Trangia Stoves

I’ve become rather fond of a particular little alcohol stove. It’s a camping stove, generally. An old design, from many decades ago, that’s still in wide use. The primary fuel it uses is methanol, but it can also run well on ethanol. I tried iso-propanol in it (91%) and it worked tolerably, with sooting of the pans. I’d have no problem in an emergency running rubbing alcohol in this stove. Otherwise, I’d use methanol. (Widely available as “HEET” brand fuel line dryer at hardware and autoparts stores in the yellow bottle, or at Home Depot and the like in gallon jugs.)

Part of what makes it fun is that it makes a burner like rosette of little flames, while having no moving parts at all.

Conceptually, it is just a can of fuel, with holes around the upper rim, and an inner cylinder that traps some of the fuel between an inner and outer wall where evaporation makes a tiny bit of pressure that goes out the perimeter flame holes. Just pour in about 30 ml ( two Tablespoons) of alcohol and light it.

It comes with a “simmer ring” that can cover that ring of flame holes, making it more like a small Sterno can flame. The top (darker) layer of the ring can then be pivoted some, side to side, (pivots on a rivet) so as to cover that hole more and turn the simmer way down if desired. It also has a lid with a rubber O ring seal that (once the stove is cooled!) can be put on and keep the fuel inside. So if you don’t use all the fuel making your coffee, just snuff the flame with the closed ‘simmer ring’, let it cool, and put the cap on. The basic stove burner then fits in a shirt pocket. As it takes about 1/4 to 1/3 a ‘fill’ to make a personal pot of tea, you get several uses from one filling. For a day hike you could get by without any fuel bottle along.

That basic stove can be bought with a variety of “pot stands” and wind screens. As for most low pressure or no pressure stoves, it is a little bit wind sensitive. If planning to use this outdoors in “various circumstances beyond your control”, it will be better with a wind screen. If you tend to only go out on good days, and / or like using stoves on a sheltered patio, the wind screen becomes more optional.

Trangia sells kits for several levels of “wild and windy”. I’ve bought two of them.

Why two? Well, first off, they are very low cost. Second, I have two very different needs / uses in mind. One is the “mini-Trangia” and is intended for semi-windy uses and a very small pack size. I bought it with a small ‘mess kit’ that it fits inside. It is about ideal for something small and light to put in a day pack for making coffee and / or tea with a bowl of ramen noodles wherever you might end up. The other has a much larger diameter pot stand that can be used with larger pots with stability. Basically, one is for very small pots and Sierra Club Cups, the other for large pots.

That “Large pot” one has become a bit of a ‘daily favorite’.

As these use a liquid fuel, a spill indoors can be catastrophic. Knock over one of these when it is lit, you get a spreading puddle of fire. The good bit is that being alcohol you can just toss a pan of water on it and it’s out. (As I pretty much use it just for boiling water, I always have a pot of water at hand…) Placing the burner inside a 9 inch or so cake pan also means if it spills, you contain it all in a metal pan. Simple and easy safety.

So now, most days I make my coffee / tea on this stove while watching TV (finance / news catch up) and sitting comfortably. Tonight, as a test, I used it to cook the main course of dinner. I used a 3 quart pot with about 1 quart+ of water in it, and boiled ‘pot stickers’, 4 to 6 at a time. (The spouse takes 4, I take 5 or 6 ;-) It worked well. A bit longer to reach the boil than the 2 kW electric element ( 7,000 BTU) but much faster than a large Sterno ( 1100 BTU). After adding the frozen pot stickers, it took a bit longer to get back to the boil, but not too long. After about 4 minutes, it wanted the ‘simmer ring’ to slow it down from full boil to a simmer. (They cook for about 5 to 6) The “snuffer” (closed simmer ring) works better than a lid on a Sterno can, and it is MUCH easier to close a partly used can of fuel and re-open it later.

The rice went into the electric rice cooker as I am a lazy bum who like robots to work for me ;-)

OK, some pictures. Here is the “mini”. You can see that the burner is relatively well shielded by the pot stand / wind screen. There isn’t enough clearance to use the simmer ring in all it’s settings (the ‘swing out’ part can’t swing much in the small space) but for the intended use the need to ‘simmer’ is low and the probability of a bit of wind is high so added heat is a feature.

