Trangia Alcohol Stoves






Trangia 28 Burner Burning AwayThe Swedish Trangia stoves are lightweight and very portable, making them ideal for camping and backpacking (tramping or hiking). Their design is so basic that it eliminates moving parts, pistons, pressurized tanks, orifices*, jets, tubes and pipes, throttles and valves, et cetera, et cetera.
The Trangia stoves come complete with cookware. There are several different packages available, each will depend on your own individual needs: different size models with different cookware options.

As pointed out by David Snyder, February 1999: "(The Trangia) uses renewable fuel, not fossil fuel......Easy and safe to use, LOVES windy days. Why does the outdoor/extreme adventure press in this country continue to ignore Trangia? Why does MSR not promote or at least develop this great technology?"

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 The Working Principle

A small brass ‘pot’ is filled with alcohol, then lit, and voilà! No pumping!
The brass pot (or burner) comes with its own lid, which allows it to act as a burner with the lid removed, and as a storage container for the alcohol fuel (with the lid tightly secured).
*The burner has 23 or 24 (yes some have 23, some 24!) small holes in the top; this allows better performance once the unit warms up. It will work perfectly well even if some of the holes clog up, with slightly reduced performance of course.
The burner also comes with an adjustable 'extinguisher'; this also allows for flame adjustment (has a reputation for not being used very much).
A windshield protects the flame from the wind (duh!), and unlike the burner it comes in various shapes & sizes, depending on the Trangia model. The cookware is also part of the Trangia Stove.
So, the components are: The Burner (brass pot, lid with seal, extinguisher), The Windshield & The Cookware.

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 The Fuel

It's alcohol!
Alcohol is alcohol is alcohol – NOT!
There are two main types of alcohol: food grade and industrial grade. The following types listed are the most commonly available, but it's in no way a complete list of all alcohols.

  • Denatured alcohol (‘methylated sprirts’, ‘meths’, ‘solvent alcohol’) is made mostly from ethyl alcohol or ethanol and some added methyl alcohol or methanol. To make a food grade ethanol undrinkable, methyl alcohol (this was mainly wood alcohol which is methanol derived from fermented wood) is added and it thereby separates it legally from alcoholic beverage products, with all of its associated implications (taxes, laws, places that can sell it, people that are allowed to buy it, etc.); or
  • Isopropyl alcohol is available as rubbing alcohol, which is made by combining isopropyl alcohol and water (normally 70% alcohol to 30% water). This is used for medical purposes (for external use only!). The water will lessen the amount of heat generated, but it will still work fine with the Trangia burner. (Avoid using the 'Wintergreen' version; this has added mint aromatics — this will still burn, but smells like $#%! Trust me on this, I've been there!)
  • Grain alcohol, (pure ethanol), food grade alcohol made mostly from corn. Less likely to be readily available.
  • Booze, over-proof rum for instance would work also, but: it's expensive and it's a darn waste!

Personal Preference
Alcohol as a fuel for tramping and camping is a far better option than the alternatives, such as gasoline (petrol), white gas, kerosene, or even pressurized butane or propane. The main advantage is in my view the relatively harmless affect on nature in the event of a spill. Alcohol is water miscible unlike some other fuels. Lets face it: we all have spilled stuff before, especially when tired, dirty, aching, hungry,......well you get the picture.
Use the rubbing alcohol on those aching muscles!

Fairly easy available. In hardware stores look for denatured alcohol in the paint thinner section, in pharmacies look for rubbing alcohol, also sold as 'alcohol stove fuel', 'shellac thinner', 'solvent alcohol', and more.

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 A word of Caution

Do not burn any stoves in a confined space - oxygen depletion will lead to suffocation, methyl alcohol causes eye irritation, and: something might accidentally catch on fire!
Do not attempt to drink methyl alcohol, it may be fatal or cause blindness if swallowed! Methanol should not be mixed with hydrogen peroxide and bleaches containing the same.

"...In general [Trangia Stoves] are safe even for beginners and also young people, _BUT_ one must be careful not to refill the burner while it is still hot as the alcohol might ignite while being poured from the bottle. These days you get safety stoppers (from
Trangia), but without something like that, the bottle could explode.
..... I always told people to not refill until the burner is cool enough to hold in the hand.

A special thanks to Hanne for this important safety tip.
(24 March 2000)

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 Maintenance of the burner & O-Ring offer for your old Trangia Stove

There is minimal maintenance on the Trangia burner; what can I say, keep the unit clean I guess.
Keep the 23 (or 24) holes open and most of all: avoid extinguishing the flame with the burner's sealing lid, as this will damage the O-ring (been there–done that!).
The O-Ring is 4mm x 48mm diameter.

Note (updated July 20, 2009):
It had to happen; after more than 11 years, we FINALLY stopped selling these O-Rings. I simply don't have the time anymore, and we never made money of course. We originally GAVE AWAY more than 500 of these O-Rings, and shipped them for free. This was eventually abused, and we started charging $2.50 for two, including shipping, this now also ceased., and we no longer ship any O-Rings effective immediately. I sure hope all who received the O-Rings appreciated them, and I apologize for no longer being able to send them out.

