Camping & Hiking Tech

5 Best Alcohol Stove Fuels for Camping & Backpacking

5 best alcohol stove fuels for camping and backpacking

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The 5 alcohol range fuels we examined.

After performing timed boil checks of 5 of the most effective alcohol range fuels and considering the worth and burn cleanliness of every model, we expect Crown Alcohol Stove Gasoline is the highest choice.

On common it was the second quickest to deliver a cup of water to a boil. It’s reasonably priced. And right here’s the kicker: it’s clean-burning, which means it produced no soot.

Klean Strip Inexperienced Denatured Alcohol was one other strong performer. It boiled water the third quickest and produced solely a small quantity of soot. If you’d like a low-methane alcohol gasoline it’s your greatest guess. It incorporates lower than 5%.

Crown Alcohol Stove FuelCrown Alcohol Stove Gasoline proved to be one of the best mixture of worth, boil velocity, and burn cleanliness.

It’s reasonably priced and extensively obtainable. It was the second-fastest gasoline to boil water. And in contrast to the quickest gasoline, 99% isopropyl alcohol, it didn’t produce any soot.

The Crown gasoline is technically denatured alcohol, although it incorporates a majority methanol — 65-75%.

Methanol is poisonous (a possible trigger for concern which we talk about afterward) making this the one actual draw back to this gasoline.

Additionally, the flame is nearly invisible in daylight. Train warning when cooking with it as a result of it’ll be troublesome to know in case your alcohol range is lit simply by taking a look at it.

As of this writing the security knowledge sheet (SDS) for one other Crown product, Crown Denatured Alcohol, exhibits it has a probably similar composition to Crown Alcohol Stove Gasoline (I say “potentially” as a result of it incorporates ranges versus actual percentages).

Due to the same SDS I think they’re comparable or near-similar merchandise with totally different names and packaging. If Crown Denatured Alcohol is all you’ll find I think about it’ll work about the identical.

Composition (SDS)

  • 65-75% methanol
  • 20-30% ethanol
  • Zero-5% isopropyl alcohol
  • Zero-1% methyl isobutyl ketone
  • Hint elements

Observe: Manufacturers withhold the precise chemical element identities and/or the precise element percentages as commerce secrets and techniques.

Klean Strip Green Denatured AlcoholOur Prime Decide, Crown Alcohol Stove Gasoline, incorporates 65-75% methanol. Methanol is poisonous and accordingly some backpackers wish to keep away from utilizing it as gasoline.

If that’s you think about Klean Strip Inexperienced Denatured Alcohol. It accommodates 80-90% ethanol (consuming alcohol) and fewer than 5% methanol.

It nonetheless incorporates methanol so that you completely wouldn’t need to eat it and will keep away from inhaling the fumes, however from a chemical composition standpoint it’s not as poisonous.

It’s in the identical worth vary because the Crown gasoline and in addition extensively obtainable. Plus it took solely 15 extra seconds on common to boil water.

It did produce a small quantity of copper-colored soot on the underside of the mug after burning. However in contrast to the soot produced by isopropyl alcohol it wasn’t an entire mess to deal with.

Simply remember to decide up the “Green” Denatured Alcohol when you’re wanting for a denatured alcohol model that’s principally ethanol. Common Klean Strip Denatured Alcohol has 30-50% ethanol and 40-60% methanol.

Composition (SDS)

  • 80-90% ethanol
  • <5% methanol
  • 1.5% acetic acid

Notice: Manufacturers withhold the precise chemical element identities and/or the precise element percentages as commerce secrets and techniques.

HEET (aka Yellow HEET)HEET may very properly be the preferred alcohol gasoline on the path right now.

It’s low cost and extensively out there. It produces no soot when burned. It doesn’t boil water the quickest, however there was a distinction of slightly over 20 seconds between the HEET and Crown Alcohol Stove Gasoline occasions.

HEET is principally pure methanol, nevertheless, and methanol is poisonous. It could enter the physique by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption via the pores and skin.

When conducting the boil checks I definitely inhaled some fumes. When filling the alcohol stoves with gasoline a few of every gasoline inevitably acquired on my fingers. It’s onerous to keep away from.

