Tag Archives: winter

Mini Trangia and winterizer at -32.6 C

About a year ago, I tested my home made winterizer for the Mini Trangia alcohol stove at –25 C (-13 F). To my great surprise, my “not good at really cold weather” Trangia managed to boil 500 ml of +4 C (+39 F) water in about 7 minutes, mainly due to the help provided by my DIY winterizer.

Since then, it has been ridiculously warm, and now was my first opportunity to try to find the limits for an alcohol fueled stove.

So, this is how it went. First, I left the stove and the fuel outdoors at -32.6 C (-26.7 F), and 500 ml of water into the fridge for overnight.

In the following morning, I loaded sthe stove and soaked the wick of the winterizer with -32 C alcohol (Note to self: Do not spill it on to your fingers. It is damn cold!). Despite the syrup like behaviour of the cold alcohol, lighting up the alcohol soaked wick was very, very easy. However, due to the 5 m/s wind, it took albout 13 minutes to bring the water to boiling. Therefore, I repeated the experiment using a simple windscreen made out of fire retardant fabric.

With the windscreen, the boiling time was reduced to 9 minutes and 40 seconds.

As conclusion, with a proper protection from the wind, an alcohol burning stove (with DIY winterizer) still works beautifully at -32 C !

As soon as the good old -40 to -50 winter days (hopefully) return, I’ll test and report whether there really are any limits for my little Trangia stove.

Quick Snow Shelter

Every now and then, an adventurer, or just an average hiker/camper, may end up being in a situation in which building a proper overnight camp requires too much time or energy, or is downright impossible due to a broken tent, lack of firewood, or some other, afterwards hilarious event.

In those kind of situations, it is good to know how to build a snow shelter, preferably rather quickly. The internet is full of instructions of how to build real snow shelters, good for several nights in miserable weather. This is not one of those. Here I describe a building process of a very simple and quick shelter for one relatively comfortable night at temperatures above -10 C. Of course, in an emergency, anything is better than nothing, and this kind of shelter may save your life even at a lot colder temperature, but the comfort zone of this “quick and easy” ends at around -10 C.

The necessary warnings told, it is time to go to the construction:

1. If there is more than 70 cm of snow, pick any flat spot that looks good to you, preferably not at a place which may begin to collect water in case of warming weather, though. If the amount of snow is limited, try to find a dry ditch like place.

2. dig a ditch. About 70-80 X 200-250 cm size should be OK. To increase the height of the “walls”, pile the snow evenly on both sides of the ditch.

3. Build a supporting structure for the roof from any available material. Thick spruce tree branches are the best, but an empty sled, skis, ski poles, and any random sticks will do the job.

4. Cover the roof with a piece tarp.

5. Cover the whole thing with a 30-40 cm thick layer of snow, leaving a ventilation hole at the end of the shelter.

6. Place a camping matress and/or spruce tree branches to the floor of the shelter.

7. Organize your gear: Backpack as a main part of the rear door, boots inside the shelter, flashlight close to your body (it will get dark).

8. Crawl into your sleeping bag and drag yourself into the shelter.

9. Use your feet through the sleeping bag to cover the rear door with overhanging piece of the roof tarp.

10 Have a good night!

Based on my experience, this kind of 30 minute building project provides pretty good shelter for comfortable one night sleep at relatively warm weather (above -10 C). With decent ventilation arrangements, condensation of moisture is not a problem, and the temperature in the shelter stays at reasonable level.

I strongly recommend that you build, and test sleep, one of these in a safe environment. The experience is fun, and in the same time you learn about possible flaws in your building project. Trust me, screwing up your shelter project in your back yard is a funny story you can share with your friends. Screw up a similar project in a real SHTF situation, and your friends may read about it from tabloids, after someone finds your body in the spring.

Mini Trangia DIY Winterizer test at -25 C

 

A little while ago I made a pre-heater for my Mini Trangia stove. Initially, I was able to test it at -12.5 C temperature, and was pretty happy with the results (500 ml of water from +4 C to boiling in 7 minutes and 39 seconds).

Now, the winter finally seems to kick in, and it is time to test what the winterizer is good for.

To begin the test, I left the Trangia stove and a bottle of fuel outdoors for overnight, and some water into the fridge. In the morning, the temperature was -25 C. Not as cold as I was hoping for, but so far the coldest weather during this winter anyway. So, I filled up the stove, and soaked the glass wool wick of the winterizer with -25 C alcohol, and stroke a match. The ignition was kind of lame, but easy and instantaneous anyway. Next I poured 500 ml of +4 C water into the Trangia pot, placed it (with the lid on) on to the stove, and prepared myself for a long wait.

To my pleasant surprise, after mere seven minutes and six seconds the water was boiling merrily. That was over 20 seconds faster than in my first test run at -12.5 C! How could that be? When comparing the conditions of the two tests, in addition to the difference in the temperature, the only remaining variable of any significance was the wind, which, during the first test wasn’t particularly strong, but strong enough to slightly disturb the flame and to cool down the pot a little bit, whereas during the second test the wind was hardly noticeable.

The test results confirmed the general belief that a good wind protection is essential for successful cooking with camping stoves, but more importantly, the results proved that my DIY winterizer works beautifully even at -25 C temperature. I can’t wait for the arrival of really cold weather to test the winterizers limits (if there are any).