Mini Trangia Stove

Mini Trangia Stove

You can see the ‘simmer ring’ partly open in the foreground leaning on the lid / cap. The stove itself is inside that aluminum pot stand / wind screen ring. That pot sticking out over the edges is 15 cm (about 6 inches) and about 0.8 liter if filled way too full. Realistically, you will get about a pint in it with headroom. The lid is asserted to be a frying pan too, but what one would fry in it is unclear. Maybe an egg?… Now look how much a tiny little pan hangs over the edges of that pot stand? Not much bigger than that will be stable. This is for one person, on their own, with a coffee cup / Sierra Club Cup, or very small 1 pint pot. Which is exactly what I want from it. Tea for one or two people at a time. Maybe a couple of boiled eggs, Ramen, or a pint of water to do a freeze dried dinner pouch. Stuff that would fit in 1/2 of the external pocket of my day pack and not be noticed.

The other pot stand has a different purpose. It is to hold a larger pot, in places with less chance of wind. (They also sell full on foul weather kits with complete wind screen / pot shrouds. What you would expect from a Swede is a cooking system that will work in a Swedish winter… but I don’t need that so didn’t buy it.)

Here’s a picture of that stove / pot stand with a 3 quart pot on it (cooking tonight’s dinner)

Trangia Open Spirit Stove

Trangia Open Spirit Stove

That 12 ounce Starbucks cup gives you a sense of scale, and you can barely see the flame under the pot. Alcohol flames are sometimes hard to see in bright lights, and can be impossible to see in direct sunshine.

Amazon sells the basic Trangia stove burner for $15 alone, and the stove with this pot stand for $25. So it’s $10 as the part of the cost for this pot stand. It is just a single solid piece, so “set up” is just setting it down on a surface.

That’s a low enough price (especially with the free shipping when enough is ordered together) that I was happy to get two stoves. The mini and this one.

My fuel cost spreadsheet puts Home Depot gallon sized methanol at 26 ¢ / 1000 BTU while my AEK runs about 9 ¢ so why spend 3 times as much to use this? Convenience. I can “overlap” making tea with “other things” if I don’t have to be standing in the kitchen. Why not use the Coleman or ??? Well, this stove is just so damn polite. It lights easily with a ‘sparker’ BBQ lighter, so no match smells / fumes. ( Either push the button that lets the butane out to get a flame, or just dip the end into the methanol, pull back and spark only…). The thing is silent. It makes no significant smells. The “snuff” is instant and complete without a lot of ‘fumes’. There is no ‘warm up time’ so no waste. In short, it’s a joy to use and easy to live with.

I’d been using a Sterno stove (mostly since it’s safer, no spill risk). But it’s a pain to pry the lid off a partly used can once it’s cooled and shrunk fit again. Snuffing is a bit touchy and can sometimes get fingers a bit singed. And it has a bit more smell in the snuffing. Then there’s that unfold / refold the origami stove… So while I still like my Sterno Stove, it’s not the “daily driver” so much as it is now a ‘dead simple emergency stove’ and doesn’t need any fuel pouring / liquid storage.

So, in short, I’m willing to “pay up” for the convenience and well behaved nature.

The local “speed shop” supposedly sells methanol for much less than the $15/gallon of Home Depot, so I might be able to get that cost down some anyway.

FWIW, its about $11 for the “Mini-Trangia” wind screen / pot stand alone; or the stove with wind screen, and mess kit combo runs out at about $32 right now:

You can see the larger sized “stoves with full wind screen pot stand and mess kit” packages directly at Trangia:

Though I’m less clear on why one would want an ‘ultralight stove’ with a full sized mess kit… That they run about $100 at Amazon moves it outside the “impulse buy” range any way.

When first lit, the flame is modestly small. As it heats the puddle of alcohol, the flame gets larger until it stabilizes at full sized. A 1.5 quart pot (call it a liter) works well while the 3 quart pot is about as large as I’d use (though it could handle a full sized tea kettle, a smaller one will boil faster). When it transitions from ‘Sterno like flame’ to ‘burner like flame’ there can be a soft ‘pop’ sound. Nothing to worry about, just some of the alcohol vapor catching as it first starts making the burner gas flow.

