A few weeks ago my friend and I were planning a trip to Elfin Lake. I had every camping gear except for a stove. I do have a big Butane stove that I go kayak camping with but it’s too heavy and too big to fit in the backpack. So we went to MEC and talked to several staffs about it. My friend Ellen Pratt who works for Mountain Equipment said that the Reactor is the fastest boiling water stove in the store. The 3 staffs we talked to at MEC all recommended Reactor because it boils water quickly, more wind resistant than Jet Boil (because it has no flame), and fuel can be bought anywhere in Canada. Jet Boil uses it’s own proprietor fuel that Mountain Equipment do not carry anymore.
I wasn’t 100% sure because if I buy a stove, it should last me the next 10 years, just like most of the outdoor equipments I owned that I bought from MEC. My MEC day pack lasted me 16 years, my big stove I have been using for 20 years, my Garmont hiking boots I have traveled through Asia and Europe with for the last 14 years and is still waterproof.
Ok, back to the topic, so I did some research when I got home to see what so great about these 2 stoves.
The Reactor is heavier and does not allow for any other cookware except the pot provided with the stove. Jet Boil’s ability to simmer makes cooking spaghetti and pancakes possible. Where the Reactor Dominate is its ability to boil water much faster (just over 3 minutes in windy conditions).
So the question I asked myself was what will I use the stove for when I go backpacking? After pondering on it for a few weeks, I think boiling water and melting snow really fast is what I needed when I go backpacking. If I have the ability to bring fresh vegetables, steak, chicken wings, and all kinds of spices for cooking (i.e. in a kayak), then I will bring my big butane stove. If I am going backpacking where the freeze dried food is probably the lightest option on my back, then I will bring the new stove.
In the end, I bought the Reactor. I will take some video in real world situation with wind and snow this winter.
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