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32252Re: Long Term Report: Brasslite Solo Alcohol Stove

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  • Aaron
    Jun 7, 2003
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      After the reading the section on making a funnel a I do have a
      comment. The intent is not to duplicate a nozzle in foil that
      attaches to the bottle (as shown in picture), but rather an open
      type that allows the alcohol to drain into the stove, like putting
      gas into a lawn mower without a gas can. The fuel would be batch-
      poured from the bottle reservoir or metered out into the regular
      cap, then transferred to the funnel. Each batch is allowed to drain
      in before the next is poured. It takes a few minutes, but I've done
      it without spilling any alcohol at all.
      -Aaron

      --- In BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com, Todd
      <todds_hiking_guide@y...> wrote:
      > See below for my long term report for the Brasslite Solo. I have
      also
      > uploaded the report with photos to:
      > http://www.backpackgeartest.org/reviews/Cook%
      20Gear/Stoves/Brasslite%20Solo%20Alcohol%20Stove/Todd%20Martin/Long%
      20Term%20Report/
      > or:
      > http://tinyurl.com/dq82
      >
      > Comments or suggestions are welcome.
      >
      > -Todd
      >
      > Long Term Report: Brasslite Solo Alcohol Stove
      > Personal Biographical Info:
      > Name: Todd Martin
      > Age: 39
      > Gender: Male
      > Height: 5'11" (1.8 m)
      > Weight: 150 lbs. (68 kg)
      > Email Address: todds_hiking_guide (at) yahoo (dot) com
      > Location: Phoenix, AZ USA
      > Date: June 8, 2003
      >
      > Background:
      > Thru-hiked the AT in 1994. Moved to Pacific Northwest 1996 and
      enjoyed
      > day hiking excursions in the Columbia River Gorge area, followed by
      > some backpacking along the Pacific Crest Trail. Moved to the desert
      > southwest in 1997 and have been actively day hiking most weekends.
      > Generally take 2 week-long trips to the Grand Canyon each year.
      > Backpacking philosophy has been rapidly moving towards ultra-light
      > gear. My current base pack weight (not including food or water)
      > measures about 10 lbs (4.5 kg). Have also been participating in
      > canyoneering since 1997. Web master for Todd's Desert Hiking Guide
      at:
      > http://www.toddshikingguide.com/
      >
      > Product Information:
      >
      > Manufacturer: Brasslite (http://www.brasslite.com)
      > Year of Manufacture: 2002
      > Listed Weight: Stove w/simmer ring = 1.5 oz (43 g), Fuel Bottle =
      2.5
      > oz (74 g)
      > Weight as Delivered: Stove w/simmer ring = 1.6 oz (45 g), Fuel
      Bottle =
      > 2.7 oz (77 g)
      > Style of Product: Alcohol Stove
      >
      > Field and Test Information:
      >
      > Location(s) of test: I have now had the opportunity to bring the
      > Brasslite stove on quite a few multiday backpacking trips ranging
      from
      > central Arizona mountains, to the Grand Canyon to the red rock
      country
      > of southern Utah. I have used the stove for a total of 28 days
      during
      > the course of this test period.
      > Terrain: Rocky desert, desert grassland and pine forests from 1000
      to
      > 7200 feet (300 - 2200 meters) in elevation
      > Weather Conditions: Clear and warm, Daytime Temps: 70-90 F (21-32
      C),
      > Nighttime Temps: 40-60 F (5-16 C)
      >
      > This report is intended to be read in conjunction with my Initial
      and
      > Field Reports.
      >
      > Description of Experience and Comments on Product Performance:
      > During the course of this test period, the Brasslite stove has
      shown no
      > degradation of performance, and other than a dark patina on the
      stove
      > top and simmer ring caused by repeated heating, it's as good as
      new. As
      > per the manufacturers suggestion, I have taken to storing the
      Brasslite
      > in my cook pot, along with a few other small items such as food
      hanger
      > w/cord, pot stand (more on this later) and pot scrubber, when
      hiking.
      > The pot protects the stove from being squashed by any heavy items
      you
      > might be carrying, and the other items in the pot keep the stove
      from
      > rattling around during transport. The fuel bottle and nozzle show
      no
      > evidence of wear, though in an embarrassing incident, probably best
      > left unsaid, I did melt one of the white plastic caps slightly
      (though
      > it still remains functional). Let's just say that it's best to
      remove
      > the fuel bottle and parts from the vicinity of the stove when in
      use,
      > especially during the daytime when the flame from the alcohol
      stove is,
      > for all practical purposes, invisible.
      >
      > While on the trail, my meals tend towards the simple, light
      weight, one
      > pot variety, which typically demand that the stove be able to bring
      > water to a boil and keep the meal at a simmer without burning it.
      With
      > that said, my meals on these excursions ranged from soups, pastas
      and
      > freeze dried food that only require boiling water, to Lipton
      Noodles
      > and Sauce, spaghetti w/tomato sauce and home made dehydrated foods
      > which require boiling and some simmering. As outlined in my field
      > report, the Brasslite provides a considerable amount of heat for
      its
      > small size and is certainly capable of cooking meals quickly and
      > efficiently in the field. I found the simmer ring effective in
      reducing
      > the heat output of the stove, allowing you to simmer. The simmer
      is on
      > the warm side, but this just means you have to stir your meal
      somewhat
      > more frequently as you cook. In addition, I was impressed by the
      fuel
      > efficiency of the stove, which proved to be able to boil water
      faster
      > and with less fuel consumption than my home made soda can alcohol
      > stove. Taken along with the graded fuel reservoir, which allows for
      > precise measurement of fuel (less waste from dispensing more fuel
      than
      > needed, since once the stove is filled you can't put the flame out
      to
      > recover unspent fuel), this translates into less fuel needed for a
      trip
      > and hence less pack weight.
