Steve 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.
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.
- 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!
- 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)
And 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!