View Full Version : Backcountry stove?

03-23-2009, 09:40 AM
Ok so i've had two JetBoils and both of them quit working on me, which i found out this weekend was a result of a problem that they had and all products were recalled. Anyways, after the experience of getting caught out without a stove i'm burnt out on the JetBoil brand and was looking at getting the MSR Whisperlite, anyone had any experience with it? It's gotten great reviews and i just need something reliable. The pocket rocket from MSR was my first choice but i like how the whisperlite has a low center of gravity and looks like it would be more stable.

03-23-2009, 09:50 AM
Not all the jetboils were recalled, only the products from a certain production run. Their website gives details on how to tell if your stove has a "B style gas valve".

I use a snowpeak gigapower stove and don't have any complaints.
If you are looking for something to simmer food for long periods of time, or fry fish, you might want to look at a white gas stove.

03-23-2009, 10:01 AM
I have the same model SnowPeak mentioned by Grannyknot. I have used it for about 2 years now and have not had any issues. If I lost mine I would replace it with the samething.

03-23-2009, 11:10 AM
I have the Snow Peak Gigapower and have used it for backpacking 40 days per year for the past four years. It works great in temps above 20* after that all canister stoves loose their efficiency and although with a few tricks can still be used, white gas is a better choice for winter. I have the auto-ignighter and although mine has worked flawlessly, I have heard of people having problems with them, perhaps they had a bad prodiction run at some point.

People also like the MSR Pocket Rocket, but I like the pot supports better on the Snow Peak.

As for a pot to go with it, I have the Snow Peak 700ml Titainium mug that works well, but you could also go with a cheap aluminum pot from antigravity gear, or a nice 640ml kettle from evernew.

I also have a like new Coleman Exponent Apex II white gas stove similar to the Whisper Lite I will sell for $40 if you are interested. It is like new and tough as nails, I just never find myself needing a white gas stove as the Gigapower always does what I need it to do (I usually just boil water). Pics can be found here:


03-23-2009, 12:46 PM
I haven't heard of too many people using snowpeak's stuff but i have looked at it. It looks like some pretty good stuff. Can you fit your stove into the trek 700 mug? That would be a big plus.

03-23-2009, 01:33 PM
Can you fit your stove into the trek 700 mug? That would be a big plus.

I can fit my stove and a small fuel cannister into my trek 900 cookset.

03-23-2009, 02:24 PM
I've had nothing but problems with the gigapower stove, I've had the handle break off, i broke two of the three prongs that the pan sits on. kind of small annoyances, but both times that it broke, I was in the backcountry out west during no fire season, and had to cut the trip short a few days.

So this winter I bought a whisper lite and it looks to be the best stove I've owned. Mind you I'm pretty tough and clumsy with my gear, so if it can make it through the summer without breaking, I will think MSR has done their job.

03-23-2009, 02:33 PM
Yes it will nest both the stove and a 4oz fuel canister in the Snow Peak 700 Mug and will even fit in the 600ml mug (which doesn't come with a lid), or the Evernew Ultra lite deep 640ml pot. You can also fit another canister on top of the lid in the mesh bag, but that would only be needed on a really long trip. I can usually get at least 10 days out of a 4oz canister.

Although you can use Snow Peak, Jet Boil, MSR, Coleman, etc... canisters with the stove, only the smaller footprint Snow Peak and Jet Boil ($$) canisters fit into the pot. If you plan to use the larger base 4oz canisters like MSR (or 8oz canisters), then you might want to look at the MSR Titan Kettle for a cookpot as it fits the MSR canisters and the stove nicely. It also has a very tight fitting lid (which some people like and some don't).

I do a lot of backpacking and have seen hundreds of people with the Snow Peak stove and have never heard any complaints except the Auto Ignigter, which a few people have had break (it is removable with a small phillips head screw, and you can buy a new one for $10) By far the two most popular stoves on the trail are the Snow Peak Gigapower and the MSR Pocket Rocket. They are both very proven stoves. Although many AT Thru-Hikers use alcohol stoves, the most popular cansiter stove models (in fact about the only two you see any thru hiker carrying) are the Gigapower and Pocket Rocket. You will not be disapointed with it unless you plan on spending a lot of time in the woods below 20*.

03-23-2009, 06:38 PM
I've had an MSR Whisperlite for a while and have never had a problem. Just clean it and it will work fine.

