Trangia Camping and Hiking Stoves
For those in the know, 'Trangia' is probably just a household word, and it's assumed that everyone knows what they are. However, if you've never been on an overnight camp or extended hike in the outdoors before, why would you?
Well... if you are heading away on a hiking and/or camping trip, chances are you're going to want (or even need) some good, warm food at some stage during your adventure, which is exactly what Trangia stoves are good for!
We've put together a guide below to hopefully help you in understanding what a Trangia is, how to use it and what kind of food you can prepare with it.
First of all, Trangia's are fantastic for many reasons but it's also important to understand how to use them safely in the kind of environment you're in. So let's start with that!
As with almost anything that creates a heat source, if not treated carefully there could be a risk of starting an unintentional fire or an explosion, which in turn could lead to serious injury to yourself and/or others, so before doing any kind of cooking make sure the area that you're planning to cook in is safe (flat, clear ground or table), you're prepared (everything is nearby so you don't have to leave your Trangia unattended), and everyone with you is aware of your intentions to cook (ideally, your group would cook together, at the same time).
Traditional Trangia stoves require the use of Methylated Spirits for fuelling the heat of the Trangia, and it is strongly
advised that the fuel is carried appropriately and treated with care during the entire trip, due to its bad taste and
unstable nature if not handled appropriately. So on that, your Methylated Spirits needs to be carried using a proper
fuel container, such as the kind that Trangia make in a few sizes to suit your needs - you really don't want metho spilt
throughout your pack because you didn't carry the right kind of container.
Some might consider this a reason not to use a Trangia over other types of camping and hiking stoves, however with some simple measures in place, the use of Methylated Spirits is not only cheap, but more sustainable than some other types of stoves (as you can reuse the fuel containers over and over, unlike gas canisters).
Finally, just like all other hiking stoves, the burning of a fuel creates carbon-monoxide (which is poisonous). So quite simply, no cooking inside enclosed spaces, such as your tent! All cooking should be done either outside or in a space with plenty of airflow.
Okay, we're almost at the good stuff! Whether it's camping with your mates, school, family, or you find yourself as a leader in a group, before you set off on your adventure, make sure you have a clear plan for what you're going to cook, how much fuel you need (and who carries it), and even who's cooking each meal. Preparing for and knowing this information before you leave will ensure everybody knows what to expect and understands their responsibilities. And you'll be all smiles like the people above!
Okay, what you've been waiting for... how to setup and use your Trangia!
Parts of a Trangia
The Trangia is made up of 10 separate components, with the main sections being the fuel-well, the body of the Trangia and the pots/pans (picture left). Easily lost is the strap to hold everything together, so keep this in a safe spot.
The fuel-well comes in three parts, the fuel-well (listed Spirit burner in the picture) along with a screw cap to keep fuel after use and a controller lid for the strength of the flame. The actual Trangia itself comes in two parts, the bottom half holds the fuel-well above the ground and has small holes on the side to provide air to keep the flame burning.
The top half holds the pots and pans with metal supports inside that can be positioned either lower or higher in the Trangia to hold specific pots and pans. The top half also shields the flame from the wind but allows enough air for the flame not to burn out. The handle (or “spondonicles”) helps grip the hot pots and pans, as well as being a good tool to adjust the flame controller if needed.
Setup and cooking on a Trangia
Firstly, unpack the Trangia and keep everything within arm’s reach. Make sure to find a location that is hard and flat, this decreases the risk of the Trangia being knocked and causing an accident. Keep the Trangia away from tents and anything flammable. Screw the two windshield parts of the Trangia together, they should just lock nicely in place with the bottom windshield part on the ground, and the holes facing towards the wind for optimal airflow to the flame.
The next step is filling up the fuel-well with Methylated Spirits, keeping the bottle of spirits far away from the Trangia and establishing a ‘fuel dump’ (an area at least 3 metres away from the cooking area to collect and deposit fuel). Take the lid and flame controller off the fuel-well and pour methylated spirits to no more than 2/3 full - this might take some time as the fuel soaks into the baffles inside the fuel-well. To pour fuel out of the container, undo the red nut at the top of the bottle by twisting anti-clockwise, then tip the nozzle over the fuel-well and press down on the red nut to open the nozzle (see image above right).
Carefully place the fuel-well in the centre of the Trangia windshields, then light a match and carefully lower it to the Methylated Spirits. You may not be able to see a flame initially but heat will be generated when the methylated spirits begins to burn - you can check it is alight by hovering the back of your hand over the fuel-well at a distance to feel the heat, without burning yourself. Then, wait until flames are visible and place the (open-position) flame controller over the fuel-well using the spondonicles and adjust to the required heat - if you are simply boiling water, you do not need to use the flame controller. Never have the controller fully or near closed as that will put out the flame. Keep water nearby in-case of an unintended fire.