Here’s a picture with a 250 ml / l cup Pyrex measuring cup sitting on the stove (on the ‘simmer ring’ in snuffer position). Notice that the pot support legs are NOT holding up that cup. Small pots do not span the legs on this pot support. That also gives a sense of scale and shows why this stove & pot support is not suited to use as an ultralight rig with a Sierra Club Cup. Heck, my 1 pint pot doesn’t even fit on those pot support legs. This pot support is for 1 quart sized and larger. Or for very flat pans.

Trangia Measuring Cup

Trangia Measuring Cup

The brass bit is the actual stove and is about like a tuna can in size ( a bit taller and not as wide). It just sits in a hole in the middle of that stamped white ring. The ring is quite strong and feels like it is steel and a magnet sticks to it, so some kind of iron.

Zen Stoves discusses the Trangia burner as part of their generic alcohol “top burner” page:

Top burning alcohol stoves are generally dependable and easy to operate, just light and wait for your food or water to heat up. They also produce a circular array of individual flames similar to a gas range.
The Swedish Trangia stove has been around for over fifty years. This dependable stove has been popular with both European military and civilian outdoorsman.
Advantages –

Works with any sized pot.
More efficient than sideburner stoves for narrow pots as you have better flame contact with the bottom of the stove.
Easiest to light – self primes.
Many simmer options.
Easy to find parts.
Can light without primer pan.

Drawbacks –

Requires a pot stand.
Perhaps less efficient than other designs because of large open center.

The fuel is a bit heavier per BTU than gasoline, but unless hiking 50 miles in for a 2 week stay, the lightness of the stove makes up for it. It’s also a very clean burn, no soot, no smell, and no unnatural noises in the wilderness. (I would note that their ‘works with any sized pot’ is about the burner, not the pot stand…)

Then proceeds on to how to make a DIY variation from old soda pop cans. For $15 I can’t see much need to DIY, but it is nice to know how to make one from junk; if in a post catastrophe world you expect to have a gallon of methanol around… (Personally, I’d go for a wood burner DIY, and buy a Trangia for day hikes / backpacking. Oh, wait, that’s what I did! ;-)

There’s a wiki about Trangia, where you can read their history (says first sold in 1925) and see more pictures.

The key component of a Trangia stove is the burner. This is a small brass cup that looks and functions similar to a beverage-can stove. Fuel is poured into the burner and ignited. The heat from the flame causes the fuel to vaporize, forcing it out of 23 or 24 jets around the top of the burner, and producing a steady cooking flame. The burner includes a removable “simmer ring”, which partially blocks the flame in order to reduce heat output. It also includes a sealed lid, so that extra fuel can be stored in the burner.

Alternative burners are available allowing gas cartridges or white gasoline to fuel the Trangia.

In addition to the burner, the standard stove set includes a base, which lifts the burner off the ground and has vents to provide airflow, and a windscreen, which protects the pot and flame (the latter leading to its Swedish nickname, the “stormkök”, or “storm kitchen”). The standard stove also includes two billycans (pots), a pot lid/frying pan, an optional teakettle and a handle, commonly referred to as a Billy Grip, used to grip onto the lip of the pots and pans. The entire set is designed to fit together in a single, portable package.

I’ve not explored the “other fuel burners” available for it, as I don’t have one of the larger stoves, nor have I looked into the Titanium version (for people with large wallets and small legs, and as my wallet is not large…) But one of those kits in Titanium would be pretty darned strong. “Storm Kitchen” indeed….

This picture shows the full sized stove but the flames visible under the frying pan are clearly not alcohol. I don’t know what they are burning in that one, but it looks like wood, making a dull red flame.

Trangia full sized cooking

Trangia full sized cooking

Original Image

This implies that the larger Trangia Stove can be used with “found fuel” and scraps of wood (saving the alcohol burner and fuel for places without dry wood). A nice feature in an emergency stove, and reason to get the big one were I “on the road” a lot. But as a home body most of the time, post quake I’m going to have plenty of materials to make a brick Rocket Stove if needed. (And enough preparation that it won’t be needed…)

For my purposes, it is the much smaller, and very clean alcohol burner version, that meets my needs (and desires).

