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Gemini's JMT 07 trip plannin' thread
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“"Esbit is your lighest option, but the most pain in the arse as far as I am concerned, hard to light, hard to keep lit if there's any wind, smells like hell, can light whatever it's sitting on on fire etc etc etc. I wouldn't recommend it to my worst enemy."
Well, that's one opinion and I respect it, but it was reading statements like the above that kept me from trying the esbit stove for a long time. I would recommend you try it yourself so you can decide just how "offensive" the odor is to you. I have yet to hear any complaints from others with me about how bad it smells, and, if I did, I would just cook downwind of others. Personally, I don't think the smell is nearly as bad as others might lead you to believe. If you buy the tablets and decide not to use them for your stove they make great fire starters. I always carry one or two for an emergency fire starter.
I used the esbit stove on both my JMT and Wonderland Trail trips, and it worked very well for the purpose intended . . . to boil water. I wouldn't use it for anything other than to boil water because there is no way to control the flame. The key to sucessfull use of the esbit stove (as it is with an alcohol stove) is in the windscreen. There are two pictures I took of my stove while on the JMT (just above Guitar Lake) that will give you an idea of how the setup looks.
On the JMT I used the standard esbit stove (shown in the picture). On the Wonderland Trail I switched over to the the Vargo esbit/alcohol combo stove because it weighs 2 ounces less than the Esbit Stove and is more compact:
If you decide to go the esbit stove route let me know and I can give you some tips on lighting and dealing with the messy pots . . . neither of which are an issue if you know how to deal with them. I have never had a fuel tablet go out once it is properly lighted.”
“there are MUCH lighter esbit stove options out there. the titanium esbit stove on backpackinglight.com is one of the lightest i have ever seen. the fosters can setup with esbit (which i personally use) is about the lightest total setup i have ever used. it remains my favorite setup for most trips.”
“also, i have tried the vargo alcohol stove and i was not at all impressed. i know the design was modified from the one that i tested. the fosters can cookpot setup that burns esbit can also easily work with a red-bull alcohol stove and in fact i do this frequently in warmer weather... esbit is a tad expensive for weekend trips.
they do make great firestarters!”
“ohh!! I have the vargo, didnt' know I can use esbit with it. I do know that I wasn't too crazy using it with alcohol, but I may need more practice? I had an easier time using a pepsi can stove made by stovestomper. I am not going to use alcohol though. it's going to be esbit or canister. I didn't decide yet.
I may try esbit over a weekend trip to get the hang of it, and then decide.
Gfore, I def. will post or email if I decide to use esbit.
correction my vargo looks different.
last edited: 1/04/07 7:40:02 PM”
“gem, FYI, i'll be using my jetboil. just so's you know that i'll have an extra JB canister for ya for those last 5 days if you want. (ofcourse i could just as easily bring you a few extra esbit tabs too)”
“Are the tablets slow to boil? I have a good pepsi can stove.”
“i think the tablets work about the same as alcohol. it's all about blocking the wind.”
“the alcohol is just going to be so much heavier then the esbit tabs, same as the canisters. The more I think about it, I think I really rather go light and go with the esbit. But I could change my mind like a hundred times until July. LOL
I have never used esbit, so I def. need to practice”
“Jimmy san - I got one of the fuel tablet stoves off the backpackinglight website too but it never made it out on a trip. It bent the first time I tried to unfold it, and it wasn't worth the hassle to send it back. Sometimes you can go too far with saving ounces. I like to try to balance out durability and weight when it comes to a long distance hike. The fuel tablet stove portion of the Vargo combo model I linked above is only 1.5 ounces. I don't use the alcohol portion of it because it sucks. If I want to go with alcohol, which is what I will use on the AT this year, I use a Brasslite model that has the simmer ring on it. Heavier than your typical pepsi can stove, but you can control the flame on it . . . and they are extremely durable.
jackstraw I would say that, when compared to alcohol, it takes slightly longer to boil with the esbit tablets, but the windscreen is the definitely the key to success with its use.
On the Wonderland Trail this year BugBite used one of the Jetboil systems for her cooking . . . boiling water for freeze-dried dinners and coffee in the morning. I think she used only one small fuel canister on the entire 9 day trip.
One other note is I didn't see anyplace that had alcohol or fuel tablets available along the entire trip. If you use that type of stove you will need to ship the fuel to one of your resupply points. I think most people out west use the canister stoves and I did see the fuel canisters availble in TM, RM, and VVR . . . but I wouldn't depend on them being in stock.”
here is what i use with esbit
“After being a die-hard white gas user, I tried the Esbit stove on all my outings one summer just to see if the lower weight was worth it. The next summer I tried the Pocket Rocket and I'll probably never go back to white gas or Esbit.
One 8 ounce MSR canister lasts my son and I a week on the trail. For one person, it would last longer. The Pocket Rocket is only 3 ounces. It is hard to beat 11 ounces plus a titanim pot for a cooking system.
I tried an alcohol stove and didn't think it was superior to the PocketRocket for a long trip.
last edited: 1/05/07 1:49:57 AM”
“yes, I used the vargo alcohol stove only:
not really loving it.”
