Destroy Camping One Fuel At A Time?

I went to Walmart today. I’m now wondering why. It was rather mobbed. The “class” of customer has dropped rapidly over the last several years. Much of the stock was “picked over” and in general it wasn’t pleasant. But there were a couple of things we need and one only they have, so “it is what it is”.

While there I decided to pick up 2 x 12 oz yellow bottles of “HEET” “fuel line drier” aka Methanol. California has effectively banned all methanol spirits as paint / lacquer thinner (though I did get some out of State) and as “Stove Fuel”; so all you Millionaire Yachts with the best ship board stoves in stainless steel and methanol fueled, you are SOL. On boats Methanol is by far the preferred fuel as the vapor is lighter than air, rises out of the ship and does not go BOOM! where Propane, Butane, etc. are heavy vapors, collect in the boat, and either can suffocate you or catch a spark and blow up your boat. So banning that fuel is incredibly Brain Dead.

Now I’ve got at least 1/2 dozen Methanol Fuel camp stoves. So no, I’m not going to just throw them away. I’ve got my stash of fuel. Though I used up one of my HEET bottles, so figured I’d just buy 2 at about $1.97 each and not need to open a big can.

At the Checkout…

The register flags “RESTRICTED SUBSTANCE!!!” a clerk will be here to assist you shortly. WT? So, OK, now “fuel line dryer” is RESTRICTED!!! and a just about minimum wage clerk must grant favor for you to buy it.

That got me wondering…

In most parks these days you are forbidden to collect and burn any wood. All that fuel that accumulates and makes for giant destructive wildfires MUST be left to accumulate. Can’t have folks reducing the fuel load everywhere year round. In SOME places you can bring your own wood, but even there, for California there’s “no burn days” that frequently stretch into years.

Now the Gas & Oil Companies are being told they must cut “emissions” by their customers, which can only come via less product. That puts all your fossil fuel stoves headed for the “no fuel” bin. Propane, Butane, Gasoline, Kerosene, Diesel…

So just what fuel WILL be left? “Solid fuel tabs”? Perhaps obscure enough to be overlooked for a while.

To me, it looks like Camping Fuel is or will be a microcosm of the Assault On American Fuels. It does look like via Gang Green there is a full on assault on the American Economy via shutting off fuel supplies. No coal. No gas. No oil. No wood. No anything.

We know Agenda 21 / Agenda 30 want to herd everyone into mega-cities and have us farmed as workers. How better to “clear the land” of those unsavory campers, independent farmers, rural residents and all than to shut off their fuel access and forbid burning their wood.

It does seem to fit the available evidence.

Sidebar on Methanol Cars:

In the early ’80s, the State of California was pushing Methanol fueled cars and had set up a series of fueling stations. I wanted to buy one, and checked out both the available VW and the Dodge product. These were 3 way flex fuel and would take any mix of gasoline, ethanol, and methanol.

I didn’t get one as they were outside my budget at the time, and when I went to the gas station, you could ONLY buy methanol with a State Card that tracked all the fuel you bought and only at the State Approved stations. Supposedly so they could study something or other. Well, be tracked was never a preference for me, so I declined to buy.

Needless to say the program slowly expired as most folks do not want the State riding with them all day every day.

So in about 40 years the State of California has gone from promoting Methanol as a very clean burning fuel roughly competitive with gasoline in cost, to banning it and restricting it.

Schitzo much?

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
This entry was posted in cooking, Emergency Preparation and Risks, Energy, Political Current Events. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Destroy Camping One Fuel At A Time?

  1. jim2 says:

    Maybe you can mod it to use this:


  2. jim2 says:

    DIY carbide lamp …

  3. philjourdan says:

    YOu can recall your governor and vote out your legislators, or forget that I exist. I have not been there in over a year and as long as Governor nuisance is running the place, I am not going back. But in order to get rid of the stupid laws, you have to get rid of the brain dead politicians.

    Which does not appear likely. I cannot say “you voted for them” as I know you did not. But enough of your neighbors did. And I am all for putting up a border wall on California so that none of your neighbors (and unfortunately you) can inflict their stupidity on the rest of the nation.

