Three stoves tested: One came out on top
When preparing for a backpacking trip, it’s important to think about how you’re going to eat. However, traditional cook sets can be incredibly heavy because of fuel canisters, pocket rockets, and the weight of the cooking pots themselves. Additionally, the sound of a flame erupting can disrupt the sonorous sound of silence in the backcountry. Which is why we are there, right? When trekking through the backcountry, it’s important to have as little weight on your back as possible. So how will you cook?
There is a light, easy alternative to traditional camping stoves: Alcohol Stoves.
Though the flame that erupts from this stove are a little less visible than your traditional stove, it boils water just the same. For a fraction of the weight, you get the same result. So, which one do you choose?
In the backcountry of Shenandoah National Park, each member of our party had a different alcohol stove: Anti-Gravity Gear’s Tin Man Aluminum Can Alcohol Stove, the Lixada Titanium Alcohol Stove, and Fancee Feest Alcohol Stove. We tested each and every one, and here is what we learned.
WARNING: EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE STOVES GETS INCREDIBLY HOT. PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, LET THEM COOL DOWN BEFORE TOUCHING THEM.
Anti-Gravity Gear: Tin Man Aluminum Can Alcohol Stove Set
This stove set comes with: stove, primer pan, 4″ wind screen, measuring cup, 8 oz. fuel bottle & a storage cozy. Each of these items can be purchased individually, however I recommend buying the whole set. Each accessory was absolutely utilized during this experiment (and every meal).
The stove is made from a re-purposed soda can. However, it is not weak, fragile, or worth disposing. I personally do not have the skills to make a stove from a bare-naked soda can myself (if you can, knock yourself out), but I really don’t think the level of precision can be reproduced. Additionally, on the website, the stove is pictured supporting two bricks, a concrete block and a large can full of water . It’s a strong, sturdy little bugger.
The AGG Alcohol Stove Primer Pan makes it easier to light the stove. This, I think, is the golden ticket. The stove comes with a measuring cup, making it easy to measure out the alcohol prior to lighting the match. Additionally, there are striation marks within the can that designate 1–2 oz. As described on the website: “The Prime-Lite heats up the alcohol stove from the outside enabling the alcohol inside the stove to vaporize faster and bringing the stove to peak operation more quickly. The 3 point base provides excellent stability and the lightweight Aluminum construction is very durable.” The thick windscreen proved instrumental to protecting boiling water from the onslaught of rain and wind. However, it is sharp and difficult to fold. Watch your finger tips.
- Stove Weight: .4 oz.
- Primer Pan Weight: .2 oz.
- Wind Screen Weight: 1.1 oz.
- Fuel Bottle Weight: 1.5 oz.
- 9.5 oz. Storage Container & Cozy for Stove: 1.4 oz.
- Measuring cup: .1 oz.
- TOTAL WEIGHT: 4.7 oz.
- Price: $31.39
Next step up: with an aluminum body, the Fancee Feest stove has integrated stainless steel pot support. Its name most certainly is an homage to the material with which it is made: cat food cans. Yet another camping stove utilizing an untraditional medium. From trash to treasure, we have a way to boil water.
Additionally, the fiberglass wicking material on the base of the stove pulls the fuel upward for a complete burn of fuel. Rather than absorbing the fuel, as carbon felt and pink fiberglass are wont to do, the fiberglass insulation allows for the fuel to completely burn off. You won’t have fuel leftover, that’s for sure.
With this stove, it is important to have a fuel bottle filled with denatured alcohol, a windscreen, in addition to a cooking pot (A GSI Outdoors Glacier Stainless Bottle Cup/Pot is perfect).
Weight: .8oz (24g)
Capacity: 2 1/2oz (74ml)
Price: $16.00 + $4.25 shipping U.S.A.
*It is important to get a windscreen (bought separately — alternatively, a piece of aluminum foil should work).
Lixada Titanium Alcohol Stove
This is certainly the prettiest of them all.
What makes this stove stand out amongst the rest is the cross stand. This allows for your Pot/Cup (Lixada makes their own version of the GSI Cup/Pot) to balance without threatening to spill. It re-produces the feeling of a larger stove, or a stove that can be screwed onto a fuel canister. Additionally, the mini alcohol stove has gradation in oz and ml on the inside for easy use. No measuring cup necessary.
The stove and rack comes in a drawstring sack, which is convenient for storage. It’s “rugged” titanium construction makes it durable and light. You’ll barely even notice it’s in your pack (that is, until it’s time to pull it out for a meal).
Lixada Titanium Alcohol Stove & Rack Combo Set Mini Ultralight Portable Liquid Alcohol Stove with…
Amazon.com: Lixada Titanium Alcohol Stove & Rack Combo Set Mini Ultralight Portable Liquid Alcohol Stove with Cross…
Stove: 45g / 1.6oz
Rack: 15g / 0.5oz
- It is important to get a windscreen (bought separately — alternatively, a piece of aluminum foil should work). Additionally, Fuel Bottle needs to be bought separately.
Fuel: Denatured Alcohol
Each of these stoves take denatured alcohol. No alternative alcohol should be used: it will damage your stove, and it will potentiall ydamage you. No rubbing alcohol, not Bacardi, no nail polished remover.
Denatured alcohol is readily available at any hardware store, paint store, or many outfitters along the Appalachian Trail. The Anti-Gravity Stove Set is the only one that can be purchased with a Fuel Bottle. Otherwise, an Alcohol Fuel Bottle can be bought separately. Additionally, a bottle of HEET works as well.
We tested each stove with 2 oz of denatured alcohol.
We wanted to find out: how long does it take to prime? How long does it take to boil two cups of water? And how long does it take until it burns out?
I confess, I had trouble lighting the Anti-Gravity stove during this experiment. Subsequent uses would take the prime down about a minute, however, it is entirely dependent on whether or not there’s enough fuel on the Stove Primer Pan.
As is evident: the Fancee Feast primes most quickly, in addition to boiling the most quickly. I imagine it has to do with the Fiberglass wicking material. Otherwise, the time it took to prime for the Lixada and the Anti-Gravity aren’t that much different.
For this experiment and this experiment alone, I am going to have to declare a winner *though it pains me to do so*
*Drum roll please*
Based on Prime Time, Boil Time, and Time lasting, the clear and obvious winner is the Fancee Feest stove.