“i keep going back and forth on the jetboil thing. i like the idea of the fuel efficiency and like the idea of 8 days on a small canister for just boiling water. the weight of 15 oz (without the fuel) is a real turn off. where i am torn is on a trip like the jmt where you may really want to use a canister stove but getting fuel may be a problem. you can't mail fuel canisters anymore via us postal mail so i am concerned about how i would get a reliable source of butane on the jmt if i go down this road. i read that you can buy fuel at places off the trail but i would be fearful of showing up and there not being any fuel. i am still thinking through this one but esbit and my fosters setup is the way i'll go if i can't think of anything better.”
“Jimmy san, are you sure about mailing fuel? I mailed it to Muir Ranch in 2005. I followed these instructions. http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=85648
If the link only gets you to the journal, the instructions are on Dec 18, 2004.”
“Butane is a DOT 2.1 Hazardous Substance (Flammable Gas). There are almost certainly going to be restrictions on how this fuel can be mailed (quantity, labeling, etc). For sure they can't go via air. I would check with your local postmaster to be sure you can legally ship these. I know some stores on the web will ship them to you ground only. I don't know if that means they are OK to ship or not. For sure the package has to have a special label so one way or another make sure to research the requirements before you try to ship the things. It would be pretty easy to break some pretty serious laws here.”
“oh, i didn't see the commentary inline with all those regulations. i have no eye for that stuff. sounds like it was ok in 2005. that same list should be on the usps web site to see if it has changed. it's good news if it hasn't. i am going to the post office tomorrow so i'll see what info i can get there.”
“I printed the page from Trail Journals and took it in to my local PO - a very small town - and the postmaster pulled out a matching one-page color-coded form and off went my fuel canisters by ground mail. It was easier than mailing the food bucket the way Muir Ranch wants it.
My thought is to send myself extra fuel and food to Muir Ranch and feast that night.”
“they do the food bucket thing because of the mice, right?”
“The mice and that they carry the stuff in by horse or mule.”
Purchase fuel when you pickup resupplies
You can purchase fuel canisters at Red's Meadow and at Muir Trail Ranch and they don't price gouge.”
“that's what prosecutor told me... well that they could be bought on the trail. he didn't comment on the price, but that's nice to know. i still haven't picked a stove but i'll prolly use a canister.”
“I purchased three 8 oz canisters from Muir Trail ranch for $3.50 each. They sold them half-price because they were last years model and there was a little rust on the lip of the canister.
Even the normal price is not that bad though.”
“I checked the reservation page and the dates are pretty much going within a day or two they become available. Our trip should be reserved between 1/29-1/31/07.
They update it pretty regular.”
“whooohoooo!!! we're going to cali!”
“I'm checking out resupply options. Food needs to be mailed to arrive 10-14 days in advance. With 20-30 days mailing time. so we have to mail our food drops in June. LOL”
“I will have to set my calender for this or I WILL forget and have to starve or live of fish for the rest of the trip. LOL
I am so damn excited. I may have to cut a couple trips now to save money for the time I am not working, but hey...it's all worth it! IT'S ALL SO FREAKING WORTH IT!!!!”
“Yeah its a catch 22. gotta do the hikes to stay in shape and gotta work the OT to pay for the trip.”
“you guys are going to have a blast!”
“I am so Stoked. I'm being a complete bonehead.”
“I was entertaining the idea of Bagging Mt. Muir as well as whitney. Its a scramble of the Whitney summit trail. What you guys think?”
“was thinking the same thing. i figured i'd see how i felt after the top of whitney.”
“Campsite reserved @ Whitney portal for Arrival Aug. 9th. 2007 (Max. 6 ppl)”
“I suggest earplugs, the portal campsite is a nightmare to sleep at unless you're a good sleeper. People are coming and going all night long, mainly the dayhikers will be rustling getting ready for their hike to the top. I will never stay there again. There are alot of other options in the area though if you don't have to stay there for other reasons then convenience.”
You can also camp at Lone Pine Lake
“You can also camp at Lone Pine Lake. It is a really beautiful lake 3 miles from the Portal trail head. Lone Pine Lake is just outside of the "Whitney Zone" so you don't have to Blue Bag...”
“whoohooo!! didn't have a chance to post or check TT [damn computer]
are we ready yet? It's almost time to call”
“Yes almost. We both have to try and get the permit cuz they seem to be filling the day they become available. Check the posts from Sacco's thread. Adding another layover day should sync us up perfectly with him.”
“what happens if you both get a permit?”
“Sell it on EBay?”
“You just get the Reservation and the permit is yours once you pay the fee. I believe.”
“You get the reservation then you have to pick up the permit the day before or the day of the trip.
At least that's the way they do it for hike in Yosemite. Because you're starting in Yosemite I assume you'll have to do the same.”
“Woohoo!!! Got my permit reservation in the Mail.
Jackstraw throws down the mouse and starts doing the duck walk then deftly turns and does a superb moonwalk before smashing into a pile of boxes in the basement.”
“are you sure you want to hike with this guy?
“I can attest that he won't try and do said dance moves whilst hiking on the trail!”
“we're still going right?? ;)”
“Oh Yeah! We're still going. : )”
“oh good! I was worried.
did you book yet?”
“Woohoo! I just booked. I decided to fly into Sacramento. Its closer than San Fran and has the necessary train/bus connections.”
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