The stove selection process was even easier than that of the sleeping bag. I know nothing about camping stoves – nothing at all. Therefore I have no idea what to look for, no preconceived ideas of what to expect, no baggage at all in the “I quite fancy…” department.
As such I went to my back issues of Trail and found an article in the March 2006 issue on stoves. I was just going to buy the one that was placed number one but that was £75 (MSR Whisperlite), so I dropped down to the number two stove and that was £60 (MSR Windpro). Now I have no doubt that these are excelent stoves, they scored 37 out of 40 and 33/40 respectively, but they seemed to be aimed more at the “professional” end of the market – the more demanding user, the travelling chefs of the mountains perhaps. So I dropped down to the number three stove.
Now thats more like it! £10 for the Gosystem Trail Classic. It weighs in at 148g (without the gas) and uses the propane/butane screw top canisters, which from reading up on these things, can be bought pretty much anywhere and are dead easy to attach/detach etc.
I reckon all I’ll be doing with my stove is boiling water or the odd soup or if I’m feeling really saucy, I’ll try Heinz beans with those little sausages, hmmm! I don’t need a top of the range, work in all weathers, stove. So when I read the “Buy it if:” comment in Trail, which reads: “You’re on a budget [yep thats me], need an efficient, basic stove [yep again], it will be ideal for most hillwalking situations” [three’s a charm]. I was sold, or more accurately the stove was.
I found it on www.wiggle.co.uk for £9.99 with free delivery and ordered it straight away. Only to be told by email an hour later that they were out of stock and not expecting a new delivery for 3-4 weeks. That was over a week ago. I am going to give them a few more days then pop into Cotswolds and buy one off the shelf, as I’m not sure I can wait that long.
I have agreement from my wife Chris, that I can do my first overnight camping trip on the upcoming bank holiday at the end of March. So I now have a deadline to aim for. I still have some kit to source and a location to select and a route to plan.