Look for a 4mm x 48mm diameter O-Ring, NITRILE/BUNA material.

Cheers, MAL

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 The different sizes....

 Trangia 25
Trangia T25
'The Big One'

 Trangia 27
Trangia T27
'The Popular One'

Mini-Trangia (a.k.a. Trangia 28)
Trangia T28

'The Light One'

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 The Cookware

Trangias come with their own cookware, all neatly packed up.
The burner fits in the kettle fits in the small saucepan fits in the big saucepan fits in the windshield and covered with the frying pan as the lid.
The materials for camping cookware have to be light. So of course aluminium is #1: aluminium has an excellent heat transfer ability, so it heats up food pretty fast, but: it's not a very hard metal, so it scratches
Mini Trangiaeasily.
I had problems with pitting (small holes) in some aluminium saucepans. The alternative would be stainless steel; but stainless steel is not a particular good heat conductor (long boiling times!), and is heavier than aluminium. So Trangia came up with the best of both worlds: Duossal — a thin layer of stainless steel for cleanness on the inside of the cookware with a layer of aluminium for fast cooking pressed on the outside. Pretty brilliant!!

And then there was titanium; a 'newcomer' amongst the cooking utensils, mainly because it's #^%*& expensive. It is quite strong (it's used for the blades in jet engines!) and lighter than stainless steel. (Can you justify US$45.00 for a small saucepan? I did, and it broke my heart, or at least my wallet!)
Trangia makes all the above types of cookware, it will (as always) depend on your preference and budget, which one to choose.

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 A little test...

We have conducted several tests with this burner to evaluate its performance under certain conditions and with different pot material. The distance between the flame source (the top of the burner) and the bottom of the pot makes a huge difference in cooking time. This distance is not adjustable when you buy the stoves, but we have made modifications on a Trangia T27, and this allowed us to experiment with this. We had also purchased a titanium pot to evaluate its performance and .... well you'll see!
By the way: Aluminium is Aluminum in non-USA countries!

 STOVE Amount of H2O Pot material Flame distance (flame source to pot-bottom) Time to
full boil
(in minutes)
Trangia 28 0.65 lit Aluminium 19 mm 9:30
Trangia 27 0.65 lit Aluminium 19 mm 10:00
Modified Trangia 27 0.65 lit Aluminium 38 mm 7:10
Modified Trangia 27 0.65 lit Aluminium 32 mm 7:40
Modified Trangia 27 0.65 lit Aluminium 20 mm 11:50
Modified Trangia 27 0.65 lit Titanium 38 mm 8:40
Modified Trangia 27 0.65 lit Titanium 20 mm 14:00

 more to come.....

These tests were conducted September 1998.
Approximately 500m above sea level, with 20°C (68°F) ambient temperature. More to come....(eventually)!

A graph illustrating the effect of the flame distance & the boil time and the difference between Alu and Titanium pot material.

Thanks to Shane G. for this one!!
(courtesy of Shane G., sent in on 14 January 1999)

When the flame distance was increased the boiling time reduced quite a lot; but the larger the flame distance the more prone to wind disturbance! It's a trade off!
The modification on my Trangia 27 was to save space and weight. It involved taking the two saucepans, using one as the base (with holes drilled into it to reduce the weight further), the other as the windshield. it was a lot of messing around, and probably not really worth it. The T27 is good as it is. The Mini-Trangia is a bit flimsy, and has a very basic windshield, but hey!, that's the sacrifice when you want to travel light.

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 Summary (Trangia 28)

Mini-Trangia, a.k.a. Trangia 28, This items scores a !


Price & Quality

 Boil Time



 325 gr (11.6 oz)


 Not a speed racer!

 4 points

A nice, reliable performer; we like it! Not extremely sturdy base & windshield is not very effective. Should be supermodified to suit your needs (discarding the frying pan will save 60.3 g (2.12 oz)!


 Links (checked on 6 March 2002)


 Criteria used for review:

  • WEIGHT is measured with a Scale 400 grams ± 0.1 gram accuracy, and above 400 grams with a 4000 grams ± 1 gram accuracy. Points are given by comparing the item to other commonly used items in its category. Five points means extremely light weight; best suitable for ultra-light backpacking. Zero point means: "Maybe okay if you are travelling by truck & trailer!"
  • PRICE is compared to other available items in its category. Five points means it's an excellent priced item. Zero point means: "Maybe affordable if you aquired lots of Microsoft shares in the early 80's!"
  • QUALITY is a basic evaluation of the manufacturing quality, ease of use, serviceability, availability of spare parts, ease of replacement of consumables, etc. Five points means excellent quality, easy to use, good life expectancy! Zero points means: "Your lucky if it works when you take it out of the box!"
  • BOIL TIME points are given, compared to other stoves; five points means super hot — very fast boil'. Zero points means: "By the time dinner is cooked, it's breakfast time!!!"
  • TOTAL POINTS is not necessarily a straight calculation by adding all points together and dividing by 3; but other factors are also considered, such as: additional features, suitability as hiking/tramping equipment, power usage (if applicable), and more. Five points means this item is a must have. Zero points means: "NO WAY!"



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Last updated: 30 July 2009