Trangia vs MSR

Discussion in 'Touring and Adventure Cycling' started by hubbike, 24 Sep 2009.

  1. hubbike

    hubbike Senior Member

    I’m debating whether to take my trangia (alcohol stove) or msr petrol stove on a year long trip in South America. I was set on using the trangia but now i’m not sure. VOTES PLEASE!

    PROs Can’t break, doesn’t burn your food.
    CONs Might be hard to find meths/alcohol, not too sure about performance at altitude or in cold.

    PROs petrol can be found cheaply anywhere, works well at altitude and in cold.
    CONs might block up with dirty fuel, complicated to fix, can be a bit violent spraying petrol everywhere so I wouldn’t be happy to use it in the tent.
  2. Trangia for the reliability advantage.
    If you find yourself in areas too remote to get hold of meths you'll be OK to cook over an open fire.
  3. I also have both.

    I'd take the MSR. Yes, it can be fiddly, yes, it needs taking apart and cleaning sometimes - but that gives you something to do on wet days. Take spare O rings and the little tool kit that comes with it. It's not that complicated to fix, if you can fix a bike.

    (Extra thing I've just learned: replace the O ring on the stove-to-fuel-pump joint regularly, and lubricate it when you assemble it. If you don't, the joint leaks petrol, which catches fire and melts the outer parts of the fuel pump. You may also burn your fingers trying to put the fire out. You really don't want this happening inside a tent, or anywhere near one)

    The advantages of rapid boiling and easy availability of fuel are well worth it for a foreign tour. You can never find meths when you need it, or it takes ages to track it down.

    Never even consider using a petrol stove in a tent. Ever.

    My MSR can and does run on almost anything - diesel, heating oil, meths... Takes a while to get going on heating kerosene though.
  4. andym

    andym Über Member

    Why not take both? An alcohol stove on its own weighs very little, and you can buy a pot that would work with both. (SFAIK there is a possible gotcha in using alcohol in alumnium bottles).

    I wouldn't consider using any stove in a tent: apart from the risk of setting fire to the tent there is the risk from the carbon monoxide.
  5. OP

    hubbike Senior Member

    both is an option, it means I've got the nice trangia pans. . . but it would take up a fair bit of space.

    In a downpour I'm happy to use the trangia in the porch of the tent without worrying about burning the tent down or poisoning myself. with the petrol I'd be terrifyed!
  6. Big Jack Brass

    Big Jack Brass New Member

    Manchester, alas.
    I've been using Trangia stoves for years, but I don't know if I'd suggest one for the Americas. Getting hold of the fuel (denatured alcohol in North America, not sure about South) isn't always easy. Cold weather performance is not as good as with a petrol stove, but you should be able to manage unless things drop seriously below freezing. That said, although they are more powerful and functional in extremes I can't say I've ever liked petrol stoves :smile:

    Is getting a new stove an option? Have a look at the Backpacking Light site for The Bush Cooker and The Honey Stove. The Bush Cooker is very similar to the stove I generally use these days, a double-walled wood burner. Very light, no moving parts and a handful of twigs is all you need for fuel. Not so good for a fast brew-up in a blizzard, but I walked across Scotland this year camping under a tarp and using this sort of stove in all weathers (including hail and snow) with great success. Where fuel is abundant it's lovely to be able to just gather some more sticks and light the stove again without worrying about having to buy more meths or petrol. More versatile is The Honey Stove which not only works as a wood burner but can also run a Trangia spirit burner unit, thus avoiding the problem of what to do if you run out of meths - just grab some twigs!
  7. andym

    andym Über Member

    There's nothing in the Book of Rules that says an alcohol stove needs to take up a lot of room In fact you can get alcohol stoves that weigh next-to-nothing, require no pot stand and would fit in your cooking pot alongside you main stove.
    Have a look on for examples. They seem to be a perfect way to have a backup to provide insurance against your main stove failing (or you can use it as you main cooking heat source).

    Go back to first principles for a moment: a cooking system needs

    - a pot (or a pot and a frying pan)
    - a heat source
    - a windshield

    The same pot can be used by both the alcohol or the multi-fuel stove. ditto the windshield. The stove (and the pot stand if you need one) is the only element that isn't common to both.

    I've been meaning to do a post about the Bushcooker (will do in the next day or so). I'm also very much a convert. I think it would be perfect for longer trips to places where fuel supply is an issue (or if you want something that is maintenance free. There's no reason why you couldn't use it as a complement to an alcohol stove - a meths stove will fit inside perfectly and you could use the Bushcooker's pot stand with the stove (see the videos on the BBL website).
  8. Brains

    Brains Guru

    But get the optimus multi-fuel or the gas options, that way you have the best of both worlds
  9. willem

    willem Über Member

    There is a fair chance you may be able to fit your MSR into your Trangia set (provided it is a Trangia 25, the 27 would seem a bit small for this). Others have already succeeded in doing this. There is, of course, also the official Optimus Nova into a Trangia route (I have one, it works very well).
    The advantage is that with the multifuel stove inside, you improve the stove's efficiency. Take the small alcohol burner as well, and you have a choice.
    I thew States, meths is easy to get: it is called HEET and is used as a car fuel line de-icer. Every fuel station or shopping mall will have it.
  10. classic33

    classic33 Legendary Member

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