Lighting the Triad – Travel Stove Reviews
As I mentioned in a previous post, I haven’t had the most reliable record with homemade alcohol stoves. Actually, I have a terrible record with them and should probably be kept away from flammable materials in general.
All of that changed when I met this tiny little stove, the Vargo Triad. It would seem like my testing it out would be a dangerous idea, but after a weekend of using it, I still have all of my arm hair and haven’t lost an eyebrow.
Specs of the Vargo Triad:
Weight: 1 oz
Burn time: Vargo says 24 minutes, not my experience, but I was still happy with it
Size: It’s a little baby stove. Height- 1.1 inches. Diameter- 2.4 inches
I have only good things to say about this stove, and here they are.
The Vargo Triad:
Has a simple, minimalist construction
Is extremely easy to prime
Uses very little fuel
Burned just the right amount of time for our meals
Produces a reliable, consistent flame
In short, I loved it. I’ve been wanting to make the switch to an alcohol stove for a while now. It’s harder to get the canisters for conventional stoves, and wasteful because it’s difficult to recycle them. Liquid fuel stoves don’t seem like a bad option, but I’m not enough of a cook to justify buying or using one. An alcohol stove is the right fit for me.
I’m not saying that I’m completely sold on using the Vargo Triad for my PCT trip, but it did win some major points this weekend with it’s ease of use and simplicity. Not creating an explosion was just icing on the cake.
Ultralight stove options we’re considering
I am always looking for way to lighten our load for our trip on the PCT, and am now working on the stove problem. Here are the options I’m considering:
AntiGravity Gear Pepsi Can Stove (.4 oz) 12$
Two of my favorite thru-hikers use this one, which is to say, I’m pretty impressionable and will do what all the cool kids are doing. But this stove is super light and, as I lack the fine motor skills necessary to make my own, buying this one for 12$ doesn’t seem so bad.
Making my own
This has not proved entirely successful for me in the past. I can create a stove that works successfully over weekend trips, but I wouldn’t trust it over the long haul. You might think that I could make my own pepsi can stove for cheaper than the Antigrav one, but then you have no idea how many root beers I burned through trying to fit my stove together.
If I do try it again, I will use one of the tutorials from Mungo Says Bah or Jurey Studios. Third time’s a charm, right?
Vargo Triad Titanium Stove (1 oz) 32$
I really like this one. It has built in top and bottom legs, and there is a video on the Vargo site that shows how you can make the stove pretty steady. And Section Hiker gives a pretty positive review of it (again with the following the cool kids).
This stove got mixed reviews on rei.com, but it seemed like those people were judging the Vargo Titanium against traditional backpacking stoves. They are two very different categories, and you have to have different expectations.
I’ve batted around the idea of getting the Evernew Titanium Stove (1.2 oz), but it costs 46$, which is a little too rich for my blood. (And I can get the Vargo at a discount because I work at an outdoor store now.Hooray!)
We still haven’t ruled out the Snow Peak Giga Stove, but it weighs in at 3.75 oz, and the canisters seem to add to much weight relative to the amount of fuel. Not to mention that finding canisters isn’t as convenient as finding alcohol. This is going to be a tough call.