Whether you own a wood burning Solo Stove and want a backup fuel option or you’re looking for a compact burner to take backpacking, the Solo Stove Alcohol Burner fits the bill. It’s relatively affordable, small enough to fit in your backpack, and requires less fuel than related products. Here’s what you need to know about the Solo Alcohol Burner.
The Solo Stove Alcohol Burner is a portable burner that uses denatured alcohol or methylated spirits for fuel. Its exterior is brass, and it weighs only 3.5 ounces. To use the burner, you’ll need to keep fuel on hand, but the overall size lends itself to compressed traveling.
Fortunately, denatured alcohol such as 95 percent ethanol is usually easy to find no matter where you’re traveling. However, you shouldn’t use rubbing alcohol as it doesn’t contain the appropriate concentration to burn as long as the manufacturer intends.
You can use the burner with the Solo Stove, in which it fits nicely, but on the trail or at the campground, it creates an open flame that you can use to cook or heat water. If you’re looking for a complete cooking set for backpacking, Solo created their stove set specifically for that purpose.
Apart from its compact size, what’s there to like about the Solo Burner? We’ve found that it lights quickly and burns hot, although it might be difficult to see the flames at first. Depending on the type of fuel you use, the fire may not become visible even though the unit is heating up.
While you may want to empty the fuel out while carting the burner around, it closes securely and shouldn’t leak in your pack or anywhere else. Although some fuel types have an odor, the fire won’t burn with an acrid smell the way some chemicals do.
This small unit is also helpful to have on hand in case of emergencies at home, whether the power goes out before you’ve had your coffee in the morning or you need to boil water for other purposes. It’s worth starting this burner up while camping so that you can have a hot beverage or a warm meal without spending hours tending a campfire.
If you have the Solo Stove or plan to purchase one, you’ll have the complete setup for cooking on the go or in the wilderness. If you do not have a stove, however, you’ll have to get creative with your cooking methods.
Because this is an open flame, you won’t want to place food or food containers directly on top of it. You will also want to avoid putting your food in the flame if you’re using denatured alcohol since there are additives in the fuel which are not edible.
Some users opt for food-grade alcohols, but the manufacturer doesn’t recommend it, so that’s up to your discretion. If you’re hoping for a pint-sized burner that will keep you warm at night, the Solo burner won’t help there. You will need to refuel often, roughly about every ten minutes if you’re using it with a full flame.
Also, the manufacturer claims that the twist on cap and O-ring combination seals the burner and prevents both leaks and evaporation. However, based on a few negative reviews, leaking does happen occasionally. Whether it’s due to consumer error or manufacturing issues, it seems that not all Solo burners are watertight.
At the Solo Alcohol Burner’s price point, there’s no argument that it’s a solid value for the money. With its small size and handy portability, you can start a fire practically anywhere. Even if all you have on hand is a bottle of Everclear, you can start a fire for warmth or food preparation.
Despite the burner’s small size, it includes helpful features like the simmer lid, which also extinguishes the flame when you close it completely. The fold-out handle keeps you from burning yourself, and the brass container is far more appealing than a DIY burner.
Important considerations to note are the proper fuel usage, as well as the adjustment of the flame. The simmer lid allows you to adjust the heat of your fire, but it may take some trial and error before you find the ideal strength for cooking or reheating food.
You’ll also want to ration your fuel, particularly if you’re traveling beyond the range of convenience or hardware stores that stock denatured alcohol. But if you frequently hike and camp, you likely have an emergency backup for any situation, and if you don’t, now is the time to consider it.
If you’re upgrading from a handmade can-type burner stove, the looks and the function of Solo’s burner will impress you. Even without the complete backpacking stove kit, the burner will become a helpful part of your camping kit, particularly in the wetter season when readily combustible twigs and wood are unavailable.
Further, it’s a small price to pay for a backup source of heat, although you may not want to rely on it for all your outdoor adventures. Especially if you have a full-sized camp stove to use, you may not choose the Solo Stove Alcohol Burner every time but having it for emergencies is worth the investment.
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