      >
      > Fueling:
      > The stove is filled using the specially designed fuel bottle and
      > filling nozzle. The nozzle is important since the hole for filling
      the
      > stove is quite tiny, and would be difficult to fill otherwise.
      Because
      > the fuel nozzle must be removed from the fuel bottle and replaced
      with
      > a hard cap during transport, I had concerns about losing the
      nozzle and
      > being unable to fill the stove in the field. This concern was
      confirmed
      > when I almost left the house for a 3 day backpacking trip without
      the
      > nozzle (fortunately my wife was diligent enough to identify this
      > omission before we left). The manufacturer addresses this problem
      by
      > suggesting the use of aluminum foil and duct tape to fashion a make
      > shift funnel in the field. In order to determine if this were
      feasible,
      > I decided to attempt this project in the relative safety of my
      backyard
      > using normal household aluminum foil. My initial experience in
      trying
      > to construct a funnel, is that a single layer of foil is very
      difficult
      > to work with. It is too delicate and deforms too easily without
      holding
      > the funnel shape. I found that doubled aluminum foil was sturdy
      enough
      > for the task. I used a doubled triangular piece of foil
      approximately 3
      > inches to a side (7.6 cm), folded it into conical shape, then used
      my
      > fingers to crimp it around the base of the fuel bottle opening.
      With
      > this make shift nozzle in hand, I then attempted to fill the stove.
      > While functional, this means of filling the stove is far from
      > efficient. Without the air tight seal around the screw top of the
      > bottle that the nozzle provides, fuel just pours out of the make
      shift
      > funnel when the bottle is inverted. In addition, the tip of the
      > aluminum funnel can't be inserted securely into the fill hole of
      the
      > stove without crimping. The technique that seemed to work best was
      to
      > invert the bottle then aim and dribble the fuel into the fill hole.
      > This resulted in about a quarter to half the fuel winding up on the
      > ground. Not ideal, but given the alternative of a cold meal, it's
      good
      > to know that all is not lost and you'll be able to prepare a hot
      meal,
      > even if you happen to have misplaced the fuel nozzle.
      >
      > Stability:
      > As mentioned in my field report, I have found the stability of the
      > Brasslite Solo lacking, and in fact, the manufacturer has
      discontinued
      > this particular model for precisely that reason (the newer models
      > feature a design that is shorter and broader, providing a more
      secure
      > platform for your pot). To remedy this problem, I constructed a pot
      > stand out of hardware cloth (which is not a cloth at all, but a
      steel
      > wire mesh) for use in conjunction with the stove. I simply cut a
      > rectangular piece of the wire, which when bent into a semicircle,
      > measures the same height as the Brasslite Solo (total height 2.5
      inches
      > or 6.4 cm), but provides a much broader base upon which to rest my
      pot.
      > The wire pot stand is approximately 5 inches (12.7 cm) in diameter,
      > compared with the 2 inch (5.08 cm) diameter of the stove pot stand.
      > This arrangement has proven to provide a very secure base for
      cooking.
      > When not in use, the pot stand is stored in the pot along with the
      > stove and adds an additional 0.7 oz (20 grams) to your pack weight.
      >
      > Likes and Dislikes:
      > Likes:
      > I like alcohol stoves a lot. I have been using an alcohol stove
      > exclusively for over a year for all backpacking trips and have
      every
      > intention to continue using them in the future. They offer the best
      > performance to weight ratio of any stove I've seen, and are cost
      > effective to operate.
      > Light weight: The Brasslite alcohol stove is very light weight
      (less
      > than 3 oz or 85 grams) and do a great job cooking your meal.
      > Silent: Cooking doesn't disturb the natural silence which you've
      come
      > to the wilderness to enjoy.
      > Efficient: The Brasslite produces a lot of heat without consuming
      a lot
      > of fuel. This means less fuel weight that you have to carry,
      > particularly on longer backpacking trips.
      > Simple: Poke a pin through the jet holes once every so often and
      your
      > maintenance duties are complete. There are no complicated parts,
      pumps
      > or 'O' rings that need maintenance or can fail in the field.
      >
      > Dislikes:
      > Stability: Discussed above. The manufacturer may have resolved this
      > issue with subsequent models.
      > Small Parts: The enclosed fuel chamber design requires the use of a
      > fill hole with thumb screw and special fuel nozzle. These are small
      > items that can be misplaced and lost in the field. The
      manufacturer now
      > offers an open top stove design for those that prefer not to deal
      with
      > this issue.
      >
      > Final Thoughts:
      > Based on my experiences over the past 6 months, I am very pleased
      with
      > the overall performance of the Brasslite Solo. I have worked
      around the
      > stability issue through the use of a home made pot stand, and have
      > dealt with the issue of the small parts by developing a routine
      around
      > filling and fueling (fuel nozzle is stored in stove bag when not in
      > use, thumb screw is placed on pot lid when fueling). Though the
      test
      > period is at an end, I plan to continue to use the Brasslite as my
      > stove of choice for future backpacking trips.
      >
      > Since this test began 6 months ago, Brasslite has discontinued the
      Solo
      > model of stove (though it is available on a special order basis)
      and
      > added several new models and designs to their product line. This
      > willingness to innovate and refine their design is refreshing to
      see
      > and can only result in a better product for the consumer. They have
      > outsourced some of the production and, as of this writing, it
      appears
      > that this has resulted in a cost reduction for some models. If
      you're
      > in the market for a light weight stove, this company is certainly
      > worthy of a look.
      >
      > I'd like to thank Backpack Gear Test & Brasslite for allowing me to
      > participate in this test.
      >
      >
      >
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