Author Topic: Camping Gas/stove  (Read 6543 times)

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Offline sal99

Camping Gas/stove
« on: March 17, 2013, 06:40:27 am »
Hi, I am setting off on the Transam route this summer and will be camping. Coming from the UK I have always used a single burner stove fueled by small canistors of Calor gas when camping. These have been fine for 2-3 week tours but I realise I will need something else for this type of long trip. I am planning to purchase when I arrive in the States (New Jersey) and would appreciate any info on single burner stoves and the appropriate fuel that is easily available.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2013, 08:04:34 am »
Coleman Feather 442           Alcohol stoves        Gasification, forced-air, woodburning stoves.  They're on youtube.

Offline DaveB

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2013, 09:28:58 am »
Coleman Feather 442           Alcohol stoves        Gasification, forced-air, woodburning stoves.  They're on youtube.
Gasoline (Petrol) stoves can be refuled at any service station. "Coleman Fuel" is a cleaner version of the same thing and available in most outdoor and even big-box stores but only in gallon containers. 

Multifuel stoves can use petrol, kerosene, mineral spirits, etc. so you have a lot of choices and fuel sources but the stoves tend to be more expensive.

Fuel for alcohol stoves can purchased at most hardware and big-box stores but, again in large containers.  Also, alcohol has a much lower energy value per volume than petrol so you will need more of it.

Wood burning stoves require a source of dry wood sticks and they aren't always available.

Compressed gas stoves (usually a propane/butane mix or straight butane) require proprietary cannisters and you can't always find the right one.  Also, you can't bring them on an airplane so you would have to use a type available in the US and widely distributed.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2013, 09:49:47 am »
  • I have had trouble finding canisters on my tours in the US.  So I don't usually tour with a canister stove.
  • I dislike the stink of gasoline so I don't use it.
  • Coleman fuel is often only available by the gallon so I avoid using it.
  • Wood gas stoves are OK but leave the pot sooty.  I do think you can find sufficient fuel even in the desert.
  • Alcohol is my choice.

Online Pat Lamb

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2013, 01:30:10 pm »
Multifuel stoves can use petrol, kerosene, mineral spirits, etc. so you have a lot of choices and fuel sources but the stoves tend to be more expensive.

You can fill up a pint (or quart) fuel can at any gas station in the country with your choice of gas (petrol) or diesel.

Alcohol is almost as widely available.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2013, 01:33:54 pm »
  • I have had trouble finding canisters on my tours in the US.  So I don't usually tour with a canister stove.

Be interested in more specifics from anyone; what geographical areas, etc.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #6 on: March 17, 2013, 01:41:37 pm »

You can fill up a pint (or quart) fuel can at any gas station in the country with your choice of gas (petrol) or diesel.


Multi-fuel stoves allow gas station gas to be used, but sooting and clogging may result. I have taken two quart fuel bottles, and filled them with half of a gallon can of Coleman fuel, then sold rest of can back to store.

Offline paddleboy17

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2013, 12:58:54 pm »
Coleman Feather 442           Alcohol stoves        Gasification, forced-air, woodburning stoves.  They're on youtube.
Gasoline (Petrol) stoves can be refuled at any service station. "Coleman Fuel" is a cleaner version of the same thing and available in most outdoor and even big-box stores but only in gallon containers. 

Multifuel stoves can use petrol, kerosene, mineral spirits, etc. so you have a lot of choices and fuel sources but the stoves tend to be more expensive.

Fuel for alcohol stoves can purchased at most hardware and big-box stores but, again in large containers.  Also, alcohol has a much lower energy value per volume than petrol so you will need more of it.

Wood burning stoves require a source of dry wood sticks and they aren't always available.

Compressed gas stoves (usually a propane/butane mix or straight butane) require proprietary cannisters and you can't always find the right one.  Also, you can't bring them on an airplane so you would have to use a type available in the US and widely distributed.

I might disagree about alcohol fuel only being available in large sizes. 

Many gas stations (where things get cold enough to worry about gas lines freezing) carry Heet in the yellow bottle.  This is 11 or 12 ounces big.  Most hardware stores and REI stores carry alcohol by the quart.  Any Walmart, Lowes, or Home Depot should also have alcohol by the quart, but as I have never purchased it there, I cannot be 100% sure, but it is the kind of thing they should carry.

