4th Royal Eltham


Cooking Stoves

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Dual Fuel Burners

Uses either unleaded petrol or the manufacturers own brand fuel. Very cheap to run, fast to light and can boil a pint of water in just a few minutes. Fuel is kept in the tank at the base of the unit and Pressurised by pumping air in. When the "on" lever is turned, fuel is sent to the burner. Can have a tendency to flare when first lit. Uses a "generator" bar which, will eventually clog and require replacement. This can be quite expensive. Also has the ability to turn a minor mistake into an explosive situation!

Only fill and use in the open and protect from the wind. Occasional pumping may be required as fuel is burnt and the pressure drops.



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Pressurised Paraffin Burners

Uses paraffin kept in the tank at the base of the unit, very cheap to run. To light, the burner must be pre-heated. This is done by adding Methylated Spirit to the reservoir below and lighting it. After a few minutes, the flame begins to die and the correct temperature should have been reached. Close the pressure release screw and start pumping air into the tank. Be careful in case the burner is not quite hot enough and liquid paraffin begins to burn. If this happens quickly open the pressure release screw and stand away until the flames are out! There is a small hole (a jet) which allows fuel into the burner. This can easily become blocked and will require cleaning. A tool is available which has a very thin piece of wire at one end. This is inserted into the jet to clear it. If this is attempted while the burner is working, the wire will almost certainly melt.

Only use and fill in the open and protect from the wind. Occasional pumping may be required as fuel is burnt and the pressure drops.

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Gas (or Gaz) Burners

One of the simplest burners available. Turn it on and light the gas. Some are available with auto-ignition. While not as fast to cook as the duel fuel or paraffin burners, they are very reliable with few parts to go wrong. I am told that they do not work well at high altitude or in very cold weather. 

Only to be used outside the tent and protect from the wind.

Changing the gas cartridge.  


If you have been using the burner, wait a few minutes for it to cool down. Unscrew the burner assembly from the base, listening carefully (In the unlikely event that you hear gas begin to escape screw the thing back together and take it to a main dealer for repair). The burner will detach from the tank. Once this has happened, unscrew the plate at the base of the tank (this can also be a bayonet fixing), drop out the old cartridge, insert the new and replace the bottom plate. Before attaching the burner head, inspect the rubber "O" ring which forms a seal onto the tank. If it is in anyway damaged it must be replaced before the tank is re-attached.


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Spirit Stoves

These have been around since the 1930's and are still quite popular. They work by burning a reservoir of Methylated Spirit which is contained within a windproof housing that also doubles for the pan support. One fill of meths (about 150ml) will burn for 30 to 40 minutes and will boil a half litre of water in about 5 minutes.

There are several versions available differing in the size and amount of cooking utensils included. The price range (in 2002) is from around £20.00  to over £80.00 for the "family" size. The one pictured was £40.00. There are some cheaper "imitations" available but they are not of the same quality.

The benefits of this type of cooker is that there are virtually no moving parts to break, they operate at all altitudes and almost any temperature, they are cheap to run and are self contained, you don't even need plates.

While it is unlikely that anyone except a member of our Scout Troop could manage to kick one over the possibility exists. If this should happen you could be faced with a pool of burning meths (been there!) and therefore please be mindful of where you use them and don't leave them unattended.

TIP To reduce sooting of the pans add water at 10% to the meths, it makes a big difference.

Only to be used outside and away from the tent. Children should be supervised.


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Solid Fuel Stoves

Solid fuel stoves have the advantage of being very light and compact, they can fit into your pocket. They are also quite cheap at around £4.00 (in 2002). They are fairly robust and simple to use, you just place the fuel in the centre of the frame (which doubles for the pan support) and set it on fire.

Fuel pellets will burn for about 5 or 6 minutes and one pellet will happily simmer liquid. It will take 2 or 3 pellets combined to boil a litre of water.

It's great for boil-in-the-bag or warming tinned food but can get a bit expensive on pellets when trying to cook certain fresh foods. Mind you, I can't say that I've noticed too many hikers dragging dead chickens and sacks of potatoes behind them so perhaps I've missed the point!

These stoves do tend to stain your cooking pans with an oily soot but this is quite easily removed.

Only to be used outside the tent.

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Opinions expressed are those of the The 4th Royal Eltham Scout Group who do not accept liability for any incident or accident which may be caused by reference to this page. All information has been collected by practical use of the equipment illustrated and has not been supplied by manufacturers. All weights and measures are approximate.

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