Absolute Minimal Stove
I got one of these for Christmas:
They run about $10 on Amazon (some down around $7). You make a cross out of them with the slots in the middle overlapped. This then sits on top of an alcohol burner like a Trangia and makes it into a Very Super Small & Ultra Light stove.
I’d thought it would also fix the way that the Trangia (even the littlest “Mini” one) pot holder doesn’t hold small pots, Sierra Club cups, or my Italian Espresso Maker for one. I’m now sipping on an Ersatz Mocha made using it. Worked Dandy.
I put it on the burner and left the burner in the Trangia Mini pot holder as that does help insulate the table from the burner heat.
Everything was pretty much Just Fine with 2 exceptions:
1) How do you “turn it off”? Normally you toss the flame control ring (closed) onto the burner to snuff it. With this thing in place you can’t do that (nor can you “turn the flame down” with the ring). I’m OK with that for ultralight use and for small cup use, but still “shutting it off” comes as a complication I’d not thought through. The thing is sitting IN the flame so very hot. You can’t just hook it and pull it off without somewhere to put it. I chose to just pour in a guess as to how much alcohol to use and had a bit left over… so ended up trying to fish the stove off the burner anyway. I did it with my pocket knife and got the parts to lay on the burner lid, after some juggling and such. Note To Self: Pack LARGE paper clip shaped into hook in mess kit with stove.
My Espresso maker is rather like this, but with the cheap black plastic handles in a one person small size:
2) It started rather slowly. I think this was due to the low fuel level and the whole thing, burner, stove, and fuel, being a bit cold. Eventually it got ready to “bloom” and I’d had the Italian Espresso thing on it the whole time. It made the expected POOF sound, and was out! I did a rapid relight, and then it proceeded OK. But just realize that the start up / warm up profile is a bit different with a heat sink in the flame and most of the space blocked by a heavy gauge aluminium object soaking up heat and restricting air flow.
Overall, I like it, and it is a useful addition to the Trangia Mini. It is NOT as simple to use as I’d expected, mostly centring on that whole “shutting it off” thing.
Oh, and I did pick up a bottle of methanol (Yellow HEET) at the auto parts store. Yup, $32 / gallon in 12 ounce units… but at least it is still available in California. So you CAN use your alcohol stove here, it just will cost you and you WILL go to the Auto Parts Store. ( I’ll be picking up a couple of gallons of methanol out of State next trip, but I’ll also be checking the speed shop first, once I find one… the one I knew of has moved or closed.)
Propane Converter / Butane Stove
I have already commented on my Propane bottle to Lindal Valve Butane Stove converter. I tried it again on the Italian Espresso Maker as the “cheap Chinese Stove” that I rather like a lot has a very small base suited to said small sized pot base. But I didn’t want to start a whole Butane Canister for one burn. Running the stove at lower settings works fine. Essentially keep the pressure about the same as the butane would be and the burner is running a little lean, but not enough to matter, and the flame does not go ragged. It did a dandy job of it.
For “on the road” espresso I’d rather be using this stove (on a proper Butane canister) than the ultra-light on Alcohol.
Why? Just because it’s easy to light (piezo striker), easy to extinguish (turn the knob) and can’t spill in the car. So the alcohol stove kit will be in the car emergency bag, including the mini and the titanium cross in a mess kit; but the Butane stove will be used to make espresso at rest stops…
Asian GasOne Stove
With my Amazon Gift Card (from Christmas) I’ve ordered another GasOne Asian Style stove, but this one is dual fuel Butane (hair spray shape) canisters or propane canisters.
The Dual Fuel has a special fitting for the propane hose along with the Butane canister seat. So I can’t just buy the hose and put it on my older GasOne stove.
I really like the stove, and it works well (and reasonably long burn time) on the Butane canisters; but I’d like to be able to use the propane instead. It’s $3.75 more or less for 16 ounces at Walmart. The Butane is about $2.50 for 8 ounces. I can also refill the propane from my BBQ tank at $4 / gallon (somewhere around 4 pounds) so about $1 / 16 ounces. The whole thing cost me about $26, so will be paid off in about: 2 x butane = $5 -1 propane = $4 then $26 / 4 = 6.5 propane cans or about a bakers dozen canisters avoided. As I’m enjoying cooking on the camp stove (and NOT using PG&E electricity at God Awful Prices) I’m figuring this won’t take long. I’m going to be using this with my BBQ in the summer as my BBQ has no side burners on it (just BBQ). I figure about 5 months it will be break even.
The old one will be given to my kid if he doesn’t have an emergency stove… which I’m pretty sure he doesn’t.
Between this stove, and my propane / Lindal adapter, I can run “a few” stoves on either Propane or Butane as available. I also ordered a little brass bit that claims to let me refill the flat camping butane canisters from the hair spray shaped butane canisters that cost about 1/2 to 1/4 the price… so I can pretty much use any of 3 different, relatively common, fuel canister types with either of a few stoves.
Coleman White Gas Stove
Late one night, with the spouse asleep, I made a cup of coffee using my Coleman white gas stove. I really really like it, and it works really well. And it was just sitting there on the table… Well, it does have a slight annoyance that when it goes out, a bit of fuel in the gas generator can continue to evaporate and you get a tiny bit of “smell”. Now I like the smell as it reminds me of nights by the river fishing with my Dad by a Coleman Lantern, camping with family and friends with a Coleman Stove, etc.
The Spouse not so much.
So I wrap up the posting I was making (several days ago) and head off to bed. Spouse has been asleep for a while. I slide under the covers…
“What’s That SMELL?”… Hops out of bed and starts sniffing around the bedroom…
She Of the Vulcan Nose has taken offence. “I think it’s me. I used my gasoline stove.”…
So, OK, 2 days ago I drained all the gas from it and packed it up.
The point? For ME, the “smell issue” of a white gas stove is a nothing. For others, it’s offensive. This did NOT arise with the butane stove, the propane stoves, or the alcohol stove.
Just sayin’… if you are planning on an emergency stove, check the spousal nose too…
When in doubt, get propane or butane stoves.