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Looking at the camping equipment post, I spun this off to get ideas, sorry if it has already been discussed.


According to the Guide to Safe Scouting : "Knowledgeable adult supervision must be provided when Scouts are involved in the storage of chemical fuels, the handling of chemical fuels in the filling of stoves or lanterns, or the lighting of chemical fuels. The use of liquid fuels for starting any type of fire is prohibited."


Which is of course a safety measure. But what about patrol camping, when there are no adults supervising, or for that matter on the camping trip what so ever. Especially if it is winter camping when wood fires are less encouraged than camp stove fires for cooking. When scouts are trying to follow leave no trace, recommendations for being the most thrifty when creating a fire to cook over (gas rather than wood) and when they are following set Boy Scout procedures they seem to contradict each other.


So what are scouts to do in a situation like this, which while very specific is an entirely possible and plausible event!

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Much as I believe "Train Them, Trust Them, Let them Lead."

I'm a little nervous about Patrol Camps where certain liquid fuels are used.

I kind of think that I might be in violation of the G2SS, but I don't see a problem with scouts using a propane stove.

Just as I don't see a problem with Scouts who are hiking using liquid fueled stoves.

At the end of the day the Scoutmaster has the final say about Patrol Camps and his understanding of the responsibility of the Patrol.

My main concern is Scouts trying to start a wood fire with the help of a little Scout spirit. Please don't tell anyone but I can remember doing it when I was a Scout.

I of course am not posting this to say that's it's OK, more to show that even an angelic little fellow like I once was can be tempted to break the rules even when he knows and understands what and why they are in place.

I like the idea of having once been Angelic.


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What DO boys use to cook on when patrol camping (without an adult)? Hmmmm ... I suppose there are ways to cook on wood or charcoal that leave no trace. Most of the cooking I did as a boy in Scouts was on charcoal stoves homemade out of metal 5-gallon buckets.


Personally I think liguid-gas is no less safe then propane. Let too much liquid-gas out before lighting and you get a big flare up. Let too much propane out before lighting and you get an explosion! I've seen both, but never heard of anyone severly hurt by either - mostly singed eyebrows, arms, and pride.


We teach our children rules that are intended to protect them. If they ignore the rules and do something stupid, well, the lessons can be harsh. Do something stupid with a knife, saw, or axe - you get a real nasty cut. Do something stupid like climbing a tree without proper safety - you get a broken bone. Start a fire with liquid-gas - you get a nasty burn.


Take away the blades; take away the tree; take away the liquid gas. Are the boys safe now? Are they better off?


Boys need to be taught, they need to learn, they need to experince, they need to take responsibility, and they need to know they'll have to deal with the result(s) of bad decisions.


By the way, I know one scout who wondered if empty propane cylinders would really blow up if put into a campfire. It did. The entire summercamp staff came running. Luckily nobody got hurt.



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By the book?...scouts may have to eat cold beans...

Given that in many areas wood fires are now prohibited and that probably includes charcoal... stoves are the only alternative....most adult leaders lean to propain or butane (or a blend) as a supposed "safety" measure. One I do not necessarily buy into...


More realistically we need to train them to appreciate the dangers of liquid gas...it's nasty ability to go "poof" in a loud and possibly disasterous manner -down to the chance of a frost-bite like burn in the event of a winter-time spill on bare skin...


I watched a demo once that staged a "controled" (practiced)explosion and a 'spill' on a coat sleeve resulting in a rather dramatic flaming arm (on a 'dummy')...it made a lasting impression, at least on the college student I used to be...


I have heard of as many 'canister' accidents as white gas problems...so mostly it is training, maturity and more training...Perhaps you limit patrols to charcoal or alcohol stoves at first and after a few supervised camps with gas stoves you move on...to more responcibility...


Liquid fuel (gasoline) is never to be used as a 'fire starter'...and actually just 'splashed on'... its not the best anyway. There are better firestarters out there...and if a camp fire is permitted...they can cook over fire or coals...so the problem doesn't exist in that case...


If the Scoutmaster is confident in his trust of the boy's training and maturity, their "going out" for a "patrol only" camp is his call.


but I am not sure it meets G2SS...guess we could argue what actually is "adult supervision" (or what "is" means?)...but I have things to do...now where is that belly button lint picker...



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The way I read this "rule" was that scout camping on their own on a patrol camp they could use propane fueled stoves and lanterns. Use of this type of equipment, while certainly not without its dangers, does not involve the tranfer of liquids and is not an open fire. I understand that propane could be considered a "chemical" and not allowed, but I do not think this rule was intended to cover the use of propane. Anyway, that's how I read it.