All in all, I’m happy with the product. I don’t know when I’ll get a chance to try out the ‘day pack’ version. Hopefully in a few weeks. (It is raining right now…)

I’ve used the “white ring” one on the patio for coffee and it worked well, despite a mild bit of breeze. There was some flame flicker, but not too much. I may try cooking breakfast over it one day as a test. It is important to test equipment prior to needing it to work; and to find out what it does well, and when you might “have issues”. Besides, I get to have bacon and eggs with tea on the patio and claim I’m “doing work” ;-)

Mostly I’ve been using the Coleman Stove on the patio (both the 2 burner and the single burner 533 white gas / unleaded gasoline stove) and find they work reliably in whatever breeze is blowing. The single burner 533 lights very fast with essentially no fussing or preheating wait time (and no ‘lever up / lever down’ business either). I’d likely make the 533 my default emergency kit stove but for the fact that gasoline has become a political football and politicians, not Engineers, are playing with the formula of it; so who knows what it will be in a year.

I wish they made a kerosene version of the same stove, but they don’t. The Kerosene version comes in a lighter, more upscale backpacking stove, for about twice as much money and with about 1/2 the review quality. So I’m hoping that when my Butterfly kerosene wick stove arrives, it will impress enough to be the ’emergency kerosene stove’ (and perhaps a ‘daily driver’ too). The Butterfly pressure stove works well out of the wind, but is very sensitive to breezes (especially in the preheat step) so is more suited to inside use than “patio in the wind”.

The Coleman 533 is prone to a bit of fuel vapor when you shut it off. The flame flickers for a while, burning most of what is left in the generator tube, then goes out, and some leftover fuel evaporates. Not something you want in a small space indoors. Even out doors, the smell can be noticed.

So the alcohol fuel stoves are just much more polite and pleasant in places with reduced air flow. And with just a bit of screening from winds, do a nice job outdoors, while being very small and light. For a gallon pot of beans, I’d use the Coleman, but for a cup of tea, and even breakfast or dinner for one on the trail, I like the Trangia. There’s something attractive about a stove, with fuel, that fits in a shirt pocket. You could always use it with three rocks for your pot stand …

Subscribe to feed


About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in Emergency Preparation and Risks, Food and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Trangia Stoves

  1. tckev says:

    I don’t know if this has been pointed out before but has quite a few interesting article on stoves!

  2. Petrossa says:

    For your next obsession i suggest finding a cure for cancer :)

  3. E.M.Smith says:


    Interesting link. They have an article about the ‘big Trangia’ kit:

    Stove of the Week: The Trangia 27
    Let’s say you wanted a reliable stove. A really reliable stove. A stove where there’s nothing to go wrong. A stove that’s going to work in any conditions, no matter what.

    What’s that? It’s a trick question? No, there really is such a stove, the Trangia. The Trangia alcohol stove system is, simply put, the most reliable backpacking type stove in the world.

    I think they like it ;-)

  4. J Martin says:

    Off topic I guess. But the pics of your kitchen hob had me googling prices of induction hobs in the US, which seem to be more expensive than in the UK. A full 4 ring induction hob in the UK starts at £230 ($349). I know you have a gas hob to replace it, so the running costs of that should be about a third to a quarter of the cost of your existing hob. Induction running costs are thought to match gas and are steadily expanding in popularity in the UK and are expected to rival gas hobs in popularity eventually.

    I fancy having a hob that does both, or rather a two ring gas hob and a separate two ring induction hob. I think that as the induction hob has quite a lot of hard working electronics in it it may prove less reliable than all other types of hob. Maybe not Carrington event proof either ?

  5. J Martin says:

    @ Petrossa.

    Cancer cure. I think he EMS has done that in bits and pieces. Perhaps needs pulling together.

    Start with daily aspirin, vitamin D, vitamin B17. Then read through all previous posts surrounding the subject and tweak accordingly.

  6. Sera says:

    Happy Easter everyone!

  7. Steve Crook says:

    Many moons ago, my parents used to take us kids to the seaside in Weymouth (in the UK) and usually, it was cold and windy, and being Sunday, none of the shops were open, but we all needed a hot cup of tea while cowering inside the beach hut. The meths stove came to the rescue, slightly different design to the Trangia, but the same principle. Very nice, and (for me at least) the smell of burning meths has always had some good associations. I’ve kept the stove and have a bottle of meths, because you never know when it might be useful…

  8. pouncer says:

    The follow up comments are usually as interesting as the header posts. For instance, the only reviews of “Esbit” style pocket stoves (the sort I’m accustomed to, for limited purposes) show up in comments.

    A person could do a lot worst for this time than glean and thresh Chiefio’s posts and comments into an ePub for Nook (mobi for Kindle) at 99 cents each.

