Historic Range: $73.50-$99.95
If I could only have one stove...
- Completely reliable
- Tough as nails
- Classic design
- Low toxicity
- Simple to use
- Easy setup
- Impervious to bad weather
- Great for beginners
- Not ultra-light
- Not super-fast
- Not much use, at altitude
- Can be thirsty on windy days
I've owned and used a Trangia, for more than 40 years. This type is the pre-Teflon coating, pre-hard anodising variety, as beloved by generations of Scandinavian ski tourists and ice fishermen. I haven't done the snow hole bivvy thing, for many years, but in those kind of extreme weather locations, I choose gear that is pretty well impossible to break and almost never malfunctions.
I've never seen, or heard of a Trangia stove, that couldn't be made to work. This should surprise no-one: all a Trangia needs is fuel and a spark. The two-part shield protects your pot or kettle from rain and wind, so you don't need to sit watching it, once assembled and fired up.
This is a two-person stove, which weighs a bit more than solo stuff, like SVEAs and Trangia Minis, but it has advantages. Simpler and less dangerous than a petrol stove, more stable and controllable, than most ultralight competitors. Perfect for a child, or backwoods beginner.
There are few stoves you'd want to use in a tent, or outdoors in a monsoon. The Trangia is one of the safest options and least likely to be extinguished by a gale or blizzard. The only real downside, is that they use more fuel in windy weather. I carry a piece of expanded foam sleep mat, to put under the stove in snow.
The magic ingredient is the brass burner, with a screw top, to carry unused fuel and a simmer ring, to give an element of flame control. Sometimes overlooked, is the two-part stand, which is much more stable, than smaller alternatives and more efficient, than a separate windscreen.
The twin nesting pots offer flexibility, for very little weight penalty and the kettle gives even more, when you are preparing a full meal, for two, or more folks. I wouldn't usually carry the kettle for day trips, preferring to use the space to pack a dried meal, or small fuel bottle.
For longer outings, the full kit comes into its own. I don't fry much food outdoors but used as a pot lid, the pan speeds boil times and protects the stove from rain.
Methylated spirits will stain pans. Adding a little water to the fuel helps—just don't use much! Experiment at home—but start, with a few spoonfuls in a charge of fuel.
If I was obliged to reduce and/or sell off most of my gear, I'd have to keep a Trangia, as my last stove. Weight, cooking times, and pack space are negatives—but all pale into insignificance, when you absolutely need your stove to work. I've produced hot drinks for injured hikers and bewildered day trippers, on many occasions. I've revived myself, after canoe mishaps and freezing river crossings.
The restorative power of a hot meal, when the dream of a restaurant has vanished? Invaluable.
Four decades. The perfect stove for introducing young people to camping, backpacking, and other outdoor pursuits. Great on the river and works fine in a suitably ventilated cave system. I've never taken one to altitude. I sometimes carried the burner on long through hikes, as a backup, before Trangia marketed their Mini variant.
I was an Outdoor Pursuits instructor, for ten years and served in a Fell Rescue team, for twelve. One of the biggest lessons for me, was that form always follows function, with all of your equipment. A reliable stove is a core element of any leader's kit-and rescue teams carry more than one.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: Too long ago to remember...