Scoutmaster Musings - Pocket Stoves

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Scoutmaster Musings

Pocket Stoves
pocket stove This past summer, at BSA summer camp, four of our scouts did the Wilderness Survival merit badge. As part of that badge, they each made a cool alcohol pocket stove - directed by the camp staff.

Ken at PK Stoves asked me to try out his Pocket Stove on some camping trips and let him know how I liked it. This is a professionally made popcan alcohol stove. It weighs practically nothing and is intended for lightweight backpacking.
A 2oz. clear plastic filler bottle is included. This holds enough fuel to boil about 8 cups of water - that's 3 meals. I think the best fuel to use is denatured alcohol and is easy to find in the Paint department of any hardware store.

I tried the Pocket Stove on two outings and it worked just great. An aluminum sheet for a windscreen and the stove burned just like my gas stovetop at home, heating water in just a couple minutes.

If you've got people that want to do their own simple cooking for a weekend, this stove works great for 1 or 2 persons. There is practically no weight or space taken up by your stove and fuel. When backpacking around 5 days, the trade-off between combined stove and fuel weight gets fuzzy. Longer than a week on the trail and a white gas stove with a fuel bottle will probably be more efficient - but not as much fun. :-)

Like any tool or piece of gear, I feel these kinds of stoves are practical and safe given appropriate training and respect. For just $10, you get the stove, filler bottle, instructions, and shipping - a pretty easy gift for that outdoors person you know that has almost everything, especially if s/he isn't a DIY type.

Just don't use them on scout outings. In your latest Guide to Safe Scouting, you'll find Soda Can Stoves are prohibited by the BSA. I guess the summer camp staff didn't read that page.

Scout On
Posted: 10:32 12-09-2010 542
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Site Disclosure Statement

 Dec 09, 2010 - Walter Underwood
Some alchohol stoves are OK. The GSS prohibits "handcrafted" and "homemade" stoves. Your stove is from a manufacturer, so it isn't homemade. Maybe it is handcrafted. Something like the White Box Stove is made with hand machining techniques, not exactly "crafting".

I understand this rule, but it is too bad, because my Super Cat Stove was my great example of "A Scout is Thrifty". Drill the right number of right-sized holes in a cat food can and you have an ultralight stove for 39 cents.
Dec 09, 2010 - Scoutmaster Paul

Thrifty, lightweight, LNT-friendly, and simple are all good words to describe these kinds of stoves. I'd like our scouts to be able to use them.
But, since alcohol is on the "Chemical Fuels not Recommended" list in the G2SS, we won't be using them, even if they're machine-crafted. It would be nice if there was reasoning given in the G2SS. I guess I'll need to ask around.

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