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Old 10-27-09, 12:38 AM   #1
zeppinger
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Alcohol stove for Asia tour?

Hi all, I am getting ready to cross Asia from Korea to Thailand and possibly head West from there. My question is what fuel can I use in an Alcohol stove in these countries? A lot of people go with a whisperlight international so they can use petrol but I really like my Trangia. What kind of stuff did you find in China and South East Asia to burn and where did you get it?
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Old 10-27-09, 07:21 AM   #2
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Perhaps someone here can clarify, but you may have issues transporting your Trangia on airplanes. I know the TAA will not allow you to carry any sort of fuel (either checked or carry-on), and you may have problems if there is fuel residue in your stove.

AFAIK butane stoves don't have this issue, but will be hard to find where you're going.
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Old 10-27-09, 07:50 AM   #3
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Most cyclists don't carry stoves (or camping gear) in SE Asia. Prepared food there is delicious and cheap--cheaper than you can make yourself in SE Asia.
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Old 10-27-09, 08:10 AM   #4
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I've read about someone who was using a alcohol stove in China. There are two grades of alcohol, the low grade did not work in a Trangia copy but did work in a white box alcohol stove.
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Old 10-27-09, 09:09 AM   #5
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I am not worried about getting the stove to Asia just using it there. I would think that at least half if not three quarters of my trip will be in China so a good camping/cooking kit will be important to me. I also may continue on from SE Asia so I would like to have an essentially full kit.

What were the two grades of fuel called? Where they at a paint store, hardware store, pharmacy?
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Old 10-27-09, 09:27 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
I am not worried about getting the stove to Asia just using it there. I would think that at least half if not three quarters of my trip will be in China so a good camping/cooking kit will be important to me. I also may continue on from SE Asia so I would like to have an essentially full kit.

What were the two grades of fuel called? Where they at a paint store, hardware store, pharmacy?
See quote and links, final link which I have not quoted as it's the entire page is interesting too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=RrzKj&page_id=119188&v=1j
I'd run low on alcohol for my Whitebox stove by Bayanbulak, but was only able to find IS 75% medical alcohol, rather than the IS 95% stuff I have been using. I'd tried the 75% grade with a Trangia clone and it was hopeless, taking forever to bring a pan to the boil. However, the Whitebox is such a flamethrower of a design that the 75% stuff actually worked quite well. Although the boiling time was slightly longer, the stove was arguably more controlled; a more compact flame spread less likely to lead to one's tent going up in a puff of smoke. I may use it rather than the 95% stuff in the future.
Quote:
Originally Posted by http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?o=RrzKj&page_id=95136&v=1t
Playing with fire
Following a post in the guestbook, I started looking into using a meths stove as part of my ongoing strategy for reducing packed weight/bulk. You can buy meths (jiǔ jīng 酒精) in any chemists, 500ml for 5Y, and mini-Trangia clones are available in stores for less than 50Y (about 4.50). This fulfills the twin aims of low weight/bulk and easy access to fuel. Unfortunately, real world testing suggests there's an issue with either the stove design or, more likely, the grade of alcohol. It took over an hour to boil a small pot of water, and the meths was very difficult to light when cold (I had to warm up the bottle in my sleeping bag). I'll be experimenting with different sources of alcohol, but in the meantime don't see myself throwing away the gas burner just yet...
Quote:
Originally Posted by fromt the same page
Making the grade
More success on the stove front. I sourced IS 95% meths that burns much better, even in the very cold weather that's just arrived. I'm now using a cheap Clikstand-like frame that's more stable than the mini-Trangia copy, but will be replacing it soon with a more sophisticated design.
and finally
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/p..._id=128562&v=l
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Old 10-27-09, 10:28 AM   #7
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http://fuel.papo-art.com/

alcohol stoves are much simpler than other liquid fuel stoves, you just drop a match in the alcohol and let it burn. This works with alcohol, but not with other fuels. So if you bring your Trangia, you're going to need to find alcohol, I don't think it would be safe to burn most liquid fuels that way.

