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The Trangia alcohol stove is a classic. First sold in 1925, this Swedish alcohol stove is still one of the top selling stoves on the market. The stove is lightweight, durable and easy to operate. This was the first stove I had in my arsenal and I still use it today.
Lets look at a few facts about the Trangia alcohol stove.
Weight: 112g (4.0 Oz)
Price: $15 USD
Where to Buy: amazon.ca
Fuel Source: Any type of alcohol works. I usually use isopropyl or denatured alcohol. Trangia also sells attachments that allow you to use petroleum products like diesel.
The focus of the Trangia alcohol stove is to be lightweight and durable. The stove works by placing alcohol in the container and lighting it. That simple. The stove also has jets along the rim, and it does take a couple minutes for these to kick in as it needs to warm up first.
The stove comes with a simmering ring, which can be used to control the flame. It is also the correct way to put out the stove.
It also comes with a screw on lid. This enables you to leave the fuel in the stove and not have to worry about it
The Stove is very durable and will last for years. The only thing that I can see going wrong with it is if you put the flame out with the lid. This will result in you melting the O ring and having the stove leak fuel everywhere when you store it.
Using the Trangia Alcohol Stove
As mentioned before, the stove is very easy to use. Alcohol goes in, Fire comes out. To use the Trangia stove by itself would be very difficult. You would basically have to hold the pot over the stove for the whole duration you are cooking. Fortunately, the Trangia Alcohol stove comes with plenty of accessory options.
One option is the Trangia Series 27 Ultralight Alcohol Stove kit. I personally have not used this set up, but reading a few reviews it seems to do a good job.
The Trangia Series 27 is meant for 1-2 people, and comes with two 1.0 L pots and a frying pan. There is also a windshield that the stove goes in to make the stove more efficient.
I personally use the Mini Trangia. It is a lot smaller and therefore lighter. The whole system weighs just 330g. This a lot lighter than the Trangia 27 which weighs 725g.
The Mini Trangia is equipped with a 0.8L pot, a frying pan which also acts as a lid, and a pot stand/windshield (They call it a windshield, but I fail to see how it is supposed to stop the wind).
To add to the Trangia’s versatility, They have also introduced a multi-fuel system that allows you to burn petroleum based products as well.
If you too plan on buying a Trangia stove cook set. Just be aware that the Trangia burner comes with the cook set. So don’t go buy the burner and a cook set.
Performance on the trail
I have used the Mini Trangia system on the trail several times. I have also used it at home to provide something to compare it to.
Like all stove systems, Elevation, temperature and pressure effect how the stove performs.
I have used two types of fuel with this stove. Denatured alcohol and isopropyl alcohol (or rubbing alcohol). Both of these are easily available. Denatured alcohol seems to be much faster at boiling water than isopropyl alcohol. The isopropyl alcohol also left black soot on the bottom of my pot.
When using the stove during the day, it is actually very difficult to tell if it is lit. The flame burns very clear and can be a safety concern when operating. Users need to be careful of this. It can also make it difficult to tell if the flame goes out in windy conditions.
Performance in Windy Conditions
Speaking of windy conditions, the stove does not work well in those conditions. It does work in wind, just not as well as other options. The mini Trangia “wind shield” is actually really hopeless. I brought along a home made aluminum wind shield. I am not sure how well it worked, but the flame didn’t go out.
Wind also creates a safety concern. Gusts of wind can actually blow out the flames from under the pot. When you are cooking you need to keep the area clear or you might risk starting a fire.
How Well does it Actually Cook
The mini Trangia set up comes with a pot and frying pan. I mostly cook dehydrated meals. I am mostly concerned with how long it takes to boil.
Since the stove is smaller than most (it only holds 0.8L max), it actually doesn’t take that long to boil. I was able to boil around 0.5L of water in about 10 minutes. This was on the trail and it was a lot faster at home.
Performance at Higher Elevations.
The Trangia alcohol stove can struggle a bit at higher elevations. It is more difficult to light (At higher elevations there is less vapor produced, which is what you are lighting) so you will need to bring matches. Originally I was using a spark to light it, but at higher elevations I had to use an actual flame.
It also takes a lot longer to cook. I didn’t take any measurements, but it was a while. It took about 15 minutes for the water to start boiling. I also had simmer for about 5 minutes but the burner ran out of fuel and I had to refuel while cooking.
There are a lot of cool features about the Trangia Alcohol stove. I am going to summarize below.
- Lightweight. Weighing only 112g this is a viable option for backpackers focusing on minimizing weight.
- Durable. The stove is made from a durable material. There aren’t any moving parts to it so there isn’t anything that can break.
- Inexpensive. Available from amazon from $14.99 USD. Can also buy cook sets for as little as $34.00 USD.
- Easy to use. No attachments to connect. Just pour in fuel. Light it up and cook away.
- Versatile. There are so many fuel options. You can use any alcohol based product, or petroleum based with the right attachment.
Any stove you buy is going to have some problems. Here are some I found relating to the Trangia Alcohol Stove.
- Not as efficient as other stoves. Fuels don’t burn as hot as gas type stoves.
- Does not like the wind. The wind also causes it to lose a lot of heat. This is a problem for every stove, but I feel like this is more of a problem for the Trangia as the flame can get blown out
- More difficult to start at higher elevations and cold weather. This is due to fewer vapors being produced.
Compared to Other Products
Lets compare it to another popular type of stove. The MSR Pocket Rocket.
The MSR pocket rocket is a small, lightweight gas canister stove.
Compared to the Trangia Alcohol stove, the MSR Pocket Rocket is more lightweight, and more energy efficient. Meaning that it is going to perform better than the Trangia.
Price wise they are about the same. The MSR Pocket Rocket does cost more, but you save money by not needing a pot stand.
The Pocket Rocket would also be more likely to break on the trail, as the arms look a little flimsy. While the Pocket Rocket is going to perform better, you have to rely on fuel canisters, which can take up a lot of space, can only be found in specialty outdoor shops, and are hard to dispose of properly.
On the other hand, the Trangia is more durable, and you are more likely to find fuel on the trail.
Both are good options. If you are looking for a cheap lightweight option that is highly efficient, I strongly recommend the MSR Pocket Rocket.
However, if you are looking for something that will last a lifetime, and want to have no problems refueling, even on the most remote trails, I recommend the Trangia alcohol stove, combined with the Mini Trangia cook set.
Who Should Buy the Trangia Alcohol Stove
Anyone who is looking for a stove that is lightweight, durable and reliable. The Trangia stove is not going to let you down. When going on a long distance trek, you can sleep easy knowing the Trangia Alcohol stove will be with you every step of the way.
There are a lot of great things about this product such as durability and versatility. I also mentioned some negative aspects and some difficulties. I just want to point out that despite its flaws, it will still WORK IN ALL CONDITIONS!
Sure it may not work as well as other stoves, I would expect that from a stove that was designed almost a hundred years ago. But there is a reason it is still around.
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