User Review: Trangia Mini Trangia
Price Paid: $30
I've been trying to figure out what type of stove to carry while backpacking. I checked out the canister stoves, esbit, and alcohol. I decided to go with the alcohol platform.
The canister is faster and easier. But the canisters are expensive, you don't know how much gas you have left (unless you time it and do some math), and you wind up with a bunch of partially empty canisters in your gear box.
Esbit is smelly, leaves black stuff on your pot, and can only be bought at specialized camping stores (same goes for canisters).
Alcohol stoves aren't quite as efficient, and are slower, but those seem to be the only drawbacks. You can get denatured alcohol in any town, you can even use everclear or other high proof drinking alcohols in a pinch. If your alcohol stove is destroyed on the trail, on say a through hike, you can stop off and get a cat food can, and have a new stove in 5 minutes by homemaking it (google supercat stove).
Anyway, to the Mini Trangia. The Mini Trangia is heavier and less efficient than many alcohol stoves. I feel though, that it's positive qualities make up for these negatives.
The stove is brass, and very stout. It has no moving parts to break mid hike. I love the way the whole kit neatly fits together inside the pot and frying pan/lid. It can simmer, which most alcohol stoves can not. You can use the simmer ring to put out the stove when done cooking. It has a storage cap, so when you have alcohol left over in your stove, you just screw on the cap, and hike on!
The only negatives I've found, are a lack of the ability to prime the stove in cold weather, and that you need to purchase or make a windscreen. To solve the priming problem I tried several "fixes" through experimentation.
The best way I found to prime the stove in winter is this: Get a tealight candle, and pull out the candle part, leaving the metal container. Keep this with your Trangia, it weighs almost nothing. When it's cold out, get your tealight warm, I use a mini bic lighter for a couple of seconds. Put a little alcohol in the tealight. Put the tealight on the Trangia "storage" cap to elevate it. Light the tealight. Flip the pot stand upside down, and center it over the tealight. Place your stove on the upside down pot stand. In just a minute your Trangia will be warmed up, now just set the stove up like normal, and light it (you could also use the tealight to warm up water for a cup of coco instead of lighting the Trangia).
So with my Trangia in "storage mode" I have in it: the stove, snuffer cap/simmer ring, the storage cap, potstand, potlifter, windscreen folded up, a three inch long strip of cardboard to ease lighting (not needed, but nice to have), and the tealight.
All in all I really like this stove. It's built to last, with nothing really to break, and it just works, which is the most important thing when deep in the mountains.