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Alcohol Stove use in Winter
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Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Alcohol Stove use in Winter on 01/31/2009 17:39:35 MST Print View

I hope you guys can help me solve a problem that I can't decide how to fix. When i wake up in the morning in my tent and its 0 out side and all i want is a nice hot cup of tea while i'm still in my bag, is an alcohol stove a option. My idea would be to get a small alcohol stove, possible choke hazard from MBD and set it up on top of my frisbee and just heat up my heineken can with enough water to make tea. I will of course have proper ventilation and all that but, do you guys see any danger or inefficiency from it?

I just want to skip getting out my big stove, with my canister and going through that whole production.

Any thoughts or ideas would be apprecieated.

b s
(smyth) - F
Re: Alcohol Stove use in Winter on 01/31/2009 18:46:43 MST Print View

There was a short discussion a few weeks ago on the capabillities of alcohol in sub-freezing weather here.

John austin
(tinny) - F
Re: Alcohol Stove use in Winter on 02/01/2009 15:38:59 MST Print View

Yes this will work. I would recommend using a Gnome because it is filled with wick, so if you tip it over it won't spill any fuel and I would use a 5x21 loop hardware cloth pot stand also for more stability. This stand will slide over a fosters beer can pot and not take up any extra room The MBD Krazy Kooking Kit is what I am describing. Also one of Zelphs Starlyte stoves would work from The wick seems to work just as well in cold as warm weather just like a candle does. Boil time for 8oz of coffee water would be about 6 or 8 minutes.---Tinny---MBDC

Steve Martell
(Steve) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Washington
RE: Alcohol Stove use in Winter on 02/01/2009 17:57:04 MST Print View

More comments on this subject here:

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Alcohol Stove use in Winter on 02/01/2009 19:04:31 MST Print View

Although there are other issues, esbit and a Ti-Wing stove is pretty simple and compact.


It is out of stock here, but is available elsewhere.

Edited by greg23 on 02/01/2009 19:07:36 MST.

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Alcohol Stove use in Winter on 02/01/2009 22:28:59 MST Print View

Thanks for all the advise. The wick systems that are available at MBD is a great solution and also eliminates the worry of a spill. I have the esbit wing but, I just thought that the smell alone would be a negative. I am going to be in the hills next weekend on an overnight so I will try a couple of different stoves and let you guys know the results.

Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

Peter Sustr
(czechxpress) - F - M

Locale: Boulder
Alcohol Stove use in Winter on 03/09/2009 10:52:17 MDT Print View


I tried a bunch of different alcohol stoves the last two weekends while teaching Winter Camping school in the Colorado Rockies. Here's a list of what i tried and the results:

MBD Choke Hazard w/ Heinken can and pot stand:

I poured 22 oz of about 45 degree water into the heineken can; using about 1 1/2 oz of Heet alcohol and got a boil in 9 min 34 sec. Temp outside was 17 degrees and about a 5 to 10 mph wind. I did use a foil windscreen which covered about 2/3rds of the pot stand to block the wind.

Caldera cone TI with 500 ml BPL cup:

I used just under 500 ml of water at about 45 degree's temp; using about 1 oz of Heet alcohol I was able to get it to boiling in about 8 min 22 second before the alcohol ran out. Again outside temp was down to 13 degree's and 10 to 15 mph winds.

Fancy Feast can and BPL .9L pot:

I filled the pot to the top and sat that on top of the fancy feast can using a foil wind screen around it and 1 1/4 oz of alcohol. The burn time was 7 min 12 seconds and I was only able to get to the point where it was hot but, not boiling. There were small bubbles at the bottom of the pot but, it never got to the boiling point. Outside temp was about 22 degree's with very little wind if any.

All of the above tests were done with the stove/pot just sitting outside in the cold and also having the alcohol sitting in the cold as well. My base was a Frisbee I use to get my stoves off the snow. The water had either been sitting outside in a cozy for a while or was either inside my marmot windbreaker jacket.

I will definately use the MBD system again as it is easy to use and I can keep giving it more alcohol to get it to a boil. Its also convenient to use when all you want is a cup of tea and I don't have to pull out my Dragon fly to get hot water.

If you have any questions or comments let me know. Thanks!