Whisperlite Internationales run best on white gas (Coleman fuel) and pretty well on petrol (gasoline). I would not want to use leaded gasoline, I would expect the stove to clog faster and create more soot.

MSR makes another stove, the MSR EX-XGK that runs on a wider range of fuels than the whisperlite. It will run on kerosene, diesel, gasoline/petrol, white gas and just about anything else except alcohol. MSR does not recommend alcohol for any of their stoves, I've asked them. The EX-XGK is easier to tear apart and clean than the whisperlite, and it warms up and starts cooking faster in sub-freezing temperatures. I use an older version of this stove on backpacking and mountaineering trips.

The bad news about the EX-XGK is that it is expensive, NOISY, and it does not simmer.
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Old 10-27-09, 12:05 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zeppinger View Post
Hi all, I am getting ready to cross Asia from Korea to Thailand and possibly head West from there. My question is what fuel can I use in an Alcohol stove in these countries? A lot of people go with a whisperlight international so they can use petrol but I really like my Trangia. What kind of stuff did you find in China and South East Asia to burn and where did you get it?
You might also check paint stores and building supply stores, and other sellers who cater to them.

Alcohols are used as solvents for dissolving shellac, and for some other materials. Alcohol-based shellac primer-sealers are fairly commonly used. The alcohol is also sometimes used as a thinner, and for surface preparation before painting.

Marine supply stores are another possibility; alcohol stoves are sometimes used on boats.

Auto supply stores are also a possibility.

Pharmacies and medical supply houses also tend to carry alcohols.

Last edited by Niles H.; 10-27-09 at 01:08 PM.
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Old 10-27-09, 01:06 PM   #9
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In addition to the Trangia, some of the quieter multi-fuel stoves are also pretty nice.
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Old 10-27-09, 01:35 PM   #10
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International Fuel names by Country:

http://fuel.papo-art.com/

Where to find alcohol for stoves
http://www.mark-ju.net/juliette/meths.htm

Last edited by arctos; 10-27-09 at 01:37 PM. Reason: add link
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Old 10-27-09, 08:03 PM   #11
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I live and tour in Korea and all drugstores sell alcohol. About 98%. They even call it by its name (alcohol) in Korean. Just ask any drugstore for it. Its about a dollar per bottle. I've even transported my Triangia in and out of country when I travel to the States. I just wash it out with water aand dry it so it doesnt smell like alcohol.
If you come near my place I can treat you to a good meal at a restaurant nearby.

Last edited by littleal; 10-27-09 at 08:11 PM. Reason: Didn't notice you were already here in Korea.
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Old 10-27-09, 09:57 PM   #12
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I live and tour in Korea and all drugstores sell alcohol. About 98%. They even call it by its name (alcohol) in Korean. Just ask any drugstore for it. Its about a dollar per bottle. I've even transported my Triangia in and out of country when I travel to the States. I just wash it out with water aand dry it so it doesnt smell like alcohol.
If you come near my place I can treat you to a good meal at a restaurant nearby.
I am living in Korea at the moment, where are you at? I live in Gimhae near Busan.

The alcohol youmentioned thats 98%, is it in a white bottle? I have been using some stuff that seems to be everywhere here but its only 83% and the pharmacist does not understand thte word, alcohol. Maybe its because I live in the south?
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Old 10-28-09, 07:22 PM   #13
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In Korea

I live about 2 hours north of Seoul and about a 3-4 hour ride from the DMZ. I live very close to the local US military base Cp Casey.The fuel I use comes in a blue bottle. I pick it up at the drugstore near me. The label says alcohol in Hangul. I find that once I crack the bottle it never reseals properly and it evaporates too quickly. Therefore I usually transfer it to a better sealing bottle. The reason the druggist might not understand you is they pronounce it with a heavy accent. Most Koreans have very selective hearing skills!!
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Old 11-21-09, 11:25 AM   #14
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I have used a trangia stove many times in Thailand. Denatured alcohol can be bought in hardware stores in 1 litre bottles or 3 litre cans... and it's cheap

