View Full Version : The mother of all alcohol stoves

2006-04-05, 03:09
I have finally found the stove for me.

Did any of you watch the Iditarod coverage this year. Unbeknownst to me, each racer must carry on their sled a stove capable of melting snow, and holding three gallons of melted snow at a full rolling boil. Now that's a stove!

Here is some info on the "cookers" I gleaned from the Cabelas Iditarod website:

"The cooker is a mandatory gear item, and definitely worth packing. Mushers design their own cookers but generally construction is simple and similar. The cookers are essentially three-gallon containers of welded aluminum or just a store bought aluminum cooking pot which is placed inside a slightly bigger welded box or pot. At the bottom of the larger vessel, the musher places a homemade wick of fiberglass insulation or other absorbent material. The larger vessel is vented so that air can fan the fire. To this, the musher pours several pints of alcohol fuel and then torches off the cooker. At night, the soft blue alcohol flame rises impressively around the stove.

Mushers prefer alcohol fuel because it burns hot and clean, and most importantly, does not explode like gasoline or white gas. Unlike diesel or gas, alcohol also has the added feature of not tainting the taste of the food. The well-designed cooker can melt about three gallons of water to a boil from snow, in about 20 to 30 minutes.

As a practical matter, mushers usually design the cooker so it conveniently nests together and fits well in the sled bag. The cooker is used at every opportunity to provide the dogs with a wet and warm ration -a sure way to maintain the team."

I have read that HEET is the fuel of choice, and you can see cases of it along the route, for mushers to use for melting snow. Apparently, race officials will not fly in white gas or other fuels, only HEET type fuels for the racers....

Ive got to get me one of dem' stoves!

2006-04-06, 06:55
I know 2 mushers who have raced the Iditarod, and one who still does.
I've even helped one of them occasionally with keeping the dogs in shape during the summer. He has a sled on wheels, and we ran the dogs with it.
-Most people don't know this but a large period of the time the musher runs behind or along side the sled. The dogs only pull them occasionally.
It's actually hard physical work mushing.

But for some reason, that I never thought about until now, I've never discussed gear with either of them. I need to look one up.

2006-04-06, 18:54
hmmm... shrimp boil on alcohol anyone?