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Gear Guy

Do they sell white gas for stoves in Europe?

I moving to Switzerland for two years, and I want to buy a stove. I've heard that white gas cannot be found in Europe. Then again, if I buy a canister stove, how can I be sure I can buy the right type of canisters? I have considered getting the MSR Superfly because it's compatible with almost every type of canister. What's your take on my situation? Jay Springfield, Massachusetts

A: My take on your situation? Well, Switzerland offered about the worst gastronomic experience I've ever had. I confess I didn't spend a lot of time there, but I sure had a hard time finding a good meal. So close to Italy, but a different culinary scene altogether.

So maybe you're wise to take a stove to cook on the fly. As for what kind, no question about it: I'd take a canister stove. White gas is not used nearly so much in Europe as it is in the U.S., and the vast majority of European campers use canister stoves. Or alcohol, which is also very popular there because it's quiet and clean-burning, both issues in the oft-crowded European campgrounds, vastly different to the pretty roomy campgrounds we're accustomed to here in the U.S.

As for which stove, most made today take a standard thread mount, so it's easy to find fuel. The Superfly ($50;, for instance, works both with threaded fuel canisters as well as non-threaded ones such as those from Camping Gaz. So it would be an extremely good choice. The Primus Alpine Micro ($48; is another stove for which you'd easily find fuel. Switzerland is filthy with little outdoor stores, and you'll have absolutely no problem finding what you want. You might even just wait until you get there, then buy a European-design stove, such as the Primus, on the spot.

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