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Does Altitude Impact Alcohol Stoves?

How good are the alcohol stoves at high elevations and/or any elevation?


Dear Kristin,
After reading many of your ultralight articles, I am seriously going to give it a try, starting with my kitchen gear. How good are alcohol stoves at high elevations and/or any elevation?

Submitted by - Marty, CA


Alcohol stoves definitely have their limitations (mainly cold weather), but I’ve had really good luck with them up to 14,000 feet in summer temperatures. My favorite alcohol stove is the Caldera Kitchen ( ), which incorporates burner, windscreen, pot, and lid to create a stable and efficient system that boils three cups of liquid in about eight minutes. It comes in a variety of configurations so that you can use your existing pots, but the version I tested weighed only 10 ounces, complete with a one-quart lidded, insulated plastic container which doubles as a bowl, cup, and carrying case. In chilly weather, however, you’re probably better off going with a lightweight canister stove it will give you much better boil times, –which you’ll appreciate when you’re freezing your tail off and jonesing for a hot drink.


  1. charly13muri-be-ch

    Alcohol stoves work very well even at low temperatures, check out the Trangia informations (not lightweight, though…). As long as alcohol does not freeze (theoretically -173°F, practically a little higher as alcohol always contains some water), it will evaporate and burn. So, no issue under conditions a backpacker encounters. It is however true, that you should not use the same stove in summer and in winter. In winter, you will be better off with a stove that burns too violently in summer (and vice versa).
    If you put an alcohol stove on an insulating piece of plywood, on top of a reflecting piece of aluminum foil, then enclose it with a good windshield like the TD cones, it will work. See also

    Happy trails

    Profile photo of charly13muri-be-ch

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