GearReview.com's's Guide to Stoves.
By Jeff Porcaro
We will cover three major areas in this section. First is the type of fuels,
second is the type of stoves, and third is the condition best suited for the particular stoves.
There are many different types of fuels with different strengths and weaknesses.
The different stoves have been designed to use certain fuels. When looking for a
stove you need to take into account the cost and availability of the fuel.
The first type of fuel that we will discuss is the Butane and Blended fuels.
Butane / Blended:
The Butane and Blended fuels come in lightweight canisters that are designed to fit the stoves that use them.
This fuel has the best control on the flame. This fuel is the simplest and cleanest to use.
Just snap the valve into the canister, open the valve and the stove is ready to be lit.
There is no need for pumping to pressurize the fuel. The risk of potential leaks is less with this type of fuel.
Most stoves use a mixture of fuel to perform better in colder temperatures.
This mixture includes propane, which gives better burning properties in the cold.
The fuel is available in many countries and will cost more than the equivalent liquid fuels.
There are still some canisters and stoves that require the stove to be attached to the cartridge until the fuel is gone.
These cartridges are not self-sealing. Today the newer models have self-sealing cartridges that can be removed and
reattached at will. The canisters are not very environmentally friendly, as there is no recycling program for them.
They are just discarded.
Propane fuel is very clean burning and easy to use.
Most family stoves now will use this fuel. This fuel is available almost anywhere.
The containers are heavier because of the thick steel containers. This fuel will start in almost any temperature.
White Gas is very hot and clean burning. This gas is available all over North America but is hard to find elsewhere.
White gas requires priming to be lit, but will burn in the coldest of temperatures. White gas stoves also require some
pumping to pressurize the fuel to help deliver it to the generator. White gas can be stored in small refillable containers.
Auto gas is the easiest gas to find. There are some stoves that will burn this fuel.
This fuel usually has additives and has the potential to clog the stove jets.
The auto gas has more emissions than white gas and it is advised to always use this outdoors.
Unleaded is best to use. Be sure the stove will support burning auto gas.
This type of fuel is best if the other fuels are not available. Stoves that can burn this type of fuel
are great to keep around in case of local disasters, such as earthquakes or storms as the fuel is probably
siting in your car, motorcycle or lawn mower. This stove requires pumping and priming to ignite.
The stove type is really dependent on the type of fuel that you will want to burn.
There are stoves that will burn only butane or propane, some which will only burn blended fuels.
The more common stoves burn white gas, but there are more stoves emerging that will burn everything from
auto gas to kerosene. You need to check for the cost and availability of the different fuels in your area
and the potential areas that you may travel to. The pressurized fuels cannot be transported on airplanes or
shipped in the mail, so be sure the fuel is available at your destination. There are some stoves that are
self-cleaning and others that require cleaning. Some of the stoves are not field maintainable.
The use of the stove is one of the most important factors in deciding on a stove.
There are different uses for stoves. If you are primarily using the stove to boil water then the fact
that a stove can simmer is probably not a big concern. Is the stove going to be used in winter and below
freezing conditions, if so a blended fuel stove may not be the answer. If you are doing some gourmet
cooking on your trips the flame control is crucial. Another factor is the weight of the stove and how
much fuel will be needed for a trip.
So which stove is right for you? They all can be right for different conditions.
We do suggest that which ever stove you do decide to get, try the stove out before you
are on the trip. Become familiar with the features of the stove and the use of the fuel.
There have been many miserable trips due to the stoves not working correctly or as expected.
There have also been many a tent burned down because of stove misbehaving.