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cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

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cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby Prairie Native » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:47 pm

I recently got a jet boil because in my last few trips my whisper lite has just been a peice. Its ruined a few trips where we have set up a high camp and wanted to melt snow for food/drinking water. I've recently heard that cannisters are terrible with cold and altitude. So am I just s.o.l.?

Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby Bean » Mon Dec 12, 2011 5:55 pm

Canisters do poorly in cold conditions. Maintain and learn to use your whisperlite.
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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby Scott P » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:03 pm

Most cannister stoves don't work in cold weather.

There are exceptions. Powermax (canister) fuel actually works far better in cold weather than any other fuel I have ever used (including white gas). Unfortunately, it's getting harder to find.

The standard Jetboil doesn't do good in cold weather, but the newer Jetboil Helios is rated to -10F (in contrast to the +32F rating for the standard Jetboil). I have a Helios, but haven't used it yet.
Last edited by Scott P on Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby CO Native » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:04 pm

Canisters are terrible in cold conditions. Especially if you're needing to melt snow with them and run them for extended periods of time. A canister that's been kept warm in your coat might get you through on liter or so before it's performance really starts to cut out. Fuels like Snow Peak Giga Power help some, but still leave a lot to be desired. Liquid fuel is the way to go in winter.

I'm with Bean, buy a maintenance kit for your whisperlite.
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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby ThuChad » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:05 pm

I'm just pretending to be a poseur.

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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby Prairie Native » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:13 pm

I do maintain the whisper lite. It wasnt pressurizing and I was using white gas. It also takes up 4 times the space in my pack that the cannister does. Such a pain to lug around the stove, gas bottle and cookware just to boil a few cups of water for food and water. As long as I can get enough for a dehydrated meal and some drinking water im good. So even a brand new gas cannister every time I go wont fire up in cold above treeline?

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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby Prairie Native » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:20 pm

We also have the powermax fuel in a local ]bike shop so ill have to stock up on that.

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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby Derek » Mon Dec 12, 2011 6:40 pm

CO Native wrote:Fuels like Snow Peak Giga Power.....

I used this last week with my stove for melting snow, temps were around 0 degrees and it worked quite well. Melted probably 6-7 liters total on the trip.

This was probably the coldest I've used it, but its worked fine for me every other time melting snow too. Am I to gather that this is rarity and usually they dont work well or something?

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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby CO Native » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:01 pm

Prairie Native wrote:I do maintain the whisper lite. It wasnt pressurizing and I was using white gas.

Usually you need to replace the o-rings at a minimum or the pump entirely when that happens. The O-rings do fail after a while, but are meant to be easily replaced.
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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby 54coldones » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:25 pm

Fuel Canisters work because at normal temps the fuel would be a gas except under pressure. Under pressure, gas will condense into a liquid. That's why you can shake a canister an feel a liquid swishing around in the canister. Canisters are a propane butane mixture. They do this because propanes' boiling point is -40 degrees butanes is 32 degrees farenheit. They blend it so that the residual heat of the propane heats the canister slightly via radiating heat. And gets the butane to boil at 32 degrees or above. Now as gas is depressurized it is an endothermic reaction meaning it gets colder as the pressure is released. So if it is 32 degrees and you've been running your stove it's effectiveness will decrease unless you do something to warm the canister up to above 32 degrees and compensate for the endothermic temperature loss. my experience with the whisper light is that the distance frome the fuel pan to the fuel tube that the liquid fuel flows through is a lot for temps below 10ish degrees because it takes more fuel to heat it ap and it gets all sooty from the fuel not burning efficiently. I would get yourself a dragonfly by MSR if you wish to continue camping in the winter. It's design is specific for winter use with a fuel vaporization chamber attached to the fuel pan. As for the Helios I have no experience with it. Buy it from REI if it doesn't pass the beans take it back. Post what you find out.

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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby winmag4582001 » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:46 pm

My Jetboil works great in the summer. BUT, sucks at altitude in the cold. Warm the fuel inside your jacket and definately carry a reliable fire source because the striker just doesnt light the fuel well at altitude and not at all in the cold.
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Re: cannister stoves in winter/high altitude

Postby Dex » Mon Dec 12, 2011 7:55 pm

The soto sotve works

http://www.backpacker.com/editors-choice-2010-soto-micro-regulator-stove/videos/119

Keep the canister as warm as possible and it will work.

keep it close to your body and off the snow
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