Thursday, February 21, 2008

Stove and Pot Cozy Review

This is a two for one deal.  I'm reviewing my alcohol stove and pot cozy together.  Pretty simple combo.The inspiration for my alcohol stove came from Zen Stoves.  If you're a do it yourself kind of guy (like I am) then this is a great website.  My stove is known as a pressurized jet stove.  A really simple build, just take 3 aluminum cans and follow their template.  About 15 cans later I had my first working model.

I have since made two more models.  Experimenting with different numbers of holes on the top regulate burn time and the heat output.  The most difficult part is finding
 the compromise between the two that works for you.  For me it seems to be 20, however my next one will have 22 holes.

Here's the stove:  

The next thing to do was add my potstand and windscreen.  The grand total for that bit was around $7.00.

The nice thing about this stove is that it all rolls up into my pot.  Makes for a compact package.

My realistic burn time on this, about 15 minutes with 2 oz of denatured alcohol.  More than enough to boil a quart of water.  I was also able to fry some sausage, simmer dirty rice, and fry up some bread.  Plus I didn't have to carry extra canisters for fuel.  Denatured alcohol can be found at most hardware stores or some paint supply stores.  I'm told you can use Isopropyl Alcohol, but it doesn't burn as well due to a higher water content.

A great stove, with a great price.  Plus I have the satisfaction of knowing I made it myself.  It also goes along great with my pot cozy.

Pot Cozy

I know what you're thinking, what the *&^% is a pot cozy?
This is a pot cozy:
This is something so incredibly simple about this that you'll kick yourself because you didn't think of it on your own.

Basically, it is a piece of reflective insulation with a top and a bottom.  It doesn't have to be tight fitting, but make sure there are no gaps around it.  I basically formed mine around an older tupperware container.  For the insulation I used a cheap reflective windshield protector that was left in my barn by the people that owned our house before us.  The insulation looks like bubblewrap with a foil backing on both sides.  I then wrapped it with aluminum foil tape.

The purpose of this item is to save on fuel.  After you get your water to a boil, place it in your baggie.  Then seal this up in your cozy for about 10 minutes.  In addition to saving fuel, it allows you to either cook something else at the same time or focus on another task without the worry of leaving a flame unattended.

Also, if you're cooking something that takes a bit longer (in my case it was steel cut oats) you can boil your water the night before and enjoy it in the morning.  It worked out very well for me.  Or if you are cooking something like barley, boil up your water in the morning and enjoy it in the evening.

If you're going to do any freezer bag cooking, a cozy is a nice way to make this easier.  Not only is the cozy lightweight, but takes up a surprisingly small about of space.

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