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Some thoughts about alcohol stove design

August 04, 2023 — BarryK

I posted recently about planning a new windshield and stand for my titanium pot:

There are two little stoves that I own and love. The Speedster stove:


And the Packafeather XL stove:

img2 can see, it is just a cup into which alcohol is poured, and an outer part goes over it to control the airflow. The great thing about this is it can be adjusted down to simmer, which allows to cook food, not just bring it to the boil.

Zen Stoves is a wonderful site for those interested in the design of alcohol stoves. This page explains that the simplest type, like the Speedster stove, is slightly less efficient that one with an outer air control like the Packafeather . That's the "Open Flame Alcohol Stoves" and "Chimney Alcohol Stoves":

The greatest advantage of the Speedster stove is that it is spill-proof. The fuel can be left in it and the lid screwed on. Even with fuel in it and the lid off, it can be turned upside-down and no fuel comes out.

Why can't the two, Speedster and Packafeather, be used together? Replace the cup into which alcohol is poured, with the Speedster. Yes, I tested it and it works great. The flame is controllable right down to a simmer.

So, have decided to go for that combination. Then, watching some YouTube videos, came upon what this guy did with his Packafeather stove:

He created an aluminium foil ring, that fits on top of the stove, then the windshield is placed around it:


Note, his Packafeather stove is a different model than mine, different brackets on which to place the pot. The little brown part is the handle for a cap used to extinguish the flame. The foil ring placed on the stove:


...that is very interesting. He is restricting the airflow that comes in through the windshield holes, so that most will go via the holes in the Packafeather. I'm going to try that!

Unfortunately, Packafeather stoves are no longer manufactured. It was a one-person cottage industry. It's a shame when innovative little products like that just disappear. It's the same with websites; my blog for example has years of informative posts, but after I die or go gaga, the domain name will expire and that's the end of it. Anyway, that's the way it is, time marches on.   

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