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Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Brasslite Turbo 1D stove 2014 > Test Report by Kurt Papke

Brasslite Turbo 1D Stove

Test Series by Kurt Papke

Initial Report - November 15, 2014

Field Report - January 27, 2015

Long Term Report - March 24, 2015

Tester Information

Name: Kurt Papke
Age: 61
Gender: Male
Height: 6' 4" (193 cm)
Weight: 223 lbs (99 kg)
Email address: kwpapke at gmail dot com
City, State, Country: Tucson, Arizona USA

My backpacking venues have been a combination of Minnesota, where I have lived most of my adult life, and Arizona where I moved to take a new job about five years ago.  I have always been a "comfort-weight" backpacker, never counting grams, but still keeping my pack as light as easily attained.  I am typically a canister stove user, but have made my share of alcohol stoves from aluminum cans.

Initial Report

Product Information

The main purpose of this report is to test the alcohol stove.  However, the manufacturer kindly supplied an 8 oz (237 ml) alcohol dispenser bottle and an aluminum windscreen which are also sold on his website.  I will report on all three components of the system, but the accessories will be addressed only as needed.  The following photo shows the details of the stove in close-up:

Brasslite Turbo 1D stove
Close-up of the Brasslite Turbo 1D Stove

The entire system including the pot I will be using with the stove is pictured below, including from left to right the 8 oz (237 ml) alcohol dispenser, the Turbo 1D stove with my Primus Trek Kettle perched atop, and the supplied windscreen as-delivered that has not been trimmed nor holes punched for ventilation:

Cooking system

Manufacturer: Brasslite LLC
Manufacturer website: http://brasslite.com/
Model:
Turbo 1D Stove
8 oz dispenser bottle
Ultralight Windscreen
Year of manufacture: 2014 2014
2014
MSRP:
US $25
US $6
US $10
Color tested:
Brass
(only color available)
White
(only color available)
Silvery, i.e. raw aluminum
(only color available)
Materials:
Brass, stainless steel
(pot stand), silver solder
Plastic of unknown type
Aluminum
Size:
2.65 x 2.25 in
(67 mm x 57 mm)
3.62 x 6.25 x 1.75 in
(92 x 159 x 44 mm)
6.37 x 28 in
(162 x 711 mm)
Weight: Measured: 1.7 oz (48 g)
Listed: 1.7 oz (47 g)
Measured: 1.3 oz (38 g)
Listed: 1.3 oz (37 g)
Measured: 1.7 oz (49 g)
Listed: 1.7 oz (48 g)

The stove features listed by the manufacturer include:
  • Accommodates pot sizes up to 5 in diameter (12.5 cm) and 1 qt (1 l) capacity.
    Note that the pot I will be using is 4.5 in (11.4 cm) in diameter with a 1 l (1 qt) capacity, within the manufacturer's specifications.
  • Adjustable flame for simmering via the Simmer Sleeve.
  • Fits inside most cook pots (fits nicely in mine).
  • Brass metal components.
  • 6 minute burn time to bring 16 oz (473 ml) from 70 F (21 C) to boiling.

Features not called out on the manufacturer's website but obvious by observation:

  • Integral pot stand.  Messing with a separate pot stand has long been a frustration for me with my homemade alcohol stoves.
  • Flared base for stability.  I always found my homemade stoves to be quite tippy.

New features with this year's model:

  • Most solder joints replaced with tack welding, folding and stamped construction.
  • Fluted base pan eliminated to ease sliding the simmer sleeve, base is now concave to reduce conductive heat loss.

Initial Inspection

This unit is surprisingly sturdy.  I was a bit concerned from the photo that the wire cloth pot stand would be flimsy and easily bent, but it is very rigid and robust.  The simmer sleeve slides with slight friction, and seems to have natural "stops" built into it to make it easy to open the vents fully.

The flared base makes the stove very stable and unlikely to tip.  The base is slightly sharp, but not enough that I'm concerned with cutting myself.

The quality of manufacture is very high.  The stove is very symmetric; looking down from the top or bottom the unit is perfectly round.  The welds/solder joints attaching the pot stand to the stove seem very robust - they refused to come apart when I pulled with quite a bit of force.

Trying It Out

The stove comes with a full page of instructions for use, and the windscreen with a half-page.  Stove instructions included sections on using a windscreen, acceptable fuels, lighting instructions, using the simmer sleeve, and "tips".  I found the lighting instructions particularly useful, as this is the first alcohol stove I've used that required priming  and lighting through an air port.  The instructions were clear and easy to follow, though I would have appreciated an illustration or two for clarity.

