As I was preparing to write this, I realised I’ve had my Trangia stove for 7 years, and not once have I regretted the purchase. I’d like to say I discovered these classic Swedish stoves while camping with friends on a wild Scottish hillside, surrounded by majestic stags and natural beauty; but I should perhaps confess it was actually while camping at Rockness, a Scottish music festival, surrounded by empty cider cans and the background hum of the mainstage music. A friend of mine, aptly nicknamed “Camping Dad”, mesmerised us with an array of soup (or maybe it was Pot Noodle; it’s all a bit blurry) and hot drinks all prepared on the Trangia, as he unfolded this little gem like a Mary Poppins bag – with pots, pans and a kettle all appearing from it compact shell.
The clever storage design of the Trangia is definitely one of its main appeals. As opposed to having to pack separate pots and pans in addition to the stove, the Trangia unfolds from a frying pan lid and wind cover, to reveal everything you need – including two pots and a frying pan; a pan handle which grabs onto the hot pans; the burner which holds your liquid fuel and my favourite piece – a cute little kettle. All of this held together with a simple strap.
And how about its performance? The efficiency of this stove is far beyond that of a simple meal at a music festival! I have put it through its paces over six months of living in our 1976 VW campervan while travelling around Australia, but also in gale force winds while camping in the great Scottish outdoors. One particular trip comes to mind when I was wild camping with a group of surfers on the magical, but rather exposed Scottish island of Barra. Think gale force winds which destroyed most of our tents and left us sleeping in the vehicles we had; torrential rain which flooded the tents before they were destroyed… and while trying to cook our meals in these conditions, the Trangia was steadily passed around the group to boil water and cook food while other gas burners simply couldnt handle the wind. The wind shield design works a treat!
A couple of other considerations – we have the version with the non stick aluminium pans, and admittedly while I haven’t tried the alternative, they are brilliant – very non stick and easy to clean.
Additionally, the stove runs on meths – which is great in terms of its availability and low cost, but admittedly it can be a bit messy and you have to carry it aside from the stove. There’s an adaptor available to convert the stove to a gas burner, but to be honest I haven’t thought it necessary to spend the additional money. The meths burns so well and there’s a simmering ring which changes the heat, once you’ve mastered it.
One of the few drawbacks about the Trangia I would say is the bulk/weight if you’re hiking with it in your pack. If this is a concern for you, you can save a couple of hundred grams with an “ultralight aluminium” set. Plus, on a non windy day you’ll find a standard gas burner will heat water quicker from the off (it takes about ten minutes to boil a litre of water using the meths burner), but it’s no biggie once you’re up and running – and generally camp cooking isn’t a race for time.
When it comes to cost, I’m not going to comment too much as price is so subjective, but what I would say is, this has remained one of my favourite pieces of camping kit over multiple uses and multiple years. On that basis, I would 100% recommend a Trangia. Guaranteed, you’ll find yourself nodding knowingly at other Trangia owners as you cook up a camp storm.
In case you haven’t read through the above (…but really, you should), some quick pros and cons to summarise:
Pros: Many! Including Mary Poppins style clever design housing everything you need together. Great in windy conditions. Easy to clean. Robust. Long lasting.
Cons: Far fewer than pros. They do include bulk/weight but if you’re looking for super lightweight, Trangia have a variety of options – different sizes and different materials. Fuel can be messy. Slower cooking time than a regular gas burner in calm conditions. You may find it a little sooty too but it’s easily cleaned.