Guide to storing stoves
Propane. Butane. Liquid fuel. Multi-fuel. Whatever your stove and the fuel it uses, the key to long life is keeping it clean. Before packing it away between trips or over the winter, give it a final wipe down and store it in a plastic bag. Try to avoid stacking heavy weights on it. Stoves are tough but can be broken through carelessness.
Gas stoves require little or no maintenance, especially those connected to a gas cartridge. What does matter is the hose and pressure regulator used with a gas bottle. Make sure it fits securely on stove and regulator and that jubilee clips are in good order and tight.
Hoses become weaker with age and may be damaged accidentally. If in doubt, change it before packing away the stove. Hoses should be replaced three years after date of manufacture – or sooner if showing wear. Hoses manufactured in Europe will be stamped with the replacement date. UK BS3212 hoses are marked with the date of manufacture.
As well as sorting out your stove, take a close look at your camp kitchen. Repair damage before it develops into too big a problem. Similarly, check your camp cooking kit, replacing items as required.
Pressurised petrol and multi-fuel stoves need more attention before stashing them away:
- A quick look at a stove’s maintenance kit will give you a good idea of what might be a problem. Like other items in our lives, maintenance and repair are the norm.
- In the course of use, you will have cleaned up spills as they happened or, at least, soon after. Now is the time to clean all parts carefully to ensure good fuel efficiency, flame control and to avoid rust or corrosion.
- Usually, stoves can simply be wiped down with warm water and washing up liquid but take some time to clean the burners and dry thoroughly before storing.
- Whether the fuel tank is integral or separate, drain it completely. Fuel left standing can affect fuel lines and cause a build up that reduces fuel flow. It also loses its volatility over time and will not burn efficiently. If you have nothing in which to store the fuel, burn it off. Pouring it down a drain is no way to dispose of toxic waste. In use, keep fuel clean by pouring it through a screened funnel.
- Oil the pump cup on the stove's plunger with a light oil to help seal the pump against the inside of the compression tube so that it can be pressurised to deliver fuel to the burner.
- Replace dodgy-looking rubber seals and hose connections.
- Fuel lines, jets and needle valves collect deposits that, sooner or later, will clog your stove. Take care to clean them carefully. A pipe cleaner is a useful accessory to clean and dry awkward places.
- Now is the time to apart your stove, checking for signs of wear and parts that need to be replaced. It has the benefit of meaning that you are fully aware of how the stove works and is put together. Very useful if you hit a problem on a camping trip.
Read the advice and info that come with your stove. If your stove has an optional maintenance kit, buy it and take it with you on trips. Replace worn items before packing away the stove.
Read our top tips for campsite cooking by clicking here.
Learn how to change a gas mantle here.