/ Burning food on your camp stove?

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
TobyA on 09 Sep 2017

I'm reviewing a newish model of a sit on top gas stove - it seems perfectly good, but at first look it doesn't seem terribly different from lots of other sit on top gas stoves that I've used down the years. The manufacturer is pushing hard its very adjustable flame power - meaning you can simmer, gently fry etc. etc. and you won't end up with burnt food. The only thing is, I can't remember the last time I burnt anything cooking on a camping stove so I wonder how important this 'USP' is when stove shopping? My lack of burnt food could be 1) that many other stoves, including the various ones I use, have perfectly good levels of adjustability already; or 2) I just have zen-master-level skills of outdoor cooking (unlikely); or 3) particularly my backpacking-style cooking repertoire is completely unambitious and mainly revolves around boiling water.

So, a quick survey: have you ever thought "I wish my stove was more adjustable! I seem to keep burning my breakfast". Is this something that spoils people's weekends in the great outdoors? Or is it an unnecessary solution to a problem that doesn't really exist?
Post edited at 12:56
Andrew Lodge - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Send it to me and I'll get my 15 year old to try it, he'll be able to burn something onto it if it's at all possible.
marsbar - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I've not had this problem with a gas stove and my family would tell you I could burn water!

I think it was a bit more of an issue with early petrol stoves.

I have a rather ancient colman alpine gas stove which I suspect is 20 years old and it is fully adjustable.
john arran - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Original MSR burning unleaded was famously near impossible to simmer with, but I've never had a problem with any gas stove I've ever used. More likely problem would be that the flame could get blown out by wind when turned down low enough.
MFB - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Pocket rocket burns stuff (for me) but very light and packable - not bad, just moody
marsbar - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to MFB:

I thought they were for water not food?
John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I think the food burn risk is

The original MSR

Trangias, particularly before the improved the simmer ring
brianjcooper on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to john arran:

Yep!
I still have, and use, an original MSR XGK II Shaker jet and it does burn water really well! It's great advantage is being multi fuel capable. Apparently an updated version of the fuel pump helps to stop incinerated offerings.
bouldery bits - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Only have this issue with a jetboil.

No issue with an Optimus Crux with burning anything.
Andy Hardy on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:
I'm always burning camp food - mainly I think because the pans are wafer thin rather than the flame doesn't go low enough.
olddirtydoggy - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I find titanium pans are terrible for burning if you don't keep an eye on them. My old non stick alu's were never a problem but took longer to transfer heat.
radar on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to brianjcooper:

I've a couple XGK IIs (not exactly sure why I have 2, but ho hum), and yes the new pump can stop you welding food to pans. And to the earlier poster, yes they are not designed for cooking with, just originally meant for melting snow. Bloomin amusing firing one up on the campsite opposite the Vaynol Arms early on a Sunday morning, see the hungover tent dwellers next door dive out of their tents thinking the RAF have just landed in the field next door.
Wainers44 - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Never had a problem and I always cook proper food when wildcamp. Theres plenty of time, just watch carefully and stir constantly!
BrendanO - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Wainers44:

I think burning is often pan-related. Now I have a Chinook nonstick frying pan, life is better.

Plus one for the Jetboil burning, especially if my mate Doug overfills it with rice - now I only boil water with it.

And we have had burning with a post-war petrol stove, tiny but totally nuclear!! (strangely enough, it belongs to Doug too).

I think a wide controllable flame range is useful, if you plan to cook rather than just boil water or instonoodles. But a thin aluminium pan with scratches on it will ruin anything.
Wainers44 - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to BrendanO:

I don't get jetboil as a concept. Ok I suppose if you want a really quick brew on the go then I suppose so, or if you are an absolutely ultra edgy walker/climber who totally blasts it during the day so urgent scoff before instant sleep is vital?

Pitching up at 1930 in mid Feb the evenings are very long, so why do you need to boil something in 30 secs?

I use titanium pans and fry and boil in them. Frying can "catch" a bit at times but a scrub with heather or bracken gets that off.
bouldery bits - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Wainers44:
I find the jetboil dead useful when used basically as a power kettle. It's really safe and easy to use and has been very reliable.

However, 9 times out of 10 I reach for the optimus crux stove. It's lighter, more compact, has a wider range of cooking ability, and only slightly more hassle than the jet boil.

The jet boil always comes car camping and is around for post surf / bouldering coffees.

I know some people like the jetboil with a hanging kiy for the big wall type stuff but that's not my thing.
Post edited at 21:39
andyjohnson0 - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:
I do sometimes burn food, but I think that's mainly due to using titanium pans rather than the stove is itself. Titanium doesn't seem to disperse heat like aluminium does - the heat goes straight through and creates a hotspot.
Post edited at 22:03
Dell on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

It depends on what your cooking. Some people like to get really gourmet with their camp cooking and adjustability of the flame is really useful.
Not for me though, just noodles or porridge into boiling water.
brianjcooper on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to radar:

> thinking the RAF have just landed in the field next door.

