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School me... Alcohol Stoves
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Juston Taul

Locale: Atlanta, GA
School me... Alcohol Stoves on 12/14/2009 13:36:50 MST Print View

I'm currently using the Brunton Raptor for my cooking needs. I keep it pretty simple. I boil water and everything else doesn't require cooking. At 5 oz for the stove and 8 oz for the fuel, i'm at 13 oz just to boil water. Seems a little excessive to me.

I was looking at the Caldera UL Compact over at MLD. At 1 oz plus a couple of ounces for fuel I figure I could save about 10 oz. What I don't know is if this is my best option. I also have no idea how much fuel is required to boil water... what kind of fuel to buy or where to get it. I guess I need a general idea of what it takes per day in regards to fuel. Should I hold out for a Ti version so I can use wood if need be? As always... Thanks.


Michael Crosby
(djjmikie) - MLife

Locale: Ky
RE: "School me... Alcohol Stoves" on 12/14/2009 13:42:40 MST Print View

Try looking here and here


Edited by djjmikie on 12/14/2009 13:44:12 MST.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Caldera Cone on 12/14/2009 13:45:29 MST Print View

I recently bought a Caldera Cone and BPL Firelite 550 pot. I can bring 12oz of water to a rolling boil with around 12-13mL or alcohol so it has been much more efficient than many alcohol stoves. The Caldera UL may not be as efficient, but it does fit in the MLD Pot which is a nice feature. I replaced a Snow Peak Gigapower canister stove.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: Caldera Cone on 12/14/2009 13:58:09 MST Print View

Wow, that's pretty good.

My last Caldera set-up took 20ml to consistently boil, or I used 15ml if I was just making hot water for drinks. With 15ml sometimes it didn't reach a boil (although sometimes it did) but it always got plenty hot enough for tea. That was a Caldera / Ti Kettle combo.

Now I have the keg set-up but not enough experience to know for sure how much fuel for a boil.

Juston Taul

Locale: Atlanta, GA
ml on 12/14/2009 14:11:12 MST Print View

This might sounds rediculous... but how do you guys know you are using exactly 15ml or 20ml or whatever ml? Are you measuring at home and experimenting and then replicating in the field?

If it takes that much fuel... are you really saving weight? Or is the issue reliability and the ability to find fuel on a thru-hike?

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
Re: ml on 12/14/2009 14:20:30 MST Print View

>>>This might sounds rediculous... but how do you guys know you are using exactly 15ml or 20ml or whatever ml?<<<

I bring a little measuring cup like those that come with cough syrup and other medicines.

>>>If it takes that much fuel... are you really saving weight? Or is the issue reliability and the ability to find fuel on a thru-hike?<<<

I'm not a thru-hiker so that's not the issue for me. The advantage for me is I can take exactly the required amount of fuel for every trip and I have several different sized bottles depending on how much fuel I'm actually taking.

When I used butane/propane, that wasn't possible. And when I used white gas, there were only three sizes of fuel bottles available - all heavy.

I don't think the Caldera is the lightest system available for me but all things considered it's my favorite set-up.

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: ml on 12/14/2009 15:00:01 MST Print View

While Alchohol is a relatively inefficient fuel, the fact that it can be transported in a light container and you can only carry the amount you need make it the best fuel for shorter trips or long trips with frequent resupply. I just weighed my old system of a 110g canister (it less than half full and weighed 4.65oz by itself - a full canister, of which I didn't have any on hand would be heavier), Snow Peak Gigapower and BPL Firelite 550 pot weighed 11.05oz. My Caldera Cone kit with enough fuel for a 4 (1.05oz (weight oz not fluid oz) day trip weighed 7.05oz. My fuel bottle came from Target and is designed as a travel shampoo bottle and weighs 0.4oz, my measuring cup is heavier than most at 0.15oz but happens to fit my fuel bottle perfectly so I keep using it.Caldera cone set up

Mark Mendell
(mmendell) - M

Locale: Midwest
Re: ml on 12/14/2009 15:29:34 MST Print View

I don't bother with a measuring cup, but use a Packafeather fuel bottle kit.
Packafeather fuel cap on 12oz bottle and Reflectix stove snuffer

The above components weigh in at 1.8 oz. For me, the bottle is of sufficient size for at 8-10 days of fuel if rationed carefully. I typically boil enough water for coffee in the morning and a couple of cups for dinner, and another couple cups for a warm drink with dinner.

I just fill the stove completely, boil my water, then snuff the stove when I'm finished with a home-made Reflectix snuffer. When it cools I "suck" the remaining alcohol back into the bottle. No measuring and the stove is running pretty efficiently because it's full. Very slick.

Boiling a few cups of water morning and evening in my Caldera set-up, I easily get by using less than 1 fluid oz. per day, making it very efficient for even 10 or 12 days without resupply. YMMV.

edited to add pic as per PM request

Edited by mmendell on 12/15/2009 16:54:22 MST.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
School me... Alcohol Stoves on 12/14/2009 15:49:40 MST Print View

In a similar manner to the one explained by Mark, I also now put more fuel than I need inside the 10-20 burner, snuff it when ready then pour the remaining fuel into the snuffer and from that back into the bottle. Or if using the 8 oz bottle supplied I can also suck that up.
This system takes care of fuel variations because of temperature and wind.
I use about 14ml/0.47 fl oz of Ethanol to boil 500 ml for 30 sec to 1.5 min (that is about 11 g/0.39 oz)
(TiTri 550ml Caldera Cone kit)

Edited by Franco on 12/14/2009 15:52:10 MST.