At last! Now pots and pans can be placed on the metal supports and cooking can commence. The fuel-well at 2/3 full will usually burn for approx. 20 minutes at full flame which allows ample time to cook most meals. All preparation should be completed before starting the flame to decrease time away from the flame and to be efficient in the use of your fuel.
Remember to keep someone managing the Trangia while lit at all times to prevent accidents. If you're working on the ground (like most people do when they're camping) sitting down with your legs crossed, facing towards the Trangia is a safe approach to cooking, Standing up or having your legs spread either side of the Trangia poses a risk as a Trangia could be knocked over, potentially causing injury. In circumstances where there is more than one Trangia in a group of people, a Trangia, or cooking circle is safe, fun and interactive. This circle means no people should be inside the circle, only outside, which discourages people walking through the middle and potentially tripping or knocking over a Trangia.
While cooking, ensure you don't leave the "spondonicles" attached to the pots and pans as they will conduct heat and get hot, making them unusable. Instead place them up-right in an A-Frame position on the lid to indicate that the Trangia is burning (see the image of students above).
Pro-tips for cooking with a Trangia
1. To help reduce or potentially avoid your pots and pans getting a layer of soot on the underside where the flame touches, a nifty trick is to add 5-10% water to your fuel mix (this could be done prior to your trip by pre-mixing the fuel container with Methylated Spirits and water, or by adding it to your fuel-well) - the downside to this is that your flame burns slightly less hot, therefore cooking might take longer.
2. If you're using the pan as a lid while cooking or boiling, be mindful of the condensation that collects on the underside of the pan, when you take it off will to put down, it can collect dirt, etc. - a way around this is to keep it off the ground using another pot, or use the pan upside-down as a lid, so the condensation collects inside the pan (instead of under it).
3. You can create a neat little oven by stacking a pot upside down on the pan (Mmm..... pizza).
4. If you don't want to burn and damage your pots and pan, make sure there is always something in them when sitting on the lit Trangia flame - if you look after your Trangia gear, it is likely that it will last longer than you!
5. Coconut oil is great for cooking with as it is less likely to burn on your pots due to its higher smoking temperature.
Cleaning and Packing
Firstly, when you've finished cooking, do not blow out the flame! This is likely to cause the burning liquid fuel to splash back into your face, causing serious injury. If you've done your maths and worked out how much fuel you needed to cook with, the ideal way would be to let the flame burn out. This also burns all the fuel in the fuel-well which prevents it from potentially leaking during storage in your pack.
If you want to conserve the fuel that is left, close the flame controller lid to smother the flame and let it cool completely before it can be poured back into the fuel container at the fuel dump - to open the Trangia fuel container, simply twist the black T-shape nozzles in an anti-clockwise direction and it will unscrew. It is important that you use the flame controller to smother the flame as using the fuel-well lid on a hot fuel-well will cause the rubber O-ring (below right) inside it to melt away. The result of this will be that your fuel-well will leak any leftover or stored Methylated Spirits into your pots and pans (ruining the flavour of all your future meals) and potentially into your pack.
Once everything has completely cooled, cleaning can begin - yes, it's always a chore, but will ensure your Trangia lasts forever.
To clean the insides of the pots and pans and any other dirty parts (excluding the fuel-well), soapy water with a regular cleaning sponge can be used. For the outsides of the pots and pans that may have soot on them or any burnt food, a steel scouring pad can be used to scrub off the soot and then be cleaned with soapy water. If you don't have a scouring pad, dirt (yes, from the ground) is a good alternative.
Make sure to dry all parts completely so nothing is wet when packing away your Trangia. The Trangia should look like the example (right) in which everything is placed inside properly with the strap tightly securing it all together.
All parts should fit inside each other, with the bottom windshield being the biggest, outermost element, and the top windshield, pots, spondonicles and fuel-well all fitting inside from largest to smallest. The pan then is placed on top facing down and the strap is secured around it.
But what can I cook using a Trangia?! - Menu Planning
Okay, fair question. Well... so much!
The best meals cooked on a Trangia are usually the ones that are pre-prepared. By doing the work before you leave, not only do you save yourself time (and probably rubbish/food waste), you can prepare some incredibly tasty food for consumption in the most unlikely of places (consider pre-mixing ingredients into single bags).
Things to think about when it comes to menu planning your hiking/camping trip include:
Weight of your food - is it sustainable to carry heavy foods such as sauces, lots of fresh vegetables and meats (and how will you keep them from going bad)?
How much energy you are going to use/need to replenish each day - the average person hiking for a full day will use between 3000 and 5000 calories, so ensure you are replenishing yourself with nutritious, fast burning and high energy foods in the morning, during the day and in the evening. If you want to work out close to exactly how much energy you will use in a day, check this out.
There are many incredible recipe ideas out there on the big wide web (internet) and Google is your friend, but here some links to get you thinking about what to cook, and how you can easily adapt recipes that you already know into suitable camping meals!
