Alcohol stove choices...

1:11 p.m. on May 28, 2014 (EDT)
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Hi everyone...

I have been looking into getting an alcohol stove, and it is daunting task.  So many models to choose from.  I settled on the titanium Evernew, but it is so darn expensive compared to say a Trangia.  I do not want to make one...so "how to make" is out.  The Evernew seems to throw a huge flame, and heats great.  I was going to get it with the Trangia simmer ring, as the simmer ring shuts down the outside ports or burners, allowing just the inner burners to ignite.  I figured that it would be the best of both worlds...except that it is over twice the cost of the Trangia.  Does anyone use the Evernew with the Triangia simmer ring and if so, how do you like it.

Snakey

(hiss)

2:29 p.m. on May 28, 2014 (EDT)
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I know the alcohol fans will take issue with my comments below, especially the home-made buffs. But this is my experience with alcohol (and other stoves) over the years.

I have 2 alcohol stoves, a Trangia 25 and a Sigg (don't remember the model number). Both work reasonably well, given the basic limitations of alcohol stoves. The Sigg is considerably heavier than the Trangia 25.

Keep in mind that alcohol is lower heat output per unit weight, with the result that you need double the amount on a trip compared to petroleum-based fuels (white gas, kerosene, compressed gas). Another limitation is that alcohol burns with a barely visible blue flame if you spill the liquid (easy to do with the usual burner). This near-invisibility is the reason that the Indianapolis 500 changed its rules for fueling the Indy cars. For many years, the Indy fuel was pure alcohol - when a crash would occur, it was extremely difficult to see if you had a burning fuel spill or if the fire had been extinguished.

You can get a variation on the Trangia 25 (or 27, which has larger pots) that is anodized, hence easier to clean than my non-anodized 25.

The MiniTrangia is just a burner with a stand to hold the pot. It is very light, but does not provide a windshield or hot air-flow director.

I typically only use the Trangia for backcountry ski tours, where I will stop out on the trail to melt water for tea and soup for lunch. It is really nice for that, although in really cold weather (subzero) the stove doesn't always generate enough heat to overcome the cooling of the surrounding cold air. But I find white gas and compressed gas far superior for trips greater than 4 or 5 man-days, where the total stove+fuel weight becomes less than the alcohol equivalent.

I have made a couple of coke-can alcohol stoves. It is amusing to do so and apply your own handicraft. But you still need a support for the pot and a good windshield/heat director/heat exchanger, which the Trangia and Sigg come with.

Many years ago, I saw a Sigg alcohol stove with an interesting burner design - basically an updraft carburettor. I haven't seen another one like it since. It had the advantage of a much higher heat output than the usual burner design, which is basically just the usual fondue pot warmer.

5:25 p.m. on May 28, 2014 (EDT)
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Check out zelph stoveworks, think the website is woodgaz.com. Awesome stoves for nearly unbeatable prices. I have several and have been very happy with them.

+1 to Bills coments regarding safety and spills. A good way to prevent this is to use a stove with a fiberglass wicking medium. I have 2 stoves with this material from zelph and you cant spill these if you try(unless you overfill them to the point where you have liquid fuel on top/the medium is saturated and wont hold any more)

5:27 p.m. on May 28, 2014 (EDT)
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I love my Trangia.

As I have lightened my pack load, I've moved over to the DIY Fancy Feast Cat Food Can stoves.

Currently, I'm carrying a "Perfect Stove" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-35L_xdtQE  but on the long trail, I'd take the Fancy Feast.

7:50 p.m. on May 28, 2014 (EDT)
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The Evernew Titanium has the wicking medium.  As far as safety, why not add some food coloring to the fuel.  You can see a spill that way.

Bill...what is your favorite stove?

7:51 p.m. on May 28, 2014 (EDT)
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Oh...anyone have experience with the White Box Stove? 

7:57 p.m. on May 28, 2014 (EDT)
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First a bit about fuel . There are several types of fuels with different characteristics that are called "alcohol". In Europe and Australia that is mostly Ethanol, usually around 90-95% pure. In North America often it is a mix of ethanol and methanol ,like SLX, or methanol (yellow Heet) sometime isopropanol like rubbing alcohol.  Generally avoid that last one. (black smoke) Some burn Everclear and that is Ethanol from 70 % and up pure. Everclear 70 proof is 70% alcohol and 30% water, so unless you also want to drink it the denatured stuff burns better. Most alcohol stove users only boil water. In my opinion if you want to simmer (so also cook...) there are not that many systems that work well not just for the simmering bit (not possible with most) but because of pot stability too.  The Trangia system can simmer and hold a pot safe enough. I have seen some good reports on the FeatherFire. Take a look http://packafeather.com/stove.html
(no personal experience with that one, I only boil)

9:23 p.m. on May 28, 2014 (EDT)
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So what is the difference with the Trangia's?  Model 25...model 27 and the Spirit stove?  

