- Light pans
- Small form factor
- Heavy burner
I bought my mini Trangia 28-T for £18 from outdoorgear.co.uk in May 2016. The neat stacking design, coupled with the low weight and price made the 28 stand out from the crowd straight away. After dozens of overnighters and a few weekend trips I need to make some changes to save weight, but my cooking experience has been overwhelmingly positive.
The pot, pot stand and frying pan are made from aluminium with the burner constructed from brass and the handle a lightweight alloy. The aluminium construction means a slight drop in durability over some titanium counterparts, but the reduction in price and similar weight more than makes up for that in my opinion.
The Aluminium pot is immediately recognisable as the design as featured in the larger Trangias which have become famous for standing up to all of the bumps and scrapes that occur in outdoor life. I have seen several trodden on or sat on, bent completely out of shape, before being pushed back into a rough circle and chucked back on the fire. Having used my mini pot on gas, alcohol and coals, I have no doubt that this smaller Trangia will stand up to the same punishment.
The frying pan is aluminium coated with non-stick coating which looks and feels quite fragile. Trangia provide you with a sheet of thin plastic to protect the coating from the sharp edges of the pot stand and handle stored inside, this hasn’t stopped chipping where the pan clips over the lip of the pot. Perhaps more of a design flaw than a quality issue, it is rather annoying and now it is chipped it will only get worse.
The burner, pot stand and handle are all solidly constructed; the burner and simmer ring fit together in a satisfyingly snug way; the handle, while flimsy, is actually surprisingly resilient and doesn’t buckle even when the pot is full of water; and the pot stand provides a rigid base for stirring and mixing over heat.
The first feature that stood out to me was the tiny form factor of the packed 28. Everything fits neatly inside the systems pot with the frying pan over the top holding all of the components securely in place with room enough for teabags and 4 or 5 porridge packets to spare. Being able to pick up one 15cm x 6.5cm item and know that you have packed your entire cookset in one go is fantastic.
The slimmed-down 0.8 litre pot of the mini coupled with the same brass burner as a larger Trangia leads to a much improved boil time, in my experience it takes around 6-7 minutes to boil 1 litre of water. This reduced capacity has also allowed for a slimmer handle design which eliminates the chance of miss-gripping the pot rim and dropping it, which I used to do a lot with the old design.
The only item which hasn’t changed in design from the larger Trangias is the burner itself. It provides a stable temperature, doesn’t spit at all and the rubber-lined cap stops alcohol leaking through your backpack, but at 115g it makes up more than a third of the total weight. I am definitely going to swap the burner out for a homemade coke can stove in the near future and probably leave the frying pan at home too which will reduce the weight to ~200g. But if I’m changing the burner, leaving the pan (and lid) at home, why bother with the rest of it at all? Why not just buy a pot separately and make a stove to begin with? Well…
The market for alcohol stoves is limited. It essentially boils down to Trangia burners, designs that look a lot like Trangia design knock offs, or simple stoves made from cans which seem expensive given that you could make them yourself for next to nothing.
If you want to go ultralight straight away and have a tight-ish budget, I have only heard good things about the stormin stove system at roughly £20 and 68g. Paired with a Mytipot which is £29 and weighs 94g and a homemade can stove you can achieve a system weighing just under 200g for £49. But hold on, we already had this with the 28 if you leave the frying pan at home and swap out the stove, all for only £24.
If you want to try a knock off Trangia design there are many. The ones I have seen weigh up to 100g more than the 28 burner and pot stand, and once you factor in the cost of a pot too they aren’t much cheaper, if at all.
Ultimately, unless you make your own can stove, chicken wire pot stand, tinfoil wind guard and repurpose an aluminium mess tin as your pot, it’s going to be very hard indeed to find a system as light and functional as the 28-T for anywhere near the price.
As soon as I opened my bottle of meths for my inaugural meal with the 28 I was struck with flashbacks to my scouting days. Stuck on the side of a hill in darkness, three people around a Trangia 25, bodies positioned awkwardly in an attempt to shield the flame from the wind, hungry tempers flaring as pasta floating in a litre of water began to simmer lazily after more than 15 minutes of waiting. I realised I may have made a huge mistake investing in another product from the same designers but a few meals in I realised most of my fears were misplaced.
For less money than a single titanium pot you get a complete, convenient, collapsible system. Most of the components of the system are handy to have around to use on their own; the pot and handle do well on a gas stove, the stand and pot do well on their own with a different burner, the pot alone cooks on an open fire, the handle fits any pot with a lip. It’s one of those kits that is so versatile at least one piece of it will end creeping its way into your pack wherever you are heading.
The 28 makes for a brilliant starting stove for a new solo backpacker or a decent ultralight option if you swap out the burner, all for less than the price of a single titanium cooking pot.