is safe, stable and clean burning.
However you won’t find to many stoves that use alcohol as a
fuel. Alcohol burns with a
cool flame so it is not very efficient for cooking.
Also, when alcohol burns there is no visible flame, which adds a
minor risk of a fire accidentally spreading.
fuel typically is a combination of propane, butane and/or isobutane.
When blended with isobutane it burns efficiently even as the
pressure in the gas canister fades.
More reliable than straight butane or isobutane, like it’s gas
cousins it’s performance drops with the outside temperature, and
generally shouldn’t be used below 30°
F. Blended fuel comes in
disposable tanks. A good
choice for three season camping, but not the best choice for higher
altitudes if you are in cold conditions.
is extremely popular in Europe. Butane
is sold in canisters and is typically already pressurized.
When the canisters are empty, they are simply thrown away.
Pure Butane burns very efficiently, but doesn’t work well in
cold weather. If the
temperature is going to be below 50°
F. you should consider other types of fuel.
Also, pure butane does not burn as hot as other blended fuels.
If you will be doing three season camping in generally tepid
weather, this is a good choice to consider for a stove.
Butane comes in disposable tanks.
should only be used as a last resort.
Gasoline is very noxious, puts out a lot of soot and does not
burn efficiently. If you
must cook with gasoline, get the lowest octane you can find, 84 to 86 is
best and make sure it is unleaded.
Cook your food with a lid on it to help prevent toxic soot from
getting into your food. In
extreme cold it can be hard to get a stove powered by gasoline to stay
burning. Because it is a liquid, the stove it burns will have to come
with a pump to keep the fuel pressurized.
is a close cousin to butane. Isobutane
is used to make aviation fuel, and burns more efficiently than butane.
It also takes the cold a little better, and can be used when the
mercury is 40°
F. or above. Isobutane
comes in disposable tanks. This
is a good choice for tepid three season camping.
is the grandfather of fuel for stoves.
Available all around the world, kerosene burns very hot in almost
any condition. Kerosene and
derivatives are used as jet fuel because of the heat they generate.
Kerosene, like gasoline, is very noxious and produces a lot of
soot. Because of the soot
it produces, it can clog the burners of a stove pretty quick.
Kerosene should only be used as a last resort.
Because it is a liquid, the stove it burns will have to come with
a pump to keep the fuel pressurized.
This is a fair choice for any season.
is a clear gas that probably runs your barbeque grill outside.
It produces a hot steady flame and burns clean and efficiently.
It performs moderately well in cold weather. Propane comes in disposable tanks. A good choice for three season camping, but not the best
choice at higher altitudes if you are in cold conditions.
or Canned Heat is a jelly that is typically used in restaurants to keep
food warm. Sterno burns
very cool and offers no way to control the flame.
Once it is lit, the only way to extinguish it is to put it’s
lid back on. Some Sterno
sets come with a small stovetop to put your cookware on top of.
Good luck getting water to boil with Sterno.
A good choice to throw into a winter survival kit, make sure you
check it frequently and seal it well as Sterno will dry out over time
and will be rendered useless.
has the market cornered on white gas or white fuel.
Very inexpensive, available by the gallon at almost any
department store, white gas produces a hot, clean flame.
Unlike most other fuels, white gas will burn in almost any
weather condition or temperature. Because
it is a liquid, the stove it burns will have to come with a pump to keep
the fuel pressurized. This
is an excellent fuel source. This
is an ideal choice for almost any weather condition and at almost any
couple of companies make stoves that use wood as a fuel.
If you are going into an area where open fires are allowed and
there is a ready fuel supply, this can make a good alternative.
Get caught in a burning ban or four days of rain, and you will
have to use an alternative stove or carry your own fuel, which with wood
can get heavy. Good for
lightweight backpacking when open burning is permitted and fuel is