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Stove fuel options/availability- US

Old 10-13-13, 11:31 PM
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Stove fuel options/availability- US

Hi friends!

I'm planning to ride from San Francisco to Yorktown on the ACA Western Express and TransAmerica trails next summer. After lots of reading, and based on the type of eating I plan to do, I am considering purchasing a JetBoil stove system. However, my roommate/riding partner has expressed concern about the availability of the isobutane-propane fuel canisters, and how long a stretch you might expect to go before finding a store that stocks them.

Does anyone have any experience with keeping stocked on this fuel across the US, or especially on these routes? Should I reconsider my stove choice in favor of a different fuel option? I live in a fairly densely populated (by people and REIs!) part of the country, so I don't have a solid idea of what might be easy or hard to find elsewhere.

Thanks for any advice or suggestions you might have to offer!
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Old 10-14-13, 12:01 AM
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Only owned MSR petrol stoves ,they work on unleaded pump gas that you get a 1/2 pint a time for a Buck.

got a Whisper-light international, then got a Dragon fly with a second needle valve to actually simmer and cook on it.
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Old 10-14-13, 02:42 AM
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Would never buy any Jetboil products again, the heat exchanger fins on my Sol Ti melted, JB didn't want to know even though it's a problem many Sol Ti users have experienced.

So unless you are ONLY boiling water JB stoves are a very very poor option.

If i'm off in areas where the fuel supply is iffy, then i'll take one of my meths burners.
Current fave is the Evernew stove and trivet.
Mega light weight and for a meths burner really really fast



Use this with a pot cosy and i'm pretty much sorted for most of my cooking needs.



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Old 10-14-13, 07:15 AM
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Consider an MSR Pocket Rocket. Alcohol stove for back up if you run out of cannisters.

Used efficiently, you can expect maybe 10 days out of a large cannister. Take two, replace the empty ASAP.

Check postal regulations. By properly labeling the pkg, I'm pretty sure you can ship yourself a cannister.
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Old 10-14-13, 08:11 AM
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This page has 13 links to information about cooking stoves and bike touring.

Not all of them will be of interest to you but many will help inform your decision.
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Old 10-14-13, 10:43 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Only owned MSR petrol stoves ,they work on unleaded pump gas that you get a 1/2 pint a time for a Buck.

got a Whisper-light international, then got a Dragon fly with a second needle valve to actually simmer and cook on it.
There are a lot of toxic additives in automotive fuel that you do not want to inhale their products of combustion. Using car fuel should be avoided unless you have no other options.

I prefer liquid fuel stoves to butane/propane/isobutane, they work better in cold weather. The butane mixture stoves, I always seem to run out of fuel and have to change canisters half way thru a meal.

Where are you at this time? In USA or elsewhere?
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Old 10-14-13, 10:51 AM
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camping is hardly an enclosed space , and I'd never cook inside my tent..

even eating in your tent is a bad idea, .. when passing through, like, bear country,

as they will smell what you spill , and will tear up your tent to find it.
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Old 10-14-13, 11:57 AM
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I'm thinking of purchasing a BioLite Camp Stove, instead of carrying fuel and a campstove.

Anyone here used a BioLite?
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Old 10-14-13, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jhawk View Post
I'm thinking of purchasing a BioLite Camp Stove, instead of carrying fuel and a campstove.

Anyone here used a BioLite?
I don't have one but have used one for a weekend.

Absolutely terrible design and useless charging abilities.

Because the stove is closed at the sides the only way you can feed it (which it needs a LOT of small twigs to keep burning) is from the top, yep the place where your pot sits.
So it's an absolute nightmare to keep fuelled up which is bad enough, even worse is the rate of twigs it goes through with the fan on.

I tried keeping it burning for 30 mins and in that time my S3 did not charge even 1%, i'd sooner run home charge the phone and run back rather than keep the stove fuelled for hours on end, which sounds ok except i was over 100km away from home

It's also very heavy compared to other stoves and extremely bulky.

Lastly the fan stopped working on the second night on the one i borrowed.

I wouldn't take one camping again if you paid me €250
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Old 10-14-13, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
There are a lot of toxic additives in automotive fuel that you do not want to inhale their products of combustion. Using car fuel should be avoided unless you have no other options.

I prefer liquid fuel stoves to butane/propane/isobutane, they work better in cold weather. The butane mixture stoves, I always seem to run out of fuel and have to change canisters half way thru a meal.

