Be Prepared (tea addiction is real)

Being prepared for the unexpected is as important as planning for a long distance trip, in particular if you’re aiming for remote, striving for self sufficiency or minimising your onroad costs. The unexpected can blow out your budget or GVM, or both.

A part of our learning process, present tense, as the unexpected can present in different ways.

On our most recent long distance trip, we were somewhat accosted by the unexpected to the point of expectation. And whilst we were reasonably prepared for say….food poisoning, by carrying plenty of drinking water, electrolyte tablets, and boundless sympathy for each other. We weren’t particularly prepared for day hikes, or more, beyond a sturdy pair of hiking shoes. And what of anything more dramatic?

Doubled with a plan to start venturing on more day hikes and weekends, a decent backpack and hiking stove has been invited into our kit. Dual roles for equipment is something we like to consider, so when adding to our kit…. We try not to impulse buy cool kit allll the time. A go-bag with a basic kit and the camera gear would not go astray in the vehicle.

We’ve been really happy with our dual fuel Coleman Sportster 533 stove, whilst we haven’t used petrol with it; carrying liquid fuel avoids throw-away canisters and a large LPG bottle. The stove itself has proven strong enough to cook on cast iron and in sub zero temperatures and simmered plenty of one-pot wonders.

To be prepared for say, a failure with the stove beyond its spare parts we carry, or the more recent desire to have a hiking stove in a Go-Bag to boil a much needed cup of tea or meal on a hike. A spot of research highlighted a couple of liquid fuel hiking stove options.

The SOTO Muka immediately ticked a couple of boxes, light weight, limited plastic construction, made in Japan, running on liquid dual fuel just like our Coleman.  Serviceable parts just like our Coleman. The pump on the bottle looked easy to use. Connected by a soft hose that would allow adjustments when in use to a 1L capacity bottle. Unlike the Coleman, the fuel supply is attached to the pump and would limit the refill process considerably.

Lightweight and no need to carry a separate fuel type.

Its first test I think went well, in the rugged conditions of the back pergola, around 30 pumps the fuel bottle was almost full and now pressurised, indicated by a red ring on the brass valve. Dialled up to Start and ignited, allowed to burn for 10 seconds before dialling to Run.

A full snow peak kettle, a little more heavy duty than its intended hiking kettle use down the track but nonetheless, 8minutes on full power we had 1.8litres of boiling water.

The kettle’s handle was too warm to touch without using the top handle to help when pouring, something the Coleman Sportster doesn’t do, the skeletonise format of the stove must allow more spread of the heat.

We fired it up at camp to cook some sausages in the Snow Peak fry pan, same process, 30 pumps set to Start, then set to Run within a few seconds. There were very minimal yellow flames.

We used our Drifta windshield after watching it continue to burn in the wind. The included windshield didn’t work well on the steel surface of the Uniflame table, I think it may be more suited to the ground. Ideally I think the fuel bottle should be outside the windshield as it was quite warm, but our sausages were cooked in no more than 10minutes.

To stop, turn the dial to Air for it to extinguish and depressurise. Once its stopped hissing, turn the dial to Stop and its safe to remove the hose or pump. Unlike the Coleman, we’re not touching the hot stove at all. After feasting on our sausages with some local bread, I re-pumped and boiled up around 600mL in a few minutes for tea and to rinse out the frypan.

If first impressions are anything to go by, this is a sturdy hiking stove, it sits nice and low and feels really stable, and packs down small. I’m interested to test how many meals or cups of tea we get out of one bottle. We will add a hiking cook set and a day walk or two for further testing.

Like this write-up? Like this Stove?

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Wild Earth – SOTO Muka Stove

Don’t forget the fuel….

Wild Earth – SOTO Fuel Bottle


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