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EMT Miscellanea #2- Too much Camping Fuel

My Regular Riding Partner has a fear of running low on his Cardo communicator battery. I have a fear of running low on camping fuel – so much so that I always pack too much.

The incredible Jetboil Mighty Mo

When I was first kitting out for motocamping, I purchased my truly fantastic Jetboil MightyMo stove. The stove is amazing – it folds up to the size of a film canister (for those that remember those), and the biggest part is in fact the plastic tripod that holds the unit steady when the canister is attached, and there is a pot or pan on the stove. The stove is boils water so quickly – hence the name of the company – and even comes with an occasionally-working piezo igniter. I’m sure I just have to re-adjust mine to get it working again.

My first experience with this little gadget was right after I bought it, and I took my kids camping. I had one small 100g gas tank with me – we were only going to be gone a weekend, after all. I tried, foolishly, to simmer something. I ran out of gas, quickly. This is when I also found out that more of the regular stores for camping equipment here in Canada (I’m looking at you, Canadian Tire) tend only to carry the disposable Coleman disposable propane fuel tanks, rather than the really compact ones my stove uses, that are isobutane. (I don’t know the pros and cons of either system environmentally, but I can tell you that both cylinders are theoretically recyclable.) That left us in a pretty poor situation, rescued by my wonderful partner.

The three standard sizes of isobutane canisters

I have since found that the fuel isn’t really that hard to find. I’ve in fact found it in little convenience stores, but they happen to be near campgrounds and such. I think every KOA we stayed at this summer had these canisters to purchase. Really, it was just that one experience the first time I went out, which caused me to be paranoid about fuel, and I vowed that I would take extra fuel all the time, despite the evidence that I can buy fuel along the way. That first experience with the small 100g fuel canister lead me to buy the larger 450g canisters, and some medium sized 230g canisters. And now, a Canadian Tire near me carries the isobutane canister in a medium size, so I brought some of those. And a scale, that can screw on to the valve and give the percentage of remaining fuel. I might, in fact, be paranoid about fuel. I’m sure that I am paranoid about simmering with that stove.

That wasn’t abated, aparently, when I saw Amanda Zito aka “As The Magpie Flies” at the Touratech Rally last year (and again, at the Revzilla Get-on-Adventure-Fest). She is fantastic to chat with, and just a really warm and welcoming person. Anyway, as is always the case at Touratech, a lot of the focus was on gear and packing, rather than on her adventures, because people are fascinating in their self-focus. She does almost all her own cooking on the road – she even has a cookbook coming out – and basically has one medium canister last her a week or more. I will have to remember that the next time I’m packing, because I certainly forgot it when packing for my long trip only 2 weeks later.

For the EMT, I brought one previously used medium canister, and one additional medium and large canister. My RRP, featured in the photo at the top, also brought at least two more. Basically, during the day, the cooler-in-the-top-box carried fuel cannisters, plus some snacks. It never carried food while we were moving, because we would not have room for any fuel too much fuel. We returned having spent 2 used canisters, and starting a third – out of the five we brought with us. Not overly smart.

What has occurred to me is that it’s easier to find these little canisters around than you might think, so I should take fewer and put my “range anxiety” to rest. We cooked less than I thought we might on this trip, for sure, but those nights were probably the best, and the most fun. I’m looking forward to cooking more on my camping trips this year. But I sure don’t need to bring so much fuel with me, especially given the space those canisters take up.

Maybe I should support Magpie’s cookbook!

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