Gear Guy

Will I run into problems traveling with a liquid-fuel stove?

Long time reader, first time questioner: I have long been a fan of liquid-fuel stoves, but recently read your advice about the difficulty in obtaining white gas products abroad ["Do they sell white gas for stoves in Europe?"]. I about to head out on a nine-month round-the-world trip, so would like to take along a reliable canister stove. Do you have any information on which canister stoves will mate with the multitude of international propane canisters that I'm likely to find? Europe and Oceania are my probable destinations. Aaron Green Bay, Wisconsin

Most canister stoves nowadays have "universal" threaded valves (called a Lindel valve) that fit just about any gas canister. Examples: MSR's little PocketRocket ($40;, the Primus Yellowstone ($24;, and the Snow Peak GigaPower ($50; Any one of those would work well for travels in most places on the planet. And these days, fuel cartridges using butane and propane are available just about anywhere you'd care to go.

Still, kerosene remains the default, find-anywhere fuel, so you might want to consider a stove that will burn a range of liquid fuels. MSR's XGK Expedition ($110) is a good choice here: in addition to white gas, it'll burn diesel, aviation fuel, unleaded gas, naphtha, and some solvents. Another option is Primus' OmniFuel Stove ($130;, which burns most of the same fuels the XGK can swallow, PLUS canister fuels. It's kinda heavy and expensive, but very hard to beat when it comes to go-anywhere versatility.

Either way, keep in mind that canister fuels CAN'T be carried onto aircraft, nor for that matter can liquid fuels. Even the empty fuel bottles and stoves can be problematic on some airlines. On this count, a canister stove may be a better option because a liquid-fuel stove may have some gas-smelling residue in the fuel line, something that could be a red flag for a hyper-vigilant baggage clerk. But either a canister stove, or a multi-fuel liquid-fuel stove, should work fine for you.

Hope the trip goes well. Send us a postcard!

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