Here is my FR for the Brunton Vapor AF Stove.
April 1, 2008
During the past two months the Brunton Vapor AF stove was used on two overnight trips in the following locations:
San Jacinto State Park, California: The elevation at Round Valley was 9,100 ft (2,774 m). There was snow on the ground with clear skies and no precipitation. The temperatures were 33 F (1 C) for a high and low of 19 F (-7 C). Base snow: over 3 ft (0.91 m).
San Jacinto State Park, California: I went back to this area for another night of backpacking. There was still snow on the ground. We camped at 9,100 ft (2,774 m) and the temperatures were a mild 50 F (10 C) for a high and 25 F (-4 C) for the low. Base snow: 2 ft (0.61 m) and less.
Performance in the Field
During the past two months the stove has been used on two one night backpacking trips. On each trip it was used to make breakfast, hot apple cider after setting up camp, and for dinners. The first trip entailed using the fuel bottle with white gas for fuel and on the second trip I used a canister. I found that using the stove is pretty straightforward. I just had to make sure the control valve stem on the burner cup was moved to the correct setting for the fuel I wanted to burn. I had no issues with keeping the stove lit during the testing period. There was no need for me to melt snow on either trip because there was water near by.
During the first backpacking trip the Vapor AF Stove was used with white gas fuel. The flame spreader cup was not attached and was inside the stuff sack. This was because the wire keeper became dislodged and was no longer holding it in place. After fiddling with it I got it back into place. Placing the flame spreader cup correctly can be tedious and I was not successful with gloves on.
I pumped the liquid fuel bottle about 20 times to pressurize it for cooking. I screwed the bottle's canister-type valve and placed it with the word "on" facing up. I turned on the fuel control valve and turned the small control valve closest to the stove on for a few seconds. After turning off the small control valve I lit the stove with a match at the base of the orange burner cup. After about a minute the flame began to get small and I opened up the small control valve. For the meals on this trip I used my Snow Peak Cookset and boiled 16 oz (0.47 L) of water each time. When I was finished boiling the water I flipped the fuel bottle to the off position. I was surprised to see how long it took the fuel to burn out of the line. I waited two minutes before turning the stove on high flame to remove all the fuel.
On the second trip I set the stove up to use the canister fuel method. I used a Snow Peak brand butane/propane mixed fuel canister. I could not find any of the Primus canisters in my local retail stores. I am also new to the California area so I may have looked in the wrong places. But, my husband did tell me he has two of the large size. The legs were easily placed into the proper position and snapped into place. Again I had to fiddle with the flame spreader cup and fasten it to the wire keeper. This seems to become dislodged when stored in the stuff sack. So after finally attaching the flame spreader cup I was ready to attach the canister. I held the burner cup and moved the control valve stem to the setting marked "G" for gas. I attached the canister to the end of the fuel hose by screwing the canister valve to the top of the canister. I turned the canister valve on and ignited the stove at the top with a match. On this trip I cooked two meals inside
the vestibule of the tent so no windscreen was necessary. I used a titanium pot to cook the meals and boil water in. I was able to simmer my food by turning the control valve. I was very surprised how the flame was steady and not spurting. Plus I was able to get the flame exactly the way I needed it to simmer my food.
When packing the stove up for storage I found that it is best to wait until the stove is completely cool. The bottoms of the legs/pot supports are cool to the touch immediately after cooking. However, the orange burner cup and the upper half of the leg/pot supports are extremely hot and does take some time to cool. I picked up the stove and started to collapse the legs while the burner cup was still hot. Ouch!
I would like to see an igniter included with this stove. From past experiences of using my small canister stove with a piezo igniter I found that sometimes the igniter does not work. I think that would be a nice addition to this stove. I determined this after using several matches to light the stove. Some of my matches were faulty and sometimes I was too slow trying to ignite the stove.
I really like the canister attachment and the fact that the same attachment works for the fuel bottle. The fuel bottle "on" and "off" feature is great for getting all the fuel out of the line.
I performed a boil timed test at 101 ft (31 m) above sea level using the canister, white gas fuel and a 1.5 L (51 fl oz) titanium pot. The amount of water tested was 1 L (34 fl oz). The first test was with the canister fuel, at 3:25 bubbles were released and at 7:37 the water was at its maximum boil. The second test was with white gas, at 3:08 bubbles were released and at 6:47 the maximum boiling point was reached. I also tested how long it would take the fuel to empty out of the fuel line with the bottle in the off position with a high flame. The line was emptied at 1:51.
Brunton customer service is great. I had an issue with the fuel bottle and the pump that would not be generally covered under a warranty. But, they covered it and sent me out a new one very quickly.
Things That Rock:
Versatility to use several types of fuel including canisters
Not very heavy for a beefy stove
Boils water quickly
Things That Are So So:
The flame spreader cup slides out of place when stored
There is no igniter
This concludes my field report. My long term report will be posted in early June. Please check back then to see how the Vapor AF is performing in the field. Thank you Brunton and backpackgeartest.org for providing me with the opportunity to test the Vapor AF all-fuel stove.
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