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Adventure Stu

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My girlfriend and I spent a month on the PCT this past summer when fire bans were in effect through most of California so we could not use alcohol, esbit or wood stoves. She used the Jetboil Ti Sol (titanium) which was extremely efficient and worked very well in windy conditions. I would say the 230g canister lasted her two weeks with one hot meal per day, sometimes two, plus coffee for two. The downsides are the weight and inability to simmer effectively. When she tried to simmer, she would usually end up with some food burned to the bottom of the cup. Jetboils are great for simply rehydrating and boiling water, not so much for the gourmet backcountry saucier.

I used the Snowpeak LiteMax titanium canister top stove with a MSR titan titanium bowl and aluminum foil windscreen. This was slightly less efficient than the Jetboil and more prone to heat loss from wind since I had to deal with the finicky homemade windscreen. On the other hand, it was very light, compact, and I was able to simmer more effectively without burning food so long as I was careful to stir often. Great for rehydrating and boiling, while still allowing the flexibility of simmering.

You objectives while backpacking should influence stove choice, just like any other piece of equipment. If you are hiking fast and far while eating to replenish and survive, you may want to sacrifice convenience in favor of very light weight (i.e. alcohol, esbit, or wood stove). If you hike a decent amount yet still want to enjoy meals and have coffee, and plan to cook often, it might suit you to choose something more convenient at the expense of a few extra ounces (i.e. canister stoves).

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