Stoking the wasp nest ALC stoves...

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

  1. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

    So that's what they mean by methhead...
  2. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    Well if you can get pure ethanol with no methanol in it you could use it to disinfect cuts/blisters, hand sanitizer, fuel and to turn your drinks into funner versions :)
    Can't do that with a gas cartridge lol
    Rog Tallbloke likes this.
  3. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    I had a bottle of pure surgical alcohol ages ago. Someone swiped it... Not easy to obtain.
  4. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    No, I guess it's restricted.
    You definitely can't get it in Russia...
  5. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    But in Russia you can do everything with одеколон.
  6. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

    In fact, I presume you can get that even in Saudi. But the drift is getting a bit much now, sorry.
  7. Charlie83

    Charlie83 Section Hiker

    What you need is


    Double use, hand cleanser or cooking
    Rmr likes this.
  8. Chiseller

    Chiseller Thru Hiker

    I wouldn't give that fire dragon cupboard space, let alone cave space. I finished up using mine as an additive to start some damp charcoal.
    I'm sure someone will sing its praises... Not me though :thumbsdown:
    Nigelp likes this.
  9. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    In Soviet Russia, the meths cooks you!
    Chiseller and Bmblbzzz like this.
  10. Lemming

    Lemming Backpacker

    Time for my opinionated rant...

    Gas and alcohol (if you chose the right burner) are really the only options for an "instant on and off" stove.
    Paraffin/petrol need preheating, so are fuel heavy for a quick brew (but very comforting roaring away on a cold dark night), solid fuel is light it and let it burn out.

    Gas stoves performance drops in seriously cold conditions (normally not a problem in the UK). Remote inverted feed gets round this, but adds weight and complexity. Alcohol will still work - the Swedish Army includes a mini Trangia burner with its Optimus Crux based kit to satisfy the "works at -40°C" requirement.

    In my experience, if something can go wrong, it will - normally a long way away from anywhere. With liquid and solid fuels it is always possible to improvise something (far safer with alcohol than petrol though). A shredded thread on a gas stove is a bit more of a problem.

    Alcohol and solid fuel stoves have no moving parts, so remarkably little to go wrong, other than treading on it, so win on reliability.

    Also they can be fully enclosed (Trangia, Caldera Cone, etc) so will work in very extreme conditions.

    I'll happily use gas for the ease of use when not too remote, but alcohol otherwise - if I really, really needed a brew in foul conditions, my choice would always be alcohol, as I know it will work.
    Last edited: May 19, 2020
  11. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    To be completely fair, alcohol needs to be transported
    So a crossed thread on the bottle used to transport the alcohol is also a possibility

    This gets amplified the lighter the container used

    Leaking Alcohol container, leaking gas/stove interface same result, no fuel
  12. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    @gixer Leaky alc bottle easier to fix in the field than a leaky gas canister though. If in the valley the nearest bin will contain something suitable. If up high a plastic bag and some tape can help matters.
  13. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Depends on when you spot the leak though mate

    Anything can fail, even if it doesn't if we forget matches/lighter (done this a few times as i'm not a smoker) it renders most stove useless

    Everything is a compromise, it's working out what compromises you're willing to make
    For me i don't like the smell of Alcohol stoves and i can't be arsed waiting for my water to boil
    Plus they're not allowed in Greece national parks (to be fair neither is gas, but you can get away with gas, you can't alcohol)

    I understand others have more patience and don't like the noise of gas :thumbsup:
    It's all good
    Chiseller likes this.
  14. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    @gixer My alcohol fired setup boils 400ml in 4.15 minutes from lighting the stove. How fast do you need?
  15. Mole

    Mole Thru Hiker

    Depends on stove and user. I notice a lot of gas users don't use a windshield.
    I've sat with certain folks and we've brewed up, them using gas and me with alcohol or esbit, and I've had a brew going in the same time or even before them.
    Chiseller likes this.
  16. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker


    Boil times are like saying "my willy touches the floor" but neglecting to say you've got no legs :D

    Said i'd never let things go far as to start timing myself to boil water BUT, just did :bag:

    3:15 from having my cup and stove in it's pouch, to having a rolling boil with 500ml of (tap) water
    That's with the faffy pot stand on the the Soto Windmaster and 1 working hand

    It's really not just about the time though, here's my list:
    The smell
    The faff with blooming (on the Alcohol stoves i own at least)
    Having to keep the fuel separate (my gas canister fits in my pot with my stove)
    The faff with the windscreen/cone
    Even needing a lighter/matches (i usually take one as back up, but always use the piezoelectric starter)
    Having to pay for alcohol (i get all my gas canister free)
    They're not legally allowed to be used in Greek national parks

    I understand they're worshipped to the point of fanaticism for some, i can see why some folks like em
    But they're not for me

    There was a time where i felt the pull, and my finger hovered over the order button on the trail designs website
    But after attending the meets with the guys and gals here and seeing the time and faff needed, nahhhhhhhhh not for me
    Michael_x likes this.
  17. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    "Having to pay for alcohol (i get all my gas canister free)"

    That helps a lot! :)

    "They're not legally allowed to be used in Greek national parks"

