I have had the Vargo Titanium Stove for a little over a year now and as a back up to my wood burning stove it is proven its worth.  Small, light and efficient; it is everything that I have required when I go camping and pull into camp with no time or bad weather to be bothered with the wood stove.

There has been one nagging problem though, sometimes the stove seems to burn all of its fuel in record time without boiling the requisite 2 cups of water that I need for my meal so I decided to do some testing and came up with a few things of note:

Vargo Claims/Description: http://www.vargooutdoors.com/Titanium-Triad-Alcohol-Backpacking-Stove

  • Weight:    1.0 oz.    (28 grams)
  • Burner Diameter: 60mm
  • Diameter when pot support is open: 85mm
  • Fuel Capacity: 1.75 oz.
  • Collapsed height:    27mm

My Stove Specs:

  • Weight:    31 grams
  • Burner Diameter: 60mm
  • Diameter when pot support is open: 85mm
  • Fuel Capacity: 1.35 oz (40 ml), 1.5 oz (45 ml)
  • Collapsed height:    31mm

Overall, negligible except the fuel rating.  I specifically want to point this out since it might be technically possible for the stove to hold 1.75 fl oz of fuel, but after doing some testing this is unlikely to be possible in the field.  For the most part the likely capacity will be 1.35 fl oz, with a possible maximum of 1.5 fl oz.  The reason this is specifically a concern is that this directly impacts burn time and 45 ml of fuel will get you about 18:30 of burn time in ideal conditions.

In my testing I generally have been getting a boil time for 2 cups of water in about 8 – 8:30 including the 1:15 bloom time that happens during initial stove start up. I include this since I put the pot on the stove as soon as it is lit.  This however brings me back to the initial point of this post, why doesn’t the Triad always have a similar boil and burn time.  First off I did a series of fuel tests to see what the results would be and they were exactly as you would expect.

Fuel Blossom Boil Burn Time
30 ml 1:15 8:25 14:27
35 ml 1:07 8:30 16:15
40 ml 1:10 8:00 17:40
45 ml 1:10 7:30 18:42

Reasonably consistent especially considering that this isn’t any kind of scientific test.  However some initial thoughts that I had that the reduced efficiency of the might be related to over filling the stove with fuel were proven incorrect.

Next I decided to add the only other option that really comes into play and that is the wind screen. I refueled the stove with 30 ml and wrapped the wind screen as tightly as possible around my pot and stove after lighting it.  This time the results showed up right away.  All of the fuel was spent in 8:30 without even coming close to achieving the boil.  I did a little investigation about this and only found a few people commenting on it, however it is a pretty common problem with alcohol stoves.  Apparently if the alcohol stove overheats then it will over-consume the fuel without achieving the desired boil.  As such, proper use of your wind screen is extremely important since that is the common reason for overheating (the wind screen is trapping the heat around the stove).

Some other comments on this phenomenon: