In winter, I’m a simple man: give me a cuppa and something to eat and I’m happy. That being the case, I find a gas canister stove a handy thing to carry. I can’t be bothered faffing with multiple pots and pans and while summer backpackers will rave about alcohol stoves made from beer cans, try using one in a Cairngorm blizzard. Nope, when it comes to winter outings, it’s the chorus of Jumpin Jack Flash all the way.
When I were a lad (cue Hovis advert music) for one of my first teenage forays to the west I made an overnight jaunt to the Coe and woke up to find everything frozen solid, it had gone down to minus seven or so. My attempts to get a cuppa out of my Campingaz Bluet stove were fruitless. That day I learned to stuff gas canisters in my sleeping bag or make cunning use of handwarmer pads. Fast forward twenty five years or so and such problems are a thing of the past.
Primus Winter Gas is what it says on the tin, designed for winter use. It’s not some super fancy gas mix, they’ve just added some absorbent paper inside to increase the vaporisation surface area. A simple thing, but it makes a big difference.
You’ll find lots of detailed analysis out there with spreadsheets showing boil times and the like, but if you’re timing your brew with a stopwatch I think you’re maybe missing the whole point. These innovations should facilitate a reduction in faff, and hence an increase in joy and I’ve yet to find a reliable unit of measure that can be used for that, except maybe for summit camp jaffa cakes.
So onto the big question. I’ve used this gas exclusively last winter and almost all of this year and the short answer is this : it works.
I can now leave the stove in the porch to freeze and I can still get a cuppa first thing, no problem. I’ve had it down to minus 12 with no issue. No more rummaging in the sleeping bag to find a canister then watch as the flame slowly dies as thermodynamics takes effect. Yes, it’s a bit more expensive than the standard stuff, but for faff reduction it’s worth every penny.
If you plan to be using a gas stove anywhere that it gets cold, go get some.