After a few years, I am getting back into backpacking (now that I'm retired) and need some current updates as to stoves. Previously I used a Primus stove (which is now long gone) and packed the fuel in in bottles. Now I see stove using propane are pretty popular. What is the current view of you folks out there as the best, lightest options for stove. Imagine a 10 day trip with no possible hope of resupply. And, specifically, what stove in the REI store do you recommend. I have my eye on the Soto Amicu Stove cookset.
That's a great idea about the ferro rod. I carry one but never thought about using it to light my stove. I'm doing a check of my gear this weekend so I'll try that when I test the stove.
I should point out that I have a butane lighter with me because I carry the 12 essentials - the 10 essentials + bourbon + a cigar (and, yes, I pack out the cigar ashes and the nub).
There's no spark wheel on my butane lighters, otherwise that's a great suggestion.
The one area in which I carry redundant items is lighting a fire. my mainstay is a Bic (recyclable), a filled waterproof match case, and a ferrorod/knife arrangement, plus some sort of fire starter/accelerant to be sure I can build a nice cooking/warming blaze. I was fairly experienced before i ever bought a stove (Primus 71L - my first ever purchase from REI).
You always want to be able to summon fire. After all, that ability is what brought us into the Stone Age and beyond....
While I certainly agree with always carrying a way to make fire... a ferrorod which works by randomly showering sparks over a fairly broad area is probably not the best idea for stove lighting in the tinder dry West.
They are good for the winter or cold rainy areas because unlike a BIC you can work a ferrorod with gloves on.
They are also in theory reliable, but having had a bad one I would caution buyer beware and possibly stick with well know brands.
Properly handled, a ferro rod and steel does not randomly shower sparks over a fairly broad area. I totally agree with you that one must be really careful with fire in the tinder dry West (and any other dry areas as well).
Case in point. I was hiking with my dog in the local mountains (CA) a few years ago. It was really hot and dry and I thought, "under no circumstances, would I light a fire right now." We ended our hike , and eventually and left the area unburnt. less than 48 hours later, target shooters ignited a 7,000 acre blaze that burned out our trail, all started by ricochet bullets.
Always clear the area around your stove of flammable materials (dry grass etc), whatever your fuel and method of ignition might be.
@DwightET As I've said, in the wilderness, there's a right way and a wrong way to do just about everything. On using a Ferrocium/mischemetal rod, people tend to get even this wrong!
First, it's not called "fire steel" it's not metal at all, it's made from a combination of 'rare earth' minerals. Also, you don't need a SHOWER of sparks! And you don't need to scrape a blade, or other piece of metal, up-and-down the rod vigorously!!
Using the BACK of your blade, NOT an edge, where there's a corner, and with the end of the rod about a half inch or less near your target, place your blade about a half inch from the end of the rod. As you apply pressure to the blade (using the thumb of your 'rod hand' as a lever), let the blade bend slightly.
Then, FLICK the spark/s onto/into your tinder (or gas stove). That's all it takes! Your hands and fingers should barely move at all.
Using a rod like this, is like a tube of Chapstick, you'll probably lose it before you use it up! I bought a 6-inch rod close to 10 years ago and I still have about 2.5 inches to go. But a Bic lighter is STILL the best way to light things.
If it's 10 day with no hope of resupply, would consider a bombproof stove that could be fixed if it's failed like the Whisperlite Universal. Otherwise any of the small butane canister stoves are great.
Nothing is bombproof, including the Whisperlite Universal, which is nontheless a very good stove, albeit rather heavy.