What to stove top for touring?

I need to buy something to cook with when I’m out touring. I’ve haven’t had much experience with cooking while out camping.

I was looking at an MSR Whisperlite, MSR pocketrocket or a Trangia 25-1. I hear the Trangia doesn’t cook quite as fast, but packs up nice and neatly.

Any advice on which to get or tips would be greatly appreciated.

EDIT: As I’ll be touring, getting something that uses fuel that is readily available will make things easier.

We sell the MSR pocketrocket at work, is a very nice little unit, make sure you get the auto light version

Jetboil are meant to be the ducks nuts too: Shop | Jetboil - Zip Cooking System

MSR Whisperlite Internationale!

Compact, runs on shellite (white gas / Coleman fuel), kero, diesel, petrol…, easy to service, liquid hydrocarbons are very energy dense unlike metho (Trangia) or butane (Jetboil).

I have one if you’d like to come play with it sometime.

fancy feast stove

I’ve got the MSR Whisperlite, I love how it works and it did the job for me.

It basically has only one setting: GO. So yeah good for boiling water etc, not so good for simmering… but I ain’t no cook so it wasn’t so much of an issue for me, you get pretty pro at cooking with the one setting. Also pretty efficient, I think I used about 3 bottles of shellite over a 4 month period of touring…

Size is obviously an issue, as is fuel.

Another consideration is what are you planning to cook with it? If you are simply using it for boiling water to add to dehydrated meals, then any of the above suggestions will do (jetboil would be perfect for speed & pack size). Otherwise make sure there is a simmer option. Nothing sucks more than burning your dinner after a long day hike/ride (I haven’t cycle toured yet, but all my experience is based on hiking/scrambling/alpineering).

My personal preference (and recommendation!) for both size and simmer-ability is the Optimus Crux (the exact same model as the Brunton Crux). This only runs on gas canisters which is a pain due to carrying multiple canisters (for long trips), recycling/disposal of cansiters, and doesn’t work too well in high-altitudes, but apart from that it rocks. It literally fits in the divot under a gas can. It is tiny. All things considered, it actually is the pick of my systems.

My feedback on your suggestions:
MSR Whisperlite is nice, but doesn’t simmer. Look at the Internationale version (what Blakey said) as it can run any fuel… this is basically a bigger diameter fuel line. Consider the Dragonfly for a simmer-able version (slightly more bulk though).

MSR Pocket rocket. Nice choice. Simmerable, small pack down size (and comes in a neat case). Down side is only runs on canister gas and isn’t too good at altitudes (pretty much the same issue with most gas cookers). The Crux is similar but smaller.

Trangia. Wouldn’t bother. Big size in comparison to your other options, and also slow to cook. No option to adjust heat up or down (yes you can play with vents and shit, but it doesn’t work). They give these to school kids on camp as they are hard to fuck up though.

Anyway… food for thought. Hope this helps! :slight_smile:

Oh, and if you are going to fly you wont get the gas canisters or the MSR bottles on a plane. Technically you can get the MSR bottles on a plane if they are brand new/clean as fuck, but most security guards/check in staff don’t know this, and aren’t willing to be argued with (i guess you could pack it in your regular baggage and not declare it though…). So either way if you have a plane to catch you are going to have to pick some shit up at the other end.

Yeah Rangdong gives a good summary. Most of my experience is also from trekking and mountaineering. I have a MSR Whisperlite International, a Jetboil and a Snowpeak titanium canister stove. I have also owned and used a range of other stoves, and used others with mates and other people on trips. The choice comes down to the nature of your trip really.

A canister stove is good for general low weight and small pack size (at least when you don’t need any more fuel than what is in one canister) and ease of use. I use mine quite a bit. But only ever really for short trips where I care more about weight than anything else. They can be unstable for cooking, and are fucking annoying when it is cold (or high, or both) to get good pressure, especially when the can is getting low. Sometimes sleeping with the canister in the foot of your sleeping bag can keep it warm enough for your morning cuppa. And if they break then generally you are stuffed. Very few are user maintainable. They’re also shit when there is any sign of wind. And for many you can’t use a metal windshield as it can lead to the canister overheating and exploding. If it is cold and windy, trying to boil a litre of water can be very annoying.

As between brands, I think Optimus or Snowpeak make the better ones, but it is much of a muchness. The PocketRocket is also good, but I find it a bit unstable. But in the end it comes down to size and weight more than any other feature between brands. A piezo automatic ignition can be good. But I never rely on one, as they do break. I always carry one of these: Light My Fire - We sell fire

A multi-fuel stove like the Whisperlite is good for travelling (you can always at least find kerosene or unleaded petrol anywhere in the world), absolute reliability (you can strip down the whole stove and carry replacement parts for everything), stability (the base is more stable and better with larger pots than a canister stove) and also a very good flame. I have never had too much trouble with the lack of simmer capability. I have eaten probably a thousand meals out of my Whisperlite and many of those have been absolutely delicious. You just need to be a bit more active in your stirring and lifting of the pot, and sometimes work with bottle pressure to keep a low flame. Since a multi-fuel stove has the fuel bottle removed from the burner, you can set up a good windshield around the burner without any risk of overheating the bottle. Most, including the Whisperlite, come with good lightweight aluminium foil windshields. I have used my Whisperlite in some pretty extreme conditions in the mountains.

If you are on a long trip outside any civilisation then a multi-fuel stove is the best option. If anything breaks, you can generally fix it. If you need to carry heaps of fuel, then you can carry one fuel bottle and keep the rest of the fuel in lightweight plastic containers. If you run out of fuel outside of a major city then you have more options for things to burn.

