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Cooking Fuels for Portable Camping Alcohol Stoves

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With the launch of the Gipfel Portable alcohol stove, the possibility of owning and using a portable camping stove has become really easy. Mostly reserved for the campsite cooks, portable stoves will be a game changer with more people being able to cook their own food outdoors. 

But what fuels do you use for these portable camping stoves?

 In this article, we’ll talk about the most commonly used fuel and its advantages and drawbacks. We have not included gas canister fuels but will cover them in a more detailed article shortly. 

1 ) Denatured Alcohol

Denatured alcohol can be used as fuel for alcohol burners and camping stoves like the Gipfel Camping stove.

Denatured alcohol, is also known as  methylated spirits or denatured rectified spirit, is ethanol that has additives to make it poisonous, bad tasting, foul smelling or nauseating, to discourage recreational consumption. Denatured alcohol also serves as cleaning agent and is sometimes used a fuel additive. If you drank denatured alcohol it could blind or kill you.

Approx. cost is around 200-400 for a 500 ml bottle. We currently do not stock this product but it can be bought on amazon.

2) Pure Ethanol

Pure Ethanol is Ethyl Alcohol with no other additives or denaturants. Pure ethanol is often referred to as pure alcohol even though the term “pure” can refer to any proof. Pure Alcohol is considered “pure” regardless of the “cut” of water (proof). Pure ethanol might be difficult to buy over the counter and is usually available at industrial supplier shops. Though it is harder to come by, pure ethanol burns best for camping stoves. At Rs 43 per lite is quite affordable.

Our research has shown that most supplier tend to sell this fuel only to excise license holders and other businesses.

3) Methanol

Methanol is fuel that can be used in racing cars. Methanol is cheaper fuel because it is easier to produce. However, methanol fumes can be toxic. Like many volatile chemicals, methanol does not have to be swallowed to be dangerous since the liquid can be absorbed through the skin, and the vapors through the lungs. Methanol fuel is much safer when blended with ethanol, even at relatively low ethanol percentages.

Approx. cost: Around 28 a litre but again sold only by industrial manufacturers and is hard to get.

4) Isopropyl Alcohol

Isopropyl Alcohol is the easiest type of alcohol to procure for use in the camping stove. It is easily available on amazon and is also known as rubbing alcohol. Any large chemist would also stock this product. However, it is not as efficient as the other fuels that we have mentioned.

Isopropyl alcohol, also referred to as isopropanol, is a colorless and flammable liquid, and if you have smelled rubbing alcohol, then you know how isopropyl alcohol smells. It is also a volatile liquid, so when its container is left open, it evaporates quickly.

How much fuel is consumed and how long does it take to cook while using the stove?

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to put an exact number on this. The amount of fuel used varies on the type of fuel, how warm or cold it is outside, the wind conditions and even the size of the cooking pot or pan. A large cooking pan with a wide base takes longer time to heat water or cook food than a narrow compact pot.

Our own tests showed that it took about 9-12 minutes to boil 180 ml of water. With 180 ml of water you could make a big glass of coffee or enough water to rehydrate food. We used around 20 ML of fuel for the test.

  • Lightweight Burner ideal for camping, fishing and hiking trips.
  • Made from Brass and works on regular off the counter spirit (Methanol) and Propanol.
  • Measures : 90mm (diameter of burner) x 60 mm (height).
  • Holes on the base increased the efficiency of combustion.
  • The lid on top is can be used for extinguishing the fire as well as to regulate the flame.
  • 100ml of alcohol burns for 30 minutes.
  • After use the burner can be closed and carried with alcohol still in it as it doesn’t leak.
  • Comes with a wind resistant stove top.
  • Weighs 200 grams (6 oz)

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