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Bikepacking The Bikebacking forum is for discussion that relates directly to bikepacking (also known as bicycle camping). Subject matter should involve the backpacking/camping/bike gear and trip planning as it relates to mountain biking and bicycle touring.


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  #1  
Old 09-28-2009, 04:35 PM
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lifeontwowheels lifeontwowheels is offline
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Stove for bikepacking?

Looking at getting into some bikepacking/touring come spring and I love the idea of incorporating many of the lightweight/ultralight principles in getting gear together.

I like the idea of an alcohol stove and think for the shorter trips it would be fun to play around with different designs as I probably wouldn't be doing much more than boil in the bag meals. I eventually want to do a cross country trip, though, and camp most of the way to save money. Part of that would be cooking as many meals as possible.

So what does everyone use on longer trips? Is more involved meal prep possible on an alcohol stove? I've seen some of the experiments with remote feed alcohol that would offer a solution to longer cooking times. Just don't know if the fussiness would be worth it when there are some solid white gas stoves out there that would give me what I want.
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  #2  
Old 09-29-2009, 10:12 PM
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WildlifeNate WildlifeNate is offline
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I think you primarily need to look at fuel availability and food availability.

While denatured alcohol won't be TOO hard to find, dehydrated backpacking meals will. You'll be eating whatever you are willing to carry with you on your bike, so you need a flexible cooking system. You'll need to be able to simmer for some meals, boil for others, maybe even bake when you're in the mood for something different.

An alcohol stove can be limiting in that department. Some offer a little flexibility, but not near the flexibility of a solid white gas or multifuel stove.
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  #3  
Old 09-30-2009, 07:56 AM
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Mountaineerbass Mountaineerbass is offline
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Not a big bike packer, but I have been on several long trips with resupply being few and far. When it comes to flexibility,actual cooking, and long periods of time w/o a gear shop, I second a white gas/multi-fuel stove.

Several Reasons,

1. White gas has a higher BTU output therefore, less fuel should last you a longer period of time. The downside is white gas/multi-fuel stoves and there fuel containers are heavier.

2. Can't beat the flame control for actual cooking. You said you wanted to cook as many meals as possible to save money, so you may decide after a couple weeks that you've had enough boil in bag meals. I know you can make a simmer ring for an alky stove, but it's not the same.

3. A multi-fuel stove works with unleaded gasoline, kerosene, and of course white gas(Cleaner and less fussy), you can find one of these about anywhere. You can usually find the heet for a alky stove in a gas station, but there's no guarantee.
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  #4  
Old 09-30-2009, 09:05 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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i'll third the vote for white gas/multifuel... the versatility, heat output, and controllability are far beyond what alcohol stoves give.

with that said, i'll also chime in with that classic item of the cross country trekker, the hobo stove.

they'll run on just about anything flammable, wood, sawdust, moss, dried dung, even alcohol and gasoline(though take some serious care with this one).

if you were to do the classic style, made from the #10 food can(costco's tomato sauce can is ideal), you don't need batteries or anything special to make it or operate it, beyond a couple of church key can openers to make the holes on the side.


i've got one of these stoves kicking around, it goes with me on certain trips. VERY useful. if you work in some legs, then it's highly compatible with the LNT fire restrictions in national wildernesses(if you're not in a wilderness the rules are basically anything goes, but being safe is always smart), as you're basically carrying around a fire ring. it's actually proved so useful i've been designing my own stove for fabrication.
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  #5  
Old 09-30-2009, 12:40 PM
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adventure_dog adventure_dog is offline
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I agree with WildlifeNate and Mountaineerbass. You want a very flexible and versatile cooking system. People will give you all sorts of things on the road (fruits, vegetables, eggs, etc.) especially through lesser-traveled country. You should make sure you can fry up some eggs or a small piece of meat, as well as saute or otherwise cook fresh vegetables.

Since bagged meals mean pre-planning/preparation, you probably won't be eating too many unless you make some in advance and send them along on your route. Or you'll be eating a lot of high-sodium rice meals. More commonly, you will probably stop at groceries and food markets during the day and eat along the way.

