Camping stoves for Mountain Leaders; how to pick the best stove for your Mountain Leader Training or Assessment.
On your Mountain Leader Training and Assessment you will be assessed on your ability to operate safely and efficiently in British mountains during an overnight expedition. One night on training and two nights on assessment. You will be wild camping and carrying all you need on your back. Everything you take should be considered carefully to reduce weight. Your stove choice is crucial, you need it cook food and help you hydrate. Here are our thoughts on camping stoves for Mountain Leaders.
The essential criteria are
- Lightweight enough to carry. But remember the lightest isn’t necessarily the best.
- Efficient and reliable. It has to prepare your food quickly and it has to work.
- Safe and stable enough to use in your tent porch in bad weather.
Get out and use your stove, buy it early on in your journey to becoming a Mountain Leader and get it know it.
Gas Canister Stoves
Gas stoves are my first choice and my recommendation. They are clean, easy to use, just screw on a canister, turn on the gas and light. There are three main gas stove designs and categories; remote canister stoves, upright heat exchanger stoves and canister top stoves.
Remote Canister Stoves
I believe that remote canister stoves are the most convenient and stable camping stoves for mountain leaders . The canister is attached remotely allowing the burner and pot stands to sit close to ground. This makes the stove more stable and less likely to tip over.
Kovea Spider Possibly the best all round stove on market. It boils water quickly but you can also turn the flame right down and simmer if you fancy being a bit more creative with your cooking. The Spider sits low to the ground, is very stable and will accommodate a variety of pot sizes. This a very well made and durable remote canister stove. It’s not the lightest but it packs away well in a pot it (it fits well in a Alpkit Mytimug 600) and will last a long time.
Upright Heat Exchanger Stoves
These have become very popular in recent years. They are very efficient and boil water very quickly. Flux rings on the bottom of the pans transfer the heat from the flame very effectively. The disadvantages are that they can be very unstable so use a clip on stabiliser. With most of these stoves its almost impossible to actually cook in the pot, best to regard them as portable kettles and use them for boiling water with is then added to a dehydrated meal, pasta or rice etc.
MSR Reactor Possibly the fastest water boiling stove on the market. Also very windproof. A great design, extremely efficient and easy to use. Great for bivouacs and use in windy tarps.
Jetboil MiniMo This a variation on the standard Jetboil design. It has a slightly wider pot making it easier to cook and stir food. Also unlike the standard Jetboils it has a regulator system which allows good control of the flame size and heat output. Good folding handle system.
JetBoil Stash This variation on the standard Jetboil design also a much lighter stove and pan combination. Quick boiling and it packs away very nicely with room for a small gas canister in the pan. I’ve been using this on Mountain Leader courses throughout this year and I really like it.
Canister Top Stoves
These tend to be the lightest stoves and the burner attaches to the top of the canister. However they do need care in use. I’ve had them tip over on occasion, in one instance pouring boiling water into the tent inner.
Another disadvantage is that most models are not very wind proof so consider using a wind shield. But with careful use they can provide the lightest and most packable way of boiling water.
Soto Windmaster A clever design enables this stove to very wind resistant and it can accommodate different pans sizes.
Liquid Fuel Stoves
These stoves burn methylated spirts or meths for short or spirit in the USA, also sometime called alcohol! The early Alpinists were using spirit stoves before the advent of pressurised systems. Many of us of certain age will have used the iconic Trangia stoves, still going strong but a bit heavy by modern standards. This fuel type has had a bit of renaissance recently as it possible to end up with a very light system. However they are a bit slower to boil water than gas. Have a look at Speedster Stoves for the ultimate lightweight cooking systems.
These stoves use white gas, jet fuel, diesel, kerosene or petrol. We don’t recommend these for Mountain Leaders as they can be be fiddly and tricky to light and sometimes flare up and set fire to your tent!
Gas canister are the most convenient and will boil water quickly. For all round use and for a bit of creative cookery I’d take the Kovea Spider. If you need super fast boiling in very windy and stormy weather the MSR Reactor is definitely the best. For a lightweight, compact and self contained unit choose the Jet Boil Stash. For the ultra lightweight option experiment with meths/alcohol stoves.
Beyond the Edge Ltd is based in the Peak District, easily reached by train from London and within easy travelling distance from Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham and other Northern towns and cities.
We are one of the UKs most experienced providers of climbing, walking, scrambling, mountaineering and navigation training courses.
Most of our courses are run in the Peak District National Park which has some of the finest rock climbing, bouldering, walking and hiking in the world.