2018-11-16

Stoveaholic... Yes I have a problem

I've been collecting a few stoves here and there, as well as making a couple of my own.

Recycled stove...
I got bored and made this stove out of a pair of beer cans, with fibreglass used as wicking material. The pot stand is made out of coat hanger wire, and the windscreen is a recycled aluminum license plate. Here it is in use, and it is surprisingly effective at boiling water.



And another video while I field test (in my kitchen? kitchen test?) my MSR Stowaway 775ml pot:



The beer can alcohol stove is very effective for Boil and Burn cooking... ;)

This is a penny can stove variant that I purchased on eBay, the creator used a threaded pop rivet as opposed to the classic penny, but the principle is the same. There is fibreglass rope around the outside, as this stove needs to be preheated by soaking the outside with alcohol then setting it aflame. It is very efficient and burns for about twenty minutes, but there is only one heat output, full "Boil and Burn".
Penny can Stove
Sadly it gets far too hot to cook something more delicate like fried mushrooms and scrambled eggs as seen here.


And I get to put my new camp kitchen cleaning supplies to work to try to get the stuck egg off of the bottom of the pan.

5L collapsing sink 
You really are only going to use about a litre of water for this. Preferably warm water with a bit of soap tossed in.








The stove below is the D-Power stove, available on eBay and Aliexpress.com that I bought for about $14.00 CDN, and while it is not as compact as some of the other stoves pictured here, it has a nice low center of gravity and would be fantastic for larger, or heavier pots. As I am camping with my girlfriend these days, I'll be using a 1.6l MSR Stowaway pot on top of this one, with a shorter windscreen. 

D-Power stove, gas adaptor, windscreen




The real magic here is the Gas Adaptor that I'm using to convert the connection from Butane to Lindal B188 valve, which allows me to use $3.33 butane cartridges as opposed to the more expensive ISO butane cartridges from Canadian Tire that cost $8.97 for an equivalent volume. The downside is that ISO Butane contains a blend of Butane and LPG (liquid propane gas) that will burn better than straight butane when used under 10 degrees Celsius. Think of how hard it is to get a BIC lighter to work in subzero temperatures and you will grasp the concept.

Butane to Lindal gas adaptor







100% Homemade setup


I did some research on alcohol stoves, and found that the Trangia name came up time and time again, and wondered why this was, to find that they were a highly efficient burner for alcohol, you could adjust the simmer with the simmer ring supplied, they burned for a decent interval of time, and you could snuff it out and reuse unburnt fuel.  I found an inexpensive knock-off online to try out, and I was indeed impressed with the design inspired by Trangia, although you will want to provide a windscreen and a potstand with this particular brand of stove.







SVEA123r aka Optimus Svea

One of my favourite stoves is my SVEA123R which crossed the Trans Labrador Highway with me in 2011, and since then has never let me down, but it did need a new set of seals as I damaged the original set which I sourced from the Fettlebox in the UK.  I bought this stove in Canada from Stapleton's Great Adventures, who still sells them. This stove stands out as it will run on Coleman Stove fuel an unleaded petrol or gasoline, has only two moving parts, and is essentially bomb proof. Forget about bringing spare parts on a trip as you simply won't need them. It will also nest well inside of other cooking pots such as the Optimus Terra Weekend HE Cook Set or the Coleman Max Solo Cook Kit which I have.  More about the SVEA here.

SVEA123R
The SVEA123r can sound a bit loud first thing in the morning:



My latest acquisition is a wee "China Stove" that looked very well built with few moving parts, and at about $9 shipped from AliExpress I went ahead and bought one as I really enjoyed the simplicity of cooking over butane gas last year when I toured from to Ontario and back out to Prince Edward Island. (I just bought another so I'll have two of these in a month or two).

I finally broke down and bought a gas cartridge to go along with this...


This gas mix is formulated with butane but liquid propane gas LPG is blended in to give it slightly better cold weather performance.

Woods Butane Propane 227g
Butane Canister Stove Winder Hack for these canisters:




I've also bought a gas adapter so I can refill these cartridges with the cheaper butane gas cans that I can buy three for $9.99, so I'll refill the expensive $7.99 canister with the $3.33 butane gas using something similar to the Lixada butane cartridge refill adapter



What they don't tell you is they are full of post manufacture glue or residue that will soot up your pots. Try washing them in alcohol first to remove the residue. 


Chinese Trangia Clones - Stainless steel

So I bought another pair of stoves in March...   And they suck. Stainless steel bodies and they are really well built, but I have no clue what kind of wicking is used inside and they refuse to bloom into a full flame that a trangia will. It takes 25 minutes to heat two cups of water in a kitchen. :(  I've burned it about six times now, on different days and it's not getting any better, sadly.

