May 1, 2011 at 6:25 pm #1273155
I need recommendations for which alchohol stove to get for a Scout Troop. I'd like to avoid the Caldera Cone since we have several different pots and would rather have a stove that will work with any pot in case the "sets" get mixed up in the gear shed. Also, I'm a bit worried that the dovetail joint won't hold up to rough handling very long…
Here are the requirements the stove must meet:
1. Commercially available (BSA rules say home-made stoves are now illegal for scouting.)
2. Must be able to be used with many types of pots. Mainly Scout Mess Kit Pot, GSI Alum 2L, + Anything a Scout might buy at Walmart, Target, Dicks, or Bass Pro.
3. Affordable (~$20 desired, ~$35 = Maybe, but may go with Pocket Rockets at that price)
4. Durable enough to not need to be stored in the pot (to avoid any fuel contamination risks)
5. Boil relatively quickly (~6-8 minutes for 2 cups of 50 degree water)
6. Be as fuel efficient as possible – given the 7 minute boil time
7. Fuel should be EASILY recoverable, or reliably stored within the stove (since the Scouts will mis-guess the fuel needs a lot).
The burner would be used with a MYOG wide pot stand and "flashing with holes" wind screen.
What should we get ? (Leading contenders = White Box (due to speed) and Tangia (due to ability to cap left-over fuel rather than drain).
Also, which pot stand type works better (in use, for packing ease, & durability): the "circle of wire mesh" or the "3 legged / V-shaped platform made of bent wire" ?
Thanks.May 1, 2011 at 6:52 pm #1731764
A Trangia should be high on your list, based on your criteria. It's durable, easy to light, and can store a pretty good amount of fuel. At $12 (even at REI, from what I remember), you could get two, and all you'd need to add is windscreens and pot stands.
I find that as far as stability goes, there isn't that much difference between the wire mesh stands and the 3-legged V's. The V's pack flatter, but you can usually nest stuff with the wire mesh ones. My guess is that the wire mesh ones wouldn't be quite as durable as the V type, assuming that you have a V type stand made with coat hanger wire that are pretty tough.
Some of Zelph's stoves might be worth a look also, particularly some of the larger capacity ones like the Fancee Feest.May 1, 2011 at 7:18 pm #1731781
+1 Trangia – after trying out many different stoves, and making a few, I think I may have one for the long-term. This combined with a clikstand has been great.May 1, 2011 at 7:21 pm #1731785
+2 on the Trangia. Plus you can simmer.
Clikstand looks cool too.May 1, 2011 at 7:28 pm #1731791
For my own use I would go with the White Box but for Scouts I also would suggest the Trangia.
With a decent stand it would be harder to tip a pot over and the burner itself is easier to start (no priming)
Get some spare O rings …
FrancoMay 2, 2011 at 7:47 am #1731919
@maethrosLocale: Mid South
Based on my many years of working with Scouts, I would say NO to alcohol stoves. Spills on hands and clothes can get downright dangerous. Give them cannisters and leave the alcohol to older Venturers and adult leaders.May 2, 2011 at 8:15 am #1731927
I use a wood stove from Antig Outdoors with my troop.
It is a great price, decent weight, and works well! The boys have fun breaking sticks up and feeding the stove.May 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm #1732050
@matthewbrownLocale: Blue Ridge Mtns
Gonna second Larry's wisdom.
Too many reservations to list.May 2, 2011 at 1:05 pm #1732072
I would also not recommend alcohol stoves for young scouts for the reasons already mentioned. Older scouts, maybe. With scouting, safety has to be the number one concern because you are responsible for other people's kids when you take them backpacking.
Our troop recently switched from white gas stoves to isobutane stoves. We were using the MSR Whisperlite and have switched to the MSR Windpro. The white gas stoves required pumping and priming which the young kids found difficult. We had a lot of equipment field problems with the pumps leaking. The canister stoves are much simpler, turn the knob and light it. The one downfall of the canister stoves is you end up with a lot of partially filled canisters, so you have to manage that. We chose the Windpro vs the PocketRocket because it has a lower center of gravity so we felt a pot of water would be less likely to tip over. You could also look at the DragonFly if you have larger pots.May 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm #1732100
I'll third Larry's wisdom.