Mustard Chicken, Spaghetti & Meatballs, and Chicken Curry
Spicy Chorizo Calzone Pizzas, Coconut and Spinach Dahl with Bannock Bread, and Cottage Pie
Before you go, we need to talk about how to treat the environment while we're out on our trip, and what we eat and how we carry/dispose of it plays a part in that. Ultimately, if you've planned out your trip well it is unlikely that you have any food wastage (and not lugged it on your back), however if you do, be prepared to take it with you if there isn't a designated bin.
Only use the water that you really need, whether it's from your own supply, the group's, or a campsite water tank.
We encourage you to know and understand the principles of Leave No Trace, as following them will ensure you have a fun and safe time, while ensuring that the great outdoors can be enjoyed by everyone, forever. Check out this to learn more.
Enjoy the Outdoors!
Well, you made it! Congrats. We hope you now feel empowered to use a Trangia stove to its full capacity. Now, go and get prepping for your epic trip!
Date: 23 July 2021
Authors: Adam Chambers & Liam Crafter
Anonymous. (2020). How to Use a Trangia Camping Stove. WikiHow. https://www.wikihow.com/Use-a-Trangia-Camping-Stove
Forrestechs. (2019). Trangia Recipes: Applecrumble. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3UWxpP87dM&ab_channel=Forrestechs
How To Cook In A Traditional Trangia Camping Stove. (2011). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7THgi6urQNI&ab_channel=SportsAndOutdoors
Inverarity, P. (2015). How to use the Trangia Outdoor Stove. Snowys Blog. https://www.snowys.com.au/blog/how-to-use-the-trangia-outdoor-stove/
Kent Survival. (2021). Simple Camp Stove Recipes—Trangia Cooking. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ao2ytGT3_is&ab_channel=KentSurvival
Luke Hamilton. (2020). TRANGIA MINI RECIPES - OMELETTE SANDWICH. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=npJzKuuoZsg&ab_channel=LukeHamilton
Summit Or Nothing. (2020). 3 SIMPLE AND TASTY TRANGIA MEAL IDEAS. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM3cC1t39Xg&ab_channel=SummitOrNothing
Use your Trangia stove—By Trangia AB. (2012). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfZytJnTb4k&ab_channel=TrangiaTV
Figure 1: Old School: How to cook with a Trangia. (n.d.). [Photograph] https://www.google.com/imgres
Figure 2: Ebay. (n.d.). Trangia Fuel Bottle with Safety Valve—3 Sizes 0.3L, 0.5L or 1 Litre. [Photograph] https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/292012515914
Figure 3: The Heights School. (2019). Year 10 Heath & PE unit. [Photograph] https://www.theheights.sa.edu.au/index.php/2018/06/26/year-10-heath-pe-unit/
Figure 4: Easy Camping Food Recipe on Trangia Stove. (2016). [Photograph] https://vegetariskmatrecept.se/en/camping-food/
Figure 5: The Must Know Guide to Using a Trangia Stove. (2020). [Photograph] https://skipandjump.co.uk/how-to-cook-on-a-trangia-stove/
Figure 6: Cooking on a Trangia Success Criteria I can. (n.d.). [Photograph] https://slidetodoc.com/cooking-on-a-trangia-success-criteria-i-can/
Figure 7: Snowys Outdoors. (n.d.). Trangia Multi Fuel Bottles. [Photograph] https://www.snowys.com.au/fuel-bottle-2
Figure 8: luring_lisi. (2020). Pancakes for breakfast (Härjedalen, Sweden). [Photograph] www.reddit.com/r/camping/comments/hwjft7/pancakes_for_breakfast_härjedalen_sweden/
Figure 9: Smith, G. (2020). Trangia fuel shortage—CycleBlaze. [Photograph] https://www.cycleblaze.com/forum/88/
Figure 10: Smith, G. (2020). Trangia fuel shortage—CycleBlaze. [Photograph] https://www.cycleblaze.com/forum/88/
Figure 11: Stainless Steel Wool Scourer 50gm. (n.d.). [Photograph] https://www.mavensupplies.com.au/stainless-steel-wool-scourer-50gm~224
Figure 12: Scourer Sponge Single Pack. (n.d.). [Photograph] https://www.cleaningshop.com.au/contents/en-us/p9977_Scourer_Sponge_Single_Pack.html
Figure 13: WINC. (n.d.). Connoisseur Cotton Tea Towel Chequered. [Photograph] https://www.winc.com.au/main-catalogue-productdetail/connoisseur-cotton-tea-towel-chequered/86594378
Figure 14: Trangia Rubber O-Ring (pkt of 2). (n.d.). [Photograph] https://soc.com.au/product/trangia-rubber-o-ring-pkt-of-2/
Figure 15: WALLAROO CAMPING HIRE. (n.d.). Trangia Cook Stove—1 Night. [Photograph] http://www.wallaroocampinghire.com/store/p824/Trangia_Cook_Stove_-_1_Night.html
Figure 16: Leave No Trace. (n.d.). [Photograph] https://logos-download.com/59641-leave-no-trace-logo-download.html