Yes, the BTUs per volume of alcohol is lower, but it is generally easy to resupply.  A bigger concern is that alcohol is harder to light at freezing (32F) temperatures.   I just eat out when that happens.

Personally, I would go alcohol, as the stoves are pretty reliable.  I have a Trangia burner, but I don't use their pots and pans as I already had a set of MSR pots and pans from a back packing class.  My other stove is an MSR Whisperlite International, and it much more of a hassle to use.
Danno

Offline staehpj1

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2013, 01:50:34 pm »
  • I have had trouble finding canisters on my tours in the US.  So I don't usually tour with a canister stove.

Be interested in more specifics from anyone; what geographical areas, etc.

I know folks who say their experience was different on this but...
  • In 2007 we went from Pueblo Colorado to almost Virginia before we saw a canister available.  I know that one place in Carbondale IL had them but they were closed when we passed through town.  From the West Coast to Pueblo they were pretty available.
  • In 2009 from Kansas City to Santa Fe I didn't seen any, but wasn't really looking.
  • In the Sierras in 2010 we first saw them on day 20 in the Yosemite Valley.  I am sure we could have found them in San Diego if we had looked though.
  • On my Pacific Coast Tour I wasn't especially looking for them, but my impression was that you could find them in towns big enough to have a Walmart, but generally not in smaller towns.
  • On the Southern Tier in 2012 I didn't seem them much, but wasn't really looking.  My guess is that maybe you could find them in bigger towns, but there were longish stretches where I didn't see towns big enough.  I wouldn't count on that impression too much though.
  • They seemed to be fairly available in Colorado last year, but not in just any town.
I was able to find alcohol quite frequently in all of those places.

Gas canisters go a pretty good ways so you could do a bit of research and plan ahead most places by carrying an extra one in some sections.

If you use a canister stove and are in doubt, just carry a pop can stove as a backup.  Mine weighs 0.5 ounce including the pot stand and uses the same pot and wind screen as my canister stove.  So a half ounce of extra weight will buy you some wiggle room in case you can't find a canister.

That said I have taken to just leaving the canister stove home in favor of the pop can alcohol stove.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2013, 10:34:58 am by staehpj1 »

Offline DanE

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2013, 01:56:35 pm »
Stoves are one of those personal choices where everyone has their own solution. Everyone comes at it with their own experience and perspective and no solution is better or worse really than another.

The isobutane/propane canisters are popular in many areas of the US, but are not universally easy to find. You can bring your stove from Europe and if it uses the threaded canisters the canisters you will find here will work just fine with it. The French style Camping Gaz cylinders without a thread are now about impossible to find in the US. If you have a Camping Gaz stove you will have no luck finding those. The canister stoves can come from many manufacturers. The fuel canisters can be found in Wal-Mart stores usually, camping stores and when in very rural areas I can sometimes find them in hunting, fishing bait shop type stores. However, there are many areas of the country where they are hard to find. I like my canister stove for trips of a week or less where I can bring all the fuel with me that I will need.

Therefore, you will find the white gas stoves might be an easier stove to find fuel for here. I prefer the MSR Whisperlite. White Gas is mainly normal gasoline which has not been formulated for using in automobile engines. It is more filtered and generally purer than what you get out of a gasoline pump. It is called by several names in camping stores such as Coleman Fuel, Crown Camping Fuel, and MSR Fuel. It can be sold in 1 gallon cans and in 1 quart bottles or cans. The big stores such as Wal-mart will have the gallon can and sometimes the quart bottle. Camping stores often have the quart bottles or will sell you a quart out of an open gallon can at the store. Often, you can buy a quart off of someone at the campgrounds that has a gallon can with them, they are the people with the big RV rigs.

The MSR stoves come without fuel bottles and need to purchase those in addition to your stove. I like to carry two of the 20 oz fuel bottles. That way I can carry refill with the 1 quart bottles when needed. Airlines are particular about allowing you to carry the fuel bottles. They are cheap enough to abandon at the end of your trip if you need to leave them behind to board the plane.

Since white gas is essentially automobile gasoline you can just fill from any auto gas pump as needed if you have to. The stove will burn dirtier and will require more service, so buy a repair kit with your stove when you buy it. It is not hard to clean it and you will not have to clean it that often anyhow. It is easier to clean the stove a couple of times in your trip than it will be to fool with multi fuel stoves that burn diesel fuel, etc. So I look for fuel in quart bottles either at Wal-Mart, camping stores or hunting fishing stores as I travel or will try to buy it from someone at the campgrounds. Otherwise, I buy a quart at the gas station.

