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How do I know what type I should use when I'm planning a camping trip?

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It would be better if you made this question more specific - choose a weather condition, that way there can actually be one right answer. –  Ryley Jan 24 '12 at 20:51
Good point ... changed to be the difference between fuels rather than which is best. –  Reverend Gonzo Jan 24 '12 at 20:54
butane and propane/butane mixtures might also be good to discuss. –  Sirex Mar 14 '12 at 13:45

1 Answer 1

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I personally highly recommend using an alcohol stove (pepsi-can stove, or some other variant), especially when hiking solo. In my opinion, the weight benefits far exceed the disadvantages.

The benefits of Alcohol*:

  • An alcohol stove is usually much lighter than a comparable white gas/propage/kerosene/gasoline.
  • An alcohol stove also has no moving parts that can malfunction. Quite reliable.
  • Can be easily made even in the field, using two soda cans and a sharp knife.


  • Usually takes longer to boil water than more traditional stoves.
  • In higher altitudes/colder weather it takes longer to prime the stove and get it going.
  • In such conditions it will also take longer to boil the water/meal.

(*We are talking about stove fuel here, not about drinking the stuff...)

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one more disadvantage, its hard / impossible to see the flame. Be careful ! –  Sirex Mar 14 '12 at 13:46

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