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How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

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How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

Postby mambwe » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:14 pm

I'm going on a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip next week and I'm not sure how much fuel to bring. I just bought a whisperlite internationale and I am new to liquid fuel. I want to melt 3 liters of water at night and enough for a couple dehydrated meals a day. I'm using white gas. I'd like to have some extra for emergency use.

How many ounces of fuel would you bring? I'm going to be in the white mountains. We'll be at ~4,000 feet.

On MSRs website they say 1 ounce of white fuel boils 1.3 liters of water. I have a 20 ounce fuel can, so using 20 ounces I should get 26 liters. How do they get these numbers? Are they testing the stoves with room temperature water inside in some lab/office? I will be melting and then boiling snow. Plus it will be around 10 degrees. Any idea how this will change how much fuel I will need?
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Re: How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Tue Jan 24, 2012 9:30 pm

mambwe wrote:I'm going on a 3 day/2 night backpacking trip next week and I'm not sure how much fuel to bring. I just bought a whisperlite internationale and I am new to liquid fuel. I want to melt 3 liters of water at night and enough for a couple dehydrated meals a day. I'm using white gas. I'd like to have some extra for emergency use.

How many ounces of fuel would you bring? I'm going to be in the white mountains. We'll be at ~4,000 feet.

On MSRs website they say 1 ounce of white fuel boils 1.3 liters of water. I have a 20 ounce fuel can, so using 20 ounces I should get 26 liters. How do they get these numbers? Are they testing the stoves with room temperature water inside in some lab/office? I will be melting and then boiling snow. Plus it will be around 10 degrees. Any idea how this will change how much fuel I will need?

The general guideline I've heard is 8oz of white gas, per person, per day which in my experience is pretty conservative. I always plan for two full extra day's worth of fuel just in case.
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Re: How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

Postby Mark M » Tue Jan 24, 2012 11:33 pm

I use the 20oz fuel bottle and find its more than enough for 3 days 2 nights in winter. That is enough to run the stove for an hour or more in the evening to melt snow and make dinner and then for 10-15 minutes in the mornings to boil a few cups of water. I usually have fuel left after 3 days.2 nights. Don't waste your money on the MSR fuel, buy the one gallon can of Colman fuel.
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Re: How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

Postby nickmech » Wed Jan 25, 2012 6:50 am

20 oz. for one person should work. Except, considering the winter temps. and area your going,you don't want to run out. I sometimes carry a little msr bottle (6 or 8 oz.) for just in case. We have run out before on longer trips in the summer time and it's not that big a deal cause you can still find water. Use the stove to get a feel for fuel usage.
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Re: How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 5:03 pm

Also, fuel consumption varies based on numerous factors; wind, water content in snow, whether you just barely melt the snow, or if you cook things like rice or pasta or just boil the water to reconstitute freeze dried meals, etc.
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Re: How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

Postby rgg » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:35 pm

Last year I cooked at high altitude by myself for the first time. I had cooked at low altitude while camping, but at high altitude, other people had done it for me until then. I knew that water boils at a lower temperature the higher you go, and things would take a lot longer. I didn't quite know how much longer or what that meant for fuel consumption. I learned that green beans become almost white after cooking them for an hour at almost 5,000m (let's say 16,000 ft, give or take) and don't have much taste left. Despite that, they are still not quite done! I ate them anyway, but decided to stick to veggies that can, in principle, be eaten raw. Boiling 'em for a while softens 'em up a bit, but, more importantly, kills any pathogens.

As to fuel efficiency, there is another lesson in here, apart from not cooking green beans. If your stove doesn't simmer very well, simply don't bring food that only needs simmering, or you'll waste a lot. In terms of fuel economy, freeze dried is excellent. Unfortunately, that's not available globally, and the airlines have limits on what you can bring ...


On a different note: if you're going to melt snow and boil some water as well, be it for dinner or just tea or coffee, bring two pots, almost identical in size. Fill one with snow, and a little bit of water if you have it, and put it on the stove. Put the other one on top, also with some snow and a little bit of water. By the time the bottom one starts getting hot, the residual heat doesn't all get wasted, but also melts some snow in the top one. Works like a charm - until you tople the whole thing of course, so be careful ;-)!
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Re: How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

Postby mambwe » Wed Jan 25, 2012 7:58 pm

I just picked up an 11oz bottle as well, so hopefully that will be enough. For this trip it will be used only for melting snow and boiling water. I was hoping to use this for two people.
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Re: How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

Postby ExcitableBoy » Wed Jan 25, 2012 8:33 pm

rgg wrote:On a different note: if you're going to melt snow and boil some water as well, be it for dinner or just tea or coffee, bring two pots, almost identical in size. Fill one with snow, and a little bit of water if you have it, and put it on the stove. Put the other one on top, also with some snow and a little bit of water. By the time the bottom one starts getting hot, the residual heat doesn't all get wasted, but also melts some snow in the top one. Works like a charm - until you tople the whole thing of course, so be careful ;-)!

That is brilliant!
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Re: How much fuel is needed for a 2 night backpacking trip?

Postby nickmech » Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:32 am

Who the heck cooks green beans for 1 hour when climbing?
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