Even Smokey the Bear is Laughing…

My first word was “hot”. The burners on the stove were “hot”. The parents must have thought they were raising a pyromaniac because I remember them trying hard to make sure I didn’t play with matches, lighters or fire. And they still don’t know how that baby was able to climb on the counters and crawl across the stove…

Whatever they told me as a baby and child stuck. Not only was I never curious about fire, I developed an unfounded fear of lighting matches. When my friends were blowing up bullfrogs, toilets and lighting fireworks in the backyard, I was hiding behind the closest stable barrier.

I still don’t like lighting matches and Tera got to see it last weekend when we cooked our first meal with our new backpacking stove. On the porch of our downtown Atlanta condominium. Yes, we’re rugged. We wanted to practice before heading into the woods especially since we purchased a petroleum stove (MSR WhisperLite). We’re still not sure why we bought such a complicated stove but we think it has something to do with the clerk at REI who kept telling us we’d go to jail with a $25,000 fine if we were caught trying to fly with fuel from a canister stove (He knows, he works for Delta). And, since we want to travel to backpack, we went with the other option. We’re hasty buyers and didn’t do our research. Here is a list of cons for the type of stove we bought on ZenStoves

Don’t choose this stove if:
– The sound of a jet engine isn’t appealing
– You are considering light weight backpacking
– You don’t like performing maintenance or field repairs on a regular basis
– The smell of fuel on your fingers or gear makes you nauseous
– The possibility of severe burns or loss of facial hair is undesirable


So, I’m out. Good thing my wife is tougher than me. Tera attacked it like a pro. She set up the stove legs, hooked up the gas line, primed the pump and then handed me the matches to light it. Here is what the manual says about lighting the stove:

2. Light the fuel in the Priming Cup
A brief soccer-ball size flame is normal.


I lit a match (Thanks Mike and Karen! Congrats!) and slowly brought the tiny flame at the end of the short stick toward the base of the stove where a teaspoon of white gas was waiting for ignition. When my hand was about eight inches away I flicked the match toward the Priming Cup. It ricocheted off a stove leg and hit the concrete where it smoldered pathetically. I looked up, ashamed.

“Give me the matches,” Tera said. I was happy to oblige. We ate freeze dried lasagna.


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3 Responses to Even Smokey the Bear is Laughing…

  1. Tera says:

    Wow, I didn’t know there was anyone more fearful of fire than me. Just keep taking out the garbage and gassing up the car and we’ll be even.

  2. L says:

    In 9th grade earch science, my lab partner burnt all the hair off his arm lighting our bunsen burner. My hair was not burnt off as I was too afraid to light it myself and made him do it. Fear serves a purpose.

  3. Tera says:

    I am DYING to know who that lab partner was, L.

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