I have always found it difficult to out perform the original design of backpacking equipment. The conceptual ideas and engineering of a product seems to always vet out inefficiency before it is introduced to the market. Still I tinker on, pairing pots and stoves that are not designed to be together, but it is always worth a try anyway, especially on some rainy afternoon.
This time the pairing experiment is the Vargo Decagon, the Vargo windscreen and the Trangia 28 Mini. This idea was first put forth in a Backpacking Light thread and was quickly put to rest as a bad idea. The weakness of the Mini is a stove holder that Trangia calls the windscreen. It's worthless for stopping wind, and wind is the enemy of alcohol stoves. As for the Vargo Decagon, a great concept to use the stove as a pot support, but the terrible reviews and stories of poor performance put this stove at the bottom of most lists.
Is this stove a misunderstood creature? As it turns out, yes it is. If one follows the instructions that include filling fuel to the weld line or beyond then prime the stove generously, this stove will burn like a rocket! With a good generous prime, the stove blooms at full blast and will boil 2 cups in about 6 minutes. As fuel is consumed and the level drops in the stove, the flame output is reduced then becomes more of a simmer until all the fuel is finally consumed in about 20 minutes. Perfect for those meals that may require long simmers after a boil, such as brown rice. Another nice feature is the stove can be blown out like a candle then the unused fuel is then easily poured back into the fuel bottle. The Vargo windscreen consists of 5 small flat panels that fold out to surround the pot and stove and easily stows inside the Mini along with the stove and pot holder.
The shape of the pot is a huge factor and the Trangia pot design is designed to be use with an alcohol stove, much better than the SnowPeak mug design.
I use the lid as a double cooker for tortillas.
A generous prime is the secret to a quick and full bloom. I use a small squeeze bottle that holds the perfect amount of fuel for the stove. Before I am ready to use the kit, I put the bottle and the stove in my pocket to warm up it all up and don't have to worry about crushing it because of the titanium construction.
Pairing this stove with a Sierra Cup worked really good also.
Using the Vargo equipment with the Sierra Cup was the lightest setup with the best boiling and fuel consumption times, but I prefer the Trangia Mini setup for added versatility and the lid snaps to the pot without the need of a strap or bag. This setup weighs in at 9.45 ounces and can also get a small squeeze cup in there that adds another 3 ounces.
Do I dare compare the Decagon burner with the Trangia burner? If one can master the Decagon, then some real comparisons can be made and only then can the Decagon can be in the same league and even be considered a UL substitute to replace the Trangia burner in it's kits.