Revised APPLICATION: Brunton Vapor AF All Fuel Expedition Stove - Tim C
- Tim Coughlin Application to test the Brunton Vapor AF All Fuel
I appreciate the opportunity to be considered to test the
Vapor AF All Fuel Expedition Stove.
Thank you BGT and Brunton for considering me.
I have read the Survival Guide (v. 1202), BackpackGearTest's By Laws
(v. 0609), along with all the appendices and agree to completely
comply with all requirements therein.
My tester contract has been filled out, signed and mailed to Shane.
He has acknowledged reception.
Name: Tim Coughlin
Height: 5'11" (1.8 m)
Weight: 190 lb (82 kg)
Email address: Tcoug7<at>yahoo<dot>com
City, State, Country: Western New York, United States
Application date: 9/30/2007
My Backpacking Background:
I have been an active backpacker for 30 years, with experience
hiking in many parts of the continental United States and Canada.
Most of my time is spent in the Northeast, especially the Adirondack
region of New York. I love 3-season backpacking!
At heart, I'm a lightweight backpacker. I'm
not a gram weenie per se, but I definitely look for the lightest that
will do the job. I simply don't require that much gear to make me
happy. My needs are basic, but I expect the stuff I carry to work
I also have a large family and they all love to
backpack and hike with me. Since many of my kids are so little, I have
to carry the lion's share of gear when we go out. For example, for a
simple dayhike I may have my baby on my back and carry some snacks or
a lunch and my pack can weigh 30 lb! Truly this has turned us into a
family of lightweight backpackers; it's the only way we can do it!
My Motivation for Testing the Brunton Vapor AF All Fuel Expedition
To be honest, I've never tested a stove before! Given that I've been
around here for awhile now, I find that kind of amazing. A stove is
a very technical piece of equipment; the kicker is I consider myself
a pretty technical guy. I love testing more sophisticated gear, like
tents and backpacks. One of my favorite tests of all time was a
water purification system utilizing stabilized chlorine dioxide. At
the onset, this test appeared to be a piece of cake; yet, by the time
I finished the report, it required more research than any other test
I've partaken in. Although I've never formally tested a stove
before, I've used one for years. I love a hot meal. I usually have
at least one/day when I'm 3-season trekking and more when I'm out
during the winter months. Even when I'm out dayhiking or snowshoeing
I always include a stove in my pack. In my part of the world, a
working stove really becomes an "essential" item in my pack. When
I'm soaked to the bone cold, that cup of hot tea or quick bowl of
oatmeal has offset the effects of hypothermia more than once. Over
the last couple of years, I've done quite a bit of experimenting with
different designs of alcohol stoves. But, my favorite stove of all
time is my MSR Whisperlite Internationale.
There are three primary areas I frequent for my gear testing. They
include Western New York, Northwestern Pennsylvania and the
Adirondack Mountain region. I will use the estimated time span from
November through March to define testing conditions.
Western New York and Northern Pennsylvania have similar weather
patterns. Temperatures during the test period will range from below
freezing to mid-50s F (10 C). Elevation near the Great Lakes is
around a 700 ft (200 m) with the hills steadily increasing to close
to 2000 ft (600 m). There will be plenty of rain, especially during
the early portions of the of the test series. The latter
part of the series will include full winter conditions: snow, sleet,
ice and cold.
The Adirondack region is much cooler, where winter conditions
dominate this entire test series. It gets cold in the mountains.
Temperatures can range from a sunny 50 F (10 C) during the day and
plunge to -20 F (-30 C) at night. This mountainous region has
elevations starting at 3000 ft (900 m) and upwards of 5000 ft (1500
November 9-11, Schoelkolf Scout Reservation, Western New York
This trek will include whatever the conditions allow from hiking to
snowshoeing and even sledding. This trek will be around 10 mi (16 km)
January 18 -21, Camp Scouthaven, Western New York. This is our
Winter Klondike Weekend. Not a lot of time is spent hiking per se,
but all cold weather camping skills are utilized. This entire
weekend is spent outdoors, although I will be sleeping in a lean-to.
