Adding Water to Meths for Trangia Stove

  • Hey Guest, For sale we have Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteel PLEASE LOOK HERE for more information or use the Pay Now button in the sidebar


Sep 7, 2015
Norf London
Hello all,

I've just bought a couple as backups and am now reading up more and more on them.

I've read some very old posts on other sites about adding water to meths/ethanol as it can create more heat and less soot on the burner and pots. Some people say add a spoonful direct to the burner, some say ad 10% to the fuel bottle. Then others say adding water to the trangia means the fuel has to work harder as it needs to boil the water now as well, ergo more fuel used.

Can anyone offer some sound advice/experience please?


PS: forgot to say that militarymart is selling the plastic fuel bottles for a £1 +PP
Last edited:


Full Member
Feb 18, 2016
I've used trangias for many years and have added water and not. Not really noticed any difference with either temperature or amount of soot so I now don't add any water as it didn't seem to make a difference for me. I found making sure that the burner is lit from the jets only and not the centre fuel reservoir makes for a better burn too.


Jun 10, 2006
south wales
I've used Trangia's for a very long time (over three decades), I've never diluted meths/ethanol/methanol...diluting will not increase the heat output.
Jul 30, 2012
I think the water to meths thing is just to cool it in hot conditions. The variation in output is quite big, in cold conditions its difficult to light and takes a while to get going. In hot conditions it lights with a pop, starts easy and can boil in the trangia, and extinguishing it can be hard. I tried adding water to it but it quickly evapourates off and the meths is left boiling again.
I think it's an urban myth!

Although some people swear by it, I never noticed any difference whatsoever, either in heat output or soot production when I was using the UK 'purple' meths.

I think the purple additive to UK meths may have something to do with the soot production as, here in France you can buy clear 'Alcool à brûler' (burning alcohol) in most supermarkets and it leaves no soot residue whatsoever.
Oct 24, 2011
south east
Can anyone offer some sound advice/experience please? ...

Yes ... don't do it !!!

There is absolutely no need or advantage using diluted fuel ...

I use 99% pure Industrial Denatured Alcohol ...

this is Pure Ethanol denatured with Methanol with no purple stain added ...

Burns nice and hot and vaporises easily even in cold conditions ...

Add water and it doesn't !!!

B&Q Bio ethanol fuel comes close and is quite cheap ...

as for the soot don't sweat it ... even Coleman's 70/30 gas

makes soot on your pots but hey ... it cleans up easy !!!

Cheers Whistle

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
McBride, BC
Soot is incomplete combustion, a lack of oxygen.

When you add water, you are going to have to spend 540cal/g to turn that water into steam and that energy in that steam
gets blown off into your environment. You derive no benefit from that meths energy use.
Same as burning wet wood but maybe you have no choice there.


Sep 7, 2015
Norf London
Thanks guys.

A bit of a mixed bag in responses but mainly all pointing to no point in adding water.

Thanks again fro your advice.

Cheers :)


Oct 10, 2013
In the land of trangias (sweden) this has been the talk of the next level users for donkeys years.
The way I figure, it's because the common fuel here is ethanol with additives. That actually benefits from a dash of water. It will calm the combustion down and makes for less soot, i.e. cleaner burn.
With methanol, the burn is cleaner by default so no water needed.
Same goes for cold weather.
In short. If youre burning ethanol in the summertime, try diluting it a little to trim your combustion. All burners are nit however created equal, so results vary.


Full Member
May 15, 2008
Years ago, I have seen more water vapour beading on pots when I added water and so made it easier to clean. Could also be I was expecting water given off therefore noticed it more. I now use a Swedish Army setup and the pot is held at a fixed hight and the burner almost hidden away. So I just throw in an idea of what I need and don't think/worry about it. Adding water does seem counter productive mind.


Full Member
Apr 16, 2009
I used to add it. There didn't seem to be any difference in sooting. Logic suggests it's counter productive to heat production.


Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Dec 2, 2003
Again yes I've used Trangia for 30+ years, added water a few of times and never noticed any effect positive or otherwise.


Nov 30, 2011
I noticed less soot when i switched to using bio-ethanol off ebay, i think its down to the dye. The chafing gel i use also produces less soot than standard meths.



Feb 10, 2016
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Adding water will make it less efficient.
If it is producing a lot of soot, check if you are obstructing the airflow. Maybe place the burner/stand on a couple of bricks with gaps between and test fire.

if you add water a cold winter and do not fully burn off the alcohol/water mix, you are risking of getting the liquid frozen in the burner. Not easy to lit it then.


Oct 10, 2013
You're right Janne, it's not recommended for winter use. It's for summer when the burner gets hot fast and most of the burn-time will be in "turbo-mode", with lots of heat going to the crows, and carbon buildup on the pans.

As for efficency, it's not as simple as opening up the throttle? Surely that's a more complex equation, where the heat generated from the fuel, needs to end up in your tea, and not anywhere else.
It figures, actually, that a static device designed for combustion of a range of fuel-mixes with methanol and ethanol, benefits from tweaking of the actual fuel.
I guess methanol is something like 10-15% less potent chemically than ethanol?

As I recall, Trangia used to put the 15% recommendation in the instructions that came with the stove?
Anyways, they do recommend it in the "maintenance" part of this pdf:

But I guess it's like the saying goes: You can lead a horse to water but not force him to put a dash of it in his Trangia! :)

Hultafors Outdoor knife for Sale

We have a a number of Hultafors Outdoor Knives with Firesteels

You can see more details here in this thread OUTDOOR KNIVES

The price is £27 and you can pay via the paypal button below.