Packafeather XL versus Vargo Triad alcohol stoves

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Packafeather XL versus Vargo Triad alcohol stoves

Postby BarryK » Wed 15 Jun, 2016 11:25 pm

I recently acquired both of these, and have posted mini-reviews.

Packafeather XL:

Vargo Triad:

The XL, for me anyway, is the clear winner. I even like my old Alocs stove better than the Triad.

I must emphasize that these are initial impressions. Perhaps the Triad will grow on me, doubt it though.

What do you think about my judgement of fuel burning efficiency by observing the amount of yellow in the flame?
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Re: Packafeather XL versus Vargo Triad alcohol stoves

Postby Canberra Trekker » Fri 17 Jun, 2016 10:19 am

I also have the Vargo Triad which I purchased at MEC Canada in 2014.

My assessment is as follows:-

Made of titanium and it appears to me that it's virtually indestructible.

Needs at least 35 mL of alcohol for it to be lit. However, I have found it easy to decant any surplus alcohol back into the fuel model by trickling it down the support legs which act as a de facto spout.

I have found it's easy to extinguish just by blowing a big breath over the burner even when it's burning at full output. Otherwise, I simply invert my cup over the stove and starve it of oxygen.

I have found that its efficiency is up there with any of the other alcohol burners. I have. In my collection. I have a Trangia burner, 1210 burner and a Speedster 30 mL burner.

As Barry noted there is only one output and that's full power. However, I came to the same conclusion as Barry and use a pot cozy. My technique for cooking beans/lentils is to rapidly heat the water in the pot (Snow Peak 700 mL), then extinguish the burner and allow pot to stand with pot cozy for 15 to 20 minutes. Then I top the burner back up to allow it to be lit again. Generally, not much alcohol required at this stage because not much used in bringing 300 mL of water to boil to begin with. Then I reheat the pot back to boiling and extinguished it, repeating same sequence of the standing period with pot cozy. Generally I have 3 of these standing periods to get the beans/lentils cooked in my satisfaction.

Back in April I did a 4 day walk in the Snowy Mountains where I tested the Vargo Triad and was cooking beans/lentils every dinner. My daily consumption of alcohol was about 65 g. Breakfast was rolled oats + cup of coffee. Lunch was usually hot drink as well. Then for dinner, I was cooking soup + beans and lentils mixture (which was cooked for at least one hour). That's one hour of this stop start heating technique.

If just using Backcountry meals, which require just boiling water and then reconstituting with pot cozy, then in my opinion, this stove would perform very well.

As you can see, I consider a pot cozy essential for use with this burner so this needs to be factored into the weight. I use a replacement Jet Boil pot cozy (purchased from Anaconda) which fits the 700 mL pot. Needed to trim a bit of the top of the cozy to suit smaller height of Snow Peak pot. That weighs 41 g so the combined weight of the burner + pot cozy is about 71 g. I also use a windshield which in my case is a 4 Dog Stove (purchased Internet from USA) titanium windshield which is sized to suit the 700 mL pot.

I did comparison walk with the Trangia burner and using same windshield. Also in the snowy Mountains. I got exactly the same daily consumption of alcohol with the Trangia burner as I had with the Vargo burner.

I have found that the Trangia burner simmers very well and I could have the Trangia burner simmering for the entire hour of cooking time for the lentils/beans and still come within the same 65 g per day usage of methylated spirits. Therefore my thinking is that maybe pot cozy not required when using Trangia burner with it simmering ability. So that brings the weight of the Trangia burner to be slightly less than the Vargo burner + pot cozy. Haven't tried it yet but maybe next time of take the Trangia burner without its lid and pot cozy. I now know how much fuel I need per meal so I'll just pour that amount in at the start of the meal and have virtually zero left over at the end of the meal. Therefore won't need the lid to save the surplus fuel in the Trangia burner between meals.

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I was using for truncated aluminium cone to raise the height of the burner so I could put the two titanium skewers at near the top of the windshield and allow the candle of the pot to sit above the top rim of the windshield. Otherwise cannot use handle of pot to lift pot off the burner.
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I find that if distance between burner and bottom pot is about 25 mm then I get blue flame and minimal deposit of soot on the bottom of the pot. When burner going full power then yellow flames can be licking up above the lid of the pot, especially if there's bit of breeze fanning the flame.
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