  9. dellwilson says:

    I have one of the Trangia mess kits; not sure if I have the 27 or 25. I consider it a very luxurious option. On an overnighter last fall, I cooked a nice meal for three. I got a pot of rice going in one pot. Then I covered the rice with the frying pan while got a pot of edamame boiling. I swapped out the cover on the rice and used the frying pan to cook some fish in a nice citrus and white wine sauce with capers. It’s really a nice kit, but both bulky and heavy. The bulk can be offset a bit by carrying other stuff inside, but not completely.

    I recently purchased the Esbit Alcohol Trekking kit to cut down on weight and bulk. On a recent car camping trip to Mammoth Cave, I cooked rice with chicken for three people and I had to cook it in two batches.

    I’ve not yet done any side-by-side comparison, but I believe the Trangia boils water more quickly. I’m speculating that the design of the windscreen plus the extra surface area of the wider pots contribute to this. The flames easily escape the sides of the pot on the Esbit. Being less efficient, I think I use more fuel with the Esbit. I’ll do a comparison soon. One thing I’d like to compare is how long it takes the burner to bloom. I got a little frustrated waiting on the Esbit to bloom. If there is something in the burner design, I might just substitute the Trangia burner into the Esbit kit.

    I’m planning to take the Esbit on an upcoming bicycle tour because my touring partner will be responsible for his own cooking. Were we to be sharing the kit, including portage, I might well consider the Trangia. It’s a great option for multiple people.

    I really like the alcohol stoves because of the wide availability of fuel; Walmart, Lowes, Home Depot, outdoor stores, auto parts stores. Two years ago, I friend of mine drove all over town looking for canisters of white gas for his stove before we could set out on a bike trip.

  10. Jerry says:

    I have one of these that belonged to my Dad. I did get a bottle of Heet a couple of years ago but it evaporated before I got around to trying it. My interest in alcohol stoves was not all that great but I will try again. :) That L shaped thing in the photo (at the website) is the fuel filler cap plus it contains a wick that is lit and rotated under the burner to do the pre-heat. Got it’s own little cap attached via a chain. The stove is about 4 inches in diameter and 4.5 inches tall. The burner has 5 holes in the top and holes around the rim. No adjustment – On or Off. Pot holders are steel, burner and tank are nickel plated brass I think.–co-of-chicago-alcohol-stove.html

  11. John Silver says:

    If your alcohol fuel is sooting, dilute it with 10% water. It will cook slower but your pots will be cleaner.

  12. E.M.Smith says:

    @J. Martin:

    Don’t forget that in the USA, thanks to fracking, we have Natural Gas at about 1/4 the price in the UK…

    The cost of electric BTUs is about 6 x the cost of natural gas BTUs here, so you would need at least a 6 x higher efficiency of use of the electric source just to reach breakeven. I think that isn’t possible…


    Well, I’m soft of puttering around the edges of it… Mostly looking at how to “hold it off” rather then cure once in place, but a bit of “Hey, this kills off cancer cells.”

    But it’s a long and hard thing, so gets scattered over a long time…

    @J. Martin:

    Also keep anti-oxidant levels up (several kinds) and keep mineral levels up (including the ones less frequently thought about like Mg, Boron, and potentially even the right trace levels of Arsenic – so eat your brown rice… ) Vit-D from a mild UV light instead of from a pill is needed by some folks (like my spouse) so a Vit-D assay can help. AVOID things like tobacco smoke and known carcinogenic chemicals to excess, but don’t be paranoid about trivial levels (they may actually help stimulate immune responses). Have regular checkups…


    Happy Spring Equinox (even if the Christians have had a bit of calendar trouble keeping it straight over the centuries ;-) and merry Alban Eilir ! Or happy spring fertility festival (where do you think the rabbits and eggs came from? ;-)

    @Steve Crook:

    A lovely story… You ought to take it out for a cuppa’ just for old times sake. I’m sure it would love to have a bit of a stretch and run…


    I actually own an Esbit (two of them…) but they are in ’emergency only’ kits. The “fold up fuel tablet” stove is in my car kit. The Esbit alcohol burner (almost the same as the Trangia other than handle on the simmer ring) plus the wind screen / tablet stand stove and mess kit is in my personal Bugout Bag. I’ve not ‘reviewed’ them as they are ‘reserved for emergencies’.

