Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Three tiny backpacking stoves: Part 3 and conclusion

Finally, the last backpacking stove I want to talk about is the Jetboil Mighty Mo. This stove is also $49 and weighs the most of the three, 3.3 ounces. it has a similar design to the others and has the same kind of flame control. It also has the piezo lighter like the Giga Power, but has one feature that the other two don't have, a pressure regulator.

The pressure regulator helps with two problems that canister stoves have. The cold and altitude. When fuel canisters get cold it gets difficult for the isobutane (which is a propellent) to push the propane out of the canister. The same thing happens at altitudes above 8000 feet, the decrease in air pressure makes it harder to get fuel out of the canister and the stove can't light or offers an unusable flame. The pressure regulator maintains pressure in the canister making it easier to get fuel out. The short of it is, the stove works better in the cold and at higher altitudes. But this adds a bit of weight which is why this is the heaviest of the three. It also packs the biggest of the three, but honestly, by a couple of tenths of an inch.

For the third test, 72º water again, with a canister that read as 90% full. Lets see how it did:

2 minutes and 3 seconds. For all practical purposes it was the same as the pocket rocket. I started the timer a second late, and I think it was boiling more robustly a moment after I turned off the timer. I guess the next time I do this I will need a digital thermometer to really be exactly sure when it reaches 212º. The other part of this, is the pressure regulator. I need to do this test on a cold day to see if there is a difference, and we will do that this winter. But first I want to do one more test:

At the end of the test the canister read as 80% full. I wanted to do one more, with a full canister. I also used a 230 gram canister as well. Let's see if that makes a difference. 2 minutes and 3 seconds is the time to beat.

...and it was actually 2 minutes and 23 seconds.... slower. Maybe there is a variable I am missing. I actually decided to test the pocket rocket on the larger canister, and I came up with 2 minutes 6 seconds. Very consistent times.

But at the end of the day - a warm 70 degree day - both the pocket rocket and the Mighty Mo are great stoves. Lets check back in December to see how they do in the cold!

But wait, there is a bonus test! Just out of curiosity, because I had everything set up, I decided to test my very old Jetboil, and see how it did. The final number 2 minutes and 52 seconds. Pretty respectable time for a stove that is about ten years old and has a lot of miles on it. It is actually faster than the GigaPower stove.

Okay, a couple of things for clarity, I made sure the pot was cooled down between each test. I made sure the water temperature was the same before each test. To really do this correctly, I should have done each test with a brand new canister. The jetboil is using a different pot than the others so that effects the boiling times.

All of these stoves did a great job, and any of them would be a good choice. I was really hoping for something definitive. Maybe the cold will do that.

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