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Help me pick an emergency stove/fuel source

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    Help me pick an emergency stove/fuel source

    Hey all,

    I've been doing something that I should have done in-depth a long time ago. I'm going throughout my day, doing those day-to-day things that don't even give a second thought and thinking about how I would do them without power. It's been enlightening.

    One shocking (and utterly embarrassing thing) is I apparently never considered how I would make coffee during a prolonged power outage!

    So, to put everything in context, I'm focusing on August and September (peak hurricane season). Let's also assume I have access to my Weber Kettle with charcoal so if I need to actually truly grill/cook something, I can.

    I'm primarily interested in heating coffee and my emergency stable, Chef Boyardee Ravioli (what?).

    So, there's alcohol stoves, butane stoves, propane stoves, and sterno stoves. Sterno is what my family used growing up. I remember distinctly having those cans going during Alicia in '83. But it seems like those are more for keeping food hot that is already hot?

    Portability is also important. I'd like to take this stove with me if we evacuate. With that I'd like to minimize "spilling of the fuel" possibility (that would really only be a thing with the alcohol stoves)?

    Any direction is appreciated!

    We have one of these, a two burner, that uses white gas. They also have them that use the propane cans.


    • ecowper
      ecowper commented
      Editing a comment
      I've got that plus a one burner plus two lanterns. All of them burn white gas. I keep several gallons of white gas handy.

    • Steve R.
      Steve R. commented
      Editing a comment
      Same here' ecowper. My dad always had those items when I was growing up, and I realized a few years ago that I couldn't find the stove. I found an old one just like it at a flea market.

    • ecowper
      ecowper commented
      Editing a comment
      Steve R. My dad had same setup I’ve got, but he bought all the piping and stuff and ran it off a 20 lb propane tank. I like white gas better, so here we are :-)

    It is a little known fact, but a full set of Panhead John paper plates, placed underneath an empty #10 can inverted with holes, will burn sufficiently to heat hotdogs or a burger. Just sayin.....

    Otherwise, a 1 or 2 burner Coleman propane camper stove works great. I keep that and other emergency supplies in our earthquake readiness storage.


    • Panhead John
      Panhead John commented
      Editing a comment
      PJ’s Paper Plates will not burn properly for cooking purposes, due to the high amounts of arsenic and asbestos used in the manufacturing process.

    • Michael_in_TX
      Michael_in_TX commented
      Editing a comment
      But the flavor those things give food.....

    • GolfGeezer
      GolfGeezer commented
      Editing a comment
      Hmm, they work pretty well for me this way, but maybe it is the lack of breath and nausea that is clouding my perceptions....

    If you want something super portable you can get a backpacking type stove like this one: https://www.msrgear.com/stoves/canis...ove/10955.html. Or, if you just want to be able to throw it into a car, then a camping stove like the Coleman https://www.amazon.com/Coleman-20000...0510124&sr=8-1 or the Camp Chef https://www.campchef.com/camp-cookin...ems/mshpx.html.

    The backpacking stoves are generally butane, the camp stoves are propane, taking either the green 1 lb canisters or using an adapter to run them of the standard size tanks.


      I use something like this for camping:


      I have a metal cup that I can boil water in, and I usually buy Starbucks instant single serve pack, which are pretty good under the circumstances. It puts out a lot of heat. The fuel isn't cheap, so may not be a great long-term solution. Search "backpacking stoves" and you will get a wide variety. Jetboil makes some nice ones that go up around $100. Mine is similar to the MSR and I got it for about $20 on a discount site a few years ago.
      Last edited by Murdy; September 1, 2021, 09:34 AM.


        My vote is for the Colman camp stove powered by white gas. If i remember right they will work with pump unleaded fuel in a pinch.


        • Donw
          Donw commented
          Editing a comment
          Unleaded and even kerosene will work, but they will produce more smoke and eventually clog up the works. Great thing about this stove is when everybody runs out of white gas, you can head over to the paint, auto, or hardware store and buy naphtha. When those supplies run low, you can then then turn to unleaded and kersone.

        I'm assuming you do not have a propane range, must be electric? You can heat the Chef Boyardee cans of course right over a small pile of charcoal on your kettle. But I get it, you want something more convenient than even that. I say gitcherself a Coleman propane stove or the pricier but fancier Camp Chef propane burner(s).

