I wanted to write a Trangia stove review because I absolutely love this piece of equipment. I looked for a long time before I purchased my Trangia stove. My criteria for a camping stove were quite simple: I needed something that was quick to set up, easy to maintain, had minimum parts that could break, and was simple to use since my brain isn’t always working after a long day of hiking. Rather than a collection of different camp stoves, I wanted one stove to do it all.
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 stove, 27 series. The Trangia 27 series is slightly smaller than the 25 (go figure). The entire package is small and light which makes it good as a backpacking stove kit and it 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 more than ten years and have used it for both backcountry and front country camping and it has never failed me.
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This stove uses methylated spirits (also known as denatured alcohol) as fuel. The liquid is poured into the fuel cup and a simmering ring can be put on the cup to reduce the amount of flame. With no compressed gas canisters, there are no problems with moving across the border between Canada and the United States (which I often do) 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. A wooden match or stick lighter is the best as it gives you a bit more space to work with. It is hard to see the flames during the day so make it a habit to hold your hand over the fuel cup to check for heat before you pick it up. Make that mistake once and you’ll never do it again. At least not until the next time.
There is a hole in the windshield to seat the cup. That’s the proper way to use it and the manufacturer’s design. Be very careful though because if you knock the stove over, the fuel can pour out. I started putting the fuel cup on the table or ground rather than dropping it into the frame because I was worried about tipping it over. This is not the proper way to use the fuel cup and it takes a lot longer to bring to heat. It also means that it is closer to grasses or other fire hazards. After I tested it, empty of course, I went back to putting the fuel cup in the windscreen as designed. As with any open flame, be very careful either way.
Cooking with a Trangia alcohol stove can be fast as it comes to heat quickly. 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 use the simmering ring as most times I’m boiling water for a quick meal of ramen noodles or to make 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. Even if I’m using the frying pan, it sits so far over the flame that it’s not worth using the simmering ring.
The photos below are of my actual stove and how it looks after years of use:
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 or something hot to drink. This is not the stove that I would want if I were cooking for more than a couple of people but if that were the case, then I would either use 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 of the Trangia stove 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. 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. So you will have to let the fuel burn out and let the cup cool off before you can add more. That means this stove is not a good option for foods that take a long time to cook. Although who wants to stand over a small pot stirring risotto all day long anyway? On the flip side, if you have lots of fuel but you’re done 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.
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 and cool 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: 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.
If you don’t need a compact cooking stove, check out our review of the GSI Outdoors Selkirk 540 Stove. This propane stove has two highly adjustable burners and is ideal for car camping.
Read here for some of the recipes that I have made on my Trangia stove.
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