Staying fed and watered while on the hills is important.
The ability to stop and enjoy a hot cuppa or a hot meal is great for the walker especially in the cooler months.
Gas camping stoves allow the walker to do this very thing quickly and easily when out and about on the trails. There are many different types of gas stove available but in this post we will look at the three most popular – on-canister, integrated canister and remote canister.
Types of gas stove
On-canister – This perhaps the most simplest gas stove and as the name suggests the stove is actually mounted directly on to the canister itself. These stoves tend to be very lightweight and inexpensive to purchase and can be very effective but they can be a little unstable due to their height and size so care has to be taken when setting them up.
We recently reviewed the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 which is a good example of a modern lightweight on-canister stove – http://www.walkfife.com/msr-pocket-rocket-2-stove-review/
Integrated canister – These stoves are similar to the on-canister type as the gas canister is mounted to the stove but with a difference. The stove is instead integrated with a pot and windshield making it a very effective cooking solution.
These systems are designed to take away the need to carry a separate stove and pot making them easier to stow in your pack and very easy to set up when needed.
The main role of the integrated stoves is to boil water quickly for hot drinks and for dehydrated food and they are not really geared up for more traditional camp cooking. Again these stoves can be a little unstable due to their height so care has to be taken when setting them up.
A good example of an integrated canister stove is the Highland Blade Fastboil we reviewed for the Walk Fife website – http://www.walkfife.com/highlander-blade-fastboil-mk2-stove-review/.
Remote canister – These stoves are perhaps the most stable out of the three types covered here. The gas canister is connected to the stove by way of a hose and a regulator valve allowing the stove itself to sit lower to the ground.
The main benefits of this arrangement is it provides greater stability when using larger pots and it is easier to protect the flame from the wind. Their stability and ease of access make these stove ideal for cooking in camp.
These stoves can be very basic in design or more complex as part of a integrated cooking system such as the Coleman Fyrestorm PCS – http://www.walkfife.com/coleman-fyrestorm-pcs-stove-review/
All of the above stoves are all fuelled by lightweight self-sealing gas canisters that are attached to the stoves by way of a universal screw-threaded top. After use, the canister seals itself when you unscrew the stove or regulator making it very safe to use and transport.
The gas canisters often contain a pressurised mix of isobutane and propane which allows for a very efficient burn. The ratio of this blend of gases varies between manufacturers and also through purpose eg for use in very low temperatures.
Many modern stoves are equipped with a piezo-igniter, a small device that allows you to light your stove with the simple push of a button. While mostly reliable, it is always wise to carry some other source of ignition with you should the igniter fail.
The smaller lightweight stoves often do not have any ignition system incorporated into their design and instead rely on the user having access to matches, lighter or a fire steel to ignite them. The majority of the Walk Fife team use stoves like these and favour using a fire steel to ignite them as they are water and wind proof and you can always get a spark in even the wildest of days on the hills.
In general and provided you are not too heavy handed with them, a gas stove is very easy to maintain. After use, give the stove a wipe over making sure that it is clear of dirt and moisture.
Twice each year inspect the stove’s components including the rubber o-rings and other seals to make sure that they are in good condition and replace them if they are damaged. Most manufacturers supply spares for their stoves and fitting them is quite often very easy.
Provided you are sensible, using a gas camping stove needn’t be dangerous. We have put together our top tips for new users.
- Check your stove thoroughly prior to use. Make sure you inspect the valves, connections and fuel hose for damage before using the stove. Do not use a damaged stove.
- Do not use your stove inside your tent or shelter for two reasons – The risk of setting fire to yourself or your shelter is always to be avoided. Gas stoves release carbon monoxide which can be deadly in confined spaces.
- Ensure that your stove is set up on a level and stable surface being use.
- When walking in the winter months keep your gas canister warm by either keeping it in your jacket pocket or keeping it in your sleeping bag when camping overnight. Keeping the canister warm prevents the valve from freezing and keeps the pressure from reducing inside the can making your stove more efficient in low temperatures.
- Carrying a small multitool is useful if you need to adjust or repair your stove while on the trail.
- Wait until your stove is completely cool before packing it away in your pack to avoid damaging it and your other equipment.
- Don’t forget to recycle your used gas canisters! Don’t send your empty canisters to landfill instead call your local recycling centre to see if they will accept them for recycling.
If you have any questions regarding gas camping stoves or would like to share some top tips with the Fife Walking Community, then please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org