different camping scenarios, from 20lb ultralight and minimalist backpacking over long distances, to heavy load backpacking with an external frame load carrier allowing for extra gear, to lighter car camping to all out glamping. They’re all fun in their own little ways.

The L.L. Bean King Pine 4-person tent is as close to glamping as I get while still having my own tent. Continue reading

Stuff I want


– Biolite Kettle Charger
http://biolitestove.com/products/kettlecharge/
BioLite-KettleCharge-Feature-IMG-Video3-BG
A lot of folks I know own the Biolite stove. When my friend was using it at a campsite, I thought, cool….but didn’t quite meet my own admittedly convoluted and sometimes illogical set of criteria. Mostly my biggest issue was that the Biolite burned through fuel so fast, and really needed a long time to properly charge anything. Many of the other features were very cool, and I still might get one one day (but mostly for the rocket stove and self sustaining fan power aspect, and not for the USB power).
The Kettle Charger, on the other hand, uses almost any heat source and the example shows use over a liquid fuel stove. I could picture using this much more often. First, because I use a variety of liquid fuels, and second because I could easily picture boiling water in this unit and then pouring it out into a thermos and boiling more water. Which makes sense to me at a camp site.
Yeah…I want one.

– Wood Burning Stove
http://www.calibarrett.com
SAMSUNG CSC
If you haven’t figured it out already, I’m a fan of all kinds of gear, and it’s not always about being ultralight. There are several criteria I look at when thinking of new equipment and it really depends on the scenario envisioned.
This would be a particular good stove for longer term camping setups, and would be better at dealing with damp wood. Not bad for car camping, but really best for longer term remote setups

– British Army Cooker No. 12
http://www.spiritburner.com/fusion/showtopic.php?fid/399/tid/25100/
BritishArmyCooker12_Closed

BritishArmyCooker12_Open
This is a much larger and heavier, but conceptually similar liquid fuel stove compared to the Optimus Hiker+ built for vehicular storage (I think I read it’s for soldiers driving military tanks).
The larger built in wind-screen and sheer ruggedness makes this particularly attractive. Not for use in backpacking, but an excellent car camping companion for a rugged and reliable stove.

– Mountain Laurel Designs SuperMid
http://www.mountainlaureldesigns.com/shop/product_info.php?cPath=47&products_id=130
MLDSuperMidPhoto from MLD website, that isn’t me (^-^)
This has been on my want list for a long time. It’s an ingenious design and the cuben fiber version would be very light considering the amount of fabric (and overall floor space we’re talking about). What is holding me back is the solo innernet. The innernet is not quite what I want, mostly because the bathtub floor doesn’t really go very high. But purchasing an Ookworks innernet would fix this (http://oookworks.com). Also, a single tarp pole would replace hiking poles (mostly because I don’t really like using hiking poles). Also, this requires all the corners to be guy’d out. That’s a bit of a bummer since I often camp on rocky terrain, where guying out is a bit more challenging. Not impossible, but free-standing would make my life a tad easier. While the tarp pole (which wouldn’t have the primary purpose of use as hiking poles) would prevent this from being an ultralight, It’s a pretty amazing setup.

Stuff Still To Review


List of stuff to still review

STOVES:
– Asian generic Butane stove
– Biolite (Ed)
– BushBox Pocket (Steel)
– BushBox XL
– Butane Stove (Asian style)
– Caldera Cone
– Coleman Exponent Multi-Fuel (e.g. Peak 1)
– Evernew Crossbar (for Trangia)
– FireAnt
– FireBox G2 5″
– HotAsh stove
– Jetboil Sol
– JetBoil Flash
– JetBoil MiniMo (Alli/Rich)
– Liberty Kerosene Stove
– Optimus 8R
– Snow Peak GigaPower LPG
– Soto Hybrid Muka (Stormbreaker)
– MSR Reactor (Alli)
– MSR DragonFly
– MSR Pocket Rocket
– MSR WhisperLite International Wireframe
– MSR Windburner
– MSR WindPro 2 LPG
– MSR XGK (Older Model)
– Optimus Crux
– Primus Touristic PT-3
– Solo Stove

 

OTHER:
– Hot Hands

SHELTER & CARRY
– 5.11 Tactical Molle Webbing Pouch
– Zpacks Carbon Fiber Tarp Pole
– tarp
– tarp poles (Large)
– tarp poles (Medium)
– Klymit Inertia XL
– Sea To Summit ComfortPlus Insulated L
– Sea To Summit UltraLight Insulated L
– Sea To Summit JetStream
– Thermarest ProLite L

FOOD & DRINK GEAR
– Coleman Egg Container
– Sawyer 2-bag water filter
– Stanley Thermos
– HydroFlask 18oz Insulated
– Larger water filter
– Sea to Summit X-Pot
– Sea to Summit X-Bowl
– Sea to Summit X-Mug

APPAREL
– NorthFace ThermoBall
– Mountain Hardware Ghost Whisperer
– Mountain Hardware Nilas
– Hot Chillys Thermals
– Nike Thermal
– Nike Thermal bottoms
– glove liners

TOOLS & ELEC
– Boreal21
– Joby smart phone stand
– inReach Delorme SE
– inReach Older model
– GoalZero Sherpa 50
– Ka-Bar 9″ super thick pry-bar knife
– Amprobe BAT-200 Battery Tester
– GoTenna
– Relefree 1/2″ x 5″

SPECIALTY GEAR
– Alpacka Raft Scout
– Alpacka Raft Yukon Yak
– Klymit LWD
– Okuma Citrix Three Piece Rod
– Onyx Outdoor Onyx A/M 24 Automatic/Manual Inflatable PFD Blue
– Kingii
– Ultimate Direction PB 2.0 Adventure Vest (OTHER CARRY/PACK)
– Ultimate Direction PB 1.0 Adventure Vest (OTHER CARRY/PACK)
– Allen Sports Deluxe 3-Bike Spare Tire Mount Rack
– Kingii PFD

LUXURIES
– Mambe Essential Outdoor blanket
– Sea to Summit Air Chair
– REI table

 

STUFF I STILL WANT:

Cammenga 3H Tritium Compass Review


Cammenga 3H Tritium Military Compass

You go backpacking and bushwacking and you don’t have one?

Some day, you might be out and about, and away from easy access to power, and you might need to get your bearings. While using a military compass takes practice, there are videos about this for beginners and it’s not overly difficult to learn the basics. So long as you know roughly where you are, can match up some sited items to a topo map, you can use this to get to where you need to go. Continue reading

Clikstand Appalachian Ti Gas Combo Review


ClikstandAppalachianTitaniumComboGasBurner

Base stats:
– BTU:  7K (Really the BTU of the Trangia burner)
– Weight:  2.7 oz
Stove comparison chart

If you’re looking for a light Trangia stand that has a good windscreen and fits in a 1L titanium pot, this is a solid buy.

However, if you’re looking to also add the option of a gas stove, take note. There are slits in the triangular wall for the holder “plate” to go into. Continue reading