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Fire Safety: Alcohol vs. ESBIT

 
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Hikin_Jim
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Joined: 27 Sep 2007
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 6:00 pm    Post subject: Fire Safety: Alcohol vs. ESBIT  Reply with quote

This past week, we had a bit of a preview of what fire season might look like this summer.  Sad  Not good.

Alcohol stoves are super light weight, cheap, and popular -- but are they safe?

On my blog, I take a quick look at alcohol vs. ESBIT, examining the technical aspects as well as the USFS regulations.  In addition, I talk about some basic safety considerations.  Have a look if you like:
Fire Safety -- Alcohol vs. ESBIT.

HJ
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palmeredhackle



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Location: SGV

PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a modified starlyte burner in a caldera cone and I often think about the legality of my setup. I just hope that if it ever comes up, I can demonstrate how easily extinguishable it is and how the stove is spillproof.

I think one of the biggest issues about regulating alcohol stoves is that many are homemade, and each design works very differently. It would get really complicated to write up an approved list of 'designs'. You can have something commercial like a Trangia, and you can also have someone using a tealight setup that's nothing more than a glorified cup of burning alcohol, and all things in between.

Thanks for the discussion on your blog!
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

palmeredhackle wrote:
I use a modified starlyte burner in a caldera cone and I often think about the legality of my setup.
I keep hearing about the modified Starlyte being used with a Caldera Cone.  Do you like the set up?  Does the Starlyte work better than the 12-10 stove that the Cone comes with?  And is the modification just to remove the pot supports?

palmeredhackle wrote:
I just hope that if it ever comes up, I can demonstrate how easily extinguishable it is and how the stove is spillproof. [emphasis added]
Yeah, that's a big plus.

palmeredhackle wrote:
I think one of the biggest issues about regulating alcohol stoves is that many are homemade, and each design works very differently. It would get really complicated to write up an approved list of 'designs'. You can have something commercial like a Trangia, and you can also have someone using a tealight setup that's nothing more than a glorified cup of burning alcohol, and all things in between.
Yeah.  I think that's why the Forest Service has basically issued a blanket "no."  Almost completely unenforceable and most people aren't aware of it, but that is the official policy.

I had no idea until maybe 2007 or so that I was even supposed to have a campfire permit in order to operate a backpacking stove.  I thought a campfire meant wood, but in the eyes of the Forest Service, any flame used to cook (or any other purpose) is a "campfire."

palmeredhackle wrote:
Thanks for the discussion on your blog!
You're welcome, and thank you for your comments.

HJ
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JeffH



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Location: Claremont

PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hikin_Jim wrote:

I had no idea until maybe 2007 or so that I was even supposed to have a campfire permit in order to operate a backpacking stove.  I thought a campfire meant wood, but in the eyes of the Forest Service, any flame used to cook (or any other purpose) is a "campfire."

HJ


Hey, I didn't even know it until about last year! Of course I wasn't doing much backpacking until about 2010 or so. I have carried my Jetboil illegally plenty of times. But I did get my 2013 permit on Saturday.
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Hikin_Jim
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Location: Orange County, CA

PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 4:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, it's good to have one.  Just CYA if nothing else.

You can download a Campfire Permit here.  Can't beat that for convenience.

HJ
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palmeredhackle



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PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2013 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim, yes by modified I mean the one Zelph sells as "modified". No pot stand and a resealable lid. The lid is a major bonus in my opinion. Additionally, it has a smaller output on top supposedly designed to work in lower oxygen environments like the caldera and increase efficiency.

I did an informal burn test, 12-10 stove with stakes and starlyte with none. Both burned about the same amount of time. I need to see about efficiency between the two. I most like it for the fact that I dont' need to use stakes to prop up the pot. Less stuff to carry around in the pot.

It seems very trivial, but man did I get tired of the whole setup thing with the 12-10 day after day on the JMT. =)

BTW, if you want to run some tests with it I'd be happy to lend it to you for your blog.
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Hikin_Jim
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PostPosted: Wed May 08, 2013 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What pot size do you have?  With the 1.3L pot size, you don't really need the stakes with alcohol or ESBIT (just wood).  The smaller sized pots really do need the stakes.

HJ
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