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Old 10-27-09, 08:44 PM   #1
soulfullspirit
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Love hate relationship with my trangia stove

Every time i am packing up my trangia stove and i try to fit it in my panniers i go through this battle of whether i really need such a huge cooking stove which takes up so much space, and i get on the net and drool over MSR stoves which burn hotter run on multi fuel are lighter etc, Then you read up they need to have a repair kit to fix it out in the field and the kit has heaps of o rings and stuff in it were the good old trangia just burns meths nothing special but it works nothing to go wrong it has its own wind shelter and a large base for when you are really out in the wild and you need it to stand up straight and not only that it has a kettle and two pots and a fry pan so you start liking it again UNTILL you have to pack up and it is a pain in the ass to fit in your panniers am i the only one who goes through this?? Anyone got any ideas??

Last edited by soulfullspirit; 10-27-09 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 10-27-09, 09:06 PM   #2
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Which one do you have? I've got the mini 28 and don't think it takes up much space at all. Love it for it's simplicity. Here in the states you can pick up denatured alcohol in any building supply store or paint store.
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Old 10-27-09, 09:14 PM   #3
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Anyone got some ideas??
Smaller Trangia with a side of handy punctuation?
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Old 10-27-09, 09:35 PM   #4
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It sounds like you have either the model 25 or 27 -the complete kits with all the wind screens and multiple pans.
If you want a smaller set up look at the Clickstand which fits in a cooking pot. It is designed to use the Trangia burner or other alcohol stoves.
http://clikstand.com/index.html
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Old 10-28-09, 02:55 AM   #5
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Three of the things (darn it, I had to start this paragraph three times going from one to two to three) I like about the full-on Trangia stove is:

1. Its stability.

2. Its simplicity.

3. Its total reliability.

There are others, but that will do for now.

It's very easy to say the package to go in a pannier is large and cumbersome, but remember it does include the pot (or two) and lid/frypan, which you would have to accommodate anyway. I also put the lighter and my small eating utensils in it, too.

I've toured Europe and North America with it, and on many other occasions locally, with only two rear panniers. So it can't be that big and cumbersome.

Others' experiences may vary. And discourses on energy efficiencies of alcohol versus gasoline and propane or other gaseous variants mean nothing to me, when I know my unit is quiet and isn't burning the smithereens out of my food because the energy burst under it is out of control.
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Old 10-28-09, 04:51 AM   #6
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I have a MSR Wisperlight that's about 20 years old, I also have a MSR canister stove, and I have a homemade Alcohol stove. Each has its own purpose and positives and negatives. First, the MSR Wisperlight is very reliable and I've never carried the fix kit out into the field. Not much to go wrong with them. Just check the rings before camping seasons, and you are good to go. I think I've replace the rings perhaps twice in 20 years.

I think your issue is carrying too many pots and things, not the stove. My homemade alcohol stove made from Pepsi cans is about 2inches x 1 inch. My simple windscreen folds to 3.5 inches x .5 inches. They both fit into my small kettle, along with matches, lighter, spoon. So the entire kit is 5.5 inches x 2.5 inches.
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Old 10-28-09, 05:55 AM   #7
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+1 on the handy punctuation.

I have a 25 or 27 (I forget which). When packed, there's a lot of free space inside, so like Rowan I make use of it. My whole tour kitchen fits in there: utensils, cooking oil, honey, tea, spices, matches etc.

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Old 10-28-09, 08:28 AM   #8
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you still have to pack the pots regardless but i can empathize with the OP, the full trangia cooker is a bit of a pig in the panniers.

I have three styles of trangia: the full version, the mini version that comes with a mini pot, and a 3 part folding windscreen version.

i like the folding windscreen for bikepacking but the full one is a more efficient cooker, it creates a mini convection system versus just having a spirit burner under a pot.


looks like a couple of the trangia bases i use are no longer available, but they are much more compact than the full 25 or 27 windscreen versions.

there looks to be some new ultralight aluminum in use by trangia to make even lighter cooksets, but still bulky.

