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Partner kimgraves


Sep 15, 2007, 10:10 AM
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MSR Reactor - first impression
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Well I finally got my hands on the new MSR Reactor. They had one at the big box store here in NYC. Of course the staff knew nothing about it.

I didn't buy it, just took it out and played with it. Two things: 1) it doesn't have a built-in lighter. I knew the prototypes didn't have one, but I thought MSR was going to put one in on the production model? This seems like a big omission. A built in lighter is a safety feature, Mountain Research. You don't have to carry a lighter/s to keep warm and loose. The lighting process is contained and safe. 2) The pot doesn't attach to the stove unit. How are you going to hang the thing? The whole point of this unit is that it's good in the cold, good at altitude. But given how top heavy it is, if you can't hang it, how are you going to use it in a tent? This is close to a show stopper for me.

I was hoping that this stove was going to be "the answer" and I may still get one. My guess is the the lack of a lighter is a price point decision. At $140 this is an expensive unit and maybe MSR just didn't want to have to up the price to cover the cost. But the second objection happens at design time. It doesn't cost any more money to design and tool up to produce a pot that attaches. So that's a mystery to me.

It may indeed be great in the cold and at altitude. But I'm disappointed. The Jet Boil is bad in the cold and bad at altitude. But it's a more functional unit.

Finally, I was talking to the buyer at Tent and Trails here in town. He told me that the whole reason behind the delay in getting out the unit was to reduce the amount of CO2 the unit gave off in order to cut JetBoil out of the Canadian market. JetBoil apparently had the same problem. By significantly reducing CO2 in the Reactor, JetBoil will not be allowed for sale in Canada. I don't know how true this is, but it's an interesting rumor.

Maybe I should wait till V2 and see if things change.

Best, Kim


carabiner96


Sep 15, 2007, 2:52 PM
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Re: [kimgraves] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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Jetboil isn't currently sold in Canada as it doesn't meet the fire safety standards.


Partner kimgraves


Sep 15, 2007, 2:58 PM
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Re: [carabiner96] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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carabiner96 wrote:
Jetboil isn't currently sold in Canada as it doesn't meet the fire safety standards.

That's interesting. Do you know why not? Seriously, I'm interested.

Best, Kim


carabiner96


Sep 15, 2007, 3:26 PM
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Re: [kimgraves] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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kimgraves wrote:
carabiner96 wrote:
Jetboil isn't currently sold in Canada as it doesn't meet the fire safety standards.

That's interesting. Do you know why not? Seriously, I'm interested.

Best, Kim

I'm not positive. When I was in Calgary I went to a ton of gear shops (why not?) and noticed non of them carried JB. I asked at MEC and Out There and they both said it was because they didn't meet the canadian fire safety codes. Don't know if it was related to CO or not...sounds like it was.


Partner kimgraves


Sep 15, 2007, 3:31 PM
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Re: [carabiner96] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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carabiner96 wrote:
I'm not positive. When I was in Calgary I went to a ton of gear shops (why not?) and noticed non of them carried JB. I asked at MEC and Out There and they both said it was because they didn't meet the canadian fire safety codes. Don't know if it was related to CO or not...sounds like it was.

I see. So it's not that MSR cut JetBoil out. It's that JetBoil was already out and MSR wanted in to the Canadian market. That actually makes more sense than the story I heard.

Thanks.

Best, Kim


(This post was edited by kimgraves on Sep 15, 2007, 3:32 PM)


sixleggedinsect


Sep 15, 2007, 10:43 PM
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Re: [kimgraves] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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kimgraves wrote:
A built in lighter is a safety feature, Mountain Research. You don't have to carry a lighter/s to keep warm and loose.

maybe, maybe not. i have several friends whose integrated piezo lighter thingamajiggers have stopped working, or do not work consistently.

so, you could say- a build in lighter is a liability. it lulls people into thinking they dont need the matches. etc.

also, i would venture a wild speculation that the tiny spark from a piezo igniter would be even less likely to work at frigid temps when the canister fuel is already in over its head.


gunkiemike


Sep 16, 2007, 6:25 AM
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Re: [sixleggedinsect] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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I suspect you mean CO (carbon monoxide, the deadly gas) rather than CO2 (carbon dioxide, the inevitable by-product of combustion). It is - or used to be anyway - well known that lowering the pot closer to the burner makes the heating more efficient but dramatically elevates CO production. I think Backpacker mag did the experimental work on that back in the Mesozoic era (1970's, when BP was an Alpinist-quality mag rather than the industry shill it became later)


Partner kimgraves


Sep 16, 2007, 6:58 AM
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gunkiemike wrote:
I suspect you mean CO ...