On the horizon, we are putting something together for Feb/March as
well. This will probably occur over the winter break from school in
February. Details are still sketchy.
Besides the planned backpacking weekends as outlined above, I will
also be doing quite a bit of dayhiking. This will include
snowshoeing and cross-country skiing when conditions permit. I am
leading a group of boys working on the Hiking Merit badge; we have at
least 50 mi (80 km) of hiking planned. I will also be doing as much
day hiking and snow shoeing as I can with my dog. I will be using a
stove on all these outings too.
For the past four years, I've been using a MRS WhisperLite
Internationale as my stove of choice for winter outings. This stove
has served me very reliably over this time. I've even mastered the
fiery inferno that sometimes comes with lighting the prime! In the
summer, I usually use my own homemade alcohol stove. Since this test
series is right through the heart of winter for me, every outing will
provide a great testing opportunity!
I use a heat shield, heat reflector and wind screen with all my
stoves. I see in the literature that these items are not included
with the Brunton Vapor AF. I also cannot discern if a fuel bottle
for the liquid fuels is included. I have two fuel bottles 11 oz
and 22oz, that I will use if a fuel bottle is not provided. If the
other items are truly not part of the Vapor AF stove kit, I will be
very determined to find out why. For example, if a wind screen is
not included, then I will try to determine whether or not there is an
increase in function if one is used. I will document my results and
report on the effectiveness of all of the heat transfer aids. Or, if
legitimate reasons exist why these stove improvement aids should not
be used, I will document those too
Because of the extreme temperatures that are reached in my hiking
areas, many times it is not practical to use butane. The literature
makes it sound like going from one source of fuel to the next is a
simple task. I will time such transfers and report my findings in my
reports. I will also monitor any extra cleaning steps I will have to
follow going from each type of fuel and report those as well.
I live in the Northeast United States. That, coupled with the fact
that I also live on the western shore of Lake Erie, and that spells
water! It's everywhere, in all its forms. Everywhere I hike, there
are creeks to ford, puddles to jump, and slush to slop through.
Plus, it's damp. The air is moist and the snow is heavy. It's very
easy to end up wet. Frost nip is common, as is frostbite. A good
stove is critical for survival. I use it for melting snow for
drinking water, heating water for hot tea, and even cooking. I've
begun to be more creative in my cooking. I've even used my stove to
provide heat for one of my crying kids.
I'm very interested in the stove's stability. This stove is being
marketed as an extreme stove good for the mountains and
backpackers. I propose to test this by using the stove on a variety
of surfaces, from packed snow to hard ice. I'm interested to see how
stable it is, especially as the snow beneath it begins to soften.
How much of a heat shield do I need to provide?
I also propose to test the stove on a variety of pot sizes, to see
how the holders work with larger pots. Is there a limit where it's
just impractical to go larger? Is stability affected by pot shape,
i.e. low and wide versus tall and thin?
I propose testing the Vapor AF stove on a variety of outings. Of
course, I'll use it on every backpacking and day hiking trip I take
over the test series; but I would also use it on days out skiing,
cross country and downhill, and at a day of sledding with the kids,
even when we go out on the lake for a day of skating after the lake
freezes. Its compact size would be ideal for these trips.
Other specific issues I will be evaluating and reporting if chosen
- What affects the stove's performance?
- What other environmental considerations affect its stability? Can
steps be made to improve it?
-How durable is the stove and associated parts? Are there any parts
susceptible to the extreme winter conditions?
- How easy is the stove to operate? Can I do it with gloves or
- How easy is the stove to service? Do I need any special tools?
Can I fix it easily in the field?
- How well does it work in extreme cold?
- How well does it function in the wind?
For a list of all my reporting involvement at BGT, see:
Current Test Involvement:
- Coleman Chinkapin X65 Backpack just arrived; IR phase
- Kelty Light Year 3D Synthetic 45 Sleeping Bag; long term testing
Test Monitor for 3 years
- Currently monitoring Montbell ULAP Thermal Sheet
- Currently monitoring Optimus Nova + White gas stove