Safety procedures for using a liquid fuel stove are very important to know if this is your chosen manner for generating heat.
These liquid-fueled camping stoves are portable, light, and highly efficient. Safety procedures for using a propane stove or any other stove type are extremely important to follow. They contain combustible liquids that under abnormal pressure can be very dangerous.
Your equipment instructions and safety procedures for stove operation is something every avid camper should not overlook or take for granted.
When following a few (but key) safety rules, a liquid-fueled camp stove can be a safe method to prepare meals even when you are miles deep in the wild. (Read 5 Camping At Festivals Essentials)
Liquid Fuel Stoves
Basic liquid-fuel stoves burn white gas, which is readily available at outdoor gear retailers and hardware stores. Many of the modern liquid-fuel stoves burn a variety of fuels.
These include kerosene, diesel, white spirits, unleaded gasoline, jet fuel, and petroleum-based dry-cleaning fluid. These are very useful stoves, especially in areas where white gas may not be an option.
When it comes to mountaineers, liquid-fuel stoves are much in use as they produce the most heat in subfreezing temperatures.
However good they may be for very cold weather, these stoves need regular maintenance and cleaning, or they could malfunction. I have found preventive maintenance to be an invaluable practice that has made my cooking gear last, and as such, save me significant money. (Learn Why Do People Like Camping)
How They Work
Liquid fuel camping stoves function thru a tank of air and liquid fuel that is pressurized. The normally used fuel is white gas or unleaded gasoline.
Gases emitted by the fuel-air mixture are released through a valve to a burner where it is ignited. This where cookware sits on top, very much the way it would on a home stove.
Loading a Liquid Fuel Stove Safely
To be absolutely safe always go through the instruction manual thoroughly. Different stoves will have specific ways for ignition. When transporting, liquid fuels must be in a sturdy metal canister that will not leak.
When replenishing your stove with fuel, make use of an appropriate funnel to prevent any spills. Be conscious as you do this, to avoid overfilling it. Be forewarned that airspace inside the tank is important for proper function.
If liquid fuel is forced through the burner, you could start a fire that can rapidly spread. Ensure to tighten the fuel tank cap very securely.
2. How to Light Your Stove Safely
Prior to igniting your stove, make sure that any spilled fuel (if any) is gone through evaporation. Close and secure all fuel can lids and transfer all fuel cans downwind and away from your cooking area. This is an important safety precaution since invisible vapors can ignite from a spark or flame even from a distance.
Once you ignite the stove, keep flammable items away from the hot burner. Should you run dry of fuel and are still cooking, give the stove ample time to cool before you refill it.
3. Cooking Safety
Make very certain that you set your stove on a solid surface that is flat. An uneven surface will create many unnecessary issues. Hot food could spill and disturb the fire or worse, liquid fuel from the burner could also leak out and cause a fire.
Regardless of your cooking system or fuel source, it is always a bad idea to cook inside a tent. Carbon monoxide gas is notorious for rapidly overcoming campers, or worse tent materials could catch fire.
Ventilation is of particular importance when using a propane stove in an enclosed area like a camper or tent.
Also, be sure to observe specific safety procedures for propane stove operation. Be sure to check that the propane cylinder that connects to the stove is not corroded or broken. Likewise, check the knobs that connect the stove to the cylinder for stripping issues and check for a tight fit.
4. Transporting and Storing A Liquid Fuel Stove Safely
Never place a liquid-fueled camp stove anywhere near a flame, like a campfire. Any exposure to excessive heat may result in an explosion. When transporting a liquid fuel stove always be sure to remove all fuel from the stove.
Leave the cap off to allow all the residual fuel to evaporate. If you are traveling via air, most airlines will not check-in luggage that wreaks of the smell of gasoline.
If you have to fly to a trailhead, stove fuel cannot be brought onboard the plane. You will have to source it when you arrive at your destination.
As for the stoves, check with your carrier regarding transportation regulations. Furthermore, pack and store your stove in a way that the small valves and tubes that feed the burner are safe and secure from damage during the trip. (Find the Best Camping Stove)
In the case of propane cylinders, these should transport safely in an upright position. Make certain it is in a ventilated area.
Upright storage ensures that the safety valve will release propane gas if tank pressure becomes excessive, rather than leaking propane in denser liquid form.
I cannot overstate that propane cannot be left in hot temperatures such as a vehicle trunk. This will result in very high pressure inside the tank due to a buildup of flammable propane gas. When traveling, bring down propane tanks on the vehicle right away when you get to your destination.
5. Proper Storage of Extra Fuel
Extra fuel is safe for storage using metal cans with a tight lid whenever possible. This method minimizes leaks and evaporation.
A second option to metal cans is plastic containers that are specifically for storing fuel. It is also a good practice to fill the cans to the top to avoid the possibility of air pressure build-up.
As a caveat, I do not recommend having extra fuel in a vehicle or in your home if you can avoid it. If you must store extra fuel, it should be in a cool or shady area, separate from your house or in a detached shed. Be reminded that the elements of fuel can alter during storage for long periods. (Read our Guide to Staying Cool While Camping)
Stored fuel will also evaporate over time. Likewise, oxidation is also a problem for extended storage, but a fuel stabilizer added to it will minimize this issue.