I filled up the dispenser about half-way with denatured alcohol, put about 0.5 oz (15 ml) into the stove, squirted a few drops in through an airport as per the instructions, and lit it with a match.  It took off immediately, so I put the pot with 16 oz (473 ml) of water on the stove and wrapped the windscreen mostly around the package:

Trying out the Brasslite

Boiling was achieved in about 8 minutes.  I haven't optimized the windscreen yet for my pot, and it was open where the handle is, so that probably slowed it down a bit.  The pot isn't really optimized for use with an alcohol stove and windscreen, as it has non-removable handles that are plastic-coated.  Nonetheless, it worked very well for my very first attempt.

Summary

I am looking forward to getting the Turbo 1D stove into the field and seeing how it performs under trying conditions.

Things I Like So Far:

  • Good quality design and workmanship.
  • No need to pack a pot stand.

Things That Concern Me Upfront:

  • Will my pot tip and fall off the stove on uneven ground?  The integral wire pot stand is fairly narrow, so I'll have to be careful to position the pot on-center and not bump it while cooking.

Field Report

Date
Location
Trail
Distance
Altitude
Weather
November 13-14, 2014 Coronado National Forest near Tucson Arizona Romero Canyon
12 miles
(19 km)
2800-4500 ft
(790-1370 m)
Sunny, 40-75 F
(4-24 C)
Little to no wind while cooking
December 7-9, 2014 Saguaro National Park, Rincon Mountains, near Tucson Arizona Tanque Verde Ridge
23 miles
(37 km)
3120-7050 ft
(950-2150 m)
Hazy sun, 40-75 F
(4-24 C)
January 6-9, 2015 Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona Clear Creek Trail
31 miles
(50 km)
2643-7260 ft
(806-2213 m)
Sunny, 22-60 F
(-6-16 C)
January 24-25, 2015
Saguaro National Park, near Tucson, Arizona
Italian Spring Trail
24 miles
(38 km)
4000-8560 ft
(1219-2609 m)
32-65 F
(0-18 C)
Very windy

Romero Canyon

Brasslite in Romero CanyonThis was just a simple "get into the mountains" overnight backpack.  It was a little bit longer than my typical backpack up the canyon, as I hiked to a campsite that I like at a higher altitude.  The campsite is nestled down into the canyon so it is protected a bit from the winds, but it is up on a cliff that allows the cold air at night to drain down canyon and away from where I sleep.

My campsite eating area is shown in the photo at left with the Brasslite stove cooking merrily away.  Barely visible in the photo are the series of vent holes I punched into the bottom of the windscreen with a paper punch.

I measured out 1/2 oz (15 ml) of fuel by pressing on the sides of the alcohol dispenser bottle with the cap off, and poured it into the stove.  I squirted just a small amount into the reservoir of the dispenser, and dispensed it into the air ports per the instructions.  It lit right up with a match; I placed my kettle containing 16 oz of water (473 ml) on the stove, and wrapped the windscreen around the assembly.  It was calm enough that the windscreen was not strictly required, but since I am still learning how to calibrate my fuel usage with the stove I thought I'd be conservative.

Several minutes later my water was boiling nicely, and shortly thereafter the stove ran out of fuel.  Perfect!

I used the stove again the next morning to heat water for coffee.  I was using instant coffee, so I really didn't need to bring it to a boil, but I did so anyway.  It was a little chilly in the morning, about 40 F (4 C), and I didn't keep my alcohol warm in my sleeping bag, but everything fired up with no issues.

All around this was a very successful inaugural outing with the Brasslite stove!

Tanque Verde Ridge

Brasslite stove in Saguaro NPThis was a pleasant 3-day/2-night backpack up into the Rincon Mountains on a trail that I had a hankering to return to after a 5 year absence.  I cooked five meals with the Brasslite stove, consuming about 4 oz (118 ml) of alcohol fuel.  The photo at right shows the stove doing its thing on the trail, heating water for a ramen noodle lunch.  I temporarily removed the wind screen to be able to see the stove in action.  To the left of the stove & kettle in the photo is the alcohol dispenser laying on the ground; at first I was a little leery of leaks, but it seems to seal well.

Everything with the stove worked flawlessly.  I did scratch my head a bit on the first evening figuring out how to work the simmer ring.  I was making couscous, and after adding the pasta I wanted to simmer it for a while.  I ended up pushing down on the top of my pot while moving the ring with my titanium spork.

The red bandana in the picture was used to wrap the stove in when storing the stove inside my cooking pot.  This worked well to minimize any rattling or scratching from movement while being jostled around on my back in my pack.

By the end of this trip I was starting to get into the routine of using the stove, use was becoming natural to me and effortless.

Clear Creek

Turbo 1D in the Grand CanyonDuring the course of this four day trip I cooked a total of 8 meals using the Brasslite stove.  I filled the alcohol dispenser to the brim before I left, so I averaged about 1 oz (30 ml) per meal.  Conditions were mostly quite calm, but I cooked a few meals on exposed ridgelines where there was a pretty good breeze.  The Turbo 1D stove performed well under all conditions, both temperature and wind.

