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#192665 - 01/05/10 04:17 PM Stove Fuel shelf life
Compugeek Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 08/09/09
Posts: 392
Loc: San Diego, CA
I'm moving soon, and will no longer have a fireplace. So I will be getting some kind of camp stove in case of power outages. Primary usage would be for simple cooking (boil water, heat soups, etc.)

I've looked through the threads around here, and am aware that I know NOTHING about what kind I should get, so would appreciate recommendations.

I want:

* A fuel with a VERY long shelf life. It could be years before I use up a single canister/bottle/whatever.

* Something I can safely use indoors. I would probably put it on top of the stove, and open a couple of windows for ventilation.

* Something a complete greenhorn can operate with a minimum of hassle. Yes, I'll practice with it occasionally, so I don't have to figure it out under adverse circumstances, but I don't want something "fussy".

* I live in San Diego County, so I want something appropriate for temperatures from about 40F ("Winter" lows) to the low 100sF (Summer highs).

What do you all suggest I look for?
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#192668 - 01/05/10 04:32 PM Re: Stove Fuel shelf life [Re: Compugeek]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2738
Loc: Alberta, Canada
Others may laugh, but the stove I'd reach for in that situation is my old Coleman single-burner propane stove.

It's hot, quick to light and relight, and so simple that anyone could use it.

The fuel lasts more-or-less forever, as far as I can tell. It's easy to visually inspect the seal to guard against leaks.

I also have an adapter so I could use my 20lb BBQ tanks if I needed to.

As to indoor use: any camp stove is tricky in that situation; carbon monoxide and fuel leaks can ruin your entire day. I prefer to use it in my porch or carport, never blocking emergency exits, and with fire extinguishers at the ready. But I'm a lot more comfortable with the old Coleman than a liquid-fuel stove.

My $0.02.

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#192670 - 01/05/10 04:43 PM Re: Stove Fuel shelf life [Re: dougwalkabout]
oldsoldier Offline
Old Hand

Registered: 11/25/06
Posts: 742
Loc: MA
I would say an alcohol stove of some sort. Make (or buy, of so inclined) an alcohol stove, and pick up some of the HEET brand gas line antifreeze, in the yellow bottle. Its only a couple $$$, burns hot, and stores well for a while. Thats the cheapest, simplest suggestion. If youre cooking for more than one though, you may want to consider canister stoves-I am not sure about the shelf life of them, but I have used canisters several years old, and they worked fine. As long as they arent warped, rusted, or leaking, you SHOULD be ok with those. And, they are a little more convenient for more than 1 person.
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#192673 - 01/05/10 04:56 PM Re: Stove Fuel shelf life [Re: Compugeek]
Am_Fear_Liath_Mor Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/03/07
Posts: 3078

Dual burner, compact, easy to store and powerful propane stove - The Coleman 2-Burner Fold 'N Go InstaStart Stove.


http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-2-Burner-Fold-InstaStart-Stove/dp/B000F7T2MU

http://www.coleman.com/coleman/video/video.asp?link=77228

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#192674 - 01/05/10 04:58 PM Re: Stove Fuel shelf life [Re: oldsoldier]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6762
Loc: southern Cal
I own alcohol, iso-butane (cartridge),liquid gas, and propane stoves. Each has its niche. For prolonged domestic problems, I plan on a propane stove (big, heavy, green bottle).

You can shop around and get either a two burner or one burner model for around fifty bucks. The two burner will be more versatile- you can brew coffee and fry eggs at the same time. I have basically phased out use of my classic liquid gas Coleman stoves in favor of propane - it is simply much more convenient and dependable. The latest models are compact and relatively lightweight - for a camp stove.

Alcohol and iso-butane are great in applications where weight is critical, but for domestic situations, it is propane all the way.

Use outdoors if at all possible. CO is a real problem with any stove. CO detectors are available and can be installed before hand.
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#192676 - 01/05/10 05:02 PM Re: Stove Fuel shelf life [Re: Am_Fear_Liath_Mor]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6762
Loc: southern Cal
No windscreen and those insta-start gizmos are trash after the first week of use. A bit expensive....
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#192677 - 01/05/10 05:11 PM Re: Stove Fuel shelf life [Re: Compugeek]
benjammin Offline
Rapscallion
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/06/04
Posts: 4020
Loc: Anchorage AK
For use in power outages at home, my best recommendation is a coleman type two burner camping propane stove. Coleman Propane Stove

Here's why:

It is fairly universal.
It is straightforward to operate and maintain.
It uses standard propane cylinders; which unused have a fantastic shelf life, are very common, relatively inexpensive, and work with lots of other devices well.
It is a very stable platform to cook on, and will fit on a standard stovetop.
It is suitable for the level of ventilation you plan to provide.

You don't need the most portable stove for home use, so a backpacker style is an unnecessary compromise for a primary use backup. You will get a lot of value for the money you spend, and I can't imagine anything easier to use for the given purpose. You could get a stove-top baking oven for it and increase your cooking options. Camp Oven
You can also get an adapter for cheap that allows you to use the stove with bulk cylinders of propane (20 lb tanks).

I have much the same, except that the unit I bought is a stove top/oven combo, in that the oven is integral. It is powered by a 20 lb cylinder instead of the small portable ones a regular coleman type stove would use. It is also more expensive. Camp Chef Stove-Oven Combo

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#192682 - 01/05/10 05:47 PM Re: Stove Fuel shelf life [Re: benjammin]
dougwalkabout Offline
Crazy Canuck
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 02/03/07
Posts: 2738
Loc: Alberta, Canada
True, the two-burner style is more stable, especially important if using large, heavy pots (e.g., purifying water in large stock pots). It's probably the best choice for home-only use.

I prefer the one-burner just because it's handy: I won't hesitate to throw it in the back of the car "just in case," and I could schlep it into a base camp for group cooking (not everyone is comfortable with a white gas stove).

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#192696 - 01/05/10 07:04 PM Re: Stove Fuel shelf life [Re: dougwalkabout]
Susan Offline
Geezer

Registered: 01/21/04
Posts: 5163
Loc: W. WA
If it is for family cooking, I would go with propane. It's simple, the parts are available in most sporting goods stores (Coleman, anyway) and even your kids can see the flames. Kids playing around may not see the alcohol flame, with scary results.

I have the old Primus Grasshopper single-burner propane stove, which hasn't been made for many years, and I love it. The only drawback is that it needs the longer, skinny propane tanks, unless I want to prop the short tanks up on books or wood.

With alcohol stoves, the advantage is the fuel versatility. Denatured alcohol from a paint store, gas line antifreeze, Everclear, etc, things that might be overlooked in a disaster.

Don't worry too much about using propane for cooking indoors -- people have been using natural gas and propane for cooking from those big tanks for years. The gas is scented, so if the tank didn't close and there's no flame, you should smell it.

Sue

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#192703 - 01/05/10 08:02 PM Re: Stove Fuel shelf life [Re: Susan]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief
Geezer

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6762
Loc: southern Cal
Originally Posted By: Susan


Don't worry too much about using propane for cooking indoors -- people have been using natural gas and propane for cooking from those big tanks for years.


But that is not to say propane is problem free. I always like to check connections with soapy water, mostly because it prevents wasting fuel in a well ventilated environment. This check could be real important inside a dwelling. I believe propane is heavier than air, so keep the candle out of the basement. Pilot lights could be a potential problem.

NFPA reports something like 1300 propane caused fires in homes annually, mostly due to misuse of grills. Actually, not too bad percentage-wise, as long as you are not among the 1300.
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