Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Vargo Titanium Decagon Stove

I've always used pocket stoves when I go camping, but sometimes you just can't lug around a good amount of butane fuel canisters and most of the time that lone covenience store down the road will not have any fuel sold at all. So I thought about alcohol stoves. The swedish Trangia stoves have been around since 1925 and they're still around despite the fact that everything in the planet has gone the way of super hightech gadgetry. At the same rate backpackers and ultralight hikers have carried soda can stoves long before I first stepped out into my neighbor's vacant lot and built my first tree house when I was 6 years old. My main concerns were simple:

1. The stove needs to be lightweight, and when i cay this I mean a stove that weighs less that 5 ounces

2. It has to be have no moving parts or parts that have to be replaced of parts that will prevent the whole stove from performing it's main function should the said parts become damaged

3. It must be resilient and must take a good amount of abuse with minimal impact on structural integrity and performance
4. It has to be affordable or reasonably costly - hey, you can't get everytyhing your way right?!!

5. I has to be space saving or at least allow itself to be stored snugly with some items in my standard plastic containers.

I didn't have to look far and wide, I just looked online and thanks to eBay here's the Vargo Titanium Decagon Stove. I'm happy to report that it has met all of my requirements as stated above and what's more is that it's made of titanium.

Front and Back Of Packaging

I had some doubts about this little baby when I first got it but there was only one way to address that concern that's to fire it up and see what the hype has been all about so I tried to fill it to the brim with ethyl alcohol (the manufacturer recommended denatured alcohol, but it takes ethyl as well and besides I just brought rubbing alcohol which is a standard part of my first aid kit). You have to fill it from the hole at the middle and make sure that you douse the entire thing with alcohol to set it all alight. You might get a little surprised as the whole stove gets engulfed in blue flame but that's fine because it will only help prime the stove faster.

After a few minutes, the flame will start to stabilize - and when you see that all flame outputs have fired up , you can simply put your cup or pot over it and start cooking. I never got to use this stove for any heavy cooking since this was just a typical field test but I am confident that you can actually cook a standard single entree meal using this tiny pocket stove. It brought a full nesting cup of water to a  rolling boil in about 7 minutes and it saved me so much time and effort when I woke up early in the morning wanting a hot cup of coffee or maybe a hot bowl of soup on a rainy late afternoon after a long trek in the woods.