Camping Stove Safety
After Super Storm Sandy and the follow up Nor’easter, our customer service team has been getting a lot of calls from people asking if it’s OK to use camping stoves indoors. When you’re cold, tired, and frustrated from being without power, it’s understandable that you might be tempted to break out your backpacking stove or trusty old Coleman multiburner, place it on your non-functioning cooktop and fire it up. Eastern Mountain Sports has one thing to say about this:
NEVER USE A CAMPING STOVE INSIDE.
That goes for the insides of tents, too. Houses (or tents) do not have the type of air circulation that is needed to let carbon monoxide fumes disperse into the air from a camping stove. Even a small camping stove over time can produce enough carbon monoxide to make someone sick. No matter what type of fuel you are using, as it burns it gives off carbon monoxide. This odorless, colorless gas cannot be detected often times until it is too late. Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and confusion. Some people think that since they have a built in gas stove in their kitchen that it must be safe to use a gas camping stove too. This is not the case. Your built in kitchen stove is equipped with the necessary ventilation to keep you safe from carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide poisoning isn’t the only issue at hand when using a stove indoors. There’s also the risk of fire or skin burns from accidental contact. If you have not attached your stove properly or there is a leak, you could start a fire the moment you go to ignite it. A camp stove fire on a rock or concrete slab can easily be extinguished but the inside of your house has many flammable materials that could accelerate an accidental fire. Also, you may have kids, pets, or just other adults that aren’t paying attention. If your stove gets knocked over it is at risk of spilling fuel. Even if they don’t knock it over there may be some temptation to touch this new object. The parts on the stove can be very hot and burn you if you touch them.
Before using a camping stove it is important to read ALL of the directions. You want to make sure that all parts are properly secured and in working order. You are using flammable liquids and gasses so safety is priority #1. JetBoil includes safety tips with their instructions such as:
If you smell gas:
1.) Do NOT attempt to light the stove
2.) Extinguish any and all open flames
3.) Disconnect from fuel supply.
Going through these storms you have already had enough to deal with. The last thing you need is something to go tragically wrong because you decided to use your stove indoors. REMEMBER: These stoves were made it be used outside, not in a tent, car, camper, or house. Please be safe!