Mini Trangia & Liberty Mountain Westwind Alcohol Stoves REVIEW

Product performance review of the Mini Trangia & Liberty Mountain Westwind Alcohol Stoves, lightweight alcohol stoves for backpacking.

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by Blake Morstad | 2005-03-29 03:00:00-07

Overview

Mini-Trangia and Liberty Mountain Westwind Alcohol Stove - 1 Mini-Trangia and Liberty Mountain Westwind Alcohol Stove - 2
Liberty Mountain Westwind alcohol stove (with Trangia burner) on the left, Mini-Trangia on the right

The Mini-Trangia and the Liberty Mountain Westwind alcohol stoves are two lightweight configurations of the Trangia family of stoves. Both use the Trangia alcohol burner. The Mini-Trangia includes a cook kit that also serves as a packaging system for the stove. The Westwind is a lighter weight version that includes a three-piece windscreen/pot stand. The Trangia burner is nicely designed and has some useful features. For example, for shorter duration trips, fuel can be stored within the stove itself, which is sealed by a threaded cap. The Trangia burner is on the heavy side compared to other alcohol burners we reviewed, but it is well designed, quality made, and performs well.

Specifications

• Stove ID

Mini-Trangia and Liberty Mountain Westwind

• Stove Type

Open jet

• Components Reviewed

Mini-Trangia: Trangia burner with simmer ring and cap, pot stand, 0.8 L pot, lid/fry pan, pot clamp; Liberty Mountain Westwind: Trangia burner, three-piece pot stand

• Dimensions, Weight

ComponentDimensions: height x diameter in (cm)Backpacking Light measured oz (g)Manufacturer claim oz (g)
Trangia burner (alcohol burner, burner lid, simmer/extinguisher cap)1.75 x 2.9 (4 x 7)3.9 (110)-
Mini-Trangia accessories (pot stand, 0.8 L cookpot, nonstick fry pan/lid, pot holder)-8.4 (239)-
Mini-Trangia, complete setupFor cooking: 2.5 x 3.8 (6 x 10)

Packed: 2.5 x 6.0 (6 x 15)
12.3 (349)11.7 (332)
Liberty Mountain Westwind pot standPacked: 5.9 x 3.1 x 0.125 (15 x 8 x 0.4)2.7 (77)-
Liberty Mountain Westwind, complete setup (Trangia burner and pot stand)3.4 x 5.9 wide x 5 deep (9 x 15 x 13)6.6 (187)-
Liberty Mountain Westwind, complete setup (Trangia burner and pot stand)3.4 x 5.9 wide x 5 deep (9 x 15 x 13)6.6 (187)-

• MSRP

Mini-Trangia $39.90 Manufacturer's suggested retail price; Liberty Mountain Westwind $27 with burner, $15 without Trangia burner

• Manufacturer Contact Information

Liberty Mountain. Liberty Mountain distributes Trangia in the USA

Usable Features

Design - The Mini-Trangia alcohol stove comes complete with alcohol burner and cook kit. The burner and pot stand nest nicely into a 0.8-liter cookpot that closes with a nonstick fry pan/lid making for a nice contained cook system. The Liberty Mountain Westwind model packages the Trangia alcohol burner with a collapsible pot stand/windscreen only. The Trangia alcohol burner has the capability to store its own fuel when the burner cap is used, which is a nice feature for 1-2 night outings where all the needed fuel can be stored within the stove. The burner cap has a rubber seal providing a leak-proof container. Set up times for the Trangia burner are minimal, especially when the stove is used as the alcohol storage container. Lighting is accomplished by simply igniting the alcohol pool in the middle of the stove and a half minute later the burner starts jetting. The simmer/extinguisher cap has an adjustable ring providing simmer control. The cap is simply rotated to its closed position to extinguish the stove.

Weight - The Trangia alcohol burner is heavy at 3.9 ounces when compared to other alcohol stoves. There are no modifications available to lower the burner's weight without sacrificing performance.

Flame Control - The only flame control is the simmer/extinguisher cap, which effectively controls the amount of flame.

Pot Support - The Mini-Trangia alcohol stove comes with a 0.8-liter pot that was designed to fit on the included pot stand. A circular section on the pot is stamped out so that the pot nests within the pot stand supports. The Liberty Mountain Westwind alcohol stove has a three-piece pot stand that assembles together in a triangular configuration, and includes cutouts to support the Trangia burner. While both pot stands adequately support large pots, the Westwind has a larger base offering even more stability.

Wind Protection - Some wind protection on both the Mini-Trangia and the Liberty Mountain Westwind is provided by the pot supports. The Mini-Trangia pot stand provides more coverage of the alcohol burner and thus better wind protection.

Ease of Use

Setup - The Mini-Trangia is easy to assemble into cook mode, taking under 10 seconds. It takes about 15 seconds to mate the three pieces of aluminum together to form the Liberty Mountain Westwind pot stand.

