Cooking with a Trangia

Old School: How to cook with a Trangia

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Apr 2013; updated Apr 2023.

A Trangia is lightweight and simple. We recently re-discovered our Trangia. Great for day camps, picnics, canoe trips, bike trips, ...

Using a Trangia is easy

A Trangia is a light-weight aluminium cooking 'system' that traditionally burns Methylated Spirit, or 'Meths,' that you cook over.

I call it a 'system' as your Trangia set comes with pots, pans, a kettle, a burner, and a windshield.

We recently rediscovered our Trangia.

Anyone who went camping with Scouts, Guides, or School may remember using a Trangia. With all the gas and multi-fuel stoves, you may have thought it was a thing of the past.

Well, think again.

We recently rediscovered our Trangia. There are also a lot of new models from Trangia as well.

How to cook with a Trangia

How to cook with a Trangia

Cooking with a Trangia is easy.

Unpack your Trangia and find the stand.

This is the bowl with holes in it. Turn it upside down and place it on level ground.

Unscrew the burner and slot it into the hole.

Fill the burner with Meths, but don't fill more than 3/4.

Light the meths in the burner.

The flame will be difficult to see, so keep the little people away.

Find the windshield.

This is the largest bowl with a big hole and clips on the side. It slots onto the base and does a good job of protecting the flame from the wind.

One of the lids of the Trangia's burner has a sliding top.

You use this to control the amount of flame.  Set it and place it on top.

Warning: it does get hot (of course), so use the tongs/pot handle to adjust if necessary.


You can use a kettle, frying pan, or pot, depending on which Trangia set you have.

Once finished, put out the flame.

One of the lids with the burner can seal the Meths in the burner (when cooled).

(see notes below on carrying Meths).

Why use a Trangia?

Compared to the easily adjustable burners of modern lightweight camping stoves, cooking on a Trangia can be clunky (but note that adjusting some lightweight stoves is sometimes all or nothing anyway).

The modular Trangia system

The modular Trangia system

  • The Trangia is very simple with no moving parts.
  • It has a built-in windshield. Anyone using a small backpacking burner without one is just wasting fuel.
  • It comes with pots and pans that pack inside one another like a Russian doll, which saves on space.
  • It is very lightweight.

Would we use it for family camping? No, we would have our kitchen and campfire.  However, for day camps or picnics, where you might, hike somewhere and stay the day, it's ideal for throwing in the backpack and also ideal for any canoe or bike tours and a solution for making a brew or warm food.

Buying and Carrying Meths

You can buy meths from most DIY or hardware stores.

It usually comes in a plastic bottle, but that's the problem.  Plastic bottles tend to get crushed in backpacks, split, and leak.

Meths is not something you want leaking.

The solution is to get a liquid fuel bottle.

There are lots available on the market, including one from Trangia.

Types of Trangia available

The 'standard' Trangia set is the 25 or 27. This gets you the burner and stand, windshield, kettle, two bowls, and a frying pan.

The pans are aluminium, so if you burn things, you may need to scrub them.  However, Trangia also does a non-stick version or hard-anodised pans for less weight.

You can also get a 'mini' Trangia Triangle to go ultra-lightweight.

You can revive an old Trangia - lots of parts are available

If you have an old Trangia somewhere, and perhaps the burner has seized up or some pans have seen better days, you can buy individual replacement parts... or even add enhancements such as a gas burner.