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size pot melting snow 1 person


Original Post
neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20

5-7 day trips, single digits to 0 at night, 5000-10000 ft, melting snow for water - using something like a jetboil or a reactor for a single person - what size pot would you get? jet boil mini mo - 1 liter, or Sumo 1.8L? Reactor same question. 1L or 1.7L ? If it was a team of 2 I would say definitely the larger size. Thoughts? I currently have a GSI dualist pot that is 1.8L I am finding it hard to believe a 1L pot would be sufficient/efficient for even 1 person melting snow for water.

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175

i would just consider how many liters of water you want to make a day and how many pots you want to boil a day.

if you each want say, 3L a day you need to boil 6L. if you only want to sit around for 3 pots worth of melting then boiling, that would mean you need a 2L pot.

i would spend more time considering how much fuel you will need.

also consider that stoves that allow you to control the pressure in the fuel reservoir are much more efficient at those temps and altitudes.

Stiles · · the Mountains · Joined May 2003 · Points: 840

Go big! No question.

James T · · Livermore · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 80

+1 on reconsidering stove type for those temperatures and altitudes. However, there are workarounds with canister stoves:

Link

If you have access to cold temps, the best thing to do is practice with whatever setup you choose and get it dialed in.

Tylerpratt · · Litchfield, Connecticut · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 35
neils wrote:5-7 day trips, single digits to 0 at night, 5000-10000 ft, melting snow for water - using something like a jetboil or a reactor for a single person - what size pot would you get? jet boil mini mo - 1 liter, or Sumo 1.8L? Reactor same question. 1L or 1.7L ? If it was a team of 2 I would say definitely the larger size. Thoughts? I currently have a GSI dualist pot that is 1.8L I am finding it hard to believe a 1L pot would be sufficient/efficient for even 1 person melting snow for water.
Get the size that the fuel canister can fit inside. This saves space in packing.
Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175

if i were doing your trip, id bring my xgk, two bottles of fuel and my 1.8L pot.

i like to drink coffee/tea in those temps, would use the water for freeze dried meals and then obviously drinking water. i prefer to have some extra fuel when returning vs running out. my legs can handle it.

a side note, bring a wind screen as it will make your setup much more efficient.

neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20
Jake wander wrote:i would just consider how many liters of water you want to make a day and how many pots you want to boil a day. if you each want say, 3L a day you need to boil 6L. if you only want to sit around for 3 pots worth of melting then boiling, that would mean you need a 2L pot. i would spend more time considering how much fuel you will need. also consider that stoves that allow you to control the pressure in the fuel reservoir are much more efficient at those temps and altitudes.
are you referring to liquid fuel stoves?

I am thinking 1 person with food and drinking requires 3 liters per day. A 1.8 liter pot will not be filled to absolute capacity. So figure 2 pots or so for 1 person per day. If you are solo and the pot is 1L then its going to be at least 3 pots per day. My experience thus far is a breakfast (oatmeal and coffee) takes 3/4 of liter, dinner (mountainhouse) and a hot beverage is about the same - so 1.5-2L for meals - plus drinking water which would ideally be 1.5-2L per. So 3-4L per day, per person. Does this sound reasonable?

I own a whisperlite but so much of what I read I see folks saying they take their reactors and jetboils down to 0 and below (sleep with canister, put in small dish of water to keep warm if needed) and they are much more efficient for boils and melting snow - plus you can "safely" cook in the tent. It makes it very attractive.
neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20
Jake wander wrote:if i were doing your trip, id bring my xgk, two bottles of fuel and my 1.8L pot. i like to drink coffee/tea in those temps, would use the water for freeze dried meals and then obviously drinking water. i prefer to have some extra fuel when returning vs running out. my legs can handle it. a side note, bring a wind screen as it will make your setup much more efficient.

i have a whisperlite, wind screen, etc - i am proficient at using it - i guess the only thing that is giving me pause is that I can't cook in my tent with it if need be. I have an i-tent - it does not have a vestibule - so any cooking i would do with a liquid fuel stove would need to be outside. Using the canister in the tent, if need be, or a hot drink in the morning in the tent is always nice...if not necessary if the weather outside goes foul - heading out to boil water is less than attractive IMO.
diepj · · PDX · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

1.7L reactor hands down if you are decide to go with the canister system. If you use good practices it will work fine in your conditions.

