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Mutinousdoug
2006-10-24, 17:42
What is the lowest temp you folks have successfully used an unpressurized ETOH stove at?
I'm not much into winter camping like Iceman but I'm thinking about throwing a stove into my winter car survival bag for in case I get snowed in, in traffic on I-70 during a blizzard.
I've carried the old TP roll in a coffee can with a pint of rubbing ETOH for years but the soda can stove would be more economical and versitile if I can depend on vaporization. I won't be letting the car get much below 0 degrees f (if I can help it).

dropkick
2006-10-25, 00:31
I've used them at temperatures that were below freezing, but I don't know how cold. Your going to need something to insulate it from the ground and a short can you can use as a preheater.

Preheater: I cut down a tuna can for this, leaving about a 1/4 inch of wall. You set your filled stove in this and then pour some alcohol in the tuna can and light it. When your stove gets warm you light it.

You can also just hold a lighter under the stove to warm it -- I've done this before and don't recommend it, I built the tuna can preheater afterwards so I wouldn't need to do this anymore.


Though overall I recommend carrying a sleeping bag and/or a snowsuit in your car and leaving any form of heat that requires burning at home. You shouldn't use it in your vehicle, and if your stuck in the cold you aren't going to want to be out in it. I feel the temptation to use it in the vehicle and have an accident due to poor ventilation or fire to be a greater danger than the cold.
But it's up to you.

-I also carry a quart flask for melting snow with my body heat, breakfast bars, and jerky.

Just Jeff
2006-10-25, 01:00
MREs have flame-free heaters packaged in them now....just add water to the pouch and it gets hot enough to burn skin. Too heavy to carry, but they'd fit the bill for the car. And the new ones really don't taste too bad - just like eating canned food.

If it's really cold, the heaters don't activate well. I've put them inside my jacket - it's warm enough to activate them, and it keeps me warmer at the same time. Works pretty well.

So my advice - grab a few MREs for the emergency kit. Warm food will heat you better than burning something for heat inside your car.

SGT Rock
2006-10-25, 03:58
I've used my ion stove to 25F - well that was the temp in the valley. I was about 1000' higher, so maybe it was more like 23F. There was another trip I used that I think it was colder, but I never got the temperature. All I know was it was VERY cold and a damn snowstorm moved in on us that night.

Mutinousdoug
2006-10-25, 15:45
Dropkick;
I am weighing the hazards of an open flame in the car (it's an SUV, actually) and having to preheat the stove would add another level to that. I've learned to fill my stoves somewhere else than where I use them. I need an insulated base for the stove just to protect the car interior from the stove and need to have a pot of water on the stove to keep the flames off the ceiling. I have about 41-42" from floor to ceiling behind the front seats.
A couple of Air Force cadets asphyxiated themselves one Christmas a few years ago on I-70 when the snow got so deep while they waited for the high way to re-open, it covered their exhaust pipe. One of the reasons for proposing the sodacan stove is it's self-extinguishing feature. With a 1/2 oz charge it won't burn long enough to consume the available Ox in the cabin before going out. My coffee can/TP/ rubbing ETOH stove would burn quite along time on it's own so the idea is to burn it until the feeling comes back to your toes then smother it and go back to sleep until your toes go numb again, then re-light and start over. There would be a great temptation to let it burn while you fall back to sleep.
Jeff; I bought a few of these iron-oxide/sodium chemical heaters some years back...not to impressed with them; are the MRE heaters available by themselves?
I used to carry a few LRRP rations in the car for emergencies. They were dated about 1972. I opened one about 5-6 years ago. The shelf life had apparently expired. I couldn't read the label and looking at the stuff in the bag wasn't any help identifying it either. Glad I wasn't counting on them. Now I carry Knorr soups, instant mashed potatos, oatmeal, retort chicken or clams and power bars for food; sleeping bag, down jacket, dry socks and gloves to wear and a couple qts of water. The food all gets re-cycled when I go campin'.

sailingsoul
2006-10-25, 17:22
As eluded, placing the fuel next to your body before filling stove will warm the fuel to facillate starting. Also,,They use to use "Halon" in fire extinguishers and in systems in computer rooms. (baned, due to ozone depletion) When triggered it would fill to whole computer room and displace enough oxygen to put out any fire but still allow people to still occupy the room safely. People can stay in a enclosed space with oxygen levels to low to support combustion. One might start panting like a dog ,though :eviltongu: (not quite). Running the engine for heat is risky when in snow. Be warned not to use the radio to much with the engine off, in cold weather. The batterys' avalable charge falls quickly with lower temperatures. You'll need it to start the engine eventually. In my first car, I parked in the winter, at lovers lane. "Just to listen to the radio, you know" and when we got our fill of music the engine wouldn't start !!!!! Yikes!! :captain: SS

john pickett
2006-10-25, 17:30
Mutinousdoug,
One vendor for MRE heaters is Colemans Surplus, with whom I have no relationship; just like to drool over thier catalog.
www.Colemans.com
John Pickett

