Alcohol Stove & Cook Pot Comparisons

Since I made my first DIY Pepsi can alcohol stove I realized that I liked alcohol stoves in general. They are fun to use and the fact that they require no maintenance is definitely a plus. Another nice thing about alcohol stoves too is that is can be rather easy to find fuel for them. (I like the HEET in the yellow bottle.) And I do not really care that it takes a few extra minutes to bring my water to a boil, cause it seems a little less “modern” and did I mention that it is fun to use?

While my Pepsi can stoves worked ok, I decided to make the purchase and get a stove which would probably work just a little better than mine. It did, however, take me a stove or two to figure out that it is important to match the diameter of the cook pot to the appropriate size blossomed flame to get an efficient burn. So, in the end, I ended up going with the White Box Stove for bigger cook pots, and the Gram Weenie Pro for solo use. Here is a brief video in which I show the stoves with the pots that I use them with.

About Stick

My blog is essentially a record of my hiking career. Through it, I, and others, can see how I have evolved from a heavy weight backpacker, to a smarter, more efficient, lightweight backpacker. Through the use of video, still photos, and of course writing, one can see my progression, as well as check out some of the places I hike, and not to mention some cool, lightweight gear options. For me, my blog is a journal, but for others, I hope that it is an interactive learning tool to aid them in their own progression towards lightweight backpacking.
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8 Responses to Alcohol Stove & Cook Pot Comparisons

  1. Bobby says:

    Stick… Which burns hotter?.. rubbing alcohol, The product called Heat you get at the auto parts i s some using or denatured alcohol.. I made a soda pop stove about 2 inches high using rubbing alcohol and it was boiling in 10 minutes. Also having the flame closer to the bottom of the pot bring it too a boil quicker or is it the opposite? Thanks Bob

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    • Stick says:

      Bobby,

      I am not 100% sure on the temperatures at which each boils at, maybe I can Google it…

      However, I would not suggest using rubbing (AKA: Isopropyl) alcohol in alcohol stoves. Unless it is a “ISO”-specific alcohol stove, it will not burn as efficiently as HEET (in the Yellow bottle, not the red, it is also ISO based) and it will also burn with more soot. There are very few stoves designed to burn ISO, otherwise, stick with the Meths…

      As far as efficiency in relation to distance between the bottom of cook pot and the fuel source, that depends on the fuel, the pot, the windscreen and the surrounding conditions. There is generally a sweet spot that can be found with a bit of trial and error. However, as a rule of thumb, if the pot is too close, it can reduce the amount of oxygen feeding the flame, reducing the burn, reducing the heat output. If too far away, too mych oxygen may be feeding the flame, resulting in a super hot burn and potential heat loss due to the distance between the fuel source and the bottom of the pot. Also, this high supply of oxygen may feed the fire too much and burn up your fuel too quickly.

      This is a huge topic…lots of research done by lots of people on this. Of course if what you have works for you and you are happy with it though, that is all that matters. But, if you are interested in doing a little more research check out Zen Stoves, as well as some of the stove makers sites such as Flat Cat Gear, Smokeeater908, Minibull Designs and Zelph.

      Hope this helps some,

      ~Stick~

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  2. Edgar says:

    Stick, Great video.
    We always tend to do comparison with just two cups of water. It’s the first time I see 1.8L of water being boiled on an alcohol stove.
    Two things:
    – Did you write in the past on them windscreens?
    – I do agree that if you just boil two cups of water, the extra two or three minutes are negligible. On the other hand, once you’re hungry, 25 minutes are a lot…

    Again, thanks a lot for the comparison,

    Edgar

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    • Stick says:

      Edgar,

      Haha… I understand that most “test” are done using 2 cups, but I wasn’t doing this test to measure time. When I filled the pot with 7 cups of water I was really wanting to see if the stove could actually bring this amount of water to a boil using the stated 3 oz of fuel since the claim is that it will boil 8 cups on 3 oz of fuel. Well, I couldn’t fit 8 cups in the pot, so the next best thing was would it boil my max capacity? And it did. I was very impressed, very impressed.

      Also, if I were that hungry, I wouldn’t fill the pot with that much water but rather the needed amount to rehydrate my meal. Then simply boil whatever else was needed for other stuff.

      I did not write a review on the windscreens that I am using with these stoves, however, they have been included in the reviews when I reviewed the individual stoves. But, I did write a review on a Primus Universal Windscreen which is a windscreen used with a canister stove. A brief review can be found here on my site, but I have a more detailed review posted over at BackPackGearTest.org (which can be accessed through a link on my review page here).

      Hope this helps.

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  3. Anne says:

    That was a great comparison…..saved me the trouble of figuring it all out on my own.
    Thanks. BTW the surface you worked on looks as though you slaughtered a chicken or something on it 🙂

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    • Stick says:

      Thanks Anne for checking out the video and my site. And thanks for the comment. Glad to hear I could be of some help. I enjoy watching the simple videos and that is what I try and make myself…

      And the surface is the concrete porch. It is a gray color but in places it looks like the gray has been worn away and obviously there is a red color underneath…Never though of a massacred chicken though… 🙂

      Chad

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  4. Alan says:

    Thanks Stick,
    Appreciate the effort you made to share this with us. Very interesting stuff. Thanks.

    Like

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