Dancing Bear
03-23-2009, 08:19 PM
with an MSR. I started with the old XGK way back in the late '70s. Then I went to the Whisperlite and last summer I got a Pocket Rocket. The only negative thing with it is stability. It has been on two different two-night trips and used one fuel canister for both trips. I love it.

old tom
03-23-2009, 08:49 PM
I've had a Whisperlite for approximately 10 years. If I lost it today I'd buy another one tomorrow. No problems whatsoever. Biggest drawback is it's difficult to get it to simmer - you have to back off on the pressure a little.

03-23-2009, 10:11 PM
A homemade catfood alcohol stove, 4 oz Alcohol and windscreen will all fit inside a Trek 900 with room to spare, 4 oz is plenty for an overnight trip and an additional 8 oz stretches that to 3 days. With a simmer ring, you can do a fair job on frying fish. But for stright-up water boiling for speed, the gigapower does a good job.

03-23-2009, 10:52 PM
Don't know if you've found your stove yet, but here's my take...

I have had experience with 3 great stoves. The svea123/optimus climber, the wisperlite and the snowpeak. They're all awesome, really.

I've really enjoyed having the snowpeak. It's so simple to fire up, and it packs some serious heat. I haven't had it long, but I love it. Nothing's better for a quick cup of coffee. Setup is so fast.

I've never owned a wisperlite, but I ate a month's worth of meals (literally) with a couple of guys that used them one or two times a day for said meals. They were durable and powerful. My only beef with that one is the way it stores, or doesn't. It's a petty beef, but I don't like the hoses/tubes that hang out when you remove the fuel can.

On that same trip, Summer '88, I used a svea 123, and one of the other guys had the optimus climber. Same stove, essentially. My svea 123 belonged to my dad. I think he bought it back in the early 70's, and he used it ALL over the Smokies. My trip with this same stove was across the country. I've had it on LOTS of other trips since then. Simply put, the thing will not die, not that I want it to. I don't think they still make these, but you can still get them. They've got kind of a cult following. They absolutely rock. Frankly, I had no reason to buy the snowpeak, other than that I thought they were cool, and I liked how quickly they could be ignited. That leads me to my only beef with the svea/optimus...setup. They can be a pain to prime. Don't get me wrong; it WILL LIGHT EVERY TIME. And the fireball approach to priming can be fun. It's a ritual of sorts. Plus the F-14esque roar the thing puts out is like a song that has fond memories attached. It's just plain cool. The other cool thing is the fact that you can burn coleman fuel or even unleaded if you're in a pinch (though I've never tried it...not really sure about that.) You can read about them here... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svea_123 . I can't recommend that one too strongly. It's a classic, and it works. I don't know anyone that owns one that doesn't take a reverent tone when they talk about their stove. It's almost wierd.

fly fisherman DK
03-23-2009, 11:11 PM
My dad and I have the MSR pocket rocket and we have no complaints. It is small, compact, and lightweight which is great. I'm sure though that any of the MSR products would work great for you.

Fly fisherman DK

03-23-2009, 11:19 PM
I also use the gigapower. Used it in yellowstone for a week, smnp, day hikes, not a single complaint. Guess you will have to just pick one, because I have heard many good things about the pocketrocket, as many people have said here. I have actually considered getting the whisperlite, since I have only heard good things about it.
I like the gsi cooksystems. I usually backpack with my wife, so I have to consider two people. The gsi dualist will hold my stove, and fuel easily. I also use the gsi bugaboo backpacker for longer trips. It is essentially the same as the dualist, but with a fry pan. Both of those sets work great with the gigapower, but they may be a bit to much to carry for one person, especially if your a minimalist. Good luck with your decision, don't think you could go wrong either way, but I vote for the gigapower.

03-23-2009, 11:32 PM

03-24-2009, 12:16 AM
It really depends on what you want it for and how far you are going and wait carried, but to me Whisperlite = heavy. I carry between 18-26 pounds depending on the season and usually go between 15-20 miles per day.

03-24-2009, 09:35 AM
Looks like it's pretty much a toss up between the snowpeak and msr. I don't really know which one to pick, both look good with the gigapower being a little lighter. Glad to see there are no real complaints with either one.

Travis W
03-24-2009, 10:07 AM
I have owned a Whisperlite International for about 15 years. It is a multi-fuel stove with the shakerjet. It has been great. Never a single problem from it. I would highly recommend it if it fits the type of stove you are looking for. As stated above, simmering is kind of tricky on the Whisperlites.

