Stoking the wasp nest ALC stoves...

Discussion in 'Kitchen' started by Enzo, Apr 22, 2020.

  1. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I think I'm probably not the only one with plenty of free time at the moment, and sifting through my YouTube feed I saw this.
    I dont think it's a bad summation for the typical hiker, but alcohol works well for me. Or have I changed my behaviour to match the fuel?...
    When I go with my Mrs we take gas btw.

    Michael_x, Rmr and Bopdude like this.
  2. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    I thought it was rubbish and outdated examples.
    With the likes of speedster Stoves with carbon felt, they're efficient, more safe than typical alcohol stoves. They've the ability to simmer and store unused fuel.
    On the flip side... I use gas when I'm with the wife aswell.
    Sometimes I'll even suck up the weight of the windburner just for effeciency and safety if I feel I'll be doing as much brewing inside my porch as out.

    Solo, I will favour the esbit for weight savings and find they can be quite efficient as I'll just use less water and have a stronger brew.

    On efficiency, I'll boil less with alcohol or esbit as, why have a full mug that you have to wait to drink it? ...

    On multi days when I'll be cooking a few carni dishes like scrambled eggs, omlettes, steaks etc... I'll use the windburner, but leave the pot at home and use the pan to boil a brew and then use a sul vessel.

    Occasionally I'll have two alcohol stoves and use those with the skillet for a slightly more even burn.

    The second stove can be removed part way through and used to brew at the same time as Cook.

    The only bit I'd say he's right on is, it's down to the experience we want..
    Silence, a pretty flame at night, or the roar that says... Yup, this cost a few Bob, but by eck it does what it does so well.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  3. Bopdude

    Bopdude Section Hiker

    Interesting video, I'm in the same boat as you, love my alcohol stoves but ...................................
    Chiseller likes this.
  4. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    I've got to admit, I've never cadjed gas on a camp, but I have cadjed meths :sorry:
  5. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    I've never used an alcohol stove with thoughts of saving weight & if I did I wouldn't choose the stoves he has picked for comparison. I don't even understand really what he means by getting back to nature, I've yet to be transformed anywhere else while using an alcohol stove (maybe he's sniffing the fuel to much?), maybe he means he has an extra less than 5mins on the trail after lunch break?
    Fuel & how much you use depends on your burner & how you use it as much as it would with gas, meaning the trangia will burn through that amount of fuel in 2 days where as an open top wont because it doesn't have the pressure behind it.
    The only points I agree with him are that yes they work better in colder weather than your typical upright gas stove, they are much quieter & you can find fuel much easier than finding a threaded gas can. (you may have to re-fuel them but with use you kinda get this down)
    I think he is trying not to be biased but most obviously is, no comparison on the footprint with a gas stove nor any mention how most gas stoves will be temperamental with wind aswell, or how the weight of the alcohol fuel gets better as the can will most always weigh more than the bottle, not to mention how you have to keep an eye on most upright gas stoves for fear they might tip (or maybe that's just me?).
    At the end of the day if those extra few mins & maybe ease of use (never seen them as hard to use) mean alot to you then I guess alcohol stoves aren't for you is how I see it.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
  6. Shewie

    Shewie Chief Slackpacker Staff Member

    I like Luke's videos, followed him for a lot of years but he should try a cone system :)

    I use meths 95% of the year, switching to multifuel on snowy winter trips (remember those?), very occasionally a woodgas stove for woodland camps

    If I was heading out tomorrow to do a two week trip I'd probably grab the old Jetboil Sol again, despite it being heavier I find it easier to gauge full requirements over a longer period and I often find it easier to source gas cans than meths.
    murpharoo likes this.
  7. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Totally agree his selection of stoves wouldn't find a place in my pack.
    Speedster and cone all the way. And he must be eating/drinking well to empty that bottle in two days. I use a bottle at least half that size for weekends, but then I don't hang around camp.
    All depends on how you like to hike I guess.

    But I do wonder if I'd drink more coffee if I used a gas stove?


    The time thing isn't an issue for me, I normally heat water for s meal and whilst waiting for that to rehydrate i make a drink and by the time that's drunk foods ready. Advantage of a bigger pot, food and drink from one boil, I remember using a 400mm pot and having to do two separate 11 minutes boils.

    That's stupid lite.

    A cone, wide shallow pot and bigger burner don't take long to boil.
    Just weighed my kit and it's 330g Inc lighter base plate and full ~100ml fuel bottle.
    Chiseller likes this.
  8. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Yeah that video shows a serious lack of stove experience :p

    A few weeks ago, In an attempt to rationalise my solo cooksets I tested the 3 main contenders side by side. Same amounts of water and fuel.


    1. Evernew 570 and Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti cone, with Speedster 30ml burner. My new-this-year indulgence.
    2. Toaks 650lite with a Stormin Pothugger and burner. Picked up on eBay for a tenner a year or so ago.
    3. Toaks 550lite with homemade cone/silicone band and homemade burner. Had/used for years with various alcohol burners and esbit Ti wing burner.


