BackpackGearTest
  Home Guest - Not logged in 

Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Brasslite Turbo I-D > Test Report by arnold peterson

BRASSLITE TURBO I-D STOVE
TEST SERIES BY ARNOLD PETERSON
LONG-TERM REPORT
November 09, 2008

CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE FIELD REPORT
CLICK HERE TO SKIP TO THE LONG-TERM REPORT

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Arnold Peterson
EMAIL: alp4982(AT)yahoo(DOT)com
AGE: 70
LOCATION: Wilmington Massachusetts USA
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 8" (1.73 m)
WEIGHT: 165 lb (74.80 kg)
TORSO: 19 in (48 cm)

Backpacking Background: Presently almost all my experience has been hiking in New Hampshire, Florida, Colorado USA, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia Canada using an 11 lb (5 kg) day pack. I have backpacked on Mt. Washington and at the Imp shelter located between North Carter and Mount Moriah mountains in New Hampshire. The gear I will be writing about has been used a lot hiking mostly all year around in New Hampshire. I have completed the forty-eight 4000 footers (1219 m) of New Hampshire. My day hikes have been as long as 12 hours covering almost 20 miles (32 km).


INITIAL REPORT

PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacturer: Brasslite, LLC
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.brasslite.com
MSRP: $50 (Includes extensions)
Listed Weight: 1.9 oz (51 g)
Measured Weight: 2.0 oz (57 g)
Listed Height: 2.5 in (6.4 cm)
Measured Height: 2.625 in (6.7 cm)
Fuel Capacity: 1 oz (30 ml)
Weights Not Supplied
Measured Fuel Dispenser Weight: 1 oz (28.3 gm)
Measured Windshield Weight: 1.5 oz (42.5 gm)
Maximum Recommended Pot Size: 5 in (12.7 cm) Diameter
Minimum Recommended Pot Size 4 in (10 cm) Diameter
Construction Materials From Web Site
Body: 30 gauge. Brass Shim (0.012 in, 0.305 mm)
Inner Sleeve & Simmer Sleeve: 32 gauge. Brass Shim (0.008 in, 0.203 mm)
0.5 in (1.3 cm) Stainless Steel Wire Cloth
Medium grade jeweler's silver solder (melting point 1275 F, 690 C)

Product Description
The walls top and bottom are made with brass shim. The extensions are made with stainless steel cloth. The walls are cylindrical in shape. There are 3 walls consisting of a main wall which is the thickest and has 6 small evenly spaced holes near the bottom of the stove. These holes allow air to pass between the main wall and the inner wall which allows air to mix with the burning fuel. The outer wall is slightly larger in diameter and lower in height than the main wall and is provided with a tab to allow for controlling the air input to the holes in the main wall. This wall is movable and called the simmer sleeve. This is accomplished by 6 evenly spaces inverted V cuts from the lower side of the movable wall. The air passes upward between the inner walls and provides oxygen for the burning of the fuel. The extensions are a natural for this stove. They improve on the stability of the stove and extend the size of pot that can be used. Also included in the package was an 8 oz (0.24 l) alcohol dispenser bottle and an aluminum windshield. The bottle has marks to indicate fuel content in increments of 0.5 oz. There is also a small chamber formed in the bottle to measure up to 0.5 oz of fuel. This chamber has markings of 0.25 and 0.5 oz. The bottle is equipped with 2 screw on caps. One goes to the main part of the dispenser and the other flip up spigot which goes to the measuring part of the dispenser.
IMAGE 1
on cook pot bottom

IMAGE 2
small

IMAGE 3
top

IMAGE 4
windshield and tools

IMAGE 5
bottom

IMAGE 6
vent and sleeve tab

IMAGE 7
top closeup

IMAGE 8
fuel dispenser

IMAGE 9
measuring part of fuel dispenser

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

I was impressed by the small size. Stainless steel and brass, are durable and materials that will withstand heat and corrosion. The construction appears to be handmade, but well crafted. I am looking forward to using this stove in the field.

READING THE INSTRUCTIONS

All instructions are also available in their web site which is very useful when the ones supplied can't be found. Instructions were provided to prepare the Ultralight Windscreen for operation with the stove. Since pots vary the windshield can be customized with scissors and a single hole paper punch. The instructions explained about the proper fuel, lighting, use and adjustment of the simmer sleeve, and cleaning the stove. Once the stove is lit, all the fuel that is in the stove has to be burned. Manufacturer contact information was provided including mail address, web site and Email.

