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OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking Alcohol Stove REVIEW

Product performance review of the OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking Alcohol Stove, a lightweight alcohol stove for backpacking.

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by Stuart Bilby | 2005-03-22 03:00:00-07

Overview

OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking Alcohol Stove - 1
The OutdoorEquipmentSupplier alcohol stove has an effective combination windscreen/pot stand that uses two aluminum nails to support a cookpot. Air enters through slots at the base of the windscreen.

The OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking alcohol stove is an inexpensive, light stove that is easy to use. The burners are made from beverage cans. It is about as simple to use as a stove gets - pour in a measured amount of fuel and light. Yet it was one of the more effective stoves tested, particularly in windy conditions. It has a very stable and effective combination windscreen/pot support. The pot comes with two burners: a normal burner with 24 jets and a simmering burner with 12 jets.

Specifications

• Stove ID

OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking Alcohol Stove

• Stove Type

Open jet

• Accessories Reviewed

Fuel bottle (4 fl oz/130 ml), windscreen/pot support combination using two aluminum nails

• Dimensions, Weight

Component Dimensions: height x diameter in (mm) Backpacking Light measured oz (g) Manufacturer claim oz (g)
Burners (each) 1.3 x 2.5 (33 x 63) 0.4 (10) 0.35 (9)
Windscreen/Pot support 2.8 x 6.0 (72 x 150) 0.9 (26) 1.7 (50) for windscreen and 2 pegs
Pegs (each) - 0.5 (13) -
Fuel bottle (8 fl oz) - 0.7 (20) 1.0 (28)
Setup (1 burner + wind screen + 2 pegs) - 2.2 (62) 2.1 (60)

• MSRP

$15.99 Manufacturer's suggested retail price

• Manufacturer Contact Information

OutdoorEquipmentSupplier

Usable Features

The OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking alcohol stove has a double wall aluminum alcohol burner made from beverage cans. Similar make-your-own designs are available on the Internet. The combined windscreen/pot support consists of a cylinder made of sheet aluminum flashing with two aluminum nails inserted through four holes in the flashing to create a pot support. This provides a very stable, wide platform that proved almost impossible to knock over. It is wide and sturdy enough to support pots up to 6 inches in diameter.

The windscreen coils nicely around the inside of a cup or pot for packing. It does not go far up the side of the pot (only 3/4 inch), yet it provides good wind protection for the stove. This was demonstrated in the Backpacking Light lab tests, where there was little difference in the stove's performance between still air and windy conditions.

The flame pattern is even and spreads across the bottom of the pot. There is a little flame spillage up the sides of a pot using the 24-jet burner, and considerably less with the simmer 12-jet burner.

Ease of Use

Setting up the stove and windscreen is straightforward even in cold conditions and I had no problem doing so with mitts on. The OutdoorEquipmentSupplier stove is a simple stove to use, even by alcohol stove standards. Measure the alcohol, pour it into the large central well, and light. No special priming is required. Lighting the burner is easier than on many other alcohol stoves. The jets light in a little under 2 minutes. When the fuel is used up, the burner stops suddenly with no lingering flame. After 30 seconds cooling, more fuel can be poured in and lit, if desired.

The OutdoorEquipmentSupplier stove comes with a small plastic fuel bottle with a pour spout. Fuel measurement is important when using alcohol stoves to prevent waste and I'd recommend marking the supplied bottle for volume measurements.

There is no simmering adjustment. The manufacturer supplies a second stove with fewer jets for simmering. We found in testing that there is not much difference in performance between the two stoves and that simmering is difficult. A simple simmer ring would probably be more effective for simmering, rather than supplying a second stove with fewer jets. It would also reduce the overall weight. For many users a pot cozy would be a better alternative to simmering.

Cooking Performance

Cooking with this stove is straightforward. It boils water well. The lack of a simmer control means that the pot needs to be lifted on and off the flame for complex cooking. However, using the simmer burner was a good tactic for frying onions and bacon.

In strong winds, the OutdoorEquipmentSupplier stove lights easily and, once lit, it shows no tendency to blow out. I was able to bring water to a boil in high winds with the OutdoorEquipmentSupplier stove; of course I had to wait a bit - it's an alcohol stove after all!

The stove base does not get too hot making it unlikely that underlying surfaces will catch on fire. However, the nails used for pot support stay hot long after the rest of the stove has cooled.

Heating Efficiency

While the OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking alcohol stove's boil time was in the middle of the pack in optimum conditions (6 minutes 35 seconds for 1 pint of water), its good windscreen made it a solid performer in the wind (7 minutes 09 seconds boil time). Fuel efficiency was good in still conditions, but many of the other stoves we tested were a little better. However, it was right up with the best stoves for fuel efficiency in windy conditions. Interestingly, there was no significant fuel efficiency difference between the 12 and 24 jet models. Playing around with larger air holes in the windscreen and raising the pot support seemed to reduce boil times and suggests that the windscreen could possibly be optimized for better performance.

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)
OutdoorEquipmentSupplier 12-jet 6:50 14.6 7:27 25.1
OutdoorEquipmentSupplier 24-jet 6:35 14.7 7:09 23.4
Average of All Stoves Reviewed 6:09 15.7 8:20 32.8

Durability

OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking Alcohol Stove - 2
The only failure occurred when I pushed down too hard on the pot supports while stirring a full pot, resulting in the bent aluminum joint between the windscreen sections pulling apart. Bending the joints back into shape occasionally is necessary to prevent this.

No stove maintenance is required. The stove is light, yet durable. The aluminum nails used for the pot support bend from the stove's heat. My solution was to replace them with titanium skewer pegs. The only failure to the cook system occurred when I pushed down too hard on the pot supports while stirring a full pot, resulting in the bent aluminum joint between the windscreen sections pulling apart. Bending the joints back into shape occasionally is necessary to prevent this.

Value

The stove performs well, has a good windscreen/pot support, and a great price.

Tips and Tricks

  • Beware: the nails stay hot long after the rest of the stove has cooled.
  • Warming the fuel and stove near your body improves lighting in cold conditions.

Recommendations For Improvement

The OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking alcohol stove is well designed and a good performer. We offer the following suggestions for further improvements:

  • The aluminum nail pot supports bend from the heat of the stove; replace them with steel or titanium rods.
  • In our lab tests, we did not measure much difference in performance between the 24-jet and 12-jet stoves. I suggest providing just one stove with a simmer ring.
  • Provide a graduated plastic fuel bottle that allows precise measurement of fuel.
  • Provide a lightweight heat reflector to go under the burner.
  • Make available a cookpot with lid that is optimized for the stove, and is sized so the stove easily nests inside.

Citation

"OutdoorEquipmentSupplier Ultralight Backpacking Alcohol Stove REVIEW," by Stuart Bilby. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/outdoorequipmentsupplier_alcohol_stove_review.html, 2005-03-22 03:00:00-07.

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