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This stuff is half the price of HEET and burns the same in my alky stove...

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This stuff is half the price of HEET and burns the same in my alky stove...

Old 04-02-13, 09:27 PM
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stevepusser
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This stuff is half the price of HEET and burns the same in my alky stove...

Picked up a couple 11 oz. bottles of this stuff at the local Dollar Tree:

https://www.dollartree.com/SMB-Fuel-I...ex.pro#details

The label said it contained methanol and other proprietary ingredients, but it was clear and burned cleanly in my stoves without leaving any residue, just like HEET.

I've also experimented with an mostly ethanol additive called EthaMax ($1.50 for 12 oz) which did put out a lot more heat than methanol, as would be expected, and stunk a lot more, also expected. It also did leave a small amount of gummy residue in the stove, but was able to wipe it off.

Here in warm southern California, gas stations don't carry HEET, only auto supply stores and Walmart. The SMB stuff is cheaper, and you may try other brands if you can't any other source of alcohol for your stove.

Of course, if you can find a racing gas supplier in your area, you can get methanol by the 5 gal can for a lot less per ounce.
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Old 04-03-13, 04:17 AM
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two words: denatured alcohol.

pick this up at the hardware store by the gallon.
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Old 04-03-13, 04:24 AM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post

I've also experimented with an mostly ethanol additive called EthaMax ($1.50 for 12 oz) which did put out a lot more heat than methanol, as would be expected, and stunk a lot more, also expected. It also did leave a small amount of gummy residue in the stove, but was able to wipe it off.
Why would that be expected? Ethenol is a poor choice as a fuel relative to methenol. Maybe you meant to say 'which did put out a lot LESS heat than methanol'?

Last edited by Burton; 04-03-13 at 04:28 AM.
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Old 04-03-13, 07:31 AM
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Methol Hydrate by the gallon. Al
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Old 04-03-13, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Burton View Post
Why would that be expected? Ethenol is a poor choice as a fuel relative to methenol. Maybe you meant to say 'which did put out a lot LESS heat than methanol'?
I was under the impression that methanol had the lowest energy content of the alcohols, ethanol next, and isopropyl the highest (though it needs more O2 mixed in when burning, if it doesn't get it, lots of soot results)

Also, the denatured alcohol I can find in hardware stores is over $7 a quart, the SMP stuff would be $3 for the same. It does look like gallons can be found for reasonable prices at boating supply stores, though.
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Old 04-03-13, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
Also, the denatured alcohol I can find in hardware stores is over $7 a quart, the SMP stuff would be $3 for the same. It does look like gallons can be found for reasonable prices at boating supply stores, though.
For me most of the time all of that is kind of moot. The main thing for me is that what I use needs to be available in small quantities (like 10-12 ounces) and at frequent intervals along the road. I typically fly to my tours so no fuel comes from home. If I was going to take fuel for a lengthy period without restock I'd probably use my canister stove rather than use alcohol. Generally I find yellow Heet to be the easiest fuel for my pop can stove to find on the road, but it is good to know of another fuel that might be available.
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Old 04-03-13, 01:02 PM
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This stuff is half the price of HEET and burns the same in my alky stove...

fwiw, I bought denatured alcohol in both Walmart and Home Depot in California.

It was in one quart cans. Ok, but half a quart at a time would suit me better.

Last edited by imi; 04-03-13 at 01:20 PM.
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Old 04-03-13, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
fwiw, I bought denatured alcohol in both Walmart and Home Depot in California.

It was in one quart cans. Ok, but half a quart at a time would suit me better.
It depends on how much you cook, how efficient your stove is, and how often you want to restock, but for me even half a quart (a pint) is a bit more than I would usually prefer to buy at a time. I find 12 ounces of the Heet bottle to be just right.
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Old 04-03-13, 03:31 PM
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Think I paid 3.50 a quart at Menards last time I stocked up on denatured alchohol.( Menards is a big box store/home improvement center in the upper midwest, Ohio, and Kentucky.. So large a flock of sparrows has lived in ours since day1)
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Old 04-03-13, 04:04 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
I was under the impression that methanol had the lowest energy content of the alcohols, ethanol next, and isopropyl the highest (though it needs more O2 mixed in when burning, if it doesn't get it, lots of soot results)

Also, the denatured alcohol I can find in hardware stores is over $7 a quart, the SMP stuff would be $3 for the same. It does look like gallons can be found for reasonable prices at boating supply stores, though.
Yes, methanol has the lowest caloric value, followed by ethanol, then 2-propanol. However, from a practical point of view, the amount of heat you can get out of an alcohol fuel depends on the water content as well. Methanol is going to be the driest of the fuels. Denatured alcohol may be nearly 100% ethanol or it may have water in it depending on the source and/or the isolation procedure. But t may also contain 5% water. 5% water will cost you 30+% of the energy in the alcohol. Rubbing alcohol is commonly only 70% isopropanol in water. That water will cost you a much higher percentage of the heat value of the fuel because you have to heat a huge amount of water while burning the fuel.
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Old 04-03-13, 05:26 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
I was under the impression that methanol had the lowest energy content of the alcohols, ethanol next, and isopropyl the highest (though it needs more O2 mixed in when burning, if it doesn't get it, lots of soot results)