  4. philjourdan says:

    Clarification: Not your stupidity, but your lack of movement to the rest of the nation. Your neighbors stupidity.

  5. E.M.Smith says:


    “Somewhere” in my garage is my old Carbide Lamp. I got it when in high school. Used it a fair amount too. Fun device… Maybe I ought to find it again ;-)

    Add methanol to the ever growing list of things I have to DIY because of Government Stupids? I suppose I could. I made it when High School age… Both via wood distillation and via early run off of a still. That still bit was done in class. Mr. McGuire set up a 5 gallon carboy with a ferment going to demonstrate “Biochemistry”. Then distilled it off to demonstrate distillation. Pulled aside the first and last 10% (the first being methanol rich – used in an alcohol lamp) the last being “fusel oil” and prone to causing hangovers. The middle tranche was mostly used to clean biochem labware… however…

    I was staying late in class to do some kind of chemistry thing that was interesting to me. It was nearing year end and Mr. McGuire had, I think, come to appreciate that I was “trustworthy”. He had a visit from the Coach. Mr. Sousa (of Japanese ancestry married to a gorgeous redhead… who taught 3rd grade) and he shared a shot each of “white lightning”. Various comments about needing a bit more age were made ;-)

    Anyway, it’s about $200 for the equipment including the electric still (already scoped it out a year ago) from Amazon. Yes, you can buy fully automatic electric stills. Takes some of the fun out, but easy to do…

    I did some ersatz wood distillation using cans in the back yard. Simple hole in the top and lit the gasses. Worked well ;-)


    I DID help put the recall on the ballot and he WILL stand to a recall election.

    BTW, while I used to rail against my fellow Californians voting so stupidly, I’m now wondering how long the Dominion Diddle has been happening and did we really vote for him, or was that just who the machines wanted?…

    What is quite clear is that there is a Highly Vested Cabal of Democrats and Soros (and likely China) all working very hard to destroy the franchise in the USA and use manipulated votes, paid mobs, and worse; to take down traditional America.

    What to do about it is a little less clear.

  6. H.R. says:

    I had a carbide lamp for caving in the late ’60s early ’70s. Electric headlamps were iffy then, mostly due to the batteries,

    The best bet was a bump helmet with a carbide lantern. Hey! If you got dunked or the lamp got wet, no problem. Electric headlamps? Big problem.
    My grandfather and uncles had carbide lamps for gigging flounder at night in the shallows of the Gulf.

  7. another ian says:


    Maybe you’ll be able to roll out your solar powered electric barbeque? (/s)

    One of our senior highschool chemistry projects was the production of absolute alcohol – final distillation over calcium IIRC

  8. Power Grab says:

    @ EM re: “…traditional America…”

    As for me, I’m doing my small part. Today I bought (and downloaded) 3 versions of “God Bless America” piano solos for a concert next week. The first version is 2 pages long and has unique chords. It was arranged for a 15-year anniversary observance of 9/11. The chords make me think of survivors limping homeward. The second version is 4 pages long and is rather more conventional. The third version is 6 pages long and uses almost all 88 keys of the keyboard.

    I think it’s time for “God Bless America” to ring out in these-here parts.

    We’ll see which one I can master sufficiently in a week and a half. I hope I can get the 6 page version down. ;-)

  9. YMMV says:

    “all you Millionaire Yachts with the best ship board stoves in stainless steel and methanol fueled, you are SOL.”

    All I’ve seen of movie stars’ yachts is photos of their female decorations posing on them and they aren’t usually in the kitchen. But I doubt they use methanol. Alcohol stoves used to be common on boats, but no more. They said that it was dangerous because when people try to put out fires with water, the alcohol floats and the fire spreads. I also heard that the smell makes people seasick. In any case, propane is the standard now, with propane sensor systems. Everything is dangerous on a boat. Lots of boat engines still use gasoline, even though diesel is much safer.

    I just bought a gallon of Coleman Fuel. I was shocked at the price. White gas (petroleum naphtha?, but naphtha is kerosene?), gasoline without the additives … anyway, you can DIY Coleman Fuel too:

    This article lists alcohol alternatives:

    If they ban everything that is dangerous, or that might be dangerous, or that somebody said was dangerous, there won’t be anything left.

