If you haven’t had the joy of using a Trangia then you just haven’t been a boy (or girl) scout or you haven’t spent enough time in the woods. The Trangia is a classic and simple stove. It has many flaws including the fact that it is not the hottest around nor is it the most fuel efficient. But it is just so darned simple and cute that it is hard not to love. If you are looking for a really simple and cheap first stove (in fact, cooking system is more accurate) then you could do a whole lot worse then getting one of these. They also make a really great gift for a young person who is getting started in camping and hiking.
What is Trangia stove?
The Trangia is a basic little stove that was introduced almost a century ago in Sweden. It hasn’t changed much since then because it hasn’t really needed to. It consists of a small brass cup that is the burner. It burns basic alcohol (usually methylated spirit) that is poured into the burner and simply lit. The stove produces its own pressure as heat from the flame boils off the alcohol, causing it to jet out of the sides of the little burner.
The burner can’t be adjusted although it does have two settings as you can pop a simmer ring onto it that blocks some of the jets and turns down the heat. On top of this goes a purpose made pot and wind shield that sit above the burner. You can also get a kettle and frying pan. There are also various sizes so that you can cook for a group of people or just for one.
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What is great about the Trangia stove?
The best aspects are the Trangia are its amazing simplicity and low weight. In terms of simplicity, even a child could use one as you literally pour in some fuel and light it. In terms of weight, the whole package weighs about as much as a single pot in many other cooking sets. It is all aluminium (or titanium) so that keeps the weight down too.
Why don’t I use a Trangia stove
Okay. The moment of truth. As great as this stove is it has a couple of disadvantages in my mind. The first is that you can’t adjust the temperature beyond the two settings I mentioned above. The second is that it is not the most fuel efficient on the market. Alcohol has a relatively low energy density (in other words you need to burn more of it) compared with white gas or other liquid fuels. That means that on longer trips you end up carrying more weight in fuel than you save by having a really light cooking system. On remote trips to places such as Nepal it is also easier to get fuels such as white gas or diesel than it is to get methylated spirt. The final reason is that camping gas stoves have come a long way so that now if you want a simple and lightweight stove you can easily get a simple gas stove such as the MSR Pocket Rocket or Superfly.
Who should get the Trangia stove
I’d recommend the Trangia to people getting a gift for a young person who is starting out because it is a complete system and has everything you need in one package including the cookware. I’d also recommend it to occasional hikers or campers who are doing weekend trips and need a first stove, for much the same reason. Finally there is the Trangia solo which weighs almost nothing (300 grams or so) that could be useful for people doing adventure racing or similar fast and light activities who have to carry a stove for safety reasons or just because they are looking to move quickly and eat simply.
The divisions between the two sorts of stove are also easing as you can now get a gas burner connector for a Trangia so that you can always upgrade. This makes for a really simple and stable cooking system that someone can grow into.