7 Benefits of Alcohol Backpacking Stoves

Long-distance hikers love alcohol backpacking stoves. These are 7 reasons they are a great option for backcountry cooking, especially for beginners who want to reduce the initial cost of backpacking gear.

1. Stoves for alcohol are very affordable

You can make your own alcohol stove with a hole punch or a can of cat food.

2. Fuel is easily available

Denatured alcohol is most commonly burned in an alcohol stove, also known as meths abroad. These can be purchased in any hardware or drugstore and are easy to replenish during hikes. They are also great for international travel in countries where there isn’t an outdoor store that sells specialized fuels. They can also be used to burn isopropyl alcohol or Heet Gasoline Aditive, which can be purchased at most gas stations.

3. Alcohol stoves can be carried around in a lightweight bag

The majority of alcohol stoves are less than 2 ounces in weight. You can make them smaller, weighing only a few grams. The QiWiz smaller alcohol stove, shown above, only weighs 18g.

4. Maintenance-free alcohol stoves

The majority of alcohol stoves do not have moving parts and don’t require maintenance. There are no fuel lines, pumps, or hoses that must be maintained or cleaned. You can get fancy by buying one with a screw-on cap, such as the one shown here.

5. There is no special fuel bottle required

To transport alcohol, you don’t have to purchase a fuel canister or bottle. Any plastic bottle can be used, even soda bottles.

6. Safety

Because alcohol is not flammable, it’s safer than other backpacking fuels. You can easily put out an alcohol stove by simply igniting it. If you spill any gasoline on your clothes, you won’t get any.

7. Eco-friendly fuel

Alcohol packaging doesn’t produce the same toxic byproducts as white gas (which can be super refined unleaded gasoline), isobutane canned gas or hexamine fuel tablets. Although alcohol is still produced using natural fermentation processes, it is now made on an industrial scale.

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