Here's the label from a can (looks like it's in chinese aswell):

Thai_alcohol.jpg
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Old 11-22-09, 06:15 AM   #15
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高度酒精is "high degree alcohol", pronounced "gao1 du4 jiu3 jing1".
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Old 11-22-09, 06:30 PM   #16
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I have used a trangia stove many times in Thailand. Denatured alcohol can be bought in hardware stores in 1 litre bottles or 3 litre cans... and it's cheap

Here's the label from a can]
I'm curious what you like to use your stove for in Thailand. Meals? Coffee? I'm asking because I found that food and drink was available just about everywhere in Thailand, as well as being delicious and very cheap by western standards. I honestly didn't encounter any other cyclists who were bothering to prepare their own meals. For me, eating in Thailand is one of the best things about touring in Thailand. I realize that everybody is different, however.
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Old 11-22-09, 07:40 PM   #17
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I'm curious what you like to use your stove for in Thailand. Meals? Coffee? I'm asking because I found that food and drink was available just about everywhere in Thailand, as well as being delicious and very cheap by western standards. I honestly didn't encounter any other cyclists who were bothering to prepare their own meals. For me, eating in Thailand is one of the best things about touring in Thailand. I realize that everybody is different, however.
I've spent a lot of time on one of the smaller tourist islands in SW thailand, Bulon Leh. There's an area along the beach where it's ok to camp... There are a few tourist restaurants on the islands, but relatively expensive compared to mainland Thailand, so I bring food from Hat Yai (big city in the South). I make my own breakfast (bread and peanut butter and coffee) and other meals during the day (usually pasta) and go to one of the restaurants for evening meal...

Saves a lot of money in the long run, and gives me some variation as I'm a vegan and fried vegetables with rice three times a day gets a bit monotenous

Travelling through the country I wouldn't bother cooking...
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Old 11-26-09, 02:20 AM   #18
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I live (temporarily, I hope!) in China and use a Trangia stove. Last November I toured from Hong Kong to Shanghai. The food is incredibly cheap and easy to obtain in small towns and villages. I also took a sleeping bag & tent which were handy but stayed in $5-$8 a night guesthouses many nights when the weather became cold. I used bai jiu -- Chinese white vodka in Guangdong and southern Fujian province where the weather was consistantly warm. It's 56% alcohol and burns slowly but I managed to cook some meals and make cups of tea while sleeping in abandoned buildings in rural areas.

In Fujian province the weather became very cold very quickly. Lighting the 56% baijiu, and keeping it lit, became near impossible. I was aware of jiu jing being available at pharmacies. It is 75% alcohol and compared to baijiu it's magnificent! Expect to pay around $2 for a 500ml glass bottle. By this stage in my trip I was wearing multiple layers of clothing for daytime riding and had no intention of saving $5-8 for a warm bed at night so I didn't worry about searching for jiu jing.

If you have sachets of coffee or tea bags, every convenience store or restaurant will happily give you some hot water to make a hot cup of drink in rural China.

I am sure glad I had my mini Trangia for the first 1.5 to 2 weeks of the trip though. And the 50c for 100ml of beijiu (available in any small town along with some rice noodles, a carrot, onion and some stock cubes) saved me on more than one night. Yes, food is cheap and readily available but in some provinces -- particulary mountainous Fujian province -- one can ride for hours between towns; or villages containing guesthouses. Being stuck in the mountains, with sunset approaching, and 20km from the next town with no stove is not my idea of fun! The Mini Trangia's weight is negligible. I wouldn't consider touring without it even if you don't plan on using it.

Photo is from a cold night in the Fujian mountains in an abandoned old house.

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