Philmont: Using Stoves and Lanterns (BSA)
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 13:44:58 -0700
From: John LeBlanc <firstname.lastname@example.org> [address updated 2may07]
Subject: [Philmont] Stoves and Fuel
Posted below is the guidelines for camp stoves and lanterns from the Official
BSA Guide to Safe Scouting.
I have been repairing and collecting Coleman lanterns and stoves for about 40
years. One of the things more people get into problems with is refueling the
stove. Most wait until it runs out of fuel to refuel it. May I suggest that
after using the stove for the evening meal and letting it cool down that you
refuel it every day whether it needs it or not. The stove fuel tank is the
most secure place to store and carry the fuel so if a problem arises with the
spare fuel container, the stove is already full. Also you don't have to stop
cooking to refuel, a dangerous situation at best.
Probably the next most bad thing is to have to refuel a stove in the rain.
water in fuel doesn't work well.
I have a friend with a bad scar from his ankle to knee because he fueled a
hot stove. It flashed, caught the uncapped fuel bottle on fire. He paniked
and kicked it away and splashed flaming fuel all over his leg. It was a
bunch of dumb things all strung together. He told me he had to so it
wouldn't catch his tent on fire. That was dumb having it that close to the
tent! It can happen to you if you let it.
Anyway, Crews are getting ready to go to Philmont, so I thought I'd post the
following as a reminder. Some have to be modified for trail use, but all
Eagle Class of 1959
Phirst Philmont Ptrek 1959
Philmont bound in July 2002
My latest adventure was yesterday
Today is not over yet!
Knowledgeable adult supervision must be provided when Scouts are involved in
the storage of chemical fuels, the handling of chemical fuels in the filling
of stoves or lanterns, or the lighting of chemical fuels. The use of liquid
fuels for starting any type of fire is prohibited.
Guidelines for Safely Using Chemical Stoves and Lanterns
- Use compressed- or liquid-gas stoves or lanterns only with knowledgeable
adult supervision and in Scout facilities only where and when permitted.
- Operate and maintain according to manufacturer's instructions included
with the stove or lantern.
- Both gasoline and kerosene shall be kept in well-marked, approved
containers (never in a glass container) and stored in a ventilated, locked
box at a safe distance (a minimum of 20 feet) from buildings and tents. Keep
all chemical fuel containers away from hot stoves and campfires, and store
below 100 degrees F.
- Let hot stoves and lanterns cool before changing cylinders of compressed
gases or refilling from bottles of liquid gas.
- Refill liquid-gas stoves and lanterns a safe distance from any flames,
including other stoves, campfires, and personal smoking substances. A
commercial camp stove fuel should be used for safety and performance. Pour
through a filter funnel. Recap both the device and the fuel container before
- Never fuel a stove, heater, or lantern inside a cabin; always do this
outdoors. Do not operate a stove, lantern, or charcoal grill in an
unventilated structure. Provide at least two ventilation openings, one high
and one low, to provide oxygen and exhaust for lethal gases. Never fuel
(example: all liquid fuels, charcoal. etc.), ignite, or operate a stove,
heater, or lantern in a tent.
- Place the stove on a level, secure surface before operating. On snow,
place insulated support under the stove to prevent melting and tipping.
- Periodically check fittings on compressed-gas stoves and on pressurized
liquid-gas stoves for leakage, using soap solution before lighting.
- To avoid possible fires, locate gas tanks, stoves, etc., below any tents
since heavy leaking gas will flow downhill the same as water.
- When lighting a stove, keep fuel bottles and extra canisters well away.
Do not hover over the stove when lighting it. Keep your head and body to one
side. Open the stove valve quickly for two full turns and light carefully,
with head, fingers, and hands to the side of the burner. Then adjust down.
- Do not leave a lighted stove or lantern unattended.
- Do not overload the stovetop with heavy pots or large frying pans. If
pots over 2 quarts are necessary, set up a separate grill with legs to hold
the pot, and place the stove under the grill.
- Bring empty fuel containers home for disposal. Do not place in or near
fires. Empty fuel containers will explode if heated and should never be put
in fireplaces or with burnable trash.
No tent material is completely fireproof. It can burn when exposed to
continued, intense heat or fire. The most important safeguard is to keep
flames away from canvas materials. For this reason, the following safety
precautions are emphasized:
- Only flashlights and electric lanterns are permitted in tents. No flames
in tents is a rule that must be enforced.
- Never use liquid-fuel stoves, heaters, lanterns, lighted candles, matches,
and other flame sources in or near tents.
- Do not pitch tents near an open fire.
- Do not use flammable chemicals near tents--charcoal lighter or spray cans
of paint, bug killer, or repellent.
- Be careful when using electricity and lighting in tents.
- Always extinguish cooking campfires promptly.
- Obey all fire laws, ordinances, and regulations.
The content of this Web page was provided by John LeBlanc.
Please contact him directly
for more information.
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