Author Topic: Alcohol Stoves  (Read 31073 times)

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Offline NothingClever

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2011, 04:01:11 pm »
How do you cook your pasta without boiling water?

Molto al dente  ;D .

Offline NothingClever

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2011, 01:27:10 am »
I received another alcohol cookset from Esbit.  Although it's a bit heavier than the Trangia ultralight cooksets, it will enable faster cooking due to the built-in heat exchangers on the bottom of the pots.  I don't have any nerdy data for boiling times but 24 oz of tap water came to a rolling boil MUCH faster than I expected last night at ~6,000 feet ASL.  For reference, 24 oz would be useful for boiling half a bag of Barilla tortellini or something similar.  However, good luck finding this set in the USA....I called AGS Labs which claimed to be the US importer for Esbit and they told me Esbit no longer had a US distributor.  European sales are no issue and going strong apparently.  I had to use a fine tooth comb to find this set (www.campsaver.com - last one).  I like the plastic plates with one turned over as a cutting board for slicing vegetables or fruit and the other for serving and they fit under each pot to protect the non-stick finish.  Everything nests into one small package which fits neatly into a mesh bag.  There is room left over after packing the alcohol burner and pot lifter.



http://www.esbit.net/tl_files/esbitcontent/products/movies/esbitspirituskocher_cs2350ha.flv

I also picked up some Trangia bottles with the safety valve.  I can't recommend these bottles highly enough because of how easy the valve makes it to precisely "dose" your alcohol burner without a single drop spilled.  I bought a 1 liter bottle to fit underneath my down tube and a 300ml bottle for daily use in and out of the panniers.  We'll see if my technique survives the miles but my line of thought is I can use the small bottle on a daily basis and on my last resupply from the 1 liter bottle, that's the cue to start looking for a 1 liter tin of alcohol (which is the typical size sold) from a hardware store.  Anyways, good theory....we'll see how it goes in practical application, eh?





Offline staehpj1

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2011, 09:31:10 am »
I received another alcohol cookset from Esbit.  Although it's a bit heavier than the Trangia ultralight cooksets, it will enable faster cooking due to the built-in heat exchangers on the bottom of the pots.
The Trangia ultralight cookset is already more than I choose to carry.  I have to say that I kind of don't get the heat exchanger for touring with an alcohol stove.  To me the alcohol stove works well because it allows a very light combined cookset weight (my entire cookset including stove, windscreen, pot stand, lighter, scrubber, and utensils weighs 11 ounces).  Alcohol is heavier per btu, but when touring we can typically restock very frequently.

So to me the heat exchanger makes sense only when carry a lot of fuel for when boiling lots of water, like when either melting snow for water or when boiling all drinking water.  Neither of those is likely to be the case when I am touring and if they were I probably would not be using an alcohol stove.

Offline NothingClever

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2011, 04:13:08 pm »
Perhaps you're right that the heat exchanger feature is heavy and unnecessary.  However, I'm willing to give it a try for my needs and tolerances.  I WANT to cook while on tour to avoid the abominable offerings out there in America and the heat exchanger will allow me to cook more efficiently.  Also, I come from a background of carrying heavy loads on my back.  Although the Esbit is a bit heavier, it's nothing compared to other things I've been required to carry long distances.  If the Esbit makes it over Loveland Pass with me, then it'll make it anywhere.  If I blow up on a mountain pass and go stark mad tossing bits of kit hither and yon halfway up, I'll come back and tell you I should've listened to you :D .

Offline staehpj1

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2011, 06:10:32 pm »
Perhaps you're right that the heat exchanger feature is heavy and unnecessary.  However, I'm willing to give it a try for my needs and tolerances.  I WANT to cook while on tour to avoid the abominable offerings out there in America and the heat exchanger will allow me to cook more efficiently.  Also, I come from a background of carrying heavy loads on my back.  Although the Esbit is a bit heavier, it's nothing compared to other things I've been required to carry long distances.  If the Esbit makes it over Loveland Pass with me, then it'll make it anywhere.  If I blow up on a mountain pass and go stark mad tossing bits of kit hither and yon halfway up, I'll come back and tell you I should've listened to you :D .
Pretty funny!  Actually let us know either way.

One thing that my comments didn't take into account was that the heat exchanger also acts as a heat diffuser and might help eliminate hot spots.  Personally for me weight is pretty key and efficiency is almost not a factor at all on tour because I buy 12 ounces of fuel at a time in any town big enough to have a store.  Personally I try very hard to avoid having to buy a liter at a time.  Fortunately the yellow bottle Heet is pretty widely available everywhere I have toured so far.  My next tour is the Pacific coast though so it may be different for this trip since it doesn't get below freezing much there.

On trips where I need to carry larger amounts of fuel that would not be the case, but in those cases I'd take a butane, white gas, or gasoline stove.  For me these are generally not bike tours for someone else they might be.

Lots of room for differing users, conditions, and opinions here.  My point was just that heat exchangers were invented for backpacking or mountaineering where folks are likely to boil a lot more water and carry a lot more fuel.  It definitely isn't a slam dunk that they make sense for everyone for bike touring.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2011, 06:15:24 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2011, 12:35:50 pm »
I will never understand this fascination with boiling water. 

I do not eat boiled water.  I eat food--lots of rice and pasta...

How do you cook your pasta without boiling water?

So some of the sarcasm might have been lost along the way...

