Camping stoves are one of the most essential equipment on a trek. During a days walk you don’t always have a convenient fireplace at hand to cook your lunch, or when you arrive to your destination sometimes exhausted and ready to hit the sleeping bag – You don’t always have the energy for a longer campfire session, you just want to eat and fill up on your energy levels. That’s what a efficient camping stove is for.
I have three different kinds of stoves; 1. Legend of the nordic trekkers, the Trangia, 2. Much smaller and convenient next generation, Trangia Mini and 3. Propably the fastest stove in the Universe, Jetboil Zip.
Now, i really love my trangia! It has that nostalgic feeling to cook with the denatured alcohol and taking your time to make your meal. Trangia is good if you have the time and want to really “cook” yourself. You can slowly let your stew boil in the gentle heat of undrinkable boose. Trangia has spirit, and i don’t mean just the thing you burn in it. It’s also quite handy with all of the cups and kettles that come neatly packed inside your Trangia. I will never give up on my Trangia, it’s a legend.
A little optimized version of Trangia is the Trangia Mini. It has one kettle and a small windguard where you put the burner inside. The burner itself is the same as the original Trangia. No, Trangia Mini is not convenient! If i had the choice again, i wouldn’t buy it – no matter how smart it seems. It’s not a complete cooking system as it’s big brother – you only got one kettle. Neither can you “slowly cook your dinner while enjoying the summer evenings beauty” – Trangia Mini easily burns your meatstew while you reach for the spices. The burner is really close to the bottom of the stew which causes it to burn your cooking easily if you don’t whisp it carefully all the time. The windguard acts also as the base which supports the kettle; it’s not quite stable. If you don’t put it on firm ground, it easily falls over spilling your cooking. What about the weather? If it’s windy, it’s hard and a bit risky to cook on the Mini Trangia. It’s really easily affected by the wind, and on the worst case the fire gets out of hand and there’s a risk of lighting up something around you. So, to sum up a little: Trangia Mini is not convenient and it also hasn’t got the upsides of the original Trangia. Not my ideal cooking machine to the outdoors.
What about the Jetboil Zip then? This is definitely my favorite stove of the ones i have. It’s really fast! I mean really! I bought it last fall after i came back from Scotland where i almost burned down my tent with Mini Trangia. The Jetboil Zip runs on gas naturally. It has a cup just large enough for one or two traveller’s – and it packs into small space. Some say the gas doesn’t work on subzero temperatures. I just tested it a couple weeks ago in a winter trek, at least then it worked just fine. If you remember to keep the gas warm, for example on the inside pocket of your jacket then you are good to cook. Naturally the burner isn’t as fast in the colder climate in wintertime as it is in the summer, but it’s still a lot faster than the alcohol burners. One thing that you miss from trangia is the kettle that you can also use on live fire. Jetboil has a cup that you can’t use in the camping fire. But i tested and my kettle from the Mini Trangia fits just over the jetboil so i will probably combine the two stoves to take with me to future hikes. If you need a good camping stove – buy Jetboil Zip.
One stove that I’m interested in that sounds very promising is the Biolite Campstove, i haven’t tested or even seen it live yet but it sounds very interesting. A wood burning small camp stove that also generates electricity to charge up your mobile phone for example! Really convenient if it really works, specially on longer hikes where you don’t want to carry extra batteries with you but you still want to keep your mobile charged, just in case. You can find a link to the Biolite stove from below if you want to check it out. And if you have experience on it, let us know is it worth purchasing?