Reviews of Alcohol Camp Stoves

Hardcore, ultralight backpacking knuckleheads–der, enthusiasts–will make homemade alcohol stoves out of a soda can.

While you can stock up on empty soda cans through the year and learn how to make a beverage can stove, you’re better off dropping 30 bucks for a Vargo or Trangia ultralight, alcohol powered stove.

Alcohol backpacking stoves are not for every hiker.

If you are just beginning the transition into ultralight backpacking, save your money and energy until you know what your needs are.

However, if you already own an ultralight backpack, sleeping bag, and tent, then you are ready to explore alcohol powered stoves to further shed your pack weight.

What is an Alcohol Stove?

Alcohol backpacking stoves are for the minimalist.

They have no moving parts, no pipes, tubes or valves. It is simply a wind-protected, alcohol burner.

Ultralight, easy to use, non-explosive and environmentally friendly, but again, not for every backpacker.

Since you do not enter the backcountry with a canister of fuel, you need to know exactly how much alcohol you need for your entire trip.

This means having solid knowledge of your cooking time for various meals.

Failure to understand your needs in the wilderness and backpacking with an alcohol camp stove may spell disaster.

Advantages & Disadvantages

Let’s keep things simple. Below are direct, to the point lists of the advantages and disadvantages of alcohol powered stoves.

Advantages:

msr pocket rocket
  • Lightweight – An Alcohol camp stove weigh as little as 4-5 ounces, which is the same as the MSR Pocket Rocket. The difference is in fuel. Traditional stoves require bringing a canister of fuel into the backcountry. When full, they weigh 7 ounces. With alcohol camping stoves, you bring as much fuel as you need
  • Cheap – Alcohol camp stoves are comparable in price to traditional stoves. However, the fuel, which is denatured alcohol, is significantly cheaper
  • Quiet – Deathly silent. Period.
  • Safety – The fuel is not explosive and can easily be extinguished in the event of an emergency

Disadvantages:

  • Poor performance in cold weather – Bottom line: don’t rely on an alcohol backpack stove in the winter
  • Poor temperature control – Alcohol camp stoves do not have valves, meaning full flame, all the time
  • Must know your cooking needs – Alcohol stoves are for true, ultralight backpackers. You need to know how much fuel you consume

To sum up, the advantages of alcohol stoves is in the weight. Not the weight of the alcohol camp stove itself, but rather the fuel you carry in. Plus, the fuel is WAY cheaper.However, if you are a winter camper or an inexperienced backpacker, stick with a traditional camping stove. It will better meet your needs.

What are the Best Alcohol Stoves

 

trangia alcohol stove

Some will claim the best alcohol camp stove are homemade alcohol stoves. I disagree. Reviews clearly show that Trangia alcohol stoves are the best ultralight, backpacking stoves.

Of all Trangia alcohol camp stoves, the only one you should consider purchasing is the Trangia Mini 28-T Backpacking Stove.

This alcohol stove clearly outshines all the others:

  • Weighs 5.75 ounces
  • Has good pot stability
  • Has a simmer ring to aid in temperature control
  • Comes with a lightweight pot lifter and pot

Need another endorsement? 100% of reviewers on REI would recommend the Trangia Stove to a friend


vargo outdoors titanium stove

Of course, other options exist, but I would not recommend them. Some, such as the Vargo Outdoors Triad Titanium Backpacking Stove, are lighter, but have too low a heat output.

Others, like the Trangia Spirit Alcohol Stove are well-reviewed (by 2 customers), but I don’t see the benefits of it. This stove lacks any wind protection. As all backpackers know, wind can be brutal and wind protection can make or break your enjoyment of the backcountry.

Bottom line is this – If you are looking for other ways to cut down on pack weight and are an experienced backpacker that understands your camping fuel needs, then purchase an alcohol camp stove, such as the Trangia Alcohol Stove.

Experiment in a secure environment first. Get to understand your new alcohol powered stove before taking it into the wilderness. Follow this advice, and you won’t regret purchasing an alcohol camp stove.

More Ultralight Backpacking Gear Information

Ultralight Backpacking Gear – General information on Ultralight Backpacking Gear. Start here if you don’t know where to begin.

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Comments

  1. Gideon Gelbart says:

    Trangia T25/T27 are “stormproof”, T28 is NOT. The T25/27 love wind and perform better in windy conditions. Also they are far more stable than T28 or most homemade burners.

  2. David Mashburn says:

    You need to update your alcohol stove info. Alcohol have been used down to -35F. Have
    you ever heard of the Caldura Cone, Zelph stoves, Smokeater 908 stoves. Lots of very
    efficient alcohol stoves around. Look into the uses of carbon felt.

  3. Grisley Backpacker says:

    I disagree with Perry Rosenblooms assesment of the Trangia being the best backpacking alcohol stove. The Trangia is one of the heaviest and poorest performers out there. I personally have had a Trangia overflowtwice and spit flames on a camping trip when I utilized a large skillet type pan on top. The stove is heavy brass and it builds up heat when using a skillet or large pan. The heat build up will lead to an overflow of burning alcohol. There are much better designed alcohol stoves on the market. The titanium Evernew DX system is designed with cooling holes at it’s base and has it’s own windscreen. It will not overflow no matter what pan one puts on top. With all this said, all stoves, have an inherent danger of mixing fuel, air, and accident prone people.

    • Perry Rosenbloom says:

      Thanks a lot for the feedback! Always good to hear the perspective of others. Helps all our readers here! Thank you!

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