Welcome to SP!  -
Areas & RangesMountains & RocksRoutesImagesArticlesTrip ReportsGearOtherPeoplePlans & PartnersWhat's NewForum

Cooking in Bad-Weather

Tips, tricks, workouts, injury advice.
 

Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby WalksWithBlackflies » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:08 pm

So... it's snowing with 40 mph winds. Where do set up your stove and cook? Inside the tent or vestibule seems obvious, but I'm terrified of burning down my tent (with me in it) or poisoning myself with CO. Is this a semi-irrational fear, or do you set up windbreaks, etc and cook outside? I use either a MSR Whisperlite or cat can stove, depending on the temp.
User Avatar
WalksWithBlackflies

 
Posts: 158
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2004 4:37 pm
Location: Syracuse, New York, United States
Thanked: 1 time in 1 post

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby lcarreau » Tue Jan 03, 2012 3:36 pm

Hey, gotta eat! If your tent has a ventilation flap, you can use that and cook away. I've did it before, and I'm still alive and kicking.

At least, that's what my wife says.
User Avatar
lcarreau

 
Posts: 4037
Joined: Thu Sep 06, 2007 10:27 pm
Location: Court of the Crimson King, Arizona, United States
Thanked: 814 times in 614 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby Baarb » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:18 pm

Might be of interest, the one lower down is an MSR type with fuel bottle http://www.summitpost.org/hang-your-stove/483666
User Avatar
Baarb

 
Posts: 398
Joined: Tue Jun 06, 2006 6:42 pm
Location: The Village with Three Corners
Thanked: 42 times in 29 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Jan 03, 2012 4:42 pm

The Chief has a pretty gory story of having to do the body recovery of two climbers who had rigged a hanging system for their liquid fueled stove. I have cooked many, many meals in the vestibule of my tents. Some tricks:

Always start a liquid fuel stove outside the vestib.ule so it doesn't flare up and burn the house down.

If camped on snow, dig a well inside the vestibule. This will make it easy to sit up and put boots on, but also makkes cooking in the vestibule a bit safer.

Keep a small bit of the vestibule flap zipped open to allow steam and CO out.

If you have a cannister stove, you can hang it. Make sure to vent the tent well. CO poisoning is not an irrational fear, it happens, so be careful.
User Avatar
ExcitableBoy

 
Posts: 2841
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2005 9:33 am
Location: Issaquah, Washington
Thanked: 408 times in 295 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby gert » Tue Jan 03, 2012 5:58 pm

I prefer canister stove unless in arctic conditions! Canister should contain a blend of Butan and Propan und you should be familiar on how to handle this in cold conditions. No need for a hanging system unless its cramped inside tent. White gas is a different story I would not use unless I have to!
User Avatar
gert

 
Posts: 204
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:48 am
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany
Thanked: 8 times in 7 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby rgg » Tue Jan 03, 2012 6:51 pm

I learned that the kind of stove and fuel makes a big difference.

My old stove, a Trangia, preferably burns denatured alcohol (aka methylated spirits). It's a pretty small flame in regular use, and no flare upon lighting it. The flame is enclosed very well, but if the burner is tossed over, the alcohol can easily escape. Inside a tent, that would lead to a life threatening situation, but the design of the stove makes it very hard to accidentally topple it. As long as my tent is able to withstand the storm, I can cook inside the closed vestibule, or, for added warmth, inside my tent - but the latter only when I'm alone.

Now, the main problem when cooking with alcohol is that it's slow. No problem for simmering, but it takes a while to get your water to a boil. Normally, I can live with that, because there's always enough to do during cooking - I'm talking about real cooking here, not just pooring water into freeze dried meals. However, recently I learned that at high altitude, where cooking takes longer anyway, it was just not workable anymore. And the final drop was that melting snow and making tea for breakfast took hours. So I started looking for another stove.

Climbing with different people gave me the opportunity to see different stoves in action. I had already read about the Jet Boil, which uses gas canisters. I didn't really trust it inside my tent, until one of my climbing partners brought one along and I saw for myself that there was no flare, and a relatively benign flame. Since the flame is not protected, and the burner can easily be toppled, I didn't want to use it inside my tent, but I used it in the closed vestibule in really crappy weather. It's much faster than alcohol, good enough for melting snow at high altitude, but I decided it wasn't for me, because gas isn't easily available all around the world. Besides, I had seen other stoves.

The one I decided to buy was an MSR Dragonfly, which preferably burns white gas. As for speed, it's just as fast as a Jet Boil for boiling water, and for real cooking it's in a league of it's own. However, it can give a big flare upon lighting, and the flame is wide open, making it very dangerous inside a tent. In bad weather, I open up the vestibule as much as the weather allows, then light the stove under a bit of open sky. The walls of the vestibule act as a wind break. There is no shelter against snowfall, but, more importantly, any flare will be harmless now. After lighting it, I sometimes move the stove a bit closer to the tent itself, but keep it in the vestibule. I don't know if this procedure will still work in a really big snow storm, haven't tried that yet. However, I guess that in that case I want to be in a snow cave instead of a tent anyway, and then there is no danger of burning my shelter. And I haven't figured out yet what to do when it's warmer and raining heavily.


So, to sum up my experiences:

1) Alcohol: relatively safe but quite slow, especially at high altitude. I've sometimes used it inside my tent.

2) Gas canisters: bit more dangerous and fast enough, even at high altitude. Never inside the tent, but usable in closed vestibule.

