It’s a calm early evening, the sun is thinking about setting behind the trees, you’re knackered from a day chasing sheep and all you want to do is relax outside your tent with a cuppa and a copy of Tractor Monthly.
But you’ve travelled light so there wasn’t room for the Aga or even the gas-powered four-burner stove, so you turn to your trusty Trangia 25-6UL. You fill the little gold burner with meths, wave a match over it then lose the hairs on the palm of your hand as you check for a flame.You slot together the two-piece aluminium stove, fill the matching kettle with water and set it over the heat.
If, for the sake of this review, you were boiling exactly one pint of water you would have a steaming mug of Earl Grey avec flies and grass in exactly 12 minutes 27.1 seconds with enough left over for a Bombay Bad Boy. I checked.
The 25-6UL is a nine-piece set-up comprising two non-stick saucepans (1.5l and 1.75l), a 22cm non-stick frying pan, the kettle – which measures in at just under a litre, and an upper and lower windshield.Tucked away in a plastic bag inside the kettle you’ll find the burner and aluminium handle so you don’t lose your fingerprints on the hot pans.Like a Russian doll all of this packs away in to itself – to the diameter of the frying pan and only as deep as the 10.5cm upper windshield, and is held securely together with the supplied webbing-type strap.It’s a nifty piece of kit and really quite light, weighing in at 1,170g according to Trangia. But because I have no idea what that means in the real world it’s easier to compare it to roughly two hardback Terry Pratchett novels. I checked that too.
As convenient and lightweight as this kit is, it also has its limitations because, as much as you’d like it to be, it isn’t the £6,000 range that takes up most of your kitchen at home. You might have two saucepans and a frying pan with this, but you still only have one burner. Therefore cooking anything remotely nutritious takes some forward-planning. That said, those Swedes at Trangia say the 25-6UL caters for 3-4 people… but we managed to cook a hearty meal for six thanks to the methodical Mrs Muz and some clever juggling. I’m not talking about Pot Noodles either – we boiled rice, fried some veg, cremated some chopped sausage and heated some stir-in sauce. Delicious.
The point of this stove, other than its light weight and ease-of-use, is that you can use it in crappy weather thanks to the shields. The lower shield protects the flame from the wind and the upper shield shelters the pans and kettle from the same while keeping the heat in. Only the frying pan is anywhere near the top, and that’s only because of its diameter.
In order to take this away camping with us recently we bought a couple of branded accessories – a little orange bag to keep the thing in and a 500ml fuel bottle.And it’s with the bottle that I have two suggestions for the developers (other than tell someone to bring the £12.50 price tag down).
The first is to make it 14.63% bigger. A standard serving of shop-bought methylated spirits is 500ml and because you have to leave breathing space at the top of the bottle for the clever pouring mechanism you can only get about 450ml in, meaning an annoying 50ml or so is left over.
The second suggestion is to design an opaque window in the bottle so you can see how much you’ve got left. As things currently stand it’s all guesswork and the bottle is so thick that even if you peer inside you’re still not sure what’s going on in there.SUMMARY: All-in-all this is a well-designed piece of camping kit. It’s fairly lightweight, heats up quickly, the fuel is cheap, and it packs away reasonably small. Just don’t expect a gig on Masterchef with it. This review would carry five hammers if it weren’t for the price tag for what is, essentially, a few bits of pressed aluminium.
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