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  1. #1
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    Default Legality of using drinking alcohol for fuel on trail

    I normally use 190 proof alcohol (Everclear, Volkov, or similar) for my alcohol stove. Although I find out a bit more expensive (I get it for $17 a liter), I feel that the multipurpose use warrants the costs. Apart from fuel, non-toxic nature, hand/wound sanitizing, and the potential for mixing it into a beverage (I wouldn’t drink it straight) seems to be a no brainer for me. Though not quite easily obtainable on the AT, I often wondered about the legality of carrying drinking alcohol in areas where the county is dry? Mind you normally people will not be carrying this in the original glass liter bottle and repackage it into a soda bottle or similar (accidental ingestion of a bit of it wither won’t really harm ya...unlike other alcohol alternatives). Something I just began to ponder....

  2. #2
    Registered User ant's Avatar
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    Dry counties and cities prohibit the SALE of alcohol, not the possession, nor, I believe, the ingestion. Also, I wouldn't let that dictate having it or not, it would be the poor performance as stove fuel.

  3. #3

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    The legality is fine. The practicality of it is questionable though.
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    it would be the poor performance as stove fuel.



    just outta curiosity-----i'm guessing grain alcohol would perform better than, lets just say, a whiskey, correct?


    as in, higher alcohol content would burn better?


    i think that would be the case, but then again, i havent messed with any drinking alcohol in 20 years....

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    Well, ethanol (190+ proof Everclear) burns clean and has about a 10% higher heat output per ounce than methanol. But the price is usually around 5 times as much. Usually you can buy a single 12oz bottle of yellow HEET (methanol) for about $1.50 to $2.00 at the auto parts store, so about $3.00 to $4.00 for 750ml. Denatured alcohol (mostly ethanol) by the pint/quart is about the same price, and less by the gallon. But a 750ml bottle of Everclear will cost about $15.00 to $20.00 at many liquor stores ($17.00/liter is a really good price. You'll probably pay more at liquor stores along the AT). And if you need it on a Sunday there a still a lot of local blue laws that might make it impossible to get. Possession itself in a dry county likely isn't the exact problem - it's the local "open container in public place" type laws that could be an issue if an LEO wanted to be a/an ___________ about it. Pretty unlikely there would ever be a problem though.

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    Registered User soilman's Avatar
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    Everclear is illegal to sell or purchase in Ohio as well as Maine, Maryland,Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Everclear is illegal to sell or purchase in Ohio as well as Maine, Maryland,Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina.

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    Plenty of Everclear in MD...

    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Everclear is illegal to sell or purchase in Ohio as well as Maine, Maryland,Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina.
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    Hmmm, I must be old...seems it's not any more. What fun is that?
    Quote Originally Posted by Kaptainkriz View Post
    Plenty of Everclear in MD...
    Plaid is fast! Ticks suck, literally...
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  10. #10
    Registered User turtle fast's Avatar
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    The open container aspect did cross my mind. I kinda figured it was illegal to sell in a dry county, but I wasn’t sure if the alcohol brought into the jurisdiction had to be in its original container. Our bars here have the odd rule to retain hard liquor bottles until it can be accounted for and disposed of (stops refilling of empty bottles).

  11. #11

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    Virginia has it, I use it in my alcohol stove because it burns hottest of all the other alcohol options. Using it with the Trail Designs Caldera Cone System brings water to a boil fast. Everclear comes in handy for cleaning wounds/scrapes too. My cousin once used some extra I had and lemon power bar shavings to make a trail worthy AT martini. I passed...


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  12. #12

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    Hmm, this Makers Mark doesn't perform well in the stove. I wonder what I can do with this stuff now......

  13. #13
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    Default Legality of using drinking alcohol for fuel on trail

    Alcoholic beverages are expressly forbidden in state parks in GA, NC, VA, MD, and PA. National Forests and Parks may or may not have restrictions depending on where you are. Then you have local restrictions as noted above. Seems like a lot to figure out for a product that performs marginally better and costs much more than other alcohol fuel options.
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    I guess it's fine, it's pretty common to see someone break out a bottle at camp site, it's a pretty accepted thing to do as long as there is not a site specific prohibition. But one thing most learn on the AT is each state is different and each state is weird when it comes to alcohol laws.


