Camp Stove Fuel Consumption

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by fire_poi, Jul 23, 2015.

  1. fire_poi

    fire_poi New Member

    Jul 8, 2015
    Just wondering what other people plan for fuel use on their trips. We will be doing a trip shortly for 7 days. We will be a group of 4 people. The plan is to have 2 stoves going for some meals (generally dinners). As we are kayaking we plan to have a few meals that probably need a bit more cooking. Also there is the possibility of breakfasts that need more cooking as well (pancakes etc...). I don't mind packing some extra fuel along for the trip. But I also don't want to take along well more then I might need. Stoves will be a whisperlite and a dragonfly.
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

    May 31, 2005
    Astoria, Oregon, USA
    So much depends on what you are cooking: boiling water only for freeze dried meals and instant cereal/beverages versus frying fish and simmering pasta and making pancakes or french toast, for extremes. And, cool weather increases fuel usage both because of the increased heat loss during cooking and for the increased hot water for beverages.

    These use figures may give you a start, however: two of us, for a week, typically pack two liters of white gas, using a Coleman single burner dual fuel stove (model 442). No freeze dried meals.

    Bkfst is a liter of coffee or hot chocolate, hot oatmeal, dried fruit, with one or two luxury breakfasts packed consisting of pancakes or muffins or stir fried spuds.

    Lunch, no fuel used.

    Dinners we splurge on fuel, with stir fried vegetables most nights, enhanced with canned meats or fresh caught fish, cous cous or rice for carbohydrate, with instant potatoes one or two nights. Warm cooked pudding and a hot beverage add to the fuel toll, as do raw potatoes, boiled fully for dinner, or partially for use at breakfast stir fried.

    This works out to about 0.3 L per night, and we have never run out, typically returning with 0.5 L or more, depending on whether we catch and fry fish. Our 442 is better at simmering than your stoves, and has less heat output on high, so your stoves may consume more fuel. Avoid maximum heat output, using a flame which puts most of the heat on the pan or pot. Full output throws a lot of heat outside the cooking vessel.

    Edit: another fuel waster is pasta which is boiled in water not incorporated into the meal, hence our use of rice, cous cous, and instant potatoes. Raw spuds, yup, the boiled water is tossed, a concession to the taste of fresh potatoes, so we might have just two meals employing boiled potatoes.
  3. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

    Mar 8, 2005
    "Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
    We just did 17 days with two of us using a single MSR Dragonfly. This trip was rather leisurely; we only moved camp a handful of times, which meant we had more time for leisurely breakfasts, warm lunches and gourmet dinners - so we ended up using more fuel than we usually do. Breakfasts (for two) ranged from 5 packs of quick oats to pancakes or mashed potatoes with seasoning. We did enjoy more hot lunches than cold; usually a pasta or rice dish. Dinners were commonly also pasta or rice-based. We packed a full 975mL 'spare' bottle of fuel, plus a full (to the recommended line, to allow for pressurized air inside) 650mL 'working' fuel bottle. We came home with the 975 bottle empty, and the 650mL bottle was about 1/2 full. So, we used about 1.3 litres in total. The Dragonfly is probably the most fuel-efficient stove I've ever used, but I'm not sure how the Whisperlite and other models compare. We also keep the stove in very good operating condition and are very careful to avoid leaks etc.; I'm sure those considerations must help increase our overall efficiency.

    By comparison, I've done a 19 day solo trip before, cooking usually only dinners (rice or pasta), on a single 650mL bottle with fuel to spare - using the same Dragonfly stove (I've had it for quite a while!). It can be very miserly when required!
  4. Bluefoot

    Bluefoot Paddler

    Sep 20, 2011
    Fuel Consumptions - Our Experience

    Kayaking or backpacking we use about 100ml/person/day of white gas in summer, a bit more in winter, so 1L will last ~10 days for 1 person. Four of you would need about .4L per day. This should give some excess for safety. This is based on using MSR WhisperLites with wind screens. We always take two stoves but usually only use one for most morning and evening meals. (Lunches are snacks.)

    Consider taking pot cosy's - these will allow you to save fuel and achieve a slow cook. If you haven't seen it - check out the book Freezer Bag Cooking.

    We always have a small wood burning stove with us as well, like a Kunzi Magic Flame, or if there is just two of us my UK Pocket Stove. That said, we have an open fire ban all over Vancouver Island so as back-up in this situation we would probably take a small canister stove (e.g. Kovea Spider, Optimus Crux) and a small canister. At most you might need it for one meal.

    Hope that helps. Safe paddling.
  5. designer

    designer Paddler

    Sep 17, 2012
    Bend OR USA
    You asked specifically about those two stoves - here is a variation ... you can buy a one burner propane (Colman Fuel - the green canisters) stove for about $20. The fuel canister runs about $3.00. This is much less expensive than "hiking" stoves. Those green canisters last a long time and in my experience, produce more heat than the MSR red variety.

    I just got back from an 8 day trip in the Broughtons and used, not completely, two 8 oz canisters. But I think one had already been used a bit.

    I used to use white gas, but then stopped adventures for a while and the cans just sat around - fuel gets old.

    For me, it's boiling about half a quart of water for coffee and to put on oatmeal in the morning. And about two cups of water at night - I use a cup for instant mash potatoes and a cup for tea or other warm drink. I have some topping in a pouch that goes over the potatoes and it warms up in the water that's heating for the mash potatoes and tea.

    That, plus Balance Bars for lunch is pretty sparse. Lately, I've been adding a bagel and whipped cream cheese. The contain of cream cheese seems to last, unrefrigerated (but out of hot sun) for the duration of the bagels (six to a package).