Liquid Fuel vs Gas Stoves

Who's still using a liquid fuel stove such as a Whisperlite, and if so, why? (Not knocking peoples choices, just curious) I'd have used a Whisperlite or a Coleman liquid fuel stove in the past for bigger groups, and or if you've got a lot of snow to melt, I guess the heat output can be quite a bit higher than a gas stove? Nowadays, the burner heads for a gas stove only weigh 60 g or so, and put out enough heat for my needs. I tend to take a single 230 g gas canister for any length trip and figure that on a long trip there will be enough times when I can cook on a fire to make the gas last for when I need it. Solo and one or two nights and no snow melting, I might take the Redbull can alcohol burner and a 150-200 ml plastic bottle of meths.
26 comments
11–20 of 26

whats the Rangiora tramping clubs basis for banning liquid fuel stoves? I know kerosine stoves can be a real problem for safety if they arent primed properly... kero stoves are seldom used these days though. i've seldom seen issues with white spirit stoves... school teacher was a bit reckless with starting them, to preheat them he'd pour white spirits on the stove... some of the old Optimus's had a fuel tank next to the burner, if you had a big billy the head could melt the seal on the safety pressure release valve on the fuel tank cap and you could end up with a flame thrower, i've never seen it happen , and i used one for years and those are old designs now... seldom seen. i've used white spirits for years and years without issue ive seen what can go wrong with kero stoves. having one knocked over when there was liquid kerosine coming out it set fire to a bench.
Kerosene stove will normally go out if tipped over as the fuel pickup ends up above the fuel. Liquid kero is very hard to light so it is generally considered a safe fuel. I have seen incidents with white spirit that question the safety of those stoves but all were the result of misuse. I have heard stories with gas as well. Remember the old Camping Gaz stoves with the pierceable cartridge. Guess what happens if the seal sticks to the old cartridge when changing it and you dont notice until the needle punctures the new one and there is no seal. As for Rangiora tramping club I believe it was in response to a few hut fires but whether other Canterbury clubs have the same rules I dont know. Another thing I found strange when moving down here but makes sense when thought about is how the fireplace is managed. In Wellington it was normal to clean the fire dispose of the ash and lay the fire so the next person only had to light it. Most Wellington tramping areas are quite wet. Here the idea of dumping possibly hot ashes into dry outside forest is not good so the fire either gets left or the ashes transferred to the metal bucket if not too hot and left for the next group to throw out after they are fully cold
I use a meths burner- ridiculously light and the fuel is the most dense in terms of calorific value per kg other than liquid fuel I am told. But the big plus is that its not a fossil fuel. In this climate emergency we really need to be doing something other than burning gas. ps I've got a gasifying twig burner that I've yet to try out properly - also carbon neutral and no need to carry fuel ;)
meths is only about 80% the calorific value of kero petrol and butane so you do have to carry more fuel. The trade off though is the likes of the triangia cookset are very light and very efficient so as a set they dont work out too bad. Biggest issue with meths is that it can burn clear in some situations and quite a few people have been caught out filling a stove that wasnt out.
i cant think of any tararua huts that have burnt down from hot ashes being dumped outside, its a pretty damp place most of the year.... as you mentioned @geeves . i'm not aware of people making a point of leaving ashes in a fire before dumping them outside the hut in that area.
Like you, IanH, I transistioned from the MSR to a Coleman stove and then after tramping with someone who had a gas burner, bought an MSR Pocket Rocket and never looked back. Frank had a Dragonfly and in one hut, the other occupants insisted we use their quieter stove. The Whisperlite was good for melting snow as you say and I haven't used it since we camped in snow, doing the Dome (APNP). I used to place a tin lid over the burner unit as a 'simmerplate' for reduced heat. I knew the tricks about keeping the canister inside your jacket and cupping the hands around the canister but didn't know about that wee gizmo preheat tube or inverting the canister so very informative, thanks Bernieq. Very good point about methanol not being a fossil fuel. I had a twig burning stove (TT) but gave it away before I got a chance to use it. @Peter Olorenshaw: How time-consuming are they to run? And what brand do you recommend? Cheers. One time I got low on methanol in a hut but discovered whisky so mixed that with my methanol, to burn, not to drink of course :smile:
Methanol can be a carbon friendly non fossil fuel but 90% of the worlds supply comes from the Methanex plant in Taranaki made from natural gas. ie its a fossil fuel. You can buy bioethanol and biomethanol. Methalated spirit is typically ethanol doctored with something to make it taste bad. If its NZ manufactured its probably made from milk byproducts and all ethanol plus taste. If its from overseas though it can often contain methanol which you will find out pretty quick if you get your whiskey bottles mixed up
'Methanol can be a carbon friendly non fossil fuel but 90% of the worlds supply comes from the Methanex plant in Taranaki made from natural gas'. Sounds a bit far fetched when there are more than 90 methanol plants all around the world.
Interesting...watch this space.
Good question. I've been using an MSR Whisperlite forever. Why? Because I've been using it forever... It's known and comfortable. Maybe I'll think about switching when my current stove eventually conks out.
11–20 of 26

Sign in to comment on this thread.

Search the forums

Forum Gear talk
Started by Ian_H
On 8 January 2022
Replies 25
Permanent link

Formatting your posts

The forums support MarkDown syntax. Following is a quick reference.

Type this... To get this...
Italic *Italic text* *Italic text*
Bold **Bold text** **Bold text**
Quoted text > Quoted text > Quoted text
Emojis :smile: :+1: :astonished: :heart: :smile: :+1:
:astonished: :heart:
Lists - item 1
- item 2
- item 3
- item 1 - item 2 - item 3
Links https://tramper.nz https://tramper.nz
Images ![](URL/of/image)

URL/of/image
![](/whio/image/icons/ic_photo_black_48dp_2x.png)
Mentions @username @username

Find more emojiLearn about MarkDown