I wouldn’t doubt for a second that some methanol enters my physique each time I exploit HEET as gasoline. However I’ve no clue how a lot. And, in fact, the dose makes the poison.

Many hikers are fast to level out that regardless of the recognition of HEET as alcohol range gasoline you don’t right here about backpackers experiencing methanol poisoning. Think about that some thru-hikers little question use HEET with their alcohol range most nights on the path and the danger doesn’t appear too nice.

Nonetheless, I’ve but to discover a passable reply to the query of how harmful methanol is to make use of as alcohol range gasoline.

You’ll be able to all the time mitigate the danger by dealing with it with care and staying upwind of the fumes whereas cooking. However finally you’ll need to determine for your self whether or not or not it’s well worth the danger.

Composition (SDS)

  • 100% methanol
  • Zero.0006-Zero.0012% proprietary
  • Zero.0001996-Zero.0003996% proprietary

Notice: Manufacturers withhold the precise chemical element identities and/or the precise element percentages as commerce secrets and techniques.

99% isopropyl alcohol99% isopropyl alcohol boiled water virtually a minute quicker on common than another gasoline we examined.

But, it was such a sooty mess to burn that we don’t advocate it in any respect.

Even after burning a single ounce our mug was so absolutely coated in soot that even choosing it up proved to be a messy ordeal.

Storing a sooty prepare dinner pot in your pack can be a nightmare until you bagged it.

What’s extra, the soot made all of it the best way to the rim of the mug. When you have been to take a sip from the mug the soot would instantly rub off in your lips. This successfully prevents you from consuming any meals or beverage that needs to be drunk out of your mug or prepare dinner pot.

Soaking the mugs in water for hours eliminated hardly any soot. To get it off I had to make use of metal wool and loads of water, dish cleaning soap, and elbow grease.

The soot on each mug after burning one ounce of fuel

Burning only one ounce of 99% isopropyl alcohol and Iso-HEET (aka Pink HEET) coated our mugs with a thick layer of soot.

Cleansing off the soot on the path can be no small process. It might require copious quantities of water and biodegradable cleaning soap. A easy sponge would have a troublesome time eradicating all of it.

It’ll work in a pinch, however it’d be such a problem to make use of isopropyl alcohol as gasoline that we expect it’s greatest you don’t. The additional minute you’ll save on boil time shall be repaid dozens of occasions over once you go to scrub dishes at camp.

Iso-HEET (aka Red HEET)Iso-HEET can also be principally isopropyl alcohol — 98.5% in line with the SDS.

Thus it has the very same drawback because the 99% model we examined: it’s a sooty mess to burn and cleansing your mug or prepare dinner pot afterwards is just not straightforward.

Iso-HEET was the slowest gasoline we examined. It took on common over six minutes for an oz of it to boil a cup of water.

What’s extra, it’s much more costly than its sibling product, Yellow HEET. We discovered no compelling cause by any means to make use of it as alcohol range gasoline given the opposite choices out there.

Soot from burning isopropyl alcohol

Dealing with the soot-covered mugs shortly turned a messy ordeal.

Composition (SDS)

  • 98.5% isopropyl alcohol
  • Zero-1.5% proprietary
  • Zero.14985-Zero.22485% proprietary
  • Zero.07498473-Zero.15012173% proprietary

Observe: Manufacturers withhold the precise chemical element identities and/or the precise element percentages as commerce secrets and techniques.

Abstract

Listed here are the most effective alcohol range fuels:

  • Crown Alcohol Stove Gasoline
  • Klean Strip Inexperienced Denatured Alcohol
  • HEET
  • 99% Isopropyl Alcohol
  • Iso-HEET

Methods to Select the Best Alcohol Stove Gasoline for Your Wants

Forms of Alcohol Stove Gasoline

Ethanol tends to be the costliest sort of alcohol gasoline and the toughest to return by. Nevertheless, it’s a prime choice as a result of it has a excessive warmth content material and is clean-burning relative to the opposite varieties.

We didn’t check any pure ethanol fuels due to value and availability.

In style examples: 190-proof Everclear

Denatured alcohol (aka methylated spirit) is ethanol that has components comparable to methanol to make it poisonous in order to discourage leisure consumption and exempt it from liquor excise taxation. It’s a well-liked alcohol range gasoline as a result of it’s reasonably priced, comparatively clean-burning, and extra extensively out there than ethanol.

