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I looked for a long time before I purchased my camp stove. I didn’t want to have a collection of stoves so I needed something that was quick to set up, easy to maintain, and simple to use since my brain isn’t always working after a long day of hiking.
After a lot of research (I was sick with bronchitis so I had to spend the time bound to the couch somehow), I chose the Trangia 27 series. The 27 series is slightly smaller than the 25 (go figure). The stove is small and light which made it good for backpacking and has no moving parts that can break, get lost, or need to be replaced. It comes with two nested pots and a pan that can be used as a lid. The pots and pan sit on top of a frame that twists onto a wind screen. I chose the anodized version for a non-stick surface but if I were going to buy a second set, I would get the stainless steel instead as I have put a few scratches in the finish when I’ve accidentally used metal utensils. I’ve had mine for about seven years and have used it for both backcountry and front country camping and it has never failed me.
The fuel, methylated spirits, is poured into the fuel cup and a simmering ring can be put on that to reduce the amount of flame. With no compressed gas canisters, there are no problems with moving across the Canada/United States border or travelling on an airplane. The fuel is inexpensive and can be purchased in any hardware store where it will be found either in the automotive or paint sections. Simply pour some fuel into the cup and light it on fire. It is hard to see the flames during the day so make it a habit to hold your hand over it to check for heat before you pick it up. Make that mistake once…
The Trangia stove is fairly fast to bring up to heat and I’ve brought a pot of water to a full boil in approximately five minutes in temperatures close to the freezing point. I don’t think I’ve ever used the simmering ring as most times I’m boiling water for a quick meal of ramen noodles or boiling water for coffee or hot chocolate. I find that the ring is too hard to adjust once the flame is burning as the cup and ring both get extraordinarily hot.
When cooking for one person, there is less of a concern about having multiple dishes ready at the same time. In fact nine times out of ten, I’m making a one-pot meal. This is not the stove that I would want to use if I were cooking for more than a couple of people but if that were the case, then I would want multiple stoves or cook the dish that takes the longest first and wrap it in a towel while I cook the second part.
One aspect that I don’t like is that you cannot tell how much fuel is left in the burner unless you lift up the pot and take a look and if you’re running low, then you have to wait for it to burn out before you can refill. I’ve done some dumb things but pouring a flammable liquid onto an open flame is really low on my list of things to do. Unless I’m trying to get a bonfire going in which case, that’s to be expected. On the flip side of that, if you have lots of fuel but you’re one cooking, you can smother the flame with the closed simmering ring, then screw on the lid once it’s cooled off. A gasket inside the lid keeps it from leaking.
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Dimensions: approximately 7″ across and 4″ tall (or 18 cm x 10 cm)
Weight: 1 pound 10 oz (or 787 grams)
No moving parts
Easy to fuel
Too small for multiple dishes to finish at the same time
Finicky to adjust temperature
Unable to determine how much fuel is left
Have to let cup empty before adding more fuel
Tips for Use:
A relatively level surface is the best place to set it up. A table is ideal but the ground will do as long as there isn’t a lot of grass or other vegetation near by since the stove does use an open flame. Also if you’re travelling with dogs, you’ll want to make sure they stay well away: both so they don’t knock it over but also so they don’t kick dirt into your food.
If it’s windy, you’ll want to make sure the solid portion of the windscreen is facing the wind. That minimizes the risk of fire and also makes for a more efficient use of fuel and quicker cooking.