Author Topic: Alcohol Stoves  (Read 11541 times)

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Offline misterflask

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #30 on: January 24, 2012, 07:17:53 am »
My 2cents.  I use a homemade alcohol 'penny stove', for which you can find instructions on the internet.  I typically bring water to a very light boil; I think if it was really important to me I could get a roiling boil going, maybe with a fuel refill.  The methanol energy density is half that of gasoline, so you carry a little more fuel, but the stove weight is under an ounce.  You can pick up the fuel as the yellow HEET fuel line dryer at parts stores and big-box stores.  A 12oz bottle lasts me not quite three days, cooking/heating two meals and making a lot of coffee and hot chocolate.  I like the light weight of the stove, the dead quiet while it's cooking, and the odorless fuel.  I dislike the lower fuel availability and potentially higher fuel weight from stocking up.  Methanol is toxic, but so is gasoline, so that may be a wash. 

Offline staehpj1

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #31 on: January 24, 2012, 08:29:31 am »
I prefer a white gas stove, and carry about a third of the fuel. Both get the job done.

I have found that to not be an option where I have toured.  On tour, I have never seen white gas sold in anything smaller than 32 ounces containers and often it is sold by the gallon.  Alcohol on the other hand, can usually be found in almost any town with a store or gas station and it is in a convenient 12 ounce size.  Do you manage to buy white gas in smaller quantities or do you only go on short enough tours to carry all fuel for the entire tour from the start?

I have heard of places allowing you to buy a few ounces of white gas from their open gallon container, but I have never personally seen that.

I guess if you tour off road in an area where restocking is impossible it would be different because you would need to carry fuel for the whole tour, but I have to think that is far from being the norm.

Joe B

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Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #32 on: January 24, 2012, 09:06:49 am »
It was the availability of white gas in reasonable quantities that made my decision to by the MSR international. I have always used regular unleaded auto fuel in it. For road tours that all but eliminates any fuel supply worries. I carry a 22 oz fuel bottle in the bottle cage under the down tube and have a small 11 oz for connecting to and packing with the stove. I prefer this method to resupply since I don't have to dig in a pack for the bottle when I pass a station.
An added bonus, albeit a small one, is that the attraction we create when stopping somewhere with a fully loaded bike is often rewarded with free fuel. I can't count the times someone at the pump , seeing me holding a 22 oz bottle asks " Is that all you need ?" and proceeds to pull the nozzle out of their tank for me to use then return to filling the car. Often accompanied by a few questions and a "Have a great ride"..

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2012, 11:03:25 pm »
We'll be touring Wales for 2+ weeks this summer and I'd like to use my Trangia for the two of us. Is alcohol fuel readily available? What about in more remote locations? I've used Whisperlites since they first came out and would love to quiet meal times down.  ;)

Thanks,
Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Offline bogiesan

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #34 on: January 25, 2012, 08:09:24 am »
Alcohol comes in several forms in the USA, dunno 'bout Whales. You shoudl be able to find several knowledgable travelers in similar forums in the UK.
Cooking for two on an alcohol stove is something you will want to practice first. You may find you need two units to handle the volume of water efficiently or simply for the convenience.
You could also investigate the Esbit line of cookers. IIRC, the tabs are available just about everywhere but so is pure alcohol. The Trangia stove is a European product designed not only to be convenient but  usable wherever you go.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline bogiesan

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #35 on: January 25, 2012, 08:16:44 am »
Visiting the Tragia Web site was interesting. Here is a list of names for compatible fuels for their multi-fule stove units:

http://www.trangia.se/core/files/Names_of_fuel_20110318.pdf

I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #36 on: January 25, 2012, 01:43:29 pm »
We'll be touring Wales for 2+ weeks this summer and I'd like to use my Trangia for the two of us. Is alcohol fuel readily available? What about in more remote locations? I've used Whisperlites since they first came out and would love to quiet meal times down.  ;)

Thanks,
Jay
In the states, alcohol is sold in most hardware stores.  It is sold as a thinner in the paint section, and as a solvent.  You can burn grain alcohol, wood alcohol, or grain-wood alcohol blends.
Danno

Offline waynemyer

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Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #37 on: January 25, 2012, 10:39:24 pm »
Another vote for the alcohol stoves. I decided to give it an all-in try and bought the Evernew Titanium stove, windscreen/stand, and adapter ring. I thought that they would be slow. Not so. It boils a liter of water (there's that water thing, again) in less than four minutes. My Optimus stove that uses the butane/propane blend is about as fast.