Totally different manufacturers add totally different ranges of components (primarily methanol). Some manufacturers include as a lot as 80-90% ethanol whereas others include between 20-30%.

Common examples: Klean Strip Inexperienced Denatured Alcohol, Crown Alcohol Stove Gasoline, Crown Denatured Alcohol, Klean Strip Denatured Alcohol

Methanol is a poisonous, flammable chemical which is in style as alcohol gasoline because of its worth and availability.

Methanol can enter the physique by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption via the pores and skin. Nevertheless I have but to see a passable reply to the query of how harmful it’s to make use of as gasoline.

You’ll should determine for your self whether or not or not it’s work the danger.

Fashionable examples: Yellow HEET

Isopropyl alcohol (aka isopropanol) is a colorless, flammable chemical that’s low cost, extensively obtainable, and has a excessive warmth content material.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t burn cleanly. Even burning one ounce of isopropyl alcohol left our mugs coated in a layer of soot. It was such a multitude to deal with and clear the mugs afterwards we don’t advocate it as alcohol range gasoline.

In style examples: Pink HEET, rubbing alcohol, isopropyl alcohol

How much soot each type of fuel produced

The 2 soot-stained mugs are the results of burning isopropyl alcohol. The copper-tinged mug is the results of burning Klean Strip Inexperienced Denatured Alcohol. The 2 clear mugs are the results of burning HEET and Crown Alcohol Stove Gasoline.

Tips on how to Discover & Learn an SDS

A security knowledge sheet (SDS) or materials security knowledge sheet (MSDS) accommodates well being and security info of a specific substance.

A lot of the fuels we examined have an SDS which we linked to when potential.

In the event you’re wanting for an SDS for a gasoline we didn’t check, first seek the advice of the label. Typically it is going to embrace a URL you possibly can go to to discover the SDS.

If not, go to the model web site and browse round. Often someplace on the location is a hyperlink to a database the place you possibly can search for your product’s SDS.

If all else fails a easy Google search for “[product name] sds” ought to do the trick.

When you’ve discovered the SDS, for backpackers’ functions a few of the most necessary info in it’s within the part often titled “Composition/Information on Ingredients.”

This part incorporates the breakdown of components with ballpark percentages of their proportion by weight. By searching it you’ll be able to shortly get an concept of how a lot ethanol, methanol, and components a method incorporates.

How We Examined

Performing a boil test with the 5 different brands of alcohol stove fuel we tested

Performing a boil check

A boil check is a basic strategy to decide the efficacy of gasoline. So for this information I set about doing simply that.

To make sure consistency, I purchased 5 of the identical alcohol stoves, the Zelph Starlyte Stove, and 5 of the identical mugs, an aluminum IMUSA mug. I then made 5 equivalent aluminum foil windscreens.

Utilizing a kitchen scale, I crammed every mug with precisely eight ounces of water and every range with precisely one ounce of gasoline.

Then I lit the stoves and waited 30 seconds for them to heat up earlier than putting a mug on every range, adjusting the windscreen, and beginning a timer. I watched and recorded when every mug began boiling.

I repeated this check 3 times, washing the soot off the mugs after every spherical to make sure it didn’t have an effect on boil occasions. I additionally swapped the mugs and windscreens round to totally different stoves and switched up the order during which I lit the stoves.

Notice: The boil exams have been carried out at an elevation of 900′ with mid-70° temperatures.

Boil Check 99% Isopropyl Alcohol Crown Alcohol Stove Gasoline Klean Strip Inexperienced Denatured Alcohol HEET Iso-HEET #1 244.96 328.52 306.58 342.7 410.55 #2 259.42 318.17 359.16 335.21 311.34 #three 314.35 337.66 361.91 377.24 414.24 Avg 272.91 328.12 342.55 351.72 378.71

Notice: All occasions within the above desk are in seconds

The typical boil time of every gasoline was an necessary consideration in our scoring. I additionally took under consideration the quantity of soot produced by every gasoline as a result of, as I’ve talked about, it was a multitude to deal with the soot-covered mugs and the soot took numerous elbow grease and metal wool to take away.