Whiteburn's Wanderings

One man's wanderings backpacking around Scotland plus the odd digression

Zelph Starlyte stove

The Starlyte burner is a neat little meths (alcohol) stove that comes in a variety of configurations, with and without integrated pot stands & varying heat outputs; it’s been around in the US for a number of years. (Reviews etc on Whiteblaze.net)  I decided to give one a go, choosing the StarLyte Burner c/w lid configured for the Caldera Cone as it has a reduced output which I find gives better fuel efficiency with smaller diameter pots; $24 (~£15) including shipping from the USA.

The burner itself starts life as an aluminium sweets tin which is then filled with a carbon fibre felt like material, held in place with a fine stainless steel mesh. The snap on plastic lid is supposed to stop fuel evaporation & seems to fit well.  It also came with a couple of useful plastic measuring cups & an instructions sheet.

The first impression was that it’s tiny; 54mm diameter * 25 high and only weighs 15g (including the lid).  The burner holds ~35ml of fuel, with ~ 30ml in suspension within the felt, so even with a fully fuelled stove there’s minimal spillage risk if the stove is tipped over.

I received the stove 2 days before heading off on the HRP, thought it looked interesting so took it along. The only ‘testing’ I did was a few test fires to determine the ‘best’ pot gap; 35mm seemed to be about right for my 1L Pasta pot (same as my MYO stove).  I didn’t want to start messing around with my windshield/ pot stand so I made a simple aluminium foil stand for the burner about 13mm high.


The stove preformed very well over the 5 weeks on the trail, displacing my favourite MYO stove.  I rapidly stopped metering fuel, preferring to just squirt ‘some’ in & fire it up; once cookings finished the stove was easily blown out, allowed to cool for ½ minute & then the lid popped on.  It made the cuppa in bed an easy affair; everything could be prepped the night before so it was as simple as a flick of the Bic.  I found the easiest way of lighting the stove was to flip it over & use a Bic; the only way I found to get it going with a firesteel is to put a drop or two of fuel on the caldera insert.   The stove seemed to be quite fuel efficient when used like this but like all ‘efficient’ stoves it’s not fast, 10 – 12 mins to get dinner up to the boil.

Once home I thought it was worth doing some comparative bench testing Vs my MYO stove to validate impressions; usual 500ml of water in the Pasta pot and the same windshield.

With 15ml of fuel the pot didn’t come to the boil whereas the MYO did; the Starlite’s flame was noticeably very feeble in the last minute or so of the burn.  So I thought I’d try a different approach, I filled the Starlyte with 30ml of fuel, weighed the stove & fired up.  A good rolling boil was achieved in around 10 minutes, the stove snuffed, allowed to cool and then weighed again; 13g (15ml) of fuel used.  The conclusion I draw is that operating the stove fully fuelled, and stuffing it, is more fuel efficient than measuring for individual burns.

Though fuel evaporation (with the lid on) didn’t seem to be an issue, it was carried for 5 weeks with ‘some’ in & no smells in the pot where it was carried, but I thought I’d check it out.  After my home test firings I weighed the stove (still had ~15ml left in it) & then left on its edge for 24hrs before weighing it again; exactly the same, a good result.  In cold weather this feature will make firing up a lot easier as I’ll carry a fuelled stove in the pocket.

That impressed I’ve now ordered another; for a simple overnighter I’ll just pop a couple of fuelled stoves in the pack.

PS: I did come up with a ‘better’ stand for the Starlite; 12mm cut off the bottom of a cat food can (the large hole it to reduce heat transmission to the stand), the stove fits inside so it doesn’t take up any room inside the pot.

Starlyte + stand (3)

PPS: well life does stand still, the 3 Starlites I purchased are now defunct due to them coming apart & the plastic lids splitting.  I eventual developed my own design which after over a year’s use are proving more than a match, if you’re interested see HERE.


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This entry was posted on August 29, 2014 by in Gear, Reviews and tagged , .

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