03-24-2009, 12:58 PM
I use an Esbit stove. So far no problems with the auto igniter at all since it's a match lol. Can't really simmer with it but if you just boil water it is great. Smaller than a deck of cards and lighter including fuel tabs than just about anything else. Very reliable too :) I can also use the fuel tabs as fire starters if needed.

David Knapp
03-24-2009, 09:57 PM
I've been using a pocket rocket for a couple years now and love it... Very small and lightweight and does a good job cooking for my purposes. Granted, I normally am only doing very minimal cooking, boiling water or water with some noodles...I haven't tried any culinary masterpieces yet. I took this stove out west this past summer and used it as my primary cooking stove while car camping and it did just fine for that as well. It fits in my Trek 1400 along with a fuel canister and my "spork," everything I need to cook...

03-25-2009, 06:08 AM
Is the pocket rocket stable when placing a pot on top of it?

I still haven't decided yet but i have to order it today that way i can have it here by next weekend. I guess it's a good thing to try and decide over several good products. Whatever i do, i will take pictures and give impressions when i get it in.

03-25-2009, 06:44 AM
For the last few years I have been using a Hobo stove, no moving parts and no fuel to carry. Check it out here along with other types. http://zenstoves.net/Wood.htm

David Knapp
03-25-2009, 03:05 PM
Is the pocket rocket stable when placing a pot on top of it?

I still haven't decided yet but i have to order it today that way i can have it here by next weekend. I guess it's a good thing to try and decide over several good products. Whatever i do, i will take pictures and give impressions when i get it in.

I feel it is reasonably stable but would not go so far as to say I'm never concerned about it tipping over. It hasn't actually happened but I have been a little worried a time or two...

Here is a picture of mine on a Deep Creek trip last summer...boiling some water...


03-25-2009, 06:34 PM
Is that a Big Agnes Seedhouse in the background? I have the Seedhouse SL1 and have been very happy with it.

03-26-2009, 06:48 AM
I think i just may go with the snowpeak gigapower. I found a good deal on a kit with the trek mug for not much more than the msr pocket rocket. I will let you know when i get it.

On a side note Mocs123, i have the emerald mountain sl3 from big agnes and i love it. It's the best tent i've ever used.

03-26-2009, 03:36 PM
I like something that will boil water quickly. The weight might be an issue to some of you, but there again I don't need to carry guns, bee sting meds, bears spray, knifes, fire stater, or snake bite kits. :biggrin: Dinner is served:cool:

caught 108
03-26-2009, 05:45 PM
flyman:Thats a good one,I'll say Well Done.

03-26-2009, 07:12 PM
Ha! "well done"...You guys are a riot.:biggrin:

03-26-2009, 07:59 PM
Craig, I just carry my Coleman propane one burner with me everywhere I go. A little heavier nad space consuming, but hard as heck to tip over.

03-30-2009, 05:55 PM
Anyone ever use the Sierra Zip Stove? That's what I've been using for years. It's a little heavier than the typical backpacking stoves, but I like not buying and carrying fuel. It boils water very quickly, which is usually all I do in the backcountry: coffee, tea, freeze-dried meals, noodles, etc. In the Smokies there's no shortage of small twigs to feed it, but you might run into trouble if you often backpack in deserts or above treeline out West.


03-30-2009, 09:08 PM
I'm kinda partial to my 6 ounce cook kit. It burns denatured alcohol. The homemade windscreen, stove, base and pot holder nest inside the titanium pot. Perfect when weight is a consideration and all you need to do is boil water for freeze-dried meals and coffee.


03-31-2009, 08:12 AM

That's about the fanciest alcohol stove I've seen. Here's the one I use. It's nothing but an empty cat food tin.

03-31-2009, 03:32 PM
I use the denatured alcohol stove also. I made two; a cat can stove like Buzz and a Coke Can stove. For .98 cents you can use a bottle of HEET from an auto parts store or big box retail store. Make sure you use the yellow bottle not the red. It is 12 oz. and I usually use 2 oz per pot of water, so I count on the HEET container to boil water 6 times.

04-02-2009, 10:54 AM
I have an old GAZ. Never had any problems with it, but am not crazy about the cannisters. Not sure whether they even make the brand anymore. The stove I would like to have is the primus, it was a backpacker magazine editor's choice when it came out, very stable, runs on multiple fuels, just don't get into the backcountry enough in the last 10 years, or I would buy one. I have buddies who swear by the whisperlite too.

04-03-2009, 09:31 AM
I use the snowpeak gigapower as well. Love that thing. zero to blaze in 1 second.

Also has good flame control if you want to simmer. Superlight, supereasy, supergood.