Monday, February 12, 2007

Stove Test

I started doing an informal test on a new stove, the Trangia 28T is a backpacker model with just a burner, and windscreen/holder. It comes with a small pot, pot gripper, and a lid they pass as a non-stick frying pan. I don't think I could fry two eggs in it successfully. But that's not really what I was looking for, I have plenty of cookware. The stove is what interested me. It burns alcohol, a relatively cheap and easily accessible fuel. No moving parts. I've repaired my MSR Whisperlite a number of times, taking it apart in the field is really not a great idea unless you have a nice table, and some good lighting. Sitting on a log wearing a headlamp doesn't cut it, and if you loose the little shaker thing, well. So the simplicity is a big plus for me. Boiling water seems to be the test all the stove makers rave about, this one will not win any races. But it will boil water just fine. I filled up an MSR teapot with a litre of very cold water, set it on the tailgate of the pickup. There was about a 10 knot wind so I set up a wind break, temp was 10F. I had a rolling boil in about 12 minutes. What I discovered while I heated up a pot of chunky vegetable soup was it didn't burn the soup in a two inch circle in the bottom of the pot like a typical backpacker stove will do. The stove also came with a small lid to place on the stove to adjust the flame. This little device looks troublesome, once it is placed on the stove, I don't know how anyone could readjust the flame without some burned fingers. I discovered the best use for it was to close the adjuster all the way and use it to snuff the fire out. So, not much practical adjustment for the heat. With everything there are always trade offs, the stove has very good points .. Very simple to operate, no moving parts, seems to have just the right amount of heat for most cooking applications, very quiet, small and light weight, environmentally friendly fuel. The trade offs would be commonality of fuel in a group, most everyone uses white gas. I don't think the lower heat output would do well cooking for a large group. I think its really meant for one or two people. And although I didn't measure fuel usage, it may require more fuel to get the job done, just by the slightly longer cooking times. All things considered I will use this stove for the coming paddling season. I was keeping an MSR Pocket Rocket along for a spare. Maybe I can leave it at home next season.


Alex said...

I've been using a Trangia stove (actually swiss military surplus) for the last couple of years and actually more and more of the people I paddle/camp with have switched to it so we always have plenty of fuel. Plus if you spill alcohol, it evaporates and your gear isn't damaged unlike if you spill white gas. I usually just buy a bunch of bottles of HEET (yellow bottle) from auto supply stores and toss that in my boat prior to going on a camping trip.

Ron said...

Hi Alex, So far I've been impressed with the stove, I like the HEET bottle idea, most any gas station will carry those in one form or another.