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Hikin_Jim

The Bobcat Stove System

I haven't done a write up for a while, but some of you may know of my backpacking stove addiction, er, hobby.

I've been using the Bobcat stove system for my serious solo backpacks the last half year or so (September '12 to present).


I've found it to be a good system:  reliable, stable, and easy to use.  I particularly like that everything fits inside the pot, which makes things pretty handy.


If you're interested in such things, here's the full review on my blog:
The Bobcat Stove System

This article is actually part I of a series.  Next in the series will cover how to use the system to bake muffins out on the trail.


HJ
longcut

trangia

great post! i was thinking about contacting you actually. i recently did a trip in JT where we struggled each morning to get coffee going for a group of 6 adults. Mornings were around 15-20f and the propane stoves we had would light up fine and then just die down to barely a sputtering flame after about a minute or so. I was going to ask you what kind of stove would perform better at these temps without costing too much. trangia might be good.

also, totally by luck i happened across your hank roberts stove post. i have that stove and didnt know a thing about it!! where can i get the adapters for it??

thx
adan
Hikin_Jim

Re: trangia

Hi, Adan,

So were you guys really using (100%) propane stoves?  The ones with the big green cylinders that have 465g worth of propane?  Or were you using backpacking type canister stoves (Pocket Rocket, Jetboil, etc).  I think you probably were using backpacking type unless you were car camping.

15F to 20F is about the bottom of the temperature range where typical upright backpacking type canister stoves just don't work well anymore.  I've got an article on Seattle Backpackers Magazine about how to (safely!) extend their range a bit that you might want to check out.

You are cutting it a little bit close if you go out into weather that's much colder than maybe 10F.  Personally, I'd want to switch to a remote canister stove, particularly for a group.  Cooking for a group on a Trangia (or any alcohol stove) in cold weather is going to be slooooow.  Remote canister stoves aren't necessarily cheap, although you might be able to pick one up at a used gear sale.  You could also use a white gasoline stove (like a Whisperlite), but those are a little bit heavier.  You also have to learn how to prime a stove if you use white gas, but that's no big deal after a few tries.  White gas stoves are a lot easier to find on eBay and such (I have a couple of extras if you're interested).

As for the adapters, you can contact Bluewater Stove Restoration and see if they have any available.  Tell 'em that "Hikin' Jim" sent you.  He makes them by hand; availability is limited.  I'm not sure how busy he is right now, but now is a good time to hit him up.  In the summer he's out running rivers.

HJ
longcut

Propane

Yup, those big green cannisters. This was a car camping trip over New Years that I'm referring to. I also went out there on an overnight recently but on that one my alcy stove worked fine just boiling ramen for 1. Maybe the white gas stove is the way to go then. I even thought about taking a very simple wood burning stove for cofee on car camps just because i can boil water in a flash and enjoy a tiny warming fire at the same time. I'll hit you up elsewhere for info on the stoves you have available.

My buddy is also looking into a better bp stove for cold weather, but my alcy stove did fine for me and it was 20f and breezy. Im not impatient when bping, just when i have a group of freezing grumpy car campers. Smile

I'm going to dig up that old Hank Roberts and see if its missing any other parts. I'll see about getting an adapter from that guy too, thanks for the tip! you have a great blog!
Hikin_Jim

Interesting.  I'm surprised that a 100% propane stove would have a problem in those temps.  Do you remember what the overnight low was?

They do get cold as you use them, so that would explain the performance fall off once you got cooking.  Still, you shouldn't be having that kind of problem.

One trick would be to keep the canisters warm (generally, no more than body temperature) overnight by taking them in your tent and keeping them near your sleeping bag.  You shouldn't have to actually have them in your bag.  Still, I don't know why they performed so badly.  100% propane should work even in temps well below 0F.  Maybe that canister has a lot of other gases in it (butane) or something.  Commercially available "propane" isn't required to be pure C3H8.  Still, struggling in weather that's above 0F?  That's weird.  Wish I had a chem lab at my disposal.  I'd love to "sniff" that bottle of gas and see what's really in it.

HJ
longcut

propane

hmm. thats weird. I thought it was common because I typically do have problems with these types of stoves (green propane can) when temps drop below 20f. I even went to Big5 there in Yucca Valley and picked up one of the single burner butane stoves (fuel bottle looks similar to a spray paint can) and that one showed the same issue. starts cooking well, then after a couple minutes the flame peters down to nothing and we could not even get our small coffee pot boiling on it. so maybe its just me then, im cold blooded i guess. I know...next time i will light a raging fire and throw my fuel can in there to warm it up! problem solved!
HikeUp

Re: propane

longcut wrote:
...next time i will light a raging fire and throw my fuel can in there to warm it up! problem solved!

Yes, that should work. Make sure to film it.
Hikin_Jim

Re: propane

longcut wrote:
hmm. thats weird. I thought it was common because I typically do have problems with these types of stoves (green propane can) when temps drop below 20f. I even went to Big5 there in Yucca Valley and picked up one of the single burner butane stoves (fuel bottle looks similar to a spray paint can) and that one showed the same issue. starts cooking well, then after a couple minutes the flame peters down to nothing and we could not even get our small coffee pot boiling on it. so maybe its just me then, im cold blooded i guess.
Well, with the  100% butane, it makes perfect sense, but with propane, no, not at all.  My experience is really with backpacking stoves not car camping stoves, but, still, propane should vaporize down to into negative temperatures.  20F shouldn't faze propane at all.

longcut wrote:
I know...next time i will light a raging fire and throw my fuel can in there to warm it up! problem solved!
Well, since you brought it up:


HJ
Hikin_Jim

Getting back on topic,  Smile a perhaps helpful video discussing the system.



HJ

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