•   
  •   
  •   
 

Why I Love Trangia Campstoves


IMGP9813Steve Tober has been travelling with his bike for over 20 years and in all that time, he’s only used one stove: the Swedish made Trangia.

In this article, Steve tells us why he loves his Trangia so much and favours it over rivals like MSR’s Whisperlite. You can read more about Steve’s bike touring adventures on his blog.

TRANGIA…. It’s the only name you need to know for bike touring stoves.

Okay, I have a wee bit of a strong bias for my portable gourmet mini kitchen. I’ve been bike touring around the planet for over 20 years and all these years later, the same Trangia is still going strong and should continue to do so until the angel of death gives me a tap on the shoulder with a meaningful wink. And even then I’ll make sure I pass it on in my will.

There are many reasons why I wouldn’t use anything else for cycle touring:

It uses methylated spirits, a clean and environmentally friendly fuel:

  • No foul odour or noxious fumes.
  • IMGP7059

  • Spillage in the tent or pannier isn’t a big drama. Just let it evaporate.
  • Available in all the 28 countries I’ve travelled in, including Islamic countries (check out this availability list for methylated spirits). Hardware stores, hospitals and drug stores usually have what I’m looking for.

It has a simple burner:

  • No parts to clean or replace.
  • No priming/pumping. One flick of the lighter does the trick.
  • Extremely quiet. Great for wild camping when you need to be more alert to what’s around you.
  • The simmer ring is adjustable. It makes awesome brown rice!

Other features:

  • It’s compact. Two pots, a frying pan, and kettle all come in a complete package with the stove, windscreen and base.
  • Good value – only about $80 U.S. (see Trangia Stoves for sale on Wiggle)
  • Practically indestructible. The Teflon coating on my pots  is still going strong after 20  years of abuse (I recommend putting thin towels between the pots for protection)

IMGP7026And now for the clincher (pun intended)… A small swab of the same alcohol you use to cook with, put on some toilet paper and applied to the nether region, toughens your bottom and keeps zits away, while helping to keep clean at the same time! It does sting a bit though…

On the downside:

  • Trangias are slow burning. It takes longer to boil water than your average blow torch stove. When I’m going to high altitudes I do switch to an MSR XGK stove.
  • If I’m in a hurry, I start the stove and get the water boiling first while I set up the tent.  It takes about 7-10 minutes to boil a full pot of water with the lid on. (You’re not in that much of a hurry are you?)
  • Weaker alcohol can be a problem. You need 90 percent or above. If the bottle doesn’t say, I do a test burn on the sidewalk. Just pour a bit in a bottle cap or something similar and you can tell right away if it’s decent quality.

So before your MSR Whisperlite (also known as a flame thrower or blow torch stove) fouls itself up again or you find yourself missing that itty bitty part that you can’t buy in Timbuktu…..Buy a Trangia!

The Trangia website has more information. You can also see Trangia Stoves for sale on Wiggle, from £20 for a small one-person stove to £60 for larger versions.

Many thanks to Steve for writing the article and supplying the photos. If you’d like to contribute some thoughts on bike touring or equipment, get in touch.

What Next?
Related Pages
 

29 Responses to “Why I Love Trangia Campstoves”

  1. Doug Nienhuis says:

    I’ll second Steve’s recommendation of the Trangia. It’s by far my favorite way to cook on the road – though I used it mainly while traveling in Canada, where meth alcohol is widely available and cheap – if you know where to look.

    I love the Trangia for all the reasons that Steve mentioned – it’s simple and quiet and efficient. I love the pot set and the wind shield design and the way it all fits together. The fuel and the way the stove works is the best part though. No pumping or priming. No complicated parts. You simply light the fuel and it burns. It burns clean and leaves no residue of any kind.

    I took my Trangia with me to Ethiopia and Guinea as well, but I ended up not being able to use it. I simply couldn’t find fuel for it. I’d also brought an MSR Dragonfly, and that is the stove I used. However, I didn’t like the Dragonfly at all. It was such a beast compared to the quiet simplicity of the Trangia. I often had trouble getting the Dragonfly to light and I stopped even trying after a while. It was too much of a hassle. And when I did get it lit, I was almost scared to go near the thing. It roared like a jet engine. It turned my quiet cup of coffee in the morning into a noisy ordeal, and I simply stopped using it. I’ve heard better things about the Whisperlite, so I’ll probably give that a try next time.

    I never found the heat output of the Trangia to be a problem. Most of the time, I had to use the simmer ring to reduce the flame. It was too hot without it. If I could only be sure about fuel availability, it’s the only stove I’d bring.

