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Alcohol stoves

7:12 p.m. on May 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Which Alcohol stoves are the best.

7:41 p.m. on May 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Welcome shippen,

That's a hard question to answer without knowing what your needs are, where you are going to use the stove, how many days you are planning on, so on and so forth.

There are many good stoves that differ in heat output, efficiency, design (some have adjustable flame), weight, and price.

If you can give us some details about where and how you intend to use the stove it would be a big help.

Are you just boiling water, or do you need to simmer, bake?

What will be the expected temps and altitudes?

How concerned are you about weight of the stove, are you wanting to go ultralight?

How much experience do you have with alcohol stoves, is this going to be the first one?

9:10 p.m. on May 31, 2011 (EDT)
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100_0473_0001.jpg
Alcohol stoves are great for a weekend trip (2-3 days). The best is Trangia. It has a simmer ring. With practice you can get 30 minutes of burn, after a 32 oz water boil. Plus you can store the unburned fuel in the stove. The system that I use is:

Trangia spirit stove

BRS 8 panel wind screen

And a guy that makes stands for the Trangia stove on Ebay. He sells the stand and stoves. Very nice.

It is the best alcohol system that I have found.


100_0507.jpg

2:14 p.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice set up, but isn't that wind screen a little heavy?  How much does the wind screen weigh?  What's the total weight of stove+stand+windscreen?

HJ

6:28 p.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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I'm not a total ultralight guy. The total weight is 10.8 oz.  The windscreen is 3.1 oz My pack weighs in at around 20lbs for  a 3 day trip.

10:39 p.m. on June 3, 2011 (EDT)
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mikemorrow said:

I'm not a total ultralight guy. The total weight is 10.8 oz.  The windscreen is 3.1 oz My pack weighs in at around 20lbs for  a 3 day trip.

 Three ounces isn't that bad for a windscreen. Still I think you could do better with one that didn't have hinges, something like an MSR windscreen.

That 20lbs for a three day trip, is that total pack weight or base weight?

HJ

6:42 a.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I've made windscreens that are like the MSR. I wanted something that would last for years, and was more solid. So I added an extra oz. I havent used it enough yet to write a review. I also noticed that the stove still had some fuil in it. So the weight is around an ounce lighter.

The weight is total pack weight. Unless I take a fishing pole or some deluxe food. Also depends wich tent I take (3.5 - 4.5 lbs).

10:23 a.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Of the stoves I've tried, home made and retail, I like best the caldera cone.  My cone was easily the most stingy with, the most stable, and best in cold/windy conditions.

http://www.traildesigns.com/

For a 2-3 day trip, if all you do is boil water, your entire cook kit will weigh in at ~8 oz. 

My latest toy is a Jetboil Sol Titanium.  Works out about the same weight as the caldera cone at about 4 days, after that lighter.

10:31 a.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I make my own pressurized soda can alc stoves that will boil a quart of water in about 6.5 minutes. Ones that I make from fosters beer cans can burn for about an hour if fully filled.  You cant adjust the flame on them, but they are my favorite type because of the high heat output and long burn time (for an alc stove)

Here are ones with different flame patterns I made.
Stove-2.jpg

and here's one cooking at full tilt.
Stove-3.jpg


10:37 a.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Oh, and I use heavy duty aluminum foil to make a windscreen. If you take a four(ish) foot section of the wide heavy duty foil, and fold it lengthwise in half on itself twice, you get a 4 layer screen that is very flexible and costs but pennies.

10:48 a.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Impressive Gonzan, my can-stoves don't have near the "perfect" looking seams yours have.  Nice!

12:46 p.m. on June 4, 2011 (EDT)
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I can vouch for Gonzan's alky stove, the one he used on a recent hike worked admirably. Since I saw his windscreen I made one like it and it works great.

I have a similar stove from Minibulldesign (Sketi model) made with two Fosters cans, these types of stoves have high fuel capacity & high heat output. I sometimes use mine to fry fish in a small skillet.

1:17 p.m. on June 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Stop drinking the fuel 

2:12 p.m. on June 8, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks D&G :)

I use a sewing needle held with a pair of vice grips to make the burner holes, which I find much easier than using a tiny drillbit.

11:45 a.m. on June 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Yeah, for my burner holes, I used one of those plastic thumb-tacks and only just pierced the can.  I also used the blade of a box knife to give more of a "tear-drop" shape to see how the flame responded.  Actually I get a better flame profile with the tear-drop shape than the plain round one.

I was curious about the seam where the top and bottom half of the cans overlapperd.  I used some J-B weld to seal mine up, which works great and takes the heat, just doesn't look as "pretty" as yours.  Plus mine still say "....ler....ite"

2:42 p.m. on June 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Gonzan, I'd be interested in a DIY post (with pictures) on stovemaking.  Mainly for me, but would probably be good for my scouts as well.

3:43 p.m. on June 10, 2011 (EDT)
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 D&G, I use two wood blocks of slightly different height and a razor blade to make slow, even cuts to create the two halves. The fill hole is stopped with a treaded thumb-bolt screwed into threaded rivets set in the top of the stove.  I also use high temp gasket glue to seal the cans. I would like to perfect the "stretching" process some people use, so the two halves nestle perfectly without a cut, but I currently don't have the time to make a jig and practice enough to do that well. Currently I just drill a small hole 2/3 of the way up from the bottom of the inner (top) section and make a v-slit. This allows the two halves to nestle nicely and the JB weld seals and secures them together.

Barkndog, I have been meaning to do an in depth post on them for some time, but I unfortunately have many other things that keep taking priority. I will try to get to that sometime soon.

I am willing to make one for someone who just doesn't want or have the time to get into making them. I spent about $125 in materials and tools to be able to make really nice ones, and it took a lot of time and work to refine the process to get reliable quality result. It was lots of fun though, and it was worth it, since it allowed me to make them for a bunch of family who I am helping get into backpacking. I’ve made at least 15 so far.

5:49 p.m. on June 17, 2011 (EDT)
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For a windscreen, I like using a piece cut out of an aluminum oven liner pan.  It is a bit sturdier than aluminum foil and very flexible.

3:28 a.m. on June 19, 2011 (EDT)
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There are literally dozens of alcohol stove designs you can make yourself. YouTube has enough DIY videos to keep you and the boy scouts busy for months.

A couple of good websites are

www.zenstoves.com About two dozen designs, if you can't find one here you like, you aren't looking hard enough

www.hikinghq.net Sgt. Rock's site with stove comparisons

http://www.freewebs.com/jasonklass/index.htm  Jason makes all kinds of neat stuff and has videos and pictures on his site.

www.jwbasecamp.com  Jim Wood designed the Cat Stove, one of the better and easier to make homemade stoves. Lots of instructions with pics.

Commercially made stoves include the aforementioned Trangia and the MiniBull stoves made by a guy nicknamed Tinny. He has videos on YouTube.

You can make an alcohol stove with nothing more than a soda can, a matte knife and something sharp and pointy like an awl or even a thumbtack. Pot stands can be a little trickier, but there are a bunch of those designs online as well and some stoves don't really need one.

2:44 p.m. on June 21, 2011 (EDT)
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Thanks for the links, that should keep me busy for a while.

11:41 a.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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This is my stove. It has great reviews so far. I love it I took all the good ideas i could find from other great stove builder and built these ones.

1:22 p.m. on June 22, 2011 (EDT)
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Tom D, It is against the Boy Scout Rules to make alcohol stoves. Or to make modifications to any equipment.

April 17, 2014
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