Stove tests.

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jimford

Settler
Mar 19, 2009
548
0
81
Hertfordshire
I have a few camping stoves and having too much curiosity and time on my hands, decided to do some semi-scientific heating tests on some of them.

I don't find the popular 'takes x minutes to boil 1 litre of water from 17 degrees C' sort of measurement very helpful, and decided to use a datalogger to determine the _rate_ of heating in degrees C per second for an arbitarily chosen volume of water, in a commonplace heating vessel. This avoids making sure the water for each run starts at the same temperature, and exact timing of the time to boil (as it's not necessary to reach boiling point). The volume of water and the vessel I chose was 1/2 litre in a 1 litre camping kettle.

The datalogger was set to record at 10 second intervals, and I stopped the run at around 95 degrees C. The data was then imported into a spreadsheet, a graph plotted and the slope of the graph determined. This gave the heating rate in degrees/second. The older petroleum spirit stoves already had 2 star petrol in them, but the later ones I used 'panel wipe' which is petroleum naptha with similar burning characteristics to 'Coleman White Gas'. All tests were carried out indoors, in still air.

Results:

Chinese Stove (gas): 0.32
Chinese Stove (panel wipe): 0.46
British Army No. 12 Stove (paraffin): 0.43
Coleman F1 Lite (gas): 0.62
Russian R1 (panel wipe): 0.39
Trangia Burner (meths): 0.18
Optimus 111T (panel wipe): 0.32
Gaz Cartridge Stove (gas): 0.42
Svea 123 (petrol): 0.38
Optimus 96 (paraffin): 0.30
Ezbit (2 Hi-Gear hexamine tablets): 0.29
Russian Schmel (petrol): 0.56
Enders 9061 (petrol): 0.34
Enders Baby 9063 (petrol): 0.28
Optimus 111B (petrol): 0.34

Conclusions:

It can be seen that by far and away the fastest heating rate was from the backpacking 'Coleman F1 Lite', closely followed by the Russian Schmel. Next was the Chinese stove on panel wipe - this is the stove recently covered in a forum thread. The Number 12 stove came next, which is somewhat dissapointing as it is such a huge and heavy beast! Surprisingly, next was the Gaz 'picnic' stove which gave quite a good showing. The Svea and Russian R1 also suprised by being ahead of the larger Optimus and Enders stoves, with the Esbit not far behind. Bumping along at the bottom came the Trangia burner, which was mounted in a Trangia pressed steel holder. This deserves further note: As the kettle didn't fit in a Trangia cooking set, the burner had to be used 'naked'. This meant that it couldn't give the best account of itself. Still I had expected better - certainly better than the Esbit, which proved itself as a practical proposition for lightweight camping.

Jim
 

Barney

Settler
Aug 15, 2008
947
0
Lancashire
I don't find the popular 'takes x minutes to boil 1 litre of water from 17 degrees C' sort of measurement very helpful.
Jim

Why not? Surely the same variables that exist and influence the boiling time of a litre affect the rate of heating similarly. Given that recent events have proven that the container design is equally if not more important than the heating methods, I would love to see a test involving the mentioned appliances when used in conjunction with differing convection methods and rates of conduction of the materials used in their construction.
 

jimford

Settler
Mar 19, 2009
548
0
81
Hertfordshire
Why not? Surely the same variables that exist and influence the boiling time of a litre affect the rate of heating similarly.

Because it's easier to compare heating rates. If you have a stove that boils I litre of water from 14 degrees C in 9 1/4 minutes and one that boils from 17.5 C in 7 1/2 minutes, it's not immediately obvious which is the faster.

Jim
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,596
497
Mercia
Personally, I'm not that bothered about heating time as a factor of efficiency to be honest - who is in a rush after all?

Now weight of fuel burned to boil an equivalent volume of water - that matters - if you are back packing it anyway. As does reliability - all the pump faff has let me down too often (compared to solid fuel, gas or spirit burners which never seem to fail). Other things like if you have to carry priming fuel as well. Time to boil should include time from a "cold start" - so include priming time etc. In my experience lots of these "whiz bang" stoves take ages by the time you have connected them all up, pumped, primed, pumped again and generally faffed about. Sure they boil water in three minutes - after 20 minutes set up!

Now a great test would be "time to make a brew - starting from the stove packed away in a rucksack pocket". Far more like real life!

Red
 

Barney

Settler
Aug 15, 2008
947
0
Lancashire
Because it's easier to compare heating rates. If you have a stove that boils I litre of water from 14 degrees C in 9 1/4 minutes and one that boils from 17.5 C in 7 1/2 minutes, it's not immediately obvious which is the faster.

Jim

I think that is irrelevant discriminating against the ambient temperature until one approaches the freezing rate of the fuels concerned. A coleman F1 Lite gas stove with figure of .62 matters not if the temperature is -6. Give me the trangia at .18 every time under those conditions, or better still the petrol?

How longs it take to brew up? at some elevations you would not even get a brew with some of the kit described.
 

rik_uk3

Banned
Jun 10, 2006
13,320
20
66
south wales
Nice report Jim. Pots are important, I did a little test recently and boiled 500ml in a Crusader mug and lid, then used a two pint billy, the billy was way faster as it absorbed the heat evenly as opposed to the Crusader where there was heat loss from the base up the sides.

The fastest boiler I have is the 111T burner in a Trangia using black pots its super fast as a gas stove with standard pots the Omnifuel is I think the quickest but it eats gas fast. The Primus ETA is extremely fast and recently came top in some independent tests (I'll dig out the link).