Spill potential and the near invisible flame are my main concerns. But perhaps I've been "sensitized" to the risk by observing the healing process of a co-worker who received extensive 2nd degree burns from a spill fire from the alchy galley stove on his boat.
Note that I'm a happy alchy burner (caldera cone and stove) and have have no problems suggesting alchy to young and old adults who have demonstrated the ability to be aware of what's happening around themMay 2, 2011 at 2:13 pm #1732106
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
I know it's 'spensive but Trail Designs' Caldera Cone alky stove is VERY efficient.
Alcohol, even ethanol, has a fairly low BTU content compared to most other fuels. Conserving all those precious BTUs is what the Caldera Cone does better than any other stove out there.
And if you get Trail Design's Gram Cracker fuel tablet holder you can always go to ESIT or FireLite fuel tabs as a backup if you run out of alcohol.
P.S. Caldera Cone also makes a titanium version for using their wood burner inner kit caled the Inferno. I have it and can say it is a great way to cook with wood.
HOWEVER… going to Ti means even more money.May 2, 2011 at 2:23 pm #1732113
Try a Coleman Peak 1 Micro Butane Stove at Walmart. It is in your budget, and looks like it was pretty much designed for the scouting set. Also, the Primus Yellowstone, $25 at REI is another option. These are simple inexpensive stoves that are durable and somewhat stupid proof.
The Pocket Rocket is a solid stove, but I would err on the side of bountiful pot support. I also find that a canister support definitely increases stability.May 2, 2011 at 2:56 pm #1732126
I'm not a Scout or leader, but I am one of the instructors for the BPL Scout Leader training course. As far as I can remember, alcohol stoves were banned from Scouting.May 2, 2011 at 3:06 pm #1732130
@barrypLocale: Eastern Idaho (moved from Midwest)
I’ve never really appreciated the triangia since the complete kitchen set is about double the weight of the homemade alcy setups.
I’ve been on dozens of backpacking trips with scouts ranging in group size from 5 – 40. And we always take alcy. Making your own alcy stove is always a fun activity for scouts. We would spend 2 weeks doing alcy stove building activities. They tried all types of stoves, but the most popular (and hardest to make) is the open-jet alcohol stove. This proved to work very good w/o priming at 0F; and thus was the most robust design..
It’s funny how the boys get attached to their stove. Some would make a poor quality stove but at least it boiled in 12 minutes. I would offer them a 5 minute burner but they wouldn’t take it.
I don’t know why the National scout council is having a closed mind. They may be jealous that equipment is getting lighter and better (sorry I had to do the jab). I find the alcy stove to be a much safer backpacking stove than the scout’s classic white-gas stove—- in terms of leaks, flare-ups, environmental impact, maintenance, and storage. Every type of stove requires caution. Every type of stove requires adult supervision. You lay down the rules and the scouts will do fine. You show them the hazards and they learn quickly. Our troops (I’ve worked with several troops) never had an alcy accident (knock on wood).
But if you want to go professional produced— the White Box stove or smaller works well— even down to 0F . Most traditional stoves struggle at that temperature.
You talked about recoverability. A cat can works but I don’t like it at cold temps. Let the scouts practice and they will get a feel for how much alcy to use.
Have fun with the scouts,
-BarryMay 2, 2011 at 3:07 pm #1732131
@vesteroidLocale: Eastern Sierras
Saftey aside, I dont see how an alcohol stove for any group works out.
By far the canister wins for overall weight over time if you do a lot of cooking.May 2, 2011 at 3:10 pm #1732133
From the latest online Guide to Safe Scouting:
Prohibited chemical-fueled equipment—Equipment that is handcrafted, homemade, modified, or installed beyond the manufacturer’s stated design limitations or use. Examples include alcohol-burning “can” stoves, smudge pots, improperly installed heaters, and propane burners with their regulators removed.
Chemical fuels not recommended—Unleaded gasoline; liquid alcohol fuels, including isopropyl alcohol, denatured ethyl alcohol, and ethanol; and other flammable chemicals that are not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for chemical-fueled equipment.
