Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit REVIEW

Product performance review of the Hiknakd Alcohol Stove, a lightweight alcohol stove for backpacking.

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by Will Rietveld | 2005-03-29 03:00:00-07

Overview

Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit - 1
The Hiknakd alcohol stove setup. The heat reflector under the burner is not included.

The Hiknakd alcohol stove was one of the top four performing stoves in our review suite. It is well designed, meticulously crafted, and lightweight. It comes as a cooking system consisting of alcohol burner, pot stand, windscreen, simmer ring, snuffer, and fuel bottle. Its windscreen is adjustable to accommodate cook pots up to 2 liters, and the alcohol burner has enough capacity to cook for two people. It cooked simple and more complex meals as conveniently as a canister stove. I found the Hiknakd to be a capable stove ideal for ultralight backpacking, however it should be carried inside a cookpot to avoid damaging it inside a backpack.

Specifications

• Stove ID

Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit

• Stove Type

Open jet

• Components Reviewed

Alcohol burner, pot stand, windscreen, simmer ring, snuffer, fuel bottle

• Dimensions

Stove is 2.5 in diameter x 1.5 in high (7 cm x 4 cm); setup size is 5 in diameter x 2.5 in high (13 cm x 7 cm), excluding windscreen; packed size is 3 in diameter x 5 in high (8 cm x 13 cm), excluding fuel bottle

• Weight

Backpacking Light measured weight: 3.6 oz (102 g), Manufacturer claimed weight: 3.5 oz (99 g)

• MSRP

$35 Manufacturer's suggested retail price

• Manufacturer Contact Information

Hiknakd Gear, hiknakd@hotmail.com, sold on eBay under the Backpacking Stoves category

Usable Features

Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit - 2
The Hiknakd stove shipping container: a cool name, a good sense of humor, and a high quality product - what more could you want?

Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit - 3
The Hiknakd alcohol stove cooking breakfast cereal in a 1.5-liter pot. The cutout in the windscreen is for the handle of a 0.9-liter pot.

Design - The Hiknakd alcohol stove setup is nicely designed and of exceptionally high quality. The cleverly designed three-piece pot stand is cut from 0.032 gauge aluminum sheet and easily connects together. The alcohol burner is meticulously made and has 24 small, evenly spaced jets. A seam on the side of the burner does not require aluminum tape to seal it. The windscreen is 24 inches long and 4 inches high with two rows of 0.25-inch holes along the bottom, and is adjustable for pot diameter. Two paper clips can be used to hold the windscreen at the desired diameter, usually about 1 inch larger than the pot diameter. This configuration forces the stove to draw combustion air through the two rows of holes at the bottom of the windscreen and exit along the sides of the pot.

Weight - The entire Hiknakd setup weighs 3.6 ounces - now that's a light backpacking stove!

Flame Control - The Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit is one of the few stoves reviewed that comes with a simmer ring and an extinguishing ring.

Pot Support - The three-piece pot stand has 1.5-inch high pot supports that are spaced about 3.5 inches apart (center to center). This provides a very stable surface. A nice feature of the Hiknakd design is that the adjustable windscreen will accommodate pots up to 6 inches in diameter. The distance from the top of the burner to the bottom of the pot is 1.3 inches.

Wind Protection - Very good, if the windscreen completely surrounds the stove with about 0.5 inch of space between the windscreen and the pot. The aluminum windscreen protects the alcohol burner and the lower 1.5 inches of the cook pot. The windscreen is beautifully made and rolls up into a 3-inch diameter circle.

Ease of Use

Setup - Setting up the stove involves assembling the three parts of the pot stand, fueling the alcohol burner and setting it in the stand, lighting the burner, and setting the windscreen in place. Time required is about 1-2 minutes. The Hiknakd pot stand is exceptionally easy to assemble and disassemble.

Fueling - The open jet stove is very easy to fuel; just pour alcohol into the open cavity.

Priming and Ignition - No priming is needed, simply light a match and hold it over the stove. It lights with a "puff" and stays lit. Warm up time depends on air and fuel temperature.

Flame Adjustment - The simmer ring is easy to use. It is not adjustable, just a ring with a hole in the center to limit the amount of combustion air. Simply place the simmer ring on the top of the burner. A snuffer ring is provided to extinguish the flame. Remove the simmer ring and drop the snuffer ring on top of the burner. The snuffer ring will not work on top of the simmer ring.

Cold Weather Ergonomics - The pot stand can be assembled with gloved hands, but frankly it is easier to take your gloves off and do it. Fueling and adjusting the windscreen can be done with gloves on.

Cooking Systems - The Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit is a complete cooking system, sans pot. It is simple, very well designed and crafted, and works very well. The components are specifically designed to efficiently work together. This stove was one of the better performers in our lab tests in terms of boil time and fuel efficiency. It was also quite wind resistant.