Anne Flueckiger

Locale: northern Minnesota
Group cooking on alcohol stove, below zero F on 03/11/2009 13:36:00 MDT Print View

Does anyone have experience with group cooking on alcohol stoves in below-zero temps? I would like to buy or make an alcohol stove to use for winter camping, b/c they are so darn simple. I have a solo stove, but when I'm out in winter in northern MN it's often quite cold & I'm with friends, thus I need more capacity/longer burn time. We pull sleds on lakes, so bringing a bunch of fuel isn't a big deal to us (heck, we bring firewood to get the stove in the wall tent going—not lightweight at all!). Thanks for any suggestions/advice. PS: We aren't melting snow, we get water out of the lakes.

Edited by annefluke on 03/11/2009 13:45:57 MDT.

Chad Miller

Locale: Duluth, Minnesota
Alchol Stove use in winter on 03/11/2009 14:54:08 MDT Print View

A while back I had a discussion with the maker of the White Box Stove regarding the use of alcohol stoves for winter backpacking trips where you need to melt snow for water. Bill (the owner of White Box Stoves) did some test that showed that it takes 1 ounce of fuel and nine minutes to melt enough snow to produce 1 cup of water. These tests took place in temperatures of 3 degrees with a 5mph wind. A wind screen was used with the White Box Stove. The stoves will have to melt and boil water for drinking and cooking 2 hot meals a day.

White Box Stove:

Stove and windscreen weigh an ounce.
Warmed heet is used for fuel.
You would use around 18 ounces of fuel and three hours time to:
Melt and boil 3 cups of water for two meals and hot drinks
Melt 12 cups of water for drinking.

MSR Simmerlight:

Stove, windscreen, and fuel bottle (holds 22 ounces of fuel) weigh in at 11.3 ounces.
I use 8 ounces of fuel per day but carry 10 ounces of per day (safety margin)
I melt and boil 3 cups of water a day for meals and melt snow to drink 12-14 cups a day
This amount of melting and boiling water takes approximately 60-75 minutes a day.

Time Comparison:

Now using a White Box stove can be a completely acceptable method for winter use. However if you’re planning on doing a muti-day trip hiking higher miles (12-15 a day) in cold weather using a White Box stove with Heet may not be your best choice unless you like hiking and setting up camp in the dark as you’ll be limited to around five hours of daylight hiking.

Weight Comparison:

While the white gas stove I use in the winter is much heavier than a White Box stove the white gas stove is lighter in the end. Over a weekend trip a White Box stove user will carry at least 36 ounces of fuel (with no backup) and a 1 ounce stove / windscreen combo for a minimum total of 37 ounces. Using my white gas stove over two days I carry a total weight of 33.1 ounces (stove, windscreen, and fuel.) The differences in weight become even larger over a five day trip where the White Box stove will weigh 91 ounces while the white gas stove will weigh in at 61.3 ounces.

In Summary:

It appears that the white gas stove is both lighter and faster for winter camping conditions where you have to melt snow to obtain water for cooking and drinking.

However if you don’t have to melt snow for drinking and will only be using the stove for boiling water the White Box stove is much lighter and can work just as well as a white gas stove.

Edited by chadnsc on 03/11/2009 15:06:35 MDT.

Michael Skwarczek
(uberkatzen) - F

Locale: Sudamerica
Alchol Stove use in winter on 10/01/2009 00:51:38 MDT Print View

I have to disagree with the use of a pressurized alky stove in cold weather. In my experience, the requirement to boil the fuel for flame is the main detriment in sub-freezing temps. And you battle constantly to bring the entire unit, fuel and stove, to a heated state where pressurizing can occur.

I've had good results boiling water with the Caldera Cone setup (MYOG in my case) in sub-freezing temps. The supplied stove is essentially open top with a double wall for pre-heating the intake air. I added an insulated "floor" made from Reflextex, including a single sheet of aluminum foil adhered to the exposed surface to avoid melting.

All told, I would not rely on an alky stove for group cooking or snow melt. I think it's inefficient for both purpose. My experiment was mostly a lark for testing under Winter conditions.

EDIT: jeez, I just realized how old this thread is. LOL

Edited by uberkatzen on 10/01/2009 00:57:33 MDT.