Red, don't dismiss stoves that need pumping, still faster to a hot brew than lighting a fire from scratch and remember, millions of people around the world use pump up stoves without problem (I know you had problems, MSR if I remember right?).

For me its not about the fastest stove, but the joy of using a stove that is new to 90 years old that counts for me (and my stoves cover that age range), equally as nice as building a good fire. The new remote canister stoves have there place, but I feel better using an old brass stove as well :)
 

British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
25,596
497
Mercia
Each to their own Rik. My "context" is that I have had two different stoves with pumps fail on me at critical times leaving me "stoveless" - an MSR and another previously - I forget which but it was a brass jobby in a steel square tin. Both were new and lightly used andwell maintained. I only have one such stove left - a relatively heavy Coleman. That's the next for me to sell. Bear in mind I won't use my stoves outside the UK so ability to melt snow is not a prime requisite for me.

If you enjoy em, its grand and Jims figures, are academically interesting. I suppose my point was that a figure of time, that represents only part of the actual process time can be misleading. It implies the fastest boil time is the fastest brew time. But if you ignore the fact that some need to be primed, whereas others don't, some need to be pumped where others don't etc. it really can be different "on the ground".

If it wasn't for the "gas cylinder connundrum" (I hate the half empty ones - I have to carry two to be sure of not running out or waste a lot), I'd reckon them the best for most users - in terms of simplicity, value etc. But the cylinders are expensive and wateful. So I'll go solid fuel on day hikes (light, simple, fool proof, fine for a brew) and Trangia on trips (light, simple, fuel can be "topped up"). Gas on a car trip etc. though. For what I do, it works.

Red
 

Barney

Settler
Aug 15, 2008
947
0
Lancashire
Jim,

My feeble attempts to clarify my points were aimed at general discussion and not criticism of your evaluation methods.:eek:
 

jimford

Settler
Mar 19, 2009
548
0
81
Hertfordshire
I think the thing that most struck me was how good the simple Esbit Hexi stove was, for its lightness and simplicity - and how bad the Army No. 12 stove was for its weight and complexity.

The poster that mentioned the Trangia at -6 C may have a point - if you can get it lit at that temperature!

Again, the point about pots being important is valid, but the test was a comparitive one. If the pots were more efficient, the F1 Lite would still be much faster than (say) the Enders Baby.

Those that don't know the Russian Schmel 4: It's a big stove with a silent burner. It would be good for group cooking as it fits into its own billy of about 2.5 litres with a lid.

Jim
 

rik_uk3

Banned
Jun 10, 2006
13,320
20
66
south wales
The 12 though Jim is a group cooker really, it cooks quick enough and the big fuel tank means many hours of cooking big pots of food on a stove with a superb windshield built in in any temperature.

Stoves like the F1 are great little brew stoves but not good for making something like a slow cooked stew;)

Just as you make a fire to suit your meal so I pick a stove for my trip and needs. A solo overnight summer trip and I'd take something like an F1 or Epigas Micro stove, in UK winter a Trangia 27. Anything more than one night and I need a stove that will cook proper food so a naptha or paraffin burner everytime.

I can no longer hike so making good food has become a centre point to my camping. Three of us are on a three nighter from the 31st and we will have a fire and grill but I'll take a nice old brass three legger to slow cook stew on and my lad will take one of his new toys for fast brews either a Primus ETA or smaller ETA Express :)

The stove malarkey is all about horses for courses and having fun with them.
 

Barney

Settler
Aug 15, 2008
947
0
Lancashire
Hello Richard,
I can only afford a few stoves but my collection is growing I agree about horses for courses though. The benefit of your experience please, Is the ETA express faster than the ETA?

All The Best

Barney
 

rik_uk3

Banned
Jun 10, 2006
13,320
20
66
south wales
Hello Richard,
I can only afford a few stoves but my collection is growing I agree about horses for courses though. The benefit of your experience please, Is the ETA express faster than the ETA?

All The Best

Barney

They are my lads stoves, but the express is smaller and boils very fast, for a given volume there would be nothing in it. With the ETA you can invert the gas can in cold weather which will boost the performance of the stove, you can't do this with the Express or Jetboil.
 

spamel

Banned
Feb 15, 2005
6,833
21
45
Silkstone, Blighty!
Very interesting findings. I find myself agreeing with many of the points made by folk here. Personally, I like pressurised stoves a lot but I also have a soft spot for the Trangia packed away inside a massive Trangia billy can like this one:

41u9aEELZIL._SL500_AA280_.jpg


That is a great bit of kit, I was put on to them by Scruff and they are very lightweight but you can easily feed three people, four at a push, with a titanic amount of food! I know people lament the meths burners and I understand they aren't as effective in the cold, but during warmer months (below the treeline and not melting snow for my water!) they work just fine. I've cooked some reasonable food on mine and AScruff has cooked excellent food with his, so there is no argument. IMO it boils down to a person not learning how to use that piece of equipment effectively.

I have an Optimus Nova + and still want to mount it in my Trangia one winter, maybe I will this year. Rik says it is a brilliant winter combo and I'll believe him on that one. The Nova+ is a great stove by itself, let alone teamed up with my Trangia.
 

spamel

Banned
Feb 15, 2005
6,833
21
45
Silkstone, Blighty!
Just to add, the whole trangia unit fits inside that billy, you can get two different sizes for the two different sized trangias. Take a look on mapandcompass for a good deal, they did postage for free on orders over 12 quid at one point, so if you're after bits of trangias and maps then go there!
 

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