Anyway, I've used propane, butane/propane, and naptha stoves - and built some pop can alcohol stoves, but had always wanted a Trangia to try out. What I got was a mini Trangia Kit - stove, windshield/pot stand, 0.8 litre aluminum pot, 15 cm non-stick aluminum lid (suitable as a frying pan), and a little pot gripper. The whole kit weighs in a 330 grams, or 3/4 lb (12 ounces).
One chilly morning I took James out for a walk in his stroller. I brought an unimaginative meal with me, but something that would prove to be quite tasty in the cold morning air. A Mr. Noodles Bowl contains pre-cooked, dried noodles, and soup powder. You just add boiling water to reconstitute the noodles, seal the lid for a few minutes and you are ready to chow down.
The set up is rather neat - the stove fits in a formed aluminum windshield and pot stand combination. There is a ridge on the bottom of the pot that fits nicely on the pot stand prongs. A ridge on the top side of the lid lets you flip it over and pop onto the top of the pot.
Everything stacks up nicely within the pot, and I include a Light My Fire scout ferrocerium rod to start the flame. I use a Nalgene mini-bottle to store the methanol or methyl hydrate that I use for fuel - I buy this in 1 gallon plastic containers at the local home builder shop (Home Depot or Lowes in Canada).
The brass construction of the stove is nice - you fill the stove up about half way with alcohol. This then migrates through baffles in the floor into the empty walls. Once you get a flame going, the walls heat up, and pressurize the methanol, which forces a jet of methanol vapour out of the pin holes - which in turn become jets of blue flame.
The top of the stove is sealed with a lid containing a rubber-compound O-ring. This allows you to store some alcohol within the stove. Just be careful never to replace this lid until the stove has cooled to the touch, or you might melt and mess up the seal. There is another piece to the kit, roughly the size of the lid, called a simmer ring. This has a manual sliding sheet that you can open and close until just enough flame comes out to simmer a pot. This is pretty useful, given how powerfully the stove can flame.
It took about 3 minutes for the pot to boil. Or something like that. Sometimes a longer wait is nice - they say if you get lost in the woods, stop and make a cup of tea.
Fidgeting with making a stove or fire go warms your hands, distracts you from the building sense of panic or fear of being lost, and helps you orient yourself by spending some static time where you have found yourself.
When I spend time in some shapeless woods, and just sit there for a while without focusing too much, the intricacies and specifics of the environment begin to leap out at me.
I begin to recognize a water course, some dead fall firewood hung up in a tree, some flaking birch bark for tinder, some sedges or berries or mushrooms that I can eat.
The sound of a squirrel or the rushing of a stream.
Just sitting and making a cup of tea (or in this case, a cup of noodles).
I intend to buy another kit for the car safety kit. I wouldn't necessarily bring this with me on a longer camping trip, or a solo, but it would be great on a day or weekend hike. It doesn't burn as long or as hot as my MSR Dragonfly stove, but transports nice and cleanly. I carry it in a purple bag that I got from a whiskey bottle that someone gave me.
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