A 1L pot would really suck for melting snow. When melting you don't want to be cramming the thing to capacity so a 1L pot would be a nuisance. By the time you leave some freeboard and then leave some water to charge the next round, you'll only be getting a half liter out per round.

neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20

yeah 1.7 all the way - that is what i thought

i am just torn now if I want/need/it's worth it to shell out the $$ for a Reactor or if I just stick with my whisperlite - its good, it works, I know it won't be an issue...but its kind of a PIA, and I can't use it in the tent if I have to

Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175
neils wrote:yeah 1.7 all the way - that is what i thought i am just torn now if I want/need/it's worth it to shell out the $$ for a Reactor or if I just stick with my whisperlite - its good, it works, I know it won't be an issue...but its kind of a PIA, and I can't use it in the tent if I have to
man if you already have a whisper lite, take that. i know there are tons of people who swear by their reactors even in low temps, but id bring a whisper lite over a reactor for the temps and altitudes you mentioned. cooking in the tent is overrated anyway (unless youre in some crazy temps). for the amount of time youre going to be spending with the stove running, the fuel can is really going to cool down quite a bit. being able to increase the pressure will be desirable.
neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20
Jake wander wrote: man if you already have a whisper lite, take that. i know there are tons of people who swear by their reactors even in low temps, but id bring a whisper lite over a reactor for the temps and altitudes you mentioned. cooking in the tent is overrated anyway (unless youre in some crazy temps). for the amount of time youre going to be spending with the stove running, the fuel can is really going to cool down quite a bit. being able to increase the pressure will be desirable.
pretty much - I mean this is why I have it - winter backpacking. I know it is certainly not the wrong application for the whisperlite - its definitely appropriate. I guess I was looking for someone to convince me why I needed to buy more gear :) I have my whisperlite and bottle completely cleaned - there is no odor. I am going to put it my checked baggage and hope for the best :)
Jake wander · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2014 · Points: 175

nice. where are you headed anyway?

neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20
Jake wander wrote:nice. where are you headed anyway?
Mt. Whitney in 2 weeks for a 5 day winter skills class and summit attempt with AAI. Also going to Lee Vining for 2 days for some ice, and Vegas for 2 days of rock. The wife is taking a trip and said...go do something...so I am ;)

I've travelled a bit and backpacked all over the place, but real climbing and mountaineering has all been in the North East (except 1 day in Jtree and 1 day in Snow Canyon UT) - so this is a new adventure for me. Sooo looking forward to it.
diepj · · PDX · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 0

I've checked fuel bottles before with no issue if clean. I always put them in the baggage with the lids off.

neils · · Unknown Hometown · Joined May 2016 · Points: 20
Ain't That Rich wrote:A full bottle for an XGK or whisperlite is plenty for 5-7 days on a Whitney solo. I melt all snow and ice in a 1 liter pot, and fill a couple of 1 liter soda bottles and throw 'em in the bottom of the bag the night before. A one liter pot is plenty big and certainly works better given increased surface area to volume in heating snow. However, it is definitely a technique worth mastering before you get into the business. I've rigged a hanging XGK and always boil up in the tent, because you have to love suffering to cook outside, at night, in the wind, at altitude on some half-assed chunk of plywood and ensolite praying your 1/2 gallon of slush doesn't get tipped over.
wow - thanks. I've never used an XGK. As I said I have the whisperlite. I have definitely read about folks using them in a tent, in your case a BD single walled tent (firstlite) and you are still alive and unburned - so clearly it works, Can you explain how you get the stove primed and working without flare/burning the tent up etc? On my whisperlite I just can't see doing that...granted my technique may not be as refined as possible.

I hope no one minds this thread - my questions are going beyond just this trip - this is proving very informative for me :)
mark felber · · Wheat Ridge, CO · Joined Jul 2005 · Points: 28

The Whisperlite is going to take a little longer to prime and get running smoothly than an X-GK. The ported burner that makes it so quiet has more metal in it than the scatter plate on the X-GK, and more metal means more time and fuel before the stove is warm enough to burn cleanly and smoothly. I suspect that the extra metal in the Whisperlite burner is also going to contribute to flaring while the stove is warming up. None of this is really noticeable until the temperatures drop below freezing, but I've learned that once the temperature goes below freezing the Whisperlite takes noticeably longer to get running smoothly. You could always prime the stove and get it burning smoothly outside the tent, then bring it inside the tent when it's actually running. The hanging system is impressive, but I would practice setting it up at home before trying it in the cold and wind.

A good snow melting setup would be the big (2 liter) pot from the MSR Alpine cookset, the MSR heat exchanger and your Whisperlite if you're going with that. The heat exchanger adds a little wind protection and improves heat transfer to the pot's contents, speeding up the cooking/melting time. The heat exchanger and the Whisperlite will fit into the 2 liter pot, just leave the small (1.5 liter) pot at home and save weight. MSR also makes a base for their liquid fuel stoves called the Trillium, which would make your Whisperlite a lot more stable if you don't go for the hanging option. It's also a little more compact than the plywood/Ensolite setup.

Jeremy Cote · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0
Jake wander wrote:if i were doing your trip, id bring my xgk, two bottles of fuel and my 1.8L pot. i like to drink coffee/tea in those temps, would use the water for freeze dried meals and then obviously drinking water. i prefer to have some extra fuel when returning vs running out. my legs can handle it. a side note, bring a wind screen as it will make your setup much more efficient.
Just cook inside your tent and no need for a wind screen.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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