Trail Talk

Gear Guide => Gear Reviews => Topic started by: Mark on April 07, 2012, 09:37:58 AM

Title: alcohol stove
Post by: Mark on April 07, 2012, 09:37:58 AM
Has anyone actually used one of those alcohol stove's that you make your self? like the one in this video.

Ive watched a couple of vids on youtube where people are showing their gear and stuff and they all have one of these.

If you have used one in the field how does it work? how long does it take to boil water? how long does the stove last? is it reliable?


Title: Re: alcohol stove
Post by: Mark on April 07, 2012, 11:38:08 AM
finally made a stand for these things and they do boil water awfully fast.

Title: Re: alcohol stove
Post by: papaO on April 30, 2012, 10:56:44 AM
Hi Mark.

     Yes, the alcohol stoves do boil water quite fast. I have been using mine for about 3 years now for everything from cooking lunch on a day hike to multiple backpacking trips. So it has proven to be quite durable. I use the Mark Jurey penny stove design. I have seen others that work quite well also on the trail... especially along the A.T.
  The advantages of an alcohol stove are many:
- small and lightweight
- fuel is inexpensive and doesn't stink up your clothing if you happen to spill some
- stove costs almost nothing to make and it's fun to build!

     The main disadvantage is the inability to control the heat output. I use a simmer ring on mine almost exclusively. It slows down the stove a bit by choking it, which allows me to cook meals with a bit more control.
     The other problem can be that the flame is nearly invisible if you are cooking in daylight. A simple solution is to pick up a bottle of liquid HEET from your local auto parts store (it's a gas tank additive to remove moisture). Add a small amount to your fuel and it will color the flame so you can see it and be safe.
    There are lot's of pot holder designs out there and this can be a key part of making your stove work properly. I would be happy to share some photos of the one I use if you wish. Most alcohols stoves need a 1" space from the stove top to the bottom of your cook pot for maximum efficiency. Also, be sure to stay away from any galvanized metals when making your pot holder as it can give off dangerous vapors when burned.
     There is a certain satisfaction the goes along with using an item you built yourself instead of buying a commercially made product! Glad to see another person using an alcohol stove.

Title: Re: alcohol stove
Post by: atwalker on April 30, 2012, 01:12:23 PM
I have had several different commercial made stoves but sold them all once I made myself one of this type.  It is all I have used now for about 6 or 7 years.  I can have my meal fixed and eating long before I could with any of the commercial stoves.  It is lighter, cheaper, easy to operate,  and if needed I can always make another one in a matter of minutes.  I use nothing but the auto additive "HEET" in the yellow bottle which costs about $1.00 a bottle at Walmart.   Everyone is different and whatever works for you is the best.  However, this is what works far better for me and I will probably use it always. 

Good luck. 

PS.  I have made and used several different models but I prefer the "Cat Food" Stove, since it is faster and still almost as light as the other types. 

Title: Re: alcohol stove
Post by: WillyP on October 01, 2012, 10:40:48 AM
The home made cat stoves are excellent. I have switched to a titanium caldera cone thought. I can alter my fuels depending on the trip and always have the option of going with wood if I run out of either esbits or alcohol before I want to come back. There are also instructions on youtube on how to cut out your own caldera cone. IMO they are the best wind screen out there at getting all the heat out of the fuel and into the water.

Title: Re: alcohol stove
Post by: Mark on October 12, 2012, 10:56:50 AM
i have discovered that its not really the stove that matters, but the pot you are using. now im just using a plane ole cat can stove, but i have a super thin little pot that holds a cup of water. I use about a quarter ounce of fuel and it gets my water boiling in just a couple of minutes. I just used this set up on the Black Forest Trail in PA and it worked great. I found the pot at Target for a buck in there cheap stuff section as soon as you enter the store. Best set up ever