Yes, I need boiling water to cook my pasta.  I don't really care if it takes 4 or 9 minutes to bring my pot of water to a boil.  I am not going to eat that pasta plain, it needs a nice Alfredo or Marinara sauce.  Most white gas stoves generate too much heat and will scorch most sauces.  The natural flame of the alcohol stove is just about perfect for cooking those sauces that make pasta (or rice) a meal worth eating.  If you get a Trangia burner, there is this wonderful simmer ring that will drop the temp of the flame front even more.

I have hear accounts of people living on just cooked macaroni.  That will never be me.
Danno

Offline donmeredith74

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #21 on: August 05, 2011, 04:43:06 pm »
Paddleboy - You should give boiled water a second chance. Its an acquired taste and takes a little practice to cook it properly but there's nothing like a perfectly boiled pot of water. :D

I thought I'd mention the Trail Designs Caldera Cone system on here (http://traildesigns.com). The cone doubles as a pot stand and wind screen and increases your efficiency (heat goes into the side of the pot, not just the bottom). I've been using one with my trapper mug for awhile now and love it.

DM
http://lightpack.blogspot.com

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2011, 01:00:57 pm »
They now have a new, lightweight alternative to carrying extra pounds opf water. It's called instant H20. All you have to do is add water and presto. There it is.

Offline DaveB

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2011, 09:31:57 am »
They now have a new, lightweight alternative to carrying extra pounds opf water. It's called instant H20. All you have to do is add water and presto. There it is.
Yes, I've seen it advertised as "Dehydrated Water".  It's very light and packs in a small space.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2011, 09:42:45 pm »
Here is what I found out about this alcohol stove I have. Put a quart of water in a thin aluminum pot and put it on the stove. Nine minutes later the water is quite hot and good for coffee and tea but not actually boiling up in a roll. Put soup in the pot and it is boiling in a few minutes. Put meat in a pan and it is cooked in no time. Put ravioli in the pot and it is rolling and boiling in a few minutes. Infact, I have never brought a quart of water to a rolling boil with the alcohol stove.

With the Coleman, duel-fuel, featherlite, 442 you can bring a quart of water to a full rolling boil in a few minutes.

Offline Bicycle Rider

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #25 on: August 23, 2011, 01:28:08 pm »
I will never understand this fascination with boiling water. 

I do not eat boiled water.  I eat food--lots of rice and pasta, and I like it with chicken or salmon.  I like alcohol stoves as the heat output is just about perfect for cooking food.  While a Trangia is on the heavy side of alcohol stoves, it solidly built and will last forever.  There is also a simmer ring that will drop the heat output even more and is just right for warming sauces.  A Trangia will still be lighter than any white gas or isobutane stove.

A Swedish brass Trangia holds 3 ounces of fuel.  A Tatonka is German nock-off made of stainless steel witha 4 ounce fuel reservoir.  I hear that Tatonka are slower to heat up, because of the larger fuel reservoir and the inferior thermal properties of stainless steel.  Evernew also makes a titanium nock-off that holds 2 ounces of fuel, but does not come with a simmer ring.

I switched over to a Trangia from an MSR Whisperlite International.  After seeing my set up, a buddy also switched to a Trangia from an MSR Dragonfly.

Just out of curiosity, how do you eat your pasta and rice? Raw? Or have you found a way to prepare it without boiling water? ;D :D
May you always have the winds at your back, and a low enough gear for the grades

Offline Bicycle Rider

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #26 on: August 23, 2011, 01:31:36 pm »
They now have a new, lightweight alternative to carrying extra pounds opf water. It's called instant H20. All you have to do is add water and presto. There it is.
Yes, I've seen it advertised as "Dehydrated Water".  It's very light and packs in a small space.
I just pack the hydrogen. Incredible light, and when you burn it for the heat you can also collect the H2O for cooking!
May you always have the winds at your back, and a low enough gear for the grades

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #27 on: August 23, 2011, 10:18:00 pm »
They now have a new, lightweight alternative to carrying extra pounds opf water. It's called instant H20. All you have to do is add water and presto. There it is.
Yes, I've seen it advertised as "Dehydrated Water".  It's very light and packs in a small space.
I just pack the hydrogen. Incredible light, and when you burn it for the heat you can also collect the H2O for cooking!

Well, one problem solved.

Offline Gravelier007

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #28 on: September 13, 2011, 03:51:48 pm »
I have a fault of trying to simply things. It really is a physics and thermodynamics problem. If the stove is physically large enough to burn sufficient fuel, you can boil water.  If not, you will not.  Alcohol stoves will get the job done, possibly ?, only maybe slower. I prefer a white gas stove, and carry about a third of the fuel. Both get the job done.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Alcohol Stoves
« Reply #29 on: September 15, 2011, 11:31:09 am »
I have a fault of trying to simply things. It really is a physics and thermodynamics problem. If the stove is physically large enough to burn sufficient fuel, you can boil water.  If not, you will not.  Alcohol stoves will get the job done, possibly ?, only maybe slower. I prefer a white gas stove, and carry about a third of the fuel. Both get the job done.

IMO, the idea is to cut off as many ounces here and there as possible. If you do that seriously, you could end up humping ten pounds less than you might have carried if you had just thrown everything together without any consideration of the weight of each item. The alcohol stove is adequate and lightweight. The pump-up type gas stove is heavier, more than adequate for a cycling tour, and it will take care of your cooking needes whatever they might be.