Home / Gear Reviews / Vargo Titanium Triad XE Alcohol/Esbit Stove

Vargo Titanium Triad XE Alcohol/Esbit Stove

Vargo Titanium Triad XE Alcohol Stove

Last weekend I brought a Vargo Titanium Triad XE alcohol stove on my 3-day Zeta Pass to Mt Washington backpacking trip on the AT. It was the first time that I’d used an alcohol stove in about a year. Before that I had been a big fan of ultralite alcohol stoves, but for shorter 3-season trips in the past year, I’ve either gone without a stove altogether, or used a titanium canister stove for convenience and speed.

The Triad comes in two pieces. The stove itself is a hockey puck like capsule, perforated on the top with a ring of tiny holes. The puck holds up to 1.75 oz of fuel and burns for 30 minutes. Boil time for 2 cups of water is about 6-7 minutes. The puck sits in a detached stand that has legs that you push into the ground to stabilize the stove and arms which hold your pot above the flame at the apex of the where it is the hottest. The stand itself can also be used alone as an esbit stove and has additional holes around its perimeter for better airflow if you use it for burning fuel tabs.

There are a couple of reasons why this stove caught me eye and I wanted to try it out. First off,  I really like the design with its built-in stove stabilizers and pot stand. Many if not most alcohol stoves lack both of these features, but they’re really helpful in practice. How many times have you had a pot full of water keel over because your stove was not anchored to the ground? Too many, for me.

On top of that, the pot holder suspends your pot at the apex of the flame where it is hottest. Larger pots sit on top of the 3 pot supports. Smaller diameter pots, like the Snow Peak 700 I took on my last trip, slide down inside the supports a bit, but the pot is still suspended on top of the flame, where it is hotter.

The other thing I like about this stove is that it primes really easily. I’ve had problems getting most of the other alcohol stoves that I own lit which can be a real drag when all you want to do is eat and crash. In order to prime the Triad, all you need to do is pour some alcohol on top of the puck and light it. This works every time like a charm, even in the wind. I’m a convert – I like this stove.

For you gram weanies, the Vargo Titanium Triad Stove is a bit on the heavy side at 1.06 (30 g) oz but that includes the pot and stove stabilizer stand and the option to use the stove system as a dual fuel / esbit system.

When not in use, the legs and pot stabilizers are hinged and fold down over the puck and bottom of the stand making it easy to fit the entire stove and your wind screen into a small pot like the Snow Peak 700. I have not succeed in breaking the hinges yet, so I don’t know if they can take a sustained beating, but time will tell.

Vargo Triad Stove

After my experience with the Triad this past weekend, I am seriously thinking about bringing it on my 9 day, 100 mile wilderness trip on the Maine Appalachian trail later this summer. That’s quite a turnaround for me, since I had pretty much written off using an alcohol stove again for summer hiking.

Disclosure: The author owns this product and purchased it using their own funds.


The following online retailers sell this product:

Most Popular Searches

  • vargo triad xe review
  • vargo triad xe
  • esbit alcohol stove

10 comments

  1. The triad has proven to be a boondoggle. It will barely boil 1/2 liter of water with a full fueling — in my kitchen on a warm day. I wouldn't trust a multiday trip to it. Check out the reviews on REI's website for concurrence.

  2. I've had a totally different experience with it. I own about a dozen alcohol stoves and I like it the best. I'm about to take it on a long trip. The built-in potholder is great and its primes very reliably. The only other alcohol stove I own that even comes close is the Brasslite for many of the same reasons. Yep – they're heavier but I go for a reliable start with minimal wasted fuel.

  3. i'd listen to Scott – the entire line of Vargo Ti alcohol stoves are not good performers – if you need a commercial alcohol stove, get a Trangia instead and you'll be much happier – and be able to simmer your food!

  4. Don't know who'd call it a boondoggle unless the commenter can't figure how to use it. Awesome unit! I'm getting 28 minutes burn and boiling up 250ml cold water in 7:30. Great unit.

  5. I'm with ian on this one – it's easy to think that an alcohol stove is crap if you don't prime it properly.

  6. I decided against a Vargo because of all the negative reviews on the REI website. I went with a Trangia instead and am very happy with the Trangia–lots of usable advantages over a Pepsi/penny alcohol stove (which I also have and like) and the extra grams are well worth it for the functionality. Trangia wastes less fuel also so you save weight/aggravation/convenience there as well. Love the Trangia.

  7. I've built and used many many alcohol stoves. My favorite so far is a tie between a "Pepsi-can stove" and the "Zelph Starlyte". The Zelph has the advantage of a built in pot support. For some detailed stove reviews check out:
    http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpacki

    Note: Vargo is on the bottom of the list.

  8. Using any alcohol stove requires tweeking it with the proper wind screen. When you do this you get a great result. I used a stove in which I made to hike the Maine to Mass section of the A.T. It was a 622 mile trip in which I got snowed on at Zeta Pass on August 12 2006. My little OIL can stove in which I made performed perfectly. It got down to 22 degrees that night.

  9. I bought this stove along with a lot of other items you reviewed, for my son, currently in Thailand for a semester abroad starting in a few weeks. I packed freezer bag food and snacks for 3 weeks. His goal was to explore the wilderness and not get sick until school starts! ( the reason for bringing your own food). The stove and the freezer bag system have been great, that combined with a solid water plan, and no sickness! All your information came in handy with the whole packing part of the trip too. Very restrictive these days on airlines, no problem, a lot of the principals I have been reading from your postings really made a huge difference in weight. Thank you!

  10. Glad things worked out. Thanks for the note!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *