Forum Index » General Lightweight Backpacking Discussion » Carrying alcohol


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Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Carrying alcohol on 08/28/2008 06:57:06 MDT Print View

For many years I have been an ESBIT convert. Lately however I have started to become annoyed about the black residue on my pot, which makes everything in one of my stuffsacks dirty. So I have been thinking of changing over to alcohol.

Now recently I read a post here saying that the author wanted to use a maximum of 14g of alcohol in order to get the same weight performence as ESBIT. Good idea, but how the h"&l do you measure exactly 14g of alcohol in the field? On my kitchen sink it is easy with the help of a digital scale. Using ESBIT in the field it is also easy to exactly meassure 14g of ESBIT every time, since ESBIT is solid.

So what to do with alcohol? Taking 14g dropper bottles would work, but you'd certainly loose your weights advantage over ESBIT. Eyeballing it, you'd never even come close to 14g, so how do you use small amounts of alcohol in the field?

Eins

Mike Klinefelter
(mjkline)

Locale: Southern California
measuring cup on 08/28/2008 07:03:56 MDT Print View

Take a look at the caldera cone kits that are sold at Traildesigns.com or antigravity gear. They come with a small measuring cup, the type that are used for medications like cough syrup. The cup is graduated in ml, oz, and cc, and holds 30 ml/cc or 1 fl. oz. If you want to use weight of the fuel it would be easy enough to figure out at home the weight of each ml or fl. oz. and then measure in the field. Hope this helps.

John Brochu
(JohnnyBgood4) - F

Locale: New Hampshire
re: measuring alcohol in field on 08/28/2008 07:21:35 MDT Print View

The density of ethanol is .789 so 14 grams is just about 18ml. Find a tiny plastic cup, maybe something like the one that comes with Nyquil, and mark it at 18ml.

Mike Hinsley
(ArchNemesis)

Locale: England, UK
Carrying alcohol on 08/28/2008 08:05:07 MDT Print View

The simplest solution is to have a burner that is marked with a 14g line or simply only has a 14g capacity.

I made a little vapour pad stove in a tiny vaseline container (about 1.5" dia) and that just about holds 15g when you can see liquid on the top of the pad.

If there is a few g of over-fill it remains in the wadding (glass-fibre tissue paper) ready for the next time...

...

One trick I've used with Esbit is to do an alcohol stove burn every so often on the cooking pot (often with an emptyish pot). The black residue is often partly burnt fuel and a suitable flame will get rid of most of it so that the rest will brush or wash off.

I too became a little ticked off with residue issues...

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Carrying alcohol on 08/30/2008 05:00:11 MDT Print View

Great thing about this forum is how people always seem to be able to come up with ideas that are so simple I could have thought of them myself.

Only problem I would have with a measuring cup would be the lack of mulitfunctionality of it. Now, I recently got an 'Ivootje' which basicaly is a medicine cup used by several people of a local hiking club as a means to drink drams of whisky. This could be used to measure 14g/18ml of alcohol. Only problem is I will have to use methanol to get the most BTU's out of my alcohol and since methanol is poisonous I think it's not really a good idea to drink whisky out of the same cup I measure alcohol with.

Your ideas have insipered me though to use the cap of the bottle i use to transport the alcohol as a measuring device and I just found out that 3 standard soda bottle caps are about 14g (and also cause me to spill some alcohol, pouring from the big, two pint bottle).

Ideally I'd need an 18ml cap to close me alcohol bottle.

Thanx so far, any more good ideas out there?

Eins

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
2 ideas on 08/30/2008 07:51:02 MDT Print View

if you could find 1 instead of 12? maybe contact nalgene

http://www.coleparmer.com/catalog/product_view.asp?sku=0608725

another choice:

http://sciencekit.com/vials%2C-snap-on-cap%2C-plastic/p/IG0025962/

maybe contact your local high school and see if the chemistry teacher has a vial you can get on the cheap

Linsey Budden
(lollygag)

Locale: pugetropolis
RE: "Carrying alcohol" on 08/30/2008 12:22:57 MDT Print View

Before you commit to your alcohol storage device, check out rumrunnerflasks.com , home of the very inexpensive and ultralight 8oz [capacity](or 16oz or 32oz) collapsible flasks.

Edited by lollygag on 08/30/2008 15:19:14 MDT.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: RE: "Carrying alcohol" on 08/30/2008 12:50:14 MDT Print View

I use a small 6ml syringe for filling my alcohol stoves. It gives good control for the tiny amounts needed for priming, and allows precise measurement so fuel isn't wasted.

As far as dual use is concerned, I suppose it would come in handy for irrigating an eye with a speck of dirt in it, or administering anti venom intravenously.

On a side note, a poster above talked about methyl alcohol. Most alcohol sold is mostly 90+% ethyl plus a small amount of methyl to avoid drinking alcohol tax.

If anyone finds a way to seperate them, let me know. ;-)

Elliott Wolin
(ewolin) - MLife

Locale: Hampton Roads, Virginia
RE: Measuring alcohol - don't bother! on 08/30/2008 19:50:09 MDT Print View

Someone else (not sure where) posted a solution to how to measure alcohol: don't!

Bring a syringe or something that can suck alcohol out of the stove. Pour in more than you need. Snuff out the stove when you are done cooking, quickly suck the remaining alcohol out before it evaporates, and then put it back into your alcohol container.

He claims to recover all but one or two ml of the alcohol, the stove never goes out before it should, and he never has to bother with measurements.