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Old 10-28-09, 04:48 PM   #9
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Every time i am packing up my trangia stove and i try to fit it in my panniers i go through this battle of whether i really need such a huge cooking stove which takes up so much space, and i get on the net and drool over MSR stoves which burn hotter run on multi fuel are lighter etc, Then you read up they need to have a repair kit to fix it out in the field and the kit has heaps of o rings and stuff in it were the good old trangia just burns meths nothing special but it works nothing to go wrong it has its own wind shelter and a large base for when you are really out in the wild and you need it to stand up straight and not only that it has a kettle and two pots and a fry pan so you start liking it again UNTILL you have to pack up and it is a pain in the ass to fit in your panniers am i the only one who goes through this?? Anyone got any ideas??
I like both the Trangias (along with some of the other alcohol stoves) and the quieter multi-fuel stoves (the Whisperlite International/Internationale for example).

I can understand your concerns about the repair kits. But once you've seen them or used them, the picture changes. They are *very* light and compact and simple.

And you don't often need to use a repair kit. It is there more for backup, or emergency, or just in case -- or long, long, longterm viability and independence and field maintainability. The o-rings usually last a very long time; and they are light weight and cheap and compact and easy to carry and replace (this is rarely, rarely needed, though).

For most purposes, I prefer the MSR. In addition to the much higher heat output, and the much higher energy density of the fuel, and the fact that a given amount of fuel goes much further, and the fact that you can adjust the flame (and simmer, if you know the drill), and the better cold weather performance, and the presence of a valve, and the absence of a need to pour fuel frequently, the fuel also costs a lot less, and I like that.

Not that the Trangias and some of the other alcohol stoves aren't great in their own ways. They are definitely quiet and reliable and easy to use, except in very cold weather, and there is (or can be) something very attractive about using them.

As far as the bulk goes, if you fill in the empty space with food (grains for example) or other small items, it helps. The aluminum itself doesn't take up much space; it's the unused space inside that takes up space.

Last edited by Niles H.; 10-28-09 at 05:06 PM.
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Old 10-28-09, 05:05 PM   #10
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Just thought I should add, in case this is an important factor for you, that the Whisperlites are not as quiet as the Trangias. They are *much* quieter than the noisier multi-fuel stoves (like the XGKs), but not silent.

Personally, the XGKs are way too noisy for me. In contrast, the Whisperlites are acceptable (and they've also become familiar); and the alcohol stoves are wonderfully silent. Different people have different tastes and reactions in this area, though.
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Old 10-28-09, 05:38 PM   #11
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And you don't often need to use a repair kit. It is there more for backup, or emergency, or just in case -- or long, long, longterm viability and independence and field maintainability. The o-rings usually last a very long time; and they are light weight and cheap and compact and easy to carry and replace (this is rarely, rarely needed, though).

As far as the bulk goes, if you fill in the empty space with food (grains for example) or other small items, it helps. The aluminum itself doesn't take up much space; it's the unused space inside that takes up space.
I'm, wondering how often you would need to maintain a stove?

Say you tour for 2 weeks a year, and use the stove for an hour a day, how many years would it go between needing a field maintenance done on it? Seems to me like it would be easier to do it every few years when your not on tour, to keep your stove running at peak performance. A piece of tape with the date it was last done attached to the stove would mean, that when you were checking your gear before a tour, hmmm, stove was last maintained in 2003, better grab a kit and do it before I go....

As for space, your right, some of these kits, are good in theory, but lousy in practice. A small soft container that is fuel proof to hold the stove and fuel line,
maybe neoprene. Use a second one to hold the fuel bottle, these should be resealable. They could then be packed anywhere, then fill the pots with other stuff, so they take up little space. Any pot or item you don't use, should be taken off your packing list.
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Old 10-28-09, 05:52 PM   #12
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I'm, wondering how often you would need to maintain a stove?

Say you tour for 2 weeks a year, and use the stove for an hour a day, how many years would it go between needing a field maintenance done on it?...
If you use good white gas (which is the cleanest burning of the usual fuels), I would say many years.

These stoves are designed by MSR to be field maintainable, and field maintainable by people who are on expeditions or in the military, in rough conditions, without much training, with ultralight and almost ridiculously minimal tools (which are in the repair kits). The designs are kept simple and user-friendly.