    Neither are gas stoves according to you.
    gixer likes this.
  18. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    The title was right then :)
    gixer and Rog Tallbloke like this.
  19. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    I really CAN understand the draw to Alcohol stoves
    The ability to cook from a stove pot stand/windscreen you've created, often out of junk drinks cans, must be smile inducing every time you use it
    Also understand the quietness and calmness of boiling water with alcohol

    Watching some folks at the meet setup their alcohol stoves and cook was almost zen like
    You could see they enjoyed the process
    I enjoyed watching it

    I do get it

    So i'm not trying to change people's minds

    For me though, i find that when people start mentioning stuff like reliability, (crossed threads on stoves) and boil times i find it kinda disingenuous
    It's not that it's a lie, it's just that it's not real world reality

    2 examples

    As above, boil times
    4mins is great, but IF it takes 4mins to find and unpack everything, setup the pot stand and windscreen, light the stove and wait for it to bloom (in some cases) then the boil time is pretty pointless as kinda misleading
    Again i understand that some don't care about boil time, perfect and good on em, but it's better to say that than to try and compete

    Understand gas stove block/fail, threads cross, canisters leak, don't believe it's really a realistic concern though
    If i thought it was i'd carry a spare BRS-3000T, at 25g it's not really a worry to carry a spare

    Obviously stuff fails but if i'm anything to go by, I recon people forget stuff (stove wise) more than stuff fails

    Gas, alcohol, solid or burning politicians it's all good, just pick the one that has the compromises you're willing to take on the hike you want to use it on :thumbsup:
  20. Enzo

    Enzo Thru Hiker

    I agree some meths setups look like they involve balancing many little bits of ti that seem like a strong wind would blow them off the hill.
    Far too much faff for me. And I don't like the idea of having little bits to get lost or any lack of stability. I used to use a 400ml pot with little stainless pot stand and little speedster stove. Took 11m to boil, and I'd need to do two boils for a meal and hot drink.
    So when it tipped over it was annoying!

    That was definitely a stupid lite setup.

    My current setup is twice the weight, boils twice as much water in less than half the time with the same or less fuel. It sets up quickly being a one piece cone.

    My gas setup is quicker, takes the same time to setup if I use a windscreen though.
    The 100g gas cart weighs the same as my whole alcohol setup with a weekends fuel.

    Both reasonable choices I think, just depends what you fancy :)
    gixer likes this.
  21. WilliamC

    WilliamC Thru Hiker

  22. RobH

    RobH Trail Blazer

    I am going to give Alcohol (the stove) another go once stormin is taking orders. Used Hexi for many years but now always use Gas for so many personal reasons and White Gas for Arctic conditions (cold use gas inverted). Got to see the other side, maybe its moved on since Trangia.
  23. Rog Tallbloke

    Rog Tallbloke Thru Hiker

    @gixer Thanks for the good natured debate, and I agree you should pick whichever suits you better. I'll just have a niggle about this and then leave it.

    You said: "4mins is great, but IF it takes 4mins to find and unpack everything, setup the pot stand and windscreen, light the stove and wait for it to bloom (in some cases) then the boil time is pretty pointless as kinda misleading."

    Gas users have to find and unpack everything too. And screw parts together, and set up a windscreen. The capillary alcohol stove I made takes 5 seconds to bloom, (and weighs 8 grammes). I've had plenty of slower lighting times with gas on a frosty morning. Alcohol works reliably to much lower temperatures. Greek islanders don't need to worry about this so much. ;)

    The 4.15 boil time I stated above is, as I said, from lighting the stove. :thumbsup:
  24. Bmblbzzz

    Bmblbzzz Ultralighter

  25. gixer

    gixer Thru Hiker

    Always a pleasure mate
    Plus although i prefer gas now, i've not got any stocks invested :D
    So don't really care enough to argue or fall out over, as i say i don't believe there is a right or wrong, just preferences

    I've got no idea on your setup Rog, so was speaking generally rather than to you specifically
    I've watched people put together them cones with the split half way up, looked like a right ball ache, so that's really what i had in mind

    That 3:15 mins was from having the mug in it's bag
    My scenario was i'd just stopped at a stream for a cuppa
    My mug lives in a side pocket so the time started from when i have the mug in my hand
    Remove mug from bag
    Take stove, canister, wanky Soto pot rest out
    Screw stove on
    Fit wanky Soto pot rest
    Fill mug up (used tap water, but closed my eyes and imagined it was a stream :p)
    Start stove (piezoelectric igniter)
    Stopwatch stopped at a rolling boil

    03:15 Mins

    I know this'll meet with some rolling of eyes and "it's not a race" thoughts, i keep saying it, but this works for me
    I agree it's not a race, and i'm not interested in taking seconds off that time, it's just i don't want to faff opening my rucksack looking for a fuel bottle or cone.

    Generally i'm knackered after a hike, not being known for my patience at the best of times (oddly seem to be getting better as i get older though), after a hike i just want to throw my tent up, get my bedding sorted, collapse in a heap and get some food and warm drink down my neck
    Any subtitly or ability to absorb faff has generally gone during that time

    Once i've done above i can relax and start enjoying the scenery and camp and chill
    Would probably use a alcohol stove at that point, but before i want faff free
    Chiseller likes this.

Share This Page