    Funny loophold for distilling, which is usually illegal for at home DIY. You can legally distill for fuel purposes, however you need to make it 'denatured' when your all said and done, usually be adding some methanol to the final product.


    Quote Originally Posted by soilman View Post
    Everclear is illegal to sell or purchase in Ohio as well as Maine, Maryland,Massachusetts, New Hampshire, North Carolina.
    Available in MA, so only one M state remains. In VT it is restricted but available. You have to special order it and state a reason for wanting it, such as cleaning sensitive equipment. Some states don't allow the 190 proof and it's something like 173 proof.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    Alcoholic beverages are expressly forbidden in state parks in GA, NC, VA, MD, and PA. National Forests and Parks may or may not have restrictions depending on where you are. Then you have local restrictions as noted above. Seems like a lot to figure out for a product that performs marginally better and costs much more than other alcohol fuel options.
    That's too broadly stated about the state parks. Some states allow alcohol in private areas and camping units. Also, the laws are sometimes stated as prohibiting consumption not possession, because if you can consume it on your camping unit you will have to carry it through the park. If you aren't drinking it while cooking your lunch and simply pouring it into your stove, I doubt in the highest any LEO would give you a second glance about it. Without the actual statue for each state hard to say exactly which ones it might be an issue. It would be helpful when making a specific claim to link to the statue or the .gov website for better interpretation.
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  16. #16
    Registered User John B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by devoidapop View Post
    Alcoholic beverages are expressly forbidden in state parks in GA, NC, VA, MD, and PA. National Forests and Parks may or may not have restrictions depending on where you are. Then you have local restrictions as noted above. Seems like a lot to figure out for a product that performs marginally better and costs much more than other alcohol fuel options.
    Seems like VA is cool with booze as long as you're drinking it in your cabin or "camping unit." Do you have information that says otherwise?

    https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-p...nd-regulations

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    The big issue with denaturants is toxicity: methanol for example is harmful if absorbed or inhaled. As long as you are careful, the risk is low, but grain alcohol is safer since it lacks the added poison. Whether it’s worth the hassle including cost and potential minor legal issues ( for the amount needed for stoves) is the issue, as noted. If you buy a big bottle on the trail, though, what in the world do you do with the excess?

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    If you buy a big bottle on the trail, though, what in the world do you do with the excess?


    wellllllllllllllll...........

    in the smokys----leave it out in a bowl on the ground......


    after all, the bears like to party as well......

  19. #19
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    Default Legality of using drinking alcohol for fuel on trail

    Yes, my statement was too broad.

    In Georgia consumption of alcohol or intoxicants is forbidden
    https://gastateparks.org/ParkRules

    In North Carolina possession or consumption are forbidden
    https://www.ncparks.gov/park-rules

    In Virginia state law permits alcohol use only in private areas (inside a cabin or camping unit) or in areas designated on permits issued by the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control
    https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/rules-and-regulations

    In Maryland alcohol may only be consumed in full service cabins
    https://dnr.maryland.gov/publiclands/Pages/alcoholfaq.aspx

    In Pennsylvania alcoholic beverages are not allowed in state parks
    https://pennsylvaniastateparks.reserveamerica.com/camping/big-pocono-state-park/r/campgroundDetails.do?contractCode=PA&parkId=880404

    Now, that's a lot legality to navigate in order to carry grain alcohol for a stove. Just use stove fuel.
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  20. #20
    4eyedbuzzard's Avatar
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    Real world? I seriously doubt a hiker is going to get arrested for possessing alcohol intended as and carried as stove fuel, and especially so if it isn't in the original bottle making it difficult to identify it as a beverage vs stove fuel. Now, if they are drinking it in a place where a LEO might see them, yeah, that might be a different story. But enforcement of alcohol laws in most parks is generally rather selective and usually reserved as a means to remove people who draw attention to themselves due to their behavior.

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