Tuesday 29 July 2014

Never Say Never

My son called me the other day asking if I had a spare camp stove. A friend of his is going camping and the last time this happened one of my stoves went along for the ride. From what I understand, they had a real hot time.

I kind of hesitated when he asked, not because I don’t have a spare stove, but I wasn’t sure I had one to lend or one in good enough condition to lend. It has been a while since I paid any attention to my camping equipment in general and the stoves in particular. Wouldn’t want to have a stove of mine blow up and kill someone, unless I was around to safely dispose of the body. I told Brendan that I would check to see if any were in working order and get back to him with a yea or nay.
I went out to the garage and looked on the shelves to see if there was a stove I would be willing to part with. I should mention that I have eight or nine two burner camp stoves and I think about seventeen one burner back packing stoves. There was a time when I had an interest in camp stoves. The two burner stoves are the work horses, and can cook food or heat water for up to eight people. I have one made of aluminium that was used to feed a platoon during WWII. The case did dual duty as the pot and it will never leave my possession. It is just beautiful!
I have a couple of propane two burner stoves and the rest are naptha or white gas. I just bought some recently and they are now calling it “Camping Fuel”. Propane stoves are relatively maintenance free and are excellent if you will be using the stove a lot and from a base camp. White gas stoves are good if you are just cooking for a family and want a reliable heat source that you can control. There isn’t much that can go wrong with propane stoves, other than a leaking lid or a seal that has cracked over time. Those are all repairable things, and not out of the realm of a willing home handyman.

The back packing stoves are really quite interesting, not to anyone but me, but in my world there really is no one but me. These stoves can and do use many different types of fuel, from white gas, alcohol, paraffin, leaded and unleaded gas, diesel and I even have one that will burn brandy or perfume in a pinch. Some designs are very efficient and foolproof, while others are much more closely related to a bomb than a stove. I would pick these up at various places, bring them home and get them in working condition and put them on the shelf in the garage to collect dust. There is really only one or two stoves I considered using when camping, the MSR Whisperlite or Dragonfly.
Anyways, I did a little tune up on the stove for Brendan, replaced the fuel tank cap, tested to see if it would fire up and then I cleaned and waxed it. It is probably thirty years old, but it has at least another thirty years in it if properly cared for. I guess it is difficult to make a stove that is completely disposable. They are working on it though and in my mind the butane stoves come pretty close. The stoves aren’t disposable, but the fuel tanks are.

I came in the house and went to EBAY to see what a fuel tank gas cap is worth, I am one short now. I got side tracked by all of the intriguing stoves for sale. I thought I was over my stove collecting, but I guess you should never say never…
Vintage HIPOLITO #1 pressure kerosene STOVE.

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