If you think that Trangias are slow then you must have been talking to my friends, they’re always telling me how painfully slow they are, and how useless they become at high altitude. The thing is, despite this common criticism, my experience has always been very positive.
I think Trangias are very fast. I can’t prepare the food for it faster than it can boil a pot of water. I’m the weakest link, I’m the bottleneck in the process, the Trangia runs rings around me so here I want to test how fast this cooking stove really is and give my Trangia 27-1 UL review.
Trangia Cooking Speed Test
To solve this age-old debate about the Trangia being slow I decided to boil 600ml of water in my Trangia 27-1 UL and time it.
The water from the tap was slightly colder than the ambient temperature outside which is about 7°C. The test was conducted in a breezy spot of my garden and my fuel was diluted with water, which I always do to stop the bottom of the pans from turning so black and to extend fuel economy. This will however have a slight impact on the cooking speed.
So, with the results in I can tell you that 600ml of water, which is enough water to make two dishes of pasta, or one huge bowl full if you intend to eat the lot by yourself, heated on the Trangia on a chilly and breezy English morning of 7°C will cost 9 minutes and 57 seconds of your time if you keep peeking under the lid as I did to see if it was boiling. From subjective observation I don’t think it even takes that long in warm places; I’m usually always surprised to see my lid floating away as my pasta boils over.
I’ve had my Trangia for about 4 years and in that time I guess I’ve cooked perhaps 200 meals on it and although it looks a little worse for wear with dents and dings all over it it’s actually in perfect working condition and cooks as well as it ever did.
Trangias come in three sizes: there is the ‘mini Trangia’, a 1 to 2 person ’27 Series’ and the 2 to 3 person ’25 Series’. The mini Trangia comes with just one pot whilst the two bigger versions have two pots and a frying-pan as standard. Both the 27 and 25 series come with the option of a kettle and non-stick coatings on their pots and pans.
Personally, I think both of these features are superfluous and the non-stick coating is so useless I think it might just makes the Trangia worse, I don’t want to be concerned about the non stick coating when I’m cooking and some sand or grit blows in to my pot, or when the pots boil over and I have to give it a quick scour. Trangias are brilliant because they’re tough; you could knock a big dent in it and just beat it back out without breaking a thing. In fact, I recently witnessed my friends Trangia fall off his bike and roll away from him, cheese-wheel style, across a busy road and narrowly missing a collision with a large camper-van – in such a collision I think the camper-van would have come off best. But his Trangia was fine and he cooked on it for the rest of the tour.
So, in short, the non-stick coating cannot keep up with what travel throws at it and perhaps the last and most detrimental example I can give about why the coating is useless is that when the Trangia is packed away, it’s inside the non-stick pot that the burner, pot’s handle and any other thing you might like to keep in the unit are stored. These get jostled around and end up carving away at the non-stick long before the stove is even unpacked.
But this doesn’t really matter because the Trangia doesn’t need a non-stick coating, or to be hard-anodized like some of the newer versions, it works perfectly well as it is. My favourite Trangia is the ’27-1 UL’, it’s the perfect size for one or two people with a 1.0L and 1.1L pot/saucepan and a frying pan that doubles up as a lid for the Trangia and the pots. I’m not why a kettle is needed as the combination of a pot and the frying-pan as the pot’s lid is perfect for making a brew. Another thing I should mention is that the kettle has a plastic coating on the wire handle so if you use that you must position it straight up so that it doesn’t melt; another tragic event I’ve watched unfold.
A feature of the Trangia I really like, especially when compared to gas burners is that they’re really quiet – there is almost no noise from its flame and after a long day of doing whatever it is that you’ve been doing the last thing I’d want to hear is the noisy roaring of a jet/gas burner.
Another great feature is their simplicity, there is almost nothing that can go wrong with the general mechanism; just place some form of alcohol spirit in the reservoir and ignite. I use a combination of fire-steel, lighters and matches in that order and keep them wrapped up inside the Trangia when it’s not in use. The fuel for alcohol burners is really cheap, a Litre of Methylated Spirits might cost between £1 and £2 and will cook loads of meals if you cook efficiently and don’t let the Trangia burn away to itself too often. For a few recipe ideas try these Trangia Recipes.
So the Trangia, for me, is the perfect cooking companion; it’s quiet, fast (enough), durable and unfussy. I enjoy using it and don’t worry about it letting me down, I recommend them enthusiastically. If you buy yours from the same place I got mine (see following link) it will benefit CycleFar without costing you a penny.
p.s. When I pack my Trangia up I keep a small flannel in one side of my pots and a sponge/scour pad in the other to stop the Trangia rattling when on my bike – silent cooking, silent riding, perfect!