I have a question ... when I first started backpacking I made my own alcohol stove out of a catfood can -- found the instructions on line. I've never used it in cold weather, but use it in temps down to about 50. You guys keep talking about "priming" and I tried to watch Kevin when we were at Harriman. Anyway ... in simple terms ... is priming basically just using a little more fuel because it takes a minute or two longer for the alcohol to light?
Sorta'. Priming is required for stoves with pressurized jets. It takes some time for the alcohol to get up to temperature and ignite out the jets. Some stoves (like Kevin's) require an external heat source via burning excess alcohol on outside of stove. Mine heats from a center bowl and pressurizes the side walls. Mine primes or blooms or blossoms (people call it different things) in about 18 seconds. The longer it takes the more excess fuel is burnt. I hover the pot over the stove until it blooms. By the time I light it and get the pot into position it is almost primed anyways. I will find a video and post it to explain this better.
Non hikers are about a psi shy of a legal ball.