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Re: [pct-l] Fuel choice in a can stove
- Subject: Re: [pct-l] Fuel choice in a can stove
- From: Jim Mayer <email@example.com>
- Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 08:01:18 PST
Every once in a while a thread gets started on the net that strikes me as
just plain dangerous. This discussion of burning gasoline in an open
container is one of them. I wish I was an expert in this area so I could
explain exactly why it is a terrible idea, but I can't. Please, though,
understand that gasoline is dangerous stuff and shouldn't be experimented
with unless you really, really, know what you are doing.
Has anyone out there primed an MSR Whiperlite stove with white gas? Mine
generates lots of big, sooty, flames from about a teaspoon worth of fuel.
There is NO WAY I would ever try to cook with gasoline in a can... the
stuff is just too volatile.
Some other issues:
Alcohol mixes with water, gasoline floats. It is very
difficult to put out a gasoline fire with water, as the water
just spreads the flames.
Free burning gasoline generates lots of soot (from incomplete
combustion... remember your Whisperlite priming?). It also
Gasoline vapor is explosive.... alcohol vapor is too, but only under
the right conditions. Alcohol is much less volatile.
All that said, I have scars running on my right arm off and on from my
fingers to my armpit from an accident with alcohol when I was twelve (26
years ago). I am very, very, glad that there was no gasoline or kerosine
The directions on my Trangia alcohol stove are explicit about never using
petroleum distillates in the stove. I am inclined to believe them.
A sense of joyous experimentation is a wonderful part of backpacking
culture, but some things (like explosive chemicals) are best experimented
with by people who really know what they are doing. If you (like me)
don't, then think long and hard before you try to build your own gasoline
-- Jim Mayer
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