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#137058 - 06/21/08 10:57 PM Alcohol stoves?
climberslacker Offline
Youth of the Nation

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 603
Hey all!

I was thinking of getting an alcohol stove, probably from Tinny at Mini Bull designs , probably the NION. I was wondering of any of you have gotten a stove from him and how it was and if there are any weird things I should know about. I have emailed tinny before and he always responded to my emails in just a few minutes. So I guess just to rephrase the question, What do you think of your alcohol stove and are there any weird things I should know about alcohol stoves?


Edited by climberslacker (06/21/08 10:59 PM)
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impossible is just the beginning

though i seek perfection, i wear my scars with pride

Have you seen the arrow?

#137067 - 06/21/08 11:56 PM Re: Alcohol stoves? [Re: climberslacker]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3077
What do you think of your alcohol stove and are there any weird things I should know about alcohol stoves?

I don't have an alcohol stove because the fuel is too heavy and because they are also very slow for cooking and boiling water and have virtually zero adjustability in flame control for things like simmering etc. Overall the alcohol stove has no advantages over any other stove technology except possibly economic considerations i.e. its initial purchase price and fuel running costs.

#137072 - 06/22/08 12:12 AM Re: Alcohol stoves? [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]

Tinny's stoves are adjustable...very creative designs.

I've never used his stovevs but I use a Vargo Titanium stove even in the winter time. As was mentioned above they're not perfect but I've never been disappointed with them. Just be aware of their limitations and decide if your needs fall within their capability.

#137086 - 06/22/08 01:17 AM Re: Alcohol stoves? [Re: ]
dweste Offline

Registered: 02/16/08
Posts: 2463
Loc: Central California
I have been looking at this system:

internal fuel storage
flame adjustment

Clickstand alcohol stove system using Trangia burner

Trangia burner simmer ring stores fuel internally

#137113 - 06/22/08 04:52 AM Re: Alcohol stoves? [Re: climberslacker]
OldBaldGuy Offline

Registered: 09/30/01
Posts: 5695
Loc: Former AFB in CA, recouping fr...
I have made and played with just about every homemade alco stove there is, and the White Box Stove (including my home made copy) is the best of the bunch. As far as storebought stoves go, I don't have a clue...

#137121 - 06/22/08 11:01 AM Re: Alcohol stoves? [Re: OldBaldGuy]
Mike_H Offline

Registered: 04/04/07
Posts: 612
Loc: SE PA
I've heard good things about the Vargo Titanium stove... Don't have to worry about it being crushed in your packs.

I've also heard good things about White Box and Mini Bull's.

Alcohol is definitely not suggested for colder climates as the alcohol doesn't vaporize as well for initial lighting. Some stoves also have a tendency to flare up.
"I reject your reality and substitute my own..." - Adam Savage / Mythbusters

#137126 - 06/22/08 01:18 PM Re: Alcohol stoves? [Re: climberslacker]
91gdub Offline

Registered: 11/12/06
Posts: 172
Loc: South Jersey (the 51st state)
I have a Trianga stove and love it. Small, lightweight but built strong. Burns very well with alcohol. Has a screw cap with a rubber gasket that seals very well with unused fuel in it.
Bill Houston

#137127 - 06/22/08 01:25 PM Re: Alcohol stoves? [Re: Mike_H]
Lono Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 10/19/06
Posts: 1013
Loc: Pacific NW, USA
At $20 what's not to like in a Mini Bull - try it and if its not for you give it to another hiker for their birthday and odds are they'll like it. I have a White Box and a Trangia (before that a homemade beer can stove) and they both work well for me on solo outings. I've taken the White Box on about 5 day hikes and one overnighter in the past month, it boils water fast and does a good job. There's nothing like a cup of hot tea or cider at the midpoint of your hike. Don't know what's meant by too heavy fuel - with an alcohol stove I can estimate how much fuel I actually need and carry that, for a dayhike that's just a couple ounces, for 2-3 meals it may be 2-3x more. When I cook with my Primus (better heat control, more people) I always take a full canister of white gas out of habit. The White Gas stove and fuel add up to a tidy ~4 oz lump in my pack.

