Oct 04 2010
I like to cook. In fact, I’ve been known to spend all day preparing a meal. But that’s at home. On a bike tour I subscribe to the KISS principle. I embrace minimalism, and the last thing I want to do is struggle with a fussy camp stove. Give me simplicity, especially if it’s combined with light weight and small size. That’s why I’ve turned my back on my old standbys, the Optimus 111b, the Coleman Peak 1, and the venerable Svea 123. Their replacement? The Trangia Spirit Burner. It appears to be the Platonic Ideal of The Stove, the essence of “stoveness” with none of the extraneous trappings. Just glug in around three fluid ounces of fuel alcohol (known as “methylated spirit” in countries that take the trouble to demand strict labeling), shelter the burner from the wind, strike a match, and light up. The burner will already be operating at maximum efficiency by the time you put the pot on. There’s nothing to pump, no priming or preheating (in above-freezing temperatures, at any rate), and no need to pack a kit of spare parts and a special wrench. Sound ideal? It is. In fact, it’s Ideal. And If you’ve never seen an Ideal in the flesh, here’s a brand new Trangia in all its glory:
What about it? Do you like the idea of cooking your meals on an Ideal? Then here are a few things to keep in mind when using a Trangia:
- • Alcohol flames are invisible in sunlight. What you don’t see can hurt you.
- • Never screw the lid back on a hot burner. The O-ring will melt.
- • Use the simmer ring, not the lid, to snuff out the flame when you’re done cooking.
- • Don’t cook inside a tent or confined space.
- • Carry fuel alcohol in a clearly marked bottle. Methylated spirit is toxic.
- • Never, ever try to refill a hot burner. It may be the Ideal stove, but it’s not foolproof.
I’ve had my Trangia spirit burner only a few weeks, but I’m already mightily impressed. If it continues to perform as well as it has so far, we’re going to be inseparable.