TRYING IT OUT

I started by filling the fuel dispenser with denatured alcohol. To avoid spilling I used a small plastic funnel. By squeezing the fuel dispenser with the flip spigot open, I was able to fill the small chamber to 0.25 oz (7.4 ml). I put a few drops in the preheat skirt, the remainder in the main opening of the stove, and then lit the stove with a wooden match. As soon as I was sure the stove was lit, by placing my hand above the stove as the flame was invisible. I placed my cook pot on the burner, which had 8 oz (0.24 l) of water. I then placed the windshield around the pot which had a lid. In about 7 minutes there was steam escaping from the sides of the lid. I opened the lid and saw small bubbles all over the bottom of the pot. I replaced the lid and monitored the heating by keeping my hand just above the lid and over the windshield. Within 30 seconds there was no heat rising. When I lifted the pot I could see that the fuel had completely burned. I was slightly above sea level and the temperature was 77 F (25 C). There was little or no breeze during the test. I was using a stainless steel pot weighing 9.5 oz (269 g) with cover. The diameter of the pot is slightly larger than the maximum size. I will be looking for another pot that has better thermal specifications and one that is slightly less than the maximum diameter.

TESTING STRATEGY

Now that I have seen the stove, I can see that I will be using it on long hikes in addition to all the backpacking trips I will be going on during the test. I will be looking at controlling the heat output for simmering. I will be looking at how well it will bring 0.5 liter of water to boil and maintain a simmer for several minutes. Initial testing will be done to determine the amount of fuel I will need to take on a backpack. There are a lot of factors that will have a bearing on this, including fuel quality, temperature, altitude and wind. I am expecting to encounter temperatures in the range of a high of 95 F (35 C) and a low of 40 F (4.4 C). Altitudes will vary from near sea level to about 3500 ft (1067 m). Humidity will vary from moderate to very high. Winds will vary from negligible to 20 mph (32.2 km). The backpacks I go on will last from 1 to 3 nights at this time. As I get more experienced this could increase. The hikes I will use it on will be the hikes where I expect to be hiking more than 5 hours and less than 12 hours. Locations will include eastern Massachusetts, northern and south western New Hampshire. Some parts of Vermont and Maine may be possible.

SUMMARY

This concludes my Initial Report. The Field Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.

My thanks to Brasslite and Backpackgeartesters.org for the opportunity to test the Brasslite Turbo I-D Stove.


FIELD REPORT

FIELD LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I backpacked and hiked in southern New Hampshire and hiked in eastern Massachusetts. Temperatures ranged from 60 F (16 C) to 95 F (35 C). There was little or no wind during this time. The overnight backpack in southern New Hampshire was mid July and the temperature was about 80 F (27 C) with no wind. I set up camp near a small pond and cooked on a nearby sandy area. I hiked an additional 6 times in eastern Massachusetts where the temperatures were between 80 F (27 C) and 95 F (35 C). There was little or no wind when I was cooking. I looked for cooking places that were either rocky or had mostly sand or dirt. Even though we had a lot of rain this year I prefer to be on the safe side. I had to cancel out of a 3 day backpack on the Monadnock Sunapee Greenway trail due to illness.

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

Preparing the windshield

After trying my alcohol stove a few times in the backyard, I realized the importance of the windshield. The first pot I tried was my stainless steel pot with a diameter slightly over 5 in (13 cm). From the diameter of the pot and the desired space between pot and stove I calculated the required circumference. I then made 2 slits on opposite sides of the aluminum, separated by the circumference calculated. I slid the ends together and the windshield was ready to put over the pot. I had the 1 inch (3 cm) space between the pot and windshield, but somehow I was not feeling good about this. These feelings proved right as testing progressed. I followed the directions provided and used a paper punch to make holes an inch (3 cm) from the edge and I spaced them about an inch (3 cm) apart.

Using the Brasslite Turbo I-D in the field

I was now ready for my first hike in Middlesex County Massachusetts. It was a bright sunny day and the temperature was about 85 F (29 C). At about noon I found a good place to have lunch. There was no wind during the cooking. I squeezed about 1/2 oz (15 ml) alcohol into the reservoir of the alcohol bottle. I then realized that while pouring I was also getting alcohol from the main part of the bottle. I opened the stove vent completely and then lit the stove with a wooden match. I placed the stainless steel pot containing about 1/2 L of water on the stove and then I adjusted the the vent to midway. After about 15 minutes the water started to boil. I then added Ramen and let it cook for 5 more minutes. I removed the pot and closed the vent completely and did not see much change in the flame. The flame continued to burn for another 12 minutes. I needed more practice on measuring and pouring alcohol into this stove. I added some chicken to the noodles and it was good. I did notice the some small pieces of wood under the stove had turned black during the cooking process. There had been rain the previous night and things were still very damp.

