This is recommended equipment for all NATO participants.
A cook stove it recommended for NATO attendees at East Wind. In times of inclement weather, the ability to make a hot drink or really heat your food up completely is a real morale booster. Get with the guys in your Squad or Fire Team and see to it that at least one of you has a cooker, you'll be glad that you did.
Selecting a stove for East Wind
You want a decent mix of period correct along with practical usability. Good news is that is not too difficult to pull off since most camp stoves are made very well and last quite a long time when not abused. Here are a few common stoves with some notes on them to help you make a good choice:
- M1950 single burner "tanker stove". These seen like the obvious choice since they are period correct, in service at the time, and fairly affordable. They are however, fairly finicky stoves that have a few serious shortcomings. The rubber seals and gaskets tend to dry out which of course will be an issue on most older stoves but unlike other older stoves, on the M1950 when the seal on the one way valve for the air pump fails it fills the pump body with fuel that then sprays on you when you go to pump the stove up a bit more to steady out the burner when it is in operation. Clearly, that is a major safety issue. If you choose to use an M1950, take it apart and examine all the seals as well as the one way valve carefully to insure safe and effective operation. Additionally, since the M1950 is a somewhat fiddly and odd stove to operate, be certain to gain familiarity with it's operation prior to attending East Wind with it since you don't want to learn how to use this one on the fly. While the M1950 was designed for use with unleaded gasoline, it will operate just as well on white gas (Coleman Fuel) which is far easier on the stove since it lacks ethanol.
- Camping Gaz Bluet 206. This was probably the most common camp stove in Europe in the East Wind time frame. It is a very simple little butane powered stove that used single use pierced cartridges somewhat similar to how freon is sold. These are not as common as they once were, nor is the fuel as easy to find as it once was but they are quite light, extremely easy to use and dirt cheap to buy. Not being able to scrounge fuel locally can be a slight issue but it's easily mitigated by simply bringing a spare can or two with you. Gaz made several other stoves similar to the 206 using a variety of other cartridges as well, so pay attention to what you buy and make sure you get the right fuel for it.
- Coleman single burner stoves. Coleman has made a great variety of single burner gasoline or Coleman fuel burning stoves over the years. In our time frame the Feather 442 was probably the most prevalent stove in use. They are easier to use than most other gasoline/white gas powered stoves and parts are readily available however, they are somewhat more complex and prone to breakage from rough handling if you are not careful.
- Enders camp stoves. The West German company Enders made several camp models of camp stoves at the time including the pictured 9060D Military model that was issued to West German troops. While a wonderful stove to use, they are mostly all broken now and have proven difficult to repair and keep in operation. Additionally, they are much sought after by stove collectors and can be fairly pricey.
- MSR Whisperlite. Mountain Safety Research was fairly new on the scene during our time frame but were wildly popular none the less. The compact, low slung design worked well for tactical use since the stove itself could be dug in slightly and light emission could be controlled. Powerful enough to heat up enough water for an entire squad in short order, the Whisperlite found itself to be a popular stove in the field. MSR made many versions of the Whisperlite as well as many other similar models but few achieved the overall popularity of the classic Whisperlite. Again, like with other multi-fuel stoves, the Whisperlite will last a good deal longer if run on white gas rather than gasoline.
- Svea 123R. The Svea was getting a little long in the tooth by our time frame but had many die hard fans who would consider nothing else in the field. A very basic stove with minimal parts, the 123R set the standard for reliability. It takes a bit of getting used to operating since it needs to be primed to get it started and it's roarer style burner makes a great deal more noise than comparable stoves. Several very similar stoves were sold by Primus and Optimus including the nearly equally popular and still manufactured Optimus 8R "Hiker" stove.
Trangia burner. The tiny and very simple Trangia burner was a popular stove at the time that still has a lot going for it. Consisting of little more than a can, a wick, a cap with some holes and a lid to snuff it with, the Trangia was simplicity itself. Fill it with denatured alcohol, light it, and cook your food. They are a particularly useful stove in a tactical environment since they make no noise and the blue flame gives of little if any light as long as you keep it out of the wind. Trangia still makes these and you will also find similar stoves on the surplus market made by Svea. Make sure that you use denatured alcohol to fuel these, other types of alcohol give poor results.