Gear Guy

How can I stop my stove getting confiscated at airport security?

I recently completed a fantastic trip to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks, but unfortunately my stove was confiscated by airport security on the way home. I'd emptied the stove and attempted to air it out, but still wasn't allowed to travel with it because I'd used it less than 24 hours beforehand. Can you recommend a method or product to clean out a stove that will completely eliminate any fuel odors and make it safe for air travel? Additionally, I'm now in the market for a new stove. I had a Peak-1 Apex II, reliable as the dawn though maybe a little heavy. Can you recommend a lighter yet equally reliable replacement? Dave Boston, Massachusetts

A: Well, that's a drag. Airlines are all over the map on their willingness to allow carry-on camp stoves; I think in most cases it comes down to the whim of an overly zealous security person. At least the stove got lifted on the way home, not on the way out.

Honestly, I'm not exactly sure how you could have prepped the stove so it would have passed muster. Any solvent used to clean it will likely be flammable, and soap and water doesn't solve much of anything. All you can do is wipe it down so it "looks" as clean as possible.

So what now? I agree the Apex II is a reliable but porky stove. You could always just get another one ($65; Or, go with a new, light MSR SimmerLite ($90; This is a very nice stove, and MSR stoves are generally very reliable, although not as heavily made as some other stoves. (I've enjoyed 20, problem-free years using MSR stoves.) For a really nice stove, try the Optimus Nova ($130;, which may be the best liquid-fuel stove on the planet right now. But then, at that price, what do you do when some other airline security guy confiscates it?

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