– my personal views on all walks of outdoor life

Crazy ideas: A propane burner with white gas?

It’s been a bit quiet in the blog as I’m using most of my spare time doing expedition preparations. Last weekend was spent weighting, mixing and packing food for three-week expedition. I’ll write more about my diet before leaving but here is a teaser pick:

Most of the food for two people for a three-week expedition. Missing from the picture: more butter, more hard rye bread and load of bacon.

Today I had some time to test stoves as earlier this winter I was able to get my hands on couple of old classic Optimus Hiker 111Ts. These are nice stoves with good power control and very quiet compared to modern roarer-style liquid fuel stoves. And they are very hard to find so I’m happy that I got two of them. I’ll later modify other burner to fit Trangia and use external fuel bottle and it’ll serve as my winter camping stove if takin only one stove as a cooker box for one stove is overkill and heavy. The Trangia-modification is called Ultima Naltio and is explained here.

Optimus Hiker 111T on test run. A classic piece of beauty.

previously I have modified a Primus Omnifuel multifuel stove to fit in Trangia and used it while winter camping. Today I got crazy idea about trying to use Trangia butane/propane gas burner with white gas! The burner is made by Primus. It has a vaporizer tube required to vaporize liquid fuel and it comes with 0,37mm Primus nozzle that is also used in Omnifuel to burn white-gas and it fits to Primus Ergopump that comes with the Omnifuel stove. The burner also looks quite a bit similar to MSR Simmerlite stove, so why not give it a try?

Testing Trangia gas burner with white gas. Original Trangia burner doing the priming under the base.

I filled a fuel bottle with little bit of white gas, twisted it to the burner and opened the valve. White gas showered out from the nozzle as it is supposed to. I shut the valve and used the original Trangia burner to prime the stove as the propane burner doesn’t have any cup for priming fuel, though it would be easy to attach one to it. After thoroughful priming I opened the main valve and the burner lit!

The problems started soon after igniting the stove. The burner seemed to work but there was minor leakage where the flexible fuel line is attached to the burner and the leaking white gas ignited so I decided to stop the experiment. I will test later if the joint leaks also when pressurized with cold water or used with propane but until then using a propane burner with white gas seems like a viable idea. The stove just needs to have proper sized nozzle, vaporizer tube, suitable burner head and no rubber or plastic parts near the burner head. I think that for example MSR Windpro or Edelrid Opilio might work very well. They would make reasonably prized and light multifuel stoves that could be used with butane/propane in summer and with white-gas in winter.

Have you tried to use butane/propane stove with white gas? Do you see some reasons why it might not work? Is there even any idea in trying?

Disclaimer: All testing and using of gear against manufacturer instructions are done at your own risk!


12 responses to “Crazy ideas: A propane burner with white gas?

  1. Timo Ylhäinen 23/03/2011 at 22:52

    To my experience, that exact spot is the weakest point of Trangia gas burner. I have go a simliar leak (with gas) twice during a hike.

  2. korpijaakko 23/03/2011 at 23:05

    Thanks, Timo! I was pondering if the joint should turn freely (as the fuel line connection to valve does) or is mine broken as it does rotate freely. Did you manage to fix the leakage or did you get new burner?

  3. Timo Ylhäinen 23/03/2011 at 23:50

    I got one replaced years ago, it was brand new. The replacement started to leak 3 years ago and I still have it somewhere, have not tried to fix it. I think the joint is a bit different in this new one.

    The newest one I have here does not turn freely.

  4. Tomas 23/03/2011 at 23:58

    Man that is a lot of Fazer chocolate 🙂 Fazer is always my choice for camping chocolate, it’s got a certain chunkiness that is perfect for outdoors.

    I don’t get why you want to run white fuel through the trangia burner, what’s the problem with the omnifuel? Heavy yes, but rock-solid and easy to take apart and repair. I wouldn’t like to run a risky set-up just to save a few hundred grammes!

  5. korpijaakko 24/03/2011 at 00:13

    Timo: So I probably broke mine during the priming or it has broken during the two years while tighly rolled up in the closet. Have to try to fix it. A warning might be necessary: You might break your stove while testing this!

    Tomas: I don’t have any prefered chocolate bränd but chose Fazer for the variety of flavours (I’m eating it for three weeks) and because of good size. One piece is 200g and I’ll eat 100g per day so it’s easy to do the math even if tired… There’s nothing wrong with the Omnifuel (well, except the noice but Optimus Hiker is the solution) but I just wanted to give it a try. I know there are people with remote canister stoves that could benefit using white gas in their stoves if it would work…

  6. Antti Rantanen 24/03/2011 at 08:03

    Wau, that’s a big nice pile of food:)
    Is it hard not to touch those chokolates? I mean, I have to buy them always at the very last minute otherwise there are none left when the actual adventure starts:D:D

    Good luck man!

  7. Eero L 24/03/2011 at 10:49

    That’s an impressive mountain of calories, but… only one bottle of whisky? 🙂

  8. Matias Utriainen 24/03/2011 at 11:17

    Eero: About the whisky, 1L/p/w.

  9. Tomas 24/03/2011 at 13:07

    Can’t believe I missed the whiskey 🙂 Jameson, total respect! My number 1 go-to whiskey for any season, any occasion, anytime. Might save a ton of weight by pouring it into a load of platypuses though!

  10. Korpijaakko 24/03/2011 at 14:04

    Thanks for the comments!

    Antti: Apparently I am gaining more willpower as the chocolates haven’t caused any problems. Actually, I’m not interested at all about the expedition food right now. Hopefully this will chance when I get to Svalbard.

    Eero: At the moment some 5090kcal per day for me… Whiskey, butter and hard rye bread (näkkäri) are there only for illustrative purposes. We’re going to buy them locally from Svalbard and plan is to buy (for two people): 4,5kg of butter, 1,5kg bread (that’s the right combination…) and three bottles of spirits.

    Tomas: Jameson is always a good choice as it it always easy and nice to drink and works also well with coffee. At home I usually drink Scottish single malts. Laproigh has been a long time favourite but now I’m turning towards Higland Park’s stuff… And as the whiskey is there as a prop, we are going to use simple plastic bottles for the spirits. On shorter trips (meaning less whiskey) I use 0,5 liter Platypus

  11. hikinjim 18/11/2011 at 08:18

    That’s a very interesting experiment that you tried with your Trangia gas burner. Did you ever get it to work?

    Los Angeles, CA, USA

  12. korpijaakko 20/11/2011 at 22:38

    Thanks jim! Unfortunately no, at least not yet. I haven’t had much time for it but I hope that someone with a working burner would give it a try? =D Apparently the burner was broken allready when I started testing and it is quite typical for it to break from that exact point.

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