The ability to cook and melt snow when the temperatures are below freezing narrows down the choices for stove selection. There are a lot of misunderstandings, mainly due to marketing initiatives undertaken by the major stove producers who seem to take center stage at places like MEC. For example, you can cook with alchohol fuel in freezing temp's. You cannot reliably cook with any stove system that uses upright butane cannisters much below -8C, no matter what Jetboil wants you to believe about Isobutane mixes. For more information on principles of winter fuel mixes and stove use, see our Winter Stove FAQ.
4 Season Titanium Gas Stove with double preheat tubes and integrated wind screen:
Chances are, you have never heard of Fire Maple. But if you use cookware or cannister gas stoves purchased from MEC, REI, etc., you are probably using a Fire Maple product. That's because Fire Maple manufactures OEM stoves and cookware, and private labels for most of the brand names (except MSR) you see on the shelves at the top equipment specialist outlets. Fire Maple and Kovea are presently the world leaders for investing R&D into their stove designs.
If you use a cannister gas stove in winter first you need to remote the cannister so that you don't blow it up when enclosing the burner within a windscreen (click here to see what I mean), then you must use one that can invert the cannisters, and preheat the delivery route. If you get a cheap model, and it only has one preheat tube, it will start to splutter if it's winter, therefore a single tube stove should be thought of as a 'three season stove'.
This unit has dual preheat tubes, weighs 200g, and burns about 10gms of fuel every 4 minutes while producing 2450 Watts of heat on the highest setting.
- Unfolded size: 152*110mm
- Folded size: 96.6*70.2mm
Although this has a small diameter footprint on deployment, note the tri pedestal dichotomous pot base platform for maximum positional and wind stability.
The FMS-100T lasted for 2 1/2 years of near constant use, equating to perhaps a decade in TMT (‘Trail Magazine Time’). Under different circumstances I could probably get hold of a new hose and valve. The big question - would I buy another one? Absolutely - a cracking little cooker that served me well. Nothing lasts forever.
And then later:
The good reviews the Primus Express Spider stove gets have me scratching my head. It’s inferior to the FMS-100T in just about every way: much less stable (note big wodge of metal sticking out the side), poor flame spread, performance drops off rapidly as the cannister empties (even when you invert it, a tricky operation due to the short, stiff hose and vertical valve placement).
After using the Primus for 3-4 weeks I’ve lost patience and chucked it in storage, replacing it with an old FMS-117T I still have. This latter stove is a lot more stable and, despite not being able to invert the cannister, flows better when the gas is cold or nearly exhausted. No contest for me; Fire Maple’s remote stoves are far better than the Primus effort, which I intend Fleabaying as soon as possible.
See tracksterman's video review here.
Video: Winter camping in environments where the temperature may fall below 10C requires the use of 'winter mix' butane fuel, and a stove that can work with inverted canisters (stove features a preheat tube that vaporizes liquid fuel just before it reaches the burner):
00:05 Lighting Stove (Canister upright position)
00:20 Start to fast forward @350% while preheating the tubes
00:35 End fast forward and invert canister after about 1min of preheat time. Listen carefully to audio for 'stutter'.
00:55 Start fast forward while waiting for boil
01:05 End fast forward to assess 'stuttering' effect of fuel flow as a consequence of inverting canister
01:15 Closeup of burner and increased audio of flame to assess 'stutter' effect of fuel flow.
01:35 Elevating butane canister to assess effect on fuel flow.
01:45 Elevation seems to lessen 'stutter' (assessed subjectively through the audio).
Canister inversion often results in a fuel feed 'stutter'. Here is the explanation for this phenomenon given to us by Roger Caffin (PhD)(Editor, Backpacking Light):
"Sputtering is due to drops of fuel reaching the jet. It's well known,
just like with a white gas stove. This means the preheat tube (brass) is not getting hot enough: not enough priming. A common cause is a rush to run the stove at full power.
- Start the stove at LOW power with the canister upright.
- Run it for 10 to 20 seconds still at LOW power. This will heat the brass tube.
- Then gently invert the canister and run the stove at LOW power for another 20 seconds.
- Then slowly increase the power, but back off if there is
White gas stoves need priming. So do inverted canister stoves."
We found that during this test, the fuel flow valve was never turned above 25% of maximum. However, some stuttering of the fuel flow is still present. This did not seem to adversely effect the performance of the stove. Users of inverted canister stoves may have to adjust their operational procedures and their expectations for stove behavior while inverting the canister during winter use. It is also recommended that in field use environments
-1: a large pot that overhangs the stove is preferable to a narrow tall cup or pot,
- 2: a windscreen be used to completely corral the stove and pot (but not the canister).