A friend of mine and I are planning a long backpacking trip this summer, 70 or 80 miles in 6 days. In thinking about the logistics of taking an extended backpacking trip I began to wonder how the backcounty boiler that I reviewed in my last post might work as a stove system for the trip. It's appealing to think that I might not have to carry any fuel for my stove. Fuel planning is a bit of a stress because there's always some uncertainty about how fast you will go through your fuel. I've certainly had my fair share of accidentally spilled pots of hot water which have required me to boil again -- using twice as much fuel as I had planned for that meal. Liquid fuels can also leak or spill (although I haven't had this happen yet) leaving you with less than you might need to finish your hike.
However if you take a wood stove and plan on collecting your fuel then you must face the possibility (especially in this part of the country) of rain, perhaps for extended periods, such that the only wood you will find will be wet. I thought about carrying esbit solid fuel as a backup. Initial tests using esbit in the boiler were a bit unsatisfactory. Then it occurred to me that perhaps the best use of an esbit cube would be to dry out the wet wood. So I performed the following test to see if that strategy might work.
After having done the test I'm now wondering if I could get away with less than I cube. Also I'm wondering if there are other alternatives to use in the boiler when the wood is wet. Any thoughts?