Mutinousdoug
2006-10-25, 19:18
John Pickett;
Thanks for the link. $6.00 seems like a pretty low risk investment to have something to throw into the car.
I'm unfamiliar with these packs; could you put a plastic bottle of water in the package to heat it up? Then make soup or tea in an insulated cup or coseyed pot? I assume it gets hot enough to make ramen type noodles or instant oatmeal, cocoa, etc?
Thanks for the comments, all.

dropkick
2006-10-25, 20:34
You need to beware, it's not the lack of oxygen that makes the stoves dangerous it's the build up of carbon monoxide.

You could move to a pure oxygen atmosphere and if you had enough CO built up in your system you would still suffocate. It makes it so your body can't use the Oxygen. It also stays in your body. You can get a leathal dose in stages.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include: rosy cheeks, headache, dizziness, irritability, confusion, memory loss, disorientation, nausea and vomiting, lack of coordination, difficulty breathing, chest pain, or convulsions, but normally you just fall asleep and die.

In an enclosed space you can build up a leathal dose in as little as 10 minutes. People have killed themselves in their tents with their stoves/gas lights.

Mutinousdoug
2006-10-25, 22:40
Dropkick;
CO1 is only produced in high compression engines or very Ox depleted environments. CO2 and H2O is produced by normal respiration and burning fuel in a normal earth atmosphere.
You can suffocate from breathing CO2 or from not breathing enough O2. But CO1 will not displace O2 like CO2 will. I agree that continuing to run a gas light or heater in an Ox depleted environment will produce CO1. That's why use of a limited charge of sodacan stove burn would be SAFER than running a dumb stove/heater/lamp, car. Therefore: sodacan stove?
I don't think CO1 is accumulative. At least not in the same definition as heavy metals (the chemical, not the music). Immediate exposure may apply. I suffer from numbers 4,5,6,7 and either 8 or 9 of your poison symtoms daily. The people I suffer these with call it: "old age".
Anyway, I appreciate your concern for the safety aspects of sodacan stove use and that is a ligitimate discussion but: I want this thread to be about low temp ETOH stove use, so "Get Off My Lawn! you juvenile delinquent!!"
(Still listening to all commenters, including Dropkick and J Jeff)

sailingsoul
2006-10-25, 23:10
Thanks DK . Never hurts to flashed on any/all dangers. SS
ps there is a diff' between carbon dioxide and monoxide

Iceman
2006-10-25, 23:45
Mutinousdoug, or whoever else cares, or doesnt....doesn't really matter anyway; I think that you could burn anything in your car you wanted including cow patties and road flares (if you were freezing your ass to the vinyl) as long as you open a few windows. We all need to breath. Personally, I would count on laying on the insulation, to retain heat, rather than trying to create it...

Actually, a tea light survival stove, is best for this type of emergency. The stove I am speaking about is called the YuCan survive stove. "Popularized" by Mantaque "Monty" Alford, this is a parafin tea light can/stove, which is built to warm small quantities of snow into water, in emergency situations. Not big, not fast, not hot. This is used to melt snow to water in an emergency snow shelter or similar predicament. The stove is basically a tin can, with a slot in the bottom side of the can, large enough to slide in a few tea light candles. One inch above the top of the candles, you stick a nail or metal tent stake. This nail supports a slightly smaller can inside the larger one. Light the candles, and you have hours of light, minimal heat, and a way to convert ice, into a warm drink. Drink warmed water all night to keep your body temp up. From what I understand, this "stove" (lantern) has saved folks lives in emergency freezing conditions more than once. We carry one for each snowshoer in the winter. You store the candles in the inner can, pop on a foil lid to help hold heat and you have a pretty cheap, emergency snow warmer/cave light/fluid maker...

If interested, this book: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/asin/1895811953/lightweighhiking

Oh,and bye the way, no fighting!

dropkick
2006-10-26, 08:12
Dropkick;
CO1 is only produced in high compression engines or very Ox depleted environments. CO2 and H2O is produced by normal respiration and burning fuel in a normal earth atmosphere.
You can suffocate from breathing CO2 or from not breathing enough O2. But CO1 will not displace O2 like CO2 will. I agree that continuing to run a gas light or heater in an Ox depleted environment will produce CO1. That's why use of a limited charge of sodacan stove burn would be SAFER than running a dumb stove/heater/lamp, car. Therefore: sodacan stove?
I don't think CO1 is accumulative. At least not in the same definition as heavy metals (the chemical, not the music). Immediate exposure may apply. I suffer from numbers 4,5,6,7 and either 8 or 9 of your poison symtoms daily. The people I suffer these with call it: "old age".
Anyway, I appreciate your concern for the safety aspects of sodacan stove use and that is a ligitimate discussion but: I want this thread to be about low temp ETOH stove use, so "Get Off My Lawn! you juvenile delinquent!!"
(Still listening to all commenters, including Dropkick and J Jeff)
Mutinousdoug, sorry but you have things confused.
- After this post I'll get off the lawn (no promises about not leaving burning bags of poo on the front porch though).

