1. Going Lightweight with a Fuel Bottle and a Spork

    fuel bottle size comparison
    The new fuel bottle (in green) is about as tall as a beer can and holds 8.5 fluid oz.
    For my birthday my parents sent me the fuel bottle and a titanium spork I’ve been eyeing up at Campmor.com. Both items reduce the overall weight of my pack.

    Since getting my new pack and building a soda can stove, I’ve wanted a smaller fuel bottle to go along with the light-weight theme. The new fuel bottle holds 8.5 fluid oz and is more economical for 3-4 day hikes when compared to my MSR bottle which holds 20 fluid oz. This is especially true considering most of my hikes are less than four days and I generally cook only once a day.

    A spork was another way to shave away at my pack’s weight. Until now I’ve been using a fork/knife/spoon set (the kind where the knife and fork piggy-back using two hooks on the spoon). I always have a pocket knife on me, so replacing the 3-piece set with a spork lets me ditch the weight of two utensils. The spork will also keep me from having to dig for multiple utensils in my pack (a common headache when the fork and knife dettach from the spoon).

  2. Soda Can Stove

    The second stove is taller than the first
    The second stove is taller than the first

    About three weeks ago I made my first soda can stove using the instructions at YGringas.net. His instructions are thorough, so there’s no reason to rewrite them here.

    I first heard of the concept while doing a section hike on the AT (I believe just south of The Pinnacle). A thruhiker I ran into named Badger had just picked one up and explained to me that it could boil water. With my new pack on the way (I had just ordered it), I saw this as an opportunity to whittle away at the ounces I carry on overnight trips.

    The taller stove, just after the jets kicked in
    The taller stove, just after the jets kicked in

    I found that the first model I made did not quite boil water. The stove was filled with denatured alcohol and my cooking pot had about 1.5 cups of water and no lid. The jets seemed to be working ok, so the only adjustment made on the second stove was height – I made it about a quarter inch taller to hold more fuel. Filling the second stove to the top (up to the fill-hole) did the trick. After 1.5 – 2 minutes, the jets were going, by 7 minutes water was boiling, and the jets continued burning until about 9 minutes.

    This should take care of any oatmeal, tea, or ramen noodles I’ll be cooking in the woods. At some point I want to measure how many ounces of fuel it takes for a single run. With that I can get a good estimate on how much fuel I need per hike.