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alcohol stove
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Joseph Ainsworth
(jainsworth123) - F

Locale: Greater LA area
alcohol stove on 09/18/2010 23:41:38 MDT Print View

So I've been trying to make a penny stove for a few weeks now (takes some time to drink the beer :) ), and can't for the life of me make it work. I either get a decent burn time, but it won't boil water, or a boil, but very low burn time for the amount of fuel, so I've resigned myself to buying one. This will be for when I go out with someone else, meaning minimum of 750ml of water with breakfast and 1.5 liters at dinner. This alone rules out many of the smaller ones that can only handle 1 liter. Among the others that are left that I have found are the brasslite, penny stove (commercial model), varga, etc. Can anyone make any recommendations on which one is the best. It would be nice to be able to simmer as well, since when I go out with someone it sometimes involves real food (only way to get some of my friends to go out). Pot being used it going to be a evernew 1.5 liter.

Steven McAllister
(brooklynkayak) - MLife

Locale: Atlantic North East
Lots to recomend on 09/19/2010 06:06:37 MDT Print View

You can always refill the stove if it doesn't make it to a boil. I have done this many times when I've had a big pot and many mouths to feed.

Check out Zelph's stoves as well:

Philip Delvoie
(PhilipD) - MLife

Locale: Ontario, Canada
alcohol stove on 09/19/2010 08:09:17 MDT Print View


If you want to give making a stove one more try...I definitely recommend a cat can stove. Dead simple to make and works. Here is a link to Skurka's site with instructions: Fancy Feast Backpacking Alcohol Stove

Joseph Ainsworth
(jainsworth123) - F

Locale: Greater LA area
Re: alcohol stove on 09/19/2010 08:28:33 MDT Print View

That's actually what I'm trying now. I have to go pick up a hole puncher, and I'm going to start experimenting with it. Only problem is it can't simmer from what I understand.

Joseph Ainsworth
(jainsworth123) - F

Locale: Greater LA area
Re: Lots to recomend on 09/19/2010 08:41:02 MDT Print View

That was exactly what I was looking for. I came across that site a few weeks back, and couldn't find it again. Thanks

As far as refilling the stove, that's what we had been doing, but I was using 2oz of fuel to boil 1L of water. At those weights, a canister stove is more efficient weight wise as we were using almost 4oz of fuel a day.

Link .
(annapurna) - MLife
Re: Re: alcohol stove on 09/19/2010 10:19:55 MDT Print View

Patrick Starich
(pjstarich) - MLife

Locale: N. Rocky Mountains
Alcohol Stove on 09/19/2010 10:35:19 MDT Print View

I've been using a White Box "Solo" alcohol stove with the Vargo 0.9l titanium pot/lid for about two years and it has become my favorite cooking system.

Pros: small, light (1.1oz on my scale), simple, reliable, highly efficient

Cons: unstable (needs a firm level surface), cannot simmer (either on or off), a bit awkward to fill and ignite

The WB stove is incredibly efficient. I carry only 1.5oz of fuel per day in the summer and 2.0oz/day in the fall and spring but often use less. Experimenting with denatured alcohol, pure ethanol (Everclear $$$) and Heet gasoline anti-freeze I concur with the WB manufacturer; "Heet' or similar brands of gasoline antifreeze produce noticeably greater heat output per unit volume.

The WB stove must not be tipped or tilted while lighting/burning as liquid fuel will leak out of the burner ports and create a potentially dangerous fire outside the stove. The depth of the "well" in the center of the stove makes it difficult to ignite a small amount of fuel. Simply use a dry twig or stem of grass to carry the flame into the well and avoid burning your fingers or gloves.

For optimal effiency it is important to find a pot with a diameter slightly larger than the diameter the flame. The 0.9l Vargo (5.25" diameter) works well with the WB Solo model. The stove has the same diameter as an aluminum beer bottle and is inherently unstable when supporting a water filled pot. A firm level surface and functional pot holder is important to success.

The stove comes with a sturdy aluminum wind screen and base plate. You can easily make a lighter, albeit less durable, wind screen and base plate with heavy duty aluminum foil and a hole punch.

For heating larger volumes of water for a group, I can visualize arranging three WB stoves under a large pot (10"-12") to provide stability and more energy. I'm not sure the WB Stove folks would recommend this method. If anyone has tried the multi-stove approach, I would like to hear your feedback.

tim hower
(jeepcachr) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
canister stove on 09/19/2010 12:36:50 MDT Print View

Depends on the length of your hike and the amount of fuel you carry the canister stoves aren't that bad for weight efficiency. They also go from flame thrower down to simmer.

Flame control is tough on an alcohol stove. There are models of alcohol stoves that can simmer but then your probably carrying 2, one wide open and the other a simmer. Which isn't necessarily bad because you'll often use the hotter one to get it going and then the simmer to finish cooking. That also gets you away from refilling a hot stove.

Joseph Ainsworth
(jainsworth123) - F

Locale: Greater LA area
Re: canister stove on 09/19/2010 13:54:29 MDT Print View

Most of the times I take friends out, it's no more than 4 days, usually just a night or two. Longer than that and I would just take the canisters. For solo use I have the caldera cone, but I have it paired to a heiny pot, so 2 cups is my limit with it. I could just do a second burn but when taking a newbie out, I like to make it seem as simple as possible, so they'll want to go again.

Patrick: From the studies I've been reading denatured alcohol has a greater energy output per given volume (as much as 20% more) than pure methanol (yellow heet). I think this may also be part of my problem in that all I've been using is heet and want to try switching over to denatured.
The white box does look good though, I may have to learn to live without a simmer, or just bring the canister along if I want to. You wouldn't happen to have burn and boil times for it? Preferably 1L of water.

How do you guys think two pot stands would work for a simmer (or an adjustable one)? You boil the water at one height, then raise the stand (or switch to a higher stand) to lower the effective heat output from the stove. This would avoid having to an extra stove and probably save a little weight. Am I overlooking anything?

Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
simmering on 09/19/2010 14:12:30 MDT Print View

To simmer you make two cat can stoves. One regular and one with fewer holes in it. You boil with the regular one and then light the simmering stove when the regular one runs out. At least that's the theory as I understand it. The stoves are so light and cheap that you can have more than one.

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
alcohol stove on 09/19/2010 14:16:18 MDT Print View

What you should be looking for in fuel is the highest concentration of Ethanol. (we have 95% here in Aussie)
Don't forget to add the weight of the stove and the empty gas canister into the equation.
If you start with a 50-70g stove and a full canister and return with an empty canister, most likely an alcohol set up would have been heavier.
However if you return or start with an half full (half empty is just as good or bad) canister, maybe not...
If I were cooking (that is simmering/frying as well as boiling) I would go with gas.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

FeatherFire on 09/19/2010 14:51:40 MDT Print View

As previously suggested, I can vouch for the Packafeather FeatherFire being good at simmering. You can use it wide open to boil or adjust it down to simmer. Their other model is good (better?) if you mostly boil smaller quanities (ie. 2 cups).