Last year, I found a treasure at Goodwill - an antique "motoring" basket. It was beautiful, mostly complete and in remarkably good condition - especially for its age. Motoring baskets are very difficult to come by. They hail from the halcyon days of motoring - when the journey itself was the true adventure and the destination was merely a pleasant diversion. The baskets came equipped with everything a proper family would require to enjoy their tea time whilst traveling - tins for sandwiches and biscuits, tea cups and saucers, plates, silverware and a kettle and burner for brewing tea. Even the basket itself was designed for the in-basket heating of water with nickel clad wicker around the burner assembly.
As I said, the basket was very nearly complete, but not entirely. One enamel tea cup was missing, but, more importantly, the tea kettle was missing. The original burner and water tank were in tact, but without the kettle, my basket was sorely lacking.
|The water tank nestled over the burner|
One day, flipping through The Sportsman's Guide, I came across what looked to be the perfect kettle. It was small, stainless steel, had a folding handle and best of all, it was inexpensive. I ordered the kettle and anxiously awaited its arrival.
|My new kettle - it is a perfect fit!|
Once the kettle arrived, I pulled my basket down from its perch and with Sir Knight's help, readied the burner for our first test run. I filled the water kettle with water, just to make sure that it didn't leak and proceeded to rinse out the alcohol burner. Water gushed out of the bottom of the burner! I had never closely inspected the burner - if I had, I would have noticed that there were numerous tiny areas that had small holes. These holes rendered the burner assembly useless. I was crestfallen! My beautiful basket was nothing more than a pretty face - and although I am a hopeless romantic, I expect everything I have to be not only beautiful but practical.
It was Sir Knight who saved the day. He suggested that we buy an alcohol burner. He knew of one that was based on a hundred year old design with a proven track record. The burner was small, so it would fit tidily into the basket and may even fit under the water tank just like the original burner. We ordered two burners (Sir Knight had always wanted one for his multi-fuel stove) and waited to see how they would work.
The Trangia Spirit Burners arrived within the week. At first I was a little concerned, thinking they were only designed to be used in a specific lamp or stove, however, my misgivings were unfounded as they performed admirably as a stand-alone unit.
|The burner is made in Germany|
|Sitting in my burner assembly|
|Merrily heating away|
|They burn denatured alcohol|
Sir Knight tried his burner in the multi-fuel stove and was equally impressed. It was easy to start, compact enough to transport and provided an instant, reliable cooking method while in the bush. Denatured alcohol is inexpensive and stores well, making it a solid preparedness essential. This little burner, in concert with a multi-fuel stove, would be a perfect cooking back-up during a power outage or other natural disaster, not to mention being just the right size to tuck into your first line gear or hiking pack.
|Burning in a multi-fuel stove|
We are now equipping all of our packs with these spirit burners. They are inexpensive, lightweight and reliable - just right for your pack, your car or your house. And, if you're a romantic survivalist - just right for your motoring basket!