Gas cartridge

Gas cartridges are popular as they are both lightweight and portable, with an easily adjustable flame. They are lit instantly upon opening the valve, providing a full-powered flame right from the start and can boil a litre of water in around 5 minutes (dependent on the model of the cartridge and the conditions you are using it in).

Gas cartridges don’t leak or spill and are also more suitable for cooking in enclosed environments, as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is reduced and there is no ‘flare-up’ associated with igniting the flame.

However, in very cold conditions or at high altitude gas cartridges can lose heat output, and if they are damaged or faulty your stove will not work and cannot be mended. This means that you can never be 100% confident in your fuel supply.

Liquid fuel

Liquid fuels ignite instantly, and will burn as both a liquid and as a gas, meaning that extra care must be taken whilst refilling (however, and spilt fuel will evaporate reasonably quickly). They are unaffected by temperature down to -20°C, but can be affected by ‘blow-outs’ or partial ignition at high altitude where there is little oxygen. The stoves associated with liquid fuel tend to be bulkier, heavier and more complex, requiring patience and skill to use safely and effectively.

Solid Fuel

Hexamine tablets are widely available and if stored correctly have an indefinitely shelf life. They are often used as a backup fuel source for this reason, but are unfortunately very expensive and inefficient. There is also no way to control heat output.