I plan to give this a try on my next trip.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: Measuring alcohol - don't bother! on 08/30/2008 20:39:23 MDT Print View

http://www.packafeather.com/fuelbottle.html
This site mentions using a 20oz bottle. I didn't need all that fuel, so I found the 12oz bottles work well. I was going to look for something in the 6-8oz range, but then I found the Caldera Cone (and later upgraded to Ti-Tri). As long as I can block the wind, my Brasslite 600ml mug and stove/cone can boil 2 cups of water on a 1/2oz of S-L-X (denatured alcohol). I use the 4oz bottle and cap they provided and it works well. I can suggest the bottle kit above for those using alcohol for groups or for solo trips longer than a couple of days.

Einstein X
(EinsteinX) - F

Locale: The Netherlands
Re: Re: RE: "Carrying alcohol" on 08/31/2008 01:43:06 MDT Print View

Again, great ideas folks. However I don't feel much for carrying my alcohol in idividual 14g portions because as i mentioned earlier i'd loose the weight advantage over ESBIT.

The syringe seems like a good idea. I think it was me talkin about methyl alcohol cuz my locale outdoor store sells bottles of pure methanol in 2 pint bottles and since methanol has the most BTU's I'm planning on using it. That would also make the suggested dual use options not possible cuz methanol is poisonous I'd certainly don't want to use the syringe to spray sth into my eyes.

The suggested packfeather fuelcap or using a syringe to suck unneeded alcohol back into the container also seems pretty good. Although I do wonder if the packfeather thingy won't allow alcohol vapour to evaporate from your bottle.

Food for thought, thanx.

Eins

Jason Griffin
(JGriffinRN) - F
Multi-use syringe on 08/31/2008 02:13:14 MDT Print View

[Quote]As far as dual use is concerned, I suppose it would come in handy for irrigating an eye with a speck of dirt in it, or administering anti venom intravenously.[/Quote]

Not to sound too harsh or blunt. But the first time you lose your eyesight or become septic or get a wonderful case of toxic shock syndrome you'll probably change your tune on using a syringe as multi-use gear for medical purposes.

Most likely a very bad idea.

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F

Locale: Southeast USA
RE: "Carrying alcohol" on 08/31/2008 02:33:45 MDT Print View

Eins,
The bottle gets a pretty good seal. I've left it in my truck for days at a time when the weather here is 90-100F outside, even hotter inside when the windows are up and the engine off. No noticable loss, unlike many other containers I've used.
Chris

Christopher Holden
(back2basics) - F

Locale: Southeast USA
Re: "Carrying alcohol" on 08/31/2008 02:33:45 MDT Print View

Eins,
The bottle gets a pretty good seal. I've left it in my truck for days at a time when the weather here is 90-100F outside, even hotter inside when the windows are up and the engine off. No noticable loss, unlike many other containers I've used.
Chris

Tony Beasley
(tbeasley) - MLife

Locale: Pigeon House Mt from the Castle
Re: Re: RE: "Carrying alcohol" on 08/31/2008 03:10:09 MDT Print View

Hi Eins,

>since methanol has the most BTU's I'm planning on using it

Methanol actually has the lowest BTU's of the most common alcohols used in backpacking stoves. Find an Denatured alcohol with the highest amount of ethanol. 90%+ ethanol denatured will leave pure methanol for dead for performance.

Tony

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Multi-use syringe on 08/31/2008 04:12:24 MDT Print View

> Not to sound too harsh or blunt. But the first time you lose your eyesight or become septic or get a wonderful case of toxic shock syndrome you'll probably change your tune on using a syringe as multi-use gear for medical purposes.

Of course, denatured alcohol will turn you blind, if you drink too much of it ;-)

Can't see 0.1ml alcohol residue doing anything much though, since it's used in hospitals the world over as an antiseptic, I can't see that there would be much in the way of anything living inside the syringe day to day either, for the same reason.

You are more likely to suffer infections, stomach complaints etc if you take an overly anti-germ attitude than you are if you toughen your constitution IMO.

Jason Griffin
(JGriffinRN) - F
Syringe on 08/31/2008 05:19:26 MDT Print View

I've seen plenty of patients become septic from I.V. administration of fluids or drugs even when new, sterile equipment was used with proper aseptic technique, the risk of bacteria forming in that syringe between uses is very real. In addition to that if your denatured alcohol contains methanol, flushing that through your eye could very quickly lead to blindness. Methanol is very toxic to the optic nerves; even when administered intravenously and not directly into the eye.

To each his own though.

A syringe is a pretty good idea for dispensing precise amounts of the alcohol though. I like the little 30 mL med cup with a squeeze bottle of alcohol. Lets me dose it out pretty precise. I never could get past the nasty smell of the esbit tabs so if I just put up with a little extra weight of alcohol.

Bill B
(bill123) - MLife
Measuring Alcohol on 08/31/2008 07:08:15 MDT Print View

Why not just mark the outside of the storage bottle with a pen

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Syringe on 08/31/2008 07:29:25 MDT Print View

> In addition to that if your denatured alcohol contains methanol, flushing that through your eye could very quickly lead to blindness.

I wasn't considering flushing my eye with denatured alcohol, but using a syringe which had been used to dispense it. So, an empty syringe which has recently contained denatured alcohol is going to be pretty sterile anyway, and the 0.01ml of methyl alcohol which might remain is not going to be causing major damage to my optic nerves or sending me blind all of a sudden when diluted with 5.99ml of nice clean water is it?

Elizabeth Rothman
(erothman2) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: Vapour pad stove (was "carrying alcohol" on 08/31/2008 09:59:15 MDT Print View

"I made a little vapour pad stove in a tiny vaseline container (about 1.5" dia) and that just about holds 15g when you can see liquid on the top of the pad."

I'd like to see a picture of your vapour pad stove, and perhaps of the tissue paper you mention, so I can figure out the American equivalents. Sounds very compact and tidy!