Also, the denatured alcohol I can find in hardware stores is over $7 a quart, the SMP stuff would be $3 for the same. It does look like gallons can be found for reasonable prices at boating supply stores, though.
Yeah - I probably got my vocabulary screwed up. Here in Canada it's not exactly legal to sell pure ethenol to the public so most fuels here are methylated spirits - referred to as meths but actually denatured alcohol (ethenol cut with methenol and other stuff to make it poisonous). That's the fuel of choice for fondues, alcohol fireplaces and camping stoves and is available in most hardware stores. Runs about $20/gallon.
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Old 04-03-13, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
Picked up a couple 11 oz. bottles of this stuff at the local Dollar Tree:

https://www.dollartree.com/SMB-Fuel-I...ex.pro#details

The label said it contained methanol and other proprietary ingredients, but it was clear and burned cleanly in my stoves without leaving any residue, just like HEET.

I've also experimented with an mostly ethanol additive called EthaMax ($1.50 for 12 oz) which did put out a lot more heat than methanol, as would be expected, and stunk a lot more, also expected. It also did leave a small amount of gummy residue in the stove, but was able to wipe it off.

Here in warm southern California, gas stations don't carry HEET, only auto supply stores and Walmart. The SMB stuff is cheaper, and you may try other brands if you can't any other source of alcohol for your stove.

Of course, if you can find a racing gas supplier in your area, you can get methanol by the 5 gal can for a lot less per ounce.
Thanks for sharing this.

Where have you found the EthaMax?

I've tried 90+% isopropyl, and gotten it to burn cleanly, with some experimenting. The price was 1.68 per quart at Winco. His was about five years ago.

Have since switched to gasoline and twigs and mostly no-cooking-required foods, for most tours.
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Old 04-03-13, 11:42 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
It depends on how much you cook, how efficient your stove is, and how often you want to restock, but for me even half a quart (a pint) is a bit more than I would usually prefer to buy at a time. I find 12 ounces of the Heet bottle to be just right.
Yeah, that's the problem with buying denatured alcohol unless you are in a group to split up the bottle. tbh if someone is carrying a quart of alcohol then it's time to consider a different stove since other fuels significantly more efficient than alcohol. I really like alcohol stoves for weekend trips and anything up to 5 days when I want to pack light and camp time is minimal.
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Old 04-04-13, 04:37 AM
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I get a lot cleaner burn from denatured alcohol even over 92% Isopropyl. I can judge this from the flame visibility and heat output. Results may vary, as I use a minimalist stove made with 2 soda pop cans and a penny.
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Old 04-04-13, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by KirkBeiser View Post
tbh if someone is carrying a quart of alcohol then it's time to consider a different stove since other fuels significantly more efficient than alcohol.
I went from gas canisters to alcohol because of the worldwide availability (and even price. Here in europe canisters vary greatly depending on the shop, but have generally been getting more and more expensive.)

After a regular supermarket stop I'm carrying 1kg oats, 1kg rice, 2 cans of beans, bunch of bananas, half litre olive oil, loaf of bread, peanut butter, trailmix, 3 litres of water... so a pint of alcohol more or less honestly makes little difference :/

I try to keep the rest of my gear light and minimal (not ultralight).
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Old 04-04-13, 09:09 AM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
Also, the denatured alcohol I can find in hardware stores is over $7 a quart, the SMP stuff would be $3 for the same. It does look like gallons can be found for reasonable prices at boating supply stores, though.
I usually just burn HEET, but once bought a quart of denatured alcohol from my local hardware store just to try out since I`d heard it was somehow better. I didn`t notice any difference, but I did note that it`s priced like paint in that a half gallon costs just a tiny bit more than a quart and a full gallon just a tiny bit more than a half gallon. If you go that route, the bigger package will definitely be cheaper than by the pint. At least it will if you buy it from my neighborhood True Value.
Originally Posted by Burton View Post
Yeah - I probably got my vocabulary screwed up. Here in Canada it's not exactly legal to sell pure ethenol to the public so most fuels here are methylated spirits - referred to as meths but actually denatured alcohol (ethenol cut with methenol and other stuff to make it poisonous).
I`m waiting for a ride report by a Canadian or European traveling in the US who asks around for "meths" and gets directed to the friendly neighborhood crank vendor.
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Old 04-04-13, 02:29 PM
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Old 04-04-13, 06:24 PM
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Old 04-04-13, 07:57 PM
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Originally Posted by stevepusser View Post
Picked up a couple 11 oz. bottles of this stuff at the local Dollar Tree:

https://www.dollartree.com/SMB-Fuel-I...ex.pro#details
Great tip, carrying around a gallon of denatured alcohol isn't feasible on a long bike trip. An 11 ounce bottle would be the ideal size.
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Old 04-05-13, 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
I went from gas canisters to alcohol because of the worldwide availability (and even price. Here in europe canisters vary greatly depending on the shop, but have generally been getting more and more expensive.)