7:24 a.m. on May 30, 2014 (EDT)
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The Spirit stove is the actual stove. The 25 & 27 are the cooksets that are built around using the Spirit.


Here's my review on the 27: http://www.trailspace.com/gear/trangia/27-8-ulha/?review=28643

You can use the Spirit stove with any cookset.

The Trangia cooksets are built around the dimensions of the Spirit stove. I imagine you could use them with similar sized stoves, but the Spirit is so cheap and durable, there's no reason to try something else.

When I used the 27, I was with a guy who places camp comfort above pack weight. We hiked 6-8 miles per day carrying 45-50lbs each and ate "fancy" meals.

As a light hiker (not an ultralightest), the 27 was too heavy for me. I now carry a catfood can stove, DIY windscreen, and 1.5cup Ti mug to boil water. My cookset weighs in at >5oz.

10:26 a.m. on May 30, 2014 (EDT)
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Snakey,

The Trangia 25 and 27 stoves are series of cook kits, as GOOSE said. The basic sets have 2 pots, a lid/fry pan, a windshield/stand, and a pot lifter, along with the burner (the Spirit stove). There are hard anodized versions of each, which are easier to clean. The 27 pots are 1 liter, while the 25 has a 1.5 and a 1.75 liter pot. I got those turned around in my post above. I  actually have the 27, not the 25.

My "favorite stove" depends on what I am doing. The Trangia is good for a cross country ski tour. For a short overnight in spring-fall, I often use one of my canister stoves - the Soto I recently reviewed is the main choice these days. For longer backpacking and climbing treks, winter, and expeditions, the MSR XGK-EX is the clear choice, though I sometimes take my MSR Superfly in its hanging configuration. The Superfly can be hung from the top of your tent in winter for "indoor cooking" (WARNING - I do not endorse cooking inside a tent. The danger of fires plus carbon monoxide and oxygen depletion is extremely high, although the practice is done by very experienced mountaineers who understand the dangers and how to take precautions).

In other words, I pick the stove most suitable for the situation.

10:38 a.m. on May 30, 2014 (EDT)
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I just ordered the Triangia...can't wait to try it out.  Thanks everyone.  Bill...I really like MSR products and that stove looks great.  It is a shame that you cannot use alcohol in it...that would be perfect then.

4:24 a.m. on June 1, 2014 (EDT)
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I see so many homemade stands for alcohol stoves, and many are pots with holes drilled in them with the stove placed inside.  You would think that placing an alcohol stove in a contained space and then placing a pot on top, that a considerable amount of heat would build up around the stove.  Sure, they drill holes but that little stove is still getting really hot.

Have any of you ever heard of a Triangia exploding?  Or is this something that just can't happen.

Snakey

(hiss)

11:39 a.m. on June 1, 2014 (EDT)
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Alcohol doesnt explode like gasoline or compressed gases. The stove itself in situations like you described will indeed get very hot, but all this does it heat the stove itself and cause the fuel to burn/evaporate at an increased rate. Once Alcohol is lit , unless you severely deprive it of oxygen it wont do anything except burn slow or fast depending on the circumstances. If you severely deprive the stove of oxygen and it goes out it may start "popping" or sputtering as it occassionally gets the needed oxygen while still at the flash point of the fuel. Those few little holes you mention in most cases are more than adequate of providing the needed oxygen for combustion though.

Lastly, anything is possible. Under the right conditions with a not very well designed or constructed stove you certainly could have an alcohol stove "explode", but it wont be anywhere near the type of explosion one might see from a compressed gas or white gas type of stove. You would almost have to purposefully design an alcohol stove to explode to experience this.

4:51 p.m. on June 1, 2014 (EDT)
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Thanks Rambler....that is what I wanted to know.  But would you know the burning temps of alcohol.  Just curious as to just how much heat can be produced, in degrees. 

6:17 p.m. on June 1, 2014 (EDT)
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i believe its around 1400f at the tip of the flame

October 26, 2014
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