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  1. #1
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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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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    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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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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    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.

  4. #4
    Tinkerer since 1980 TheBrick's Avatar
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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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  5. #5
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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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?

  6. #6
    Tinkerer since 1980 TheBrick's Avatar
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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.
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  7. #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.

  8. #8
    eternalvoyage
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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.

  9. #9
    eternalvoyage
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    In addition to the Trangia, some of the quieter multi-fuel stoves are also pretty nice.

  10. #10
    40 yrs bike touring
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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

  11. #11
    littleal
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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.
    Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

  12. #12
    Senior Member zeppinger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by littleal View Post
    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?

  13. #13
    littleal
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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!!
    Quantum materiae materietur marmota monax si marmota monax materiam possit materiari?

  14. #14
    imi
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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

  15. #15
    Senior Member kjmillig's Avatar
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    高度酒精is "high degree alcohol", pronounced "gao1 du4 jiu3 jing1".
    "Pain is weakness leaving the body"......yea, right!

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    Quote Originally Posted by imi View Post
    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.

  17. #17
    imi
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    Quote Originally Posted by axolotl View Post
    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...

  18. #18
    Senior Member mattbicycle's Avatar
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    100_7671 2.jpgI 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.

    Matt

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