Safe non-canister/non-alcohol/non-wood burning stoves
Hey all,
Been thinking about a topic to post here at massdrop/ultralight/talk and decided it might be nice if we talked about some of the safe non canister, non heet/alcohol stoves, that are out there.
Obviously there is the good'ole option of just going no-cook, something I have done a good part of the last few years, but sometimes, even when going no-cook, it is just nice to have a way to heat up some hot chocolate or some hot coffee or hot tea every so often. Or, even to heat up a no-cook meal on a super cold morning or night.
The topic of safer cooking systems comes up every year, especially here on the West coast of the USA, just before thru-hiker season starts up. With all of the huge wild land fires that have resulted in some pretty major detours to have to be made around the traditional PCT route, California, and other Western States, (perhaps to be accurate here, it is typically individual agencies, and not the State(s) themselves) have put into place laws that prohibit stoves such as the cat can + heet style stoves. So, this has caused a lot of hikers to migrate back to canister stoves. They are great of course, and not all that heavier, especially with the likes of that BRT-3000 or the gold standard canister stove, the Snow Peak Litemax[1].
So taking a look at the ones I have used the most, that are non canister, and non-heet, stoves, I think probably the one at the top of such a list is, of course, esbit. This is a super safe cooking method. UL hikers can go with the standard tablets, and we sul/xul hikers tend to go with the 4g tablets, due to the smaller size cup/pots we carry, but regardless of which size tablets/pots, esbit, with the one or two negatives it has, is probably at the very top of the "safe" list, I feel.
Next up on the system I have been using, is one that I am not sure anybody else has given any real long term use with, is using Swissmar Fire Gel[2]. This is probably the safest liquid feel I have ever used for hiking. I have been using it for about six months, and have fallen in love with it. It negates the downsides of esbit, but is heavier, obviously, due to the fuel container (use the same ones from when I used heet for fuel). I first came across the use of Swissmar Fire Gel from Jon over at Flat Cat Gear[3] in a video he did[4]. One downside to using this Swissmar Fire Gel is that it does not work very well in most cat can style stoves, and not at all in some of the fancier heet stoves out there. Probably the best stove I have found for using it is the Flat Cat Gear "Multi-fuel stove"[5] which is actually designed for use with isopropyl alcohol.
Speaking of isopropyl has a fuel source, it too falls (I feel) into the "unsafe" category, along with heet, because it can so easily spread if you tip over the stove.
There are, of course, fuel sources such as candle stoves, but they present the same downsides as esbit, and are nowhere near as efficient and are larger in pack volume - but, they are super cheap to build and the fuel source is obviously crazy cheap, and just as safe as esbit, perhaps even a tiny fraction safer as they are easier to blow out.
Anyway, suppose the purpose of the /talk/ here at Massdrop is for us to discuss stuff, so, yeah, I would love to hear about other types of fuel sources (and related stoves) that are non-canister, non-alcoholic and non-wood burning, that you'all have used!
thumb_upDrop+Ultralight, Duncan, and 5 others

Jul 2, 2016
Flame control on the BRS, at least mine, is very good. And it does have a small, food scorching burner to begin with. Works fine with a small mug. And yes, FAST.
Jul 2, 2016
Yeah, I love that set up. Why change what works. I use the BRS with my SP450 mug for my light set up. Since you can get 16 boils out of a small 110 canister it would be great to see an even smaller canister on the market. Those wax stoves at least can travel in your carry on.
>>> I use the BRS with my SP450
Really? You do not get major flames over the side of the cup??
Honestly I have not even tried it yet. I just figured the flame pattern would be to wide. That said, omg, that little sucker must heat up the 400'ish ml of water in freakish fast time! Gonna have to go grab them and try (y)
>>> 16 boils out of a small 110 canister
Yeah. Average 21 with my JBSolTi, and what was it, ah yeah, 11 boils per canister, with the MSR WindBurner, and between 16 and 18 with the Snow Peak Litemax. I have not started keeping track of the BRS3k yet. Figured I would push a canister or two of fuel through it first.
>>> wax stoves
From a price perspective, hella cheap to burn, eh! But like esbit, probably going to have major build up on the pot (wax and soot?). No idea, never actually tried one. Fun to see what Jon is playing around with though, eh!
>>> modified Starlyte with the metal reducer
Is that the one with part of the middle/flame area covered? I think you showed me one of those at the GGG when Dan sent a bunch. Never did get one of those to try :(
>>> But remember that trip where you brought that thimble sized stove....
lol, yeah, what was that... ah yeah, the "Gram Weenie Mini", made by George Carr - formerly of End 2 End trail Supply, who now owns Loco Libre and is making quilts. That poor little thing was just... well...
Jul 1, 2016
With the wording in rules from some of the agencies involved in the rules and restrictions including the words, shut off valve, canisters are the safe easy bet for fire season. Outside of those times I am really enjoying my Caldera Cone setup with Zelph's (Dan Y) carbon felt filled, spill proof Starlyte stove. As far as canister stoves go, they've gotten so light, like the BRS-3000t. Best ten bucks I spent in a while. An ounce in it's sack. Unbelievable. Lightest canister stove 20 years ago was over 3oz.
Hey Ken, still rocking that Caldera+Starlyte eh! I keep hoping Dan would make a smaller version of it. Something that could be used for the likes of the EBY-265 (which has the TD Sidewinder made for it) or a SP 400. Yeah, I have been playing around with that BRS-3000 for about five weeks (late to that bandwagon) and gotta say, for just pure boiling water, wowzer does this thing rock. Burned a couple of in-pot meals with it though, the dang thing has such a small flame pattern that it is just torching the underside of the pots with hotspots. But for just boiling water, yeah, heck yeah, amazing and tiny little sucker! (almost posted about it, instead of this 'safe fuel' topic)
Jul 2, 2016
You could use the modified Starlyte with the metal reducer with your smaller pots. You could make smaller if you could find those tins in a smaller size, but pretty dinky already. But remember that trip where you brought that thimble sized stove....