Where are you at this time? In USA or elsewhere?
What a very odd thing to say.

Butane, meths, methanol, alcohol, fuel tablets or petrol, they're all pretty nasty stuff to burn and they all can cause CO poisoning if the area is not sufficiently ventilated.
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Old 10-14-13, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
There are a lot of toxic additives in automotive fuel that you do not want to inhale their products of combustion. Using car fuel should be avoided unless you have no other options.

I prefer liquid fuel stoves to butane/propane/isobutane, they work better in cold weather. The butane mixture stoves, I always seem to run out of fuel and have to change canisters half way thru a meal.

Where are you at this time? In USA or elsewhere?
You are being unnecessarily alarmist about automobile fuel. Yes, unburned fuel has a lot of toxic materials in it but then methanol is extremely toxic. When burned, however, the combustion products are carbon dioxide and water, just as they are with any fuel.

As for stoves, fuel availability is far better than it was 10 yeas ago. Helmart carries butane canister. I've done a lot of traveling recently and have checked in many different Walmarts across the midwest and south. I've found canisters in Mena, AR, Kolby, KS, and Charleston, WV, to name a few. I've found them all over every where.

I have a Primus Ominfuel which burns anything. It's a bit heavy but having the flexibility is worth the weight. The Omnilite Ti is lighter but more expensive.
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Old 10-14-13, 02:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
Consider an MSR Pocket Rocket. Alcohol stove for back up if you run out of cannisters.

Used efficiently, you can expect maybe 10 days out of a large cannister. Take two, replace the empty ASAP.

Check postal regulations. By properly labeling the pkg, I'm pretty sure you can ship yourself a cannister.
+1

I use the MSR Pocket Rocket for just about everything anymore. I've never had a serious problem getting fuel for it. I also have a MSR Whisperlite International that I use for extended winter camping trips. For travel it is hard to purge a liquid fuel bottle well enough to meet airline requirements. Especially, if you burn diesel or kerosene where it is difficult to get the stove and fuel bottles to smell "clean".



Sometimes improvising a windscreen can be a bit of a challenge. I'm sure something light and compact could be fabricated, but I have not worried about it too much.



Most modern canister fuel blends burns well below freezing. I really like the Pocket Rocket for short winter trips. Here the shovel is used for a wind screen.

Last edited by Doug64; 10-14-13 at 03:26 PM.
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Old 10-14-13, 03:14 PM
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Stove fuel Alcohol is in Hardware stores by the quart.

if you are by the Sea, because Alcohol evaporates Up where Gasoline vapors settle into the bilges

sailboats have use for alcohol stoves , and so you can find some in marine supply shops too

(though Bottled Propane is getting more common)
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Old 10-14-13, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
You are being unnecessarily alarmist about automobile fuel. Yes, unburned fuel has a lot of toxic materials in it but then methanol is extremely toxic. When burned, however, the combustion products are carbon dioxide and water, just as they are with any fuel.

... ...
I worked in the ground water field for over 20 years, some of that work was cleaning up sites contaminated by gasoline. There are a lot of gasoline additives with chlorine, bromine, etc., that produce things other than carbon dioxide and water vapor when burned.

Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
... ...

I have a Primus Ominfuel which burns anything. It's a bit heavy but having the flexibility is worth the weight. The Omnilite Ti is lighter but more expensive.
I like the Omnifuel too. It is one of my favorite stoves because of the wide availability of fuels. I was using it last week in boundary waters canoe area in northern Minnesota, prefer to use it with Coleman fuel. But I found it to work terribly bad with diesel number two.
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Old 10-14-13, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I worked in the ground water field for over 20 years, some of that work was cleaning up sites contaminated by gasoline. There are a lot of gasoline additives with chlorine, bromine, etc., that produce things other than carbon dioxide and water vapor when burned.
A car will burn more petrol while your positioning it in the car park than you will to boil water with most stoves.

