Trangia Spirit Burner with Screwcap Review

TrangiaMiniAlcoholStove

Base stats:
– BTU:  7K
– Weight: 3.8 oz
Stove comparison chart

What do you say about a stove with such a long history, that continues to be among the most sought after stoves on the market, and an entire industry of companies creating add-ons and peripherals around it?

There’s no other single stove product on the market today quite like the Trangia Mini.

How about this…I own 4 of these, 2 stand-alone and two as part of a pre-set cooking setup.  They’re cheap, durable, consistent.

The open jet style of this stove is easy to light and gives a consistent flame.
Other than that, there isn’t much to say that many many others haven’t already.  The simmer cap works, though takes practice to get a knack for what opening size leads to what type of simmering on what type of stove.  But it’s all easily learnable.
Get one, learn it’s pitfalls and quirks, and this stove will last a lifetime and a half.

Quick word about alcohol.  If you don’t already know, don’t use medical alcohol.  It burns dirty.  A lot of folks recommend HEET, because it’s relatively cheap and readily available at most car repair stores.  I don’t.  While it does burn clean, and burns very hot, it stings the eyes and burns the nostrils.  Not a big deal, but annoying enough that I don’t like it.  Denatured alcohol works best.  Doesn’t burn the eyes, burns clean (no soot, and by no soot, I mean zero.  outside of pot stays finger wipe clean).

Two great things about alcohol

– Non-toxic to the environment. Spill some?  no worries.  Doesn’t stain clothes, doesn’t kill plants, evaporates super fast.
– Works pretty well in very cold weather.  There are enough problems in extreme cold where some folks will get a primer pan to heat the Trangia while it’s in use, to get the alcohol in the Trangia as hot as possible.  I’ve backpacked in -10 degree weather, and around there, there are no problems.  zenstoves.com says it best.  It’s basically the volkswagon bug of stove fuel.  It’s not super efficient, but really runs basically the same across a broad range of weather and ambient temperatures.  Rock solid.

One bad thing about alchohol

  • It’s very heat inefficient compared to LPG stoves or liquid fuel stoves.  It has about 2/3 the BTU as a fuel compared to white gas or LPG gas, considerably less that jet fuel/kerosene/diesel, and it’s very hard to get the most out of the heat efficiency it has.
  • As a simple comparison,
    • a single 110 gram (4 oz) LPG gas can will boil 16oz of water 20 times in a JetBoil.
    • An 8 oz alcohol bottle will boil 16 oz of water about 8 times, 9 if you’re lucky.

This means that on a single day, you might boil 16 oz of water, maybe 4 times in the morning (drinks and food), 4 times at lunch (food), 4 times at dinner (food), and maybe twice in the evening (drinks), assuming two people, simple food and drinks).  Now, say it’s a weekend, starting with dinner and drinks Friday night (6 oz), and Breakfast on Sunday (4 oz).  That’s 24 oz of alcohol, vs. having 2 gas cans.

Of course, you can shave a lot of that depending on what you’re preparing when you eat, but you can see already that the longer the trip, the more fuel you’d need to carry.  A week long trip might require 2 or more liters of alcohol.

But enough of that, let’s talk about how I use them.  There are so many different ways to setup a Trangia, that every person has their own special ways.  I’ll talk about a few setups that I’ve tried and still use, and then end with my favorite setup.

First, the manufacturer’s own pre-sets:  The Trangia 25-2 and 27-2.  IMG_1252 copy IMG_1244 copy

Interestingly, the 25-2 is larger than the 27-2.  But both work superbly.  One of the biggest problems with Trangia stoves is maximizing heat efficiency.  Alcohol has one of the lowest fuel weight to heat ratios of all fuels (only wood is worse), which means every bit of heat efficiency you can achieve is a godsend.

IMG_0435 IMG_8413IMG_0388

The Trangia Storm sets are idea because when setup, the stove is at the base of a large wind screen.  The windshield does an incredible job trapping heat, and the entire setup is, understandably, extremely storm wind resisitant.

IMG_1392 IMG_1393

Next up, the Evernew cross bar setup.  This is the most basic, smallest, stove stand setup you can possibly have.  Two flat pieces of titanium, with cuts to allow them to be stacked cross-wise, and then cutouts to make the cross fit over the Trangia stove.  This creates a simple stand.

While not the most heat efficient, adding a windshield can help.

IMG_1016

Next up… A simple soup can with holes punched in.  You basically place the Trangia inside the soup can.  Lighting it is harder.  I generally light a stick and then insert the stick inside to light the Trangia.  It works about as well as the Evernew Cross bars.

—-

And my favorite setup?

Pairing it up with a Bushbox pocket wood stove and a tall heat reflecting windscreen.

IMG_1448IMG_1449IMG_1450

When using the Optimis HE Weekend pot (that HE stands for heat exchanger, and it works), I can get about 16 oz to boil in about 4 and half minutes, using just under an oz of fuel.

For an alcohol stove setup, that’s pretty darn good.  There are some setups out there that take between 9-13 minutes, and some setups never really get a rolling boil, so 4.5 minutes on under an oz is very usable.  There are some systems that may do it a little faster, but very few.

What’s great about this system is that it’s very small and compact, but more importantly, if I run out of alcohol, I can use the exact same setup using biofuels.  That pretty powerful flexibility.

I wouldn’t take this on a two person weekend trip, but on a solo weekend backpacking trip, it one of the best ways to go.  Not quite as light as a JetBoil, but pretty darn close, environmentally safe fuel, stainless and quick evaporating fuel (in case I spill on clothing),  burns clean and reasonably efficient with this setup, and allows for backup fuels.

Hope this review helps and gives some ideas.  Proponents of alcohol stoves are few and far between.  And the environment could use more advocates of this safe fuel for backpacking cooking.

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One thought on “Trangia Spirit Burner with Screwcap Review

  1. Pingback: Evernew Titanium DX review | Camping Stoves and Other Gear Reviews

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