After a regular supermarket stop I'm carrying 1kg oats, 1kg rice, 2 cans of beans, bunch of bananas, half litre olive oil, loaf of bread, peanut butter, trailmix, 3 litres of water... so a pint of alcohol more or less honestly makes little difference :/

I try to keep the rest of my gear light and minimal (not ultralight).
A pint is kind of the upper limit imo. A pint of alcohol would last more than a week by myself. I would need more food before then. Once you get anywhere near a quart (cooking for groups?) you are better off going to a petrol stove imo. Canister stoves are good and bad. They are expensive and the canisters can be difficult to find and additionally dispose of properly.
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Old 04-05-13, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by KirkBeiser View Post
They are expensive and the canisters can be difficult to find and additionally dispose of properly.
Not necessarily true in the US. The canisters are easy to find in Walmarts across the country. 10 years ago, this was true but within the last 5 years the availability of isobutane canisters hasn't been an issue in any town that had a Helmart (I hate 'em but damn...).

For disposal, this handy little tool punctures the canister and makes it safe for disposal.
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Old 04-05-13, 11:34 AM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post
Not necessarily true in the US. The canisters are easy to find in Walmarts across the country. 10 years ago, this was true but within the last 5 years the availability of isobutane canisters hasn't been an issue in any town that had a Helmart (I hate 'em but damn...).
You have been saying that for a long time and I have disagreed repeatedly based on my experience of not finding canisters in Walmart or anywhere else in a large portion of the country. We went a long ways without finding them as recently as 2010. That year we didn't find them until day 19 of our tour.

That said, I recently did an online search of a bunch of the Walmarts across the country that we had previously struck out at and at least according to the Walmart store web site they had canisters in stock at most of them. I have been told that Walmart started carrying a canister stove and that was the reason for the wider availability of the canisters, but I do not know if that is true.

I am pretty happy with my pop can stove, but if I wasn't I might reconsider my abandoning of canister stoves.
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Old 04-05-13, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cyccommute View Post

For disposal, this handy little tool punctures the canister and makes it safe for disposal.
When I first saw that my thought was the only thing that could make it more of an artisanal/fischer price my first and probably only roughing it at the campground fondue experience would be if it had an integrated bottle opener, another device so indispensable that nearly every upscale impulse item has one incorporated into it.( https://www1.macys.com/shop/product/r...ener?ID=297236)
Then I read the description and saw that it actualy DOES double as a bottle opener. Joy.

To think that for years many of us simply empty the canister and then puncture it with a scrounged nail or ice pick, when we could have been increasing our greenness with yet another imported peice of yardsale fodder


I do agree that the increase in walmart selling usable canisters might effect ones choice of stoves on a long trip. My SnoPeak screws right on, and its tempting to think about not having to source 12 onces of heet or whatever. I am still up in the air for this summers six week tour what I will take.
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Old 04-05-13, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by shipwreck View Post
its tempting to think about not having to source 12 onces of heet or whatever.
Not sure I follow that. There are reasons to use something other than alcohol, but fuel availability isn't a very good one IMO. Alcohol is still probably the easiest to find stove fuel other than maybe gasoline. You can always find something a pop can stove will burn. I've never had to resort to it but in a pinch you could get by rubbing or drinking (140 proof or better and the higher the better) alcohol. I tried rubbing alcohol in my stove at home and it wasn't ideal but was usable. That said I have always been able to find Heet pretty reliably on my tours (US only).
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Old 04-05-13, 01:26 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
You have been saying that for a long time and I have disagreed repeatedly based on my experience of not finding canisters in Walmart or anywhere else in a large portion of the country. We went a long ways without finding them as recently as 2010. That year we didn't find them until day 19 of our tour.

That said, I recently did an online search of a bunch of the Walmarts across the country that we had previously struck out at and at least according to the Walmart store web site they had canisters in stock at most of them. I have been told that Walmart started carrying a canister stove and that was the reason for the wider availability of the canisters, but I do not know if that is true.

I am pretty happy with my pop can stove, but if I wasn't I might reconsider my abandoning of canister stoves.
I know you don't believe me but even in 2010, I found them in such diverse Walmarts as Colby, KS and Mena, AR. Although I try to darken the doors of Helmarts as little as possible, I found them in 2012 in London, KY and Huntington, WV. In 2003 and 2005, I couldn't find them for love or money along the Missouri River or along the Columbia but finding them now is just not an issue.

Originally Posted by shipwreck View Post
To think that for years many of us simply empty the canister and then puncture it with a scrounged nail or ice pick, when we could have been increasing our greenness with yet another imported peice of yardsale fodder
I can think of no more useless item to carry on a tour than an ice pick and I've tried the nail thing, it didn't work. The Jetboil device is way easier to use.
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