What the fellows in the other posts that will talk about alcohol stoves say is true. That's a popular choice and there is nothing wrong with what they are saying. It comes down to what someone likes. I prefer more cooking power that a white gas stove provides.

Offline dkoloko

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2013, 02:27:23 pm »

I look for (liquid gas) fuel in quart bottles either at Wal-Mart, camping stores or hunting fishing stores as I travel or will try to buy it from someone at the campgrounds. Otherwise, I buy a quart at the gas station.


It is rare now days to find liquid gas from someone in a campground. Quart cans of liquid gas in stores are also rare. Camping stores that cater to backpackers that sell liquid gas by the ounce are apt to charge a very high price. Expect to pay as much for a quart as you'd pay for a gallon at a big box store. Rather than pay so much per ounce, I bought a gallon can, filled my bottles and left rest at bike shop, saying give to next touring cyclist.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2013, 11:12:24 pm »
The question of stove type is based on the fuel you want to burn and that decision is often based on the type of the cooking you plan to do.

If you are a spendid cook and enjoy a well-kitted out kitchen, you will want the stout burner controller available on cannister stoves.
If all you do is boil water for tea and dried or freeze-dried meals then you can do alcohol or tabs wood or just about anything else.
If you are traveling with companions, you can split the load so weight is not a valid qualifier. 

I suggeest you explore alcohol stoves but there is also an interesting variety of battery-powered forced air stoves that will burn wood and other combustibles. Soot on the pans? You're camping!

Acohol stoves are efficient, ultrlight, and ultrasimple. There are many deisgns for do-it-yourselfers or thhere is the venerable Trangia that has been making tea for trekkers for at least a century. The fuel supply is easily predictable for spirit stoves. The fuel is easily and readily available across the States. But alcohol stoves have no finesse. They boil water. You're not making fluffy omelettes or unburned pancakes on a Trangia.

See backpacking online resources for thorough reviews of cooking systems.I just got a copy of the Adveenture Cycline catalog and they've settled on a particualr model. Should be a reliable testimonial.
I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline indyfabz

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2013, 12:42:45 pm »
White Gas is mainly normal gasoline which has not been formulated for using in automobile engines. It is more filtered and generally purer than what you get out of a gasoline pump. It is called by several names in camping stores such as Coleman Fuel, Crown Camping Fuel, and MSR Fuel. It can be sold in 1 gallon cans and in 1 quart bottles or cans. The big stores such as Wal-mart will have the gallon can and sometimes the quart bottle. Camping stores often have the quart bottles or will sell you a quart out of an open gallon can at the store. Often, you can buy a quart off of someone at the campgrounds that has a gallon can with them, they are the people with the big RV rigs.

+1 on availability of the quart cans. I tend to find them more at independent camping stores and at REI and EMS. Only once was I low and forced to buy a gallon. I left behind at a campground what I could not carry for others to use. And I also had a camp store offer to fill my fuel bottle from a gallon can. If you don't want to carry two fuel bottles, you can simply carry the can with the remaining fuel in your pannier and top off your bottle each time you use the stove until the can is empty.

Another handy use for white gas is starting campfires.

Offline Old Guy New Hobby

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2013, 04:30:53 pm »
Another handy use for white gas is starting campfires singing your eyebrows off (or worse).

Your welcome for the correction. ;-)

Offline staehpj1

Re: Camping Gas/stove
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2013, 05:12:09 pm »
+1 on availability of the quart cans. I tend to find them more at independent camping stores and at REI and EMS. Only once was I low and forced to buy a gallon. I left behind at a campground what I could not carry for others to use. And I also had a camp store offer to fill my fuel bottle from a gallon can. If you don't want to carry two fuel bottles, you can simply carry the can with the remaining fuel in your pannier and top off your bottle each time you use the stove until the can is empty.

In places where I have stopped to look for fuel on tour I took notice of what white gas was available despite the fact that I was using alcohol or butane.  My impression was that quarts are becoming more common, but still not all that widely available.

Also at least for me I think that a quart is an awful lot to carry at one time any way,  Given that I find 12 ounces about right for alcohol and that alcohol has quite a bit fewer BTUs per volume, a quart of white gas would last me a very long time.  A pint would be more acceptable, but IMO even that might be a bit larger than optimum.