View Full Version : Flying with an alcohol stove

12-17-2004, 19:32
Hi all

Well the school semester has finished and i'm headed home tomorrow and am planning some backpacking while home. I almost feel stupid asking this (since I've encountered this problem) but are you allowed to fly with an alcohol stove? And if so, would it be better to carry on with me or keep in my checked luggage under the plane? Thnx a lot

12-17-2004, 19:37
The stove should be fine assuming that you aren't packing fuel. I'd put it in checked luggage and advise the ticketing agent of it's presence. That way, it will get x-rayed with the knowledge of what it is.

papa john
12-17-2004, 19:47
Knowing how paranoid they are at airports I would have a backup plan in case they will not let you go on the plane with your stove.

12-17-2004, 21:50
I've flown with my alcohol stove (sans fuel of course) several times without any trouble at all. I've always put it in my checked bags.

- Ivy

12-18-2004, 18:01
I think you should be fine because when I was looking in to flying with an MRI Whisperlite they informed me it needed to be cleaned with denatured alcohol fuel(by a professionally certified person).

12-18-2004, 18:11
Should be no prob if you check it like most said. All it is is two cans right??

DMA, 2000
12-18-2004, 18:49
I carried on my alcohol stove AND the fuel (in a water bottle)...not a hint of a problem. This was on August 30 and September 4, 2001.

Things have probably changed.

12-18-2004, 18:52
Thnx for all the replies guys

Made it safely with stove in my checked pack. With a one way ticket and my unkempt facial scrub, I certainly had the makings for a terrorist description, but apparently they trusted me.

Jack Tarlin
12-19-2004, 16:25
Every airline has their own policies regarding stoves, fuel bottles, knives, lighters, etc.

In some cases, you can travel with these items if they're checked (i.e., not on your person). In some cases, they can be checked with the crew and retrieved after landing. In some cases, they can't be packed or carried at all.

These policies vary from airline to airline, and the policies change frequently. I'd advise flyers to contact the ailrline BEFORE their flight and get the facts; they also might want to get the name of the person they spoke with, so they can cite it later if there's a problem at the airport.

Also, bus and train luggage policies have changed as well.

Lastly, if you think you're going to have trouble travelling with an item, and decide to mail it, be aware that USPS mail policies, as well as those of private freight companies, have also changed. Present USPS policies can be found on-line or at your local Post office; for private companies, it's best to contact them by phone.

Jack Tarlin
12-19-2004, 16:28
Forgot one thing from above post:

Because there are so many policy differences among the airlines, it's crucial that you get the facts before you fly, especially if your travel planes call for a switch of aircraft. What is perfectly OK on one campany's planes could get you fined or arrested on another.

Tha Wookie
12-19-2004, 19:00
Jack recently confided in me that he has not flown in a long time- something like 12 years (I'm sure if I'm a year off, he let us all know), so I'm not really sure why he's weighing in. Perhaps 2nd hand info?

In my experience, which I have regularly with these long western hikes, Mexico, and the Caribbean islands, I have found the following:

No airline will let you carry fuel. Don't even think about it. It would be easy to do, actually, but just don't do it.

No airline will care about a can stove. I carry mine on the plane all the time. It's a weird item, but in no way resembles a threat to security. Don't worry about it, bury it deep just in case.

If you have a can stove, then you don't even need a fuel bottle. All you need is a plastic soda bottle, which you can pick up in any roadside ditch or trash can.

Obviously, you've already done this, A-train, but someone else may benefit.

Happy holidays

12-19-2004, 20:05
This link will go to a TSA list for restricted and permitted items. Some airlines, esp. when it concerns stoves, are more strict than the federal guidlines. Always check before flying with an airline.

Please note, butane lighters have just been restricted -regardless if it is carry-on or checked.

TSA regs with a nice guide put out for campers by the Ashville (NC) airport.


From Consumer reports - not federal, but reputable:
Traveling with your camp stove

Campers have never been able to board airplanes with full or partially full fuel bottles for obvious reasons, but since September 11, 2001, even empty bottles have become an issue, and some campers report that even the stove-portion of their unit was confiscated. Officially, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says that empty bottles are no problem, as long as they are completely clean and don't smell of fuel vapors. However, individual airports and airlines are free to impose stricter rules, and frustrated campers report confiscation of their empties by knee-jerk security personnel.

If you are traveling by air to a backpacking destination and are taking your stove with you, there are a few things you can do to help make the journey easier, and avoid the situation.

Here are some tips from the American Hiking Society

Wash the stove in soapy water. Towel and air dry. Spray silicon lubricant on moving parts if necessary.

Wash the fuel bottle as well and allow it to air dry completely until there are no fuel odors.

Consider leaving your fuel bottles at home and buying them at your destination. Research fuel availability at your destination.

Call the airline before you plan to travel to get their regulations regarding your stove. Obtain the person's name you spoke with, as you may need it later.

Consider buying a brand-new stove, leaving it in the sealed carton until you arrive at your destination.
Even scrupulously cleaning out and airing your equipment may not save you from inexperienced security personal who don't know or understand the guidelines regarding camping stoves. If you have called ahead, ask for the airline representative you talked to before you left. While you may still lose your stove, at least you'll be armed with the right information and a name. You can get the latest updates and regulations by calling the FAA Hazardous Materials Office at (202)267-3130 and refer to Title 49 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

Jack Tarlin
12-19-2004, 21:32

Kind of a snotty post, there, son.

Nope, I haven't flown for awhile, intentionally. And I've never stated otherwise.

But I have friends and family members who do regularly, as well as friends with family members who work for major airlines. These friends are frequent hikers, travellers, and fliers. So yes, this is second-hand information, but it is also true and current information.

Instead of discrediting the source because I've voluntarily chosen to avoid flying, Wook, you'd do better to tell folks if any of my information is incorrect. And because you travel frequently, you could also add a personal perspective.

But implying that my comments were debatable because I haven't personally flown, or that they are "second-hand" is unworthy of you, Wook. Most of this information comes from the daughter of a senior commercial pilot. Sorry if that's not good enough, but it's the best I can do. Lastly, Wook, if anything I said is questionable or untrue, please fill us in.....since you're such an unimpeachable source.

Tha Wookie
12-19-2004, 22:10
Sorry to offend you Jack. But a lot has changed in 12 years. As experienced and knowledgeable as you are in your many miles on the trail, one might assume the same was true of your time on the runway.

"And because you travel frequently, you could also add a personal perspective."

Didn't I just do that?

12-19-2004, 23:35
No doubt the transporting of fuel, legally, is just not going to happen on airlines. The other big problem is the containers for the fuel, you may have major problems carring them also. Then you've got to buy fuel, and maybe a bottle, when you arrive, then you have the problem of either tossing the bottle on return or try and clean it and get the OK to board with it. MY SOLUTION: I use a sierra zip wood burner because of the major problems in traveling with fuel. Ever since the Value Jet crash in the Everglades in 1996 I have used the wood burner. I was so impressed with the stove that I now use it all the time. Read other articles about this stove at other postings here on WB.