Brunton Vapor AF (All Fuel) Stove. Decent Youtube video introducing the AF stove...
- Amazon $120
- Sportsmansguide special $99
- REI $180+
I first spied this in REI and was intrigued so when SG offered it for $99, I bought 2. I just charged it up and gave it a test. Before I get into this too much, let me start off by saying that this is one product where you really really want to test this out before taking it into the field. It took me a good hour to figure out how to prime it and get it to work. The instructions are mostly safety warnings, with very little in the way of how you'd actually use the AF stove for anything. Why it's cool:
- Small, about the size of a softball (excluding the fuel canister)
- Light, about 0.4 lbs (excluding the fuel canister)
- Supposedly uses any kind of liquid fuel, noting car gas, jet fuel, deisel, kerosene, white gas... "and many others". To me, for ZS/TEOTAWKI, this is the ultimate stove.... if true. The ability to use any kind of fuel makes this awesome compared to any other stove out there.
- Uses gas gas, like butane by swapping out the connectors. I think it'll work with propane too, but I'm not seeing how yet.
- It advertises that 4 oz a day (off a 20 oz included fuel bottle) will provide cooking for 1 person for 1 day. As of right now, this boiled 5 cups of water in about 4.5 min... in the comfort of my kitchen with no wind.
- You can leave the pump/assembly in the fuel bottle for use later without doing anything special. Just disconnect from the stove, pack it up, and off you go. You only need to release the line pressure. Issues from first test:
- Priming in wind is going to be a problem. They provide a foil windscreen as part of the kit, which is thoughtful. All stoves requiring priming struggle with wind however.
- You need to follow the instructions, go to Youtube, ask someone who's done it first how this works. The instructions aren't clear. I imagine that after not using this for a while, it'd be hard to remember as well.
- Like a kerosene heater, you can light this inside, but you shouldn't it. It's smoky and gives off fumes and lots of carbon monoxide. I got a bit lightheaded during the flare up.
- When running on high output, this thing sounds like a rocket engine.
So, the process broken down for unleaded car gasoline.
- Put 20 oz of fuel in canister.
- Screw in the pump/assembly.
- There's a valve on the assembly with a + and - symbol. Make sure it's off, on the minus sign.
- Pump it about 20x, or until there's enough pressure to hold the pump about an 1" out from the base. This 1" appears to be the correct pressure since there's no indicator and the instructions don't say.
- On the assembly valve turn it all the way to the + side.
- Put the circular disk (diffuser) on the stove... it doesn't work without it.
- On the actual stove there is another valve with similar markings. Turn this just barely on for like 2 seconds... fuel will spray all over the burner cup. This is how you prime it.
- Light it on fire. The fuel splash will burn and hopefully heat the assembly unit up enough that it'll feel warm to your touch. If it doesn't feel warm, it's not primed. Do it again until you touch it and think, "K, that's hot." Depending on the fuel type and how much you "prime" with, you can get quite the fireball.
- Now, do it again but before the primer fuel burns out (the wind might make this complicated) turn the fuel on with the stove valve. When you get a rocket engine sound, or if it's dark and you see blue flame, you'll have it.
On 20 pumps or so, the stove boiled 5 cups of water in 4.5 min at medium setting and has been burning at mediumish for about an hour now. It's burning right next to me as I type this. From picking up the bottle, I'd guess that about 30% of the fuel by weight is gone. I've learned that it's better to underpump... try 10 pumps for priming, it's easy to pump up the pressure later once the stove is lit. I'll come back and edit the burn time on 20 pumps when it finally stops burning.
Unpacked, except for the fuel canister (20 fluid ounces), the entire thing is about the size of a softball and rugged enough I'm not worried about it getting crushed in a backpack.
Priming this easily creates a flare up. There's a process to the priming I'll explain later.
When working... it's quite the stove. Rocket engine sound, gorgeous flame... and off gasoline no less.
The stove is quite sturdy unlike a lot of backpacking stoves, this opens up about 7" in diameter and feels quite sturdy. I wouldn't stand on it, but I'd trust a full sized cooking pot to it anyday. The stabilizing fins have holes for spikes if you want to anchor it in the dirt too, which is a nice touch.