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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 11:52 am 
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Location: Astoria, OR
As a chemist, I'd favor ethanol or pure isopropyl alcohol over methanol: greater fuel value and lower toxicity (methanol is particularly more toxic than either of the others).

Rubbing alcohol has a double whammy of some 30% water, which reduces the calorie output because each Litre has less burnable stuff in it, and the flame has to heat up all that extra water (on top of the normal water produced by combustion), making for a much cooler flame.

It may help to see some typical forumals here, in increasing fuel value:

methanol (worst): CH4O
ethanol: C2H6O
isopropyl: C3H8O
propane: C3H8

Propane is a hydrocarbon, and is here for comparison.

Any fuel containing oxygen is already partly "combusted" in that some of the bonds to oxygen (on the way to CO2) are already made; it is formation of these bonds which "releases" the stored energy in the fuel, producing heat. The greater the proportion of oxygen to carbon and hydrogen, the worse the fuel.

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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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 Post subject: alcohol fuels
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 12:27 pm 
krudave,

Ja, I think I said several times, for instance, that isopropanol is more efficient in terms of heat produced ed per mL than methanol. Put each in a caloric bomb and, sure, isopropanol has more calories. Granted. You are supporting my position, not discrediting it.

I prefer methanol because it is readily available and burns cleaner. Isopropanol is very sooty in the little stoves I am talking about, so the burner pinholes need more maintenance. Methanol is deadly toxic to drink, sure, but otherwise not particularly dangerous in small quantities. Spill some on your skin- who cares? It evaporates in seconds. If you read the MSDS for ethanol it sounds like deadly poison, too! But such properties are more appropriately considered for industrial applications, not a camper spilling a little stove fuel. Liquid Plumr is probably hellfire compared to methanol.

Speaking of which, I don't think I have ever burned ethanol. Has anyone else? Seems like a waste, and expensive. There is a demanding market for an alternate use for ethanol- drives the price up.

My big point is this- is there any other stove that weighs 1-2 oz and can carry its fuel in a refillable plastic squeeze bottle? That low weight and volume is why alcohol stoves rock on short trips, if you are willing to deal with their tantrums in high wind. And both stove and bottle are airline-friendly (though not the methanol itself).


BUT AGAIN, despite my alcohol fanboy stauts, if you just want one stove and want to do short little local trips, Get a Jetboil or MSR Reactor. They will work anywhere in any conditions, and are reasonably compact. Unfortunately the fuel cannisters aren't recyclable, but that's the only real drawback.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:15 pm 
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acro, the MSDS's for methanol and ethanol don't adequately differentiate the degree to which methanol differs in toxicity. In the liver, it is metabolized to formaldehyde, and then to formate (formic acid), both much more toxic than the metabolites of ethanol (acetaldehyde and acetate, the latter being a common participant in a few metabolic pathways).

Hence, long term inhalation of methanol vapors leads to more severe helath problems than inhalation of cognac fumes, which is probably helpful. :wink: :wink:

Not countering your helpful advice, just clarifying.

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Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 1:28 pm 
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Location: Southeast Michigan
What I like about alcohol stoves is that they're quiet and compatible with a laid-back approach to camping. If you're on a serious expedition and you've gotta eat and set on on that rapid assault on a peak before 5am, they're not for you. But if you like to laze around in camp and have a long, leisurely cup of tea before setting out for the day, they're perfect.

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Michael Edelman
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 Post subject: Camping stoves
PostPosted: Fri Jul 27, 2007 3:33 pm 
I may not know much about paddling, but I have a couple of camping stoves. One thing I have learned is that they all have strong and weak sides.
If I travel in part of the World where special fuel can (and often will) be a problem, then I will pack my MSR multifuel stove. If I am hiking in Scandinavia, where denat. ethanol is easy to find, then I properly will bring my Tragia alcohol stove, because of the silent burning and build in wind screen.
If weight if an issue, then I pack my MSR PocketRocket canister-mounted stove and titanium kettle.