So they are very easy to work on. No need to do it at home, really. Though if you are so inclined, you could overhaul the stove every five or ten years. Personally, I would wait until something went wrong, or until something looked wrong on inspection. You might go a lifetime that way without ever working on the stove.

If you use dirtier fuels (it's best to stay with white gas), clogging can be a more frequent problem, though still not terribly frequent. The jets can clog (easy to clear), and the fuel line can get build-up inside (also easy to clear -- the stoves are designed for this. This is one area, though, where you might need a little extra instruction. It isn't hard, but it isn't quite intuitively obvious either. Some of the other tasks also need a bit of instruction, like the basic instructions that come printed on the sheets that come with the kits or the stoves. You can also call or email MSR, or check their website).

These stoves can be disassembled and figured out, then reassembled. Once you understand them (and there isn't that much to understand -- it's quite manageable), working on them is easy. They are designed for this.

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Old 10-28-09, 06:07 PM   #13
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MSR stoves will go many years between overhauls, but it's still nice to start the year knowing that your stove is clean and all the O-rings and gaskets are in good shape. I had an O-ring start to leak in the back country last summer, luckily it was the morning that I walked out to my car so no loss. Maybe I could have caught this by testing the stove at the start of the summer, maybe not.

I agree about using clean fuel. I use white gas and run it through a strainer before it goes in my fuel bottle. Wal-Mart sells Coleman fuel for less than $10 a gallon, and unleaded is $2.50/gallon around here. With the hassle of pumping fuel into a small bottle and the hassle I sometimes get from gas station owners, I'd rather pay the extra for a cleaner stove and less greasy soot on my cookware.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:19 PM   #14
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I had two MSR DRagonfly pump fail and neither were repairable in the field. A shop couldn't fix the first one with more parts and elaborate tools either. I had better luck with a Coleman Peak One Apex, plus the Peak One wasn't as noisy. The Dragonfly is a pain to pack too. Luckily, a tuna can stove happened to be in my cooking pot so I bought alcohol and used that. It's a bit more work to cook with alcohol but it's much lighter and easier to pack.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:20 PM   #15
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I confess I don't see the point of carrying multiple pots and pans. If you can't cook it in one pot, you're trying too hard.

Fwiw, I use a cheap butane stove that packs small and cooks hot. Can't think of anything much simpler, really: attach the stove to the bottle, turn the knob, push the button, instant flamethrower.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:28 PM   #16
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I have a box of various models of MSR stoves and never had a problem with any of the pumps.

A friend had an MSR Whisperlite that she had stored for years in a dry climate, without using it. The pump needed some oil in order to seal. It was easy to do.

Some people complain about the plastic parts; but MSR chose to use that plastic because of safety advantages. It's never failed in my experience.

Apparently some people have problems with the pumps; I don't know why. They seem pretty simple. MSR warranties and support are good, and they can walk you through procedures if needed.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:30 PM   #17
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MSR never answered my emails.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:32 PM   #18
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I confess I don't see the point of carrying multiple pots and pans. If you can't cook it in one pot, you're trying too hard.

Fwiw, I use a cheap butane stove that packs small and cooks hot. Can't think of anything much simpler, really: attach the stove to the bottle, turn the knob, push the button, instant flamethrower.
Those types of stoves have it when it comes to ease of use. They're also usually very quiet. But some of us don't like the cost of the canisters. Availability can also be a problem in some countries and areas.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:34 PM   #19
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MSR never answered my emails.
Doesn't sound like them. Maybe there was some glitch. Did you try the toll-free number? I've always found them to be very helpful.

And I believe they have some pretty detailed information on their website.

What about the warranty?
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Old 10-28-09, 06:43 PM   #20
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I had two MSR DRagonfly pump fail and neither were repairable in the field. A shop couldn't fix the first one with more parts and elaborate tools either.... It's a bit more work to cook with alcohol but it's much lighter and easier to pack.
The Dragonfly is a model I haven't tried, since I have heard that it is noisy (and I had already had XGKs and didn't like the noise).

How did the pumps fail? What caused the failures, and what were the symptoms?

