More and more backpackers today are transforming their gears to become more lightweight and versatile when it comes to facing the harsh conditions of the wilderness. Each gear now weights in grams and evaluated on how much the addition of this much weight can affect an individual’s performance while hiking. Take the best alcohol stove for backpacking for example.
During the past two decades, mountaineers and backpackers alike have subsisted on butane or propane-fueled stove that drove the market into coming up with lighter and smaller versions of the same stove in order to meet the need for lighter and smaller equipment. But the past few years saw the launch of a radical way of cooking using alcohol-based fuel.
The fuel in itself is nothing new, it’s the same alcohol fuel that has been used for centuries now. However, what is different is how it is being used as a fuel source for campfire cooking. Alcohol-based fuels actually solve the problem that most backpackers experience when traveling by plane or by train: they cannot get their canisters in.
Compressed fuels like propane and butane are considered to be highly combustible and have since been banned by different travel regulatory organizations here and everywhere else. While you think that you can just purchase a new canister of propane or butane once you arrive at your chosen destination, these type of camping fuel is not always available which will make it hard for you to survive your trip.
This is the exact problem that these alcohol stoves are aiming to solve as the fuel source is available literally everywhere and is not compressed so there is no risk of the canister exploding. Alcohol-based fuels are stored in tin canisters and then poured into one of the following examples of alcohol stoves.
Dissecting the Best Alcohol Stove for Backpacking
A-SZCXTOP Alcohol Stove Aluminium Alloy Brass Mini Burner
The A-SZCXTOP Alcohol Stove comes with a velvet pull-string bag for easy storage and it weighs less than 200 grams. This stove uses vaporization combustion, which is cleaner than conventional camping burner technology.
The stand of this portable alcohol stove is made durable with aluminum alloy and it also serves as protection against high wind. Meanwhile, the stove itself is made of brass and has a rubber o-ring that prevents leakage through evaporation and spills.
- Great for Coffee. The A-SZCXTOP Alcohol Stove boils water within a few minutes and is quick to set-up, which makes it great for quick coffee breaks as well as reheating meals.
- Does Not Leak. The rubberized o-ring prevents accidental leakage even when tipped over and leaving it warm with fuel does not cause the liquid to evaporate.
- No Fumes. The same rubberized feature also prevents harmful fumes from being emitted and the burning fuel does not give out a foul smell.
- Cooks Food Slowly. The A-SZCXTOP Alcohol Stove is made specifically for boiling water and reheating food and should not be used to cook meals in as it can be toppled over easily.
- No Flame Adjustment. This portable stove does not have any knobs that will allow the flames to be controlled while cooking, which can lead to burnt food if not properly supervised.
- Hard to Ignite. Lighting the A-SZCXTOP Alcohol Stove can be quite tricky and you would need a long-handled lighter to light it without having to deal with singed hair.
- Not For Narrow Cookware. This stove does not have any non-slip support for cookware and can only support medium to large-sized cookware. Narrow cookware would go straight to the fire and can damage the unit if ever. It is suggested that some sort of grill be fabricated and used in conjunction with this stove.
OUTAD Alcohol Stove Outdoor Mini Portable Burner
The OUTAD Alcohol Stove Outdoor Mini Portable Burner comes with a foldable handle slash simmer ring that can control the flames. This simmer ring can also extinguish the flame as designed and the vents located at the base of the stove also help control the airflow.
The base acts as a windshield and also keeps the unit stable while supporting heavy pots and pans. As a whole, this alcohol stove weighs a mere 130 grams and it also comes with an o-ring rubber seal to prevent leakage and evaporation.
- Does More Than Boiling. The foldable simmer ring allows you to use the stove for cooking real meals instead of reheating packed ones. The stove also fits larger pans for a complete breakfast with sausages and pancakes.
- Sturdy Base. The base is sturdy and is sized just right to support medium to large cookware.
- Leakage During Transport. The rubber o-ring and the simmer ring are designed to prevent leakage while cooking on this alcohol stove but these two features can still cause some leakage during transport. It is advised that you transfer any unused fuel back to the fuel container for a spill-proof experience.
- WindScreen Does Not Shield. The slotted windscreens do not fully windproof the stove and you may need to bring an additional layer to prevent the wind from blowing the fire out.
Evernew Titanium Alcohol Stove
The Evernew Titanium Alcohol Stove weighs in at under two ounces and can burn multiple kinds of fuel. The Evernew can burn wood, solid fuel and alcohol and it has several burner and vent holes for a more efficient flame control.
This alcohol stove is made of high-grade titanium that is made to be light and rugged. This unit also comes with an optional DX Cross Stand for better cooking support.
- Fits Inside a Cup. The Evernew is so small that it can fit into a coffee mug which saves additional space that could be used for other gears.
- Durable and Sturdy. The Evernew is made of titanium which is one of the toughest and yet lightest metals there is. The wide base paired with the optional DX stand provides a sturdy cooking base that can hold and support cookware of all sizes.
- Needs A Windshield. The Evernew does not have many parts and it does lack an attachment that can prevent gusts and high wind from blowing out the fire.
- Low Fuel Efficiency. This alcohol stove does not have any simmer ring or o-ring seal that can control the flame and prevent it from consuming more fuel.
The Evernew Titanium Alcohol Stove comes out as the best alcohol stove for backpacking with its small size yet tough design. While the first two alcohol stoves have added features, the optional DX stand of the Evernew acts as both stand and cookware support.
The Bi-level flame system enables the Evernew to have a simmer ring by just placing the pan on top of the upper burner which leaves just the lower burners to continue burning to a simmer. The Evernew alcohol stove, when paired with a spill-proof fuel container, can give you an outdoor cooking experience like no other.