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Eagle94-A1

Alcohol Stoves

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Because rocket stoves burn at just one temperature..hot, one has to adjust the cook surface height over the stove or diffuse the heat coming off the stove. 

One needs to learn both ways.  Diffused heat is easier to control.  I use a cast iron skillet and use it like the top of a wood burning stove.  When I go backpacking, I go with a tripod/clothes hanger that makes height adjustments easier.

The YouTube wood stove your buddy built is not a rocket stove, more of a hobo stove.  Not quite as efficient as a rocket stove, but as long as it's only burning wood, it's a good camp stove.

I remember making tuna can stoves in scouts many moons ago.  They worked fairly well, but didn't produce much heat in reality.

 

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After watching multiple scouts learning to use white gas stoves vs. remote canister stoves, we decided that the remote canister stoves are the safer option. 

I got lightweight titanium stoves.  I would be rather nervous having some of our younger scouts operating alcohol stoves.  From what I've read, Philmont doesn't want alcohol stoves and if conditions are dry, they would be banned.  They sell both white gas and canister stoves and have the canisters at the trading posts.

I'm very much in favor of saving weight, but the safety factor made us go with the canisters.  There are quality, lightweight options.  The biggest downside to me is not knowing EXACTLY how much fuel you have left.

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Keep it in mind that one will need to compensate for altitude with extra fuel when in Philmont.  I don't know exactly how many more canisters one may use over the course of the trek, but with white gas, the load gets lighter as the trek goes on, whereas, canisters need to be packed in and packed out.  Because they are pressure tanks, they are heavier than the white gas bottles that are as easily interchangeable as are canisters.

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/safe-food-handling/high-altitude-cooking-and-food-safety/ct_index

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I use Alcohol Stoves exclusively for my non Scouting trips. Mostly because fuel is cheaper. 

At Philmont, I do not recommend Alcohol Stoves. They lack efficiency when cooking for large groups, and at altitude. 

If your Scouts cook is small groups on troop backpacking trips alcohol stoves can be effective, but my Troop decided that discouraged means we won't use them. 

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On 12/28/2017 at 8:39 AM, Eagle94-A1 said:

Yes, I've noticed the "Prohibited" and "Not Recommended" in the G2SS.

My understanding is that the homemade ones are "Prohibited." So the stoves in the old Cub Scout Leader How To Books are no longer allowed. But a manufactured stove, like a Trangia or Batchstovez are OK.

 "Not Recommended," is quite different from  "prohibited." Kinda like the Sheath Knife policy IMHO. Plus there is the "...that are not in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions for chemical-fueled equipment."  So if a manufacturer  states a fuel, like unleaded gasoline, is acceptable to use in their equipment, like a Whisperlite International, then it's OK.
 

and then you have the manufactured ones, like Zelph's stoves

http://www.woodgaz-stove.com/mega-starlyte-burner-with-lid.php

He's apparently been making manufacturing and selling these things commercially a long time....proven designs.

Would they be considered homemade?

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I've been using a jetboil for a  while

recently bought a BRS stove but haven't used it yet, except for testing at home....  hard to beat the weight and price of that thing.

But I do like the idea of alcohol stoves for the silence!  I've considered it and still may either make or buy one some day.... but no more than I hike, the canister is just easy

even when considering I may need to carry more fuel than i need

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14 minutes ago, blw2 said:

I've been using a jetboil for a  while

recently bought a BRS stove but haven't used it yet, except for testing at home....  hard to beat the weight and price of that thing.

But I do like the idea of alcohol stoves for the silence!  I've considered it and still may either make or buy one some day.... but no more than I hike, the canister is just easy

even when considering I may need to carry more fuel than i need

I have been using a chinese rip-off of a pocket rocket for a while (it was only $7 but only has two settings "off" and "flamethrower") but it is a bit noisy. I have an alcohol stove, stand, and fuel container I have been wanting to test for that very reason. The noise can be intrusive. Also I always seem to have a partial canister and carry and extra and then carry two and that gets bulky. All I do is boil water, maybe I should do a playoff.

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Don't know about the pocket rocket, but compared to my Whisperlite, the noise of my Trangia and Batchstovez 2.0FE is astounding. Instead of jets on afterburner, I actually hear birds, cats, and my hoodlums. ;)

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Pocket Rockets are a pretty jet engine like stove, not the worst of them though... 

Alcohol stoves are amazing for lightweight backpacking. If your troop decides to forgo the warnings from the BSA, just be mindful of:

  • During the day you cannot see the flame.
  • Because it makes almost no noise the boys may not realize its burning. 
  • if they don't properly pack the fuel bottle it will leak, and it will make a smelly, wet mess. 
  • If the stove gets knocked over while in use the fuel becomes a stream of fire.
  • Some alcohol stove set ups can cause burn marks on the ground or picnic tables. So be careful where your Scouts use them. 
  • There is the temptation to misuse the fuel, "Watch this fireball I can make!" 
  • Some alcohol stove fuels can be hazardous if you are breathing in the fumes. 

In my opinion Scouts can be properly trained to use Alcohol stoves, but there are some potential issues that need to be worked around compared to canisters. Canisters are so easy and somewhat idiot proof, my Troop just sticks to them and I don't argue because hey we're getting them out backpacking! 

All in all I love my alcohol stove. I use the Caldera Cone by Trail Designs. I use alcohol stoves on practically all of my non Scouting trips. It's more weight efficient, cost efficient and I don't have left over fuel canisters that have to be recycled. I can pick up 32 oz of paint thinner from the local hardware store for like $7. $7 maybe gets me 12 oz of canister fuel. 

 

Edited by Sentinel947

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