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bcripps 27-05-2012 11:49

Kerosene... Fighting the Good Fight!
For you Luddites out there who use and love their kerosene cookers there is a good discussion forum at Classic Camp Stoves: Forum Index - Classic Camp Stoves - Powered by FusionBB

I bought my kerosene galley stove 30 years ago and am hard pressed to give in to the propane crowd, but reluctantly I have to concede that, for the cruising boat in Caribbean waters, propane is the way to go. Quality kerosene just isn't available here. The aceite de lampera or gaz kerosena is very yellow and full of dirt and water. Even filtered, it clogs burners and makes your stainless cookware look like a coalminers hardhat and your boat interior will be as dingy as a Pittsburgh pool hall.

I have had some limited success burning mineral spirits but the stuff they sell here burns very hot and destroys the stove burners in short order.

You might get lucky and find an airport that will sell you some jet fuel... but that's a long shot at best.

I've started looking around my boat for a propane locker location. I guess you need to carry two bottles and be able to access them readily. That's a tall order unless you hang them off the stern rail. My kerosene tank tucks into the corner of my cockpit seat locker and is about 8 in diameter and stands about 16 high. Holds two months worth of fuel... cooking everyday, baking bread, frying fish. That's pretty hard to beat!

Anyway if you love kerosene... more power to you! But don't travel too far from home!


barnakiel 27-05-2012 13:54

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
Ohhhh, but Bryan ... don't you know that LPG stoves are known for blowing boats up? !!!

Seriously though:

1) keep the kerosene thing if you like it, place a 2 burner on top (this works only if you do not use the oven ;-(,

2) you do not need a locker, you can hang the bottle from the pushpit, e.g. in a strong canvas bag, cover the regulator and bottle top from sun/water.

Welcome to the world where boats are made of plastic and men who sail them are made of flesh ;-)


CarinaPDX 27-05-2012 14:15

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
I have sailed with kerosene and been pretty happy with it. Of course the small pressure tank is nowhere near enough for cruising. I have a 10 gallon (~40l) storage tank in the starboard quarter which can gravity feed into the pressure tank. I have also kept a 5 gallon jerry jug of kerosene under the v-berth. Since this is a supply good enough for 2-3 years I have never felt pressured to buy bad fuel. Good kerosene is available in the Caribbean and elsewhere if you are patient.

The nice thing about kerosene is that it is easy to handle as a liquid, and doesn't form an explosive gas in the process. All that is needed to adapt to a new country is a funnel... Also, I have never had a problem taking a jug of kerosene on a bus or in a cab.

Having watched those needing propane melt burners with butane and butane/propane mixes, make up adapter pigtails, transfer fuel from local tanks to their own before leaving, trying to find propane supplies and then discovering public transport wants none of it, and yes, the odd explosion and fire, I don't find the preheating and occasional burner cleaning with kerosene to be too inconvenient. YMMV


Wotname 27-05-2012 16:06

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
Yes to the kero crowd :thumb:

I would look at increasing your storage capacity, has to be easier than installing propane bottles. Then work a little harder tracking down quality kero :).

The aviation solution maybe a good option is some areas. Try maintenance hangars where they have to dispose / sell drained jet fuel.

FWIW, I have been jet fuel exclusively in my kero burners for awhile now without any issues but I do have easy access to it!

Duke 48 28-05-2012 14:56

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
Where can I find a kerosene stove suitable for a boat? Everything I have seen seems to be made for camping.

Wotname 28-05-2012 15:52

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!

Originally Posted by Duke 48 (Post 959909)
Where can I find a kerosene stove suitable for a boat? Everything I have seen seems to be made for camping.

Not sure about your part of the world but here it seems impossible except for maybe a very high end unit imported.

I ended up getting a second hand one, cleaned it up and rebuilt the burners.

The SS frame is usually OK, normally they are removed because the burners need work or just to modernize(?).

CarinaPDX 28-05-2012 17:02

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
The selection of new kerosene stoves is very limited these days. For a traditional pressure kerosene stove take a look at the Taylor line from the UK: Taylors heaters and cookers

For a different, more modern (and vented) design take a look at the Wallas line: Boat stoves | boat oven | boat heaters - Wallas

Usually you can find used kerosene stoves in the US and UK markets, where they were more popular. Force 10 used to make some high quality pressure models. There have been other manufacturers in the market. I recommend looking only at stainless steel models (as opposed to coated mild steel - brass is ok).

Good luck,


CarinaPDX 28-05-2012 17:12

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
Kerosene should be readily available pretty much anywhere in the US. Try hardware and outdoors stores for pre-packaged kerosene. My most recent purchase was at a Bimart, in 2 1/2 gallon jugs. There are still folks using Toyoset kerosene heaters, which results in greater availability during the winter months. Also contact local petroleum dealers (including gas stations) for bulk purchase, and bring a large container. Some of these outlets may also sell kerosene in 5 gallon and larger containers.

Duke 48 28-05-2012 17:31

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
Finding the kerosene is not a problem. Finding a kerosene stove for the boat, so far, not so easy.

HopCar 28-05-2012 17:43

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
One of my first jobs when I went to work in the family's marine store was to fill customers kerosene cans from the big tank out back. We also had a big tank of mineral spirits.
We sold a lot of pressurized kero stoves from Primus, Kenyon and even a few from Richmond Ring Company. I truly hate those damn things! I must have rebuilt hundreds of those damn burners. I'm very happy with my non-pressurized alcohol Origo. I'm sure I'd be just as happy or happier with Propane. There is a reason you have a hard time finding marine kero stoves, they are a big PITA.

Duke 48 28-05-2012 17:48

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
I am wondering just what on a boat is not a PITA.

HopCar 28-05-2012 21:14

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
Duke48, Everything on a boat is a PITA but kero stoves are a big PITA.
Wait, there is one thing you can do on a boat that is not a PITA but only if you do it right.

boden36 28-05-2012 23:33

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!
We have a three burner and oven kero stove . Have cooked on it for 25 yrs and wouldn't have anything else. It is simple, virtually indestructable and is most unlikely to turn the boat into a bomb!

Wotname 29-05-2012 01:15

Re: Kerosene... fighting the good fight!

Originally Posted by HopCar (Post 960067)
Duke48, Everything on a boat is a PITA but kero stoves are a big PITA...............

One man's big PITA is another man's joy but lets not take this analogy too far :whistling:
Kero is King:thumb:

bcripps 30-05-2012 13:14

Re: Kerosene... Fighting the Good Fight!
Well I am truly pleased there are a few of us left. I love my kero stove but I repeat... Number 1 kerosene is very difficult to find once you leave the US. I use about a gallon of kerosene a month and have been gone for almost three years now. That's a lot of fuel to carry around. And I have no plans to return to the US at the present time, if ever.

The locals here (DR) use propane exclusively. In Guatamala it was wood or propane. Many of the other countries I have visited it has been the same.

So think about where you plan to cruise and how long you plan to stay.

Good luck to all you kero-heads... I'm with you!


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