Alcohol stoves for backpacking and hiking are available in a variety of styles. There are DIY homemade stoves made from Cat food, Soda, or Beer cans. You can buy commercially available alcohol stoves made from brass, aluminum, or titanium. With so many different choices which stove do I like the best?
Well I certainly have not used all the various lightweight alcohol stoves available! Homemade alcohol stoves alone are endless in their design ranging from simplistic to engineering marvels.
I've built my fair share of lightweight alcohol stoves over the years. All of them seemed to work OK but the two stoves I use the most, the ones I keep going back to, are the Trangia Spirit and the Caldera Cone.
This was the first alcohol stove I owned. I purchased it in 1998 and have cooked hundreds of meals on it. This is my most traveled stove!
The stove weighs 3.5 oz including the screw on cover, but without the simmer ring (which I do not use). In addition I use a 1.3 oz homemade windscreen and a 0.1 oz homemade pot stand. Total weight is 5.2 oz.
I like that this stoves holds fuel when not in use. For an overnight-er I simply fill up the stove and go. No need to guess at the amount of fuel you need to cook a meal with. Leave the fuel bottle at home. When your done cooking just extinguish the flame and screw on the cover. It's certainly not the lightest, but the Trangia Spirit Alcohol Stove is my first choice based on durability, dependability, and convenience
I purchased this stove last year on a whim. You see, I'm really not a gear junkie and having a base pack weight of less than 10 pounds for the last 13 years there really was no reason to purchase this stove... other than I wanted one!
I suppose it was the reviews of this stove that sold me. It's an enclosed system that's very fuel efficient. The cone is a combination pot stand / wind screen. Your cooking pot slides down into the cone from the top. The stove is lightweight aluminum. Together they weigh 1.7 oz. Very lightweight!
The only downside to this alcohol stove is storing the cone in your pack. Caldera does supply a plastic caddy that holds both the stove and cone but it weighs another 2.5 oz. Still for a total of 4.2 oz (depending on what size cone fits your cooking pot) the Caldera Cone is a well designed system.