Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Swedish M/40 Mess Kit & Svea Alcohol Stove, Fuel Selection and Burning Tips
To follow up on the original post for the Swedish M/40 mess kit and Svea alcohol stove stet up, let's take a minute and go over the fuel options and a few burning tips.
The Svea alcohol burners are designed to burn, well, alcohol. But, not all alcohols are equal........... These burners fire best on denatured alcohol and pure methanol alcohol, even though just about any alcohol will work. Denatured alcohol is basically grain alcohol that has be "denatured" or rather made undrinkable by the addition of a poisonous additive like acetone. Denatured alcohol is available in the paint and thinner section of your local hardware store and is sold a stove fuel and thinner. You get the best value for your money if you buy the gallon can size.
The other preferred alcohol is methanol, which also easily obtained in your neighborhood. The easiest way to buy methanol is at the local auto parts store. The product that you are looking for is HEET fuel treatment. HEET is actually just pure methanol that is used to get the water out of your fuel tank. Be sure to buy the HEET in the yellow bottle.......... it is the only type that is additive free. Methanol burns, clean, hot, odor and smoke free. The HEET bottle is also a convenient carry bottle to keep with your Svea burner.
Just about any other alcohol will work with your stove, but be advised, anything but the denatured alcohol and methanol will give poorer results. You can burn isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol, but it has low heat output and smokes. High proof drinking alcohol like Vodka, etc., will burn as well, but that's a bit of a waste!
I picked up a Swedish canteen awhile back that I will be using as my alcohol fuel transport bottle with my M40 mess kit and stove. I have painted the cap red and will add a metal tag that indicates the contents as alcohol and poison. The nice thing about this canteen-alcohol bottle set up is that I will be able to hang the fuel outside of my pack so I won't run the risk of a spill in my gear. I am also not that keen on storing the fuel inside the cook pots were my food will be! I'll use that extra space for a set of mess silverware and maybe a small lighter or matches.
I fired up the Svea burner with a bit of the HEET methanol so you could get an idea of what the flame looks like when this burner is up and going......... but first a couple of cautions. Do not put out the flames with the burner cap. It will melt the o-ring gasket in the cap! It may look like a good idea, but don't do it! And here's a crucial safety tip....... only fill the burner when it is cool to the touch! Alcohol burns with a near invisible flame in the daylight and can even be pretty tough to see at night. You don't want to turn yourself into "the human torch" with your next refill! I noticed that even after the main burner goes out, there is often a couple of small flames inside the stove, where the feed holes are located at the bottom of the fill chamber. These flames can burn for a minute or more after the main burner goes out!!!!!
And now for a few "night shots" of the Svea burner blazing away with a bit of HEET methanol fuel. Remember, these flames are basically invisible in the daylight!