Otherwise, there is little point in allowing scouts to camp on their own as a patrol, yet restict them to eating only cold cereal, sandwiches, sushi. steak tartar, raw oysters, uncooked fruits and vegies. Or like Woody Allen, they could take frozen TV dinners and just suck on them.





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Propane IS a chemical fuel and is covered by the same GTSS section as Coleman-type fuel.


Propane, also called LP, or Liquid Propane, is actually both a compressed- and a liquid-fuel. It vaporizes at -44F and generates a natural vapor pressure, which is what drives the propane gas through the hoses to stoves & lanterns. The pressure is highest at warmer temperatures, which is why propane stoves don't perform so well in very cold weather.


Propane DOES involve the transfer of liquid fuel, but not by the boys. Cylinders are typcially filled by specially trained LP dealers. Also, propane certainly involves open flame, no different from Coleman-type fuels.


The fuel catridges sold for use on backpacking stoves are usually some combination of propane and butane, or similar. Those are chemical fuels too.


Alcohol used in homemade Coke can stoves is also considered a chemical fuel.


Leave No Trace cooking without chemical fuels is really pretty easy. No sushi needed. Get a small charcoal grill, such as a Weber Smokey Joe, and use that to cook - either directly on the grill or to heat pots & pans. Use a charcoal chimney to start the charcoal using wadded newspaper. Also, charcoal doesn't leave the black residue on the outside of pots & pans that occurs with wood fires.

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I will note that one way to reduce the use of gasoline as a firestarter is to train Scouts to make their own wax based fire starter, and to check and make sure they have that with them on camping trips.


They are really more effective in starting fires than gasoline, even if less dramatic.




Seattle Pioneer

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So why is charcoal not considered a chemical, yet propane is?


To differentiate between the two requires some interpretation of the meaning of the term "chemical" as used in the G2SS. A dictionary definition from dictionary.com


A substance with a distinct molecular composition that is produced by or used in a chemical process."


could certainly include charcoal, as well as propane or butane.


Now I do suppose one could heat those TV dinners by rubbing them together or one could use a solar oven.


Just continuing another lively discussion on the true meaning of the G2SS.



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Just continuing another lively discussion on the true meaning of the G2SS.


Hence the reason i started this thread. It has been good to see everyone's ideas and comments concerning liquid fuels. Honestly, if the scouts went out on a patrol campout, we would encourage them to use charcoal, rather than liquid fuels...would probably "reek vengence" on them if they used anything but sanctioned fire starters to start a fire. The only thing I would not be sure about would be propane cylinders. While they are liquid fuels, I feel much safer about them (well, assuming the people using them are acting and behaving responsibly) then about white gas or any other form of fuel the scouts can't just find off of the ground while out there on their own.


Good debate!

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Ive had a few 'expeirences' with liquid fueled kit while camping when i was a Scout.

First of all, Tilley lamps, in case they dont use these in North America, they are basicly Parrafin ( kerosene) pressure lamps, which are lit by warming up the Stem ( which contains a mantle in a glass surround) with a Methylated spirit soaked clip on wick.

to light these you fill the base with paraffin, close the valve on the stem and presurise the base with the attached pump.

The Wick is then soaked in methylated spirit, clamped to the stem ( above tha valve) then its lit.

After a while the Stem is hot enough to vapourise the paraffin and it all goes well - if done right.

Get it wrong and you make a nice flame thrower.



When I was a Scout on a Camp, someone made a few mistakes, and ended up with a large roaring flame coming out of the top - the container with the meths in was knocked over and spilt over the table which was soon on fire.

Now its mainly Butane powered Gas lights, which are much more predictable easier and cleaner to light ( although not as bright as parrafin )


The fuels we use now are

Butane( lights and stoves), Propane ( stove), and Methylated spirits ( trangia stoves) as well as wood on open fires.

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le voyager, et al....


Unfortunately charcoal and zip ztove type burners do not present the "simple solution" either...many parks(places on the 'AT' and Boundary Waters come to mind) now prohibit fires (and subsequent disposal of embers and coals) of any type and in written rules require stoves. Not to mention the bulk and weight of carrying wood (many camps/parks do not want or "allow" you to even scavenge downed wood) then there is the issue of carrying dads charcoal grill and 20 pounds of charcoal for a weekend back packing trek...


In the end we have a bunch of "options"...some better than others, but none perfect...sort of like scouting, huh?!? As leaders we need to try to follow the G2SS as well as any local rules as best we can..


Some times it will require a reworking of the "plan", but that I will leave to the trekkers to decide...but todays trekkers do need to be aware that "showing up" at a wilderness (or other) camping area thinking they will simply gather some wood and light a fire each night may not be an option (at least a legal one).

was fun...


white gas and MSR rules!



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