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

Melting Snow for Water

Tips, tricks, workouts, injury advice.
 

Melting Snow for Water

Postby Hotoven » Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:53 pm

I have not had to do this much, but now that's it winter season again, I'm planning a trip in the North East where there may not be much of a water supply. I plan to take extra fuel for my MSR whisperlite international stove. I was just wondering what is the most efficient way to melt snow into water with using the least amount of fuel possible? I heard that cranking it on high is the best, but to me I would think just have the stove on a low setting would be ideal. It may take longer, but in the end save more fuel from being burned. Anyone know for sure witch method is the best for melting snow into drinking water?
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

Postby dan2see » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:20 pm

Just do it! The Whisperlite does not have a "low" setting. And you can't worry about being efficient when you're melting snow: you just keep throwing the stuff into your the pot, until you've got enough. In any camp cooking, your pot boil will boil sooner if the stove flames are running up the sides of the pot. Any less, and you're allowing the wind to cool the pot.

I find it takes a minute to set-up my stove, three minutes to melt a liter of water, and another minute to boil. Five minutes total. Then it's tea time.

On winter hikes, I carry up a liter of water in a metal container. At lunch-time, and afternoon break maybe, I re-fill it.
User Avatar
dan2see

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

Postby Hotoven » Mon Dec 14, 2009 3:24 pm

I know it doesn't have a "low setting" but sometimes I open the valve more than others. There's not much control, but I can at least have a high and low setting if I adjust it just right.

Thanks for the info and tips, I'll try it out!
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

Postby BrunoM » Mon Dec 14, 2009 4:01 pm

Always start out with a little water in the pot/pan before throwing snow in.

That way the heat conducts better and the snow will melt faster than if you just throw snow into an empty pan.

Don't put too much snow in at once while melting, you want that water in your pan while melting.
User Avatar
BrunoM

 
Posts: 231
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:07 pm
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Thanked: 3 times in 1 post

Postby Guyzo » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:04 pm

JetBoil.
User Avatar
Guyzo

 
Posts: 2567
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2003 12:11 am
Location: Moorpark, California, United States
Thanked: 24 times in 13 posts

Postby asmrz » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:11 pm

Listen to BrunoM. His advice is on the money.
User Avatar
asmrz

 
Posts: 918
Joined: Mon Sep 16, 2002 7:52 am
Location: Idyllwild, San Jacinto Mountains, California, United States
Thanked: 141 times in 98 posts

Postby mconnell » Mon Dec 14, 2009 5:32 pm

What Bruno said.

As for a WhiperLite not having a burner control: Wrong. I can simmer water just fine on my WL. It just takes a little practice and keeping an eye on the stove to keep it from going out.
mconnell

 
Posts: 7474
Joined: Tue Jul 03, 2001 4:28 pm
Location: Divide, Colorado, United States
Thanked: 266 times in 158 posts

Postby Brad Marshall » Mon Dec 14, 2009 6:24 pm

One thing we do to conserve fuel if the water is just for drinking is to melt the snow until it's cool water, pour it in to our bottles and hit it with Aqua Mira drops. No sense boiling it if you don't want a hot drink.
User Avatar
Brad Marshall

 
Posts: 1948
Joined: Tue Feb 28, 2006 6:54 pm
Location: Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada
Thanked: 17 times in 15 posts

Postby BrunoM » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:31 pm

Oh, and make sure you have a good and properly set up windscreen & ground reflector.

A quality pan makes a difference as well probably. And a lid to put on it :)
User Avatar
BrunoM

 
Posts: 231
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:07 pm
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Thanked: 3 times in 1 post

Postby edl » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:37 pm

I second (third?) Bruno. If you don't add a bit of starter water, you can actually scortch the snow, which will then leave a really horrid burned taste in the water. That taste will linger in the pot for the rest of your trip. Trust me on this one.

For a Whisperlite stove, a good rule of thumb for winter use is 8 ounces of fuel per full day per person. I never seem to use that much, but a some extra doesn't hurt.
edl

 
Posts: 118
Joined: Wed Sep 14, 2005 11:34 pm
Location: Idaho Falls, U.S State, Country
Thanked: 6 times in 6 posts

Postby Hotoven » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:39 pm

BrunoM wrote:Oh, and make sure you have a good and properly set up windscreen & ground reflector.

A quality pan makes a difference as well probably. And a lid to put on it :)


check, I have all that, thanks for the tips! I just bought some aluminum flashing at my local heard wear store for the wind screen. Way better deal then buying the MSR one, haha.
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

Postby BrunoM » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:42 pm

Cheaper too probably :?
User Avatar
BrunoM

 
Posts: 231
Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 6:07 pm
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Thanked: 3 times in 1 post

Postby fatdad » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:47 pm

BrunoM wrote:Oh, and make sure you have a good and properly set up windscreen & ground reflector.

A quality pan makes a difference as well probably. And a lid to put on it :)


Bruno on the money again. Also, and this might sound obvious, but look for more solidified, icy stuff rather than the light fluffy stuff, which melts down to practically nothing.
User Avatar
fatdad

 
Posts: 1360
Joined: Tue Jul 24, 2007 9:39 pm
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
Thanked: 80 times in 54 posts

Postby Wastral » Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:49 pm

Search for snow that is not ice to melt.

As Bruno said make sure to put some water in the bottom of the pan. Will save a minute or so of stove time. This is very critical if you have a teflon coated pan. Otherwise you will burn the teflon off the bottom of the pan and not only ruin the pan, but also ruin your batch of water.

Use an aluminum pan. They are far better than stainless or Titanium for conducting heat, but must have a wind screen otherwise the aluminum pan will conduct its heat to the outside very quickly.

When melting you do not have to keep it on the stove till ALL snow chunks are out, just most.

Stir the snow water mixture. In otherwords BREAK up the snow/ice chunks!

Wind screening is CRITICAL. Without it you can sometimes forget melting water at all.

Whatever stove it is, put on as high as possible.

Always carry a thick aluminum foil to put around the pot so the wind can't hit the pot.

Make sure to always put a lid on the pot. Hopefully a lid that is larger than the pot itself as it will cup the heat coming up the sides of the pot.

Dig a hole in front of your tent or in your vestibule and boil the water there as it will cut down the wind to very little.

Melt the water inside your tent proper, but it requires a larger tent, or suspending your stove from the ceiling which has other problems.

Put the Stove on an aluminum shovel. It will reflect heat. Otherwise your stove will melt itself right into the snow and put itself out. Or you have to carry a base plate which is just extra weight with no function.

and... Relax its going to be a while...

BrunoM wrote:Oh, and make sure you have a good and properly set up windscreen & ground reflector.

A quality pan makes a difference as well probably. And a lid to put on it :)
Wastral

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

Postby SpiderSavage » Mon Dec 14, 2009 9:05 pm

All good advice above. Here are some additional tips.

I carry a small pine board to set the stove on. The stove works much better than setting the stove directly on packed snow. Most fuels work better when warmer.

With canister stoves such as the Jetboil I hold the stove in my lap with my hands wrapped around the canister for additional heat while the cook feeds the stove. If you do this you need to pay careful attention to what you are doing because a Jetboil will boil suddenly and boil over very quickly too.
User Avatar
SpiderSavage

 
Posts: 390
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:37 pm
Location: Sunland, California
Thanked: 7 times in 4 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.