After receiving a comment on the blog on the performance of the Vargo Triad stove, I realised that I hadn’t reported back following my first impressions (and setting fire to my hand following some carelessness with the Meths).
As you can see from the pictures, it now forms part of the lightweight brew-kit, which I take on overnight trips. On the basis of the stove’s performance on the hill, I will restrict use to during Spring, Summer and Autumn, though, as I am not convinced of its four-season effectiveness.
Based on using the stove over the last two to three months, I have a number of observations, although I should point out that I have not used it with Esbit tablets.
One of the major issues with using the Vargo is finding an appropriatefuel bottle. It is nigh on impossible to fill the stove via the perilously small filling aperture with a standard plastic Meths bottle. Vargo do supply their own – available from ultralightoutdoorgear.co.uk – although I came across my solution be accident.
I happened to purchase a collection of Nalgene bottles for various odds and sods for our car camping trips and found an (almost) ideal solution. In the pack were two bottles with flip-top pouring spouts similar to the Vargo model.
These, I feel, are essential for the safe, controlled filling of the stove. I have housed Meths in these bottles for a couple of months now with no leakage problems.
It almost fits inside my Alpkit MytiMug along with the stove – both in a small sealable plastic bag as an extra measure.
Other essential additional kit is a windshield which I’ve cut from some fine gauge foil sourced from Backpackinglight.co.uk It is likely that this additional measure would not be needed with a homemade ‘Coke can’ stove or one of the similar proprietary units as these are hard to blow out.
Finally, I’ve taken some pliers to the stove to carefully splay the pan supports further apart to support my Alpkit mug.
As far as boil times are concerned, they vary greatly in accordance with conditions.The best for a mug full (750mls) was 17 minutes. Figure more on 20-25 mins for a pint of tea… or for a more normal brew and enough to re-hydrate an Expedition Meal.
I have never primed the stove by placing a cap of fuel underneath. This gets the little perimeter ‘jets’ burning more quickly (within a minute in some cases) and thus speeds the boil times.
Total weight for my kit including fuel for a night, pot, and stove comes in at less than 300g. Of course, using a smaller Ti mug could reduce this. The weight compares very well with a gas solution (Pocket Rocket), but over a number of days the benefits become negligible in terms of the weight of Meths v gas canister equation.
On reflection, the stove is very neat but has limitations. That said, it’s never blown out, lights easily, cools very quickly and offers a compact water heating option that can be used in a tent porch, if you are careful.
This has to be weighed against the convenience and efficiency of gas, though.
Given other product now available on the UK market, in particular the Caldera Cone, I can’t honestly recommend the Triad.