It is - or used to be anyway - well known that lowering the pot closer to the burner makes the heating more efficient but dramatically elevates CO production.

Hi Mike,

How you doing?

Yes, CO of course. For those of you who don't know, Mike teaches chemistry.

Actually I didn't know that. Interesting. Do you remember why? Just not enough oxygen available for complete combustion? And if pot height is the issue, how would MSR solve the problem? Maybe they didn't? Maybe the delay was just a production problem afterall.

Best, Kim


gunkiemike


Sep 16, 2007, 7:48 AM
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Re: [kimgraves] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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In matters of combustion, CO production is always related to insufficient air. That does relate to fuel spray pattern and distribution however, which might have been subject to some design tweaks (number and spacing of holes in a burner for example)

Disclaimer - I've never seen a Reactor. But Kim's convinced me to start carrying a CiloGear pack, so who knows...


Partner kimgraves


Sep 16, 2007, 9:26 AM
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gunkiemike wrote:
Kim's convinced me to start carrying a CiloGear pack...

I did? Well congratulations! How do you like it? Which one did you get?

For my next trick...nothing up my selves...Mike will be wearing Vibram Five Finger shoes!

Mike, don't get the Reactor just yet. Matt and I wanted if for Washington this winter after our bad experience with the JetBoil in the cold. So one or the other of us will more than likely get it despite it's shortfalls. Might even be sooner rather than later - I'm heading up on Tuesday and it's been in the teens at night up high. I'll report back. Wanna come?

Best, Kim


david335


Sep 16, 2007, 3:42 PM
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MSR did claim officially on their website that the cause of delay was due to "unacceptable CO emmissons" if I remember right


Partner kimgraves


Sep 16, 2007, 4:18 PM
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One more impression:

3) I assume the pot gets hot on top of the Reactor. But you can't safely hold and use it as a cup like you can with the JetBoil which has the cozy. So you have to carry another piece of kit to use as a cup - making this heavy stove even heavier.

On the up side if it's as fast and efficient as they say you'll carry less fuel and it will actually work in the wind and cold and at altitude.

Wonder if you can make the hanging kit for the JetBoil work for the Reactor? You would think not because the pot doesn't attach.

Kim


phile


Oct 10, 2007, 7:05 AM
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Re: [kimgraves] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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a couple of thread-drift-inducing questions, if you'll indulge me?

how much ventilation does a space (tent, snow cave, etc) need to safely use a canister stove?

how poorly did the jetboil do and how cold was it? I've used canister stoves at 20 deg f, and they were suffering but functional. is the jetboil worse than others for some reason?

thanks!

p.


james481


Oct 10, 2007, 2:29 PM
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phile wrote:
a couple of thread-drift-inducing questions, if you'll indulge me?

how much ventilation does a space (tent, snow cave, etc) need to safely use a canister stove?

Well, I've used a JetBoil inside of a tent, and I'm still here, but I did have the door and vents open at the time. I wouldn't recommend using any type of a stove inside a confined space without at least decent ventilation. I don't think I would use a stove inside of a snow cave, for instance, if I could at all help it (sometimes you can't, but be careful!)

In reply to:
how poorly did the jetboil do and how cold was it? I've used canister stoves at 20 deg f, and they were suffering but functional. is the jetboil worse than others for some reason?

thanks!

p.

I've actually found the JetBoil to handle cold fairly well (for a canister stove), mostly because when it's really cold and/or there is snow on the ground, I exploit the "system" design of the Jetboil to it's fullest by holding the stove in my lap with the canister pressed between my thighs. Even with insulating pants on, I find the canister can draw enough heat from my legs to keep sputtering along pretty well. I've tested this method down to 5 degrees F, and it worked well enough for me (I didn't have to eat dinner cold). If you're planning for temps to go well below that, or are planning on melting snow for drinking water (something that the JetBoil is pretty lousy at, IMHO), I'd go for a white gas stove.


