Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
BSA Chemical Fuels Policy
Display Avatars Sort By:
Bruce Tolley
(btolley) - M

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
BSA Chemical Fuels Policy on 05/13/2012 17:41:05 MDT Print View

From the web, I think this is current
>>>
Prohibited Chemical-Fueled Equipment
Equipment that is handcrafted, homemade, modified, or installed beyond the manufacturer’s stated design limitations or use. Examples include alcohol-burning “can” stoves, smudge pots, improperly installed heaters, and propane burners with their regulators removed

Chemical Fuels not Recommended
Unleaded gasoline; liquid alcohol fuels, including isopropyl alcohol, denatured ethyl alcohol, and ethanol; and other flammable chemicals that are not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for chemical-fueled equipment.
>>>

This reads like a ban on pepsi can and cat food can stoves. Anybody know why the BSA did this? If it is the status quo, how do we get it changed.

Stephen M
(stephenm) - MLife

Locale: The Great Lakes Bay Region
Re: BSA Chemical Fuels Policy on 05/13/2012 18:02:49 MDT Print View

Probaly prohibited on safety ground? Maybe

Jennifer McFarlane
(JennyMcFarlane) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
BSA chemical fuels on 05/13/2012 19:14:12 MDT Print View

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/forums/thread_display.html?forum_thread_id=30031

One of several threads on the topic.
I have never understood why it is okay to use white gas stoves but not alcohol, except that the small cat food can type alcohol stove is more easily tipped over, whereas the flame would go out on the white gas stoves our troop uses, and the cat food can stoves could send burning fuel.

Edited by JennyMcFarlane on 05/13/2012 19:16:02 MDT.

Sarah Kuhn
(SCKuhn) - MLife

Locale: Mountainous Ohio
"BSA Chemical Fuels Policy" on 05/14/2012 11:02:49 MDT Print View

'Homemade' is a significant portion of the issue I believe.

Additional factor I believe is the visiblity of a white gas flame vs alcohol flame and most significantly I feel, the ability to turn off a white gas stove vs the 'Pepsi can' stove has to burn itself out, no way to stop the flow of fuel. Especially consider this with 14-16yo pyro's that don't have the patience for the stove to cool down before refueling.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
alcohol on 05/14/2012 15:22:51 MDT Print View

Safety is the reason obviously.

There must be safety guidelines , you have to draw the line somewhere.

I read that homemade stoves are prohibited.
Also that custom handmade versions of "soda can' stoves are prohibited, even if purchased from cottage mfgs.

However, alcohol stoves such as the the Trangia stoves would not be. The inference is that a commercially produced machined product has been thought out and tested sufficiently, and others may not be. You also cannot tell the difference between some stoves and similar homemade designs. That may be folly, but it is what it is. The line for safety has to be drawn somewhere, and you cannot evaluate on a case by case basis.

Alcohol is not prohibited, it is discouraged, there is a difference. There is no doubt is it less safe than other fuel sources, the spill potential is higher, potential to knock over and spread fire, the toxicity , etc. In any case, in a group situation like would be encountered with scouts, alcohol has no advantage anyway, it simply weighs too much for multiple people to use even for short trips.

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
alcohol on 10/08/2012 18:07:12 MDT Print View

Notice that only alcohol that is not engineered to be a stove fuel is discouraged.

Chemical Fuels not Recommended... liquid alcohol fuels... and other flammable chemicals that are not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for chemical-fueled equipment.


kleenstrip specifically says it's engineered to be used as a marine stove fuel. I imagine the BSA is a bit worried about what nasty vapors are given off by gasoline addatives and paint thinners. I know I am.

Rex Sanders
(Rex) - M

Locale: Central California Coast
Liability? Re: BSA Chemical Fuels Policy on 10/08/2012 19:41:21 MDT Print View

Let's say a Boy Scout is injured by a stove incident. Who gets sued? Depends on the stove and fuel.

Home-made or home-modified stove made by an adult or fellow Scout? Probably BSA and stove maker.

Commercial stove? Maybe BSA, certainly the stove manufacturer (deep pockets).

Same for the fuel policy. Kleen-Strip Green Denatured Alcohol can says "clean burning fuel", so you sue the manufacturer. If it doesn't ...

Kleen-Strip Green Denatured Alcohol label

Fuel policy probably prohibits using Unleaded Gasoline or Diesel Fuel in, e.g. MSR XGK-EX stove, since your local gas station doesn't have a sign "suitable for use in stoves". Gasoline from a Coleman Fuel can: OK.

Just speculating.

Edited by Rex on 10/08/2012 19:44:09 MDT.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
policy on 10/09/2012 05:46:28 MDT Print View

"Chemical Fuels not Recommended
Unleaded gasoline; liquid alcohol fuels, including isopropyl alcohol, denatured ethyl alcohol, and ethanol; and other flammable chemicals that are not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for chemical-fueled equipment.
>>>"


Not sure why someone wants to try to misinterpret a clear statement.

