Saturday, January 25, 2014

Fire Hazard Warnings

I was a bit worried about the snow sections of the PCT, having no real snow experience except for the recent trip around the Mont Blanc. So I'm a little bit relieved so far, with the current snow levels so low it appears I won't have a hard time crossing the Sierras even when starting a bit early.

Sadly, this drought also causes severe fire warnings in California, as a recent PCTA blog post announced. It seems open fire cooking stoves will not be allowed in most places along the PCT. So there goes my plan to use the lightweight Caldera Keg System to cook my dinners.

The quest is on, to figure out what stove I'll buy/use on the trail.

On the left - Caldera Keg-F system with spare can. On the right - MSR Whisperlite stove with fuel bottle, wind screen and pot.
I took out my old MSR Whisperlite stove from the gear closet. I bought it back before I started hiking the AT. I didn't know what I was doing with it, and filled up my fuel bottle with kerosene. For the first 4 days on the trail, I cooked mainly in open flame burning over small kerosene puddles it created. When I got to Neals Gap, I went through the "Gear Shakedown", and got rid of loads of stuff I sent back home. I bought an alcohol cat stove which cooked my dinners along the trail, and I hadn't looked back on the Whisperlite since...

My complete Whisperlite kit. The pot is in a pretty bad shape.
Well, I did take it with me on several 2 day outings here in Israel, and learned how to use it properly with White Gas, to cook decent meals. I can make it work.

Today I weighed it, and it's around 322gr (11.35oz) for the stove itself, 335gr (11.81oz) for the pot and lid, and about 585gr(20.63oz) for a 3/4 full fuel bottle. That's crazy! I want my alcohol (stove) back!

I will probably replace the pot to some titanium <1L cup. I think will be enough for my daily meals. But that's more money on gear, and more logistics to get it to Israel.

I started looking at MSR/Primus/Jetboil sites for their lightest stove options. Some are really expensive, and some are not that light. MSR have the impressive but expensive Reactor Stove Systems ($190). It is a bit like JetBoil ($160) - an integrated system with a pot stand and pot. They also have the lighter and simpler MicroRocket ($60) and PocketRocket ($40) (be careful - this is also the name of a famous sex toy).

I just got a tip to go to Sierra Trading Post, after liking their Facebook page. That gets you an extra %25 off, until Jan 28th. They are offering the Snow Peak Litemax Titanium Stove for $35, with this sale. Seems like a good deal. Shipping to Israel will double the price, but maybe I can have it shipped to somebody in the US to keep it for me until I get there.

UPDATE:
I have ordered the above mentioned Litemax, and also an Evernew .75 L Ultralight Pasta Pot from TrailDesigns.com. They will wait for me at the Trail Angels' house in San Diego. Can't wait to get there and open all my presents...