    They are all OK but the winner overall was No. 1. Not the fastest, but most fuel efficiency.

    But the real eye-opener was when I tried hexamine in the Evernew /Sidewinder. The first 2 burners I tried (ti wing and Speedster) were not optimal. Nor a BGET. But a simple flat tray on the baseplate worked a treat - rolling boil of 450ml water in 5'40" using c10g of hexamine. That's over 50%faster and 50%more fuel weight efficient than with denatured ethanol. And better than my other esbit setups.

    So No 1 with solid fuel is now going to be my goto.
    No2. Is out the door (maybe keep the pot)

    No3 for alcohol only or a lender.

    I also have a slightly lighter Evernew 400 setup for alcohol, but it's more for day use as its a little too small for my backpacking needs apart from high summer or quick bivies
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2020
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  9. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    That's interesting. When you say 'flat tray', am I right in thinking you are talking of a sheet, marginally larger than the esbit block?
    I think Of a tray having a small raised edge. (like a baking tray/dinner tray)
    Mole likes this.
  10. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Exactly that. I guess it just gives a better flame gap. Though the Speedster solid fuel burner is also that low, I think the high sides must affect the burning adversely in this cone. (The Speedster works very well in my Evernew 900 Sidewinder)

    I use British Army hexamine mostly, and half one is same weight as a 14g esbit, but longer. The tray is about 6mm wider n longer than a flat ½tab with turned up edges of about 2-3mm. It's pretty rough. I suppose I could just burn it on the baseplate foil. But I have a hole in the centre to make that easier to fold into ⅛s to pack into to pot.

    I didn't try breaking it up, might have got a faster boil.

    Sorry Enzo. We've drifted into a different fuel system... :cautious::cigar:
  11. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Thanks Mole, I've a speedster tray type holder but never used it as I tend to favour the compact removable wing stand. I just use a straight sided cone with his wire stand.
    I'll have a play.
    Another apology from me Enzo.... Not like a thread to go off topic :writing::wink:
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  12. RobH

    RobH Trail Blazer

    I did find the video interesting as I have never used an alcohol stove. I look at them from time to time but have never actually pulled the trigger and bought one. I mainly use a titanium spider gas stove which I invert in the winter. It gives me a stable base and when used with a modified shield like the stormin stove, works well in windy conditions. I used Military solid fuel stoves for many too years but since leaving have never used them since. I have a multi fuel pressure stove which I use on motorbike tours as I have petrol with me all the time.

    Maybe one day I will actually pull the trigger and see what its like on the bright side.....
    Mole likes this.
  13. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    Can't go wrong with speedster carbon felt stoves :thumbsup:
    Rmr likes this.
  14. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I'm very happy it's drifted, the reason I posted was it's a subject that often gets lots of oppinions and I need the entertainment!

    I've got a few packs of hexamine but never used it, your test Mole is the kick I need to give it a go.

    I've heard the trick with hex burners is to have them without holes. Apparently some of it turns to liquid and capturing that liquid increases efficiency and decreases boil times.
    I was thinking the bottom 1cm of a drinks can with the sharp edge rolled and the dimpled bottom used to hold the tablet?
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  15. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    The can bottom is popular with some folks :thumbsup:
    Enzo likes this.
  16. Baldy

    Baldy Thru Hiker

    Or 90E02341-58F3-407E-9353-24B71A9BF892.jpeg
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  17. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    I think the liquid catching thing is only necessary for tablet fitted trays like the bget and Gram cracker. The fuel "slumps rather than going seriously runny and spreading far. Once you go a say 5mm mm wider than the tab all around, it's not an issue IMO
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  18. edh

    edh Thru Hiker

    I've got some ti flattish sheets that came with esbit stoves, they work well.
    But on longer trips I tend to use 'pie' foil as the sheets gum up with residue so I dispose of them then 'find' another..
    Mole likes this.
  19. Michael_x

    Michael_x Section Hiker

  20. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Yes. Not very good. I tried it out Slow and quite weight inefficient.
    Poor btu content compared to hexamine or even denatured alcohol.

    Good firelighter. Which is what used most of it for after finding it was a dud for my backpacking needs
    Michael_x likes this.
  21. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Isn't it just jellified alcohol?
  22. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    I used jellied fuel once about 30yrs ago, me brother had a tin of it, was like a very small paint tin & had a metal ring on the outside of the tin that you could lift up & down to change the pot height as the jelly burned.
    Think it was army issue, probably was, not sure but am sure it was :poop:
  23. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    They have that in the states. Starts with sta... Something
  24. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

  25. Padstowe

    Padstowe Thru Hiker

    That looks more or less it, being the only thing missing when I google imaged it was the little height adjustable pot stand that was wrapped around the tin.

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