Alcohol stove tips - A seriously light option for cooking on trail

Alcohol stoves are a super light way to carry the capability of cooking a hot meal, but there are some things you need to know to use them more effectively.

Here's a video I made that might help you out some if you don't know much about using alcohol stoves yet. I go over pretty much everything I know about alcohol stoves. One of the great things about alcohol stoves is that you can find something to burn for fuel almost anywhere. In my video I had been testing one of the least efficient fuels and still had decent results.

Building your own alcohol stove is incredibly simple. I make foolproof alcohol stoves out of small tin cans for cents on the dollar when I need a stove. 

All alcohol stoves are not created equal. Some alcohol stoves are unnecessarily heavy from the manufacturer. The lightest options will usually work just as well as the super heavy ones and cost about the same price. The design of your alcohol stove affects many aspects of its performance.

Regardless of what stove you end up using, you'll probably want a wind screen and an alcohol fuel storage bottle that won't leak to use with it. A small mouthwash bottle with "XXX POISON XXX" written on it seems popular. Smaller dropper bottles and squirt bottles work too. 
I don't recommend keeping fuel in ANY bottle that looks like a drinking container. 

When its cold, keeping your fuel bottle and lighter next to your body for a few minutes before you try to start cooking will help get your stove going a little more easily. Cold/windy conditions can be a little annoying with alcohol stoves, but you'll get the knack of it pretty quick. When it's really, really windy you can hold a bigger piece of gear like a foam sit-pad and help your windscreen block the wind.

A lot of people prime their alcohol stoves by dousing the entire area with fuel and light the picnic tables and shelter floors on fire making weird marks and depressions on the wood. Please don't do this, it saves like 10 seconds max. People have done a lot of damage to very nice shelters and picnic tables in the middle of nowhere on the trail out of pure thoughtless impatience. Repairing these shelters and replacing these picnic tables would take a huge effort, whereas lighting your stove and waiting a few more seconds for it to prime takes none.

Two small lighters are better than one big lighter since you are cooking your food and need the redundancy of a backup lighter. Lighters can stop sparking on you very randomly sometimes. 

Have fun trying alcohol stoves out!