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Alcohol stove feedback
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Brad Abrahams
Alcohol stove feedback on 06/19/2012 20:42:30 MDT Print View

Greetings, I am in the market for a new, or augmented alcohol stove setup.

For the last year I've been using the Trangia mini set with an aluminum foil windscreen. I like the relative simplicity and packability, but I find the efficiency to be unsatisfactory. I end up using a lot more fuel than I think I should.

What i'm looking for is excellent efficiency, great packability and good durability. And of course, a light weight. Also would like a windscreen that is better than simple aluminum foil. I'm open to using my existing base trangia stove, or getting a new and lighter one. I'll be using the whole new system with a .9L evernew Ti pot.

As of right now I'm interested in the following (cons in parenthesis):

1. The Clikstand with windscreen (ti version is very expensive, evernew stove gets mixed reviews, trangia stove is heavy)
2. The Packafeather XL with windscreen (very mixed reviews here)
3. Caldera Cone (cone needs a separate caddy, stove design very basic)
4. Ti-Tri Sidewinder (expensive, i dont need all the components of ti-tri)
5. Zelph's Go-To Stove Kit

Would love some feedback from those with experience with any of these or others.


Edited by frigger on 06/19/2012 21:40:01 MDT.

kevin smith
stove on 06/19/2012 20:48:57 MDT Print View

i just got a zelph super venom stove for a gift i thought it would be a dud

but found out that with the right pot and windscreen it is very efficient

a little finiky to get the fuel in it but with my antigravity gear 3 cup non stick pot i can boil 3 cups of filtered stream water in about 6-7 minutes and its a rolling boil

on one ounce of fuel the stove burns out after about 10-12 minutes

pretty good results so far


Edited by divr6347 on 06/19/2012 20:49:41 MDT.

Brad Abrahams
Re: stove on 06/19/2012 20:53:26 MDT Print View

Thanks Kevin. What windscreen are you using it on? Stability would be my concern as the base is relatively narrow

kevin smith
windscreen on 06/19/2012 21:22:48 MDT Print View

i am using the windscreen from the end to end trail supply gram weenie pro stove
kit its just real light aluminum and folds up small enough to fit in my 3 cup pot
along with two stoves and my drinking cup

this stove is pretty stable even withmy wide pot at 5 inches wide i have a friend who has used it with a heiniken can pot and it was pretty good with that one too
just make sure you set it on as close to flat ground as possible and i think it would be fine


Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Caldera Cone on 06/19/2012 22:53:52 MDT Print View

Just make a Tyvek sleeve for the Caldera Cone.

My CC Sidewinder comes in a Tyvek sleeve and it works fine and weighs next to nothing. ---> Tyvek sleeve<>Nothing <--- :o)

The great thermal/fuel saving advantages of a CC are well documented. No other alky or ESBIT setup works as well per ounce of fuel. And the Trail Designs alky stove burns more consistently at different altitudes than any other alky stove. I know they have done a LOT of testing to get the best overall design.

Raymond Estrella
(rayestrella) - MLife

Locale: Northern Minnesota
"Alcohol stove feedback" on 06/19/2012 23:04:09 MDT Print View

"3. Caldera Cone (cone needs a separate caddy, stove design very basic)
4. Ti-Tri Sidewinder (expensive, i dont need all the components of ti-tri)"

Well other than having your mind made up...

I am using a Sidewinder w/Inferno for found-fuel only right now. It fits inside my little Open Country pot. No caddy needed.

Ole Saether
(osaether) - MLife

Locale: Norway
Re: "Alcohol stove feedback" on 06/20/2012 05:56:40 MDT Print View

+1 on the Ti-Tri

I have the Ti-Tri w/Inferno for the BPL Firelite 550-SUL and the Ti-Tri ULC for the Snow Peak Mini Solo and I love both.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Alcohol stove feedback on 06/20/2012 06:12:03 MDT Print View

Well, I would suggest a simple caldera cone and a 12/10 stove.

