Propane stoves are great for cooking at camp because they’re clean, quick and easy to use. This type of stove is mainly favored by camping beginners as well as families but they’re also used by experienced backpackers on mountain expeditions.
However, there are some safety concerns when it comes to propane stoves and we will try to address them all here. These tips are specifically for propane stoves but most will also apply to other cartridge stoves and as well as liquid fuel stoves:
– Make sure that the stove is certified and tested so that you know that it has met the safety standards – look for a label from a testing laboratory, such as Underwriters Laboratories
– Read the manual for the stove thoroughly and follow them exactly
– Test your stove at outdoors home to be sure everything works perfectly before the trip
– Be sure you test the stove in a safe area.
– Never use a damaged camp stove
– Make sure the stove is free from leaks and damages. Leaks can be checked by applying soapy water on all connections. Inspect your stove periodically
– Avoid using a propane stove inside an enclosed area because carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to dementia or even death
– Only use a camp stove where it is allowed to do so in the backcountry
– If you smell rotten eggs, it is likely the propane from the stove. Exit the tent immediately and don’t light any matches. Turn the gas valve off and ask for help from your propane supplier or the fire department
– Be sure that the stove valve is turned off before connecting the propane cylinder
– Use a non-flammable surface as a base for the stove e.g. ceramic
– Keep gas cartridges upright at all times
– If your first attempt at igniting the stove fails, turn off the gas and wait for 30 seconds before trying again.
– When lighting the stove, keep your fingers and clothing away from the flame
– Never remove or connect propane cartridges when the stove is lit, hot to the touch, or near sources of ignition
– Never operate a propane stove or any other camp stove near the campfire
– Don’t store propane stoves in a hot vehicle or where temperatures can reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit or more.
– Keep camp stoves away from children. Don’t let your children play within 3 feet of the cooking area
– Clean stoves with damp, warm and soapy sponge but never immerse the stove in water
– Never leave a lit stove unattended and never leave it burning overnight as a heater
– Never try to move a pan with burning oil. Gently place a lid over the fire and wait until it has cooled. Remember not to use your bare hands for this
– Keep the area around the stove free from flammable material
– A potholder is useful for handling pots without getting burned
– Always cook with adequate lighting
– Before you store or pack up the stove, be sure to disconnect the fuel cylinder