Partner kimgraves


Oct 10, 2007, 7:23 PM
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Re: [phile] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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phile wrote:
a couple of thread-drift-inducing questions, if you'll indulge me?

how much ventilation does a space (tent, snow cave, etc) need to safely use a canister stove?

how poorly did the jetboil do and how cold was it? I've used canister stoves at 20 deg f, and they were suffering but functional. is the jetboil worse than others for some reason?

thanks!

p.

I've used stoves and candles in tents for 30 years without feeling any ill effects. But I've always kept cross ventilation cracked so as to be safe.

The one time I was in a snow cave we melted snow and cooked just outside the entrance. I certainly wouldn't be comfortable running a stove inside the cave.

How bad was the JetBoil? Inside an enclosed cabin with no wind in 0 degrees F it sucked. I had to run a candle under the cartridge in order to get it to put out enough to boil water. The cartridge was cold but even the next morning, after keeping the stove in our sleeping bags over night, it sucked.

However, I was on Mt Washington a couple of weeks ago in high 30 degree weather and the stove worked well.

So I think there must be a cutoff temp. where the stove just doesn't work. My guess is that it's around freezing.

Best, Kim


coolcat83


Oct 11, 2007, 9:20 AM
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Re: [kimgraves] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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I know it seems like it's easier to use a canister stove then white gas or something else, but if you are looking for cold performance Liquid is the way to go imo. I have an msr whisperlite international and an msr dragonfly, in addition to the superfly canister. out of all of them I love the whisperlite the most, Iíve gotten used to handling the fuel hookup without a problem, the thing starts every time I need it to and it's hot in every condition Iíve thrown at it. The dragonfly is also good if you want to simmer, but for snow melting/water boiling whisperlite wins, and it will simmer if you get the technique down. I hear that some other manufacturers have gas systems with valves and things that are a bit easier than msr, but my msr has not let me down. If you are concerned about the liquids with you gear Iím not sure of the effects of white gas or similar fuels on your gear of you spill, I keep my stove in a zip lock and the fuel bottle away from my clothing and stuff. White gas evaporates quickly so if you happen to spill it will evaporate but you should rinse off the stuff in case of residue. Iíve never had that problem though.

Steve house in the gear vid he made with Patagonia about his Nanga Parbat climb said he turned his canister of his msr over (it looked like a windpro?). There is a new stove the Fyrestormô Ti Stove from Coleman that is a white gas/canister stove and the mount for the canister holds it upside down letting the liquid fuel from the canister go to the burner to be vaporized. It is supposed to enhance high altitude and cold weather performance. Iím not sure how this effects burn time.

Also I NEVER cook in a tent, not worth the risk most of the time. If the CO does build up and you are cooking then all tired for bed, you probably won't notice it till it's too late.


(This post was edited by coolcat83 on Oct 11, 2007, 9:25 AM)


dyomad


Oct 11, 2007, 9:45 AM
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I know that Jetboils have been used on the South Col on Everest (26000ft+/-?) and I'd imagine it was pretty darn cold there.

Like someone mentioned above, liquid fuel is prefered for super cold conditions but there's cetainly steps you can take to make canisters perform better. Build a small cozy out of the blue close cell foam. Tape it together with duct tape, or maybe better yet, refective exhaust tape from the auto parts store. Put a small hole in the bottom. Before you remove the canister from the cozy confines of your chest jacket pocket or your sleeping bag, crack open a hand warmer, give it time to warm up and put that in the cozy over the hole, putting the canister on top of this. The Jetboil is nice in that you can pick it up while running to let the hand warmer breathe (they need oxygen to warm up) and I've found that works wonders for canister stoves in the cold.

Also, the fuel that Jetboil uses is a "four season mix" which basically means it has more propane and thus runs a little better in the cold than other canister stove fuel blends.

The issue holding the Jetboil back from sales in Canada has I think been worked out from what I heard. You may see them in the spring up there.


james481


Oct 11, 2007, 10:26 AM
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Re: [kimgraves] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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kimgraves wrote:
So I think there must be a cutoff temp. where the stove just doesn't work. My guess is that it's around freezing.

