When planning a destination camping trip that involves flying, the question arises: Can you take a camp stove onto a plane?
Well, the good news is yes, empty camp stoves are permitted in either carry-on or checked luggage according to the TSA [Link to Regulation]. However, just because they are allowed doesn’t mean you should carelessly take it with you.
There are additional precautions you need to take before packing up your camp stove for a flight.
Tip 1: Thoroughly Clean Your Camp Stove
Camp stoves are typically fueled by either butane, propane, kerosene, white gas (naphtha), or alcohol. Regardless of the fuel type, lingering liquid or vapors can be present in your stove.
Without proper cleaning and airing, the vapors can easily set-off alarms and sensors at airports. Even trace amounts of vapours can be detected by the sensitive monitors during baggage screening prior to boarding.
So, to remove the risk of having your stove confiscated, as well as keep your name off the no-fly list, you’ll need to thoroughly clean your camp stove beforehand.
How to Clean a Camp Stove Before Flying?
Soapy water can be used to rinse out components and flush fuel lines of any residual fuel or vapours.
Use a bottle with a nozzle spout or flush under running water. Afterwards, let all the components air dry before packing them up. Drying helps prevents corrosion as well as ensures no water is trapped inside which can cause fuel injections or ignition issues.
Now, when you’re at the airport, you won’t be surprised to find a critical piece of your camping equipment has confiscated. And, hopefully you won’t be “questioned internally”, if you catch my drift.
Tip 2: Flammable Liquids Are Banned
Obviously, all types of stove fuels are banned from flying, liquid or gas. But, some camp stoves require special bottles or fuel canisters to pump or transfer fuel into the stove.
These special bottles have to be completely empty and cleaned before they are also packed.
Only bottles or canisters that can be opened and checked by airport security to see if they are empty are permitted.
Tip 3: Purchase Fuel at Your Destination
Luckily, camping is a world-wide activity, so you don’t have too worry too much about finding fuel wherever you travel to. Odds are there is an outdoors store or marketplace that sells the fuel you need.
If you’re traveling to camping or hiking hotspots such as North America, the Himalayas, Patagonia, Europe and others popular parts, you’ll have no problems finding fuel. The adventure tourism industry is well equipped to supply campers with all the equipment they need, including fuel.
However, if you’re traveling to more remote, under-developed or parts of the world less known for camping, you might have a harder time finding the right fuel. In those situations, it pays to use a stove system that relies on more readily available fuels like diesel or kerosene.
Diesel & Kerosene
If there are cars around, diesel fuel is most likely available. So, if you’re really in a pinch, you can elect to use diesel fuel for your stove if it’s acceptable.
Likewise, Kerosene is used by many international travellers since it’s readily available. Kerosene lanterns and stoves are still being used in some parts of the world so it won’t be a problem purchasing it.