My backpack was in southern New Hampshire and was a 2 day with an overnight at the side of a small pond. I set up camp at about 4 pm so I would not have to deal with the insects which would be arriving in a few hours. The temperature was 80 F (27 C) and there was no wind. I was still a little sloppy in getting the alcohol into the stove and got more than 1/2 oz (15 ml) of alcohol. I closed the vents after it looked like the flame was going well. About 15 minutes later the 1/2 L of water was boiling, I added the noodles and cooked for another 5 minutes. I removed the pot and the flame lasted another 5 minutes. I added tuna to the noodles and this was also very good. the next morning the temperature was 75 F (24 C) and no wind. I put 1/4 L water in the pot and 1/4 oz (7 ml) alcohol into the stove. After about 7 minutes I could see some bubbles on the bottom of the pot I added the oatmeal and put the cover back on. About 4 minutes later there was no more heat coming from the stove. I let it sit for about 5 minutes and it turned out good. There was some sticking on the bottom, but stainless steel recovers well.

It was time for a more suitable pot for backpacking. I bought an MSR Titanium 28 oz (0.8 L) with a 4.75 in (12 cm) diameter with a weight of 4 oz (113 g). This was less than half the weight, taller, and slightly smaller in capacity and diameter. The handles on this stove fold around the pot. It was now time to add a second slit in my windshield to accommodate the smaller diameter of this stove. This time I positioned the windshield around the stove, made a mark and then made the slit from the position of my mark. The top of the windshield turned out to be level with the top of the pot.

The assembled windshield is almost perfectly round except where the the ends join. When the windshield is placed over the pot it means there is enough space between the windshield and the pot to place my index finger. The first time I used the stove with the new pot I lined up this space to where the folded handles are on the pot. This turned out to be a mistake since the extra space acted like a small chimney and made that part of the pot hotter than the rest, so when I removed the windshield the handles were hotter than I expected. I now place that space a quarter turn from the handles.

For the first hike with the Titanium stove I decided to do several hours in a forest in Middlesex County. It was a 90 F (32 C) with only a few clouds in the sky. I planned to practice making 5 minute oatmeal to prepare for an upcoming backpack. I used 1/4 L water, 1/4 oz (7 ml) alcohol, lit the stove, placed the pot on, and when the flame filled the top of the stove I closed the vents. I then slid the windshield over the stove. After about 5 minutes the water was starting to boil and I added the oatmeal. It cooked for about 4 more minutes before the flame went out. I waited another 5 minutes before eating. The oatmeal was cooked sufficiently, but there was some burning on the bottom of the pot. It seemed to be concentrated around where the windshield joins together.

I hiked 4 more times in the forests of Middlesex County. The temperatures were in the 85-95 F (29-35 C) range and there was little or no wind. Humidity was quite high on all these hikes. So far I have not had to prime the stove and I think that is because the temperatures have been high. I have stopped timing as I feel there are too many variables to try and make sense of the times measured. The amount of fuel is more important to me as if I don't have enough, my food comes out more chewy than I would like. Without being able to simmer with the alcohol stove and a Titanium pot I have used foods that use hot water to make and basically do the necessary cooking after the water has come to a boil. This eliminated any food sticking to the pot and makes cleaning up a lot easier. I have found that in the temperature experienced I was using 1/4 oz (7 ml) minimum alcohol for 1/4 L water and 1/2 oz (15 ml) minimum alcohol for 1/2 L water. My typical meal uses 1/2 L boiling water for noodles, which I then add things like tuna or chicken. I found that when I used 1/2 L water and after adding ingredients the mixture was still too hot to eat. I then started using less water during the boil and then adding some at the point where it was ready to eat except being too hot.
IMAGE 1
cooked oatmeal

SUMMARY

There is a lot to like about the Brasslite Turbo I-D stove. Although it is heavier than a soda can stove, it is a lot more durable and stable. The addition of the stainless steel hardware cloth and Z supports make for stability for pots up to about 5 in (13 cm) in diameter. When properly sized for the pot, the windshield adds more stability and improves the efficiency of the stove. The windshield funnels the hot exhaust fumes from the flame around the pot and the effect is maximized when the windshield is at least as high as the top of the pot. The stove, fuel and windshield are compact and easy to store in my backpack. I have used only denatured alcohol and found it to be very clean burning. The main limitation for me with the stove was not being able to adjust the level of the flame for simmering. This does limit the kinds of things I can cook without having the food stick to the pot.

