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RE: [pct-l] RE: pct-l-digest V1 #1185


Rubbing alcohol is not the best choice for stove fuel because it contains
water.  Denatured alcohol is better.  I buy "Alcohol Stove Fuel" by the
gallon at Orchard Supply Hardware here in the Bay Area.

The best stove for a multi-week PCT hike comes down to two choices IMO,
alcohol or ESBIT.  The potential fuel weight advantages of white gas just
can't overcome the nearly one pound stove weight, and canister stoves
require that you bring an entire canister of fuel whether or not you need
that much.  

With either ESBIT or alcohol, the stove, pot stand and windscreen can weigh
under 2 ounces, so fuel dominates the weight.  Fuel weight is hard to
compare because it depends on the efficiency of the cooking system.  In both
cases the wind screen design is CRITICAL, but the stove, stand and pot as
well as the outside temperature and the wind speed are all factors.  For me,
in typical summer PCT conditions, boiling two cups of water requires about
two tablespoons of alcohol.  I don't use ESBIT, but I've heard claims that
one tablet can do the same job.  I don't know what's typical.  (I've also
heard claims that one tablespoon of alcohol will suffice, but that's got to
be a best case number.)  YMMV, etc...

There are other considerations besides weight:  

Either fuel can be mailed by ground if properly packaged and labeled.  Check
the postal regulations!  

The ESBIT can be blown out to save unused fuel while most home-made alcohol
stoves cannot effectively recover fuel.  The Trangia is an exception.  (I'm
pretty good at using just the right amount of fuel in my Cat Stove.)

ESBITs and most homemade alcohol stoves cannot simmer at all.  The Cat Stove
and the Trangia are exceptions.

ESBITs tend to leave sticky black residue on the bottom of the pot.  Most
alcohol stoves leave little or no soot.

ESBITs tend to be hard to light.  Alcohol is very easy to light in all but
the coldest temperatures.

ESBITs are more than ten times the price of alcohol.

I use the Cat Stove and love it!  Plans for it can be found at any of the
following sites:

http://public.surfree.com/fountain/alabama.htm Look in "What to bring


-----Original Message-----
>  From: Taylor, Gene [mailto:Gene.Taylor@PSS.Boeing.com]
>  With all this talk about tuna can and cat food can alcohol stoves,  I
have a simple question.  What kind of alcohol do you recommend for these
stoves?  I'm planning on hiking the PCT through the High Sierras this summer
and am interested using a lightweight cat food stove but am not sure what
kind of alcohol to use?  Rubbing alcohol?  
>  My other option is to use an ESBIT solid fuel stove or an MSR Whisperlite
stove with white gas.  I'd like to go with the lightest stove and fuel
>  Any comments on which stove you prefer using on a multi-week PCT hike is
>  Thanks,  
>  Gene.Taylor@pss.Boeing.com
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