Fueling - Fueling the Trangia alcohol burner is a matter of simply placing alcohol into the reservoir in the middle of the burner. If the burner has been used to store the alcohol, that step is eliminated.

Priming and Ignition - The alcohol reservoir remains lit once ignited; we had no trouble with the flame going out. Once the stove warms up, it starts to burn from the jets in less than 30 seconds.

Flame Adjustment - The simmer cap works well to adjust the flame.

Cold Weather Ergonomics - Operating the burner with gloves on is a little tricky. The most difficult part is unscrewing the burner cap from the alcohol burner. This cap is essentially the same as those found on a mason jar.

Cooking Systems - The Mini-Trangia stove comes with a cookpot, pot stand, and windscreen that were designed to work together. The pot bottom has a punched out section that nests within the pot stand. The fry pan lid has a similar recess that forms a good fit on the cookpot when used as a lid. When the stove is packed up, this fry pan lid snaps firmly onto the cookpot containing the pot stand, stove, and pot handle within the cookpot. The Liberty Mountain Westwind has cutouts in the pot stand to support the alcohol burner. Trangia manufactures a wide array of cooking systems that work with the Trangia alcohol burner.

Cooking Performance

Capacity - The Mini-Trangia alcohol stove comes with a 0.8-liter cook pot that is suitable for boiling water for one person. Flames from the alcohol burner spilled around the pot. A larger cook pot would lessen the amount of flame spillage, allowing for more efficient heating.

Versatility - The simmer cap is adjustable by sliding a metal cap over the alcohol burner. When completely shut, the simmer cap acts as an effective extinguisher. Adjusting the simmer cap after it is placed on the alcohol burner is difficult. The rotating metal on the simmer cap does not move easily and actually requires removing the simmer cap, letting the cap cool sufficiently for handling, adjusting the opening on the cap, and then replacing the simmer cap back onto the burner. An in situ adjustment would be desirable. Additionally, the included pot stand on the Mini-Trangia interferes with the simmer cap when it is opened past a certain point. This interference was also true for the Westwind pot stand. Once the simmer cap is set to achieve a desired flame level, the stove can be used for more complex meals beyond the simple task of boiling water.

Wind Effects - Without an additional windscreen, the Trangia alcohol burner is seriously affected by the wind. The pot stands of both the Mini-Trangia and the Liberty Mountain Westwind provide only minimal protection from wind. The burner jets are directly exposed to any wind disturbances, and are not protected by the stove's design.

Cold Effects - The Trangia burner and fuel were placed in a freezer to simulate cold weather performance. When the burner was removed from the freezer, it lit right away; approximately 45 seconds later, the burner started to burn from the jets. Cold weather did not seem to drastically alter the its performance. This was most likely due to its brass construction. Brass has a relatively high thermal conductivity and quickly heats or cools depending on the thermal environment.

Heating Efficiency

The Mini-Trangia and Liberty Mountain Westwind versions of the Trangia stove have higher boil times in optimal conditions than the average for all the alcohol stoves we reviewed. The Mini-Trangia stove consumed a higher than average amount of fuel to achieve boiling, but the Westwind used significantly less fuel than average. This may be a result of the Mini-Trangia's flame spread, which disperses flames around the cook pot, causing decreased efficiency. Under windy conditions, the Trangia burner becomes a blowtorch, especially in the Liberty Mountain Westwind where the boil time was faster than in optimal conditions, probably due to the fanning effect. Fuel consumption under windy conditions leaped for both stoves (the highest of all stoves tested) illustrating why good wind protection is necessary for an alcohol stove.

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)
Mini-Trangia7:0717.17:5051.2
Liberty Mountain Westwind8:0911.56:4148.3
Average of All Stoves Reviewed6:0915.78:2032.8

Durability

Packability - The Mini-Trangia nests wonderfully into a relatively small package that can be packed away easily. The Liberty Mountain Westwind pot stand has three pieces that can be misplaced easily.

Durability - The alcohol burner is made from a relatively thick gauge of brass, which can be expected to resist use and abuse. The burner is further protected within the cookpot of the Mini-Trangia setup.

Maintenance - The only foreseeable maintenance is unclogging the jet holes.

Value

The Trangia alcohol burner cooks well and is a good value for its durability. The bare-bones model (Liberty Mountain Westwind alcohol stove) is available for $27, and the Mini-Trangia integrated and packable cook system is $39.90. The best feature of the Trangia burner is the ability to store fuel within the stove thereby reducing the need for a fuel bottle on short duration trips.

Recommendations for Improvement

The Trangia burner would be more versatile if the simmer cap is modified so that it can be adjusted while the stove is in use, rather than needing to remove the cap from the stove to adjust it.


Citation

"Mini Trangia & Liberty Mountain Westwind Alcohol Stoves REVIEW," by Blake Morstad . BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/mini_trangia_westwind_alcohol_stove_review.html, 2005-03-29 03:00:00-07.

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