Yeah! It does roar a bit.


John Clinch (Ampthill) - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Some people seem to forget that quick cooking is usually about saving fuel not time.......
brianjcooper on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to Wainers44:

> Never had a problem and I always cook proper food when wildcamp. Theres plenty of time, just watch carefully and stir constantly!

Thank you Mr Torode.
Wainers44 - on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to John Clinch (Ampthill):

Not sure about that. I bet many wild camp trips are only one or two nights tops. You have to be pretty fuel careless for that to be an issue on a short trip. Cooking real food, slowly, is pretty efficient on fuel. Covering pans, windshields, and only boiling the amount of water you really need are more relevant than speed or time taken cooking I think.

NottsRich on 09 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I've successfully burned food using a lookalike Pocketrocket stove. Even with the flame right down it does it. It's not a flame power issue, it's that's the flame spreader it's useless and it is like a pointy blow torch under the pan.
Siward on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to andyjohnson0:

Yep, if I'm cooking proper food (i.e. whenever not backpacking) I use my stainless steel MSR pans. They may not, technically, conduct heat as well as alu and are probably, techinically, less efficient but they don't suffer from hotspots and are tougher than old boots. I save the titanium for the lightweight stuff when cooking means boiling some water.
Trangia on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Big plus for stainless steel pans, much much easier to clean if you do burn your food. I think this ease of cleaning overrules the extra weight. Also no need to take cleaning materials because grass is excellent for cleaning. The root ends with bits of soil in it acts as an abrasive, and the leafy ends clean well and cut through grease.
Wainers44 - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Trangia:

> Big plus for stainless steel pans, much much easier to clean if you do burn your food. I think this ease of cleaning overrules the extra weight. Also no need to take cleaning materials because grass is excellent for cleaning. The root ends with bits of soil in it acts as an abrasive, and the leafy ends clean well and cut through grease.

Or the best piece of kit ever bought if I am truly fatpacking is the non stick frying pan for my Trangia. Can make perfect look alike roast (fried) potatoes on that!!
mkean - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:
I think a sensitive control and good simmer is much more useful for cramming as much food into a pot as possible rather that to stop stuff burning on. That said a good broad heating area is much better to cook on than a flame that looks like a cutting torch!
captain paranoia - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

Like others, I find that Ti is the main culprit for burnt food.

Half the thickness, one tenth of the conductivity of Al means heat doesn't spread across the base, so you get hot spots. I've had instant soup practically welded to the bottom of a Ti mug, using only a 350W meths burner... Because I got distracted from stirring for a while.

Combine Ti with a small burner head, and you have a food burning system unless you stir, stir, stir...
tingle - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I might just be a bit brutish but I find it really hard to get my msr windburner to simmer. Part of the reason to move to rehydration food is because it's just too powerful low down.
Stopsy - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I'd see the appeal, cooking on Alpkit Koro I regularly stuggle to get a simmer, this is probably the combination of the small pots and stuffing food in them. Also reading the manual, I'm not supposed to have it on its lowest setting for prolonged periods of time? All this means I tend to whack it up to max, then turn it off and let it stand. But if I leave it up high for too long, often get a little bit of burn in the pan.
Neil Williams - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I used to have an old Epigas one where the flame came out of the top of the burner like a blowtorch - it did tend to burn stuff. Not had that issue with more recent stoves, any gas stove seems to be reasonably adjustable.

I don't however like cartridge top stoves in any form - they are too unstable.
Dell on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Neil Williams:

Get the fold out feet, no chance of falling over then.
TobyA on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to Dell:

I spilt my water last night using the new stove and that was with the clip on feet for the gas canister too! A small one man tent and a moment of distraction was enough. Annoying.
Deadeye - on 10 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:
Stoves are poor at gentle temperatures, so #3 for me. **BUT**

It's not just, or even mainly, the stove's fault. At home people use heavy copper-bottomed ("Are you aluminiuming them my man? No I'm copper-bottoming them Maam") or cast iron pans for a reason: even heat distribution. As soon as you make pans aluminium or titanium you choose lightness over cooking function, especially on a heat source that is a set of blue-tip flames.

A really good heat distributor mesh set between stove and pan would be more useful than being able to turn the gas down low.

I ought to win a stove for that.
Post edited at 20:09
Neil Williams - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to Dell:

> Get the fold out feet, no chance of falling over then.

More chance than a ground-level stove or a Trangia, as the whole thing is still quite top heavy.
Toerag - on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to john arran:

> More likely problem would be that the flame could get blown out by wind when turned down low enough.

^This is a very important consideration.

Dell on 11 Sep 2017
In reply to TobyA:

I forgot to add:

...unless you're a clumsy arse.

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.