Options - The components are sold separately or as a package. The kit is available with your choice of a 4, 6, or 8 fluid ounce fuel bottle, and a longer/taller windscreen upon request.

Cooking Performance

Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit - 4
The Hiknakd stove simmering noodles in a 0.9-liter pot; it simmers a little too hot.

I used the Hiknakd stove on three backpacking trips in the Southern Colorado Rockies under cool, breezy conditions.

Capacity - Unlike some of the other stoves we reviewed, the Hiknakd windscreen is adjustable for pot diameter. I used the stove with a 0.9-liter pot for one-person cooking, and just as easily with a 1.5-liter pot for two-person cooking. I opened the windscreen to the desired diameter (allowing 0.25 to 0.5 inch clearance around the pot), and secured it in a circle with two paper clips. The alcohol burner has enough capacity to cook for two people.

Versatility - I used the stove to melt snow, and cook macaroni and breakfast cereal at high elevations and cool temperatures. The stove melted snow and boiled the resultant water just fine, but it took some time and fuel to do it. The Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit boiled 1 pint and 1 quart of warmer water (40 °F) with no problem for simple boil and set dinners and breakfasts. Using the simmer ring, I cooked macaroni for one person with 0.75 ounce of fuel. However the simmer ring is not adjustable, and the stove tends to burn a little too hot for simmering. Overall, I found the Hiknakd to be a serious backpacking stove for one or two people, and it is capable of more complex meals, assuming the user has skill with using an alcohol stove.

Wind Effects - I tested the Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit under windy conditions in our lab and under breezy conditions in the field. Like most alcohol stoves, performance was significantly impaired in the wind. It is important to provide extra wind protection, in addition to the windscreen, to maintain decent efficiency under windy conditions. This stove has enough fuel capacity to boil 1 quart of water under windy conditions if good wind protection is provided.

Cold Effects - I put the stove and fuel in a freezer at 0 °F and water in a refrigerator at 40 °F overnight to simulate cold conditions. Straight out of the freezer, the stove would not light, but warming it in my hands for 30 seconds allowed it to light. The overall effect of cold was to introduce an extra step (hand warming) to light the stove, and an extra 30-60 seconds for it to reach cooking temperature.

Heating Efficiency

The Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit performed slightly better than average in the Backpacking Light lab tests; overall, it was one of the top four performing stoves.

See performance results for all the stoves we tested in Performance Comparison Testing of Lightweight Alcohol Stoves.

Table 1: Boil Time and Fuel Consumption for Optimal and Windy Conditions
Optimum Conditions Boil Time for 1 pint of water (minutes:seconds)Optimum Conditions Fuel Consumption (g)Windy Conditions Boil Time for 1 pint of water (minutes:seconds)Windy Conditions Fuel Consumption (g)
Hiknakd6:0814.96:4328.6
Average of All Stoves Reviewed6:0915.78:2032.8

Durability

Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit - 5
The components of the Hiknakd stove (except the fuel bottle) fit inside the rolled up windscreen.

Packability - The stove components (except for the fuel bottle) will fit inside a solo cookpot. It helps to enclose the unit in a stuff sack or plastic bag to keep the components together.

Durability - The Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit is made of light aluminum and can easily be damaged in a backpack. It would be best to pack this stove kit inside a cook pot so it is not damaged by other items inside the pack or from the pack banging against trees and rocks. The thin aluminum pot stand can bend while assembling or disassembling it, so reasonable care is needed to ensure its longevity.

Maintenance - None required. With proper care and use, it should provide many years of service.

Value

The Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit is very well designed, meticulously crafted, very lightweight, and performs well. At $35 for a complete cooking system (without pot), the Hiknakd is an excellent value for ultralight backpacking.

Tips and Tricks

If you will consistently be using the same cookpot with the Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit, you can cut the windscreen to the appropriate length and crimp the ends to fit your pot. I found this stove somewhat starved for air at higher elevations. Performance was much improved after I added a third row of holes to the bottom of the windscreen. In windy conditions, the wind may directly enter the windscreen through the air intake ports at the bottom, causing turbulence. The ports on the windward side (about one-third of the circumference) can be taped over or covered with aluminum foil to eliminate this problem, or just place rocks on the windward side to shield the ports.

Recommendations for Improvement

Backpacking Light supports the development of cooking systems - complete systems that are optimized for maximum efficiency. The Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit is already an excellent product. Some suggestions I have to make it an even better system are:

  • Eliminate the air intake ports in one section of the windscreen to provide better wind protection. This may necessitate increasing the number of intake ports on the rest of the windscreen to provide enough combustion air.
  • Offer the system with a lightweight pot and tight fitting lid (one that the other components fit into).
  • Increase the number of air intake holes in the bottom of the windscreen, so the burner gets enough air for combustion at higher elevations.


Citation

"Hiknakd Alcohol Stove Kit REVIEW," by Will Rietveld. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/hiknakd_alcohol_stove_review.html, 2005-03-29 03:00:00-07.

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