Kovea Heater & Fuel Adapter, HPG Mountain Serape

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by andy.t, Nov 13, 2018.

  1. andy.t

    andy.t Guide Vendor

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    This past weekend I went to the Overland East Expo and worked the HPG booth with Scot Hill. It was muddy and cold.

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    I knew in advance that it would be muddy and cold, and I made two bad decisions that compounded my discomfort:

    1) Grabbing the bag of fuel canisters and my little pocket rocket stove, but not checking to make sure the actual correct canisters for the stove were in the bag. They weren't, of course.

    2) Leaving two extra fleece blankets at home, even though I knew my sleeping bag wasn't quite warm enough for temps in the low 20s.

    It was rainy all day Friday, turning the drives into a sea of mud. The mud had the consistency of chocolate mousse and was 6 inches deep in places. Also, temps stayed in the 40s on Friday. I was cold and a little damp. That afternoon I mentioned to a guy that I had LPG fuel canisters but a butane stove, and he said, "There's an adapter for that." I had kind of suspected that one existed in the world, but he put it right in my hand. Looks like so:

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    I tried using it to connect my propane canister to my stove. Even though they now fit together, no fuel was flowing. The guy loaned me this little Brunton Canister Converter, too. Using this with the Kovea adapter got the fuel flowing. From what I can tell, my stove doesn't reach far enough into the adapter to activate the little valve, but the Brunton Converter does.

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    Connecting the propane canister to the Kovea Adapter to the Brunton Converter to my stove worked well, but there was a leak between my stove and the Brunton Converter that caused slightly more than the desirable amount of flame. I was able to easily blow that out, though, and was careful to fully tighten the stove the next time I used it. Also, the Brunton Converter uses a tripod configuration, which is good, but the legs are designed to fold up and nest when not in use, and they were pretty loose, so this tended to make the stove unsteady. Since it wasn't my gear, I didn't look for a way to tighten those up. Probably there's a screw or something for easy adjustment.

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    It turns out that Kovea had a booth at Overland, so I went over there to check them out. At this point it was about 5 pm and I was shivering a little. The Kovea team had several different heaters going, so I milled around and pretended to check out the different gear. Really I was just trying to take advantage of the free heat. Except that within a few minutes of imagining I wasn't shopping, one of those heaters sold itself to me.

    I ended up buying a Fireball, which looks like this:

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    It's designed for use with isobutane canisters, but using Kovea's fancy little adapter I ran it off my LPG canisters instead. The Fireball puts out a nice amount of heat. I had two partial propane canisters there, and I think I got about three hours of heat out of one of them. The other one got me maybe two more hours with a decent amount of fuel left. The heat from the Fireball took the edge off some pretty chilly temps, and it also helped me dry out my boots and jacket.

    -I really like the Kovea Fireball, and Scot seemed pretty impressed with it as well.
    -The Kovea fuel adapter was the piece that really saved the day, allowing me to use the wrong fuel type for both my stove and the Fireball.
    -The Brunton Converter is not my favorite piece of gear, based on my limited experience with it. It was a fine port in a storm, though. I might buy one anyway, since I now know it works with the Kovea adapter.

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    My other problem was sleeping bag related. I have an insulated air mattress from Big Agnes, but the insulation isn't very effective when temps dip into the 30s. With temps in the 20s, it's like sleeping on a block of ice. For those temps I usually put a sherpa-lined fleece blanket between the mattress and my sleeping bag. I can't explain why, but I decided not to bring it on this trip even though those were the forecasted temps. Also, my sleeping bag is supposed to be a 15 degree bag, but it's 18 years old and it's lost some of its loft over the years.

    The first night temps were in the 30s. I did have a fleece sleeping bag liner with me and that got me through the night, but by 5:00am I was starting to get a little chilly. This worried me because temps the following night were supposed to dip down to 24 degrees, and I didn't have much in the way of reserve insulation. Luckily, Hill People Gear came to the rescue. I borrowed the display Mountain Serape from the booth and configured it as a half-zip sleeping bag, into which I put my mummy bag. That made for a very comfortable night and restful sleep. The serape insulated me from the ice-cold mattress, and added an extra layer over the top of the bag as well. I would have worn it in the booth, but it's the floor model and I didn't to funk/gunk it up.

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  2. Todd1hd

    Todd1hd Supporter Supporter

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    I am still cleaning the mud from my boots, but man what a cool show if you are into adventure travel. And for the folks that missed it, a lot of bushcrafty stuff there too. Hill People Gear, LT Wright, Essee, to name a few.
     
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  3. Kona9

    Kona9 Supporter Supporter

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    I’ve never seen those heaters. Great, another thing I need to buy now. Thanks Andy!
     
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  4. Dave_Markowitz

    Dave_Markowitz Guide

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    I can confirm that the Kovea propane adapter and HPG Mountain Serape are awesome pieces of gear. I've used the adapter with my Kovea Spider stove. The Mountain Serape is what I use instead of a sleeping bag in warmer weather, and use it to augment my supposed-20 degree bag in colder weather. Both have been used and proven themselves on multiple outings.
     
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