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how to travel with alcohol/stove
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(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
how to travel with alcohol/stove on 11/23/2009 23:58:59 MST Print View

Ok, I am moving into using an alcohol stove and weening myself off of canister stoves for long thru hikes. My treks are primarilary the JMT (high Sierra) and involve notorious bear country. They may not be mean but they sure are smart! I have done the trail three times and have seen bears both at night and in the daylight hours. My question to the forum is: can or should alcohol be stored in your pack? around your tarp/tent? by your mess kit? or in a bear canister?

I always carry a bear canister throughout the required sections but space is very limited as we travel fast and need every inch for food. I have never had a bear interested in my canister before but alcohol is something novel to me. Anything and everything with a scent is prudent to canister but I know certain "people" who have been down the trail a dozen times and sleep with their food (which, I for one, am not willing to do for a multitude of reasons like safety/regulatory/and health of the wild bear population- but I don't want to get into a moral or other debate about has been adequately covered before).

Thanks for any advice you may be able to provide.


Mark Verber
(verber) - MLife

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: how to travel with alcohol/stove on 11/24/2009 00:28:22 MST Print View

I haven't never see or heard of bear bothering alcohol stove fuel so I wouldn't feel compelled to carry it in the bear canister. As to where to store it... I would say whatever works best for you.

My approach has been to keep fuel near the stove/pot and/or food. That typically meant on shorter trips the fuel was stored inside the pot in 2oz plastic bottle or a 8oz platypus bladder. On longer trips I would use a platypus bladder which would be carried inside the bear canister once there was room. Before there was room it would be carried in an outside pocket. A downside of carrying alcohol inside the canister is that if it's contain ruptured it could containment your food.


Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: how to travel with alcohol/stove on 11/24/2009 02:19:49 MST Print View

Keep food and fuel well separated. As OP said, they don't taste good mixed.


Lori P
(lori999) - F

Locale: Central Valley
Re: how to travel with alcohol/stove on 11/24/2009 19:17:27 MST Print View

I hike the same bear-infested regions, Yosemite and SEKI, and leave the pot, stove and fuel (denatured alcohol) sitting out on a rock near where I boil water to rehydrate. The only thing a bear has ever bothered was a pringles can I thoughtlessly used for a tackle box... the pot was bumped in the night because I heard the rattle against granite but nothing was damaged. The Pringles can had no food in it, just fishing lures and other nonscented tackle, and it had a tooth puncture in it before he figured out it wasn't anything worth chewing. Never had the alcohol bottle touched.

(onthecouchagain) - MLife

Locale: Sunny SoCal
bumps in the night on 11/24/2009 19:50:25 MST Print View

I think I know that bear; had him sniff my Tarptent at Evolution Meadow, then he slobbered on our MSR kettle a bit and wandered off from where he came. So it seems alcohol is not something those guys want or even bother to investigate- that is good news.


Tim Heckel
(ThinAir) - M

Locale: 6237' - Manitou Springs
Re: how to travel with alcohol/stove on 11/25/2009 10:29:40 MST Print View

I agree with Roger, keep it separate.
I carry the alcohol outside the pack in a mesh side pocket. My reasoning is mainly that in the event it leaks it is less likely to damage anything, and the alcohol can more quickly evaporate.
I leave it out at night, no critter has ever bothered it.