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best lightweight alcohol stove
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Emily Lisborg
(emilylisborg) - F
best lightweight alcohol stove on 09/26/2013 14:28:46 MDT Print View

what are people's takes on this? these are the ones i'm looking at and looking to get input on. all are 3-4 oz. with windscreen&primerpan if they require it. i will be taking it on the AT so will need a very durable stove. what are the advantages/disadvantages of aluminium/titanium construction?

evernew titanium- very nice but also expensive (100 for just the stove and windscreen).
caldera designs is about 35 and looks good, can't find many reviews on it however
antigravity gear katahdin stove- 35 bucks, needs a primer pan which i'd rather not bother with.
vargo trinidad stove- very light, very cheap. looks good but has smaller footprint compared to others. smaller fuel capacity.
vargo decagon- sturdier vargo stove, larger fuel capacity. good price.


Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: best lightweight alcohol stove on 09/26/2013 14:45:03 MDT Print View

"caldera designs is about 35 and looks good, can't find many reviews on it however"

If you mean Trail Design's Caldera Cone a search will turn up many posts. If have yet to see a negative one. Most are enthusiastically positive. It's an integrated system of pot support and wind screen, with a stove tuned for the system. It is very efficient in terms of fuel use. For solo use you can expect to get a 2 Cup boil with under a half an ounce.

Joe A
(dirtbaghiker) - M
white box on 09/26/2013 14:52:48 MDT Print View

Have u considered a whitebox stove?

Emily Lisborg
(emilylisborg) - F
thanks on 09/26/2013 15:01:42 MDT Print View

greg that is the one, i got the names mixed up. thank you for clarifying. the reviews do look very good but seems like it is not as sturdy for larger diameter pots?

whitebox is new to me. just looked it up and looks fantastic. 23$ too! fantastic and looks sturdy for frybakes and larger pots. have you used it before?

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: best lightweight alcohol stove on 09/26/2013 15:04:14 MDT Print View

Get a Caldera Cone set. I've fiddled around with all kinds of alcohol stoves over the years and you can nickle and dime yourself buying a burner, then fabricating some sort of windscreen and/or pot stand, etc, etc. The Caldera is a coordinated system made to work with your particular pot rather than a mish-mash of parts.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: thanks on 09/26/2013 15:07:25 MDT Print View

"... but seems like it is not as sturdy for larger diameter pots?"

In addition to a Keg-H I have a 1.3L in a Cone when I'm out with my wife. It would take a real mishap to knock it over.

Setting a big pot on any 3" stove is a bit of a balancing act. With the Cone it is never a worry.

Putting a skillet on top is a different issue, and although I've seen many a gourmet meal posted here, I don't have any experience in that realm.

Richard May

Locale: Swamplands.
Re: best lightweight alcohol stove on 09/26/2013 15:08:15 MDT Print View

You've, uh, opened a can of worms. :P

I'm digging Zelph's Starlyte. It won't spill and is pretty efficient and compact. I've made the Penny Stove and it's fun to use, I like to watch it work. But not much more efficient or better. Just more fiddly.

Emily Lisborg
(emilylisborg) - F
pot on 09/26/2013 15:37:28 MDT Print View

NO! not a can of worms! hadn't realized this was one of those questions.

caldera seems like the way to go, the stability is nice too. now the question of what pot to use...

Franco Darioli
(Franco) - M

Locale: @Tarptent
best lightweight alcohol stove on 09/26/2013 15:38:57 MDT Print View

look at the Ti (titanium) option for the Caldera Cone.
Much stronger than the standard aluminium cone.
Works very well in windy conditions and it is a lot harder to topple than a standard alcohol stove set-up.
This would be my choice for a larger pot :

Sidewinder 1.3 L

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
alky stoves on 09/26/2013 15:52:39 MDT Print View

Yes, this is a "can of worms" issue. So much so that I will strive to limit my commentary to the models that you mentioned.

I will fail.

I never even knew that Evernew made an alky stove. It looks similar to the Honey and several similar stoves in rough concept, though some of them started as wood-burners. I suspect it works fine, and benefits from being multi-fuel (i.e. burning wood) but I've never seen a review of it let alone used one.

