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RICHARD_CILLEY

Alcohol burning stoves

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Sounds crazy But I got tired of buying stoves.If u use them alot they wear out pretty quick.Now I just use a can of tuna with alcohol in it.Works great.Cheap Light.Alot of people that see me cooking like that start doing it too.Nothin new but a good idea.

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I've used those a bit, I wouldn't bring that on a big wall but for hiking it's got to be one of the best options out there. Space saver and fuck... lightest stove ever! Oh not to mention cheap. Most hardcore light backpackers I've ran into seem to be stoked on the whole idea too.

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Avoid using rubbing alcohol as a fuel. It costs too much and can burn dirty. Use methanol.

 

Although rubbing alcohol (isopropyl) certainly can be used in alcohol stoves and burners, I've found it produces a hazy accumulation of irritating fumes. When used in an open burner in a confined space such as a hut, a garage, or big tent, the fumes from combustion of isopropyl alcohol prove intolerable. In contrast, methyl alcohol (methanol) burns as clean as can be.

 

According to OSHA, a fire involving isopropyl alcohol may release toxic gases such as carbon monoxide. Combustion of methanol produces only CO2 and steam; thus, methanol has a distinct advantage over isopropyl alcohol as a fuel.

 

Because methanol combustion produces no CO (as well as no irritants), it's more sutiable for use in confined spaces. A simple, improvised methanol burner can provide a safe emergency heat source in a car stranded in a blizzard, for example.

 

Methanol is available by the quart or gallon at a big-box hardware store near you. The last time I got some, I found it at Home Depot on shelves stocked with paint thinner and other petroleum distillates. About $8/gallon.

 

Don Johnston's Alcohol Stove

Pepsi Can Stove

The Home Made Stove Archives

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It is best to use denatured ethanol rather than methanol as methanol disolves aluminium and makes formaldahde when in contact with hot copper, denatured is ethanol with a bit of methanol so you can't drink it (unless you want a career of blind mans bluff and like dogs). It is the suff from home despot and WM.

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It is best to use denatured ethanol rather than methanol as methanol disolves aluminium and makes formaldahde when in contact with hot copper, denatured is ethanol with a bit of methanol so you can't drink it (unless you want a career of blind mans bluff and like dogs). It is the suff from home despot and WM.
A pepsi can stove has no copper, just aluminum. Most pots are aluminum, stainess steel or titanium. I personally detest the smell of denatured alcohol, because in addition to methanol, it usually contains a hydrocarbon rubber solvent. If you can get Specially Denatured Alcohol, that is best. It is denatured with 5% methanol and 5% isopropanol, if I remember correctly.

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I made the pop can stove once. Pretty cool thing but it sucked when trying to heat something up. thumbs_down.gif It wasn't worth it's light weight. I saw it sitting in my garage the other day and I just pitched it into the garbage can. I'd rather carry my XGK, Whisper Light or Snow Peak stove.

I have a gallon of the marine stove alcohol. Stuff burns really clean. Probably what CBS is talking about.

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There's extensive discussion on the PCT-L (look on the PCTA web site for the PCT-L) regarding alcohol stoves. Search their archives on the topic, it'll be informative. They're very popular with the long distance backpacking crowd as mentioned above. I've used one for the last several years on week long backpacking trips with great sucess.

 

As for fuel: Thru Hikers generally look for either HEET or Iso-HEET at the gas stations when resupplying (which is usually the most available kind of stove grade alcohol), or if they can get it, the denatured alcohol sold in paint stores or the marine stuff CBS mentioned.

 

I've made the soda can stove and the cat can stove. I've found that the cat can works best for my particular set up, but your performance may vary.

 

Note that alcohol stoves generally work best for solo hikers who don't need large amounts of hot water. I only use a pint of hot water each in the AM & PM and for that it's OK. If you're going to melt snow, or drink lots of coffee / tea or need lots of hot water, it's generally not the best choice.

 

Also note that they can be a real fire hazzard if accidently knocked over - burning alcohol with an invisible flame will go everywhere.

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I have one of these stoves from Trangia,

 

trangia.jpg

 

I fill it with HEET which if you look for at the right price is about $1 per 12 oz. You can find it in just about any gas station between the NW and the Midwest. Because it is so redaily avalible and considering how often I use this stove it is more practical for me than buying a gallon on methanol

geheetha55120.jpg

 

I store the fuel in a small red nalgene bottle that is made to store solvents and has a small pour spout located in the bottle mouth. I thought about making one from a pop can but I did not want to worry about crushing it all the time.

 

 

Although I now work in a chemistry lab and I have access to pure ethanol. One for me! One for the Stove! One for me! ....bigdrink.gif

 

(FYI dont drink pure ethanol as it contains some impurities in the form of benzene. Stick with the 90% for drinking!)

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I've used Trangia solo kit-stove quite a bit in Washington and elsewhere. The Trangia works good for short-term minimal solo cooking & is somewhat beautiful device...& probably beat gasoline for this sort of thing...but the mini-cannisters are more convenient & practical for short & slightly longer-term. I reserve Trangia for possible repeat visit to Mexico.

Edited by jerseyscum

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I used the Trangia stove at 5300 meters and it worked fine. I would use Ethanol (I guess rubbing alcohol is fine) rather than Methanol, which is toxic. To prevent the Ethanol from smoking I dilute it with water so that the final Ethanol concentration is 90%. But when you're travelling you end up buying the local crap-alcohol anyway.

Trangia stoves are heavy though, so not the best solution if you wanna travel light.

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