I've used my JetBoil well below freezing. As I said above, if you use it properly, it will work fine down to about 5 degrees F or so. Below that, I would look at a liquid fuel (or possibly one of the inverted canister designs).


papounet


Oct 13, 2007, 11:01 AM
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The issue with canisters stoves is that: when the stove is in action, the expansion of gas in the canister cools down the canister (pressure goes down) thus impending the the functionning of the stove.

it is solvable by heating the can :
- (some people use copper tubing to create a heat exchanger from the flame back to the can : dangerous
- using a warmer
-putting the can down into the first pan of luke warm water
-using an integrated windshield


Second issue, the butane and propane don't get consumed at the same rate, the better performing gas at altitude is also the lighter and is the first to go.
putting the can upside down allo the lighter gas to push the heavier gas into being the first one to burn: with the windpro , there is a preheater tube where the gas gets vaporized for much better perfomance.

I guess the jetboil relative poorer performance in altitude is the fact that the heat exchanger transfer more heat to the pan and thus heat less the can vs. other design.

it ius a case where the intended design target has some side-efect which becomes detrimental to the primary results.


vegastradguy


Oct 13, 2007, 1:03 PM
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Re: [kimgraves] MSR Reactor - first impression [In reply to]
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the cool thing about the Reactor is that it only needs 7psi to run at full power- the theory being that it will run better at higher altitude as well as when the canister is almost empty.

i saw a demo at the show where they ran the Reactor with the canister sitting in an ice bath as well as with a fan running across the heating element (set on low, i think), and it boiled two pints in the time it took the Whisperlite (i think that was the stove they had next to it) to barely begin to get its single pint lukewarm.

i'll be really interested to see how this stove performs, although to be honest, i think price and general ease of use will keep most folks who are already in the jetboil camp firmly seated there.


justinboening


Oct 16, 2007, 6:29 PM
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vegastradguy,

All canister stoves function at higher levels when at higher altitudes. I have to say, if you're going to review gear, you should at least have that fact straight. You're right though about the stove running optimally at lower pressure. I can't wait to see how this thing performs in the winter (you see, that's when the pressure inside the canister will drop--when it's cold).


carabiner96


Oct 16, 2007, 9:38 PM
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vegastradguy wrote:
the cool thing about the Reactor is that it only needs 7psi to run at full power- the theory being that it will run better at higher altitude as well as when the canister is almost empty.

i saw a demo at the show where they ran the Reactor with the canister sitting in an ice bath as well as with a fan running across the heating element (set on low, i think), and it boiled two pints in the time it took the Whisperlite (i think that was the stove they had next to it) to barely begin to get its single pint lukewarm.

i'll be really interested to see how this stove performs, although to be honest, i think price and general ease of use will keep most folks who are already in the jetboil camp firmly seated there.
In reply to:

its definitely not as cute and cuddly as my jetboil!


vegastradguy


Oct 17, 2007, 11:04 AM
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justinboening wrote:
vegastradguy,

All canister stoves function at higher levels when at higher altitudes. I have to say, if you're going to review gear, you should at least have that fact straight.

i'm just parroting what the MSR folks told me, dude- i have not, nor do i have any intention, of reviewing this stove. i am strictly a lowland rock climber and car-camper- i dont do high altitude or any sort of snow activities.


justinboening


Oct 17, 2007, 4:35 PM
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My comment earlier was out of line, and I apologize for that. My frustration stems more from a general difficulty I have with finding accurate information and reviews of equipment, and less with you personally.


ptlong


Oct 18, 2007, 3:03 PM
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papounet wrote:
the expansion of gas in the canister cools down the canister

Technically this is mostly due to the vaporization of the liquid, not the expansion of the gas.

In reply to:
putting the can upside down allo the lighter gas to push the heavier gas into being the first one to burn

It doesn't work that way because the fuels do not seperate by weight. Running the stove with the can upside down maintains the fuel proportions.

In reply to:
I guess the jetboil relative poorer performance in altitude is the fact that the heat exchanger transfer more heat to the pan and thus heat less the can vs. other design.

Is it feasible to add a copper tube heat exchanger to a Jetboil?

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