I have an MSR Seagull pot. Everything folds up and fits in this pot nicely. It works well for two and is plenty fast. A pint of denatured alcohol was more than plenty for an overnight trip while using the stove as a heat source (long story).
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Offline jamhat

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #38 on: February 13, 2012, 10:56:42 am »
re: alcohol stoves / tour of Wales
I am a seasoned long distance cyclist having used a number of varieties of heating apparati (including my long lost and missed Svea123).  What I have encountered number of times in North America is the challenge of finding the right fuel, esp if you are using a screw-on cannister.

In planning a three month tour of the back hills and Highlands of Scotland (where I rightly figured towns of any size would be as hard to find as towns of any size in southern Saskatchewan),  I did not want to run into troubles with lack of fuel, so decided to go as minimalist as possible and trust that methyl hydrate would be easy to find in the British Isles.  I hunch this may be true for Wales as well.

I took with me only a Turbo Cat 11 home made alcohol stove.  It was light, durable, incredibly adjustable in terms of boiling and simmering (up to 25 minutes of simmer on 1 oz fuel) and cost about 50c for a bit of JB weld.  The issue for the person wishing to .  I actually spent hundreds of hours making and testing about 25 different models on my days off from websites.  My kids thought I was nuts as supper was cooking on a different stove every other time they came home. 

Guess what?  It was hard to find methyl hydrate.  What they had instead was something called 'meths' which they often had hidden behind the counter because people were getting really sick from drinking it.  go figure.  Anyway, it is there, comes in handy 1ltr bottles, it is purple, it stinks and burns less cleanly than MHydrate, leaving a bit of a dark film on your pots.  But it works!

On the other hand, unlike a lot of places in rural Canada and US, you can always find disposable cannisters for portable stoves.  My issue with them is that they are non-recyclable, weighty and you need to carry two or more with you in case you run out.  The meths, while not perfect, is a better bet ecologically and in terms of weight and reliability.

I encourage you to make one, or test out a few, The granddaddy site for alcohol stoves is at... http://zenstoves.net/ (you'll find the Turbo Cat 11 on there)

or buy one from a reliable maker such as https://www.minibulldesign.com/productcart/pc/home.asp

If you make one, be sure to add a simmer ring and a stand (you can find a model for stand online.  I made mine from three bike spokes) as well as a wind screen.  Good luck.  Happy cooking.


Offline jrswenberger

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #39 on: February 13, 2012, 01:46:57 pm »
re: alcohol stoves / tour of Wales
I am a seasoned long distance cyclist having used a number of varieties of heating apparati (including my long lost and missed Svea123).  What I have encountered number of times in North America is the challenge of finding the right fuel, esp if you are using a screw-on cannister.

In planning a three month tour of the back hills and Highlands of Scotland (where I rightly figured towns of any size would be as hard to find as towns of any size in southern Saskatchewan),  I did not want to run into troubles with lack of fuel, so decided to go as minimalist as possible and trust that methyl hydrate would be easy to find in the British Isles.  I hunch this may be true for Wales as well.

I took with me only a Turbo Cat 11 home made alcohol stove.  It was light, durable, incredibly adjustable in terms of boiling and simmering (up to 25 minutes of simmer on 1 oz fuel) and cost about 50c for a bit of JB weld.  The issue for the person wishing to .  I actually spent hundreds of hours making and testing about 25 different models on my days off from websites.  My kids thought I was nuts as supper was cooking on a different stove every other time they came home. 

