Do you take a second stove . . .

-- Last Updated: Aug-17-13 11:40 AM EST --

Or water filter or other piece of essential gear when you are going alone on a long tough paddling trip? Redundancy versus minimalism, that is the question. For survival.

I first thought about this in July on the Bowron Lakes circuit when we had paddled all day in rain and the nighttime temperatue dropped to 40 F. (3 days down, 7 to go.) I was lying in my sleeping bag thinking that if the new Jetboil stove failed, we'd be screwed. Cooking on wood would have been terrifically difficult in the rain forest. Before we'd left on our trip I had thought about taking a second stove but just couldn't decide.

Knowing what I know now, I'd take a small simple alcohol stove for backup. How about you trippers in remote places? Do you practice redundancy for safety?
G in NC

two stoves
I usually take two stoves because the ones I have are light and compact anyway and it’s nice to be able to have two burners, one for hot water and one for cooking food. I think that is also a hangover from having done a lot of winter camping in my younger years – always needed a stove dedicated to melting snow.

one stove, with tools
my old msr multifuel came with a wrench tool, and an extra jet nozzle, and nozzle tool. I became adept at cleaning and maintaining it on the go. The big drawback of the stove was that it didn’t simmer, only had one adjustment, on or off, due to its simple cable design. That stove was super reliable and even worked well at altitude with regular unleaded gas.

2 or more
Since I dont trip alone we will have at least 2 stoves and 2 water filterss. Do you mean alone on a trip? I guess I would take some kind of backup. One of those really tiny stoves as a backup and maybe chemical water treatment for backup.

Yes, i mean alone
We were one canoe with a weight limit for what we could carry in the canoe on a cart on the portage paths. I realize that a group could have a bunch of stoves and water filters. That wasn’t our situation. I had forgotten the chemical water treatment tablets I meant to take as backup. So that was on my mind too.

I did have a stove failure once and learned to bring a multitool with pliers on it. Most of my food can be eaten uncooked in an emergency and I always bring extra noncook food.

We don’t , but we bring enough food
that doesn’t have to be heated if necessary.

jack L

When backpacking

– Last Updated: Aug-18-13 10:53 PM EST –

I take only a simple alcohol stove. Its either the Stanley stove or the tuna can stove. When I finally do my long distance kayak trip I will take the Stanley stove.

Correction: Simon stove is correct, not Stanley stove.

If you develop the skills you can
trip without a stove quite easily and provides a great sense of self sufficiency and simplicity. There is always wood to be found, even in the arctic above tree line and even in a rain forest you can work up dry wood with some effort.

Our WindPro is old and keeps crapping out, in spite of being returned twice to MSR. So we also carry a SuperFly.

Twice…once during a two week Yukon River trip and the recent 17 day Superior trip we needed that backup. Its nice to say that with firemaking skills you don’t need a stove but its nice to get warm liquids in you while you search the understory for wood after its been raining all month…and its been under 50 degrees for a week.

Yes, KM and RPG
I agree you CAN work up dry wood but that it’s difficult to do it several times a day (coffee for breakfast, ramen for lunch, freeze-dried for dinner). In our case, the provincial park says do not pick up driftwood. They say to only make your fires with wood they have cut and piled in woodlots. Well, on Isaac Lake, all 3 woodlots were completely empty. Can you guess what we did to make a fire one night? Right! Dried socks and bandannas and cooked rice and beans over a fire made with wood we gleaned here and there on the shore.

Anyhow, I watched the boy scout troop leader start a fire on Sandy Lake with dead spruce twigs and was impressed. I will work on my fire-in-the-rain skills. But will also take a second stove if on another long, cold, wet trip. Wll look up Stanley alcohol stove. My attempt at a tuna can stove did not work real well.

rarely do provincial park camping. I think they are preventing the spread of emerald ash borer disease. Not so much of an issue where I usually trip (boreal forest) of Northern Ontario.

Any idea

– Last Updated: Aug-18-13 10:53 PM EST –

on why your tuna can stove didn't work well? My current one doesn't work as well as the previous one but I finally realized I had used a slightly bigger drill bit to make the wholes with. Probably will make another one in a few weeks. The Simon stove has very small holes with a double walled construction.

Are you alone or with others?
If with my husband, we each carried a stove even though we planned to use only one.

If alone, I took a set of Esbit fire-starter cubes plus tea candles as the aids to making a backup “stove” out of gathered wood, even damp wood. I did this one time, not for cooking but for heat.

If multiple
If several people offer to bring additional stoves, we select the one that uses the same fuel. That way, if the one of them fails, you still have fuel for the other.

Yes, in the parks
probably good to have a stove or two. Don’t get me wrong, in my old age I always have two stove along. On canoe trips we even carry a big two burner Coleman. But I do think it is a good experience to go on a few trips with no stove. Food for thought.

My sincerest apologies
The stove I use is a Simon stove not a Stanley stove. No idea how I messed up the name. Sorry for the misinformation.

It kept going out
I wondered if I needed to let it burn for awhile before putting a pot on it. If I set a pot on it, the fire went out. Some issue getting enough air?

Maybe it shouldn’t have a windscreen close to the stove?

I love Coleman 2- burner stoves
I have taken the 2-burner on river trips with no portages. And car camping. All the comforts of home when there’s no portaging!

Anyway, I’m checking out the Simon alcohol stove.

An ex-Army friend takes an Esbit stove in his kayak to make a hot beverage at lunch stops. But we’re in the South!


Not just parks
Its a good idea to research beforehand if you will be able to find wood suitable for a twig stove.

Camping on the Yukon River on sandbars yield little wood smaller than huge dead snags. Alders on the Missinaibi are terrible fuel.

Sometimes there is no wood. We are all pretty used to paddling where there are dead trees and tree limbs, but that’s not always the case.

I do have a Littlbug stove that burns wood or alcohol and should really really use it, so you are right there.