Empowering The Bicycle Traveler

Cook Stoves for Bike Touring

Back in the day there were not a lot of choices in lightweight backpacking or bike touring stoves. The bike hermit used (and still has) a Svea brand stove. Aside from being dangerous, unreliable, inconsistent, inefficient, heavy and difficult to use, that stove is great. Nowadays there is a better selection of stoves from which to choose, with various models burning everything from white gas to isobutane/propane to denatured alcohol to sticks. The different fuel sources all have pluses and minuses and most people will have a preference for one or the other based on their own demands.

My most recent experience has been with the Primus EtaPowerTrail EF Stove

Primus EtaPower stove in use. The black knob on the line attached to the top of the fuel canister allows for flame adjustment.

This is an isobutane/propane stove so the fuel source is a sealed canister with a screw fitting for a fuel line which connects to the burner. The fuel is pretty easy to find at most outdoor stores and even Walmart, so even though you can’t fly with it or ship it, you can get it on route.

The kit I purchased includes the burner unit with fuel line , a base, a windscreen, a 1.7 liter aluminum pot with a lid and a pot handle.

All the parts

This is not the most compact stove available but it has some features I like.
-Relatively large and very stable base.
-Easy to light
-Great heat output Boils about 3 cups of water at 32 degree F. ambient temp. in about 4 minutes.
-1.7 liter pot is good for cooking pasta dishes or for making freeze dried food with water left over for coffee or cleaning.
-Separate, light, easy to use pot handle
-Piezoelectric start precludes need for matches

The burner unit snaps into the base.

The burner in place. The piezoelectric starter button is the black button in the lower right of the photo above

Base unit with burner attached, ready for windscreen

The windscreen sits on the base and is secured by rotating counterclockwise to engage the helical cut outs with the bases of the pot support wings. The wings are then folded down to provide a level pot surface.

Pressing the piezoelectric ignition button creates a current in the wire which is suspended over the burner plate and a spark generates between the end of the wire and the plate, igniting the fuel coming through the line from the canister. If the wire gets bent and is too close to the plate, no spark will generate and the wire needs to be re-positioned away from the plate surface until the spark is visible when the ignition button is pressed.

The space between the end of the wire and the plate may need to be adjusted to achieve a spark when the ignition button is pressed.

Even though this might appear to be a complicated kit, it is well made and durable. I need to be more diligent in making sure all the connections are tight between uses. The entire kit (minus fuel canister) weighs about 27 ounces or 765 grams. Now I see on the Primus website they have a stove that is slightly lighter but much more compact, the Primus Eta Lite

Primus ETA Lite Stove

The Primus ETA Lite Stove sets a new standard for compact, all in one backpacking stove… [More]

Price: $99.95

I think when it is time to get a new stove for Sky King we may be looking at that one.

1 comment… add one
  • Sky King February 3, 2011, 1:34 pm

    I think when it is time to get a new stove for Sky King we may be looking at that one – NOW that’s what I am talking about my own stove 🙂

    As someone who has backpacked for to many years to count, I fell in love with this stove the first time we used it. Granted it isn’t the lightest or the smallest but it works, and quickly. Early morning coffee is a breeze and I never end up with fuel all over myself


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