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Portable stove

A portable stove is a stove[?] specially designed to be portable and lightweight, such as for camping.

There are two basic types of portable stoves: camping stoves and backpacking stoves. A backpacking stove is usually little more than a bare burner with three legs. The smallest models may weigh no more than about 300 grams, but larger ones may be three times that mass. Camping stoves are more like the nonportable stoves seen in kitchens. They usually have two burners set into a flat cooking surface, with a lid that folds up to serve as a wind shield.

Some stoves have sparking[?] mechanisms for easier lighting in windy conditions. Backpacking stoves may be used in conjunction with specially designed metal windguards, to prevent the flame from blowing out on the upwind side of the burner.


Three different basic types of fuel are available for stoves: gaseous, liquid, and solid. Any one stove can typically use only one type of fuel, though a few are compatible with both gas and liquid.

Gaseous fuel is sold in bottles, typically under so much pressure that most of it is actually in the liquid form. Propane is the most common gaseous fuel, but special mixtures (including isobutane, for example) are also available. It has many advantages: fuel bottles are widely available in stores; it boasts the highest energy-to-weight ratio; stoves designed for gas are simpler and lighter than those designed for liquid; it burns with no residue; it is easy to use; if it leaks, it simply disperses into the air and does not soil any gear.

Liquid fuel, most commonly gasoline (aka white gas) or naptha[?] (Coleman fuel) is used in a significant proportion of backpacking stoves. Gaseous fuel may be lit with a single match, but the procedures for liquid fuel are more complex. A liquid-fuel stove must be turned on briefly, and then turned off, without being lit. This causes a small amount of fuel to run into a basin just below the burner. This fuel is then lit. It heats the neck and top of the basin to such a high temperature that, when the fuel valve is opened again, the fuel comes out as an easily-ignited aerosol which catches fire from the flame in the basin. Gasoline burns more efficiently - thus, with less soot[?] and more heat - in vapor form. Liquid fuel has almost the same energy-to-weight ratio as gas, and it has several advantages: it is stored without high pressure, making it somewhat less prone to leakage; it is easy to gauge how much of it is left; the same container may be reused multiple times; in places where white-gas stove fuel is not available, other commercially available substances may be used instead, including hard liquor[?] and rubbing alcohol[?].

Solid fuel is sold in the form of small blocks, on the order of a centimeter in size. Solid-fuel stoves are the smallest of all, consisting simply of a sheet of metal on which the fuel is burned, and some folding legs to support the cooking vessel[?]. It is less hazardous than liquid or gas fuel, and thus less highly restricted. However, it produces large amounts of soot and ash, and does not burn with a very hot flame. As a result, it is not commonly used. Some of these stoves can also use small pieces of firewood as a fuel.

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