The above listed things ARE specifically not recommended, specifically alcohol.

Also,by use of a comma, AND OTHER flammable items that are not intended for equipment. Not exceptions for ones that are. Why someone would waste their time trying to convince themselves that is an interpretation is beyond me. What about OTHER dont you get?

regardless, its discouraged, not prohibited. However, generally scouts dont use liquid fuels, they are messy and hazardous. And there is nothing suitable about alcohol for scouts. It is far too heavy for group activities, even for 1 day.

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: BSA Chemical Fuels Policy on 10/09/2012 08:03:16 MDT Print View

Yes, the BSA does NOT sanction any home made stoves.

This came about due to the death of a scout while using an alcohol stove. Not something the BSA did politically, there was a reason.

Since ALL fuels used for stoves use some chemical activity in an exothermic reaction, this is quite a meaningless statement. If I rebottled some Everclear and put a lable on it as a fuel and sold it, it becomes legal? Alcohol is a very old fuel source. The fumes from some alcohols are toxic. In fact, you could argue that even ethanol is toxic. WHERE to draw the line becomes the problem. Not really the use of fuels in stoves. ALL fuels can be thought of a accilerants to a fire and can be misused and abused. Where does the BSA draw the line?

Anyway, this was a knee jerk response to an accident. Rather than enforce a strict "training" with all types of stoves and a "Stover" badge/certification allowing a scout to USE a stove during a sanctioned event, they just wrote some words on paper to cover their butts against any legal actions.

They took a scouts freedom to cook as he wanted away. Does this include freedom to burn down a forest? No...that would remove other peoples freedom to enjoy the forest. With all freedom comes responsibility. The BSA should be teaching responsibility for actions, not prohibiting actions because they can cite a case of danger associated with an action. What are we to teach our children, if, we cannot teach them responsibility?

Yes, I am a member of the BSA. But, I do not agree with the current policy. But, as you say "...If it is the status quo, how do we get it changed..." Well,my thought is by training the scouts what it means to use various stoves; to recognize the dangers ascociated with them. And, by extension, what it means to have resposibilty for their actions. But, this is against current BSA policy, obviously...

John Gilbert
(JohnG10) - F

Locale: Mid-Atlantic
alcohol on 10/09/2012 16:56:42 MDT Print View

Alcohol is clearly the safest commonly used fuel. White gas fire balls are common, and often threaten to engulf the fuel bottle due to the short fuel line. Cannisters have a significant explosion hazard - since they are almost always used with a windscreen (since it's always windy) and the scouts don't
feel the cannister to determine if it's getting hot very often.

Safety is the reason why the boating stoves are alcohol, and alcohol stoves are recommended for younger scouts by the european scouting agencies.

Also, I think the bsa chemical fuels policy is extremely clear: ” the use of fuel a, b, c, or d beyond their manufacturers guidelines is not recommended.” The comma is just used to prevent having to restate the same sentence 4 times.

Edited by JohnG10 on 10/09/2012 17:07:01 MDT.

M B
(livingontheroad) - M
fuels on 10/09/2012 20:50:22 MDT Print View

I think you really need to read the whole policy and the context is clear:

Approved Chemical-Fueled Equipment—Commercially manufactured equipment, including stoves, grills, burners, heaters, and lanterns that are designed to be used with chemical fuels.

Prohibited Chemical-Fueled Equipment—Equipment that is handcrafted, homemade, modified, or installed beyond the manufacturer’s stated design limitations or use. Examples include alcohol-burning “can” stoves, smudge pots, improperly installed heaters, and propane burners with their regulators removed.

Recommended Chemical Fuels—White gas (Coleman fuel); kerosene; liquefied petroleum gas fuels, including propane, butane, and isobutane; vegetable oil fuels; biodiesel fuel; and commercially prepared gelled-alcohol fuel in original containers.

Chemical Fuels not Recommended—Unleaded gasoline; liquid alcohol fuels, including isopropyl alcohol, denatured ethyl alcohol, and ethanol; and other flammable chemicals that are not in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions for chemical-fueled equipment.



Its clear as a bell. Alcohol IS NOT a recommended fuel. Period. They state the recommended fuels for people who do not understand plain english of the "not recommended " ones.

It is not prohibited in a commercially produced stoves, but it is not recommended either.

Most every denatured alcohol has marine stove fuel use on its label. Kleenstrip, slx, Sunnyside, look at them all.

Fuel safety has a lot to do with how its used. A very safe alcohol stove can be made, that wont tip or spill, uses wicks to deliver. Hey , thats how a marine stove works. It will also be heavy enough to negate any potential advantage.

Edited by livingontheroad on 10/09/2012 20:52:03 MDT.