There's no on-off with an alcohol stove, what fuel you put in tends to get burned up unless you have a way to smother it. I've put out the flame on my White Box once and saved about a half ounce of fuel. To me its easier to just notch the inside to put in enough fuel to boil a liter of water.

#137130 - 06/22/08 01:38 PM Re: Alcohol stoves? [Re: Lono]
climberslacker Offline
Youth of the Nation

Registered: 09/02/07
Posts: 603
Im getting the Nion #3 and will start a thread when it gets here with my experiences with it, and my first not made by me alcohol stove!
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
impossible is just the beginning

though i seek perfection, i wear my scars with pride

Have you seen the arrow?

#137134 - 06/22/08 01:57 PM Re: Alcohol stoves? [Re: climberslacker]
ironraven Offline
Cranky Geek
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 09/08/05
Posts: 4642
Loc: Vermont
I run Trangias, tried making a few other. Things to consider:

First, respect it's limits. You aren't going to make pancakes on it, but you can boil water and heat canned food.

Ethanol and methanol have relatively high temperatures of vaporization. That is a fancy way of saying they can get kinda quirky below freezing. I have a spacer made from a tuna fish can (fits wonderfully) I use to keep it off the ground, and in colder weather I've dropped a cotton ball or two into, burned them about half down, and then put the Trangia on top of so that everything is nice and warm. It is a little risky to then fuel it if it gets too hot, but I've literally run a Trangia on a block of ice with air temps right around freezing that way. But in any kind of cold weather, carry the stove in your jacket wit you, keep it warm.

Always have a wind screen, wind screens make these work so much better.

Getting one lit properly takes some practice. Fortunately, fuel is cheap. Priming is critical, otherwise you have pool of fuel in the bottom of a can burning openly, which isn't very effective.

Always carry a fuel measure. In my Trangia, I've got a cut down film cannister, but there are some other ways that are very cool like this guy, although I prefer an aluminum bottle. And always have a pin or a sewing needle around- if you see one of the burner holes being off kilter, you probably have carbon built up there and just need to clean it.

Fuel- once it goes in the stove, unless you have a good snuffer, it's going to get burned. And even with a good snuffer, draining all but the most basic stove (which is a can full of fuel) is a pain and never quite complete.

Feed it ethanol and methanol, or a mix there of (denatured alcohol from the paint section of a hardware stove). Some people have concerns about methanol's combustion products, but it has slightly higher energy than ethanol. I try to run denatured, but I always carry a bottle of yellow HEET as a back up to that. In either case, you need a good bottle, as both want to absorb water from the atmosphere which lowers the quality of the fuel.

Advantages are, ethanol and methanol occur naturally, so if you spill a little, it's not like it was white gas. IF it leaks in your pack, spread your gear out in the sun- it will evaporate much more quickly, although you'll want to wash it, then line dry it, then wash it again. If you do choose to run dentaured, or ethanol, you can use it as a disinfectant, although if you just going to be decontaminating something after being exposed to a possible BBP methanol should kill everything to, I just wouldn't use it on anything that might be going into anyone.

Use ONLY ethanol/methanol. Isopropal (sp) and things like witch hazel liniment that have an alcohol base work, sorta, but badly. Very low temp, very dirty burning, and burns very cool. And don't even try a petrochem or turpentine or mineral spirits. Assuming it doesn't explode or turn into a rocket, it will probably turn your stove into a puddle of slag.

And mark your fuel bottle as fuel, not alcohol. Methanol can make you go blind if you drink enough of it, and your liver will want to beat you. I know you've got it together, but every troops has a couple of people who do stupid stuff. They might try to liberate your "booze". And don't recycle a small soda or water bottle- it works, but they aren't very strong and people do stupid stuff.


When a man dare not speak without malice for fear of giving insult, that is when truth starts to die. Truth is the truest freedom.

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