    I did do a test burn of a tablet stove, but that was prior to having a blog… On my “to do” list is to take my set of small ’emergency only’ stoves and do a head to head test of them. But I’m hoping to set up and make a video of it (My First!) and that has caused me to keep putting it off for a year ;-)

    So “no worries”, and Esbit review is “on the cards”… (just a bit indeterminate as to when…)


    Nice ‘first hand reports’!

    I think the Trangia has a bit of wick in the sidewalls, but don’t know about the Esbit. A “side by side” to bloom time would be nice to know. I’ve noticed that the ‘time to bloom’ increases with more fuel loaded in. So for a ‘fast bloom’ put in just barely enough fuel for the cooking to be done.

    Your dinner sounds just wonderful… Much more fun than Patio Cooking… I need to service the bike and find a camping / bike trail…

    Part of why I got the “Dual Fuel” versions of Coleman was just so that ‘worst case’ I hit the gas station and forget the white gas. Here in California they have made most petroleum stuff a hazardous waste issue, so folks just don’t want to carry any.

    I’ll do a ‘trial fit’ of my Trangia burner into the Esbit kit and let you know if there are any physical / size issues. Heck, I might even fire them both up at the same time and “time it’ ;-)


    It also looks like the top of the burner is “dished” so you can put a puddle of alcohol there to preheat it?

    Interesting old stove. I really like old stoves… they have more character.

    @John Silver:

    I may try that. I was mostly just interested in “Can I use iso-propanol” in an emergency?” and I got that answer (“Yes, with soot”). It would be nice to know how to fix that, but in an emergency I think a bit of soot would be fine ;-)

    The “simple test” that I’ll do next is just adding 10% then 20% water to the isopropanol and finding when it quits working. Not a priority though. (Right now, lunch is a priority ;-) so “back soon”… time for the patio kitchen…

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    Just did a side by side test burn of Esbit burner vs Trangia burner “naked” (no pot stand, no pot).

    One with 2 Tbs (30 ml) of methanol, the other ‘full to just below the rim’ about 1 cm down or about the top of the outer skin top below the threads.

    As the Trangia is about 1 or 2 mm shorter than the Esbit, you must choose “same distance from top” or “same fuel volume”. I chose “same volume” for the first test, same distance to top for the second.

    More details in a posting to come later, but the “flash answer” is that when fueled with just enough for a mug of coffee, both “bloom” (to start the burner type flame and more power) in about 30 seconds or less. Fast enough that I’d not gotten my first picture taken nor looked at the clock.

    When full, but were MUCH slower, taking on the order of multiple minutes. The Trangia was last to “bloom” and by a couple of minutes. (Both had been in the freezer for 15 minutes…)

    They both fit in the stove for the other one as the diameters are identical.

    If you want fast bloom, just don’t fill it above 1/2 way with fuel…

  14. dellwilson says:

    Ok. That’s exactly what frustrated me. I filled it up because I knew I had to cook multiple batches and wanted to reduce the amount of refilling I had to do. I definitely need to do some more experimentation to find the sweet spot.

  15. adolfogiurfa says:

    Just in case of a Banks´holiday!

  16. Paul, Somerset says:

    I’d be surprised if that really is wood being used as a fuel in that photo.

    You say: “The stove itself is inside that aluminum pot stand / wind screen ring.”

    Surely aluminium would melt, or at least soften, with the heat from a wood fire?

  17. Larry Geiger says:

    Revereware!!! Nice pot. Distinctive handles. Love it. I’ll never inherit my mom’s. She is going to outlive me, I think.

  18. Petrossa says:

    Paul, this is the alu saucepan i used to melt lead for a counterweight in. My wife isn’t happy, but the pan held the heat from the blow torch. Unfortunately the handle didn’t.

  19. E.M.Smith says:


    Aluminum melts at 660 C or about 1220 F; some of the alloys used in pots even higher. That is basically just at the ‘starting to glow red’ level. (Past experience melting aluminum. It mostly looks like silvery, but in a semi-darkened light you can see the dull red starting in it.) Lead melts at 327 C (and lead / tin alloy even lower) so it is quite possible to melt lead and solder in aluminum pots.