3) White gas is very dangerous and can give a flare, but (with the right stove) fast, even at high altitude. Only in open vestibule, and I don't yet know how to handle heavy rain.
User Avatar
rgg

 
Posts: 366
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 2010 7:15 pm
Location: Amsterdam, Netherlands
Thanked: 84 times in 65 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby gert » Tue Jan 03, 2012 7:26 pm

one can use this http://www.primus.eu//Archive/Images/Re ... 00x400.jpg
to prevent a canister system from toppling over. Jetboil and MSR reactor sure quires more attention. I use a MSR superfly and Primus ETA pot. The advantadge is that you can use the warm water to warm up the cartridge every now and then if needed. The center of gravity is also much lower as with the Jetboil, MSR reactor. Sure one has to be very carefull inside tent :!:
User Avatar
gert

 
Posts: 204
Joined: Wed Jul 06, 2005 11:48 am
Location: Karlsruhe, Germany
Thanked: 8 times in 7 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby BigMitch » Wed Jan 04, 2012 12:06 am

The safest is to make a windbreak and cook outside in the storm. But, that can be quite lonely and seem to take forever.
User Avatar
BigMitch

 
Posts: 306
Joined: Wed Dec 19, 2007 6:17 pm
Location: Mendota Heights, Minnesota, United States
Thanked: 15 times in 15 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby Wastral » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:04 am

It depends what white gas stove. My old white gas stove routinely produced a 2 foot flame. Drongfly XKG MSR stove I never have a startup flare over 12 inches high. Yea its heavy, but it cooks well and has no flare allowing me to cook inside along with its wide base so pots don't fall over when cooking on my snow shovel in the vestibule or hanging from the front arch pole.
Wastral

 
Posts: 329
Joined: Fri Feb 01, 2008 11:02 pm
Location: Washington, United States
Thanked: 25 times in 21 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby johngenx » Wed Jan 04, 2012 5:04 am

MSR Reactor with a JB hanging kit (minor mods) and it kicks ass for cooking when the weather sucks. Vent the tent, run the stove only as long as required, and try using dehydrated or freeze dried foods that don't require tons of cooking time. At -20C on the Columbia Icefields, we used 1 225g per day per two people for melting snow for rehydrating food, making drinks, etc. The best winter cooking system I've ever used. Sold my XGK!! (images don't seem to imbed, sorry...)

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/195/dscn3155p.jpg

http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/51/dscn3156a.jpg
User Avatar
johngenx

 
Posts: 243
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2005 1:30 am
Location: Edmonton, Canada
Thanked: 4 times in 4 posts

The following user would like to thank johngenx for this post
radson

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby dan2see » Wed Jan 04, 2012 6:42 am

I like to carry a MSR Whisperlite with white gas, in winter because it's great for melting snow quickly.

But it's a real fire hazard. I cannot light the thing without setting fire to the surrounding terrain.

Well that's OK on a snowdrift, or on scree. But if there's any kind of vegetation, or structure, near-by, I will set fire to everything.
User Avatar
dan2see

 
Posts: 200
Joined: Thu Dec 28, 2006 8:26 am
Location: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Thanked: 14 times in 9 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby Sierra Ledge Rat » Mon Jan 16, 2012 2:39 pm

I've always cooked inside of the tent during the winter with my MSR.

When possible, I cook in the vestible, though.

Only had one bad incident. We had a propane stove with the metal gas canisters. One morning the stove decided to start shooting flames everywhere. I was the unluckly lad sitting by the tent door, so when the other guys scooped up the flaming stove it got tossed to me. I fumbled the pass and dropped the stove into my lap. -POOF!- went my down pants. But I did get the stove out the door right after that.
User Avatar
Sierra Ledge Rat

 
Posts: 1091
Joined: Mon Jan 01, 2007 9:14 am
Location: Appalachia, United States
Thanked: 233 times in 153 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby Hotoven » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:08 pm

dan2see wrote:I like to carry a MSR Whisperlite with white gas, in winter because it's great for melting snow quickly.

But it's a real fire hazard. I cannot light the thing without setting fire to the surrounding terrain.

Well that's OK on a snowdrift, or on scree. But if there's any kind of vegetation, or structure, near-by, I will set fire to everything.


Yeah I like the white fuel too, but think I will invest in a reactor for my winter trips. White fuel is just to heavy to carry around.
"Hey, careful, man, there's a beverage here!"
- The Dude, Lebowski
User Avatar
Hotoven

 
Posts: 1861
Joined: Mon Feb 09, 2009 8:06 pm
Location: Summit County, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 115 times in 87 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby goldenhopper » Tue Jan 17, 2012 6:47 pm

It's a hard question to answer because there are so many factors.

Are you below or above treeline?
What kind of tent and stove are you using?
Is there snow on the ground and how deep?
Do you have an option to eat cold food?
Is there a liquid water source?
Do you have a tarp with you?

The answers to the question have nearly endless options based on the conditions, tolerance of person(s), terrain and gear involved.
User Avatar
goldenhopper

 
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: La La Land, California, United States
Thanked: 556 times in 390 posts

Re: Cooking in Bad-Weather

Postby goldenhopper » Wed Jan 18, 2012 10:45 pm

Here you go... this will fix all your problems:

User Avatar
goldenhopper

 
Posts: 411
Joined: Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:29 pm
Location: La La Land, California, United States
Thanked: 556 times in 390 posts

Next

Return to Technique and Training

 


  • Related topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

© 2006-2013 SummitPost.org. All Rights Reserved.