        As for coffee, gitcherself a cheap teapot and one of these $6 pour-over guys in the pic below, they're cheap and they make coffee so good Starbuck's even uses them. They get my seal of approval I've been talking mine camping for about 10yrs+ now.

        Click image for larger version

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        • Dan Deter
          Dan Deter commented
          Editing a comment
          Nah, get a percolator for on the burner: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HZYPQVG...v_ov_lig_dp_it

        • saneric38
          saneric38 commented
          Editing a comment
          My brother has been making coffee with the pour-over for years. As long as you can heat water, it is a good cup. He was into roasting his own beans for a while, and he had/has a french press.

        If its just for coffee and/or soup (ravioli?)
        It has a coffee press
        I have one of there for mountain backpacking, works great and you can get other cooking attachments like small pans



          I bought one of these Camp Chef ovens in the spring.... And got the adapter to tie it into a propane tank.


          • efincoop
            efincoop commented
            Editing a comment
            I grabbed one of these back on black Friday. This with a small pot or kettle and a French Press and a hand grinder and you are good to go.

          I keep one of these in my Jeep and one in my Whaler. it's made to use denatured alcohol but it will burn unleaded if i need it to. I haven't had to use it in an emergency situation but it will heat ravioli and boil water.

          Click image for larger version

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            I lived in my truck for a year and a half (that's another story) and used a small backpacking stove like the ones mentioned above and this kettle to make my coffee. I used a pour over like pictured above. I would fill my cup, pour it into the kettle, the water would heat super fast, then pour it over the filter. Didn't have to watch it as I boiled just enough water to fit the cup. (Tip: fill the cup to the brim, this will fill the cup up to the level you want as some is left in the grounds. Otherwise your cup is a bit short.) It has now become my backup emergency stove for making coffee when the power goes out. And being so portable, I can take it with me on the road and brew my own fresh instead of expen$ive coffee shops or travel plaza tripe.


              How about a Kelly kettle and a stainless French press? Or get a bialetti moka kettle?

              also some type of rocket stove that you can burn any fuel in would be handy.



                Personally, I would just light my natural gas stove with a match or lighter. But for camping and cooking on the go, I like butane burners.


                  First thing that is handy .... I have a gas stove and I can light it with a match, like Attjack says.
                  Second thing ..... I have two Coleman stoves: 2 burner and 1 burner, both are white gas

                  Third thing ...... I have a well seasoned percolator. Been using it in the Army and camping for going on 35 years now.

                  Fourth thing ..... I have two Coleman lantern that run on white gas.

                  And, of course, I have the Hasty-Bake and a sh** ton of charcoal.


                    If you have a charcoal grill, that is great for the cooking. I think a propane stove is essential. I've got one of those Coleman 2 burner stoves that uses the disposable propane bottles, and since we have natural gas and can light our stove with a match, I loaned it out to my mother-in-law when we had a week long power outage 10 years ago. You really don't want to fire up the Weber kettle every time you want to heat water or use a pot or skillet. Note that you don't want to use these camp stoves indoors, due to carbon-monoxide concerns. That goes for the propane or the style that uses gasoline.

                    As far as coffee goes, I also have a Coleman camping percolator, bought at the same time as the stove, that works. It's a flimsy lightweight thing, but works when I drag it out once every 5 years:


                    Definitely a tried and true way to make a pot of coffee without electricity, and similar to what my grandmother always used when I was growing up.

                    If you just want a cup or two, I would suggest a small Bodum French press, then all you gotta do is put in your grounds, pour in hot water, and after it steeps for 3-5 minutes, press down the plunger, and pour your coffee into the cup.

                    As far as emergency lights go, I have one of the propane Coleman lanterns, that uses those same 1 pound throw away propane bottles as the stove, but for indoor use, a couple of years ago bought a really good emergency LED battery powered lantern at Lowe's. It purports to run for literally days on a set of batteries, and lights up a room well enough in a power outage:


                    Now that I've written all this, I realize I need to order replacement mantels for the Coleman lantern, as one of my kids burned them up years ago on a camping trip, by letting it run out of fuel while burning. And I ought to pull out the Coleman stove and be sure it is in good working order. I ought to think to use that more in the summer for cooking outdoors in the backyard, along side the grills.
                    Last edited by jfmorris; September 1, 2021, 03:44 PM.



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