As spring approaches one of the great things for us UL travelers is that we get to put away the big (relatively speaking) white gas and propane stoves and bring out our lovely little alcohol stoves. If you are not familiar with Alcohol Stoves, they are small, uber lite, and run on denatured alcohol or some other derivative. For three-season camping where all you are doing is heating water for coffee and tea, or boiling some water for pasta or soup, these stoves just can’t be beat.
While many opt to make super lite versions out of assorted types of aluminum cans, for which there are a plethora of YouTube directions, I prefer the strength and stability of the Trangia. Trangia is a Swedish company that builds a complete cook system around their little stove, but for those wishing simplicity, you can simply purchase the burner without all the pots. These are wildly popular in Europe for good reason. They are just bomber little devices. I use the base Trangia unit paired with the little Trangia Triangle which forms a windscreen and pot stand when in use, and folds flat when you are done with it.
As with all stoves you have to carry fuel, in this case liquid, and while the big bottles sold by MSR work great for the highly toxic white gas they carry, I prefer something simpler for the Trangia. I have discovered over the last year that the folding bottles from Platypus work amazingly well. I can take .5 liters of fuel on a trip in one of the collapsible bottles and as the fuel is consumed, the bottle gets smaller and smaller, taking up less and less space. If I’m simply going for a one or two day trip and don't need that much fuel, I start out with the amount I need and the bottle will still shrink to a very manageable size. With regards to durability, I have had fuel stored in one of these bottles for the past 5 months with no apparent degradation to the bottle or the cap.
At my presentation the other night a student picked up the little Platypus bottle and asked why my water bottle said 'TOXIC' on it. I told him it was not water and that instead was my way of insuring I did not accidentally drink my fuel. Apparently my method works!
Trangia Triangle, Trangia stove, Platypus .5L fuel storage…
The little Trangia burner…
This story was first posted on Glenn's website: The Traveling Vagabond. You can find a lot more of Glenn's writing and beautiful photography there.
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Glenn Charles spent his first 40 years living what he thought was the American Dream; he now says he’s living life. Traveling by bike and kayak, he finds new ways to explore the world, meet new people and grow as a person. As he travels 50,000+ miles by human power, he hopes to inspire others to reconnect with nature and lead simpler, happier lives. thetravelingvagabond.com