You didn't say for how long, where, what altitude, or any of that stuff, so, I will assume you were looking for a simple stove/pot/windscreen combination.

With Tin Man's 3 cup pot (same as a K-Mart Grease Pot) you should be able to get a boil with about 3/4oz alky (methanol or ethanol) and have a bit extra in case of a good wind or colder temps. There are a three improvements I would suggest.

1) Ask Rand (Trail Designs) to cut a cone without a handle cutout. Depending on wind, it can sometimes be a pain because it will funnel wind back down the cone. With a grease pot (no handles,) I just take my bandana and grab the cone and pot to pour water out. You may need to add an extra vent at top.

2) The 12/10 does not simmer. I use it for cooking (rehydrating veggies) so I need the simmer option. A simple sleeve around the lower vent holes with matching notches or "V" shaped cut outs will limit the flame to about a 20-25 minute burn time. This works well for rehydrating and cooking. (Also great for that third cup of coffee in the morning.)

3) Do some ridges in the bottom of the pot. I use 5 rings slightly dished into the pot about 1/4". Too much and it gets hard to clean. But you will see an instant ~1minute improvement in heat times. This acts like a heat exchanger in the bottom of the pot. You can also paint the bottom with high temp black paint, again improving the heat transfer efficiency a little.

Brent Mahan

Locale: Southern New Hampshire
Caldera Cone on 06/20/2012 10:12:34 MDT Print View

I used to use a homemade Cat Can stove and aluminum foil windscreen. I found the efficiency to be okay, but not up to my expectations. I really enjoyed that I made it myself, but the efficiency was really bothering me.

I recently purchased a Caldera Cone with 12/10 stove. Efficiency is actually pretty astonishing. I can usually boil 2 cups of water on a half ounce of fuel. Very happy with it. I use it with my 0.9L Evernew Ti pot.

As far as the caddy is concerened, ditch the one they send you. Take a soda bottle or water bottle and cut off the top portion with a razor blade. Use the bottom portion to store the rolled up cone. This also doubles as a handy water scoop for getting water out of shallow sources or you can use it as a cup. I found that a medium size Smart Water bottle works perfect and the material of the bottle is durable and less prone to cracking than say a coke bottle. I cut the bottom off a coke bottle and used that upside down inside the cut smart water bottle as a lid to hold the caddy in there more securely.

Don Abernathey
(OldGuysRule) - F

Locale: PNW
Re: Alcohol stove feedback on 06/20/2012 10:21:30 MDT Print View

The mini has two problems in my opinion: (1) the burner is too close to the pot bottom and (2) the pot stand conducts heat back into the burner body. Works great in very cold weather and sitting in the snow, but otherwise it will boil off more fuel than it can burn.

Part of why the burner is close to the pot bottom is so you can best use the simmer ring. It makes a difference and matters to those who want to be a trail chef.

The Trangia is one of the very best burner designs available. And there are lots of ways to use it for greater efficiency. It is my go to burner for nasty weather. The following is one way to it that is very efficient and general purpose:

What I like most about the Trangia burner is that I don't have to fiddle with it. It has a very low fiddle factor. I also use a WhiteBox, which is a great design, but it has a much higher fiddle factor.

Yes 1000
Batchstovez on 06/20/2012 10:38:17 MDT Print View

I'm a newbie to backpacking as a whole. I purchased a kit from Batchstovez. Here is what I have done till now in my kitchen not taking it on any hikes yet. My elevation is ~200ft.

1. Cook 1 cup of rice (raw long grain) using 1 ounce of HEET. I used foster beer can cook pot with a pot cozy.
2. Cook 1 cup of Piegon peas/veggies Indian style stew with 2.5 cups of water. Used a small pressure cooker (1.5 litres)and it came out very well. And 1.5 oz of HEET.

I think that is pretty impressive cooking for such a small stove.

