hang on little tomato

About alcohol stoves. I was first introduced to them when entering conscription almost 10 years ago. They came with the Swedish army cooking set. The fuel we got for the resembled swamp water and had almost the same burning abilities. Still some warm if not memorable meals were made ’cause occasionally it got fired up enough. But we still preferred to cook over the big stove in the tent.

Few years later, still in service, I bought a canister stove and the alcohol burner was left on the shelf for inspection only.

Fast forward another few years and here I am, trying to go lighter and the alcohol stoves is back again. Not that old and heavy one, but one made of beer can. Making one is just as easy as it seems if you don’t have tagliatelle for fingers and paid attention in the woodshop class in school. Mine weighs about 11gr.

Making a stove isn’t much of a problem, but making a working cooking set can be. Depending on your personal preferences and materials available and so on. And I wondered quite a bit about what it should be like – pot stand being the main concern. Bending wires didn’t work out for me so I postponed the project until something suitable floats up. And some time ago it did. At first I had an idea to use the cans from my sports drink powder, but they were too big. Then I came across these old tin instant coffee jars.

Very sturdy, reinforced top and bottom and lid. I decided to keep the bottom so the stove would be straight on any surface – this of course makes lighting the stove a bit more complicated especially with a very small fire steel in winter. Matches are the solution.  I used the Primus EtaExpress pot then and as it has the heat ex-changer in the bottom the stove got enough oxygen with a row of holes in the jar and everything worked fine. The tin jar also worked as a wind screen AND fitted into the pot. As the holes are lower than the top of the stove, the wind is not much of a problem. The alcohol stove went into the jar along with the matches and measuring cup and everything was OK. Add a 350ml bottle for fuel and the whole set weighs 424 without the fuel. I didn’t have a full canister at home but when I measured one quite empty then I got the total weight a bit over 600gr for the gas setup. On a long trip with no possibilities to re-supply on fuel the gas canister would be more effective at some point, but it does carry a lot of unnecessary weight.

The burning time for this setup indoors was 6,5 minutes for 0.8l of tap water. Total burning time for 30ml of fuel was 9 minutes.

But then I bought the GramCounter titanium pot. When I first tested it on the same setup the flame went out as soon as I placed the pot on the stand – not enough oxygen due to the new pot not having a heat ex-changer. I needed to lift the pot up a bit. In Youtube I saw a modification involving a crossbeam. I found the almost perfect piece in a AT grenade container and the results were great. Although the flame creeps quite high along the sides of the pot it doesn’t reach the plastic covered handle. Once again I had a working set-up. Indoors boiling time 0,5l of tap water in 3,5 minutes.

But then I saw a video of a similar crossbeam fitted directly on a Trangia burner. Quick testing showed that similar results can be achieved and tin jar was relived from duty. The system is very stable and I think I should be able to find a smooth piece of rock in the Scandinavian mountains to set my stove on. For windscreen I plan to use some heavy aluminum foil. And at some point in the testing I came to a conclusion that I can pour about 30 ml of fuel without the help of a measuring cup – one more thing less to carry with.

So that was my new setup. I have to make a lid though. But I went onwards again after seeing in some forum a container for fuel. A soft jelly tube or smth was used. I don’t remember the size, but I guess it was about 150ml. I haven’t found that big yet, but in our MREs there is a small pouch of jam. The jam I have eaten by now, sorry, but the pouch holds about 86ml of fuel (weighs 7gr) and is ideal for a 3day walk. So now I have my weekender setup. Weighs 170gr without the fuel. Indoors testing got o,3l of water boiling in around 3 minutes. So maybe the distance from the stove to the pot isn’t as efficient as the previous version, but I don’t bother.

And I am already thinking about a wood stove. Emberlit seems the way to go.


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