We used an MSR Whisperlite International for our x-c trip. It accepts different types of fuels (no dung, unfortunately) and is easy to control the amount of heat. The downside is that it's relatively heavy and white gas is usually sold in containers larger than the amount you need at one time - which means you're wasting fuel and money if you leave it behind. (We would donate ours to other cyclists on our route.) We did use unleaded gasoline once, but it was a cool, dirty burn. I'd only use it if you were in a pinch.
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  #6  
Old 09-30-2009, 01:17 PM
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lifeontwowheels lifeontwowheels is offline
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Thanks for the replies. I'm looking at both and weighing the advantages and disadvantages.

For white gas stoves, I'm liking some of the Optimus/Primus variants that seem to be getting good reviews. Might look at SVEA as well, since I'm finding new stoves online at good prices.

Really liking the Caldera set up for alcohol-especially the Ti-Tri which allows wood burning.

I have a (Snowpeak, I believe) canister stove lying around here somewhere in my old scout gear. Only problem I have read about these is the relative lack of fuel availability once you hit the American Heartland. If I can find it, I may look at some of the options of mailing fuel and taking a small tea-light alcohol/esbit for back up.
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  #7  
Old 09-30-2009, 10:35 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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a note on the hobo stove: aluminum cookware need not apply. aluminum has this nasty habit of MELTING when you get above 900 degrees, which is frighteningly easy to hit with a wood fire, especially when you get a good draft going into the stove.

so titanium/steel is really the way to go. i myself stick to my cast iron when i'm using the hobo stove, but that's because i'm toting no fuel and relatively little food(catching what i eat for dinner mostly), but i tote a steel pot along for the ride sometimes.

another great advantage to the hobo stove is the ease of re-lighting in the morning. if you stir it as you let it get down to coals at the end of the night, cover a few of them with ashes, and then in the morning, press some tinder down onto the hot ashes, and allow to flame back up.

the hobo stove really can get VERY efficient with its fuel consumption, and you can scrounge for fuel during rest breaks, breaking it into manageable stove sized peices and tucking it into a sack hanging from a pannier. take a kodiak saw, and you're set.

on white gas; coleman makes a damn near bulletproof stove. their single burner integrated backpacking stoves will run for a long time on a single fueling, and they're incredibly rugged and reliable with plenty of heat output. they're nowhere near as sexy as the MSRs or the like, but there's a reason coleman has stayed in business for so long. they're durable, reliable, and just about zero mantainance. there's also no fiddling with fuel lines, playing with the jets, or any of the other particulars that the sexy mountaineering stoves have.

snow peak fuel cans are sometimes hard to chase down once you get so far from cities of any significance, but if you get into a town with more than a couple sporting goods stores, you're highly likely to chase down cans. you CAN get the fuel in the heartland, it just takes a bit of riding to hit a town big enough to have the fuel in town.

but with that said, you can also make use of the US postal service to cache goods, by sending things to yourself in a particular spot on your route, care of the postmaster general in that area. you might want to look into the procedures for this, to make sure that you and the package are headed for the same place.

if your budget permits, you might even be able to set up a bounce box using the same technique.


and hey, if nothing else, you could always network via the forum, and plan out a set of rendevous, having members hold on to cache boxes for you. if you did that, you would even have a network of contacts who might be able to notify authorities if you're overdue, to create redundant safety. last, you might have a safe haven in the event the weather goes to hell and sheltering on your own just won't work.

just some thoughts.

Last edited by dsuursoo : 09-30-2009 at 10:39 PM.
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  #8  
Old 10-01-2009, 03:15 PM
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lifeontwowheels lifeontwowheels is offline
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Thanks. The trip I'm planning is still a few years away, so things might change re: fuel. I'm finishing my undergrad in the next year or two and would like to take a LONG break from work and school. Ideally I 'd like to head west to the coast, come down the pacific and then head east back.

Come Spring, I'll hit the road with the bike for some weekend trips and start hashing out gear and technique.
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  #9  
Old 10-01-2009, 04:44 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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smart. as we said in the military, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a good logistics plan.

i do admit, the idea of a cross country bike trip is kind of exciting. one of those things i'd play with the planning for.

looking forward to hearing about your trips.
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  #10  
Old 10-01-2009, 04:52 PM
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lifeontwowheels lifeontwowheels is offline
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I'm intrigued by the hobo stove, just don't how it would work in practice going through some of the fire risk areas during the summer.
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