Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Alcohol Backpacking Stoves: The Bud Light Stove

Recently, we were the winner of an alcohol backpacking stove giveaway. The prize was a well made Bud Light alcohol stove. We grabbed some alcohol, water, pot, and the stove and fired it up this past weekend. Here's what we discovered...

The Bud Light alcohol stove is made from a heavy aluminum bottle. The top portion is removed, small holes drilled around the bottom half of the remaining aluminum tube, and then the tube is some how folded and compressed inside itself. The result is a sturdy, double walled, alcohol stove measuring just 1-3/4ths inches high and across which easily fits into most titanium and aluminum mugs and cups. We threw the little backpacking stove on our digital scale and found it weighed less than an ounce: just .85 ounces or 25 grams. That's just a bit heavier than a Supercat alcohol stove, but well in the acceptable range for folks wanting a lightweight backpacking stove.

We took the stove outside to our BBQ grill and poured 20 ml of dyed denatured alcohol inside. We then struck a match and stuck it inside to light. As alcohol fuel is colorless when lit, we weren't sure that we had actually succeeded in lighting the stove. At about 20 seconds, we noted tiny bubbles appearing in the alcohol, which became a full boil by 30 seconds. About five seconds later yellow flames erupted from the top and from the tiny side jets. Houston, we have ignition!

We set our old Mirro aluminum pot with a pint of water on top. Stable with no noticeable wobble. Likely due to this alcohol stove design having a slightly larger base diameter. We wrapped our tin foil windscreen around the pot and stove. No visible flame was observed, but we could feel heat rising around the pot.

At about 3-1/2 minutes we noted the bottom of our pot covered with small bubbles. By 4 minutes we had a roiling boil in progress. There was still fuel to burn and our last bit of fuel lasted until almost the 5 minute mark.

We dumped our boiling water in the kids nearby wading pool and let the stove cool down. Being double walled, the Bud Light stove takes a bit more time to cool than the single wall Supercat stove.

This particular Bud Light alcohol stove was made by Brian Green of Brian's Backpacking Blog. Brian also included one of his Coke can homemade alcohol stoves for us to test as well. While we really, really liked Brian's well made Coke stove, we'd choose the heavier Bud Light alcohol stove for its sturdiness and stability.

Here's a video from another hiker showing his Bud Light stove and its interior construction.

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