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Good designI have been looking for something more robust than the backpacking stoves that are offered most places, but portable enough for a picnic or car camping. This is it. The preheating area can be easily reached which is not the case in a lot of similar stoves. The design is about as simple as a pressurized system can be, but still does the job well and is easy to operate.
Second one is great!I was excited when I saw these stoves and really liked that is used kerosine. The first one I received was pretty rough. Bad threads on air valve, pump rod did not seal even after a soaking, and the kicker was the tank was bent at the top where the burner assembly fitted causing the whole assembly to be at an angle. I didn't even try to light it. I contacted Garrett Wade and they made it right. I noticed the second one was packed with great care and attention and the pump seal had already been soaked and ready to go! I was able to fire it up as soon as I got it. It took me 2 tries to get it going but it was a learning curve, not a performance problem. I did notice that any little breeze causes the flame to veer off to whichever side it's blown to and seemed to be at risk of blowing out easily so a windscreen would be a worth while investment. I haven't taken it out in the deep, dark woods to make s'mores with Sasquatch yet, but I do live at 6,000 feet and it worked very well, (out of the wind). It does sound like a jet engine when it's fired up and I have seen that there is a "silent burner" for these stoves but, unfortunately, Garrett Wade doesn't carry them... Maybe soon? I had to knock a star for the poor quality of the first stove but I still recommend it!
Stylish Burner. My Expectations Were Exceeded.I recently ordered the smaller of these two stoves.
Having owned several original Primus and Optimus stoves, I was reasonably conversant in the operation of this one. As noted, the pump leathers MUST be conditioned before use. This is not uncommon. Typically, pump leathers are shipped this way to reduce the chance of them being crushed, or absorbing moisture and corroding the bore of the pump. A useful tip is to pack the spare pump leather in cotton balls which have been soaked in Vaseline, and store it in a pill or vitamin bottle. It will be supple and ready for use, and the cotton makes and excellent camp fire starter.
I was pleasantly surprised with the quality and finish. The brass may be a trifle thinner than that used on the classic products, but the stove I received shows very nicely indeed. The machining and assembly is clean and professional.
Be advised, these are not backpacking stoves in the modern idiom. I have backpacking stoves that measure their weight in grams -- and not so many of them. Even the small model is a hefty chunk of brass, with the capacity for a couple of pints of kerosene. These stoves are better suited to car or canoe camping than ultralight hiking. However, unlike ultralight stoves, these can be used for real cooking, a function they perform for much of the world. Ultralight stoves are really best suited for boiling water.
Mine will go into a classic gimbal mount aboard my sail boat. Kerosene recommends itself as a boat fuel for many reasons. Kerosene isn't explosive as are butane, propane and naptha. It is energy-rich, and available broadly. When burned in a properly adjusted stove, it creates relatively little carbon monoxide. I have found K-1 (water clear kerosene) to be the best and least odorous fuel, but in a pinch, Jet-A aviation fuel works, as will low-sulfur diesel with fairly rigorous pre-heating. I have heard of people using bio-diesel, but I have no experience with it in a stove. I do not recommend diesel except for emergencies. It's odorous, and blackens the pots, but will yield a warm cup of tea! These stoves are absolutely not supposed to be used with gasoline or Coleman fuel. Don't even think about it.
Overall, these are a true bargain . They require a bit of a fettle for use, but I've never purchased a hand-tool that didn't. One would look darn good beside your classic Land Rover.
TrickyA bit tricky to get started but I did, finally. The pump gasket was too small and would not pump. The spare was too big and I had to put a radiator hose clamp around it to make it small enough to go into the pump chamber. After all that it did work well and I was over all pleased with the stove.
Using old time kerosene camping stovesI got one of each; a small one and a large one. For those of you who are not familiar with this type of stove these are really old, but well proven and tested technology. They are not as easy to use as modern butane or propane stoves, BUT they put out a lot more heat and they burn kerosene which is a plus if you're on an extended camp out or outside the US. Five gallons of kerosene, or as it's sometimes called "paraffin", will last a long long time even in very cold weather. CAUTION: Burning anything but kerosene in this type of stove, unless it is well below zero is suicidal. Don't even consider it. Occasionally you may find references in old literature about burning gasoline in them, but ignore it....it's very dangerous. Pay attention to the directions that come with the stove. These kinds of stoves are based on buning vaporized kerosene, which is why you have to light it with an alcohol flame in the burner tray. The vaporizing loops have to get hot enough to make the kerosene vaporize and ignite. This also requires that you build up a little pressure, using the included and installed pressure pump. This pump requires a little maintenance before you use the stove. Be sure and soak the "leathers" on fuel (kerosene) for a few hours (i like to soak for 24 hours) before I plan to use the stove. This causes the leather to expand and form a good seal with the pump tube. You don't need a great deal of pressure to force the kerosene into the vaporization tubes. A little positive pressure applied fairly frequently is better than attempting to pump to a high pressure. Please remember, this is old technology and it may require to fiddle and fit a few things to make it work the way you want it to. One final suggestion...learn to use the stove before you go camping. Trying to set it up and use it for the first time when it's dark, when it's snowing and you're tired, is a sure fire recipe for failure. One final caution: Do not polish the stove. Certain brass polishes will cause the soldered joints to come loose and leak like a sieve.
My Apology..!I want to be fare, as I wrote a very bad review, and it is not the fault of Garrett Wade...! I was very upset as I thought not only about it's ability of cooking meals while out on the road doing my fishing trips, But would also have looked nice in my custom tear drop trailer.. It is the manufacturer's poor quality control in which is to blame...! The one stove would not build pressure at all, and the other could not maintain a flame , I suspect a problem with it's needle valve... I apologize to Garrett Wade for my previous review, but we were just going to leave my son, and I to take my grandson fishing, and had promised to cook up our catch while fishing the nite through, and there is no way to let a child down as to tell him the new stove won't work so we will have to eat out instead, when he was looking so forward to this fishing excursion...! Sorry...!
Response By: Garrett Wade Tech Department
Thank you for following up on your previous review on the stove. No need to apologize, we completely understand how you feel. Our directions cover startup & operation, and has some troubleshooting tips, but we'll take another look to see how we can further clarify. However, as you mentioned, if your stove does have a manufacturing flaw, we will replace it. Please send it back, we’ll send you a direct message to sort out the return details.
Tricky to get stove started and mystery about the poor fit of the pump gasketThe PDF instructions are an important supplement to the video so don't miss them on this website (I did at first). It was hard to get the hang of starting this stove. Make sure you use the wrench to snug (not too tight) down the burner onto the tank. Make sure you use a wind shield that wraps at least 3 sides. Without it, even in calm air, the alcohol flame flaps around and you really want it to go straight up into the loops of burner tubes to heat them properly. A better video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=knErXsrFKNQ (by Bert Heideveld, in the Netherlands, on May 8, 2013, he misspells the burner brand, it is not Prabath, but Prabhat). Nobody seems to address the fact that the pump gasket, a cup-shaped item on the end of the pump shaft, fits very loosely in the bore of the pump chamber. I think it's supposed to fit snugly so you get some pumping action, but even the extra replacement gasket provided with the stove is the same shape. So.... what's up with that? The PDF file Garrett Wade provides on the website says to soak it in kerosene to soften it, but if that means the gasket will open up and spread to fill the bore of the pump chamber then SAY so. At first examination it looks like a poorly executed part. In spite of not having done the soaking and after watching the video from Mr. Heideveld I was able to get the stove started. I DID apply some 3-in-1 oil (SAE 20) to the pump gasket as directed by the instructions that came in the box with the stove. That seemed to provide enough of an "air seal" on the pump gasket to get some pressure into the tank. I will see if the pump gasket fit improves after soaking. My biggest complaint about this product is a lack of instruction about the pump gasket - it's either SUPPOSED to be snug in the bore of the pump chamber and here's what you do to get it that way, or, it's NOT SUPPOSED to be snug in the bore of the pump chamber and it'll work just fine just like it is, rattling around in the pump shaft. I am accustomed to feeling back pressure when pumping a Coleman camp stove and I don't get any of that feeling of back pressure when I'm pumping this. I've wasted a lot of time searching the internet for some guidance on this pump gasket business. There are some discussions that say the gasket provided is worthless and you need to order a replacement from some Swiss company. In spite of all that, I was able to muddle my way through (based on Mr Heideveld's video) and get the stove started.
StoveThe pictures do not give an accurate size visual. I ordered the small one and it was way to big for my needs.