    I’ve also burned wood in aluminum. Just need to keep it below ‘red heat’. Most stoves don’t reach that temperature. (How often does your stove glow red at you?). The parts exposed to that kind of heat (grills) are usually made of iron. While I’d not advocate for doing wood / charcoal in aluminum, since it CAN get that hot, it can be done with small fires and limited air flow. (I.e. don’t put a bellows on the charcoal or you will melt it…) As that fire is a sooty looking dull red, it looks like limited air flow on sticks to me. Not going to melt aluminum (until good charcoal formed and forced air added…)

    Note that much camp cookware is aluminum and is put on top of a blue temperature fire that can easily melt it… Repeat after me “temperature is not heat”…


    I’ve done it too ;-)

    @Larry Geiger:

    Yes. I have 3 pieces ( I think…). 2 sauce pans – 3 qt and 1.5 qt.; and a small saute pan (about 8? inch). I’d love to have more, but the price… They do the bulk of our daily cooking in pots. I’ve had them for a few decades as other pots and pans come and go… 3 or 4 sets of aluminum / teflon stuff. A couple of cheap Chinese double boilers. Several Pyrex / Corning dishes that discovered gravity ;-) (Though, in fairness, I have several of a lifespan longer than the Revere Ware as they were bought earlier… it is just a question of what ‘slipped’ into the sink…) The only thing I have more durable is the Cast Iron Skillet that I dug up when I was about 4 or 5 years old. I was playing in the dirt in the back yard and found it buried about 8 inches down. Forgotten by someone decades past. Dad cleaned it up and re-seasoned it. We’ve been using it ever since. No idea how old it really is, but the town was founded in the 1800s… No markings on it I can see to use for identification, and not willing to strip 55 years of “seasoning” off of it to see if something is hidden… But it looks to be from before the era of marketing and putting a name on things.

    They are really nice pots.


    More that I live in “Quake Country”. Always was prone to ‘be prepared’ (as growing up in a Mormon town you learn such attitudes of self reliance and preparation). But after a 7.x scale event, well, lets just say I’m more familiar with the practical things to expect.

    (Yes, I know, they later downgraded it from a 7.1 to a 6.9 but damn it, I got my 7.x Quake Badge fair and square and I’m not turning it back in. ;-)

    While our power stayed on, much of the area didn’t. We had “visitors” for a while… Had my power gone out too, I’d rather not be begging dinner from friends, nor eating room temperature canned chili… ( I had chosen where to live rather well, looking at USGS shake maps and soil maps and… so we only lost a wine glass at home. Work, however, was down for 3 to 4 days and was a mess. Just 3 blocks away from us, power was out for a few days, and that area stretched for miles and miles… )

    As I was about 20 miles from home (but needed 30 miles of travel to get home) when the quake hit (at work – where power was out and a mess happened) and could easily have gotten stuck there (as some places had overpasses fall and it was not clear that a path could be found back home if they fell here… being on the other side of a few creeks…) there was a very open question of just how long I would be living out of the trunk of my car… ( I had a ‘car kit’ in it, even then). Nor how many other people I’d be feeding from my ‘kit’. Had it been an “8.x” instead (that it could easily have been, or can be again), I figure “about 2 weeks”. Though I could likely walk home in one week and would try to do that.

    So every car has a “quake kit” in it (except when the spouse or kid “cleans the car” and I find it in the garage…) and the house has a “Major Quake Kit”. Plus, I have a “minor kit” that lives in my backpack that travels with me just about everywhere. If I’m 15 miles from the car (at a BART station) working a contract in San Francisco, that “car kit” is not so available… so the “mini kit” has to fit in one large backpack pocket…

    That’s why I don’t mind buying a couple of stoves at $15 each. They will find a kit to live in. I’ll likely add one of them to the Car Kit. (The Very Expensive MSR Multi-fuel expedition stove that lived in the kit for decades had the ‘rubber goods’ oxidize and crack. It’s $15 for the seals kit… It does burn anything from gasoline to Diesel, but that’s less important now as I’m not commuting an hour and a half away from home each day… so a Trangia with HEET is ‘good enough’ for trips 10 miles to the store. I can make coffee as I hike home and that’s enough.)

    In some of the ‘mini-packs’ I’ve used “tablet stoves” (like the Esbit). They work OK as a very storable emergency stove for coffee and ramen noodles, but the hexamine tablets make pretty stinky fumes. Not going to use that in an enclosed space, yet they want a wind break. So mostly I’ll be adding alcohol stoves to them as a ‘preferred option’ and keeping the tablet stoves in the kit (as they are smaller than an Altoids tin…) for the “What do you mean the alcohol evaporated from the bottle, I put it there just a decade ago!” moment… Belt AND suspenders.