But for a great breakthrough of the pros and cons of alcohol stoves (and other stoves try this page http://zenstoves.net/StoveChoices.htm and the main site http://zenstoves.net
The site also have DIY planes for building alcohol stoves yourself.
And there is a rather interesting section on Weight and Fuel Efficiency of camping stoves http://zenstoves.net/StoveChoices.htm#Efficiency

Happy Trails
Jan


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 2:41 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm
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Quote:
But if you like to laze around in camp and have a long, leisurely cup of tea before setting out for the day, they're perfect.


Sod efficiency and weight, Mr Edelman has just summed up why I love alcohol stoves!

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2003 - Feathercraft Kahuna
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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 8:45 pm 
nohoval_turrets wrote:
Quote:
But if you like to laze around in camp and have a long, leisurely cup of tea before setting out for the day, they're perfect.


Sod efficiency and weight, Mr Edelman has just summed up why I love alcohol stoves!

... Which proves that choice of stove is often a matter of personal preference (exactly - the preference of stove and fuel type, not the preference of area and duration of trip). Because the abovementioned feature of alcohol stove (lazing around in camp and having a leisurely cup of tea without much thinking, arranging and taking care of the burning process itself) is exactly why I like propane/LPG stove - in addition to its capability of other tasks.

Moreover - propane/LPG stoves 1) don't need matches or lighter (just click the pushbutton of built-in ingintor), and 2) don't need any refilling - connected to the canister the evening before, it stays instantly ready for virtually unlimited number and duration of uses (hours and hours of burning on one canister). In my understanding, these feature make them even more suitable for lazing around than alcohol stoves.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2007 9:52 pm 
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Ahhh, esthetics. We really are putting a fine point on the pencil, now. :wink: In which case I must tout the pleasant purr/putt-putt/purr of my Coleman 442. Its music is sweet to my ears when I want that hot cup of java in the morning. I know it is working away for me. Those silent, sneaky propane or isobutane rigs just do not have the right ... ahhhh... aural presentation ... not to mention the fine bouquet of white gas from a Dual Fuel 442. Stinky old propane! Nasty stuff. :roll:

[We won't discuss the week-long back packing trip ruined by my clutsoid brother when he tainted the entire stash of freeze dried food for seven (7)with spilled white gas!!! Nothing like a nice white gas burp to start the day.]

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Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 5:55 am 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Making my Zzip-y morning tea at an abandoned monastery in the Caucasus
Image

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Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 8:22 am 
Glad to see you survived in the country of the Nosferatu. Anne Rice seemed to think the creatures are flammable, so a good small camping stove may serve double duty. C.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 7:37 pm 
krudave wrote:
Ahhh, esthetics... Those silent, sneaky propane or isobutane rigs just do not have the right ... ahhhh... aural presentation ... not to mention the fine bouquet of white gas from a Dual Fuel 442. Stinky old propane!

Well, yeah... White gas, kerosene and many other liquid-fuel stoves do have that "aural presentation". And they also have a "bouquet", - as you've put it nicely. I remember kerosene stoves in small towns of my early childhood. Can undestand nostalgic craving. Housewives hated them, though. Switching to propane stove in a big city (natural gas pipeline, not exactly "propane") was considered a blessing. Old propane or some other liquified gas doesn't have anything to please the ear (or nostrills, for that matter)... It just works...

Esthetics?... I haven't noticed anything about esthetics in Mike's post about alcohol stoves above. It looked like functionality to me. Easy to use. Propane (and any other LPG) is easier to use than alcohol fuel. Speaking of esthetics (which may or may not be a factor of preference), propane/LPG is almost same silent as alcohol. Propane/LPG becomes audible only at high settings - not noisy, just audible. Incidentally, I find silent operation a little inconvenient - so this is not just esthetics. Which doesn't surprise me, as esthetic impressions are often based on hidden performance or some other value of things (like they say in yachting - if it looks right, it sails right). With flame almost invisible it is easier to control the thing and make sure the wind or near-empty tank haven't extinguished it yet, when there is some sound. Not crucially important, - just easier. And again, propane/LPG beats alcohol fuel here - the former is more audible. Though, both are silent, compared to liquid-fuel purr-purr-putt.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:00 pm 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Wed Apr 20, 2005 1:26 am
Posts: 350
Location: Republic of V.I.
Thanks to all!