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is formed during combustion/burning and is the dangerous one. It makes it so your body can't use oxygen. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) isn't dangerous.

*carbon monoxide n. A colorless, odorless, highly poisonous gas that is formed by the incomplete combustion of carbon or of a carbonaceous material, such as gasoline.

*carbon dioxide n. A colorless, odorless, incombustible gas formed during respiration, combustion, and organic decomposition and used in inert atmospheres, fire extinguishers, and aerosols.

I'm probably overreacting as alcohol is very clean burning and produces little CO - but it does produce it, CO is cumulative, and you can die from small doses taken over a period of time.

**When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it takes the place of oxygen in haemoglobin, the red blood pigment that normally carries oxygen to all parts of the body. Because carbon monoxide binds to haemoglobin several hundred times more strongly than oxygen, its effects are cumulative and long-lasting, causing oxygen starvation throughout the body

**Carbon monoxide is life-threatening to humans and other forms of air-breathing life, as inhaling even relatively small amounts of it can lead to hypoxic injury, neurological damage, and possibly death. A concentration of as little as 0.04% (400 parts per million) carbon monoxide in the air can be fatal.

i.e. A smoker will die from a shorter and less exposure to Carbon Monoxide than a nonsmoker due to the build up of the CO in his body from the cigarettes.


*From The American HeritageŽ Stedman's Medical Dictionary
**From Carbon monoxide poisoning: Wikipedia

Mutinousdoug
2006-10-26, 11:56
But CO1 will not displace O2 like CO2 will.

Dropkick;
I stand corrected; I had ment to say above: "But CO2 will not displace O2 like CO1 will." And by that I ment: in the blood steam.
So, I have no argument with anything you say in your post, since you agree that burning ETOH in normal earth atmosphere produces very little CO1 ( I SHOULD have stated that in my post instead of saying that CO1 is "only" produced in high compression engines.)

Annoyed delinquents are still on my lawn.
/Carefully looking for poo bags on porch.

incognito
2006-10-26, 12:34
stick enough fiberglass cloth in the center of the sodacan stove so that it absorbs the entire 1/2 or 1 ounce of fuel to make it safe from a nasti\y spill if knocked over.

I guarantee it will start easily in below zero weather.

The day after holloween, buy a bunch of snickers and put them in your trunkfor your energy fuel. Eat them come spring.

GGS
2006-10-27, 01:31
Mutinousdoug,

Listening to the concerns about open flame in a car and CO poisoning...

I've often gone winter camping in my minivan with a Coleman Sportcat catalytic heater. It uses those 16.4 oz propane containers. The catalyst causes the propane to "glow" instead of burn with an open flame at a lower temperature than the ignition point of most materials and it doesn't produce CO, which is the biggest hazard.

I'll use 2 of the 1100btu Sportcats when the weather/van is really cold. When I van camp I'll take out the rear seats and put one Sportcat in each corner by the rear hatch. I've never had them heat any nearby car trim up to anything more than warm to the touch. Oftentimes I'll wake up sweating in the middle of the night and have to turn one of them off because the van is like 80f. Keep a window cracked tho because CO2 buildup can still happen.

Coleman also makes something they call a Survivalcat, runs 27 hours on a canister of propane and comes with a couple other emergency items.

I know that doesn't answer your question on the alcohol stove issue... My thoughts on an alcohol stove heating the car is yeah the car will feel noticeably warmer after the 1/2 oz alcohol burns out but cars aren't very well insulated, in 10 minutes you're cold again.

That's mah 2 cents...

GGS
2006-10-27, 01:32
Oh yeah here's a link to them if you're interested...

http://www.coleman.com/coleman/ColemanCom/subcategory.asp?CategoryID=3000

Iceman
2006-10-27, 10:37
I re-read your original question. I have operated my (heavy) trangia open burner at 8 deg. F. Although not a sodacan type burner, it does take alot more fuel to get going, to melt snow or boil water, than at warmer temperatures. (Duh)

If you are looking to use your stove to warm water to drink, it will (should) work. To warm the car....don't know... Maybe you can empty your freezer and practice.... Sounds dumb, but atleast you will know. Besides, when was the last time you thawed and cleaned out that thing?

