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Backcountry Kitchen The Backcountry Kitchen forum is for the discussion of food and cooking gear related topics for backpacking trips (e.g. menus, recipes, stoves, fuel...).


View Poll Results: Which alcohol fuel option do you most prefer?
HEET (Yellow Bottle) 7 41.18%
Grain Alcohol (Everclear) 3 17.65%
Air Brake Anti-Freeze 0 0%
Denatured Alcohol 5 29.41%
Gelled Alcohol 0 0%
Isopropyl Alcohol (e.g. 99%) 1 5.88%
Other (I'll explain in thread) 1 5.88%
Voters: 17. You may not vote on this poll

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  #1  
Old 12-09-2013, 11:51 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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ContainsImages Alcohol Fuel Preference

Which alcohol fuel do you prefer and why? Please participate in the included voting poll.



Reality

Note: Denatured alcohol pictured is not my preference. If I opt for denatured, I currently prefer Klean-Strip Green Denatured Alcohol.
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  #2  
Old 12-10-2013, 11:29 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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i've used denatured, i've used everclear, i've even used isopropyl(it was before i knew better).

the denatured burns amazingly well. the heat content is fantastic and it lights pretty reliably. even the high-test everclear isn't quite as good due to water content.

that said, i'd prefer the high-proof everclear simply because it's non-toxic. if you had a fuel leak inside your pot, there's no worries. it can triple-up as part of your first-aid kit, cooking kit, and morale kit(with serious caution and plenty of mixer).

but if you live in a state like washington(like i do), it can be difficult to get it, as the liquor board restricts sales of stuff above 150-ish proof without a permit(though the permit isn't that hard to get apparently).
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  #3  
Old 12-10-2013, 03:51 PM
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Grandpa Grandpa is offline
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Denatured is pretty easy to come by as is the yellow HEET. We used quite a bit of it in the White Mountains on a trip this summer. We'd stop at a store and grab an extra bottle as we needed it. We could find HEET in auto parts stores and big box retailers.

All that being said, I'd prefer the Everclear--for all the reasons previously stated above!
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Old 12-10-2013, 10:03 PM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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In my book, a good single malt Islay scotch is great fue... Oh, wait a minute, you meant alcohol stoves, not me personally, didn't you?

I'm in the yellow HEET crowd. What I like is that it's everywhere, maybe even easier to find than denatured alcohol, and it's dirt cheap everywhere you do find it. (I hear the 190 proof Everclear is about $20.00 a bottle these days?)

I store mine in old plastic soda bottles. I label the bottles carfully, and use a drop of purple food color in each bottle, just to be sure I don't make a dreadful mistake and think that clear stuff is water...

References got made above to the yellow HEET bottle as opposed to the red one, and to not using isopropyl alcohol (which I believe is what's in the red HEET bottle). I've forgotten now why the red HEET isn't desireable, but for the benefit of new alcohol stove users who haven't heard, maybe someone who does remember can remind me why isopropyl is bad in a stove?
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  #5  
Old 12-11-2013, 01:02 AM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GGervin
References got made above to the yellow HEET bottle as opposed to the red one, and to not using isopropyl alcohol (which I believe is what's in the red HEET bottle). I've forgotten now why the red HEET isn't desireable, but for the benefit of new alcohol stove users who haven't heard, maybe someone who does remember can remind me why isopropyl is bad in a stove?

isopropyl isn't pure, actually. the highest strength i've seen is up around 93% alcohol, which burns okay. there's a fair bit to a lot of soot and residue left behind because of this.

isopropyl leaves behind a gunk in stoves(quantity varies based on purity) that can gum up jets and affect operation. the gunk can also be blown into the jets during operation(it's semi-soluble in alcohol), where it leads to jets clogging which is a really bad thing in pressurized stoves.

in all types of stoves it leaves behind a TON of soot and absolutely fouls your cookware. the carbon is extremely fine and really difficult to remove from non-metal surfaces like your hands.
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  #6  
Old 12-11-2013, 01:00 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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I prefer grain alcohol (95%) for its potential versatility and its low toxicity (in comparison to other options). However, it's not as cost effective as other options.

My secondary choice is Klean-Strip Green Denatured Alcohol. [Note: This is the Green* option.] Other popular denatured alcohol choices may differ from batch (lot) to batch (within the same brand) and have less ethanol - making them inferior to the aforementioned.

Quote:
*From the manufacturer: Klean-Strip Green Denatured Alcohol is made with a higher level of natural and renewable resources - twice the renewable resources as our regular Klean-Strip Denatured Alcohol. It is better for the environment because it is biodegradable. It contains no ozone depleting chemicals.

HEET (yellow) is my tertiary choice. I'd only use HEET when I couldn't get a hold of my other preference. By the way, I've often found that the contents (fl oz) of HEET that I've purchased is not as indicated on the bottle. For example, a bottle indicating 12 fl oz (net) on the label contains about 10 ounces of actual fluid. When I weigh the entire unopened bottle, it weighs less than 12 ounces (bottle included).

There are cases in which one or the other is unavailable (...), so I opt accordingly.

Reality
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  #7  
Old 12-11-2013, 04:13 PM
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dsuursoo dsuursoo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Reality
My secondary choice is Klean-Strip Green Denatured Alcohol. [Note: This is the Green* option.] Other popular denatured alcohol choices may differ from batch (lot) to batch (within the same brand) and have less ethanol - making them inferior to the aforementioned.



the klean-strip Green is really great stuff, frankly. it took just a couple of trial runs for me to decide that if i can't go with grain alcohol, the Green is the way to go. to me, at least, it smells better both beforehand and while burning.
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  #8  
Old 12-11-2013, 06:48 PM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Thanks for the info on the Klean-Strip Green option. I hadn't heard about it before. I'll definitely look into it and give it a try.
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  #9  
Old 12-13-2013, 09:26 PM
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tonto tonto is offline
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My Dean Martin Dilemma

My fuel preference depends on two issues.
Is it Cheap and Is it Really Cheap.
Heat is Really Cheap.
I've used grain alcohol for versatility which is not cheap.
There's another problem with grain alcohol.
After relaxing in the evening...
I never have enough to heat a cup of coffee the next morning.
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  #10  
Old 12-16-2013, 03:55 AM
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Blazerdog Blazerdog is offline
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I have to go with grain Alcohol. The reasons are those that have already
been stated here. It has a nice clean flame, can be used to disinfect small
cuts and scrapes, and makes a potent Gatorade Highball. It is not the
cheapest way to go, but we're not going through barrels of the stuff. As
for as cost efficiency, or even btu per fuel weight and volume, I'm certain
white gas or isopro takes it hands down. My choice specifically as a backpacking fuel is grain Alcohol.
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