alcohol stove

In a few weeks I’m leaving on my first trip that absolutely requires an alcohol stove. I don’t own one and am not going to make one. It seems like the Trangia Westwind is a good choice, but am always looking for some of the real time experience from pnetters. Thanks for any advice.


White Box Stove
Look for reviews on the White Box stove. Excellent reputation. I use one with pots that are 5-6 inches in diameter. For cup/mugs the Gram Weenie Pro works great.

Mini Bull Design
I’ve been happy with the Basic In-Out System (BIOS). All it does is boil water. But if all you’re doing is living off freeze-dried food and drinking tea, it’s all you need. Weighs 1 oz. Use denatured alcohol for fuel. One easily available source is ‘Heet’, available in gas stations, automotive stores, etc.

Combine with this, and you’ve got an entire system/all you need for under a half pound.

Curious… What sort of trip would
require an alcohol stove. Something to do with altitude? You want to be able to drink excess fuel?

Trangia is great
and has the advantage of being able to be sealed up with fuel in it. So, you can store a few ounces already in the stove in addition to your fuel bottle. A little slower than a compressed propane-butane backpacking stove, but works well especially if you use a windscreen and cook kit designed for it. expect 3-4 min full burn time per ounce of denatured alcohol; more if you use the simmer ring (another Trangia plus). in colder weather you can preheat it with a lighter or match to get it going.

Best thing about Trangia
is the simplicity. No pumps, no paste, its not temperature sensitive so they work under any condition, nothing to clog or wear out and denatured alcohols is cheap.

Using them in daylight is bit of a challenge though since he flame is not visible, but as long as you don’t mind singing a few hand hairs every once and a while, they work great.

I’ve got a Simmerlite, which isn’t multifuel, and there’s no white gas where we’re going, so it’s replacing the pump mechanism on my 1/2 stove (thanks TSA) and burning dirty gas or switching to alcohol.

Thanks for the above advice on other stoves!


Trangia looks like a winner. I haven’t decided whether to buy the whole system, which is kinda elegant the way it all fits together or just go with the $20 burner and use my pots and the MSR windscreen.

Thanks for everyone’s advice!


look for "Trangia ultralight stand"
on EBay, you’ll love the design and can buy it as a kit with the burner. then reuse your existing windscreen & pots

It is very easy to make the flame visible - add a little bit of salt to alcohol. NaCl, table salt, is not going to change burning properties, but will color the flame yellow.

My favorite by far was CaCl, it is one of ingredients in deicing salt, not so useful on a trip.

Here is a bit more on this

Love my Trangia
Nothing to break or get sand in. Its my main stove. I don’t use a windscreen if I can dig a small hole to use it in and refill the hole after. Other stoves may be a bit faster but, what the heck, I’m camping, what’s the big hurry?

Alcohol fuel has a lot to recommend it even if other fuels are available. Accidental alcohol fuel spills are not very toxic and there aren’t a bunch of metal butane or gas canisters to haul around. Nalgine makes a nice 1 qt. fuel bottle but empty 1 qt.bottles from Coleman fuel, or almost any 1 qt. bottle that doesn’t leak and isn’t breakable would work for fuel transport.

I usually buy denatured alcohol by the gallon at the hardware store. Its cheaper that way. I’d advise getting it in advance since I have gone to places that won’t sell denatured alcohol by the gallon because its apparently used in meth labs.

Its not the stove if you’re into big pot lucks, frying steaks, or cooking for a large family, but you can get by with it quite nicely alone if you like coffee, oatmeal, freeze-dried stuff, Ramen noodles, soups, and heating canned stuff like Dinty Moore or refried beans for burritos. I’ve never been able to get decent pancakes out of it but I’m not giving up. I expect it is possible.

I don’t know what stand you have
but the guy on this video shows that the pot stand that comes with the stove acts like a heat sink! Not good (a 9-minute boil time).

And sure enough, when you change the pot stand, you get a better result (a 6-and-a-half minute boil time).

I still prefer my 1 oz BIOS with a 4-minute boil time.

Here’s the set-up I have:

Where are you off to Lynn?

I ordered a Trangia
One question-how do I estimate how much fuel to bring? I will be out for 24 days and need fuel for breakfast and dinner every day and maybe a few hot lunches. How much volume/ml does it take to boil water? I can run some tests but if someone already knows I’d appreciate saving the time. It’s going to be cold, probably between 30s and 50s.

Thanks again for any help. And thanks for those other stove suggestions, it was fun to shop around, I went with the simplest and best known.


Hi Andy,
I’m going to Greenland. Will spend 5 days in Iceland first, mostly hiking, checking out that volcano, and hopefully a day of paddling. Then 24 days on the water in Greenland, launching in Ilulissat. Iceberg heaven!!


Love this tip!!
Another reason to love salt!

(bad nurse)

there was a West Greenlandic grammar
that sat on the shelf in Half Price Books in Seattle for a couple of years. I’ve always regretted not getting it.

Have a great trip. Sounds like fun.

I have the “ultralight” stand
that is skeletonized with holes, custom made by the guy on EBay. the reason why the “Westwind” stand sold commercially doesn’t work well is the pot sits down too close to the flames.

I think this one is sort of neat.

I’m sure you’ll have a great time!