Safety – Stoves

Safety advice for stoves, gas and spirit (DofE)

Also see DofE poster about Stove Safety.

Stove Location

  • Take some time to pick the cooking location. A firm level surface at ground level where the stove will not be knocked over is ideal and it must be at least two metres away from flammable items/tents.
  • Consider the weather conditions and wind direction.
  • Make it clear to other people that stoves are lit/hot and get everything needed together before starting to cook. Have somewhere safe nearby to put hot pans.

General safety

  • Always be familiar with the stove & fuel before setting out.
  • Be confident in how to use the stove and what dangers are associated with it and the fuel, for example gas canisters.
  • Have water and a wet tea towel nearby, ready to use as a fire blanket. Always be careful to check if there is a flame or not, especially in bright sunlight.
  • Never leave a lit stove unattended or unwatched.
  • DofE participants and adults need to follow their Licensed Organisation’s policies and the instruction and safety guidance given by the manufacturer of the stove they have chosen to use.

Gas stoves

  • DofE teams must never use a gas stove that does not use self-sealing cylinders or cartridges.
  • Remove cartridges from the stove for journeying and replace part used cartridges for full ones before the start of the expedition.
  • It is best to use a gas stove that is low, stable and easy to shield from the wind.
  • For exposed areas participants can use wind shields made of aluminium foil which can be bent into shape.
  • Always replace the plastic cap firmly over the nozzle immediately after disconnecting it.
Trangia stove and gas canister
Trangia stove and gas canister
Jetboil gas stove
Jetboil gas stove

Spirit stoves

  • The stove must be placed on a firm level surface, at least two metres away from flammable items/tents, in a place where it cannot be knocked over.
  • Fill the stove from a small container, never from a bulk container such as a one gallon can or plastic container. (It is permissible to sell methylated spirits in a plastic container).
  • The spirit must be carried in bottles specifically designed for the purpose which have a screw top and a safety valve. These should normally be around half a litre in capacity and the stoves should be filled from these bottles. Trangia fuel bottles with safety valves are good to use as these will prevent a full bottle fire. Note – it is not immediately obvious when the bottle is in the locked closed position, any pressure on the plunger in the open position can lead to leakage.
  • Fuel should not be handled near tents or any naked flames; it is good practice to have a‘re-fuelling’ area where fuel is handled away from the designated cooking area.
  • One person should carry the stove or the spirit cup downwind, away from the tents and it should be fuelled, or refuelled, in a place where there are no naked flames in the vicinity.
  • Take great care when re-fuelling the stove, make sure that the flame is completely extinguished (the flame can be invisible, especially in sunlight) and the stove/burner has cooled before removing the burner to re-fill it (take the burner to the fuel, not the fuel to the burner). Remove the pan and carefully place a hand over the spirit cup or hold the corner of a sheet of paper just above the burner. This will indicate if the burner is still lit. The burner should be taken to the fuel, not the fuel to the burner (if the burner is cool enough to pick up it won’t still be alight).
  • If it is necessary to refill a burner, assume it is still burning. Go through the normal procedure of putting the burner lid over the flame to extinguish. Wait until the burner has gone cold before refilling.
Trangia meths stove set
Trangia meths stove set
Trangia fuel bottle for meths
Trangia fuel bottle for meths