I haven’t had too much trouble travelling with the gas bottle, but many of my friends have lost theirs. I wrap mine in gaffa tape so it doesn’t look so toxic. Sometimes I have written “WATER” on it with a marker pen and filled it with water (but be careful with this to make sure nobody drinks out of it), but generally I just clean it thoroughly and keep the cap off when I pack it.

As between brands, the Whisperlite International is very good. I like it for its simplicity, easy maintenance and general ease of getting replacement parts. The Dragonfly is good for simmering but is mother fucking loud as fuck. You literally need to yell over it when making tea. If you are ever sharing a hut and need to wake up early then making coffee with the Dragonfly is a good way to get people hating you fast. It is also slightly more complicated to maintain, given the simmering mechanism. Optimus also make a very good simmering multifuel stove in the Nova. The MSR XGK is also very good for reliability and excellent flaming with a range of fuels, but like the Dragonfly it is ridiculously loud.

Boiler stoves like the Jetboil and MSR Reactor are a specialty product made specifically for use with freeze-dried meals in situations when speed and ease of use are the main criteria. To be honest, I now only use my Jetboil when I’m car camping and exclusively as a coffee-maker. I like my morning coffee to be made really fast. For anything else it is a bit crap. It is just a canister stove but heavier (depending on the pot you use), so it is crap in the cold, although it does have a built-in windshield. And I find the proprietary pot system annoying.

Metho stoves like the Trangia are for beard-stroking idiots who are happy to spend an hour in the morning making their breakfast, and have the time to make camp 3 hours before sun down so that they can get dinner ready. After a really long and hard as hell day when all you want is a cup of tea and dinner before crashing out you will fucking hate the fact you bought a Trangia.

I’d only look at getting a multifuel stove if I was touring in far flung places. dirty and bulky. I was If I was just touring in Australia, NZ, States or Western Europe Id just get a cannister stove. I’ve have had a Kovea Moonwalker for the past 4 years and its awesome. Boils water super quick but still has a good adjustable simmer. Stable but packs down quite small and isn’t too weighty. I know that Kovea doesn’t have the brand name of primus or MSR but their top-end stoves are just as good IMO. (I used to sell all three brands back in the day).

If you’re a minimalist loner then the MSR pocket rocket would be a excellent choice. :stuck_out_tongue:

Fancy stoves…

Get some tea candles, ya whisperliting, jetboiling wimps!

I think Kovea makes (some of) the Snow Peak stoves? Their little Ti nugget looks identical.

I reiterate, fancy feast stove. Much, much faster than a trangia, the fuel can be stored in a PET bottle and can be found in pretty much an supermarket, all for about $8 start up. replacement stove cost, 75 cents. Stove weight, 10 grams or so. You cant turn it off and you cant control the flame (unless you bring a few with different hole patterns) but most of the time you’ll be boiling something up and eating it. Use the money you save on the stove for a kickass Ti pot.

I agree that the pocket rocket is a bit unstable. I have a crux lite and the supports are a fair bit wider, the flame a fair bit wider, but doesn’'t quite have the “raging bull” sound that the PR has when turned up to 11.

I have owned the Kovea titanium canister stove. I found it unstable and not very reliable after a while. It has a screw on the top that holds the arms in place which continually comes undone and is easily lost making the stove unusable. I know a few people who have also had this problem and got the shits with it. The Snowpeak litemax has a similar screw. I now use the Snowpeak Gigapower as my canister stove, which is slightly heavier but far more stable, with a better flame and I have found it very well made and reliable.

The Kovea Moonwalker is quite good for general ease of use. You can use a windshield with it as the stove is separated from the canister with a hose. I agree that if you are only ever using it in regions that you can easily get canisters then it is a good option. But as with all canister stoves, it can still be annoying on winter mornings, it quickly becomes heavy if you need to carry more than one canister of fuel, and if it ever breaks then you’re having a cold dinner. But that said, cycle touring isn’t quite like alpinism or remote trekking where if your stove breaks you’re up shit creek, so the risk of it breaking probably shouldn’t weigh too heavily on your mind, especially if you’re only an occasional user.

And I also agree with Dice that a multi-fuel stove can be dirty and annoying at times. Shellite is a very clean and efficient fuel. But if you’re in the middle of nowhere and can only get low-quality kerosene it can be very dirty. When I was in Pakistan I could only get a low-quality kero that would not vaporise properly and gave off a yellow and polluting flame that coated everything in thick black soot. It made life quite difficult when I was tent-bound in a storm half way up a mountain.

Home Made Alcohol Stoves - Pressurized Jet Stove
this boils a 600ml cup pot in 10 mins.
make a few for practice first…

Thanks for the replies from everyone.

After going through them all I finally decided on getting a Whisperlite Internationale. Being able to use different fuels and not have to worry about carrying multiple fuel cylinders were the main factors…I also found one that was marked down ~30%.

Thanks again,

I’ll probably take you up on that, only the fuel bottle bit though. I’ve got a bottle lined up for when I get over there.

Sure, PM me and work out a time to come over.

I also found one that was marked down ~30%.

Where from?

I got it from Mountain Design on Smith st, the store closer to the city.

It didn’t come with a pump, so I asked why not, they were unsure, so they sent me to the city to swap it over. The one I got from the city wasn’t marked down, so my sneaky suspicion is the lack of pump was why it was marked down. Or I just got a dud box.

Sidenote: The Dragonfly pump isn’t compatible with the Whisperlite pump. I found this out the hard way.

I used to sell these and you should have got a pump with it.

Sorry, didn’t make it clear but the one in the city came with a pump. S’all good.