Author Topic: liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?  (Read 7015 times)

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Offline Ed Deas

liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?
« on: August 17, 2010, 03:39:27 am »
I've heard mixed reviews on the two stove types, but my main concern is fuel availability along the southern tier route. Are their enough places to buy either type of fuel along the way, or is one more prevalent?

Offline staehpj1

Re: liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?
« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2010, 06:57:03 am »
I've heard mixed reviews on the two stove types, but my main concern is fuel availability along the southern tier route. Are their enough places to buy either type of fuel along the way, or is one more prevalent?

I really like my Canister Stove.  That said availability of fuel has been poor in many place I have been on tour.  I have only ridden a short bit of the Southern Tier, but fuel was not extremely available.  On the Trans America cartridges were extremely hard to find from Pueblo to Virginia.  In fact we never found any there.

When this comes up someone always seems to pipe up that you can get them at WalMart.  I can say that we stopped at many WalMarts in the middle of the US and didn't find any isobutane cartridges.  This was 2007, but I do not think that has changed.  White gas was easier to find by far but often was only in gallon sized containers which are far more than I am willing to carry.

So neither are perfect choices.

Two options that I can recommend are:
  • 1. Use an alcohol stove.  My little Pepsi can stove has worked out well and I have always been able to find fuel.
  • 2. Use the Isobutane cartridge stove and mail yourself or have someone mail you cartridges via general delivery. You have to mark the package
    "Surface Mail Only
    Consumer commodity
    ORM-D"

On our tour of the Sierras we planned to use our Pocket Rocket cartridge stove, but took a home made .5 ounce Pepsi can alcohol stove just in case.  We wound up using the Pepsi can stove for more than half of the trip because we didn't find cartridges until day 19.  We found yellow bottle HEET for the Pepsi can stove easily.  Actually taking both wasn't bad since Pepsi can stove and pot stand combined were less than an ounce and we used the same windscreen for either stove.  The yellow HEET comes in a very handy sized 12 ounce bottle.

The Pocket Rocket was nicer in a few ways, but the alcohol stove was adequate.
« Last Edit: August 17, 2010, 07:01:44 am by staehpj1 »

Offline Ed Deas

Re: liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2010, 02:27:33 pm »
Thanks for the reply!
so i can mail stuff to any post office along my route using that protocol?

Offline staehpj1

Re: liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?
« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2010, 02:54:15 pm »
Thanks for the reply!
so i can mail stuff to any post office along my route using that protocol?
Yes, pick a town with only one post office or one where you know where the main PO is for the zipcode.  If you pass through the town when the PO is closed.  You can stop at any PO and ask that it be forwarded to another.  Ditto if you are just not ready for it yet, just forward it ahead.  They do not charge for forwarding and a few times we forwarded something more than once.

Be aware that they only hold packages for 30 days.  You can probably get that extended by asking that it be forwarded.  That worked for us.

The addressing is something like:
Joe Blow
C/O General Delivery
Some Town, Some State
Some Zipcode

Offline pwantzel

Re: liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2010, 03:05:39 pm »
I've been told that this doesn't work at all post offices.  They recommend you check with them before you mail anything.  They have an 800 number (800-275-8777).

Offline biased bohemian

Re: liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2010, 03:53:56 pm »
Yes, not all post offices accept general delivery.  I had a package sent to one that did not accept general delivery because I didn't know any better.  The practice for this post office was generally to forward it on to the central post office (it was in Portland).  However, neither the post office i sent the package to or the Central post office could tell me if in fact they would forward the package, or where the package was at the time of inquiry.  The USPS 800 number also could not tell me how the package would be handled (it differs by post office and he could not "speculate" or where it was.  The package interestingly ended up at my residential address 3 weeks later - I have no idea how they found my home address given that I had just moved.  Long story short, I second the recommendation to confirm that the post office accepts general delivery.
___________________________________
www.biasedbohemian.com - an unabashedly biased look at the world from one small unapologetic man

Offline staehpj1

Re: liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?
« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2010, 07:04:44 pm »
I've been told that this doesn't work at all post offices.  They recommend you check with them before you mail anything.  They have an 800 number (800-275-8777).
It can't hurt to check.  I do that next time if I remember, but we have just mailed without checking quite a bit and never had a problem.  That may be because we usually pick a town small enough that only has one post office, but not so tiny that postal services were contracted out to a private vendor (like a broom closet in a general store).

In the few cases where we mailed to a town with more than one Post Office it always went to the central post office for that zip code.  In those few cases we called to check where it went after the fact when we wanted to pick it up.

Offline Ed Deas

Re: liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2010, 01:57:21 am »
good to know. I'm starting the southern tier in about 3 weeks and it would be nice to not have to carry all of my cold weather gear for the first 4-5 weeks if i wont be needing it. I feel like it's going to be fairly warm until i get to west texas/mid october.

Offline cyclocamping

Re: liquid fuel or canister fuel stove for Southern Tier?
« Reply #8 on: August 19, 2010, 01:00:10 pm »
I biked the entire length of the southern tier and there are several parts where I could not find any butane/propane canister. I prefer using canister over liquid fuel when I can. I personally use the Primus Omnifuel stove. I have been bike touring for more than 10 years and I have been using the same stove right from the beginning, I think it is one of the best stove for bike touring as it can use either gas canister or liquid fuel. So I use gas canisters whenever they are available, if not I use white gas, or gasoline if I can't find anything else. A friend of mine even used vodka when he was in Russia as it was cheaper than gasoline!
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