Owner review: Trangia 27-8 UL/HA ‘storm-proof’ stove for cycle touring, camping, hiking and general adventuring!
Last Friday I received couple of large boxes filled with my recent purchases in preparation for my tour in Europe and cycle commuting in general. As I have been off the bike for the past couple of weeks after having surgery on my shoulder (they removed a metal plate that was holding my collarbone together after a bike vs car collision I had last year) this was a very welcome surprise. I’ll be talking about some of the other items that came that day, as well as a few items still in transit (including my new Tarptent Scarp 2 trekking tent) but for now I’d like to do a essential review and overview of my new Trangia 27-8 ultralight/hardanodised cookset.
First off I want to briefly introduce Trangia for those who may not be aware of what this company makes. Trangia are a famous Swedish company, founded in 1925, which specialises in compact and light weight ‘storm-proof’ stoves and have been firm favourites amongst cycle tourists, hikers and other like minded adventurers since the original Trangia stove was first released many moons ago.
The Trangia 27-8 that I bought is a great example of how these stoves have evolved and improved over the years whilst still staying true to the original design ethos of simplicity and reliability. The 27-8 package is what Trangia describe as an ‘ultralight’ (UL) and ‘hardanodised’ (HA) aluminium stove and compact cookset designed for 1-2 people. This particular package features 2x UL/HA 1L saucepans, 1x UL/HA 18cm frypan and 1x UL 600ml aluminium kettle, in addition to the UL aluminium base and windshield. The total packaged weight of this cookset, including the actual stove burner is approximately 860 grams (1.89 pounds). It should be noted here that the term ‘ultralight’ is used by Trangia to describe the new range of Trangia stoves in comparison to their heavier older range, rather than an attempt to compete with true minimalist ultralight stove and cooking systems which generally offer far less features and versatility for the sake of keeping weight to an absolute minimum. Trangia stoves were originally designed to burn alcohol (i.e. methylated spirits containing ethanol), however there are also certain newer models which are able to take gas (natural gas, not gasoline) burners too.
I broke my Trangia stove in tonight, running it off 85% methylated spirits (95% ethanol) with 15% water mixed in for a cleaner burn (as recommended in the instructions provided). My initial impressions after running the stove for around 20 minutes off only a small amount of fuel is simply that it is awesome. It took a while to prime, around 30-40 seconds compared to 15-20 seconds for my home made attempt (instructions here if you want to give it a go, it’s easy but not as convenient as the Trangia) but once it was fired up it was burning away beautifully for ages. The Trangia came with a adjustable cap which allows the flame to be moderated, making it very easy to reduce the heat and bring it down to a medium or low simmer – perfect if you are making some real food while on camp or tour! On full burn it brought half a litre of water to the boil within minutes and is more than enough heat for a fry up. The fry pan is a little small for two people in my opinion, but for one person it’s enough room for two or three eggs or a few bacon strips if you were so inclined (I am, often).
In general I found the components of the cookset just so easy to use and handle. Due to the aluminium material it is possible to pick the stove up even while it is burning and move it around as it doesn’t conduct much heat, it’s only warm to the touch. Plus the set comes with a versatile pan grip which is ideal for moving things around and adjusting the pan mounts. For a price of around AUD $110-120 delivered from any good store (e.g. Wiggle) for the whole cookset, it’s great value, simple, effective and perfectly compact. I’m very happy that I decided to go with the Trangia over the MSR Whisperlite/Dragonfly options that I was also considering as a portable compact lightweight stove. With the Trangia there’s no issues with carrying nasty carcinogenic fuels, no noise, it’s much cheaper, comes with a full cookset rather than just the burner and it is much easier to source than the MSR options. I know the MSR burners have their own strengths, which is a reason why they also have a strong following, but for my needs while on tour or otherwise the Trangia is perfect.
My only niggle was that the edges of some of the components weren’t finished properly, and there were a few remaining sharp edges on the adjustment cap and the bottom wind shield. It’ll only take a minute with a fine file to correct this and avoid cutting myself in the future by accident, but I don’t think this should be necessary considering how well thought and designed the whole set was in general.
I’ll have to try it out when it’s damp and windy to really see how it fares, as I only had it going in the dry and sheltered confines of my kitchen. However for now I give it a 9.5/10 rating and highly recommend. If there wasn’t the sharp edges I would have easily given this a full 10/10 rating.
More articles and reviews to come soon. Happy cycling!