View Full Version : ion stove

2004-05-10, 20:59
Sgt. Rock

I wrote you once before with an info question on the ion stove, thanks for the response. I also told you that I was planning on using it in the Adirondacks in the winter. Due to what was written on other sites about alcohol stoves, I had done some pre-testing on my front porch when it was 0 degrees (I live near Albany New York) , but still, the woods is the real test ground.

Here's the report.

My brother and I went out for a 2 nighter in the Adirondacks in early March. The temps. when we cooked meals were as follows: 20 degrees for both dinners, 0 for one breakfast, 5 for the other. There was no problem using the stove, with one modification. It took a little longer for the alcohol to vaporize and light at the coldest temps, so we would light the match and after it burned part way, would just insert the burnt end in the alcohol. The rest of the match continued burning, and the alcohol would light before the match went out. This never failed. After the stove finished burning, we just removed the burnt match.

We found very little difference in boil times between warm weather and cold weather use. In warmer weather, the stove would bring 16 oz. to a boil in 4:45 - 5:30 minutes, using 2 tablespoons of alcohol. I use an old coffee measure for this, marking the tablespoons on the outside. I find I have less spillage this way, and they weigh almost nothing.

In the coldest temps, it probably took around 2.5 tablespoons to make the boil, but not much more time, although we were not precisely measuring and timing. Note: we were not melting snow or ice, we found a break in the ice to obtain free flowing water.

One more great thing about your stove - its absolute silence. We heard someone else's stove at a site probalby 100 - 200 yards away.

I have passed your site and stove on to others, they are all impressed. It will be the only stove I take on backpacking trips.

The only modification I made was to the pot stand. I felt uneasy about the size of the pot stand in the stove for boiling water for 2, so I made a separate one of hardware cloth 4 squares high with a fifth square's vertical part bent outward.

The stove, windscreen, pot stand all weigh 2 oz. or less.


2004-05-12, 23:36
That's a very good review. I've made and tested almost all of Sgt. Rock's alcohol stoves except for the Brasslite because I've got a Trangia 28.

Anyway, I think the review would be more helpful if you were melting snow and ice. Personally, I would never take a homemade stove backpacking with me, I just don't find them durable enough. If I stepped on my Ion stove, I don't have food.

For the most part, I've used an MSR Whisperlite which is great for brazing and/or welding. ;)

Personally I don't think alcohol stoves should be used in winter months. I find that they just don't put out the necessary heat to melt snow. I take my Trangia (durable as a tank) in fall and summer months now because it's a lot lighter than an MSR. But melting snow takes about 15 minutes for the snow to melt and boil for dinner.

So what I'm getting at is IMHO alcohol stoves aren't worth it. However, that's my opinion. I like white gas, and I'm not afraid to hump the extra pounds for the speed and power of a white gas.

Like I said, I've made almost all of Hiking HQ's homemade stoves, and some other ones from Wings Stove Archives. Generally I don't like them or trust them. Simply too light.

Be Well,


SGT Rock
2004-05-22, 10:31
It is always about what works for you.

On the pot support, my latest version of the stove that I haven't put on the site yet is more stable than the Turbo V8 or Ion stove. It is only about 1" tall and about 1.5" in diameter - similar to the diameter of a brasslite. So it doesn't sit high or lean far. The performance has been very good, it took .55 ounces of alcohol to boil very consistantly - and this is boiling and cooking. I hope to get some time later to make one and put the intrucions up on the site.

Major Slacker
2004-06-09, 21:07
Yo, Sgt. Rock and stovemeisters,

I've been playing with alcohol stoves since last year, starting with the Scott Henderson Pepsi-G stove and experimenting with many of the others on Wings, etc. It has been interesting and a lot of fun figuring out what works best and why.

My better stoves achieve boiling times of about 6-7 minutes for a quart of water, using about 1.5 ounces of alcohol. (Longer boiling times and more fuel for extreme cold or windy conditions.) One stove in particular, "The Beast from Hell," is an adaptation of the Pepsi-G with large burner ports and the outer chamber filled with fiberglass. It shoots flames out 5 or 6 inches and boils a quart of water in under 6 minutes, but it uses fuel like crazy and burns holes through windscreens. I don't use it on the trail.

Stoves I have developed lately integrate the stove and pot stand (the stove is the pot stand). They weigh as little as 7 grams if aluminum or 18 grams if steel, boil a quart of water in 7-10 minutes, and are outrageously simple to make.

I've attached a photo of some of the better stoves. I can work up how-to instructions if anyone is interested.

I would welcome any feedback, too.

Thanks, Ryan

Major Slacker
2004-06-10, 17:42
Yo again,

I think I've got the photo file size thing now.

Here is a variation on the Pepsi-G "boiled" down to 1. a simple fuel cup -- the bottom half of a small V8 can with the edge crimped every 1/4" or so and 2. an inner wall -- the sidewall of a Coke can cut about 1/8" taller than and just long enough to form a tube inside the cup. The stove weighs 4 or 5 grams, reaches full heat output in 10-15 seconds and boils a quart of water in 8-15 minutes, depending on the amount of space between the pot and stove.

The tripod pot stand is cut from aluminum can and adds another 2 or 3 grams of weight. I drew a pattern on the computer, taped it around the can and cut it out with scissors. Steel stands of similar design weigh more than the aluminum but are much stronger and withstand much higher temperatures, allowing for taller pot stands and faster boiling times.