Can You use an Alcohol Stove in the Winter?
It is often assumed that you can't use an alcohol stove in the winter, so I did a little test last weekend. The scouts were going on a winter campout, so I took my Caldera Cone to test in winter conditions. It was 21 degrees in the morning on Saturday, and the stove and fuel were stored outside my tent. I put a bottle of water down on the snow as I cooked breakfast, and big ice crystals immediately began to form in the water. It was cold! I cooked frozen Jimmy Dean hash with bacon and fresh eggs, and made enough for 2 people. Then I made a pot of hot water for coffee.
I put the stove on some tent stakes as a platform to keep it from melting into the snow. The stove is a lot closer to the pot than to the frying pan in this setup, so heating water is probably more efficient than frying frozen potatoes, but it had no trouble with frozen hash. I think it would do fine melting snow to make water for 1 or 2people as well, at this temperature. I'll test it at colder temperatures in a couple of weeks, if the weather cooperates.
Note: shortly after the trip described above, we went on another winter campout and I used the stove at 7 degrees F., and it worked fine. It had to be started with a wooden match, and a tiny piece of paper in the primer ring with some fuel. The paper burned, and got some fuel vaporizing, which heated the fuel in the stove, and it was going strong within a minute.