I’ve been using Snow Peak’s Giga Power Auto Ignite stove since I started backpacking. It’s a great little set-up that combines the stove and the pot rest in one, screwed onto the fuel canister. I love this stove, it boils water very quickly, and it’s nice and small. The ignition switch is right on the contraption (only useful when you don’t accidentaly spill water all over it – oops) which makes lighting it a breeze. The problem with this stove for the PCT – Shipping the fuel canisters is a sketchy business, they must go via ground mail, and finding them in smaller towns isn’t so easy.
So I finished ‘ The Soda Can Stove ‘ which is literally a backpacking stove made out of a soda can, that i began constructing back in… March? It’s an ULTRA lightweight stove that uses denatured alcohol as fuel, which is found at most hardware stores, OR in a pinch, one can use HEET – that bottled stuff you can find at a gas station, that increases performance when you dump it in your vehicles fuel tank. So the options for finding fuel in resupply towns are much easier. The alcohol can be carried in a light weight empty soda bottle (whereas the giga fuel has a heavy metal canister, and no way of knowing exactly how much fuel you have left). I still need to construct a pot rest, but that too, will just be a bit of light weight aluminum that’s wrapped around the soda can stove to rest my pot on. The downside – it boils water much more slowly than the Giga. So cook time is increased, but since I’m going to be doing most of my cooking via Zip Lock Bags – All I’ll be doing is heating water. There have been comments that alcohol stoves don’t burn as efficiently in the higher elevations, but most of the PCTers haven’t mentioned any great problems with this.
Weight of Giga Power Stove (w/o fuel canister) – 3.8 Oz
Weight of Soda-Can-Stove (w/o alcohol/bottle) – .4 Oz. That’s LESS than HALF an oz.
Aluminum Wind Screen (can’t use w/giga – canister could explode) – 2.6 oz.
So I have a decision to make here…. I’ll probably opt for the Soda Can stove, but now that i have it assembled, it’s a decision to be made at a later date…