My take from this is that HOMEMADE alcohol stoves are prohibited and that using acohol in purchased alcohol stove is not recommended.
This was also brought up at the National Venturing Fun Rally.
But as a leader I agree with earlier post limiting use of purchased alocohol stoves to older scouts.May 2, 2011 at 3:11 pm #1732134
> As far as I can remember, alcohol stoves were banned from Scouting.
Technically, no. HOMEMADE alcohol stoves were banned. Alcohol is also listed as a not recommended fuel. Thus, a commercial stove could still be used, and that is what OP is after.May 2, 2011 at 3:17 pm #1732138
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
J.G., you might want to check out the BSA requirements again before you make a decision.
First, here is the rules on the
Policy on the Storage, Handling and Use of Chemical Fuels and Equipment (Updated 12/2009)
Policy on Use of Chemical Fuels
Chemical Fuels and Equipment
Second, reading through this the only alcohol stove they seem to allow is the Tangia.
The Caldera, White Box and other "manufactured" stoves might not be what they determine as "manufactured". All of this is of course open for interpretation.
I think the BSA stance on this is because of insurance purposes and attorneys. You would be opening up yourself for a lawsuit if you don't follow their exact guidelines. I don't think it is that important to "bend" or interpret the rules on my own just for a few grams/ounces. Of course its your call.
Our troop has purchased pocket rockets and SP giga's. We have enough that the max is 4 boys to a stove. This make the pot size smaller (we have enough pots also). The boys should be cooking in patrols or small groups anyway and it works great. The boys plan, purchase and cook their food as a small group and have all the necessary equipment to do it, i.e. 1 stove, 1 pot w/lid.
edited for grammerMay 2, 2011 at 3:59 pm #1732160
@wandering_bobLocale: Oregon, USA
"I think the BSA stance on this is because of insurance purposes and attorneys. You would be opening up yourself for a lawsuit if you don't follow their exact guidelines."
It is entirely about insurance. All registered leaders are automatically covered by a blanket liability policy purchased by the BSA. In accordance with that policy, BSA can and does dictate what you can and/or can not do while so insured.
Violate any term of the policy and you've lost your coverage. In other words, the BSA is off the hook because you as the adult leader failed to do as required. Read the registration form you signed when you first became a registered leader.
Many troops purchase their own insurance policies locally, just to furhter protect those adults dedicated (or foolish) enough to take on legal responsibility for the actions of someone else's kids as well as their own.
Your personal liability insurance may or may not cover all of your Scouting activities, especially personal liability. Know before you go.
Sad, but it's the result of our "sue anyone for anything" society.May 2, 2011 at 4:01 pm #1732163
@thefatboyLocale: St. Louis
+1 more on avoiding alcohol stoves for scout troops, but not for the already stated safety reasons…
When troops/patrols/crews hit the backcountry, it's supposed to be as a team. This includes cooking. Alcohol is at it's best when cooking boil-only meals for 1 or 2 people. I haven't seen an alcohol stove yet that will efficiently and quickly prep water for 6 or 8 people (an easy task for good canister and white gas stoves). Having to carry three stoves or do double boils means you're either carrying more weight in stoves or spending more time cooking.
KenMay 2, 2011 at 7:20 pm #1732247
@theronrLocale: Los Angeles, California
this conversation takes me back – I was a scout in the '80s and we used the large 25 series trangia cooksets. I remember the clanking noise they made on the trail and we undoubtedly had some fuel leaks. I'm pretty sure we carried one set per 3-4 scouts. Regulatiions aside I think they made pretty good scout cooksets. They are very stable and easy to set up and use. You pretty much have to kick one to get it to tip over which I think is an overlooked hazard with lightweight canister stoves. The integrated windscreen also means it's impervious to bad weather.
Campmor sells a really cheap variation on the smaller size set hereMay 3, 2011 at 6:29 pm #1732630
Thanks for all the good replies.
Just to clarify the legalities for any other scouters reading this later, the latest BSA policy allows commercial alcohol stoves and commercial fuels made specifically to use as stove fuel.