TESTING STRATEGY

I will continue to use the Brasslite Turbo I-D as my only cooking stove for hiking and backing for the remainder of the test. With fall coming this may be a good way to have a hot drink when taking a rest break while on a bike ride or just doing work in the back yard or watching the grandchildren at some outdoor activity.

This concludes my Field Report. The Long Term Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months from the date of this report. Please check back then for further information.

My thanks to Brasslite and Backpackgeartesters.org for the opportunity to test the Brasslite Turbo I-D Stove.


LONG-TERM REPORT

LONG-TERM TEST LOCATIONS AND CONDITIONS

I hiked in southern New Hampshire and in eastern Massachusetts. I backpacked on the Monadnock Sunapee Greenway Trail in New Hampshire for a 3 day backpack that was in mid September with daytime temperatures as high as 85 F (29 C) and night time temperatures as low as 35 F (2 C). I hiked during the day several times in eastern Massachusetts when temperatures ranged from 50 F (16 C) to 85 F (29 C).

PERFORMANCE IN THE FIELD

During this part of the testing I added large paper clips to keep the ends dressed to the main part of the windshield. This was done mainly to help prevent my clothing from catching on the ends of the windshield. I learned during the 3 day backpack that I was using slightly more than 3/4 oz (22 ml) alcohol per burn, even though I thought I was carefully measuring 1/2 oz (15 ml) for each burn. I am not sure why except that there may be a discrepancy between the reservoir markings and the markings on the side of the alcohol bottle. It could also be that I am using more than I think for priming. I like to keep weight down but for this trip I brought 8 oz (237 ml) of alcohol to do 5 boilings, and I ended up using close to 5 oz (148 ml). There were 6 of us on this backpack and having the extra fuel to share is a good thing. There were 3 stoves other than mine, and they were all butane stoves. For this trip all my meals consisted of adding noodles to boiling water and adding 3 oz (85 g) of tuna or salmon. This makes for a good warm satisfying meal. The Brasslite is lighter and looked more stable than the other stoves being used. It cooks slower but not that much slower. If I wanted to do a second boil, it did take a few minutes for the stove to cool enough before I could add alcohol and relight the stove. For this backpack I stored the matches in a round metal case in the stove and the stove inside my Titanium kettle. I used a cloth to wrap the stove before putting it in the kettle to keep things quiet on the trail. I wrapped the windshield around my backpacking tent and this seemed to work well. Finding a safe place for the alcohol bottle sometimes takes a little longer. At the first site I managed to find a small flat stone to place the stove on. A flat stone about the size of my palm does the job well. At the second site there were blocks of timber left over probably from construction of the platform.

I used the stove on 5 day hikes during this period. This was an alternative to carrying an insulated container. The Brasslite Turbo I-D is lighter weight than a good Thermos and is going to provide a hotter meal or beverage, but mostly I find that when I boil something in the field it smells and tastes better. If the item is tea, or some kind of dried soup I can make the choice while the water is heating.
IMAGE 1
sunny field location

IMAGE 2
partially shaded field location

SUMMARY

I like the Brasslite Turbo I-D because it is light, durable, and clean burning. Because I found it difficult to simmer with a light weight titanium kettle, I used the Brasslite I-D mainly as a water boiler. I wish it were possible to monitor the flame while adjusting the air intake on the windshield. This might make simmering easier on light weight kettles. I found that when the sun was too bright to see the flame, I would open the vents fully and wait for steam, then add ingredients, stir and remove windshield. Then I would check fuel level and close vents according to the amount of fuel left. At this point I would be checking to make sure I was not boiling anything dry. Overall I am pleased and satisfied despite my simmering limitation.

CONTINUED USE

I will continue to use the Brasslite Turbo I-D for hiking and backpacking. With colder weather coming, this may be a good way to have a hot beverage or meal when taking a rest break while on a hike, backpack, or bike ride. It may also be useful while doing work in the back yard or watching the grandchildren at outdoor activities.

My thanks to Brasslite and Backpackgeartesters.org for the opportunity to test the Brasslite Turbo I-D Stove.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.

Read more reviews of Brasslite gear
Read more gear reviews by arnold peterson

Reviews > Cook Gear > Stoves > Brasslite Turbo I-D > Test Report by arnold peterson



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

If you are an avid backpacker, we are always looking for enthusiastic, quality reviewers. Apply here to be a gear tester.


All material on this site is the exclusive property of BackpackGearTest.org.
BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson