Ultralight backpacking equipment: Alcohol stoves

 

Alcohol stoves have really increased in popularity over the past few years, mainly due to their light weight, efficiency, and low cost. While there are many models on the Internet for purchase, anyone can make a basic stove only with a knife and a thumbtack. I won’t go into depth about how to make one, as there are countless articles and videos demonstrating how to make a stove. These stoves can run on denatured alcohol, gas line antifreeze (Heet), and isopropyl alcohol. My favorite fuel to use is denatured alcohol, as it burns clean and hot. While these stoves are great, there are some drawbacks. If you don’t intend on waiting five to ten minutes for your two cups of water to boil, you may want to look elsewhere for a stove. In addition, the flame emitted from the alcohol is clear in daylight, so that of course presents a safety risk for people who aren’t careful. Lastly, alcohol stoves should not be used for groups, as you can really only use them for solo trips unless everyone has their own stove. With that being said, I prefer to use these stoves for my trips as they are lighter than canister stoves and are easily replaceable if one gets destroyed or lost.images