Actually, their incredible stability is one of the acknowledged benefits of the TD Caldera Cone. (This is is indeed one of the UL community's darlings.) They are hella stable, because by definition the base of the cone is even wider than your pot, which more than offsets the scant extra height. That wide base also makes it much easier to set up on rough ground, compared to perching your pot precariously on a narrow stove. I have owned several iterations and I can be counted among their admirers, but they aren't perfect. First, they MUST be fitted to your specific pot. It can take a while to get the knack of pulling a hot pot out of the cone when it starts to boil. Next, TD did a lot of R&D to ensure that the 12-10 stove and cone combination was very efficient in a wide range of conditions, but the tradeoff is that it is TRULY EXELLENT in none. Boil times are on the longer end of things, too, in the name of fuel economy. The Classic model is tough to pack- it's an odd shape. Many packing solutions neutralize any weight advantage from using an alky stove. The Fissure is fiddly, requiring some assembly and a couple of tent pegs, if such things annoy you. The benefit is that the cone, wood burning accessories, stove, and fuel bottle will all fit inside your pot- probably with room to spare to cram other stuff inside. The Sidewinder is only available for certain wide/low pots, and also requires tent pegs, though I can easily do without the pegs for my 0.9L Evernew pot. It's a bit more bulky, and sometimes your fuel bottle won't fit in the pot. Some of the pots are so low that you have to trim the priming pan off the 12-10 stove to get it to fit in the pot with the cone. But really, the Fissure and Sidewinder are both great widgets. And the titanium cones, while expensive, are also multi-fuel (i.e. wood burning). Aluminum ones can't burn wood- they disintegrate. The versions that use Zelph's Starlyte stove benefit from that design in that the stove is spill-proof and can even be carried full, and several people (including me) have posted here on how the Starlyte has some advantages over the 12-10, but everything is a tradeoff. I.e. it boils slightly faster but burns fractionally more fuel to do it. It is also smaller and packs into small pots easier.

So with a TD CC you're basically accepting a little fiddle-factor for good efficiency and great stability. I think I'd go with a TD titanium cone before the Evernew- I'm always willing to support cottage manufacturers. Granted, the Evernew is probably slightly cheaper. It also has the benefit of being compatible with differently sized pots, though, if that is important to you. (Recall that the TD CC must be fitted to a particular model of pot.) But I'd bet that the cone is MUCH more stable, and I'd rather stay with a known, proven stove design. Both the 12-10 and the Starlyte are brutally simple and work well with little fiddling.

I had a Vargo Triad (I think that's what you meant by "Trinidad?") years ago when I was a larval-stage UL convert and could never get it to work well. Perhaps it was my inexperience at the time, since others say theirs work well, but it soured me on Vargo stoves. They aren't really an open stove, and they aren't really a pressurized stove- so what are they? They're messy to empty of unburned fuel, too, no matter what Vargo says about using the leg as a spout.

The Vargo Decagon always looked interesting to me, though, in a brutally-simple, tough-as-nails way. But it looks very unstable- it only has three points of contact with the pot, in a way that reduces stability by effectively reducing the stove's radius on three of six sides. The wide flange on the bottom is smoke and mirrors- the stove might not tip but the pot WILL tip off the stove. It's really no improvement on a cat food stove in that regard- in fact it is probably less stable than such a stove.

I've never used the AGG Katahdin, but it looks like a take on a common design. I'm sure it works fine, but I have a hard time believing that it is any improvement on a cat food stove, and is far more expensive.

Really, you can say that last bit about most alky stove designs, with the exception being optimalized items like the TD CC.

Heck, have you considered a cat food stove? No more unstable than the Katahdin, but much cheaper. Not really "rugged" per se, but easy to bend back into shape if you accidentally step on it, and building materials can be scrounged from a dumpster. Simple as hell- all you need are pliers and a paper hole punch. (Or just a knife for a crude but functional temporary version.) Easy to google how to make one, sometimes called a "Fancy Feast stove."

I'm not sure where you got that the Whitebox is "sturdy." It looks very tippy to me- a pot perched on a narrow stove. Again, if you're willing to do that consider a cat food stove.

EDIT--- The only reason so many of these complex alky stove designs exist is that so many people like to fiddle with them. Like Zelph, below. Come on, Dan, reveal your affiliations when you pimp your own products. :) Besides, I already pimped for you.

Also, Emily, it is important to realize that you cannot really COOK very well with an alcohol stove. By which I mean that alky stoves are great for boiling water, but simmering or frying with them can be a challenge. (And, oddly, if you can boil water then steam-baking is pretty easy, too.) There are a few designs that use simmer rings or air inlet occlusion to simmer, but yikes if you really need to do that reconsider alky stoves.

Edited by acrosome on 09/27/2013 07:18:54 MDT.

Dan Yeruski
(zelph) - MLife

Re: best lightweight alcohol stove on 09/26/2013 15:54:35 MDT Print View

Emily, you are considering the Caldera designs so I strongly urge you to go with a cook system from them. I have used one of their titanium cones and really like it :-) they offer an optional StarLyte stove with their "Sidewinder" package deal and I recommend getting it when you make your purchase. No priming is necessary with that option and the fuel won't spill out. The alcohol stove portion of the kit weighs only 1/2 ounce.

