Solo Alcohol Stove for Backpacking Review

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Solo Alcohol Stove for Backpacking Review
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The solo alcohol stove for backpacking is one of the most radical camping gear from the olden days that is enjoying a resurgence in fame nowadays, with renewed interests and increased sales. Most backpackers have chosen this stove over the more popular ones, mostly because alcohol stoves are generally lighter and are more versatile when it comes to the type of fuel that it can consume.

Advantages of a Solo Alcohol Stove for Backpacking

Alcohol stoves burn different kinds of alcohol but denatured alcohol is the one that is most often bought and used by adventurers and backpackers alike. Denatured alcohol has a good burning temperature and a 100 ml bottle of denatured alcohol can last for days or even weeks if used properly and efficiently.

Denatured alcohol is available at almost any drugstore or hardware store, making it easy to procure especially if traveling to a location where you cannot bring the fuel you have at home. Other alcohol variants like isopropyl alcohol, gasoline additives, and grain alcohol can also be used if denatured alcohol is not available.

One rule to remember is that the alcohol to be used as fuel must have at least a minimum of 80% proof as this would not emit any harmful fumes or smoke from burning. Rubbing alcohol at 70 percent proof may also be used but be aware that it does emit a choking smell once burnt.

Besides the availability of fuel, alcohol stoves are lightweight and made of durable materials. The heaviest alcohol stove you can see would still be less than half a kilo while most models would weigh in at less 100 grams. This is highly beneficial to backpackers who value the lightness of their gear.

More often than not, alcohol stoves are made of either brass or aluminum alloy. Both are good thermal conductors and have proven that they are able to match the rugged lifestyle of the people that they were designed for.

Arguably, one the best benefits of using an alcohol stove is that it does not require any special compressed fuel tank and is considered to be safer than other camp stove alternatives. While you would still need a leak-proof bottle to carry the denatured alcohol in, it can still be easily acquired and can be reused again and again. Compressed fuel canisters, on the other hand, cannot be reused and although leak-proof, the cans that are used are prone to puncture and can explode if not handled properly.

Some would argue that compressed fuel stoves are safer because you can control the flame easily using the ignition knob, you can actually do that as well with alcohol stoves. Majority of alcohol stoves have a foldable simmer ring that is included with the unit and this ring not only controls the flame but it can also extinguish it easily.

Several models of alcohol stoves are on the rise right now and the solo alcohol stove for backpacking is one of them. here are some of its features:

  • Flame Control. Like most alcohol stoves, the solo stove comes with a simmer ring that has a fold out handle. This feature can adjust the flame to your desired temperature and it can also completely turn the fire off.
  • Twist-on Lid. The twist on lid lets you store unused fuel inside the stove without having to worry about leaks and spills. The lid actually screws on so tightly because of the rubber o-ring seal that prevents even the minutest of drops from spilling out.
  • Compact and Lightweight. This personal alcohol stove weighs less than four ounces and stands at 1.8 inches, with a diameter of 2.9 inches making this one of the lightest and most compact alcohol stoves out there.
  • Pairs With A Titan. The Solo alcohol stove was specifically designed to be paired with the Solo Stove Titan that, when paired, gives a versatile backpack cooking tandem.

Pros

  • Foldable Ring Handle. The foldable handle of the simmer ring allows the cap to be moved while the stove is in operation. The way that it folds also prevent burns and actually helps extinguish the flames with ease.
  • Fits Anywhere. The lightness and smallness of this stove are perfect for backpackers as it can easily fit in any cookware or coffee mug. It can even fit into a water bottle if the size is right.

Cons

  • Gas Guzzler. The Solo Stove burns a lot of fuel for a short operation time. While the simmer rings of most alcohol burners help in fuel efficiency, the simmer ring of the Solo Stove does nothing like that and being made of brass, heat is expended all around the stove instead of just emitting it at the top for cooking.
  • Too Hot To Handle. As previously mentioned, the Solo Stove is made of brass which is a good thermal conductor, however, with how the Solo Stove was made, it seems that it lets the heat go to waste by displacing heat all around. Most stoves would just get hot towards the top where all the action happens, the Solo Stove gets too hot, it is actually recommended that you wait a minute or two before placing the simmer ring and packing the stove out.
  • Needs A Stand. Placing cookware directly on top of the Solo Stove is not advisable as it would immediately put out the flames. A separate stand, like the Titan, is needed in order for you to cook or boil water with the Solo Stove.
  • Prone To Leaks. The rubber o-ring of the screw-on lid tends to leak fuel out during transfer, this is even after it has been removed and placed back. The o-ring is also prone to melting because of the hot environment around the Solo Stove. It is recommended that all fuel be drained after each and every use and that you let it cool down before handling it.

Summary

The Solo Stove is an alcohol stove made of brass materials and it comes with a simmer ring that has a foldable handle which enables you to control and even snuff out the flame. This stove also has the standard rubber o-ring on the screw-on lid and can burn any kind of alcohol fuel, at least those that are commonly used.

Comparison

The Solo Stove is comparable to the Trangia Spirit Burner as both items have a simmer ring and a screw-on lid to boot. The Trangia is lighter and is smaller in size as compared with the Solo Stove. They both burn the same fuel types and can generate the same flame power at 1000 w. Much like the Solo Stove, the Trangia is also designed to be paired with Trangia products that serve as the cooking stand and windshield of the Spirit Burner.

Verdict

The Solo Stove outclasses the Trangia by a bit especially since it has a foldable handle on its simmer ring for better flame adjustment. Although they are both lightweight and compact, the materials used to make the Solo Stove is more durable and when paired with the Titan, it gives you the perfect outdoor kitchen any backpacker can wish to have.

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