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How Much Fuel Should I Carry For My Camping?

How Much Fuel Should I Carry For My Camping?

The crucial part before setting off for camping is the calculation of several important things including meal and fuel plan. The best thing that can comfort you after the adventurous journey of the trip is a hot meal or coffee. But, the worst thing that could happen in a camping or backpacking trip is running out of fuel. It may spoil your whole tour and leave your trip incomplete. To avoid such circumstances, chalk out the fuel plan that you need to carry within you. To calculate that, there are few things that you need to keep in mind.

1. Length of the trip:

It is the most basic yet most important part of your trip. Before estimating the amount of fuel, calculate the number of days of your camping. The more days you will stay there, the more fuel you will need.

2. Number of people:                  

It is another important aspect that fixes the need for fuel on the trip. At first, measure the numbers of travelers who are participating in the camp. After calculating the number, take note on their meal times and the type of meals they will take. For example, if any of the members like to take their meal cold, the fuel expense can decrease. On the other hand, if every member of the trip wants hot meals, the fuel consumption will increase.

To determine the needs of fuel based on the numbers of travelers, simply multiply the numbers of candidates with their hot meals and hot drinks. The scheming will provide you with a basic sense of fuel that will be needed to boil the total amount of water in the tour. After that, do easy math to plan the supply of fuel that your stove requires for boiling per liter of water.

3. Type of stove

When you are planning your camping trip and estimating the fuel requirement, you should equally give priority to the type of stove you are taking with you. Here is an example of a few categories that you can prefer carrying:

  • Propane camping stove:

The stove that runs with propane is more convenient to use. You can adjust the flame of the stove as per your needs. The propane camping stove is extremely fuel-efficient, thus it is economical. Apart from that, it is safe to easy and cheap.

  • Wood burning camping stoves:

As these stoves do not require any fossil fuel, thus, you do not need to carry any fuel with you in the trip. Moreover, it is easily portable and safe to use for the environment. It takes around 8 to 12 minutes for boiling. Carrying the wood-burning camping stove makes your trip easy and effortless. 

  • Open gas stove-

The open gas stove suits perfectly for slow cooking. The boil time of this type of gas is about 4 minutes, these are best for small meals.

  • Integrated gas stoves-        

These stoves work fastest among all and its boiling time is 2 minutes. Thus, it is the most fuel-efficient stove to carry in your trip.

4. Efficiency of the stove

The efficiency of your stove will estimate how much fuel it would take to run several operations. For example, the single burner propane camp stove consumes less fuel and works faster compared to other camping stoves to boil 1 liter of water.  But, if you maintain some methods your stove’s performance can be two times better than usual-

  1. Most of the times, travelers choose cold places for camping. In cold temperatures, your stove may not work properly sometimes. In such cases, place the stove or canister in the warm water to make it work smoothly.
  2. While using the canisters, make sure to arrange all your supplies near your hand. Do not leave your stove with burning fuel; utilize every second when the stove is running.
  3. Cook your meal with a lid-cover always to save your fuel. One thing that you should avoid is the frequent checking of the meal. This takes more time to boil or cook your food consuming more fuel. You may use the 2 burner camp stove for fast preparation of your meal.
  4. If you are using the stove that runs with liquid fuel, ensure to wrap a windscreen closely to the utensils. This allows your stove to work more efficiently.
  5. While using your stove in cold temperatures, invert it into the liquid mode by availing the windscreen for high-quality performance.
  6. The liquid fuel stoves can be expensive in purchase cost, but, in case of efficiency, it is unbeatable. 3 burner camp stove is economical to buy and you can easily prepare more meals at a  similar time

5. Planning your meal

The needs of fuel in your camping rely upon your meal plan. Regardless, most of the meals that are planned for the camping require boiling water. For instance, the commonly required stuff includes hot coffee, tea, instant noodles and oatmeal. Thus to estimate how much fuel you may require to take along with you, first, you need to know how much water is needed to boil for per person in per meal. It becomes easier when you figure it, you can simply get to know your fuel needs by calculating the stove’s burn time and boil time.

After that, you have to do simple math regarding your meals. First of all, decide what type of meal are your planning. If your meal includes multi-step cooking, it may require more fuel. But, if your meals include ‘boil only’ type, it can require less fuel. 

6. Calculating the fuel requirement

Once you have estimated you meal plan do some simple math to calculate the fuel necessity. The things you need to consider include-

Burn time of the stove: It estimates the run time of a stove based on the amount of the fuel. The multi-fuel camp stove offers 60 min for 230g canister.

Boil time of the stove: It helps you to calculate the time that a stove needs to boil a specific quantity of water. For instance, the best camping stove usually takes 3 min to boil a liter of water. 

Now as you are aware of both the facts simply calculate the fuel requirements. Once you know the quantity of water to boil, multiply it by the boil time to estimate the time limit of boiling water for per stove. For instance, if you need to boil 2.5 liters of water, multiply it with the boiling time of your stove. So, 8 min 45 sec is the boil time that you need to experience in your trip.

After that, compute the percentage of the burn time of your stove that you need to boil the specific quantity of water. To determine the time you have to divide the time of boiling by the burn time of your stove.

As per the previous calculation result of the boil time for the trip are 8 min and 45 sec. Now, you need to calculate by dividing the time of boiling in your trip by the total burn time of your stove (8 min 45 sec / 60 min) which means .15 or 15%.

Next, you have to utilize the percentage result to estimate the quantity of fuel you are going to need to boil the water in your trip. For this, you have to multiply the percentage by the exact quantity of fuel based on the burn time of your stove (230gmx .15).   

Thus, you can successfully estimate the fact that for boiling 2.5 L water, your stove may require almost 35 gm of fuel.

7. Factors that affect fuel usage

Now, you finally get the rough calculation of the requirement of fuel based on the length of the trip, numbers of party and stove’s type and efficiency.  It is time to focus on the other perspectives; few things noticeably affect the usage. Check the below list to get an idea and chalk out your camping smartly:

  • Air temperature:

The air temperature of your surroundings decides the temperature of the pot and water in your stove. The colder the climate of the destination is, the longer time it will take to boil your food. Thus, if the air temperature is excessively cold, the boiling time will increase than usual. So, carry your fuel judging the temperature of the destination.

  • Wind:

It is another key factor on which the amount of fuel depends on. If your destination spot enjoys the enormous wind force, the chances of unstable flame in your canister increase. Moreover, sometimes it may blow out the flame. It may affect the boil time and consume much more fuel, so, always guard your canister with a cloak to avoid the wind force.

  • The temperature of the water:

The water temperature also decides the fuel usage. Suppose, if you are using the snow-melt water to cook your food the fuel consumption will be high. But, if you use water from your water filter, the fuel utilization becomes less. So, note it carefully while carrying fuel for your trip.

Several other factors affect the usage of fuel. However, these are some basic guidelines that may help you to plan your next trip.

About The Author


We are a group of friends who are passionate about camping related stuff, gym rats, Netflix subscribers and also enthusiasts of outdoor equipment and tools. "Get out there and play!" they said, and they are right!

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