Alcohol stoves (plus fuel) can be heavier. It depends on how long you are going between refuelings, and how much cooking you do. On shorter trips they are usually lighter -- but on longer trips, with longer periods between refuelings, the alcohol stove systems can be heavier because of alcohol's much lower energy density (sometimes quantified as BTUs per pound) compared with white gas and similar fuels. You have to carry more fuel for the same amount of cooking, and the alcohol you need to carry is heavier than the white gas you need to carry.

The alcohol is also much more expensive when comparing equivalent BTUs.

MSR stoves have been used by many expeditions because of their simplicity, field maintainability, and reliability.

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Old 10-28-09, 06:47 PM   #21
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No, I haven't tried the phone. I won't be using MSR stoves again anyway. The shop told me they were a pain to work with too. I remember when MSR was claiming the first simmering white gas stove when Coleman had made them for decades. I've used Coleman stoves since I'm a kid and never had problems except for the leather thingy in the pump, which could be found in department stores.

Obviously, I don't like MSR much.
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Old 10-28-09, 06:48 PM   #22
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The Dragonfly pump has plenty of tiny parts. That made it impossible to repair.
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Old 10-28-09, 07:07 PM   #23
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The Dragonfly is a model I haven't tried, since I have heard that it is noisy (and I had already had XGKs and didn't like the noise).

How did the pumps fail? What caused the failures, and what were the symptoms?

Alcohol stoves (plus fuel) can be heavier. It depends on how long you are going between refuelings, and how much cooking you do. On shorter trips they are usually lighter -- but on longer trips, with longer periods between refuelings, the alcohol stove systems can be heavier because of alcohol's much lower energy density (sometimes quantified as BTUs per pound) compared with white gas and similar fuels. You have to carry more fuel for the same amount of cooking, and the alcohol you need to carry is heavier than the white gas you need to carry.

The alcohol is also much more expensive when comparing equivalent BTUs.
The MSR website describes the Dragonfly as field maintainable, but I guess some people have an easier time than others with that sort of thing.

The relative prices of alcohol and white gas are pretty variable. A gallon can of white gas at Wal-Mart is about half the price of a gallon can of denatured alcohol at my local hardware store. In Europe, though, Coleman fuel or white gas is extremely expensive while alcohol isn't nearly expensive. I paid £4 for a 1/2 liter can of white gas in Scotland a few years ago, which works out to about US $50 per gallon. I don't think alcohol is nearly that expensive in the UK.
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Old 10-28-09, 07:15 PM   #24
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Alcohol stoves (plus fuel) can be heavier. It depends on how long you are going between refuelings, and how much cooking you do. On shorter trips they are usually lighter -- but on longer trips, with longer periods between refuelings, the alcohol stove systems can be heavier because of alcohol's much lower energy density (sometimes quantified as BTUs per pound) compared with white gas and similar fuels. You have to carry more fuel for the same amount of cooking, and the alcohol you need to carry is heavier than the white gas you need to carry.
The most alcohol you might expect to carry would be a quart cause it's readily available and you can pick up another one in the next town you hit. Coleman gas is usually sold by the gallon, so you have a gallon to decide what to do with.

Then there are alcohol's other advantages:

It can be stored in plastic.
It can be used as a cleaner.
It's environmentally safe.
It works great to jump start the campfire when the wood's damp (just watch out for your facial hair).
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Old 10-28-09, 07:32 PM   #25
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The MSR website describes the Dragonfly as field maintainable, but I guess some people have an easier time than others with that sort of thing.
Of course, MSR says they're servicable, but the shop couldn't fix it with better tools. The problem was an o-ring. I had the part in my repair kit but we weren't able to replace it. I can't imagine trying to fix it with cold fingers. There were tiny parts to put back in place, and the plastic threads got stripped with each try.

Plus, the Dragonfly has a wide base but isn't that stable and it's very awkward to pack. The only thing it does well is flame control, when it worked. With the money I've put on the Dragonfly, + extra pump that failed + extra fuel bottle vs a tuna can, it will take a while before the alcohol stove costs more.

Anyway, just wanted to tell the OP that MSR stoves are nothing to drool over.
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