Tuesday 22 October 2013

My Favourite Stove ..........and Fuel4

My Favourite Stove

Next week is the draw for the TGO 2014. So, it got me thinking about the gear I use for this
and other backpacking trips.

Here is my  - TGO 2013 MY planned Gear - which seems to be very popular for some


Not much changed for the 2013 TGO and not much will change if I get on to the 2014 TGO.

I don't do gear reviews as such, but I wanted to write a few words on my favourite stove.

Let me preface my piece here by saying that I have a very simple approach to backpacking gear: it has to work and be idiot proof.

On my favourite stoves, let me start by dismissing gas. I had a gas stove fail on me.

Let me also say that I've tried quite a few meths stoves and one - Bushbuddy - wood burning stove.

Wood burning in Scotland? Noooo.

On meths stoves: I dismissed the Caldera Cone because it was too fiddly to assemble and too bulky to carry. I dismissed the Trangia because it was too bulky. I dismissed pepsi stoves because I once stood on one. I tried a Triad Stove - sorry - useless and fussy.

So, my favourite Stove is small, easy to assemble and works ever time:

The Evernew DX Stove and Stand

I've had this for years and it has never let me down. Forget the micro measuring of meths for these things. I carry enough for the days I'm out and if I'm out for many days I arrange to post on meths to be collected. I use little 100ml plastic bottles.

It costs £45.99 for the Stove and £45.99 for the DX stand. Backpackinglight.Co.Uk sell them.

Expensive, yes, but it will last and last and work every time - even when temperatures reach well below zero degrees C. (You warm the meths in your sleeping bag).

There are some who want water to boil in nano-seconds. Then there are people, like me, who are prepared to just relax and wait. So, no boil times. I do measure meths in - you soon get to know how much to use to boil your chosen quantity of water.

The stove and stand and kitchen roll and matches and lighter and the little cross section all fit easily in to my Tibetan 900 mug. When assembled for heating it can get top heavy.

I use three titanium pins wedged around it to stabilise it - it works. I also use some radiator insulation as a wind sheild (and other pieces as insulation under my sleeping bag/bivy bag).

Here are a few pictures:

Sorry, it's not your fancy field use shots - I can't be bothered at the time. And it's not some glossy gear review. It's just a few thoughts on My Favourite Stove.

Stop press!

Ok I've always wanted to do that :-)

Could this be the alternative to meths?


There was a flurry of activity on Twitter about this after TerryBND posted this:


I'll be trying this soon.

OK I tried it. It will not work in a Trangia or Evernew DX stove or similar. It needs air.

(Update 27/10 This was my initial observation based on the DX burner not working. Terry has now done some proper tests with the Fuel4 Gel and found that the Trangia burner does work with the Gel - just not such a good a flame as with meths. My observations were based on me wanting to use what I normally use i.e. the DX stove and Stand. Terry's tests show that the Fuel4 Gel will work with a variety of stove set ups:


There's no doubt that with the right stove/stand set up Fuel4 Gel is a winner. )

But I got 1 pint of water boiling in 8.5 mins with this:

It's the top of the DX stand and a bit of foil shaped to hold just over 30 mls of Fuel4 Gel. Weight is next to nothing.

I can work up a better "saucer" for the Fuel 4 Gel. But, hey, it works!!

And, the great thing is you can improvise with anything to hold the pot above the gel.

And, as long as the gel is in some sort of container it will work. It will burn too quickly if it is just put as a blob on a flat surface.

It does need lots of air, I tried various ways with the DX top and bottom. The best way was using the top of the DX stand with the trivit. Putting the pot onto the top or bottom without the gap that the trivit gives just didn't work. It still needs a wind shield.

I think Fuel4 are on to a winner for backpackers wanting a good alternative to meths.

The Fuel4 Gel costs £5.99 a litre in GO (with discount card) and the satchet costs £2.48 for 200 mls.

This gel in the right stove set up will do the job just as well as meths.

It's easy to use and in a dedicated burner it will be very efficient.

I understand Fuel 4 are working on this.


  1. It's great little stove. I tend to use it without the DX stand and just sit the cross section trivet thingy directly on top of the stove with a simple wind shield around. Do you still need a wind shield with the DX stand?

    1. I did try the stove with just the trivet on top of the stove when I first got it. It works, but I think the with the DX stand there is this thing about the optimum distance between pot and stove. Not sure about the efficiency either way. I always put the windshield round the DX - close to - and it may help with keeping the flames directed to the pot? I have burnt a few windshields - but they cost pennies. The titanium pins ensure it stays stable.

  2. I’ve been doing some experimenting with a few stoves lately and have found the height between the top of the burner and the pot base makes a huge difference in efficiency. As does a windshield of course. If you don’t mind could i ask what the dimension is between the top of the burner and the pot base with your set up.

  3. I've just measured it :-) The distance with the trivet is a smidge over 6 cms. The trivet is supposed to make it more efficient, but is not essential. The other thing I found about effiiency is the pot size. I used to use an Alpkit Myti-mug. But, the flames licked round this more. The Tibetan 900 is wider and gets more of the flames. I guess one of my main reasons for preferring this is the compactness. And the fact that it works for me.

    The Caldera Cone is more efficient - but I found my alloy version too fidly and prone to bending. Perhaps the titanium Ti-Tri would be much better? But, it's bulky.

    The DX stand is supposed to work with wood. I've never tried it and never will. The Bushbuddy was nice to play with but left a lot of sooty deposits which got everywhere.

  4. Do you think the Ti burner is better than the std trangia burner? For such a huge price difference for very little weight loss i would expect it be but i don’t know. Just wondered what you thought. Thanks for the din’s. I will give 6cm a try.
    Wood anywhere in the UK hills is not a cert and i admit when i tried it i was less than impressed with the whole idea. I gave up on it very quickly.

    1. No, Alan. Very minor difference. The only thing, for me, is that the Trangia burner doesn't quite fit in the DX stand. You could fashion something to raise the pot over the Trangia burner? I did play around with all sorts of permutations - including using a trivit on the Trangia. I may have been caught up in the hype around the DX stove and stand when it first came out, but, I would still not use anything else now. As Steve says, the trivet on top of the Evernew/Trangia stove will do the job.

    2. You can take a hacksaw to the Trangia burner and cut 3 small notches which allows it to sit at the correct level in the DX stand. Heavier and slower than the Evernew burner but more fuel efficient and you can snuff the flame out and keep left over meths in the burner...

  5. Looks like it is worth a try. Will be interesting to see how the meths stove works with the gel, if it does. I intend to buy some as I have an idea for how to simmer with it!

    1. Just tried the Fuel4 gel with the Evernew Stove. 25 mls burnt for 25 mins - BUT it failed to light the little holes round the rim of the stove and only produced a lacklustre flame. In 25 mins it failed to boil the water.
      I can guess that Fuel4 have done their homework on this and probably the gel will work well in their own stoves.

  6. This has the potential of becoming a backpacking game changer. I'm very interested to see what small burners they come up with.

  7. Can I just chip in please chaps....bandq sell a 2 litre bottle of bioethanol fuel for £6.
    I've been contemplating the DX stove myself. Thanks for the tips.

    1. Sorry, I missed this.
      I've stuck with meths and the DX stove/stand.
      I'm still of the view it's the best - for me. No fuss, easy to use, stable (with ti pins). Well worth the expensive outlay :-)