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Stove choice in Spain

9:47 a.m. on August 9, 2012 (EDT)
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Hi folks,


I am shortly heading off on my bike to northern Spain, but I cannot seem to find any information about what camping stove would be best to take.  My choices are Camping gaz (the click on C270 variety), Coleman / MSR screw in, or a trangia.  Does anyone out there have any experience regarding what the availability of fuel is in Spain? 




9:00 a.m. on August 12, 2012 (EDT)
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kerosene and alcohol are the fuels that are most widely available - meaning you can find them in a lot of places, not just in a gear store.  that means either using an alcohol stove or rigging a multi-fuel stove with the larger gas jet - kerosene is a smelly, dirty fuel that will clog gas jets intended for cleaner white gas.

the one time i hiked in spain, we used bluet butane gas cans.  that was a long time ago, but i'm linking a site to a spanish retailer that sells hiking gear.  in spanish, you're looking for "hornillos."  appears the stoves they sell are still primarily gas cans - either bluet or primus.  the site is in spanish....


might be worth cross-posting in 'camp kitchen,' there are some stove afficionados on this site who might have other ideas. 

2:45 p.m. on August 12, 2012 (EDT)
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The "industry standard" threaded butane/propane mix canisters are readily available in most of Europe, and definitely in the Pyrenees. The MSR screw-in is your better choice of what you listed. The Bleuet canisters are readily available in France and the immediate border areas (Bleuet/Camping Gaz was originally a French company, though now owned by Coleman), but when I used Bleuet stoves, I sometimes had a hard time finding them when I was far from the French borders. That was even after I went to the 270 and 470 series.

You do not say where you are traveling to northern Spain from, but I am guessing you will have some airplane travel. There are limitations on carrying stoves on planes (checked and carry-on luggage both). Fuel is not allowed at all. Some carriers do not allow stoves at all, though I have never run into that once I got to Europe. Those that do allow the stoves will do a "sniff" test if they spot the stovetop in your carry-on or in the almost universal Xray inspection of checked luggage. So a butane/propane screw-on top will pass (the gas smell dissipates quickly in the open). Kerosene stoves retain the smell - it's almost impossible to get the smell out of the fuel bottles or tanks. White gas (aka "Coleman fuel", benzine, various names in various countries) also takes a while to dissipate when aired out, so sometimes fuel bottles get rejected/confiscated.

11:52 p.m. on August 12, 2012 (EDT)
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I don't even bother second guessing the air lines.  Most of my flying is within the US.  But my practice has always been getting a new stove at the destination, then donating it to a local youth organization on my way out.  Not the cheapest approach by any means, but the outcome is absolutely predictable (and tax deductible when the beneficiary is a domestic nonprofit org).


1:14 p.m. on August 13, 2012 (EDT)
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I would get an end all be all stove like the *NEW* MSR Whisperlite Universal.  It has primarily been a liquid fuel stove (i.e. white gas) but will burn off pretty much anything. With its new redesign, you can now also burn from the Lindal valve threaded Isopro butane canisters as well (MSR, jetboil, snowpeak, primus, optimus, brunton, etc). I, myself, own a Primus Gravity multi fuel stove which is pretty similar to the Whisperlite, just without the historic pedigree. If you went this direction, it obviously gives you freedom to choose what's available to burn, not sticking you with a single fuel type. I hope this helps your decision. Best of luck! Have a great trip!

2:50 p.m. on August 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Stew Neibert said:

... I, myself, own a Primus Gravity multi fuel stove which is pretty similar to the Whisperlite, just without the historic pedigree....

 Actually, Primus has about the longest pedigree of any mountaineering/backpacking stove manufacturer, having started in the 19th Century (1892). As for multifuel liquid plus compressed gas, Primus introduced these for mountaineering and backpacking with the Primus MFS (1990s), which was replaced with the Primus Omnifuel. I have had my MFS for more than 10 years and used it in a wide range of conditions from summer Sierra backpacking to winter and high altitude, and have used white gas (aka Coleman fuel, actually naphtha), kerosene, and butane/propane mixes (from Primus, MSR, and Markill). The Gravity MF, which is also liquid and gas, is a more recent addition.

The Whisperlite Universal is somewhat lighter than the MFS, and, although I haven't actually tested it, looks like it has a somewhat more efficient design. I got my first Primus (a 71L) in 1960. Penberthy started MSR (Mountain Safety Research) in 1969, with their first stove in 1972.

Doesn't change my recommendation to go to northern Spain with a screw-on stove top, such as MSR's MicroRocket, though, because of the size of the Microrocket and less problem getting through the various customs and TSA inspections.

6:01 p.m. on August 13, 2012 (EDT)
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Get a bush buddy. You don't need to take fuel on the aircraft so you should be able to get there and back with it.


10:43 a.m. on August 20, 2012 (EDT)
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I wouldn't take any kind of timber stove to Spain. It is strictly prohibited to light fires outdoor due to high fire risk.

Even if click on gas cannisters are easier to find everywhere (campgrounds, hardware stores, etc) near the pyrinees, I rather use the Coleman/MSR screw type cannisters readily available at any outdoor store in Spain. 

3:22 a.m. on August 21, 2012 (EDT)
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Stew Neibert said:

I would get an end all be all stove...

Actually this is a mythical assertion.  There is no ultimate stove, anymore so than than there is an end-all-be-all golf club or fishing lure.  Just saying.


April 16, 2014
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