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There are many different camp stoves out there. The Trangia Spirit Stove caught our attention because it is affordable and will burn several types of alcohol-based fuels. Here is some of the info about the Trangia Spirit Stove before we get started on our experience with it.
- Weight: 10 oz.
- Packed Dimensions: 3.75″ x 2.5″
- Fuel Type: Alcohol (91% Isopropyl and Clear Liquor above 70%)
- Made by a Swiss company that has been in the stove business since 1924
Note: This stove will definitely not burn using clear liquor below 70% alcohol. We tried it. 91% alcohol can be purchased at any drug store and a lot of grocery stores and works best.
One reason Matt and I bought this particular alcohol stove is how substantial the pot stand appeared to be. When you hold it in your hand it feels beefy and it is wide enough that I wouldn’t be afraid to put a heavier pot on it.
If you have ever tried to use some camp stoves that have folding stands or that are made to be very lightweight, you may have noticed that you have to take some care to balance larger pots and you have to watch how heavy your pot is.
The burner itself is small and has a cover. The manufacturer claims that if you fill it 2/3 full with alcohol, it will burn for about 25 minutes. The actual burner is made of brass and comes with a handy lid to avoid spills when not in use.
One advantage of this style of the stove is that there is nothing to break or perform maintenance on except for a rubber ring that seals the burner so it doesn’t leak when not in use. This would cost next to nothing to replace.
The Boil Time Test
Trangia lists the boil time for a quart of water as 8 minutes for this stove. Since a lot of camp stoves use how long it takes a quart of water to boil as a rating to potential customers, Matt decided to test the stove and see if it lives up to what they claim. He used 91% Isopropyl alcohol and a large mess kit pot with a lid.
The flame seemed fairly strong but there were obvious signs of incomplete combustion. If the alcohol was burning clean it would be almost clear or very light blue at most and hard to photograph.
Boil Time=More than 15 minutes
At just past the 15 minute mark the water was about to boil. So in the case of this test, the boil time was twice as long as Trangia claims. It was over 80 F outside temperature at the time so the stove was not fighting really cold outside temperatures at all. There was a slight breeze. I hate to think how long it would have taken if it was 40 F outdoors that day.
The stand caught on fire and the paint was badly damaged.
We are assuming that the stand caught on fire due to the carbon build-up from incomplete combustion of fuel. There was a lot of buildup on the pot as well. This is a bit concerning of course and the stand is usable but I would clean it off of course.
Matt and I like the idea of an inexpensive stove that can run on alcohol. A lot of people really like the Trangia so we are wondering if we didn’t just get a defective stove. I read a lot of positive reviews on numerous sites and the company has been in the stove business for a long time.
Even the best companies sometimes have a defective product that makes it out the door.
In the future, we might get another brand of alcohol stove and do a comparison. It would be interesting to see if another brand produces similar results.
Even if this stove worked perfectly and boiled a quart of water in 8 minutes, it is still a lot slower than many camping stoves. If it performed as the manufacturer claims, neither of us would want to try to cook for more than 2 people with the stove.
Matt mentioned to me that it takes a little bit of time for the stove to cool enough to touch or pack away. Since a lot of stoves don’t have such a substantial stand, they may cool down a little faster.
Some people that have small rocket stoves such as the Solo could find an alcohol burner useful to have if they don’t want to use wood fuel. The Trangia alcohol burner or any other brand will fit in smaller rocket stoves just fine.
Do you have an alcohol stove you like? Have you used the Trangia alcohol stove in the past? Please share with us in the comments below!