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[pct-l] The Cat Stove Simmers!

<< The trouble with these alcohol stoves is, they don't have a simmer 
setting....  I can turn [my gas burner] down to simmer when I want to, 
conserving fuel....  >>

OK.  You talk, we listen.  My son Brian was over last night to celebrate 
Fathers Day.  We spent a good part of the evening playing with the Cat Stove 
(new, lightweight version of the original tuna can stove.)  Here are the 

Cut a 1 x 11 inch piece of the aluminum foil you have already used to build 
your windscreen, and wrap it around the air jacket of your Cat Stove, 
covering the air intake holes.  Tape the ends together so it forms a simmer 
ring that will slide up and down over the air jacket to either shut off or 
expose the air holes (or anything in between).  I used metal tape but a 
staple (punched from the inside, out, to avoid hangups) will also do the job. 
 You want to cut the simmer ring down to where it will just cover the air 
holes.  That way, it won't obstruct air flow when you raise it to let the 
stove roar.  Mine ended up at 7/8 inch in width.  

With the air holes closed and 2 tablespoons of fuel, the stove kept a pot of 
water simmering for 25 minutes (!) before burning out.  It acted like a 
Stearno can, burning the fuel very slowly because it was starved for air.  
Next, we slid the simmer ring up so the air holes were completely open.  
Again, 2 tbsp of fuel and a pint of cold tap water in the pot.  Light it off, 
and the water comes to a full, rolling boil in under four minutes.  (Ideal 
conditions, 70 degree evening, no wind.)  I then took the pot off, slid the 
simmer ring down to cover the air holes and returned the pot to the heat.  It 
simmered for another full six minutes (10 minutes, total) on the original 2 
tbsp of fuel!  BTW, is anyone still unconvinced about the merits of an air 
jacket to improve the efficiency of an alcohol stove?   

With the addition of the simmer ring, your Cat Stove can now be set to burn 2 
tbsp of fuel in anywhere from 6 minutes (will normally bring a pint of water 
to a boil in 4-5 minutes) to 25 minutes (keeping your soup or cocoa hot for 
as long as you would like.)  I tried to weigh the simmer ring to see how much 
it would add to the total weight of the stove (1.6 oz including stand and 
windscreen), but it wouldn't move the needle on a scale that weighs to 0.1 
oz.  You want to heat more water or simmer longer?  Put in 3 tbsp of fuel!  

Those of you who want to build the Cat Stove can find instructions at any of 
the following web sites:  
<A HREF="www.hike.f2s.com/gear/homemade/rrstove.htm">Eric Olsen's Hiking Gear 
Site</A>  (www.hike.f2s.com/gear/homemade/rrstove.htm)

<A HREF="public.surfree.com/fountain/alabama.htm">M. Lee Van Horn's Web Site</
A>  (public.surfree.com/fountain/alabama.htm)

<A HREF="www.pcthiker.com/pages/gearset.html">Troubadour's PCT Hiker Site</A> 

Thanks again Eric, Lee and Troubadour, for making these plans available on 
your sites.  I'm sending each of you copies of this latest improvement to the 
Cat Stove.  -- Roy Robinson

* From the PCT-L |  Need help? http://www.backcountry.net/faq.html  *