How to Use Camping Stoves

87614739Cooking in the backcountry has come a long way since a camper was forced to build a fire to have a hot meal. Lightweight, high-output stoves allow hikers to cook anywhere a fire is unsafe, unfeasible or prohibited.
Backcountry camping stoves range from ultralight climbing designs to burly expedition cookwear, but their basic structures tend to be quite similar. Fuel is pressurized and turned to vapor, which is then ignited to produce the cooking flame. Operating your stove is as simple as using its components effectively.
 

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Compatible fuel container
  • Fuel
 
Step 1
Prepare the fuel container. Open a full liquid container and attach the fuel pressurizer, making sure to seal the container carefully. Pump the fuel to a pressure recommended by your stove's manufacturer. Most gas fuel canisters need only to be uncapped.
Step 2
Attach the stove to the fuel container. Screw gas fuel canisters into the fuel attachment at the base of the stove or the end of its fuel line. Lubricate the fuel attachment on a liquid-fueled stove with a bit of saliva or commercial lubricant, and insert it into the fuel pressurizer. Most stoves feature a lever or similar device to secure the fuel attachment. Lock the attachment in place using this device.
Step 3
Prime a liquid fuel stove by opening the fuel feed a small amount. You'll see liquid fuel begin to well up in the bottom of the stove. Shut off the fuel as soon as there is enough to ignite. Light the liquid fuel and let it burn until the flame is shorter than the stove, then open the fuel feed again. The burning liquid fuel heats the stove so that the fuel vaporizes and can be used to cook.
Step 4
Light a gas-fueled stove by opening the fuel feed a moderate amount and holding a flame to the burner. A liquid-fueled stove will be lit after you open the fuel feed the second time in Step 3.
Step 5
Cook your meal. The stove can stay lit as long as fuel lasts, although many backcountry hikers prefer to save fuel by putting out the stove between meal courses. This is generally fine, but a liquid-fueled stove will have to be primed again if allowed to cool.
Step 6
Turn off the fuel when you've finished cooking. Let the stove cool thoroughly, then remove the fuel container. Remove the fuel pressurizer from a liquid fuel container carefully, because pressure will escape when you break the seal. Replace the cap on the fuel container and check to make sure it doesn't leak.
Step 7
Clean your stove according to the manufacturer's instructions. Many gas-powered stoves require little or no cleaning, while some liquid stoves must be cleared of fuel residue. After your stove is clean, you can fold and pack it.
 

Tips & Warnings

 
Check with your stove's user manual for approved fuel types. Some gas stoves in particular are only rated for certain fuel blends.
 
Don't over-pressurize your fuel container in Step 1. It's better to have too little pressure in the container than too much. Lighting the liquid fuel during the priming process can produce a large flame. Keep your hand well back from the burner area, and use a long match or stick to light the fuel if possible. Gas stoves often produce a "pop" of flame when lit. Don't open the fuel feed too far, and keep your hand well back from the burner.
 
Don't over-pressurize your fuel container in Step 1. It's better to have too little pressure in the container than too much.
 
Lighting the liquid fuel during the priming process can produce a large flame. Keep your hand well back from the burner area, and use a long match or stick to light the fuel if possible.
 
Gas stoves often produce a "pop" of flame when lit. Don't open the fuel feed too far, and keep your hand well back from the burner.

Resources

Article Written By Greg Johnson

Greg Johnson earned his Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from The Ohio University. He has been a professional writer since 2008, specializing in outdoors content and instruction. Johnson's poetry has appeared in such publications as "Sphere" and "17 1/2 Magazine."

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