    Doug

  2. Jeff Mika says:

    I have used the trangia for twenty years now..I built my windscreen from aluminum roof flashing with metal tape hinges..I found you have to keep the stove cool to get a controlled burn so it doesn’t flare up.I also like cooking with the simmer ring.I use this stove about three days a week at work.I set it on my aluminum clipboard and heat up my lunch which i prepare at home.I also cook alot of fish in it with cajun seasoning and apple juice..I then soak a hoagie roll in the juice and slide the salmon inside.WOW is it ever good..I like this stove alot.I use methanol that I buy by the 55 gallon drum for my biodiesel operation.i ALWAYS have lots of fuel. I have the westwind model with the interlocking plates,and use the GSR hard anodized BUGABOO cookset.never scratches.I also have an Optimus Hiker which also burns methanol.I used to take it on tour but have come back to the Trangia for weight reasons. I use a Platypus collapsible bottle for the fuel with a pull up top.works great,never leaks,gets smaller as you use the fuel and lets you see how much you have at a glance.tried all of the fuel bottle stuff and gave them up.this is a better way,they come in different sizes.I use a twelve ounce one..anybody else got any good Trangia stories?.I went into REI the other day and started talking alcohol stoves and three people there use them !!..alcohol IS THE BEST..hands down..never hand a problem with the heat being too little, usually too much :-)..when cooking on a picnic table,put the stove over the crack between boards to get good airflow and controlled burning.Alcohol can also be found at marinas worldwide cuz alot of boats have alcohol stoves for safety reasons.it is usually in 55 drums or 5 gal.bucket ..Jeff Mika

    • Kevin says:

      Doug, so happy to read your comment. I’ve used a mini Trangia for 15 years. A few years ago I also came up with using a platypus for a fuel bottle. I had been nothing but pleased with the stove, but a few years ago I saw my first flare up. Very minor, but they started increasing in frequency, at least once a weekend trip. Then, finally, last spring one was at least a foot in diameter and 2 feet high. I was glad I wasn’t over the stove at the time. I assumed the burner must be flawed, retired it and bought another. The new one flared up on the first use. I’m stymied. Your comment on keeping the stove cool to avoid flare ups caught my attention. I’ve searched and searched, but yours is the only comment I’ve encountered regarding Trangias and flare ups. Can you elaborate on this phenomenon? A friend suggested my having bent closed the 4 tabs in the windscreen/potstand is preventing the stove’s ventilation, but they’ve been bent closed ever since I first used it, since I store stuff inside it, between it and the burner when in transit. Up until last weekend I’d been using hardware store denatured alcohol. Last weekend I used HEET in the yellow container. I’ve never diluted the fuel. I know I have typically been filling the cup up more than Trangia’s 2/3 full spec. The fuel seems to be boiling over the top causing the flare up, because it flows into the windscreen/potstand, but it seems like enough time has always passed after lighting, that it wouldn’t be boiling over due to too much fuel in the cup: enough fuel would have already been burned up to lower the volume down to 2/3 full. Your insight will be much appreciated.

      • D says:

        I think you’ve answered your own question. Don’t use HEET and don’t fill it more than the recommended 2/3. You’re only supposed to use methylated spirits. I’ve been using meths in my 25 for the past 4 years and never experienced anything like that.

  3. Kevin says:

    Sorry, I was responding to Jeff’s comment.

  4. Brook Miller says:

    Kevin, I had a flare up on Saturday night, and I too had filled the burner to the brim when I first lit it. With the tabs flipped down and the pot ensconced within the wind shield, after about fifteen minutes the flames started to creep up above the top of the pot. It seemed like it was going into afterburner mode, that the alcohol was boiling into vapour and that all of the air inside the windscreen was on fire. Pretty interesting effect – until the billycan started to melt! Seriously, honest to god, my Trangia stove was going into meltdown, and molten aluminium was dripping down onto the ground. Taking the billycan off the fire was a hairraising experience – I feared an explosion but didn’t know what else to do. The pot is ruined, with two holes burned right through it, and as the melting point of aluminum is about 660C, well, I’ll not be overfilling the burner again.

  5. Kevin says:

    Thanks for your comment Brook. Amazing. We can’t be the only people to have experienced this. I’m going to be religious about the fuel line for awhile, keep using denatured alcohol, and see what happens. I may run some test burns to see what happens. I don’t use a windscreen other than the little aluminum one that doubles as the potstand. So, you’d think the burner would have plenty of ventilation. I do want to get to the bottom of the problem though. Thanks again.

  6. Ian says:

    Fill the Stove to 2/3rds full at the max. Basically overfilling it will cause the “Flare” efect you guys are describing. 2/3rds full gives me about 30 mins od cooking. Also. Dilute the metho by 1%. you actually get a more efficient “burn”. Hope that all makes sense.

