The Vault Regulars

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lightweight remote cylinder stove.

 My favourite stove for all seasons is the Primus Express Spider remote cylinder stove and it is very good, especially when ambient temperatures are low. 
 The leg design could have been better and i improved mine to stop the stove tipping. I did a small post on it here. CLICK   
 Remote cylinder stoves are not the lightest backpacking stoves you will find but the low centre of gravity is what i particularly like.

 I have numerous stoves, Coleman F1, Optimus Crux, White box, BPL pocket Ti, Trangia and more Meths burners than i can shake a stick at. But stoves fascinate me and i am always trying different designs usually of my own, to try and get something more efficient, lighter, smaller, quicker. It doesn't always work and i end up back at the drawing board but it's fun trying my ideas.
 The PES (Primus express spider)weighs 200 grams and folds down quite neatly into my 600ml pan. Good for a remote cylinder stove of such robust design and quality. The only down side to using this stove is that the windsheild required has to be quite a large diameter and quite a large height.

 I have been considering trying to get some weight out of kit. After many sketches and hours making cardboard prototype designs, i decided not to compromise the stove and end up destroying it. But to have a go at making my own from scratch.
 That's where i ran into problems. I searched and searched to see if i could buy the parts as individual items and modify them. Burners, nozzles, gas pipes, regulators etc etc and i just couldn't find anything anywhere in the very light weight department.
 I was going to give up when i thought about looking for a cheap off the shelf remote cylinder stove, stripping it down completely and revamping the design. Not the way i wanted to go particularly but at least i could try and achieve a lighter stove and if i ended up ruining the thing, well i would have had fun trying anyway.
 Checking out the web i eventually decided to go for the Hi Gear Inferno folding stove although there were a few choices. It was just under £20 and weighed 250gr. I recon that if i had managed to source the parts individually they probably would have cost me at least this amount of money. So it wasn't a bad idea to buy off the shelf after all. As long as it would strip down of course. Some stoves don't readily do that.
 Luckily this stove came apart completely into it's component parts. The parts i had to keep were the burner head, the remote gas tube and regulator. Everything else could be changed, modified or binned.

         Here's the stove as bought.

The Hi Gear Inferno stove.
A decent buy in it's own right
250 grams.

 I was lucky, this stove stripped down completely which gave me many options of design, having more or less a blank canvas to work with.
 So i started off by throwing away the piezo ignition. From past experience these are very unreliable and have a short life span.
 The leg assembly pan support was very well designed and very well made but it was also the heaviest component, so that had to go as well. I looked into making the assembly lighter but not enough weight could be got out of it.
 The standpipe and hose support, i decided to keep because although i could make lighter versions, it would take time and the resultant weight saving wouldn't justify all the effort.
 So, with the bits left, i tried numerous ways of supporting the burner, supporting a pan whilst maintaining stove stability. On numerous occasions i thought i had it cracked only to be disappointed when i got to use it in the field. (Well in the garden actually).
 Like all prototype designs you have to tinker with it before you end up with the production version, so i wasn't disappointed that i had a few failed goes.
 One of the things i did learn was that you cannot support pans using aluminium tent pegs. Heat changes the molecular structure of the metal in such a way that with only a few uses and with the peg glowing red they start to break up. Result, spilt pan of water.
 I decided to purchase some 2mm stainless steel rod from ebay which didn't cost much and it gave me a chance to play around with pan support design.
 Titanium is out of the question by the way, it's just to expensive here in the UK to play around with.

 So this is what i ended up with.

 As a support for the burner standpipe i bought an aluminium water bottle for £1 and cut off the base. I drilled numerous holes which would allow air to completely flow around the burner when a heat shield was being used and also to reduce the weight of the base.
 I used the 2mm stainless rods as pan supports and angled the ends to allow my 600mm Ti pot to sit firmly in place.
 A heat reflector was incorporated below the burner head.
 The componant parts
 Pan support x 2
 Burner, reflector and stand pipe assembly.

 Gas tube and regulator assembled.
 Pan supports in situ.
Complete assembly weight 139 grams.

Top Left:  here is the stove, windsheild and pan. Together with my breakfast bowl,mug and lid.
Top right: The windsheild rolls up into my mug.
Bottom left: The mug fits into my insulated bowl.
Bottom Right: The bowl/mug lid keeps everything safe and secure. There is still room in the mug for 2 breakfast cereals to be stored.
The stove itself fits easily into the 600ml Ti pan. With lots of storage space left for other gear.


  1. I am impressed. Tinkering with kit is fun.

    1. Hi Martin,
      Thanks, I enjoy this sort of thing. As long as I keep the cost down.

  2. That is impressive tinkering.

  3. Hi Dawn, good to hear from you. This works really well and the output from the burner is quite high too.

  4. Nice bit of Engineering that Alan.
    You'll be taking orders for the Challenge then :-)


  5. I can make anything to your specifications Andrew.


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