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Old 11-30-2010, 11:33 AM   #1
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Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

Does anyone here use an alcohol or alcohol/electric stove in their rig?

I'm laying out plans for some sort of kitchen/storage unit; something I could take in/out when it was needed. I'll want this unit to be mostly self-contained so there is no plumbing or auxillary tanks anywhere. Most RV stoves are propane that need a pressurized bottle that would need to be secured. I've been looking at single burner recessed alcohol and alcohol/electric stoves that could mount in a countertop and hoping someone could comment on their experiences. Here is where I'm getting my design ideas:

http://www.campervanlife.com/building/layouts

I know alcohol doesn't have the BTUs of propane but I'm just looking for something to boil water or heat soup for my g/f and I or just me rolling solo when stealth camping or the weather is bad. Most cooking would happen outside of the van with my Coleman stove as I don't want to load the vehicle with food odors. And alcohol can be extinguished with water so its a little safer.

Contoure Cookmate - under $200


There are alcohol and combo alcohol/electric units. The combo units cost $500+ while alcohol cost <$200. The 2 brands I'm finding are Origo and Contoure/Cookmate. Unless someone has an argument why the combo unit is better, I'm leaning toward an alcohol-only stove. If I'm in a place to run electric, I can keep a $20 hot plate from Amazon onboard for my electric needs and be ~$300 ahead for building the cabinet. Thoughts?

Thanks!
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Old 11-30-2010, 01:20 PM   #2
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Re: Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

Glad you claified Alchohol STOVE use vs. just plain Alcohol use....
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Old 11-30-2010, 01:52 PM   #3
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Re: Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

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Originally Posted by billwilson
Glad you claified Alchohol STOVE use vs. just plain Alcohol use....
I use alcohol all the time, just not as a fuel!
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Old 12-01-2010, 01:17 PM   #4
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Re: Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

I had an alcohol stove in my sailboat. As I recall it was a presurrized two burner. The boat and stove were old (about 10 years) when I got it and I kept it for 10 more years. The only problem I ever had with it was the pump for pressurizing - had to replace a rubber seal. You are correct regarding low heat generation, but good enough for boiling water. There was no need for a detector or special ventilation, though they warn against trying to use it as a source of heat...

Check google for marine alcohol stoves. Plenty of options and a fair price range.
http://www.defender.com/stoves.html

Personnally, I think I like the Contoure Cookmate double burner at $251. It's not a pressurized unit (a plus). It has a nice cutting board for the top too!
http://www.saltysmarine.com/index.ph...edaef8071a6006
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Old 12-01-2010, 04:40 PM   #5
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Re: Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

Something you might enjoy adding to the kitchen gadgets is a Contoure HeatMate. It is a very simple and safe alcohol heater/stove combo. . It is nice to take the chill out of the cabin air while boiling water for tea/cocoa in the morning.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:23 PM   #6
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Re: Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

If you have not used an unpressurized alcohol stove, you might want to make one out of a couple of tin cans and see if you are happy with the heat output. It is pretty meager even for just boiling water.
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Old 12-01-2010, 09:28 PM   #7
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Re: Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluedog225
...you might want to make one out of a couple of tin cans and see if you are happy with the heat output. It is pretty meager even for just boiling water.
My McGirlver of a wife has a collection of DIY tin-can stoves. Boiling a cup of water with a measured 1/2 oz of denatured alcohol with a penny-stove in 5 minutes is a fun experiment.
zenstoves is a favorite site for DIY alcohol stoves.
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Old 12-02-2010, 09:29 AM   #8
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Re: Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

and you can save $$ while keeping the countertop available when not cooking.

http://zenstoves.net/Stoves.htm
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Old 12-02-2010, 11:16 AM   #9
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Re: Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

Quote:
Originally Posted by accrete
Something you might enjoy adding to the kitchen gadgets is a Contoure HeatMate. It is a very simple and safe alcohol heater/stove combo. . It is nice to take the chill out of the cabin air while boiling water for tea/cocoa in the morning.
That Heatmate 5200 unit may be exactly what I was looking for! I was also looking into what my options were for heat/furnace but everything I find requires a good deal of money, propane or diesel and vents cut into the van. That was going to be a different thread at a different time.

I found the manual for the Heatmate and it looks pretty simple!

http://www.swego.com/store/pc/catalog/h ... 205200.pdf

I've used alcohol stoves before and have spent a good amount of time at the zenstove site. I'm a fan of the Spam/Potted meat can stoves and have made several for myself and friends! =) My fear with those being used in a campervan is that my g/f is clumsy and could see her knocking it off the counter when lit as they can slide easily.

This Heatmate could probably sit on a shelf under a countertop with a cutout above and drop-in cutting board (similar to the recessed mount stoves), creating a "recessed stove/heater" with enough clearance/airflow that it won't harm anything when cooking. I would set it on top of a counter for heating use. I'll have to look into it more. It runs from $80 to 170 online so the cost is well under other alcohol stove offerings (other than the Zenstone option)! Thanks for suggesting it!
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:20 PM   #10
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Re: Alcohol and Alcohol/Electric stoves? (van kitchen unit)

Quote:
Originally Posted by zuren
. . . That Heatmate 5200 unit may be exactly what I was looking for!
Yuppers on the model. It is handy imo. Also, and i'll try to upload an image sometime (i misplaced my digital camera during fall cleaning!) but here is the just of what i'll post in the picture:

The idea of utilizing the HM5200 + this simple hot pot from veryasia.com :



This fits snuggly into the HM5200 with side venting and center venting due to central chimney desing on the pot. Nice for cooking up simple stew or soup style meals. The brass handles are away/outside of the stove area and the bottom of the pot rests on the HM5200's pot-supports.
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