When camping, Vin and Gwen use an alcohol stove. These are much lighter and quieter than more conventional camp stoves. We personally enjoy our soda can stoves—they’re an interesting way to recycle, lighter than any other stove and have no movable parts to break. Instructions on how to make your own stove can be found at PCThiker.com. We have found that approximately one ounce of pure ethanol (200 proof) will boil two cups of water (to a rolling boil) in five and a half minutes, and burn for a little over seven minutes total. This is definitely the best fuel for an alcohol stove, but we suspect most of you don’t have access to it. That’s the beauty of an alcohol stove though, it will burn any type of alcohol you can find (The most common back up fuel is HEET, found in almost any automotive store). And if you choose to carry Esbit tablets or a similar product, they can be burned on an upside soda can stove (so we’ve been told…).
If you want an alcohol stove to be efficient, warm the alcohol as much as possible before lighting it (i.e. keep it close to your body on winter days), and use a windscreen. A lot of people have experimented with this idea and devised altoids can stoves, improvements on soda can stoves, and other innovations. It’s up to you to balance the extras with the weight you have to carry.