Contributed by: Perry Curlinghope, 11/16/01
Hi, my name is Perry, and I live in South Africa.
In our specialist hiking stores here, we have much of the latest "expedition quality" equipment available and which I have seen on the internet.
Much of this stuff is manufactured in the U.S. and is very good. Unfortunately, due to the ridiculous dollar exchange rate, this equipment is not affordable by most people, eg: an MSR multifuel stove costs nearly as much as a monthly mortgage repayment on a condo!
With this in mind, I decided to modify and improve the performance of my existing gear, and include the following suggestions.
For the Camping gaz "Bluet" 206 This much maligned unit is more like the "trusty old granddaddy" of butane burners. People say the disposable cartridge is not environmentally friendly, ( why?,, just bring it out again with the rest of the garbage, and recycle.) and the pierceable cartridge gas fitting is unreliable. Mine are in excess of twelve years old, have been half way round the word, and still have the original O-rings. I have used cartridges from just about every place in the world where they are manufactured. I weigh them before storing in the garage and again before a trip, sometimes months later. They have never failed or leaked.
Make cutouts in the blue painted steel bell. Do this on the vertical sides between the hooks of each leg, avoiding the keying indentation. Do not cut the sides between the two legs as this will reduce rigidity. Make approx.1" diameter punchouts on the two top "wings" which do not have the small holes. Do not enlarge or make other holes in the other two wings as this will also reduce the strength of the bell. Respray the bell with an aerosol can in your preferred color to prevent rusting.
A groove can be machined or filed out on three sides of the valve casting without reducing strength or safety in any way, as these four lobes only serve to carry the pot arms, which support typically less than 1Kg. Replace the long steel pot arms with shorter ones bent up from aluminum rod. They should rise diagonally and incorporate a hook at the end. A 1mm hole needs to be drilled into the arm at the level of the keyways in the valve casting, and a rollpin forced in and ground to the right length to lock the arm in position. (The standard arm uses a small locking blade stamped into the steel). When extended, the distance between the hooks should be just over the diameter of one's main boiling pot. This will allow the pot to be trapped between the hooks which prevents it from sliding off (which often happens with the standard arms when the cooker is not absolutely level).
The standard Bluet weighs 180g ( 6.3oz ). The lightened version weighs just over 100g (3.5oz) when these modifications are performed correctly. This compares favorably with some of the latest available equipment.
For the Lumogaz 206 lamp. The same modifications can be made to the steel bell as above. Additionally, the somewhat overly long steel carrying handle can be replaced with a shorter, thinner one made from aluminum rod. The chrome plated steel cover over the top can be replaced with one fashioned from the bottom of an aluminum soft drink can. (The heat output of the mantle is not sufficient to melt the metal). When carefully done, this looks as neat and professional as the original.
Finally, the glass can be replaced with a tube rolled from a few layers of oven roasting film. The top edges is stiffened with florist's wire or the like, and secured in place with a 1/4" wide strip of flue tape, the bottom is taped to a ring made ,again, from the ubiquitous softdrink can. This "glass" is not only of minimal weight, it is also virtually unbreakable, the dread of every backpacker.... no glass.. no light.
Perry Curlinghope, 11/16/01
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