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Brasslite Turbo II-D Alcohol Stove REVIEW

Product performance review of the Brasslite Turbo II-D Alcohol Stove, a lightweight alcohol stove for backpacking.

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by Don Wilson | 2005-03-29 03:00:00-07

Overview

Brasslite Turbo II-D Alcohol Stove - 1
The Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove is an open flame burner with an attached pot support. The simmer sleeve at the base of the burner controls air intake to lower the flame for simmering.

The Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove is a high quality stove with some great features. It has an innovative simmer sleeve that allows you to control the flame and simmer for more than 30 minutes. It also has a sturdy built-in pot stand that works well with pots up to 2 liters. The Brasslite Turbo II-D can easily cook for two or more people. As with any alcohol stove, it is essential that the Turbo II-D be used with a windscreen to minimize inefficiencies caused by wind.

Specifications

• Stove ID

Brasslite Turbo II-D

• Stove Type

Open flame

• Components Tested

Burner with attached pot support

• Dimensions

2.8 in (7 cm) high by 2.8 in (7 cm) diameter

• Weight

2.6 oz (74 g). Backpacking Light measurements were identical to manufacturer's claim.

• MSRP

$40 Manufacturer's suggested retail price

• Manufacturer Contact Information

Brasslite

Usable Features

Design - As the name implies, the Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove is made of brass in an open flame design (no jets). It includes a built in pot stand, and a sliding simmer sleeve for flame control.

Weight - At 2.6 ounces, including a built in pot stand, the Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove is heavier than a simple soda can stove plus a pot stand. The pot stand could be reduced in weight without significant performance loss.

Flame Control - The innovative simmer sleeve is very effective at flame control.

Pot Support - The pot support is the same diameter as the stove (2.8 inches). It is a mesh design that is strong and moderately stable.

Wind Protection - None included.

Ease of Use

Setup - With the pot stand built into the stove, there is virtually no set up time - just add fuel and light.

Fueling - Lighting the Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove is easy, so long as you have a directed nozzle on your fuel bottle with which to accurately place your fuel. Brasslite has a graduated fuel bottle with a nozzle dispenser available. Fueling the stove from a plastic soda bottle is prone to spillage.

Priming and Ignition - The Brasslite requires priming, especially in cool conditions (below about 55 °F in my experience). The warming pan is easy to use and works well to get the stove burning efficiently.

Flame Adjustment - The Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove has a simmer sleeve that encircles the main cylinder and allows you to control airflow to the flame. This effectively controls the flame height, temperature, and fuel consumption. The simmer sleeve on our Turbo II-D test sample got sticky and hard to slide with time. I solved this by keeping the stove and sleeve clean and free of dirt. It is best to adjust the simmer sleeve using a tent stake instead of your hands, as the sleeve and stove get very hot.

Cold Weather Ergonomics - Cold weather use is easy; there are no moving parts besides the simmer sleeve. Cooking with gloves on is no problem.

Cooking Performance

Brasslite Turbo II-D Alcohol Stove - 2
Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove test sample after a few weeks of use. A little tarnished, but with no loss of performance.

As with all alcohol stoves, a windscreen is mandatory for effective use of the Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove. I forgot a windscreen on a weeklong trip along the Continental Divide Trail and I struggled to get the stove to cook efficiently. With a well-designed windscreen, however, the Turbo II-D is a good performer.

Capacity - My standard pot, even for solo trips, is an Evernew 1.5 L pot. The Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove easily handles this size pot and could certainly be used as a two-person stove. Brasslite recommends the Turbo II-D for pots up to 2 liters.

Versatility - Most of my meals are of the "boil and stir" variety, but I have tested the Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove with meals that require simmering - pasta, rice and others. The simmer feature is effective at controlling the flame, but you must be careful not to tip the pot while adjusting the simmer sleeve. Either remove the pot, or make sure you are holding onto it while rotating the simmer sleeve. More complicated cooking such as frying eggs or cooking fish might be successful once you have experience with this stove. Brasslite claims that the Turbo II-D can simmer up to 30 minutes. I was able to adjust the simmer sleeve to simmer for 34 minutes on one load of fuel.

Wind Effects - As mentioned earlier, a windscreen is mandatory in anything but the calmest conditions. Frequently, a less than full wraparound windscreen is adequate, but for simplicity I find it best to use a full windscreen all the time. Without it, the Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove will cook much less efficiently, and may not complete your meal before you run out of fuel. In our wind effects tests the Turbo II-D was more susceptible to wind than most of the other stoves.

Cold Effects - I put the Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove and fuel in a refrigerator until they were chilled, then brought it out and it cooked just fine - as long as I used the preheat pan. My experience in the field was similar - the Turbo II-D ignited very quickly but the preheat pan was helpful below 55 °F.

Heating Efficiency

The Turbo II-D takes longer to bring 2 cups of water to a boil and is less fuel-efficient than most other stoves we tested. Wind more than doubled fuel use as shown in our test results.

See performance results for all the stoves we tested in Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Alcohol Stoves.

Table 1: Boil Time and Fuel Consumption for Optimal and Windy Conditions
Optimum Conditions Boil Time for 1 pint of water (minutes:seconds)Optimum Conditions Fuel Consumption (g)Windy Conditions Boil Time for 1 pint of water (minutes:seconds)Windy Conditions Fuel Consumption (g)
Brasslite Turbo II-D6:5516.613.5940.4
Average of All Stoves Reviewed6:0915.78:2032.8

Durability

Packability - The Brasslite Turbo II-D packs easily, and includes a built in pot stand.

Durability - I used the Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove heavily over the course of the summer, and it has held up extremely well because of its high quality brass construction.

Maintenance - Clean beneath the simmer sleeve to keep the sleeve moving smoothly.

Value

The Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove is well made and the built-in pot stand is strong and sturdy. The simmer sleeve is a simple and effective feature that allows this stove to extend to more complicated cooking better than most other alcohol stoves. But, our tests showed the Turbo II-D to be less fuel efficient and slower at bringing water to a boil than many of the other stoves we tested. It has good features and construction, but at $40 is more expensive than most alcohol stoves.

Tips and Tricks

The most important tip with this stove is to use a well-designed windscreen to maximize fuel efficiency. Try your windscreen at home to make sure it protects the stove from wind and allows adequate airflow to the flame.

Recommendations for Improvement

The Brasslite Turbo II-D alcohol stove is a much sturdier stove than most other alcohol stoves. It could be constructed a bit lighter without sacrificing quality. The most beneficial changes would be improvements in overall efficiency. It is possible that the open flame design contributes to wind susceptibility and lower fuel efficiency.


Citation

"Brasslite Turbo II-D Alcohol Stove REVIEW," by Don Wilson. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/brasslite_trubo_2d_alcohol_stove_review.html, 2005-03-29 03:00:00-07.

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