Just Jeff's Hiking Page

"Going to the woods is going home, for I suppose
we came from the woods originally."

- John Muir

Fuel Bottles - Denatured Alcohol

I think I've found the perfect fuel bottle for denatured alcohol on short trips. Jason Klass posted a link to his fuel bottle on the Great Fuel Bottle thread at PBF. It's a contact lens solution bottle, and it's perfect for small amounts of denatured alcohol. I like the $10 Boston brand that Jason uses because it has a screw-on top even though the nozzle has to be popped out, but since I bought it today just to dump out the solution, I went for $1.78 for Equate brand and get the next best.

I've also used a small water bottle with a drinking nozzle lid. It works ok, but at 12 fl oz capacity, it's bigger than I need for most of my trips. The Equate bottle should be much more convenient and easier to pack.

Equate Bottle
4 fl oz capacity, weight 5/8 oz (18 g)
Soda Bottle
12 fl oz capacity, weight 3/4 oz (20 g)

Both bottles are safe and neither seems to leak in the pack or when I lay the bottles on their sides with the nozzles open. The contact solution bottle offers better control for pouring, though - the drinking nozzle kinda drip when I first start to squeeze. From now on, I think I'll take the solution bottle on short trips, and I'll probably still take the JetBoil on longer trips.

The one thing I'm worried about is that the Equate lid isn't designed to be popped off repeatedly, so I wonder if it will start leaking after several uses. But even if it does, I'll just get a new one...it's only two bucks.

The Equate brand contact lens solution bottle, 4 oz capacity, $1.78 from Walmart

The label came off easily, then I wrote "FUEL" on there with a Sharpie and wrapped clear moving tape around it so any spilled alcohol can't remove the marker.

The bottle weighs 4-3/4 oz (134 g) when I filled it w/ alcohol.

Close-up of the nozzle. Both the nozzle cover and the lid are "press and fit" type, so there are no threads to screw on. I just pop the lid off with a butter knife to fill it up.
And a comparison with the 12 oz capacity water bottle.

Weight Comparison: Alcohol Stove vs JetBoil

  • Five day trip, cooking only dinner each night, no meal on day 5.
  • Day column is weight of fuel and container on that day.
  • Alcohol stove weighs 2 oz, including ground cover, windscreen, pot stand, Foster's pot and lid. I'd probably use the Nesquik setup though - adding another 2-3/4 oz.
  • Assuming JB burns .25oz/day and Alcohol Stove burns 1oz/day, but I haven't really measured the JB burns yet so that's just a guess. And some alcohol stoves boil on about .5 oz, so I'd have to rework numbers for the more efficient ones, too. So this is really just estimates at this point...I'll get better numbers later.
  • Avg Wt/Day = StoveWt + (Day1+Day2+Day3+Day4+Day5)/5

Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Avg Wt/Day
JetBoil
(15-1/8 oz)
6
5.75
5.5
5.25
5
20.625 oz
Alkie Stove
(2 oz)
4.75
3.75
2.75
1.75
0.625
4.725 oz
Nesquik Setup
(4-3/4 oz)
4.75
3.75
2.75
1.75
0.625
7.475 oz

So even though the weight difference between the 2 oz alcohol stove setup and the JetBoil on Day 1 is only 14-3/8 oz, by the end of the trip the difference is 17.5. Averaged out, that's like carrying a full pound (15.9 oz) less per day. The difference between the Nesquik setup and the JetBoil is still over 13 oz per day.

Even so, the JB is so damn convenient! But if I can get the efficiency where I want it, my Nesquik setup is pretty stable and convenient, too.

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