    FWIW, when possible, I’d also put a medium sized kit in my desk drawer at work. That way, if I caught a ride in with someone else and didn’t have my backpack with me, I was still “with gear”. (Say, at a co-workers house at a party and the beeper went off, so we got in his car to ‘run in’ and deal with it, leaving my backpack in my car with the spouse at the party… Hey, it happens…) It’s well worth the $50 or so to build up a modest “kit” to know at least one of them is “near”. It’s also the case that when the big quake happens, if you are near 2 or even 3 ‘kits’ then, you can always hand the extras to the desperate folks around you… “Here’s a stove, noodles & soup, coffee & tea, and a space blanket. I’m taking my backpack and heading for home and help.” is far less likely to get folks wondering what is leaving with you in your pack…

    So bankers are a sideshow, really. It’s the inevitable 8.x scale event that will happen that is the real issue. Just hoping that the 7.x has cleared the deck for the rest of my days… “But hope is not a strategy. -E.M.Smith” – while a quake kit or two is a strategy… that worked.


    This morning, with a couple of Tbs in it, the Trangia “bloomed” in under 20 seconds. It’s damn fast with “just enough fuel” in it… The Esbit too.

    It’s a heat driven evaporation pressure stove. Less mass to heat, and more metal absorber exposed, gives much faster heating and evaporating and blooming…

    OTOH, if you are going to cook for the 24? or so minute total burn time on high (longer on simmer) then waiting 3 minutes to ‘bloom’ at the start ought to be OK. Use that time to prep ingredients…

  20. Pingback: Esbit vs Trangia Alcohol Burners | Musings from the Chiefio

  21. Petrossa says:

    EM What kind words did your wife have? :-)

  22. E.M.Smith says:


    Something along the lines of “Again?!”, with “that look”. Like when the puppy does his do in the corner of the carpet ;-)

  23. Pingback: Comparison of Trangia and Esbit Alcohol Stoves | Bike Lane Ends

  24. E.M.Smith says:

    Well, just to satisfy curiosity, I tested the Trangia with E85. That is 15% gasoline, 85% Ethanol. Just curious if it could be used in an emergency (figuring not too many folks will be sucking fuel from THAT pump ;-)

    It works, barely. The flame is very yellow and pot soots up like crazy (like Diesel in a pressure oil stove). It lights very easily ;-) And fairly rapidly has that “woof” as it “blooms”. But the fuel has much more oxygen demand than the stove is designed to supply, so the fuel doesn’t mix with enough air to burn blue. It has that “candle yellow” flame and making soot on the pan aspect to it.

    The fuel is oddly “water white”. Don’t know what I was expecting, but that wasn’t it. Fuel odor is very low, with a vaguely gasoline like hint to it, but not. Didn’t spill any, so can’t say how it cleans up. Some time later I’ll try it in a Coleman stove, likely as a 50:50 blend with gasoline / Coleman fuel to start. I think it will work well as ‘lighting fluid’ for the wicks on the Butterfly stove, in moderation, in that it is less volatile and less sooty than straight gasoline in a puddle.

    In general, though, I’m not impressed with it as a fuel. Has some of the ‘bad aspects’ of gasoline and with the low power density of alcohol, but without much of the good aspects of either.

    Still, it burns. In a pinch, I’d use it. Might be worth trying to make a stove designed for it. Smaller fuel jets, more air access, than alcohol alone. (Or a bigger jet in a pressure stove than for gasoline alone…)

    I’ll not be bothering to use it in any other stove (other than a single trial of ‘how much’ can be blended into a Coleman before it is unhappy) based on the tendency to soot when a bit rich, and the lower BTU density than gasoline; with worse corrosion nature, harder on rubber goods, and generally less pleasant that straight alcohol.

    It would likely work fine in appliances designed for it, but I’ve not found any. (Nor will I be looking any more.)

  25. P.G.Sharrow says:

    E85 is one of those governmental wonderful, bad, ideas that does nothing very well. Too much gasoline to be alcohol fuel and too little to be stable. But at least you can’t use it for anything useful so it’s cheap. pg

Comments are closed.