I have a small stove(that is designed to be used with the disposable compressed Butane or mixed gas cannister.)
I take the stove on Day hikes when;
- Long Hikes(For a quick brew if the weather gets nasty /emergency)
- Simple Overnight trips to back country huts(Good track in/ out)
- New Zealand Great Walks where the huts are usually fully serviced.(sure beats waiting in the cooking queue in a busy hut for just the hot water I need.)
What I like;
- The stove head weighs a mere 100gm.
- Very cheap and cost effective.
- The Butane / Isopro gas canisters are widely available in a variety of weights.(i.e.: 110gm and 360gm)
- Easy to store accessible in your pack, and just as fast and easy to set up and light.
- Pretty good flame heat control via a rotating dial.
- Easy to take on planes with you – take the stove and buy the gas cannisters at your destination.
The Potential Problems;
- Best used indoors / very sheltered spot, can be difficult to light or maintain in high wind, rain, snow… type conditions..
- Small footprint and support arms can make for a pretty unsteady pot support – particularly outdoors.
- The disposable canisters are virtually impossible to crush, retain the basic weight and must be carried out.
- It can be difficult to estimate exactly how much fuel is left in the canisters.(see FAQ below)
- If it breaks down there is no field maintenance.(but it’s pretty simple and there really isn’t much to break.)
- Avoid those stoves with push button strikers – they seem to be problematic and wont work if they are wet.
This type of stove is ideal for hiking beginners, it is simple, cheap, light weight, and performs best indoors / in shelter.
Where can I get the gas cannisters in New Zealand?
They are widely available in outdoors /hardware stores like Bivouac, Living Simply, Torpedo 7, Hunting and Fishing, Bunnings, Mitre ten. In popular hiking destination towns, you will also find them in petrol stations and supermarkets.
Which brand to buy?
There are heaps of brands of stove, I guess the best answer is to stick with the popular brands for now like (ie: MSR, Kovea, Primus, 360 Furno(mine))
How long will a cannister last?
This is a difficult one to answer, it all depends on how you use your stove; to boil water for dehydrated meals and drinks, or full on cooking.. and even altitude and temperature where you are cooking.
If you want to be precise, and have some digital scales, set up a test at home – and calculate how many grams of fuel it takes to boil a hot water or cook meals like you would take. ( goggling this subject also brings up “fuel burn charts” bit to technical for my liking though!)
How to test how much gas is in the cannister?
There are a couple of ways to find out roughly;
- Use the “float test” – where the water line of a cannister floating in water will show you the gas level. (There is a demonstration video by MSR Gear here on this technique.)
- Some cannisters have a Net and Gross weight on them, so if you have digital scales at home,(before you head out) you can calculate the weight difference.