Mutinousdoug
2006-10-27, 12:31
GGS;
I have a cat heater that I take hunting with me and use about the same way you describe but I just don't keep that in my trunk. I looking for winter survival kit that would take up no more room than what I can fit in a ruck.
I know (from experience) the car isn't going to hold much heat but my goal isn't to have a good time in it; just ward off frostbite until the road re-opens or the tow truck gets me back on the blacktop.
Iceman;
Thanks for the 8 degree data point and yes my freezer needs defrosting. But it's really full after I just butchered two goats and the little woman has all this summers vegetables (and who knows what else) in there. Next little cold snap we have I might put all the stuff on the back porch and do some tests.
That's alot of work though...

GGS
2006-10-27, 20:20
Ah gotcha, Multinousdog.

Well, your question has peaked my interest... As to how low a temp an alcohol stove can fire, the fellas here can answer that better than I can... I know I _have_ tested my soda can stove below freezing - and it worked fine just took a little longer to boil - but I can't remember the temp.

As to how well it keeps a vehicle heated, well, the first cold snap we get I'll have to load the van & fire up the soda can stove and see what the results are. :smile:

Having slept on the question, yeah as long as you could keep the vehicle interior around or above 35-40 degrees f, and you began your trip wearing or at least bringing with you reasonable winter wear you have a survivable situation...

Curious, what do you plan on packing for emergency wear? Space blanket? Additional clothes? ??

Mutinousdoug
2006-10-28, 00:51
Ah gotcha, Multinousdog.

Having slept on the question, yeah as long as you could keep the vehicle interior around or above 35-40 degrees f, and you began your trip wearing or at least bringing with you reasonable winter wear you have a survivable situation...

Curious, what do you plan on packing for emergency wear? Space blanket? Additional clothes? ??

GGS;
I thought I put it in a post above but I can't find it: Stuffed into the ruck is (as of today): 1# coffee can with TP roll stuffed inside and plastic lid, 1 pt rubbing ETOH and a pack of paper matches. Old down jacket that the zipper doesn't work on but the snaps do. Really heavy wool socks. Insulated leather gloves. wool Hat (that actually maybe acrylic). Quilted synthetic blanket from Cheaper than dirt. Space blanket; one of the heavy ones that is red on one side and silver on the other. 2 candles. More matches. Para cord in 10 ft lengths. maybe 3 coils.
This all goes in a ruck and stays in the car all winter. In the car I have the entrenching tool, a piece of old carpet big enough to lay on, road flares, jerk strap and two bags of road sand (shotgun shot bags)
When I go up skiing or on a trip, I take water, power bars, sandwiches maybe insulated coveralls if I think of them and whatever will fit after Ma gets her luggage in there.
I said before I'd like to keep myself at 0 degrees or better but 32 degrees f would be much more to my liking.
I figure I'll most likely be sweated up or wet before I resign myself to spending the night in the car, thus the extra socks, hat and gloves.

john pickett
2006-10-29, 19:56
Moutinousdoug,
I can't say if you could safely get a plastic water bottle or cup in the MRE heater. I suspect not; there is just room for an mre main course which comes in a flatish foil-covered package maybe 6 by 3 by 1/2 inch. ( I'm operating off old memories here.) The heating element IIRC is a stiff, flat card-like object which contains the reactive elements. You pour a little water in the sleeve, put the food pack in along side the heater, and stand the whole affair against a rock or what have you.
John Pickett

btw, any one on the list with more recent experience than I (EOS 1990) is welcome to weigh in here.

Take-a-knee
2006-10-29, 22:16
You don't want to use MRE heaters to heat ANYTHING inside, those are some stinkin' contraptions when they heat up. Maybe you could take a just used heater and place it in a baggie and stick it under your clothes or something but when you fire that thing up you want it OUTSIDE. I think a thick Jardine style quilt is about the smartest thing you could have in the vehicle, and maybe a Z-rest. Sportsman's Guide has Vapor Barrier (white Mickey Mouse) boots from time to time, get a pair of these and you will never lose any toes. I traipsed all over central Alaska in Jan and Feb for two winters and I still have ten toes.

dropkick
2006-10-30, 00:38
I was thinking about it, and I think the best way to use a stove to stay warm would be to heat water and then put it in a container (lexan, nalgene, hot water bottle?) and use that to heat your body.

I still vote for a sleeping bag, blanket, or a snow suit, though. -- I carry all 3, and if I get stuck at night or during a storm I just take a nap untill conditions are better.

Iceman
2006-10-30, 07:59
I was thinking about it, and I think the best way to use a stove to stay warm would be to heat water and then put it in a container (lexan, nalgene, hot water bottle?) and use that to heat your body.


Exactly my point, drink the water to get the maximum result. Not only will you get the maximum thermal effect, but the positve psychological lift as well.