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Retro Fire

Geezer Tom

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I am getting ready for a trip in mid-March. While going through and choosing gear specifically for this outing I came across some of my old stoves. 

When I started doing trips in the late sixties (probably means something else to some people) I chose campfires to cook. My food was more on the lines of fresh (baked potatoes, steaks, etc.


In 1970 I was in the Duck Lake area when I heard a motorboat and thought the wilderness should not have motorized devices. Hunting the noise down I came across a backpacker that was using a Primus stove. He was kind enough to give me a demonstration and I was hooked. There was one sporting goods store in our town and way in the back, past the baseball and football equipment, in the corner, occupying 4 shelves was the camping department. And there it was in all of its glory was a Primus stove. It was compact beauty and it became mine...after 10 or 12 mowed yards. I used this stove throughout the 70's and 80's. I painted the case bright orange because I was afraid I would leave it somewhere. Never did. It still works.


Rummaging around in bigger sporting good stores I ran across a Coleman stove that fit into a square-ish pot with all of my utensils, a pot grabber, towel, and more. I could pack food with everything else on overnighters. I have no idea where the pot is, the stove still works. In the late 90's it failed on a 2 week sierra trip. I cooked over wood fores for 2 days before I fixed the Coleman. I couldn't trust it anymore, however I fired it up when I recently ran across it and yes, I got a good flame.


That lead me to looking for a more reliable cooking method. In walks the MSR's Dragonfly. It caught my eye in an REI. It was a steamy hunk of sassy stove. It called my name and I answered. It was reliable, highly adjustable and (seemingly) fuel efficient. (Of course the number of meals cooked varies with your usage.) I Used the Dragonfly up until 3 years ago.


I am getting to the point where weight in my pack is my prime concern. I have altered my food to almost all freeze dried and instant with boiling water. Canister stoves are what my lightening of the pack came to. I boil water fast and re-constitute easily. This is an MSR Pocketrocket 2. I'm always trying to reduce my burden and this helps.


I have considered an alcohol stove but for some reason I am resisting. Once again, I probably have some internal quirk that makes me doubt that they are stoves. I know I'm wrong and won't admit to my stove bigotry. Til then, color me a happy backpacker.

This is a 'I've shown you mine, now...

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