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MATT_B

Shipping a stove

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Anyone have any experience shipping a stove? I'm flying down to southern CA next week and would like to take a stove. I know the airlines don't allow you to fly with a stove even without fuel in it. I was going to send it UPS ground and they would not touch it either. I could buy one while I'm down there but I would rather not do that. Anyone have any other suggestions or know of a shipper that will take it?

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??? That's news to me. I've taken a canister-based stove with me before. The luggage it was in even got searched by the Department of Homeland Security.

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We tried to send a moped with my friend to china. Even after we blew dry and WASHED the gas tank and lines, and left them open and unattached, they refused to take it on board because they could still smell gasoline.

 

Maybe canister fuels are considered in the same category as hair sprays and such, but they sure seem freaked about any liquid fuels.

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The way it was explained to me by THS at the Salt Lake City airport was that if the stove was ever used it still has traces of fuel, therefore not allowed on a plane. That said, I've put mine on checked luggage since then and so far so good. They took a fuel bottle of mine, with the pump, in SLC. I lied and said I had borrowed a stove and did not have mine in the luggage. Seems stupid.

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I went through this time and time again when I lived on the East Coast and had to fly regularly to get to any mountains worth climbing.

 

The short answer is it depends on the person checking your bag.

 

Some airline employees are real sticklers about it and others don't seem to care. Regardless of what the airlines tell you officially, the employees seem to determine their own policy.

 

You cannot take fuel on board a plane at all. You can take a brand new stove. I have been able to take a used liquid gas stove with gas tank attached by making sure it was very clean and no fumes. I've also had it pulled from my luggage at the Denver Airport. I mailed it home at the airport's post office via USPS Ground.

 

I then started carrying a canister stove, but that's really inconvenient since canisters are much harder to find than white gas. And you have to dispose of the canister somehow afterward. On one trip, I went to the REI in Tuscon to get a canister only to find they were sold out. Luckily they had a nearly full one in the back they used for testing stoves and they gave it to me for free. So I've taken to bringing my unused canisters or partially used canisters to REIs if I am flying home.

 

The solution may be to have a stove that connects to a fuel bottle, e.g the Whisperlite. Then there is no gas canister attached to the stove, and you only have to buy a fuel bottle and gas when you travel.

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If I was doing it, and I have done so, I'd clean out the fuel bottle with alcohol and then with water, and then dry it carefully. This takes away all the flammability hazard.

Then I'd either:

1. pack it in checked luggage, maybe in separate bags/packs, and take my chances with the airline. I have not been bit yet, but it is true that the airlines will confiscate if the find it.

2. Ship UPS ground, don't tell them what is in there...if you have done the thorough cleaning above, you are certainly meeting the spirit of the law.

 

The problem is that stoves and fuel bottles are such a miniscule problem that the airlines/shippers don't want to go to the bother of really reseaching what needs to be done, and then have to verify somehow it was done properly. It's so much easier to just ban it all.

(see signature below, which definitely applies to this)

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Went round and round with a ticket person when flying to TX. Finally told her if TSA wanted to remove it, they could. - for my white gas stove, I removed the fuel, aired out the bottle and left it loose in my checked luggage. The pump was placed in its storage bag bag with the stove in checked luggage. And no questions asked on my return flight, so it depends on the ticket agent.

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The problem is that "technically" any liquid fuel stove that has been used is classified as a dangerous goods. So, to obey the laws, it is neccessary to package, label, and ship that stove with FEDEX, UPS, or with the airline as a dangerous goods, which requires certification for the shippper, etc. Think back to those oxygen generators on that flight over Florida some years back. When those oxygen generators were installed in the plane, it was all ok--but when not installed in the plane, but just carried in a box in the hold of the plane, they violated the regulations for safe handling of dangerous goods. IATA ( International Air Transportation Association) is the regulating body for what can be shiped, and how it can be shipped when transporting by air. There are exceptions for what are considered consumer quantities of certain prohibited items. That is why you can carry hair spray, disposable lighters, rubbing alcohol in your first aid kit, matches, radioactive materials contained in pacemakes, etc. So, maybe if you could convince the airline that the traces of fuel in your stove is a consumer commodity, then it would be acceptable to carry it on the plane. Otherwise, technically you are up the creek.

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That is why you can carry hair spray, disposable lighters, rubbing alcohol in your first aid kit, matches, radioactive materials contained in pacemakers, etc.

 

But you can't carry stormproof matches.

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So I see a new REI Store location. Kahiltna glacier. If you can't carry a used stove on a commercial flight, you won't be able to take one to Denali. They already fly the fuel on a seperate flight, maybe they will have to do it for stoves now.

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the TSA said

 

"Camp Stoves - Can travel as carry-on or checked luggage only if empty of all fuel and cleaned such that vapors and residue are absent. Simply emptying the fuel container is insufficient as flammable vapors remain. TSA recommends you ship these ahead of time as they are frequently confiscated due to fuel vapors."

 

 

 

Despite the TSA info on stoves, airlines can and will disallow stoves that are not unused. As mentioned, your best bet is to ship ahead, or clean properly and dry properly and put into the checked baggage, and take the chance that you will not be found.

 

Arguing with the airlines will get you nowhere.

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I've played this game a number of times flying from flat-land Hell (Michigan) to someplace worth backpacking or climbing.

 

If you're really worried about it, ship it ahead of time via USPS Ground service, general delivery to yourself at a post office near your jumping off point. This works particularly well with liquid fuel stoves and clean empty fuel bottles as long as you identify it as such.

 

Or you can not declare it by stuffing it deep into your checked luggage and take the risk of it being removed buy the airline.

 

When I flew out to the Tetons last July I checked my MSR PocketRocket, several butane lighters, and match case full of wooden stick matches in my duffel. It ended up being searched but all of the items were there when I landed in Jackson.

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