In the interest of reducing weight, I have been playing around with alcohol stoves. They tend to be some of the simplest stove designs on the market, and as a result are usually very light weight. The one I want to look at here is a commercially available stove, the Brasslite Turbo II-D.
Fuel Capacity: 2 fluid oz
Stove Weight: 2.8 oz
Stove Height: 2.75 inches
Stove Width: 3 inches
Burn Time: 9 minutes on 1 fluid oz of SLX denatured alcohol (as tested by me)
Boil Time: 7 minutes for 2 cups of water (as tested by me)
Brasslite has been making alcohol stoves for a while, and they have gone through several different designs. I always avoided them in the past because I was not a fan of those prior designs. The current one however is one of my favorites. It features a double wall design, which produces a very hot burning stove.
Here you can see the Brasslite Turbo II-D next to the Trangia Mini 28 stove for size comparison.
The Brasslite stove comes in at 2.8 oz in weight. In comparison, the Trangia Mini 28 weighs 5.8 oz together with the pot stand you see in the picture, and 3.9 oz for the burner alone. The Brasslite clearly saves you a good amount of weight, but is not nearly as indestructible as the Trangia. While both stoves are made out of brass, the Brasslite is made of much thinner metal.
Using the stove is fairly simple. Put some alcohol in the pan, and light it on fire. The stove can hold up to 2 fluid oz of alcohol, which I find to give you about 18-20 minutes of burn time, which should be enough to cook most backpacking foods.
There is no preheating time, so you can put the pot on the stand immediately.
The Brasslite Turbo II-D has a preheating pan, where you can put some extra alcohol in cold weather conditions. It also has a simmer ring, which encompasses the circumference of the pot. The way it works is by covering the air intake holes on the sides of the stove. Here you can see the stove burning with the vent holes opened:
When the ring is rotated and the holes closed, the flame is reduced significantly, allowing for simmering.
Like all alcohol stoves (of which I know), the Brasslite Turbo II-D is not terribly user friendly. Once the stove gets going, the whole assembly heats up, making it hard to handle. For example, it becomes very interesting trying to turn that simmer ring once the stove is going and is scorching hot. Witht he Brasslite Turbo II-D, it is also very hard to put out the stove, and it is impossible to recover any unused fuel. The Trangia stoves are the only ones I have seen where the fuel can actually be stored inside the stove.
All that being said, if you don’t mess with the stove too much, the Brasslite Turbo II-D works very well, and does it at a very low weight.
Brasslite also makes another model of this stove, the Turbo I-D. The I-D model is a smaller version of the one you saw here. It has a fuel capacity of 1 fluid oz. I find that to be too small for cooking food like rice, but if all you do is boil water, it may work for you. It will save you some extra weight.
There is a DIY version of this stove, and I will show you how to make it next week.