Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri Review. I’ve had an affinity for alcohol stoves since I first saw one around 2000. They are light and simple with no parts to break or clog. And they are quiet! So quiet, you can’t tell they’re running. I’ve used the pop can stove briefly, the fancy feast stove for two years, and the Trail Design Sidewinder Ti-Tri for 2 years. The Trail Design Sidewinder Ti-Tri is the clear winner in terms of stability, efficiency, and wind.
The first alcohol stove I used was a homemade pop can stove. Very clever but somewhat difficult to make and somewhat difficult to use. It had to be primed, eg warmed up, before it operated correctly, and it was VERY easy to spill your dinner with this stove.
Next, I used the Fancy Feast stove and I was hooked. Cheap , simple to make, simple to use, and requires no priming. With a homemade tinfoil windscreen, this stove worked really well.
Like the pop can stove, the fancy feast stove is a bit unstable. But I never spilled a meal in two years and I loved it. I’d probably still be using it if I hadn’t discovered the Trail Designs Sidewinder Ti-Tri.
The Sidewinder Ti-Tri stove is the perfect alcohol stove if you don’t mind spending $80 for a stove. With the titanium wind screen, the stove is stable, windproof, fuel efficient, and fast to boil (for an alcohol stove).
With all Caldera style stoves and windscreens, you order the windscreen to fit your pot. Currently, Trail Designs has 31 different pots listed.
The Sidewinder Ti-Tri stove is a multi-fuel stove: it burns alcohol, Esbit solid fuel tablets, and wood. I have used the Sidewinder Ti-Tri with alcohol only. But it’s nice to know that if I ran out of fuel, I could turn the Sidewinder Ti-Tri into a wood burning stove with the use of the two titanium stakes. You can also buy a wood burning kit that optimizes the efficiency of the stove in wood-burning mode.
The wind screen fits your pot perfectly and rolls up and fits inside the pot for storage. The 5.5oz fuel bottle fits inside the rolled up wind screen. You can fit the windscreen, fuel bottle, and stove inside the pot, very nice for saving on space.
The following video, made by Trail Designs, is a great introduction to the Sidewinder Ti-Tri stove.
You can order the Sidewinder Ti-Tri with the new Kojin stove or the original 12-10 stove. Both stoves work great, but I prefer the Kojin stove because you can set the pot right into the windscreen. With the 12-10 stove, you need to insert the included titanium stakes through the windscreen to hold the pot up a few inches; this makes the 12-10 burn more efficiently. See the image below.
Another advantage of the Kojin stove is that it’s spill proof; the stove is filled with a fiber that absorbs the fuel, similar to the old Zippo lighters. That also means you can screw the lid on the Kojin and save any unburned fuel. With the 12-10 stove, you can’t blow it out and there is no way to save unused fuel.
If you’re cooking for two or more people, the 12-10 is supposed to work better, probably because it can hold more fuel. I have, however, used the Kojin about 20 days cooking for two people and it worked fine.
The Sidewinder Ti-Tri is now the stove I use for backpacking and bike-packing trips, and I highly recommend it. It is very reliable and works well in windy and cold weather.
Keep in mind that alcohol stoves are best for boiling water, not for complicated cooking or food that requires a lot of simmering. For example, all of the meals I cook require only boiling water added to the meal ingredients, and then the meal soaks in the pot for 15 or 20 minutes with a pot cozy to keep the meal hot. There are however, plenty of stories of people who use alcohol stoves to cook complex meals. But that usually requires some kind of simmering device and more skill :)