  7. Andrea says:

    Wow the stove issue is complicated. I’ve not yet had to deal with a universal stove. I would not like a slow cooking thing – especially not after cooking on fires for my last trip and loving how fast it is. Its my favourite way to cook when travelling but of course there are obvious issues there too. I don’t think you can buy metho in india. Kerosene seems to be the first choice of fuel. Has anyone tried using a solar cooker? It wouldn’t be adequate to do it all, unless you were just travelling in a place like ethiopia i guess. I’d like to get one and try it out at home.

  8. Joey says:

    Used my new Trangia for 4 months before a flare up (flames over the pot height) happened at home. Two months later it happened again but in cooler climate (mountain hiking). Have not read anything about it. Mine was half full both times. No aparent damage to the stove, but still a scary sight and potentially dangerous thing to happen.

  9. Ian says:

    With a Trangia…………DO NOT USE ANYTHING BUT METHO ! Simple really. Heet ? In a Trangia ? Yikes !! In a previous post, I said dilute the metho by 1%…………That should read !0%. I have never had any issues with my Trangia stoves. I clean them out regularly and that is it really. No flare ups at all…………ever @

  10. Joey says:

    Have only used HEET (yellow bottle) with my Trangia, because I have not found any other alternative. The most popular fuel that I keep reading about on the internet is “denatured alcohol” but so far no success in finding it locally. Does this products (like the “meths” / I think this is available on Europe, I live in the Caribbean) go by any other name?
    For comparison I have used the same HEET fuel in a BIOS stove by minibulldesign. This is the closest in use that I have to a Trangia (without the simmering factor). Been using it for several years with no flare up so far.

  11. Ian says:

    Trangia stoves are made for Metho only. I would not risk using anything else. There is a link at the very beginning of the article on this page for global availability / alternative names for metho. It must be available somewhere.

  12. Howard Barclay says:

    I heartily agree with all the positive comments – however on a cautionary note I once managed to set my head on fire when refilling the burner before it had either sufficiently cooled or had fully extinguished itself. As the meths burns with a clear flame this is not as difficult as you might imagine. Fortunately I was on a fishing trip at the time and dived straight into the water when I realised the faint crackling noise was my hair burning.

  13. Ian says:

    Hey Howard. So happy that you are ok. I am now pi**ing myself laughing. What a great story!

  14. akredbear says:

    i have been using the trangia for about 3 years. and this stove works flawless i am currently in kodiac alaska. i will be going to nepal or brazil in november but back to the trangia this is a simple recipe that i swear by when i am on the road 1 can chunky chicken , angel hair pasta ,montery jack cheese lots of energy and its filling i call it cheesy angel hope you enjoy the recipe

    • Andrea says:

      I gotta say that i think the combination of chicken and cheese is a culinary abombination. chicken and pasta is not much better.

      The thing is, this whole thread is a bit silly in my view. I mean the internet and globe is full of recipes. Why do you need a special cycling cooking recipe set when you are passing through towns and shops all the time. The only time this idea of recipes for cycle tourists makes much sense is when you can’t carry fresh foods and have to get creative with ingredients you are not familiar with.

      • Andrea says:

        Sorry i thought i was on the cooking thread not on the stove thread.

  15. Rik says:

    Hi Guys,
    Had prev. used a Primus omni-fuel stove with a GSI cookset.
    Hated using petrol (dirty) when I couldn’t find propane/butane and butane is $$$$, the primus recommended fuel was stupidly hard to find, again $$$. Also the pot handle for the GSI broke half way through our trip last year – annoying…
    Have just purchased a Trangia (bought it based on this review) and will be using it for the first time this weekend – did you guys buy the separate trangia bottle to store the metho or do you stick with the original plastic metho bottle?

    • John G says:

      I have used Trangia Fuel Bottles to hold petrol, paraffin and meths and I cannot recommend them enough. Good valve, easy to pour from and you can fill from petrol pump if you have too. The valves shut positively so thereisless chance of spillages.

      • Simon Groves says:

        John G
        The valve/stopper from a Trangia fuel bottle also fits SIGG, MSR, Primus, and Optimus alloy fuel bottles and are available separately (#506000) Trangia Safety valve.

        I have some of the old SIGG fuel bottles and the grey stopper doesn’t pour into the spirit burner as well as the Trangia safety valve does.

