The swiss army alcohol stove is now a well known peice of kit and is a stove I really like - indeed its the stove I carry all the time so if I cant have a fire I can at least have a stove handy.
The alc stove can be carried on a flight in your hold luggage so its useful in as much as you can pack a couple for a trip and not have to worry about stoves or fuel at your destination.
Operation is simple - cut out the foil inner to expose the gel - light - put on windshield and use ............however trail and error has also taught me that if you want to conserve fuel or slow the cook time down you can split the foil as left below ........ basically the bigger the hole to hotter the burn.
But generally my advise is remove the foil and light (using the matches that come with the cooker handly!)
The two mess tins below both held one standard cup of water - boiled from cold (both mess tin and water) and whilst not scientific the boil time was approx 6 minutes to boiling and just over seven to get to a rolling boil.
To speed up the boil time we can of course cover one mess tin - as below by using the large mess tin as a lid for the smaller the boil time increased by nearly two minutes saving both time and fuel.
The smaller mess tin is general my preference and is more stable on the stove and seems to boil quicker even with the same amount of water in it as the larger!
Another "bonus" of the gel cooker I found when I did my solo trek in Sweden in June was that the gel also makes an excellent tinder or fire starter and on several rainy days I lit my evenings camp fire using a stick and a blob of the gel.
One disadvantage (but ive not found it to be the case) is that the gel in theory would be less effective in the cold - of course this can be countered by carrying the stove in a pocket or some such or pre-heating it if needs be.
Another down side is that generally one stove only lasts about a day - or three burns, although I usually spoon the gel from a second stove into a single pot to ensure I have a weekends burn time, or sterilizing or sterno gel can be added to a pot. One thing I have found is the gelling agent used in these stoves must also work on other alc gels as adding standard hand cleansing gel (which is quite runny) I have found it thickens up "over night" in the pot .......... and then produces less soot too.
But another plus is the gel being alc can also be used to sterilise hands or other items.
So a few pros and cons but generally these make the stove far more versatile than most standard forms of cooker and as such thats why it earns its place in my haversack!
Overal the NOTROCHER 71 does exactly what it says on the tin and is a excellent emergency cooker ...........