Our Favorite Bike Camping Gear: Trangia Stove Review
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THE SEARCH FOR
THE PERFECT CAMP STOVE
You’re going to need a stove for your bike camping adventures and you might as well get a good one. But there are a lot good stoves out there so what makes a stove great? For us it’s the ability to cook almost anything, a stove that is simple, versatile, and is easy to travel with… one that is part of a whole cooking system. But there are other details that matter to your enjoyment of using a stove and for a long time, so that’s what we’ll go for here.
With so much outdoor stuff, there is always the latest and greatest shiny product, those that REI loves to stock. But people have been camping and backpacking and touring by bike for a long time and doing it quite well and comfortably before carbon fiber and Jetboils. While lightweight stuff has its place and price and is often quite sexy, it’s more tech than most people need and often not built to last or soon to be replaced with by a new “better” version, which is no fun. Plus those fancy backpacking stoves, while they can boil water real good and fast, don’t really work well to cook fresh food
But some outdoor products are timeless, classics that are so well designed and built, that you can use them for a lifetime and pass them down as heirlooms to the next generation. There are two things we bring along on every bike camping trip that fit that bill: our steel bikes and our Trangia stoves.
ENTER THE TRANGIA: CLASSIC, EVOLVED STOVE DESIGN
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Trangia’s are the national outdoor stove of Sweden and nearly every Swede has one passed down from their parents. All Trangia stoves and cookware are still made in Sweden and are incredibly simple and reliable, sharing a design that has remained essentially unchanged for half a century.
Trangia’s are our favorite stoves around (and we’ve used a bunch) because you can cook anything you can imagine, anytime without a whole host of limitations and annoyances that are characteristic of most of the “high-tech” stoves out there.
THE TRANGIA SYSTEM
The heart of the Trangia stove is a brass alcohol burner. Basically it’s a small open bowl that you fill with pure alcohol and light on fire. That burner fits inside a windproof stand that holds pots and kettles to create a super stable cooking system. There is also a simmer ring that nests on the burner so you can dial in the heat and cook things really gently if you need. Apart from having a bomb-proof burner and windscreen, the stove also has an integrated cookware that includes 2 pots, a fry pan, and a sweet kettle. A strap holds it all together in one tidy package that for the sum of its parts is still pretty light.
But what you’ll really notice from any other camp stoves you’ve used is that this stove is completely silent– no jet engine whoosh!
Here is a full breakdown of alcohol stove benefits:
- Quiet – you can hear the birds while you cook instead of the roar of your stove
- Simplicity – no priming, pumping or rebuilding your stove – just add fuel and light
- Odorless – the fuel doesn’t smell while burning and quickly evaporates when spilled
- Environmentally friendly – alcohol is made from from clean, renewable plant-based sources (look for “green” denatured alcohol)
- Fuel readily available – fuel is easy to find at gas stations, hardware, and auto parts stores.
SETUP AND USE
SIZE AND FINISH OPTIONS
The Trangia comes in two sizes, the 25 and the 27. The 25 model is a bit larger and good for cooking for 3-4 people. It weighs about 2 lbs. 4 oz for the whole set with a kettle. The 27 model is good for 2 people and weighs a bit less than 2 lbs. full outfitted with pots, pans, and kettle. We recommend and use the hard anodized models since they are easier to clean and won’t oxidize. We’ve also been using the nonstick frypans in both sizes. For camp cooking, the nonstick just makes sense for ease of cleanup and it’s a bit more forgiving for what we use it for most: eggs and pancakes.
Wanna go lighter?
You can also grab Trangia burner with a superlight pot support and add a windscreen. Just bring your own pot and you’re ready to cook. We always carry one along as a second stove for making coffee or hot drinks while cooking on our full size Trangia setup.
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TAKE A TRANGIA HOME
Pedal Inn sells the best Trangia cooksets, both the 2-person 27 model and the 3-4 person 25 model in the best equipped, most durable hard-annodized version with kettle. We’ve has ours for nearly 5 years and they still look new! We also sell an ultralight, minimalist Trangia kit, without pots that’s the best of its kind we’ve used. We think the large size is by far the best value and cooking experience, so get that one if you can.