    • Simon Groves says:

      Rik, your Primus OmniFuel can be converted to fit the Trangia 25 or 27 storm cooker, I wouldn’t use it with a 28 (Mini), West Wind, Triangle or Open Trangia burner holder

      The burner from the OmniFuel was used to make the Trangia X2 Multi Fuel Burner

      The parts needed to convert are shown in the Trangia X2 instruction leaflet,

      http://www.trangia.se/core/files/750001_multifuel2011.pdf

      To convert the OmniFuel into an X2 you remove the bottom screw using the multi tool then remove the stand and swap with the Trangia adapter (#8205) then replace and tighten the bottom screw.

      The hole in the lower windshield for the gas regulator to go through might need filing a little at the top if you want to use both control valves. The X2 only has the valve on the pump/gas cartridge connector.

  16. Vicki says:

    Hi we have been using a trangia for around 27 years, never had flair ups & up until tonight had never done the 10% metho dilution. We finally upgraded to a new HA set as the old one’s stand was no longer holding together & I was keen to see if the new HA ones were better for not sticking when cooking things like eggs & pancakes. I have just done a test run cooking pancakes after initially burning the 1st one ( I wasn’t using the diffuser) I used my egg slice which is suitable for non stick pans & the rotten thing melted to the base of my new frypan. Tried to scrub off the mess with plastic scrubber to no avail, pulled out the heavy duty metal scourer panicking that I would destroy my brand new pan- unbelievably with some elbow greece the plastic mess scrubbed off without damaging my pan. Gave it a dry put the diffuser on the flame & then cooked my pancakes beautifully. By the way the 10% water in the meth worked a treat for reducing the mess on the bottom of the pots. We have used the trangia on many cycling touring trips & have found it to be a lot easier & reliable than our MSR. We have also just purchased the little gas fitting so we will also give this a try on some shorter trips.

    • Ian says:

      Vicki…… Yup ! The 10% water thing is brilliant ! You should find minimal soot on the bottom of your pots and pans from here on in. I too have the butane attachment………. Actually works really well and is handy if you want to boil some water really quickly……….. Extra weight in your panniers yes but I don’t travel light anyway…………. I like to eat well when I am on tour so carrying the extra weight does not bother me. I have both an MSR Dragonfly and a Whisperlite Internationale……….. Both decent stoves but of the two I prefer The Dragonfly, which I use with a Hugecanine ( eBay guy that makes and sells them ) “Silent Cap”. They two don’t see much use…… Just Love my Hard Anodised Trangia !
      The HA’s are semi non stick but ? Brutally durable……………ENJOY !

    • Mohamad Fadzil Mustafa says:

      ” By the way the 10% water in the meth worked a treat for reducing the mess on the bottom of the pots.”

      Just to add, coat the bottom of pots with a thin layer of cheap dishwash liquid (cheaper ones have less additives and should be better) as this would protect the bottoms of pots from soot, regardless if you are using metho or dirty fuel (kerosene, etc). There will be a faint soapy smell at first, but that will subside after a minute. You can try this with a cheap pot first.

  17. James Ferguson says:

    Seeing the comments of flare-ups, is it possible people put the vents *downwind*? It’s what I would have been inclined to do if I hadn’t read instructions otherwise. They should always face into the wind, otherwise the flames can be directed down where they overheat the burner and make it boil.

    See http://www.trangia.se/english/2937.faq.html – “The vents in the lower windshield should be turned into the wind. If it is wrong or if the wind suddenly turns you can get a back flow that causes the melting of the air holes”

  18. Liliana says:

    Hi all. .I can see this is a very old post but I’m going to give it a go. I want to buy a Trangia but I’m worried about availability of fuel in some countries and how it will perform at altitude so I have read that a multiburner adapter can be bought. Does anybody have the experience of using the Trangia with this adapter? I think that if this is possible I could possibly have the best of two worlds.

    • Simon Groves says:

      Liliana, I use the Trangia Multifuel X2 burner in my 25-6 UL (Large, Non Stick, Ultralite, with kettle). I’ve tested it once on Paraffin (Kerosene) but that burns with a fair amount of soot so changed to Naphtha (Coleman fuel/White Gas) Though at home I can get a Naphtha based Panel Wipe (Naphtha/n-Heptane) from the local car spray paint supply place which burns and smells just like Coleman fuel yet is a lot cheaper though it comes in 5 liter cans instead of 1 liter bottles.

      Naptha burns much cleaner than Kerosene, it can also run off EN417 threaded gas cartridges.

  19. Dave in California says:

    I never had any problems with yellow bottle HEET in my Trangia burner. I also have used and liked the gallon jugs of Denatured Alcohol (ethanol w/ something icky to make it undrinkable).

    The Trangia 25 makes first class grilled cheese sandwiches, + tomato soup. Campbell’s “Tomato Bisque” is their best tasting tomato soup.

    It is super nice and comforting, how well and reliably Trangia’s stove system cooks.

Leave a Reply