The Vargo Triad XE Alcohol/ESBIT Triad Stove 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.
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.
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