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My calcs indicate that a 250ml gas canister should get me all the way to Montrose with very little to spare and assuming I dont get too much heat lost with my MSR windshield. Would seasoned challengers care to comment on my estimate? the calcs were done on a day with little wind.
In any case if I get into daily afternoon tea, bed-time brew-ups and extensive "at homes" with other challengers I will run out.
What are my chances of picking up a screw-in type canister (for MSR) at the following touch points with civilisation: Fort Augustus, Newtonmore, Kingussie, Ballater, Edzell, North Water Bridge, Montrose? Including camp-site shops?
Having checked on the Royal Mail site "gas cylinders for camping stoves" are in the fascinating prohibited goods list, along with anthrax, electric bicycles and animal remains (apart from tins of corned beef and "outdoors grub" I presume)
250 gm wouldn't be quite enough for my needs - I tend to have a couple of daily brews plus dinner and brekkies, but . I believe my walking partner has arranged for the Newtonmore bunkhouse peeps to obtain a further small supply on our behalf. (Bless 'er..)
Another option would be to take a bigger canister I suppose...
Anyway, I may be lax with my gas (and who wouldn't be after all that dried food and beer...) but 250 grammes only does me about a week.
My other phobia is about running out of gas and having to eat crunchy curried dust.
My first phobia is far too scary to mention here but involves being trapped in a phone box with somebody determined to explain the plot of Rum Doodle.
250g of gas does just about do me despite having only a basic coleman stove. I don't take lunchtime tea breaks unless its a cold day.
However I do carry a 100g spare in case something goes wrong with the main canister.
You will be able to get gas in most places, definitely Fort Augustus, Aviemore, Kingussie, Braemar and Ballater. Just keep an eye on how much is left and buy if you need more although that last splash in the bottom of the can seems to last a long time.
You don't tend to need much gas once you get onto Deeside as there are plenty of places to eat and you only cook breakfast.
John - I can't answer your question about how easy it is to buy gas, as I have never needed to buy any on the Challenge. A 250ml cannister is always plenty for me.
I did once make accurate notes on how many meals and hot drinks I had made - but I've lost the piece of paper so can't tell you exactly how much gas I used, but it was roughly 6-8 porridges, 12 hot drinks, 6-8 evening meals (rice, pasta or couscous). I don't camp every night and I never walk past anywhere that serves food and/or drink, so that accounts for the days when I don't use the stove much.
I always cook my dinner by boiling up the rice or pasta then turning off the gas and wrapping the pan in an insulated pan cozy (or my sleeping bag before I made the cozy). This means that I only need a couple of minutes of gas to make my dinner.
Some people like to have regular brew stops, but I tend to just drink water (or beer) during the day and that means I still have gas left in a 250 cannister at the East coast.
All shapes and sizes of gass available from Braemar Mountain Sports, and Garage in Braemar.
Thanks to all of you. This is a most helpful set of info.
As it happens I was thinking about pot cozys, not least because, like Mike, I prefer my rice and curry dust not to be too crunchy!
So my plan is (for now - the best thing about planning in advance is you can always decide to do something else):
set off with a couple of 100s;
buy 1 (or even 2) more at Fort Agi, unless I've still got a full one unstarted;
Ditto for Speyside, Ballater, etc.
and most importantly never walk past anywhere that serves food and or drink!
many thanks again
This may not apply to you as it depends on the type of stove you are using, but if the stove is fitted directly to the top of the 100g canister with a pot of boiling liquid on top of that, it has a fairly high risk of toppling. Boiling liquid on your lap is likely to leave you with burns. Much better to carry a 250g canister and simply keep track of how much is left. Each time you get to somewhere that has gas for sale, give the can a shake and decide if you have enough for the next few days.
I agree with Colin.
I found the 110 too small especially in Wind.
Also if it is cold, the pressure from 110 seems to go off quickly, whereas a 250 has a lot more grunt.
Using a pocket rocket and a 250, I can get all the way to Braemar.
This year however I am taking a Jetboil which I have found to be more efficient.
Although I don't have Porridge or Fry bacon at camps.
Just to clarify my MSR (don't know the model, it doesn't say) sits firmly on its 3 fold out legs. The gas canister is on the end of a hose. I chose it specially for the low centre of gravity and minimum height.
In my youth we used to slosh a bit of hot water on the gas bottle to renew the oomph when pressure got weak. Mind you, we also used to cook inside the tent in those days, not sure I would want to do that in my new akto. It's just about doable in a quasar. "you're immortal when you're 16"
I think I have one of those MSR's here.
Good stove, but mine is quite old. Used it a lot back around 2006.
I have used pocket rocket inside my Warmlite and inside the Trailstar.
Mind you I was bloody careful.
Colin, in answer to your health 'n' safety concerns, have you seen those tiny, weigh-nothing, fold-out legs that Bob sells (backpackinglight.com) to stabilise just such a system? Don't know how I ever managed before those...
My argument with myself against the tiny canisters (for more than a weekend)is that you're then carrying the weight of two canisters, albeit marginally lighter ones, for 200g of gas, as opposed to a single canister for 250g of gas. Seems a bit of a no-brainer, especially since it also costs more.
A tiny one picked up near the east as reserve is fine, because by then you can probably find a bin for the empty when it happens, and your pack is lighter as you've eaten it down, and anyway you're much fitter for load-carrying by then!
Ooooh, it's getting closer.....
I don't know if Jean is referring to a plastic stand. If so a word of warning. Mine was very stiff to open and one of the legs began to develop stress fractures with less than 2 weeks use.
I have just ordered one of these ( http://www.ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk/msr_universal_canister_stand.html ) but as I am still waiting for it I don't know how good it will be; but most things MSR I already have are pretty good.
As to gas usage, I will use between 2 & 3 250 canisters on the way across, but then I do usually stop 3 times during the day for tea breaks plus breakfast & dinner. I carry a 250 plus a 100 as reserve. I have never understood how anyone can walk all day without a hot cup of tea and a digestive biscuit!
Can't recall what mine was called but not Primus or Jetboil - although I've used it happily with jetboil stove (that's why I bought the stand: Jetboil much taller than my old Pocket Rocket but much more economical on gas). Check out Bob's website - I'm sure he'll still have it.
Mine will be coming on the Challenge again this year......I suppose by Sod's Law it will now probably crack....!!
I've used the Jetboil canister holder on a couple of long trips and it's holding up fine, and a boon in terms of improved stability.
Jetboil stove, 250grm cylinder lasts
a comfortable 10 14days with a cosi.
for 4 to 6 brews each day plus supper.
Breakfast is muesli and tea. Cheers.
I don't go for 100grm cans Weight for
gas is not good. Cheers.
last a year i started with a 100g ( and a gnat stove + evernew 550 pot used both as a pot and as a mug )
i bought a new 100g canister in Braemar but it was only for safety and turned to not being needed
but i had 3 evenings meals and 2 breakfast without boiling water
and i dont cook , just tea , cafe , soup, dehydrated meals
no porridge at all !!!
if you want to be sure easiest way, ( will spend a canister )
take a new one,
burn it to ( if a 100g )-25g /-50g /-75g / empty on your scale.
each time put it to float in water and draw a line
you can reproduce this on a new canister and have an easy way to check precisely whats left in during the challenge.
( unless its way under 0°C and you dont burn the gaz melange evenly...)