Comes complete with pot stand for $7 Cdn!

Stainless steel "Trangia" clone with changes
 This stove does NOT have a threaded cap with a rubber O-ring nor does it come with a simmer ring, so it is "Boil and Burn" only as you see it here. It's made of stainless steel and included the pot stand, so as the price was so low, $7 each, I bought two of them, one each for Caroline and I. I thought they would fit well into our new titanium 750ml mugs, and be used for brewing up tea or wash water.



Cat Can Alcohol Stove

So I had this empty tin of tuna lying around, so I brought out my hole punch and turned it into a SuperCat alcohol stove. Let me tell you, for a Boil or Burn stove, this thing is awesome!!! I've been playing around with it in the kitchen to brew up for tea, and it's super simple to deploy and use. Just deploy it, fill it with alcohol, then light it and drop your pot or vessel on top of it.

I did cut my holes a bit too low so I can't use as much alcohol in it as I would need on a windy day, so I'll eat some more tuna and make another one that will hold more alcohol. I tell ya, if you are only worried about boiling water for tea and oatmeal, then make yourself one of these stoves and you problems of how to cook dinner are halfway solved.

You must have a windscreen for this type of stove, else strong wind moves the heat and flame out from the bottom of the pot, and you lose all your heating efficiency.

Cat can stove
This says "Cat Can Stove" but in reality it's a tin of tuna, so coated tin as opposed to light weight aluminium.




I went with a "Vienna Sausage" tin which is a taller version of the cat food can, and I like it for it will hold around 3 ounces of alcohol, seems light and sturdy, and should hold more than enough alcohol to boil 750ml of water in windy conditions. I think I'll pack my SVEA for the heavy lifting and make one of these improved cat can stoves for his and hers, so we can boil up tea or wash water while cooking supper.

 The taller cocktail weenies can is ideal. One part, and the only way it will fail is if I knock it over or step on it. :)

At the 2019 CSBK motorcycle race weekend I gave it a try, and found I enjoyed how quiet it was, but it certainly is going to want more alcohol in the field than in testing in my kitchen.

Breakfast of Champions
With the exception of the alcohol bottle, it packs away very nicely indeed. 




Full flame
It's not spectacular like a white gas stove, but it excels at being quiet and reliable.  

Breakfast of Champions! Tea and oatmeal.

She's boiling!




It's quiet, but it also takes about three times longer than a gas or white gas stove to boil 500ml of water. All of it packs into the mug with the exception of the alcohol as I lack an appropriate bottle at the moment.

Update: 2019-05-29 

I thought I would ride the motorcycle to work today, and I thought I'd try out my Trangia clone along with  my titanium trangia potstand/windscreen combo, similar to the Trangia Triangle, but at half the cost and weight. 

Pot stand and windscreen



Lixada 750ml Ti mug 
I tried this last year, and while the wind was much reduced I barely got a boil out of 2 ounces of alcohol before the trangia went out. The pot overflowed and that next picture? You are looking at 1/4 ounce of the finest Mr. Noodle Beef fuel that unfortunately doesn't burn nearly as well as methyl hydrate.

Mr. Noodle Beef - it's much harder to light than methyl hydrate!?
This setup really needs a windscreen, but it is very small and light to pack. The bulkiest part was the mug itself.

Tune in later when I test a new piece of gear on the company picnic table. ;)

Update: 2019-06-04 

And it's time to try out the new ISO Butane LPG cartridge  at lunch time today:

It was windy enough to need the windscreen
 I couldn't see the flame, so had to adjust by sound rather than by sight, and 700ml of water seemed to take about ten or fifteen minutes to boil outside in the wind.

When it boiled over it put out the flame, so I was cautious afterwards to prevent it boiling over again
This is NOT a lightweight setup. The stainless steel pot, cartridge and accessories weigh in a bit, and I was surprised how much one litre of water and all the gear weighed. Plus I would have had to use more gas to boil up wash water for all this, and I'd only a cup of water left after making lunch for two people.

I'm going to try my SVEA123R out on the table tomorrow or the next day, with the old aluminum pots that have travelled with me for so long.

Update: 2019-08-12

Over the August long weekend my girlfriend CLine and I traveled around the Gaspe Peninsula, and I reduced my cooking gear for the trip down to the SVEA123r and an alcohol  cat can stove, as the cat can stove and windscreen can be stuffed into the mug I use, a 750ml titanium job.