By the end of this trip I became very comfortable and confident using this stove. I have long been a little wary trusting alcohol stoves in remote areas of the backcountry; if my stove fails, I could get pretty uncomfortable eating raw food until I returned to civilization.  After this trip with the Brasslite stove, I am now ready to truly depend on it.

As can be seen in the photo at left, I now have a small "wrinkle" in the flange along the bottom.  I don't know how it happened, but it is strictly cosmetic and does not impact performance.


Pot Test

In late December, before I took the Brasslite stove back out into the field again, I wanted to test a few of the pots I have to see which one I should use.  The one I've been using so far is the Primus Trek Kettle.  I originally purchased this for my white gas stove for winter use, so its not really optimal for an alcohol stove.  It is very light, due to the titanium construction and has a non-stick coating.

I also have another aluminum pot, distinguished by its dimensions: it is very short and wide, almost like a frying pan.

In addition, I have the pot from my old Jetboil.  I thought it would be interesting to try the heat exchanger with the Brasslite.  I also like to carry this with me on overnights as I have the French Press accessories to make great coffee in the backcountry.

Lastly, I purchased a small Esbit titanium pot on sale at the end of the year to use with the Brasslite.

Here are the results:

Pot
Pot Material
Pot Width
Manufacturer's spec = 5 in (12.5 cm)
Boil Time (minutes) for
16 oz (473 ml) water
Pot Weight
Trek Kettle
Titanium
4.5 in (114 mm)
14
8.6 oz (244 g)
Wide Aluminum pot
Aluminum
7.5 in (190 mm)
10
12.3 oz (349 g)
Jetboil pot with neoprene sleeve removed
Aluminum
3.6 in (91 mm)
13
7.2 oz (204 g)
Esbit 750 ml pot
Titanium
3.9 in (99 mm)
7
3.8 oz (106.5 g)

My take away from this little experiment is that wider is generally better from the perspective of boil times, but of course things get a bit "tippy" with a wider pot.  Though my Jetboil pot was designed to work with its integral isobutane stove, the boil times were quite acceptable, the weight is good, and I had no tipping issues with it during the test.  It is at the other height extreme from the wide pot, so that presents its own susceptibility to instability if fully loaded.

Interestingly my Jetboil heat exchanger ring fits nicely around the Brasslite 1D stove stand, so it won't slide off.

My guess is the very thin titanium construction of the Esbit pot led to the nice boil time.

The point of this exercise was not to create a definitive boil timing study, but just to demonstrate the wide range of pot sizes, materials and designs that will work just fine with the Brasslite 1D stove.

Italian Spring Trail

bl07This was an overnight backpack along a new trail for me on a very windy weekend.  I cooked two meals with the Brasslite stove: dinner and breakfast.  Breakfast was just boiling water for coffee, but dinner was a Salmon Corn Chowder made from dehydrated vegetables.  It was the first time I used the simmer ring extensively.  First I heated the water to boiling, then added the dehydrated vegetables.  I covered the pot with a cozy, then left them to rehydrate for about 15 minutes, then added the salmon.  I then added 1/2 oz (15 ml) of alcohol to the stove, lit it, then closed the simmer ring fully.  I put the pot back on the stove until the alcohol burned off completely.  I didn't time how long the stove burned, but it was a *long* time (maybe it just seemed that way because I was starving!)  During the last few minutes the pot was simmering nicely.

Overall I rate this experiment with the simmer ring a success.  It brought my vegetables back to life, and warmed up the fish without overcooking it.

The picture at right shows the simmer ring in action with the windscreen temporarily removed for photo purposes.  As always, it is quite difficult to see an alcohol flame during daylight, but careful examination shows a wisp of a flame in the burner.

Somewhat visible in the photo is the fact that some of the ventilation holes in the stove will be open just slightly no matter how the simmer ring is adjusted.  The hole on the left side of the stove is open just a crack, the one on the right completely sealed.  If I adjust the simmer ring by rotating it slightly and closing the hole on the left, a similar sized opening is created by the hole on the right.  I don't know if this is by design or accident, but it seems to work just fine.


Summary

Over the course of the last two months I have become comfortable trusting an alcohol stove for the first time in my backpacking career.  My concerns with tippiness of the narrow diameter pot stand have proven to be unfounded - I have had no incidents of my cook pot sliding off the stand.  I've experienced good boil times with the Turbo 1D stove, no problems with lighting, and conservative alcohol fuel consumption rates.

The stove, alcohol dispenser and windscreen form a complete cooking system.  All I needed to add was a pot, some alcohol and matches.

