Backpacking Tip of the Week

Fuel consumption in the cold.

No matter which type of fuel you use for cooking, in the winter you need to plan for more.
This is an important part of planning your Patrol’s meals, as you need to account for the amount of fuel you will burn, which impacts the amount of fuel you need to carry.
Plan on burning twice as much fuel in the winter months.
Canister fuel, liquid fuel, even burning wood doubles in the winter.
Here are a few tips to conserve fuel and use it more efficiently in the winter.

1. Never have a flame without a pot over it. Prep your food ahead of time, get it in the pot…then light the stove. Burning fuel without producing something is a waste of fuel.
2. Keep your fuel as warm as you can. Store your fuel in an old sock while it’s in your pack.
At night keep your canisters or fuel bottles in your tent. Canister fuel in a sock placed in your sleeping bag can be a life saver in the morning. Fuel gets cold and hard to burn. Keeping it warm insures quick lighting and more efficient burn.

3. Use a wind screen. Block the wind to keep your flame where it needs to be.
4. Plan for quick, one pot meals. The faster you cook (prep and boil etc) the less fuel you use.
5. Always use a lid on your pot. This helps retain heat for quicker cooking.
6. Learn how to use your stove..before you go. Learn how to set your stove to simmer, this uses less fuel also and for some meals you may need to cook using a lower heat so as not to burn.
7. When boiling water…crank it up.. get it boiling… and shut it down.

Use these simple tips and you will burn less and get the heat where it belongs in the winter… YOUR BELLY!

Have a Great Scouting Day!


  1. You don’t need to worry about keeping PowerMax canisters warm. They are a liquid feed and only need enough vapor pressure to move the liquid fuel up the feed tube. The fuel mix also has a bit more propane for better pressure at low temps. They work fine even below zero.


  2. You have a real good point there with the Powermax fuel, especially if you are using Coleman exponent or Xpedition stoves.I am not to familiar with the Coleman stuff, typically their multifuel stoves are too heavy.Anyway- Great tip! ThanksHave a Great Scouting Day!


  3. I wrote up our troops decision to buy the Coleman Xpert stoves.Stoves for Boy ScoutsI’ve heard that Coleman has stopped making stoves that use the PowerMax canisters. That is too bad, because they are very efficient, recyclable, simmer well, and put out tons of heat.


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