I have been carrying a Trangia whenever I go walking since I was in my early Teens, they are the workhorse of camp cooking for nearly all the hikers and campers I know carry one. In Scouts, we tried a few clones, as the price can be a big ask for some of the families when they don’t regularly go hiking or camping. We found that the clones just don’t seem to come up anywhere near close. When it comes to the engineering behind a trangia, there is no substitute for the real thing.There are multiple different Trangia on the market; The one that I am reviewing is very similar to what is now the T27 – 2 from the T27 series. It has 2 x 1L pots, a kettle, wind shield structure/stand and a Frying pan.
How it works
A Trangia is much more simple than something link the MSR SimmerLite which uses pressurised shellite and a heated tube to create a gas (Jet powered). The Trangia uses a small reservoir of mentholated spirits (or other denatured alcohol), which is set directly alight using a flame. The liquid once burning wicks through the rest of reservoir and liquid in the sides of the basin vaporise causing the familiar stove-top shaped flame.
To the left, you can see a basic schematic made in my very high tech graphics studio. What happens in the open stove is actually quite simple, as the fuel heats up the chambers warm quickly, the alcohol once heated vapourises and can force its way through the pin size holes in the shoulders of the stove to be light. The fuel escaping through the top creates a vacuum and pulls fresh fuel from the main reservoir into the chambers where the process continues.
Fundamentally all fuel must vapourise before it can burn, but pressurised spaces like the chambers on the sides are conducive to more complete combustion, this results in less soot (Carbon) on the bottom of your pots, a more even heat and a more efficient stove.
Rocking in at 860 grams including the kettle, the Trangia is a light-weight cookers poster child. The kit covers everything you should need to cook and eat out of, so there is no need to carry additional pots or pans. There are no cups, so you will need to bring one of those along which can add a small amount of weight. In total, based on a weekend trip where you’re taking no more than 400ML of fuel, I dont see the weight getting past 1.2Kg, which is very impressive; especially when you consider that the SimmerLite comes in at 1.4Kg approx.
Made like a Matryoshka doll (Babushka), the stove packs away very neatly into itself, the whole assembly when packed up is about 22cm in diameter by 10.5cm tall. When packed, there is very little un-used space.
Fuel and Efficiency
The Trangia uses denatured alcohol and that alone!! Metholated spirits is what I tend to use, I have heard horror stories of people attempting to use Shellite and other hotter burning alcohols which has lead to warped and damaged stoves as they aren’t designed for the higher temperature. I have heard of people using turpentine and other types of cooler burning ethanol but I haven’t tested this.
The Trangia is very efficient, when comes to metho stoves, they dont get much better than these guys unless its a Jet- stove. A Trangia can typically bring 1L of water to boil in 11 mins during the warmer months, while this much slower to boil water than its jet-stove counterparts it still only uses very little fuel in a 20 minute period (within 20ml of the SimmerLite), as such i would recommend carrying one of both; as we do. Realistically, you’re very rarely boiling a litre of water, and more often 400ml or so, which is the kettle size, and this can be done in 6 mins.
If you’re wondering how much fuel to carry per day, I would recommend that 120Ml per person will be sufficient.
Cost and Replacement Parts
Due to the high level of proliferation throughout the market, there are always plenty of replacement parts available. Trangia brand replacement parts are always available through any store that sells the stoves, and usually you can pick up any single part for less than $20. One friend of mine has even found you can buy the rubber ring sealer on the inside of the stove cap as he put it on before the stove was sufficiently cooled.
The Trangia is an incredibly versatile stove, If you want a workhorse for every job, this is it. With the complete package including pots coming in at around $200, this little guy is in my opinion the best entry hiking stove on the market. The intelligent design provides a in-built wind break and a complete lack of moving parts and o-rings means that they require virtually no maintenance. The Trangia is great for cooking all types of meals, it comes with a simmer ring which allows for a much slower cooking speed than the “full bore” SimmerLite, and offers even more control as you can control the width of the opening on the simmer lid itself. I have successfully cooked Pasta of all sorts, risottos, cous cous, Chocolate pudding, stewed apple, stir fry and even pancakes and bacon & eggs on a trangia. If it can be done on a stove top, with a little more time, you can achieve it on a Trangia. There are obvious synergies with jet-stoves, and many meals will be ready faster if both are used together. My only major issue with the trangia are the Spondonicles (pot grips). It is very easy to forget and leave them sitting on the pot when you’re cooking. Should yo do this, you will nearly always end up burning your hand. This isnt a flaw in design its just something that I do regularly.