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I am looking for a back-up stove capable of burning wood and alcohol. Can you suggest one? I would like it to

  • burn alcohol and wood (most important)
  • be cheap
  • be small
  • be robust
  • be light (least important)

I thought about a DIY-can-stove, so any advice on a specific design will be appreciated. I also like the "Vargo Hexagon Titan", but it´s way too expensive for my needs.

Some more background (ignore it, if you think it makes the question to specific):

My girlfriend and I use to cook on open fires during trekking. We never brought any back-up (only did summer/early fall trips so far). I would like to have some for the next trip though, because I am afraid of restrictions due to e. g. risk of forest fires (we never had any problem because of rain, though). So the stove would probably not get used during the most trips. We enjoy outdoor cooking and normally carry a ~2l pot, so it should be able to support that.

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Cheap and robust? You can't have your cake and eat it too. –  hillsons Apr 25 '14 at 23:04
@hillsons you are perfectly right. I tried to edit it so there is some priorization given... And its not always diametrical, sometimes you find cheap and robust. I have a nice tarp which fulfills that. –  Paul Paulsen Apr 26 '14 at 2:13

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

One expensive component is the cooking pot; depending on if you already have one, you might want to find a stove that is compatible with your existing pot.

Trail Designs have several models that can burn both alcohol and wood. You can order their stoves for specific pot sizes. I have experience with their Sidewinder Ti-Tri which can also burn esbit. I would consider the keg version instead of the sidewinder as having the ashes inside your pot is a poor idea in hindsight. Unfortunately, they are not cheap and only 'robust' if you use and handle them properly.

I believe your best option will be to find a cheap cooking pot and build your own soda can alcohol stove. Plenty of people have built theirs and used them on long hikes. Use a small plastic container for transportation. To save space, try to store items inside of the container when you are on the move.

As long as your wood burning stove have support and space for placing the alcohol stove inside of it, you should be good. Although I have no experience with this specific diy, I would consider trying and adapting this Wood Burning Trail Stove to your needs.

Alternatively, you could also spend part of the money on a used wood stove. You could start by looking at the gear swap on BPL.

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Thanks for your answer! The links are very useful and I like the idea of placing a smaller alcohol stove in a bigger one for wood. –  Paul Paulsen Apr 26 '14 at 20:54

Combining alcohol and wood burning in one stove is not easy, as both media ask for completely different designs to burn efficiently. Consider to carry one cookset for alcohol (burner, pot stand and windshield). Made from pop/beer can, wire and aluminum foil, such a set need not weigh more than 100grs, depending on the size pot you want to use. For wood burning, just hang your pot with an improvised tripod over your campfire. No need to use anything besides a pot with bail handle and some cord with proper knots (taut line hitch, explained in wikipedia) to adjust the height of the pot over the fire. If there is firewood, there will also be sticks to serve as a tripod.

Wood fires burn too hot for aluminum foil. There are some really nifty titanium foil gadgets to either burn wood alone or to combine with alcohol stoves. My favorite so far is the trail designs sidenwinder Ti-Tri with inferno add on, see http://www.traildesigns.com/stoves/caldera-sidewinder. There are also "stand alone" "hobo stoves" like this one http://www.stc-shop.ch/shopad/de/?artgruppeid=22657&artikelid=696885&sid=804042166. The latter is a bit costly compared to the traildesign stuff, but it works nicely with wood.

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Nice, thanks for sharing these! –  Paul Paulsen Dec 23 '14 at 14:28

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