While you were discussing for the last few days various aspects of camping stoves, we (four of us from westcoastpaddler.com) actually took them to the bushes for field trials:

Image


As you can see from above picture, my decision was rather easy (remember that I grew up under communistic regime, where definition of the word "choice" has had its peculiar meaning). No sales rep from Trangia was needed, as all stove owners were devoted Trangia fanatics.

The rectangular things in the background are outstanding Mark I wood stoves manufactured and distributed by DarrenN from westcoastpaddler.com forum.

Thanks to all for helping me in making so trivial, yet important decision.

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Klondike, Nimbus Telkwa


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 29, 2007 9:44 pm 
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Greg wrote: The rectangular things in the background are outstanding Mark I wood stoves manufactured and distributed by DarrenN from westcoastpaddler.com forum.

I bought one of those off Daren (he is "DarenN" on the WCP site). They rock! Very effective wood burning stoves, and pack down very small. All stainless, and easy to assemble and light. Far superior to the Sierra stove, in durability and heat output. And packs smaller. Burns more wood, of course.

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Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:08 pm 
Alcohol stove is probably a good choice for lightweight and short hiking trips. For paddling - not sure. My impression has been (leaving aside fuel consumption), that they are less convenient in use than LPG stoves, and I haven't seen any evidence of the opposite. The availability of alcohol fuel on the highway or in populated places is better than MSR/Primus LPG canisters (and a little bit better than small propane tanks), so this is why I carry Mini-Trangia as a backup in short trips (and Sierra Zip - in long trips), both stoves without their bulky pots.
Windscreen in Mini-Trangia is inadequate, btw. Consider it just a pot-stand.

krudave wrote:
Very effective wood burning stoves [Mark 1], and pack down very small. All stainless, and easy to assemble and light. Far superior to the Sierra stove, in durability and heat output. And packs smaller. Burns more wood, of course.

I considered making a similar one before Darren started selling them (there were drawings pulbished], but then decided to buy Sierra. Carried as a backup, it is packed without its heavy and bulky pots, and with a fan put upside down into the stove it is about 3" high and 5" in diameter. The reasons not to proceed with a rectangular stove were:
1) Needs assembling and dissembling - not a hard work, but a dirty one.
2) Has no bottom - needs extra care around dry grass and on wooden tables and similar structures.
3) Has sharp edges and corners when dissembled - needs some extra wrapping or a hard case in a folding kayak.

"Light"? at 16 ounces? I don't remember, and my Sierra is tucked far away (darn renovations), but steel version of Sierra without pots weighs same 16 oz or less. Titanium version of SZ weighs 10 oz. Btw, small LPG stove like MSR Pocket Rocket weighs 6 oz (sans fuel cartridge, but this weight is important on flights only, and naturally, I don't fly with it). 1 lb LPG cartridge doesn't make a difference in a kayak (small MSR cartridge is less than 1 lb, I think).

Also (as I've found later), Sierra is very economical due to forced air flow (with AA battery), so collecting enough wood is easier than for more fuel-hungry stove. Though, it still needs collecting wood (and I don't enjoy this when I'm wet and hungry and/or it's getting dark), that's why this is a backup stove. I had a problem collecting wood in one place - there was just no wood around that camping and small hotel, except for fallen leaves. Eventually I've managed to collect enough fuel for supper and breakfast, but it took over 40 minutes of wandering around in the dark.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2007 2:12 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
It all depends on what country I'm in, whether I'm flying there, whether I have to carry it on my back, etc. If it's about to rain, you pick enough twigs before it does so, so that it is not a problem. Wet ground litter is a buzzkill on the Zzip. Other than that, though, I really don't understand all Alex's fuss about the supposed inconvenience of picking up a couple of handfuls of leaves and twigs. I wouldn't try to use it for a trip above the tree line. In Japan, I would only use a canister stove-- they're just too convenient.

This Deven stove... is it anywhere online? Saying that it is sold through a West Coast paddlers' group leaves it sort-of out in left field for me.

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Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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