  10. John Simon says:

    Regarding the “Dominion Dittle”, I was working in Washington state, which went heavily for Obama, yet over that year, I only ran across two people who admitted to voting for him.

  11. E.M.Smith says:


    “Petroleum Naphtha” is “white spirit” is “white gas” is “Stoddard solvent” is “Coleman Fuel”.

    It is a “light cut” of petroleum distillate of low octane rating and lacking any “stuff” to enhance use as motor fuel. It is about 5 carbons long (Pentane) to 9 carbons long (Nonane) and has various other compounds in it. Some more highly refined types have specific names (Coleman Fuel, for example, is lacking a lot of double or triple bonds so doesn’t polymerize aka ‘varnish up’ like gasoline).

    Thank Mr. McGuire for that as it was what I learned circa 1970 while researching gasoline…

    White spirit (UK)[note 1] or mineral spirits (US, Canada), also known as mineral turpentine (AU/NZ), turpentine substitute, and petroleum spirits, is a petroleum-derived clear liquid used as a common organic solvent in painting. There are also terms for specific kinds of mineral spirits, including Stoddard solvent and solvent naphtha (petroleum). Mineral spirits are often used as a paint thinner, or as a component thereof, though paint thinner is a broader category of solvent. Odorless mineral spirits (OMS) have been refined to remove the more toxic aromatic compounds, and are recommended for applications such as oil painting.

    A mixture of aliphatic, open-chain or alicyclic C7 to C12 hydrocarbons, white spirit is insoluble in water and is used as an extraction solvent, as a cleaning solvent, as a degreasing solvent and as a solvent in aerosols, paints, wood preservatives, lacquers, varnishes, and asphalt products.

    The wiki has this going up to 12 long, but about C11 to C12 is kerosene. The Stoddard Solvent my Dad would buy (from a 55 Gallon barrel at the 76 Station…) did not contain a Kerosene fraction nor does “White Gas” or “Coleman Fuel” I’ve used in lanterns. So I suppose it is inside the definition as some types are a very rough cut distillate fraction, but will not have much.

    White spirit is the most widely used solvent in the paint industry. In households, white spirit is commonly used to clean paint brushes after use, to clean auto parts and tools, as a starter fluid for charcoal grills, to remove adhesive residue from non-porous surfaces, and many other common tasks.

    The word “mineral” in “mineral spirits” or “mineral turpentine” is meant to distinguish it from distilled spirits (distilled directly from fermented grains and fruit) or from true turpentine (distilled tree resin).

    Ah, BBQ starter fluid is closer to kerosene, so that’s where that end of the definition goes…

    FWIW, I bought a Coleman Kerosene Lantern a decade+ ago. Still “New in box”. I wanted the ability to use Kerosene for light and heat if The Big One happened. (Swapped my stored fuel to Kerosene from Gasoline when they screwed up the Gasoline chemistry with alcohol and more…)

    From the wiki, that implies I can use BBQ lighter fluid in it (which I’d expected anyway). And it will clearly run on Jet-A. I also have an MSR Multi-Fuel stove from about 40 years ago. I’ve run it on gasoline, kerosene, and Diesel. (Diesel smokes and smells and soots up pots like crazy, but works) I bought a maintenance gasket set for it about a decade ago when I found the rubber bits were going and seals leaking.

    One of my “Hobbies” over the years was finding a new stove or new fuel and buying the ability to use it. Not as expensive as it sounds. Some “Stoves” are just a couple of bits of stamped steel… One is a perforated metal ring that stands on a Sterno Can. Many of them are under $10.

    FWIW, Sterno fuel is just alcohol gelled with calcium acetate. I’ve made it at home.

    Yes, I’m one of those people who does chemistry at home just for fun…. made sterno like fuel, biodiesel, etc…. Guess who influenced me into this path…

    But my point wasn’t so much about me needing to “Find a way” to make a fuel, as it was about Camping Fuel as canary in the “Destroy America” coal mine… That it is an indicator of where things are headed, and what that might mean.