John Coyle

Locale: NorCal
Alcohol stove feedback on 06/20/2012 21:21:07 MDT Print View

For me the Caldera Cone Sidewinder for the .9L liter Evernew/REI uncoated titanium pot is the way to go. The titanium cone rolls up and fits inside the .9L pot. I know the titanium cone is expensive, but it is a much nicer material than aluminum for the cone in my opinion. It snaps out into a round shape no matter how long I store it in the pot. The cone doesn't scratch the pot much, and I wouldn't really care if it did, since it's uncoated.

The 12-10 stove almost fits in the pot, but not quite, there is a slight gap when the lid is put on, but I carry it there anyway with the pot in a mesh bag. I carry the cone, stove, small fuel bottle, and firesteel in the pot. Unfortunately the tent stakes required for this kit don't fit in the pot, but that is a disadvantage I am willing to put up with. I have forgotten to use the tent stakes in the cone a few times, and the stove works that way, but it's probably not as efficient.

One time I crushed my 12-10 stove by stepping on it in the dark, and had to buy another one. Rand from Trail Designs also sent me a prototype two piece stove for free made out of heavier aluminum. Don't ask him for one, it was just a prototype they were considering, but never offered. It works OK, but it's a little harder to light. Now that's customer service.

Bob Shaver
(rshaver) - F

Locale: West
+1 on Caldera on 06/20/2012 22:24:06 MDT Print View

I use a 1.9 L pot for either 2 persons or solo. I simmer using a cap with a hole in it that sits on top of the 12/10 stove. The windscreen makes the stove super efficient, stable, and virtually windproof.

Theron Rohr
(theronr) - F

Locale: Los Angeles, California
trangia efficiency on 06/20/2012 22:38:23 MDT Print View

The Trangia tends to overheat in warm weather and burn off fuel very inefficiently. If you want to try and improve this you can:

- put some water in the stand so that it cools off the burner.

- run it on with the simmer ring on all the time. The full burner is usually too much for that little pot.

If you just want to get your next stove, well, I understand :)

Brad Abrahams
Re: Alcohol stove feedback on 06/21/2012 09:41:17 MDT Print View

I sincerely thank all of your for the thoughtful responses.

I decided to go for the Caldera Cone for my .9L Evernew pot. It's efficient, cheap, and light. I also purchased the Anti-Gravity Gear Cozy for the Caldera Caddy, So I can use it as a mug/bowl for hot tea or food, thus eliminating the mug I would usually bring.

One question for those 12-10 stove users out there. Have you figured out a way to snuff out the flame to reclaim unused alcohol? This was one of the things I liked about the Trangia, and it seems easy to do on the Packafeather as well.


Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Alcohol stove feedback on 06/21/2012 11:03:30 MDT Print View

I've been able to snuff the 12-10 out with something flat, maybe a rock or pot lid. But I found the alcohol quickly evaporates if there's not much left. You can use a syringe to quickly suck the alcohol out. And you can make (and someone sells) a flip-top alcohol container lid with a short tube in it...squeeze the container to let out air, dip the tube in the alcohol, release and let the container suck the fuel back in.

William Chilton
(WilliamC3) - MLife

Locale: Antakya
Snuffing on 06/21/2012 13:35:38 MDT Print View

Franco posted a video somewhere of how he snuffs the stove. I use an aluminium tray from a single serving cake or pie. It works well but it's true that the alcohol evaporates quickly.
Packafeather makes the bottle top with the tube to suck up the remaining alcohol.

Brad Abrahams
Re: Snuffing on 06/21/2012 20:56:15 MDT Print View

Thanks William, I tracked down the video:

al b
(ahbradley) - M
Separate alcohol "dregs"/,measuring bottle on 06/22/2012 03:43:17 MDT Print View

Wouldn't it be safer to extract remaining alcohol into an empty small bottle (which if side calibrated could double as a measuring bottle); e.g. a 60ml Nalgene.

That way you are not risking losing alcohol from main bottle in case of spills.
Also, safer in another way, as avoids pouring meth from stove into other meths, but you should always ensure stove cool before emptying so hopefully a theretical advantage.