Good Things:

  1. Lightweight, small size, sturdy.
  2. Good boil times, efficient use of alcohol fuel.
  3. I really like having the integral pot stand - this makes setup much easier than carrying a separate stand.
  4. No issues with pots tipping off the integral stand.
  5. Easy to charge with alcohol and get lit.
  6. Effective and easy-to-use simmer ring.

Reservations:

  1. Very difficult to blow it out: good in windy conditions, not so good if I want to save excess fuel.

Long Term Report

Date
Location
Trail
Distance
Altitude
Weather
February 2-5, 2015 Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona Tanner and Beamer Trails
30 miles
(48 km)
2650-7400 ft
(810-2260 m)
35-70 F (2-21 C)
Mostly sunny, occasional hazy clouds
March 8-9, 2015
Coronado National Forest near Tucson Arizona Romero Canyon Trail
12 miles
(19 km)
2800-4500 ft
(850-1370 m)
40-70 F (4-21 C)
Sunny, light breeze

Tanner and Beamer Trails

bl08During this 4-day/3-night backpacking trip I cooked seven total meals with the Brasslite stove consuming 6 oz (177 ml) of alcohol.  I had no issues or concerns with the stove on this trip, it continues to perform very well.

The most challenging use of the stove is shown in the photo at left.  My campsite on the last night was atop Cardena Butte - the view was glorious, but the exposure meant the wind was howling through the campsite.  I made a makeshift windbreak using some flat rocks to protect the stove.  My thinking was to help the windscreen maximize fuel output, keep from having the matches blow out on me while lighting, and lastly to keep the stove and pot from tipping over in the wind.  As can be seen by the number of discarded matches in the lower left it took some doing to actually get the alcohol lit (note that these matches were left to cool, then transferred to my refuse bag to be packed out.  Leave No Trace!)

Despite the high winds, my water heated up in about normal time with the usual amount of alcohol fuel.

Another anecdote from the trip: on night one I shared a campsite along Tanner Beach with another hiker doing the Escalante Route.  He had a white gas stove, and as he pumped up his huge fuel tank, lit the primer to a roaring blaze, I mused on how much more compact and user-friendly the Brasslite alcohol stove was.  Of course there is no replacing a white gas stove for sub-freezing temperatures, but I rarely hike in those conditions anymore.

Romero Canyon Trail Reprise

bl09This was just a quick sub-24-hour overnight to get out and enjoy the wildflowers in bloom.

I tried something different with simmering using the Brasslite stove on this trip.

First, I used the stove with full heat to bring the water to a boil with the dehydrated meat and vegetables.  I let this sit for a while after the alcohol ran out so the food could rehydrate.

Then, when the stove had cooled down, I adjusted the simmer ring to fully closed, added another dose of alcohol, re-lit the stove, and added the pot with the dried rice on top.

This simmered for a long time.  Eventually the rice absorbed all the water in the pot, and I wanted to avoid burnt rice on the bottom so I removed the pot from the stove, which continued to burn for another five minutes or so.

This worked out very well.  I didn't have to attempt to adjust the simmer ring with alcohol burning in the stove.  It was a great meal.

Amusing anecdote: that night a Ring-tailed Cat snuck into my campsite, knocked over the stove, pot and windscreen, and stole my pot lid.  It was a beautiful animal, I was able to catch it with my headlamp, but I was not amused to have my new Esbit pot lid stolen!


Summary

My bottom line is the Brasslite Turbo 1D alcohol stove has become a trusted companion on my backpacking trips.

Good Things

  1. Extremely reliable and durable.  The stove has bounced around in my pack for four months now and has survived unscathed.  In my experience an aluminum stove would not have fared nearly as well.
  2. Performed well even in windy conditions.
  3. The stove itself is very stable on hard ground or rock.  I do have to be a little careful to not tip the cook pot off of it, but I had no accidents during the four months I used the stove.
  4. Lightweight.
  5. Good boil times.
  6. Simple, elegant design.  I like the built-in pot stand, and the simmer ring that I cannot misplace.

Room for Improvement

  1. I wish there was a way to make the simmer ring more easily adjusted, especially without burning my fingers.  Yes, I can press down on the top of my pot to keep the stove from spinning and use my spork to nudge the ring, but it is all a bit precarious and is enough of a nuisance that I don't use it as often as I'd like.  I have found a way to work around this (see my notes above from Romero Canyon).
  2. No really good way to save excess fuel.  The stove is very difficult to blow out (that is a good thing!), and if I do manage to get it out it is very difficult to pour out any remaining alcohol fuel.  This has not been a big issue for me - over the last few months I've become pretty accurate at predicting just how much fuel I will need, and rarely have anything left over.


Thanks to BackpackGearTest.org and Brasslite LLC for the opportunity to contribute to this test.



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