    I learned my organic chemistry and biochemistry well and I’m pretty sure II’/i> can make some usable fuels. But what about the 99.9% of the campers who can’t?

    I also find it curious that companies like “Gold Eagle Co.” (makers of HEET) and all those solvent companies are not saying “Wait a minute, what do you mean our product is banned?”.

    Per Boats:

    I’ll have to visit a Yacht Store… Propane is known to be highly dangerous in a hull and an explosion hazard. I have a hard time believing folks would just roll over on that point. But maybe. I suppose folks with fancy boats can just sell the old one out of State and buy a new one… I’d much rather have safe methanol on board than propane. ( I had a 27 foot motor-sail boat that I lived on a couple of years. Diesel motor and methanol stove. Exactly so there was zero explosion hazard.)

  12. cdquarles says:

    Methanol float on water? Water normal molecular weight (monomer) is 18. Methanol is 32. Methanol is also miscible with water. Hmm. Ok, specific gravity would be a bit lower for methanol than water, but again, the two liquids are miscible. Key issue would be saturation vapor pressure. Methanol would be far easier to evaporate; so yeah, water would not help put out a methanol fire. The reason wouldn’t be that it “floats”.

  13. The True Nolan says:

    I remember hearing a story many years ago about a novice caver who had just bought his first carbide lamp. He put in methanol instead of water. Supposedly he got a HUGE flame that he could not regulate and took the lamp back to the seller.

    Thinking about that now, I wonder if the story is true. If you have calcium carbide and two water, the calcium grabs the oxygens and the carbide gets the four hydrogens to make acetylene. But with methanol, the only oxygen around is in the OH. Not sure how that lone H is going to be divvied up with the carbide. Any ideas?

  14. YMMV says:

    I must have misremembered the alcohol floating bit, or what I heard was misinformed and I misremembered it.

    I can’t find any laws banning propane on boats (or is it LPG?). This West Marine advice oddly doesn’t mention sniffers, so here’s that: and oddly, it does not mention carbon monoxide sniffers which are also a life saver.

    But the next big thing, for those who can afford the solar panels (or gensets) and batteries to run it, is induction cooking.

    For camping, alcohol type stoves are the lightest and easiest and quietest. Nothing like the smell of gasoline getting into your food and stuff. I see the traditional Coleman Stove now features “also burns unleaded gasoline”.

    Thanks for the chemistry lesson. Very useful. Why does everything have to have so many names?

    These are the synonyms for methanol from IUPAC:
    Methyl alcohol; Alcohol, methyl; Methyl hydroxide; Methylol; Wood Spirit; Monohydroxymethane; Methyl hydrate;

    “Camping Fuel as canary in the “Destroy America” coal mine”
    One of many unheard canaries.

  15. jim2 says:

    nteraction of calcium carbide with methanol to give calcium methoxide is vigorous , but subject to an induction period of variable length. Once reaction starts, evolution of acetylene gas is very rapid, unpublished observations [Bretherick 1995],gas%20is%20very%20rapid%2C%20unpublished%20observations%20%5BBretherick%201995%5D.

  16. jim2 says:

    Stability Reacts violently with water liberating highly flammable gas (acetylene). Do not use water if this material is involved in a fire. Incompatible with moisture, water, strong oxidizing agents, alcohols, hydrogen chloride, magnesium.

  17. Taz says:

    Propane is just too useful despite the risks. It’s the only common fuel I know of which is stable over lengthy storage times.

    I just haven’t had any luck with other fuels :(

  18. philjourdan says:

    @EMS – Re: Dominion Diddle – You got me there. And you got me here. We for the same and the same results. Winder why VA turned blue? Dominion.

  19. The True Nolan says:

    @jim2: ” but subject to an induction period of variable length. Once reaction starts, evolution of acetylene gas is very rapid, unpublished observations”

    Good find, thanks! I had to laugh at that “induction period of variable length”. I can imagine a caver having just filled the lamp with methanol, opens the dripper and nothing happens… at first. “Must need a little more drip.” and then, suddenly and for no apparent reason, “evolution of acetylene gas is very rapid”!

    I guess humor is where you find it.

  20. jim2 says:

    Yep, variable induction periods are nothing to sneeze at!

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