Oct 1, 2010 at 12:50 pm #1263894
I wonder if anyone here has a list of typical backpacking stuff that a person can or can't bring with them flying within the US states.
Things that occur to me that could be problematic,
1. Fuel (alcohol, esbit, full fuel canisters, empty stoves, etc.)
2. Firestarters (matches; bic lighters; firesteels)
3. Knives, multitools
4. Trekking poles
5. Anything else I'm forgetting
And for each of these items, what is
a. Allowable in either the carry-on or checked in
b. Allowable in carry-on only
c. Allowable checked in only
d. Never allowable
– ElizabethOct 1, 2010 at 1:12 pm #1650594
The TSA Prohibited Items web site should give you most of the answers.
Virtually every fuel is prohibited, but there are some exceptions. Most standard fuels are prohibited, and that includes liquid fuels (e.g. white gas and alcohol), gaseous fuels (e.g. butane), and solid fuels (e.g. Esbit).
There are many exceptions, such as drinking alcohol. If you inquire to TSA, they will refer you off to DOT where they can look at the MSDS on any substance and tell you about the flammability.
Theoretically, they can prohibit a simple wax birthday candle. However, in practice, they probably would not unless you had a suspicious quantity. Theoretically, wood is a fuel. Of course they make airline cargo pallets out of wood. That is a typical gray area for the regs.
–B.G.–Oct 1, 2010 at 1:17 pm #1650599
I think the problem is carry on, if you send it down below, should be fine for most things.Oct 1, 2010 at 1:30 pm #1650603
Ike, you may have an interesting discussion with the TSA folks someday.
–B.G.–Oct 1, 2010 at 1:39 pm #1650608
Answering your questions – might be easier to think in terms of: dangerous flammable stuff, dangerous weapon stuff, and non dangerous stuff.
1. Dangerous Flammable Stuff
o fuel – never carry or check!
o aerosols – never carry or check (ex. ltd. qty. toiletries)
o exceptions – 1 box of safety matches, and 2 BIC lighters are allowed as carry on only (no check)
2. Dangerous Weapon Stuff
o knives, multitools, trekking poles – check only
3. Non Dangerous
o empty, thoroughly cleaned stoves – carry or check
o empty, thoroughly cleaned fuel containers – carry or check
o firesteels – carry or checkOct 1, 2010 at 2:17 pm #1650625
Some things allowed by TSA may be prohibited by your airline. For example empty, thoroughly cleaned stoves are allowed under TSA regulations but Southwest will only allow a liquid-fueled stove on board if it is brand new and in the manufacturer's packaging.
TSA also reserves the right to forbid anything they feel like at any time, for any or no reason, with no prior notice or recourse.Oct 1, 2010 at 2:24 pm #1650627
Yes, I have checked a bag that had a new MSR XGK stove in it, and the factory seal was still on the burner, so obviously there could not have been any residual fuel left.
Keep in mind that the checked baggage inspection is done on a sample basis, but it is not the airline that does it, so it really does not matter what Southwest says that they allow. It is more a matter that the airlines and TSA do not have their public warnings harmonized. The traveling public is left to wonder. I suppose that terrorists and bombers are left to wonder, also.
–B.G.–Oct 1, 2010 at 2:26 pm #1650628
Yep, there are rules — and then there are individual TSA and airline descretion (although mostly TSA). But you know, like in life, nothing is etched in stone. Check ahead, and follow the rules, and we'll be fine "most of the time" — which is at much as we can hope for this day and age…
Last trip from LA to Portland, I flew with Southwest — carrying on my pack on the outbound (with stove and BIC lighter) — and checked the same on return (forgot to yank out the BIC lighter). No problems.Oct 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm #1650629
Benjamin, there are only a few things etched in stone.
–B.G.–Oct 1, 2010 at 2:43 pm #1650634
YMMV, but that piece of slab is an eyesore. :)Oct 1, 2010 at 2:45 pm #1650635
I could not fit it into my backpack, so I had to leave it behind.
–B.G.–Oct 1, 2010 at 3:27 pm #1650640
Saw a sign at the the airport on my trip this week that loose lithium batteries were prohibited in checked luggage. That was a new one for me.Oct 1, 2010 at 3:46 pm #1650647
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
Dignity?Oct 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm #1650649
Greg, if you study the TSA web site, it spells out what kinds of lithium batteries are good and which are bad. Some can be checked, and some can be carried on.
Lithium camera batteries, for example. I was flying with about two pounds of spare batteries, so I had to move them from my checked bag to my carry-on.
Lithium batteries can supply a lot of electrical current, virtually unchecked. If loose lithiums were in a checked bag and got shorted out, they could start a fire that nobody would see. If the same batteries are in a carry-on bag, if a fire got started, you would see the smoke in passenger compartment, and a fire extinguisher could be applied.
The TSA rules look very inconsistent until you study them closely. That's why most of it is on its web site.
–B.G.–Oct 2, 2010 at 1:12 pm #1650817
The TSA updates their site, so you must go see the website for the latest info.Oct 4, 2010 at 3:08 pm #1651405
@ramblerLocale: On the AT in VA
I have carried-on trekking poles inside mailing tubes with no problems. I was pulled out of line and questioned about the steri-pen. The fact that it was an empty tube, raised questions. On the return trip I kept the batteries in it and it went right through without a problem. These flights were out of major hubs, LAX and Boston.
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