That big camping trip is near, and you’re so excited that you’re jumping for joy. You get all your camping gear out, and start to think about what you’ll be cooking out in the wild. You even go so far as to check your stove. And here is where the problem lies. Your stove is a sputtering mess. You won’t hold the flame and you may not be able to use it.
Don’t worry though, all it takes is a little maintenance and you’ll prevent all those campsite dinner catastrophes. The following is a guide to camp stove maintenance and cleanup. You can even use this test as an opportunity to try new camp meals.
Can still maintenance can be as simple as brushing off carbon build-up or replacing some of the camp stove accessories. Preferably, you want to do these things at home where it is easier than to try to do them at the campsite, especially because it will be easier to get parts from your home.
Regular camp stove maintenance can help you prevent problems with new go camping. Maintenance also prevents expensive replacement needs.
Camping stoves fall into three categories; canister, solid and liquid fuel stoves. Most camp stoves have a very simple design and build, so it only takes a quick inspection of the simple repair to work on your cooking system.
Solid Stove Maintenance
The easiest stove maintenance comes for the solid fuel variety. Really all you can do here is make sure that the stove unfolds easily and isn’t cracked anywhere. The most common problem here is a buildup of carbon deposit. This is that substance that looks like black dirt and gets all of your hands. Cleanup is simple. Just mix a couple of tablespoons of baking soda in a cup or two of water, dip an old toothbrush in the mixture and flesh out the carbon. This leaves you with the new looking stove that won’t leave your backpack in a mess.
Solid fuel stoves also give off certain chemicals which can be harmful if consumed. These don’t affect food when cooking but can get on the bottom of your pots and pans. So you want to ensure that you clean and wash the bottom of your pots and pans carefully. Regular cleaning prevents the need for carrying harmful chemicals in your backpack. This buildup is usually something that happens over time and is rarely an issue of just one cookout.
Canister Stove Maintenance
Canister stove maintenance is a little different because there are different locations for the canister. In the lightest stoves, the canister sits directly underneath the cooktop. However, more feature-rich camp stoves use of fuel system where the canister is further away from the pot and flame. More complex systems use pressure regulators to get better performance, however these can also have more complicated maintenance. The most common check you want to perform is to make sure the connector to the canister is clean. Replace O-rings that are quack hard. Dirt or old O-rings can cause fuel leaks and poor performance. Good preventative measures require that you rinse O-rings in water and apply a little mineral oil. If the O-ring is missing or cracked you want to replace it with a new one.
The lightweight canister camp stove is pretty basic, usually with just a connector and a burner. This type of stove can build up carbon on the bottom of the burner which can clog the burner vents and prevent the food from getting cooked. Use a toothbrush and the baking soda and water combo that can take care of the problem. In some cases you may also need to adjust the igniter to get it to create the spark.
If you can’t remove residue with a toothbrush to create that spark, use a needle to remove obstructions around the nozzle. You may also want to soak the entire disassembled stove in a soapy water solution to break apart the deposits and clogs.
Liquid Fueled Camp Stove
This is the most versatile type of camp stove but it does require more maintenance compared to the others. This stove uses a pump and a manually pressurized container which provides fuel flow. The burner of these is identical to the remote canister camp stove. So you can use the same rules as above to clean it. However this stove produces more carbon deposit because of their priming stage. Use a toothbrush and water to remove the deposit but use a little more elbow grease for buildup. You should clean the stove after you use one full bottle of fuel. This will prevent excessive carbon build up. After use remove the fuel bottle as leaving it connected can clog the burner if left to evaporate in the stove.
Replace old and cracked O-rings. But prevent this from happening, by keeping the stove indoors when not in use. Cold weather can cause the cracking of the rubber O-rings. Lubricate them periodically with mineral oil and frequent cleanings.
When you start performing maintenance on your backpack camp stove after every camping trip, you’ll keep you camp stove working for a long time. If after maintaining an existing stove you find it still doesn’t work you may need to contact the manufacturer to get part replacement consulting services. The manufacturer can help you troubleshoot the problem, or check the warranty on the stove. Some companies offer lifetime warranties on part defects. If not, they can certainly offer repair kits made for your particular camp stove.