I agree that it's a dirty method of cooking and there are far better solutions out there, if i was in a spot, my stove burned petrol and that's all i could find, i wouldn't bat an eyelid in using it.
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Old 10-14-13, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
I worked in the ground water field for over 20 years, some of that work was cleaning up sites contaminated by gasoline. There are a lot of gasoline additives with chlorine, bromine, etc., that produce things other than carbon dioxide and water vapor when burned.
In the old days of leaded gasoline, halogen compounds were added as lead scavengers. But since leaded gasoline has been banned, modern fuels don't have those compounds present anymore. They may have some amines but those are going to oxidize to NOX compounds in low concentrations. The unburned gasoline (along with methanol) is going to far more toxic than any combustion products would be.
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Old 10-14-13, 07:05 PM
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I've driven along both hwys 80 and 50 through Nevada and Utah many times while backpacking, and isobutane or propane/butane mix canisters are readily available in all the towns along highways 50 and 80 between San Francisco and Salt Lake City. Everywhere you can find gasoline or liquid stove fuels you'll be able to find canisters. Only problem is there are some big distances between some of the small towns (especially along hwy 50 in Nevada) so I'd make sure you take extra canisters in case you have to camp between towns. Most of the canisters are interchangable (MSR, Gaz, etc), so different brands shouldn't be a problem.

Personally I usually just boil water on trips, and I've always found the canisters stove simpler to use during camping, especially in spring/summer/fall. Simply turn the valve on and light it up. Liquid fuel stoves (Whisperlite was mentioned above) are probably better in the winter if you'll be needing to melt snow for water.
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Old 10-14-13, 07:13 PM
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I use a butane stove but carry a cat stove. It came handy when my second Dragonfly pump failed and another time when I couldn't find canisters.
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Old 10-14-13, 07:39 PM
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My wife got this when she was doing fieldwork for her masters in geology:

solid fuel stove: http://www.esbit.de/en/products/26/s...el-stove-cs75s

the fuel cubes are cheap as well.
she said it worked awesomely. the cubes burn all away so there are no empty canisters to carry around or leave littered about.

and it packs away into this:


she also got this small cookset to cook with http://amzn.com/B0037DD3RO
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Old 10-14-13, 08:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Erick L View Post
I use a butane stove but carry a cat stove. It came handy when my second Dragonfly pump failed and another time when I couldn't find canisters.
This. Hard to use in windy conditions, but fuel is widely available - you can find fuel in any hardware store (denatured alcohol), any wal-mart (sic), any liquor store (not the best use of Everclear), any auto parts store and many gas stations (Heet).
http://www.supercatstove.com/index.php

Dirt Cheap and weighs nothing.
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Old 10-14-13, 09:48 PM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Stove fuel Alcohol is in Hardware stores by the quart.

if you are by the Sea, because Alcohol evaporates Up where Gasoline vapors settle into the bilges

sailboats have use for alcohol stoves , and so you can find some in marine supply shops too

(though Bottled Propane is getting more common)
Also in drugstores as 'denatured alcohol'.
Some supermarkets have a drugstore inside and they will have it too.

Hikers on Appalachian trail like alcohol stoves because they can replenish along the way detouring off the route to towns. Also the Pacific Coast Trail . It is easier for them to find alcohol than other fuels, apparently.
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Old 10-15-13, 04:55 AM
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I made a cat stove and just about managed to make some coffee. For a long duration tour, you need something robust and if you do real cooking, you need low temp control as well as high temp. My Trangia soldiers on and it is very satisfying to use.
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Old 10-15-13, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelW View Post
I made a cat stove and just about managed to make some coffee. For a long duration tour, you need something robust and if you do real cooking, you need low temp control as well as high temp. My Trangia soldiers on and it is very satisfying to use.
I'm just about convinced to give the Trangia a try. I like the idea of using alcohol as fuel. The only disadvantage, if it really is, is it takes about 8 minutes for alcohol stoves to bring water to a boil vs. about 3 minutes for the Pocket Rocket. this was based on REI's specs for the respective stoves. The Trangia is a little heavier, about 2 oz., but this could be offset by the weight of fuel canisters. When recycling is not available, it seems like a shame to toss those empty fuel canisters into the trash.
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Old 10-15-13, 03:40 PM
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Doug64, not sure of the amount of water used in your test to bring to boil, but my super cat can bring 3 cups of water to boil in about 5 minutes.

For all cat stove users, if you want a more efficient stove that burns hotter, lay a couple of very small wires or metal strips, (I use those metal strips found in wind shield wiper blades) on top of the cat food can before you put your pot on and that 1-2mm space between the bottom of the pot and the top of the stove allows for better ventilation and hotter burn.
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