Cooking stoves and fuel

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    I and my husband have decided to make an atttempt at a thru-paddle starting in June 2014 and are already in planning-mode.

    Maybe somethings are obvious to Americans but as Europeans we are not familiar with what things you expect to find as standard in small stores.

    We intend to cook on our Coleman Featherlite which uses Coleman fuel (I believe you all call that white gas) but are wondering if you can buy this in small quantities along the trail. In Europe it is sold in 1 liter bottles (just under 2 pints) which is a nice handy size. Alternatively we are toying with buying ourselves a gas stove (lighter) and purchasing screw on cartridges (heavier) along the trail.

    I would appreciate any thoughts or comments on which fuel is easier to find and purchase in small quantities along the trail.
    As backup we will take a small grill to cook on a fire but you seem to need fire permits sometimes? It is not clear to us how you organize a fire permit?

    Thanks in advance.



    I’ve sometimes been able to buy white gas/ ‘Coleman fuel’ in one liter cans, but more often you will see it in one gallon cans. I made a phone call to the big hardware store in Enosburg Falls (convenient to the Missisquoi River two weeks or so into your trip) – they only sell it by the gallon. $14.99 per gallon. I have not owned a cartridge stove in 30 years, so I do not have experience with availability of cartridges. L.L. Cote’s is a big north country sporting goods store in Errol, New Hampshire, at the top of the Androscoggin River. You could contact them on line to ask what they stock. Errol is more or less half way along the trail I think, in terms of travel days. Maybe slightly further. Other good bets for re-supply for stove fuel would be Hero’s Welcome General Store (Lake Champlain), the Pick and Shovel Hardware (Newport, Vermont, on Lake Memphremagog), Ecopelagicon (Rangely, Maine), and the town of Jackman, Maine. After Jackman and Rockwood there are almost no retail services until you get to Allagash Village and Fort Kent – you can often find cold beer along the Northeast Carry, and cold root beer at Chesuncook Village, but I think that’s it. I bet a traveler with the right personality could buy the gallon can, refill a couple of liter fuel bottles, and give the rest away.

    Mountain Man in Old Forge, and St Regis Canoe Outfitters in Saranac lake are both excellent full-service outfitters oriented to canoe trippers, convenient to the early sections of the trail.

    The U.S. Transportation Safety Agency has rules limiting what can travel on commercial flights. I use an MSR stove that uses a separate fuel bottle. When I have flown to the Western US for river trips I have flown with the stove and either a new fuel bottle that has never been filled, or i have purchased a new one out west and given it away at the end of the trip. So be aware of that if you plan to fly within the US with your current gas stove.

    Fires are generally allowed within existing fire rings at any of the official, organized and regulated campsites within the Adirondack Park, between Umbagog and Rangeley, and on North Maine Woods land and along the Allagash waterway, east of Moosehead Lake. Campsite reservations are recommended on the Saranac Lakes (really popular area to camp), and I think you are asked to register in advance for Spencer Lake. Along many parts of the trail there are options for discreet, Leave-No-Trace stealth camping, too.


    Valarie I just saw a 946 ml bottle of Coleman Fuel at Walmart.


    Thank you Kalmia for all the information. I had already made notes on where to buy food but not yet for fuel. You have done my homework for me.

    We had already made contact with Mountain Man and St Regis Outfitters both of whom were extremely helpful. We have actually purchased a boat from Mountain Man which is now lying under the snow I believe awaiting our arrival in June!

    We have flown with our stove on several occasions without problems – we burn off the fuel some time before departure and leave the stove out in the sun to let all traces of fuel evaporate. If we are unlucky it could be taken off us at Schiphol and we would need to buy another. We are flying to Boston and then a one-way rental with a car to Utica and then taxi to Old Forge.

    I bet a traveler with the right personality could buy the gallon can, refill a couple of liter fuel bottles, and give the rest away.

    – we’ve done that before!

    Sweeper – thanks for the tip to get us started although along the trail I do not think we will find a Walmart within walking distance.


    Glad to help! What boat did you buy? – K


    @Kalmia 282 wrote:

    Glad to help! What boat did you buy? – K

    Penobscot 174 Royalex. Last year in Canada we had a rental boat, same model in polyethylene. It did fine on both WW and long slogs but we had hardly any portaging.

    Chris Gill

    I prefer gas canisters but they will be harder to find along the trail. I don’t know how much you cook and how much fuel you’ll need but I’m pretty sure canisters are more efficient weight wise than white gas. I usually bring some fire starters with me just in case I need to build a fire in the rain.


    My brother and I dealt with this problem by purchasing Solo Stoves. They burn wood instead of gas thus eliminating carrying fuel. They aren’t as convenient as gas but saves space and weight. We carry firestarters for tinder when the wood is wet. There are other such stoves available such as the Bio-lite but weighs 2 pounds,the other that we almost bought is the Kelly Kettle that boils water with wood. There is a burner attachment to support pots. You can Google these for more info.

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