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Get a Caldera on 12/14/2009 16:08:18 MST Print View

I fiddled around with all kinds of alcohol stoves, stands and windscreens. Then I got a Caldera and it just plain works. It is a unified system custom made for the pot. They are simple, light and hot. It seemed expensive, but considering the zero fiddle-factor, its a bargain.

I still like a butane stove for a group where large amounts of hot water need to be generated and the group can help haul the fuel. For one person, the Caldera rocks.

Jamie Shortt
(jshortt) - MLife

Locale: North Carolina
re: Get a Caldera on 12/14/2009 16:49:16 MST Print View

Get a Caldera...I agree 100%. I have tried a number of different alcy stoves and made quite a few too. They all have worked well enough, but none has come close to the Caldera. It is simply amazing design.

What is does differently?
- fuel performance is best of any stove I have used
- it performs well above any stove in the wind
- it is not easily knocked over...and let me tell you how important this is when you have exactly the right amount of fuel

What I do not like
- you must have one specific to each pot (not a big deal, but still a negative)
- the cone is a pain to store, unless you use the caddy and then you are adding some significant weight

Even considering the negatives it is one awesome design.


Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: re: Get a Caldera on 12/14/2009 16:55:37 MST Print View

+27 on the Caldera. When using alcohol I also overfill the fuel, then snuff and recover the leftover. Simple, efficient and light.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: ml on 12/14/2009 17:02:41 MST Print View

"I easily get by using less than 1 fluid oz. per day, making it very efficient for even 10 or 12 days without resupply. YMMV."


What type of alcohol do you use?

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: re: Get a Caldera on 12/14/2009 17:40:42 MST Print View

"- the cone is a pain to store, unless you use the caddy"

Do you mean to pack? I have not found this to be the case. I have a TiTri (which I love!), I roll it up and put it into my MLD 850ml pot, put my [stove/fuel bottle or esbit pack/graham cracker/lighter/matches] in there as well, and my long handled spoon, and my toothpaste/toothbrush. I put my titanium 'scotch glass/coffee cup' upside down over the top of the cone, then slide the whole thing in an XS UL sil sack, cinch it up and I'm done (pot lid is on the very bottom of the sack, under the pot). When I use it, I can even put the 'ground cover' pieces in the pot as well. Everything but the food in one neat little UL bundle, which is usually packed at the top of my pack.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Alcohol, shmalcohol... on 12/14/2009 18:11:09 MST Print View

I'd suggest trying a CC with the ESBIT "biscuit holder" conversion for less fuel weight and greater ease of use than alcohol.

For week long trips acohol weighs too much B/C of its low BTU/oz.

Instead try a canister stove burner like a Vargo Jet-Ti (lowest CO2 output tested) and good canister fuel like MSR fuel. Less weight and greater convienance. Lots of data to back up that claim.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
Re: School me... Alcohol Stoves on 12/14/2009 18:17:09 MST Print View

I have always been a gas stove guy but decided to take the plunge to save weight on quick over-nighters or weekend trips when I am solo. (For two or more I will still take gas.) After much reading here I made my first alc stove the Caldera TiTri to hopefully make it my last too.

I am impressed as all get out by it. The only thing I did not care for was the fact that I was taking up more volume in my pack, albeit at lower weight. I think I will try Douglas’ method. Then it will be all good!

Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: School me... Alcohol Stoves on 12/14/2009 18:36:59 MST Print View

+1 UL Caldera.

As others have said, the Caldera is a no hassle system which is one of the more efficient alcohol systems.

The full size caldera is a bit more energy efficient but unless you are doing a multi-week trip without resupply I don't think the added efficiency will make a big difference. The the UL version is short enough to pack away on the inside of the pot removing the need for a caddy or other protective container.

This fall I got converted to using esbits: UL Caldera, CramCracker stove, MLD 850ml pot, GSI Telescoping Foon, lighter is just over 5oz. Fuel is count the number of meals and add that number of .5oz esbit tablets, which all fit inside the pot.


Mark Mendell
(mmendell) - M

Locale: Midwest
Re: Re: Re: ml on 12/14/2009 19:44:41 MST Print View

I just use SLX Denatured Alcohol. I tried some relatively non-scientific comparison's with Methanol, but couldn't find much difference. Granted, my testing was at 1000ft and my typical use is above 9000ft.

I plan on an ounce per day, and am typically just boiling water in a Caldera. For a 7-8 days out, I'll take 10 ounces in a little blue Dasani 12oz water bottle with the Packafeather cap (1.1 oz for the bottle and cap)and always return with 2-3 ounces. Breakfasts are almost always cold with just enough hot water for coffee, and dinner is 2-3 cups boiled for dinner and something warm to drink. Nearly all of my longer hikes are late-June through early August, so we're not talking crazy cold weather.

Even if the weigh difference is a wash, I'll take the Caldera. I just prefer the quiet simplicity of it. If I'm taking my girls along, I'll generally take a canister.

Tom Kirchner
(ouzel) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest/Sierra
Re: Re: Re: Re: ml on 12/14/2009 19:47:43 MST Print View

"I just use SLX Denatured Alcohol."

Thanks for the beta, Mark.


Mark Seeley
(mseeley) - F

Locale: Arizona
MLD Pot w/ Esbit on 12/14/2009 20:10:44 MST Print View

Mark I just bought a MLD 850ml and UL Caldera. I'd prefer to use it with my grahm cracker, rather than the alchy stove, but am concerned with getting black esbit muck all over the bottom of my new pot! Have you found any ways to avoid and/or remove the muck from your pot, or do you just deal with it?