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Buy a small stove these days and it is likely to come covered in dire warnings about the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and that you must not use the stove in any sort of confined space. And yet walkers have been using small stoves inside their tent vestibules in bad weather for many, many years with very few instances of trouble. What is the risk, why are all those warnings there, and how seriously should we take them?

This multi-part article explores the carbon monoxide issue. The first part will cover the basic theory underlying how stoves work and how they can generate carbon monoxide, the second part will cover an extensive amount of laboratory testing of a wide range of stoves, and the third part will cover field tests of some selected stoves inside several tents. It is mainly focused on butane/propane, white gas, and kerosene stoves, although some brief mention is made of alcohol and solid fuels.


  • Introduction
  • Background
  • Overview of Part 1
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Published Statistics
  • Other References
  • Flame Chemistry
  • Long Flames and Orange Flames
  • Differences between Fuels
  • Other Burner Designs
  • Fuel Vapour: another Hazard
  • Alcohol and Solid Fuels
  • Summary of Part 1
  • Preview of Part 2
  • References

# WORDS: 7000

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