Somewhere I have noted that I want to document the humor in hiking. This appears to be a good example…this is funny. Funny that it did not happen on 06 February 2017!
Last June I purchased a Dpower stove for the hike. Actually, I bought it as an inexpensive ($20) proof-of-concept stove; how does it work, how long does it take to heat water for dehydrated meals, is it stable, what fuel dies it burn, where said fuel available on/off the trail, etc. I tested it at home several times in the intervening months – principally to evaluate some basic hiking recipes. (Basic you ask? Yep, Ramen with Lipton soup added to avoid the MSG in the Ramen flavoring packet.) I took the stove to Pine Mountain Trail last weekend and was fortunate that it worked. Barely, since I had difficulty getting the gas value to open in the 40-degree temps. This morning I took the setup outside in 24-degree temps to see if butane would flow. Since no gas (or liquid) flowed there was nothing for the piezo to lite; thus; I “confirmed” that butane as a pure liquid (it boils at 31-degrees) was not a winter hiking option.
Satisfied with the confirmatory test, I took the stove and butane inside. After 4-hours of warming, I tried the pairing again. The stove didn’t work. Upon examination of the value, it was obvious why: the knurled knob had unscrewed (and would eventually detach completely) from the valve assembly (see picture). It looks like wood glue held it on for the several burns to date! While the valve can be opened with a pair of pliers – the weight of said pliers was not factored into my pack’s base-weight – already heavy at 20.23-pounds. (To that must be added the weight of consumables: food, water and fuel for an additional 13.88-pounds.)
Why use butane? I would get 2 more ounces of usable fuel from an 8-ounce can than I would from a similar can of isobutane (while losing 1-ounce because of the adapter for the butane canister). Now the entire setup (Dpower stove, adapter & fuel) is a NO-GO. Although, I may be able to use lock-tight on the knob – and then hope that fix lasts for the 5-month hike. Or, I could buy a more reliable stove and skip Butane altogether. That is probably a good idea…
Have begun the replacement search and the Pocket Rocket looks like a viable option. The similar, popular and cheaper (sic) Etekcity reportedly leaks fuel. Since the Pocket Rocket weighs half that of the Dpower + adapter, the added 2-ounces per can of butane that is possible with the Dpower becomes a wash.
On the subject of funny. I haven’t mentioned that I also tested the 20-degree quilt on the deck this morning in the aforementioned 24-degrees. I gave it an A+ considering I was warmer in it wearing just a fleece Zip-T, undershorts and cycling socks than I was back in the house with the Zip-T, socks and a pair of cycling pants (an unpopular term in my army days).