Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Trangia Triangle Burner Stand Review

I like gas stoves, but in the winter, the cold temperatures can be a problem. In the winter of 2011 I was discussing stoves with a backpacker I got talking to in the Dales. It was early October, the camping season was coming to an end, and the early mornings were cold. The gentleman I was talking to was having problems with his gas stove, it was very cold, so pressure in the gas canister was low. The flame on his stove just wasn't cutting it. He had to stuff the canister down inside his jacket to try and warm it up. There are alternative forms of gas, using an 85% Iso-butane/15% Propane mix, such as Snow Peak's GigaPower Fuel, but I find them harder to get hold of than the standard gas or alcohol.

When I'm out walking in the winter there are times when it's nice to take a stove and the means to make a drink or a meal to warm you up at some point along the walk. I've recently experienced cold gas cans and ice on my rucksack making a gas stove a struggle. On a friends recommendation I decided to buy a Trangia Stove and a Trangia Triangle stand.
The stand comes in at 115g, pretty light considering it will support quite a large heavy pot. Since the stand is quite wide it may be a little too big for some of the light pots available. The Alpkit MytiMug doesn't fit, it's too small and drops between the stand walls. To cure this I also purchased a Trangia Kettle, the small 0.6 litre version. The great thing is I can fit the Trangia stove, a fire-steel, some matches, and a cloth in the kettle. The Triangle then goes in a bag with the Kettle. When in use, this setup is very stable, a very small risk of the kettle falling off. Less risk than with a small gas stove.
Putting the stand together, once you've fathomed out which way to put the plates takes around a minute. Lighting the Trangia stove and waiting for it to prime varies. In normal temperatures, outside the winter cold, it can prime within a minute. In the zero degrees temperature I tested it in last weekend, it can take 2-3 minutes. A winter primer of some kind would go a long way to speed this up. Trangia make one, but any small primer flame under the stove will help. I've considered experimenting with a metal bottle top and some drops of alcohol to do this.
Once primed, the Trangia started to jet quite nicely, possibly aided by the airflow generated by the Trangia Triangle. It took 5-6 minutes to warm up half a litre of water, not in the realms of a Jetboil gas stove (to be tested soon), or my Coleman F1 Lite, but it was good considering the simplicity of the systems design.

The weight of components were:
The kettle weighs 140g
The Triangle weighs 115g
The burner, lid and simmer ring weigh 112g
The cloth depends on how big a cloth you want to carry, and a fire-steel can vary from the mini scout style to the large versions. Fuel to me seems to be the potentially heavy element in this setup. I've seen where a Jetboil used approximately 2g of gas to heat half a lighter of water. I would guess I used several times that amount in weight with the Trangia.
Compared to using a gas stove there is more time spent heating water for a meal or drink using a Trangia system. It's not particularly light when considering fuel, and it can be messy. But it is very reliable, it gets the job done, and it's more fun than a gas stove. So I don't consider it a replacement but an alternative. In extreme cold, it would be my go to stove system. Whether it stays that way, time will tell.

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