Edited by zelph on 09/26/2013 15:56:51 MDT.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: best lightweight alcohol stove on 09/26/2013 16:15:34 MDT Print View

1. You really want to decide in advance exactly which pot you intend to use.
2. You really want to decide whether you intend to burn alcohol solely, or mostly, or not. Some of these stoves are more applicable to multifuel use, and some are alcohol only. In some areas, alcohol makes good sense. In other areas, wood makes good sense.
3. It helps a little if you know how much cooking you need to do in one session. For example, some alcohol stoves are best for long burn time. Others are best for speed.

There is no one single stove that is best for all situations.


best on 09/26/2013 18:43:53 MDT Print View

Best depends on the user

My stove, pot, stand, windscreen, weigh a total of 1.84 oz. Boils 2 cups on 0.5 fl oz easily

I consider it the best for me.

You can have something "durable", or you can just be careful with it.

I wouldnt call my quilt, WM bag, down jackets, or cuben shelter "durable" either. But just like my stove/pot, they have never let me down, because Im CAREFUL with them.

If you want light, and can excercise care, TEA from suluk46.

Edited by livingontheroad on 09/26/2013 18:47:48 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: best on 09/26/2013 19:01:37 MDT Print View

Echoing Bob Gross...

What are your "cooking" intentions?

Boil water for "freezer bag" meals?
Gourmet simmering for a rue? And then the entré of the day?

Not all stoves will do all things well.

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Alcohol stoves on 09/27/2013 06:17:30 MDT Print View

You want an Evernew 900ml Pot (ECA422), Sidewinder Tri-Ti Caldera Cone and Starlyte stove, all from Trail Designs.

Dean F.
(acrosome) - MLife

Locale: Back in the Front Range
Re: Alcohol stoves on 09/27/2013 07:27:52 MDT Print View


Does the nonstick stuff on the ECA422 have ANY real durability? I have yet to find such a coating that is both light and doesn't readily flake off into my food (including with my 1.3L nonstick ECA 423 Evernew). If all you are doing is boiling water or cooking pasta or instant rice, etc., I'd say go with the *uncoated* 0.9L version (ECA252). With a TD Sidewinder that's my go-to all-purpose cook set. If I do manage to burn something to it I just scour it out with sand or very fine gravel, which is available almost everywhere. Or, heck, coarse dirt. You can't do that with the nonstick pots, and the next time you boil water in it you have sterilized it. It appeals to my sense of simplicity, too.

Or maybe I'm just being a curmudgeon...

Edited by acrosome on 09/27/2013 07:32:58 MDT.

BER ---
(BER) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
stove on 09/27/2013 07:57:18 MDT Print View

Just echoing what others have said. I've played with a variety of alcohol stoves, all of which did fine boiling water. Then got into wood buring and tried quite a few. Ultimately, the only system I have kept is my Trail Designs Sidewinder. For me (us), it seems to work the best under a variety of conditions. Since almost all of my camping is with my wife, we went with a system sized for the open country 2 qt. pot from TD. Perhaps a little larger than needed for one, but the pot is pretty compact compared to other 2L pots I've used and the annodized aluminum is light, cheap, and easy to clean even though it is not "nonstick". I like it best with wood as we cook a bit more than just boiling. The cone is very stable, and an MSR flex skillet can sit on top of the cone for frying without too much difficulty (yes we like bacon and pan biscuits--I have never claimed to be ultralight)

Dan Durston
(dandydan) - F

Non-stick on 09/27/2013 08:12:56 MDT Print View

You're right Dean. Uncoated is the way to go. Less chemicals in your food and lighter.

In my experience (based on the 1.3L Evernew pot), the coating is moderately durable and only moderately effective. So it works okay for a bit and then doesn't do much.

Joe A
(dirtbaghiker) - M
white box stove on 09/27/2013 12:33:30 MDT Print View

Yes, I have used it before. I own about 6 or 7 different types of stoves. I like the white box stove, never had any problems with it. I only boil water for fbc. I currently use my own made esbit type stove now. I got the idea from Stick,(thankyou very much Stick!) Its pretty simple and very lightweight. I use titanium foil to cradle the esbit tab and a small "mesh" screen for my pot stand. If needed I use a titanium windscreen. I can also use twigs with this setup instead of, or with the esbit tab. Useing 1/2 an esbit tab I can get my water to boil for my meals. Works everytime for me and I am satisfied with it, completley.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: best lightweight alcohol stove on 09/27/2013 12:54:09 MDT Print View

Like the OP said...

"....alcohol stove"

Edited by greg23 on 09/27/2013 12:54:41 MDT.