What if I cant Get Meths?

Often on expedition things don’t go according to plan, be it local availability or in many cases non availability, this leads to some ingenious out of the box solutions to problems. I like to think I’m a bit of an “original prepper” given that I’ve held, and hosted various scout roles and our motto is to “be prepared”

Many years ago, a much younger but more experienced mentor of mine, who was to become and still is a very close friend, introduced me to an idea that he had made part of his own skills development.

Trangia and variuos potential fuels

Every trip he went on he would deliberately leave out an item of kit, which he would then make, source or buy a replacement while he was out, knowing that he actually had the item as a fall back. This little nugget of wisdom steered me down a route of always looking for alternative uses or alternative answers and being prepared and I like to test these out in advance. This got me to thinking, given recent world events relating to fuel etc, that really, I should dig out the lanterns, candles etc and leave them at home, so the family would have access to them, as we live in an all-electric city centre house.

This might seem simple, but then the questions started. How much meths do you need for a meal? How long does it take to boil stuff? All good that kind of thing, I either know or I could Google.

Next question! How much meths do we have? I nipped to garage to check, we had 4 bottles, Sorted! But then came the question, what else can we burn in it if we can’t get meths? Que a rummage about in the garage hall cupboard under the sink for what I could find, and so began an evening of family science, which after about half an hour ended up as, Dad science! So here goes, what can you burn in a Trangia or in some cases what you can’t you burn in a Trangia.

For the purposes of fairness, a base line has to be set up with the old reliable, methylated spirts.

Methylated spirts

Methylated spirts
Boil time for 1 litre of water: 15 mins 28 seconds
Total burn time: 36 minutes
Pans fairly clean afterwards

Nail polish remover

Nail polish remover burns well, almost the same as meths.
Boil time 15 minutes
Total burn time 36 minutes
Some jets blocked during burning but not detrimental to burn

Bells Whisky

Bells lit initially but then went out as its only 40% alcohol.

Hand sanitiser

Alcohol gel is slow to get burning, as it is too thick to gasify and it blocks up the jets in the burner.
Boiling time 30 minutes and needed refilling after 20 minutes.

Over all, apart from the bells whisky, all of the widely available items used burnt with a decent effect. As a word of caution all these tests were conducted in the open air, with the correct safety equipment to hand. The experiment shows that from most DIY shops and village stores you can obtain fuel that will work in a Trangia stove.

In a future blog I’ll look at more adventurous options such as 2 stroke, paraffin and turps. however, these weren’t readily available on this occasion for our family science evening.

So, folks I hope this makes sense and happy burning.

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