While commercially available soda-can, cat-can, or tuna-can stoves are a grey area, the White Box stove is made of a MUCH sturdier aluminum, and cope rolled rather than taped or glued together. It's definitely not a commercial soda-can stove. Neither are the Trangia stove, Caldera 12-10 stove, pack-a-feather stove, or many of the minibulldesign.com stoves.
Also, the Kleen Strip SLX Denatured Alcohol is marketed PRIMARILY as a stove fuel. The text in the center of the front panel of the can reads "Clean Burning fuel for marine stoves." It's not something that is being repurposed.
Personally, I think the BSA is worried about joints coming apart on the stoves and causing a "surprise" puddle of burning fuel, and keeping scouts safe from the any unhealthy chemical fumes that gasoline de-gumming &/or lubrication additives may emit when burned (since the manufacturer didn't evaluate the safety of their product for this use).
Also, I don't think that using the patrol method requires you to have a pot and stove that will cook for 8-10 boys concurrently. Issuing a patrol of 8-10 boys 2 cannister stoves (and 2 liter pots) vs 3 alcohol stoves (and 1.5 liter pots) doesn't change how the patrol method works. It just lets them cook a greater variety of things concurrently.
Also, IMO, no type of stove is more dangerous than white gas stoves. Beginners often have flare-ups when priming, and this sometimes results in fireballs that are so big that they prevent access to the shut-off valve. It sometimes happens to me too (especially if an o-ring or seat is dirty) – and I've been using them 30+ years, shake the jet after every meal, and clean it thoroughly after every trip..May 3, 2011 at 6:52 pm #1732636
@bestbuilderLocale: Pacific Northwest
J.G., I have no argument with anything you stated above, I just don't want to walk so close to the line on the stove issues.
I fully agree that White gas is by far the most dangerous of the commercial stoves out there. Flare up's are not only caused by beginners- those who should know better or maybe have forgotten can also have problems.
The photo below is what is left of my Dragonfly pump. A Scoutmaster was the one using it at the time. It was on snow so you get some idea of how much fuel was used for priming to get the pump burned on snow.
On the next outing another adult emptied a full fuel bottle walking around the snow while the stove valve open(unknowingly). I had to make sure no one light a match in that area. I find the adults as much a problem as the kids.May 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm #1732642
The use of the word "handcrafted" in the verbiage lends to the conclusion, at least in my interpretation, that a white box, 12-10, Minibull, etc would be prohibited. These stoves are, in fact, handcrafted, though not by the scouts.
To me, the construction would most certainly be the least of my concerns. As has been said before, the invisible flame, and the fact that a young and enthusiastic kid who is excited to be out on a backpacking trip is a dangerous entity around a stove that if tipped is going to send flaming fuel in all directions, burning kids, gear, and potentially forest as well. Thinking back to my first boy scout backpacking trip, I cringe at the idea that myself and the boys I was with being given an open burner liquid fueled stove to cook with. We were constantly running around, doing what kids do when they get outside somewhere unusually fun…a precarious situation around an alky stove.
This is coming from a very dedicated alcohol stove addict here, so don't construe my words as just babble coming from an anti-alcohol zealot. In America's sickening litigious culture, it is in your interest to seek the safest alternative, which seems to be undeniably a canister stove.May 4, 2011 at 6:03 pm #1733075
I understand the concerns about invisible flames and easily tipped over stoves that several people have voiced. My opinion is that liquid fuel stoves are too prone to becoming fire-balls that make me fear an explosion, and upright cannister stoves are extremely tippy too. However, the alchohol stove's tippiness can be eliminated by using a wide and low pot stand – that essentially gives the alcohol stove the stability of a remote canister stove.
Also, I don't think we can interpret the BSA inclusion of the word "handcrafted" in the prohibited equipment section to mean "commercially purchased stoves that involved non-robotic assembly are prohibited". The policy quote in the prior post about what was prohibited directly follows another paragraph in the BSA policy that shows that the BSA's intention was not to prohibit commercially available stoves.
The paragraph reads:
"Approved Chemical-Fueled Equipment
Commercially manufactured equipment, including stoves, grills, burners, heaters, and lanterns that are designed to be used with chemical fuels."
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