Guess what?  It was hard to find methyl hydrate.  What they had instead was something called 'meths' which they often had hidden behind the counter because people were getting really sick from drinking it.  go figure.  Anyway, it is there, comes in handy 1ltr bottles, it is purple, it stinks and burns less cleanly than MHydrate, leaving a bit of a dark film on your pots.  But it works!

On the other hand, unlike a lot of places in rural Canada and US, you can always find disposable cannisters for portable stoves.  My issue with them is that they are non-recyclable, weighty and you need to carry two or more with you in case you run out.  The meths, while not perfect, is a better bet ecologically and in terms of weight and reliability.

I encourage you to make one, or test out a few, The granddaddy site for alcohol stoves is at... http://zenstoves.net/ (you'll find the Turbo Cat 11 on there)

or buy one from a reliable maker such as https://www.minibulldesign.com/productcart/pc/home.asp

If you make one, be sure to add a simmer ring and a stand (you can find a model for stand online.  I made mine from three bike spokes) as well as a wind screen.  Good luck.  Happy cooking.

Thanks Jamhat,
In addition to the Trangia, I have a few Supercats, soda can penny designs and other homebrew alcohol stoves as well. I used to work with a woman who had 5 or 6 cats so I had a ready supply of raw stove making materials.  ;) 

During the next few months, I'll be toting one of these stoves and a small pot on my day rides and overnights to give them a thorough testing. It's good to know that meths are widely available in the UK, for the asking. I've never understood why the blackening of cook pots causes so much heartburn in people...I've backpacked and cycle camped for much of my life and cooked over every type of fire. Pots get sooty, you either clean them or not. Stuff sacks keep the soot off of everything else.

In the next few years, my wife and I intend to take a year off and cycle around the world. We plan to visit a number of remote locations so fuel choice will be even more of an issue. MSR has recently released a reengineered WhisperLite Universal that will burn not only most liquid fuels but also cannisters as well. Although it's a bit pricey, but having the ability to burn most anything available has a certain draw.

Good luck on future tours,
Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Offline AndrewC

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #40 on: February 17, 2012, 04:35:38 pm »
You should have no difficulty finding Methylated Spirits in Wales. It's sold at hardware & DIY stores, larger supermarkets and some garages. Outdoor shops also sell it but usually at a premium.  Trangia's are very popular with Scout & youth groups due to the safety factor and their general rugged/foolproof nature.

On the same subject I'll be touring in Arizona & Utah later in the year, is stove alcohol easy to find there ?

During my last US trip I was burning Heet (yellow bottle) in Washington & Oregon, but it became hard to find in California. Is it readily available at gas stations in the south west ? If not, what alternatives are available ?

Offline jrswenberger

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #41 on: February 17, 2012, 05:09:00 pm »
You should have no difficulty finding Methylated Spirits in Wales. It's sold at hardware & DIY stores, larger supermarkets and some garages. Outdoor shops also sell it but usually at a premium.  Trangia's are very popular with Scout & youth groups due to the safety factor and their general rugged/foolproof nature.

On the same subject I'll be touring in Arizona & Utah later in the year, is stove alcohol easy to find there ?

During my last US trip I was burning Heet (yellow bottle) in Washington & Oregon, but it became hard to find in California. Is it readily available at gas stations in the south west ? If not, what alternatives are available ?

Heet is easy to find here in Oregon and many gas stations and hardware stores carry it. Liter sized bottles of denatured alcohol are also fairly easy to get in hardware and home improvement stores, even smaller, more general stores that carry a bit of everything will likely have alcohol if they sell paint.

Jay
ACA Life Member 368

Offline Moni

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #42 on: February 18, 2012, 10:00:40 pm »
I use a Trangia on my tours.  Have some awesome food pictures in most of my journals.  I cook.  No boiling water needed, except for the pasta...

Of course, riding with a buddy with his alcohol stove helps to make a nice meal of lots of ingredients.

Check out the dinner on this page: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=1&page_id=161320&v=K0

Moni