Sunday, June 19, 2016

Can you bring camping stove fuel on a plane?

The fuel? No. The stove itself/lighter? Yes. 

This was an important question I had when preparing to fly out to Utah last fall to backpack its national parks. To avoid the hassle and confusion I just checked my Primus Express Stove in my pack, left the propane tanks at home and bought new ones at a local gear shop in Moab upon arrival.

Why? The tanks of camping stove fuel we use are filled to the brim with propane and are very combustible at extreme temperatures. Obviously we don't want that happening in the cargo belly of a Boeing 737. So, save yourself the headache and questioning from the TSA and buy the fuel when you land. 

What about the stove assembly itself? You can bring this on a plane (either checked or carry-on, but it has to be empty/clean/free of vapor from the propane cooking gas). It has be washed with clean, clear water and soap prior to flying. There cannot be any residue or evidence of cooking gas on or in the stove assembly.

What about lighters or matches? Technically you can, per TSA rules, bring a book of matches or a lighter containing flammable butane gas (like the cheap plastic colorful ones you'd buy for a dollar, not a Zippo) on an airplane without having to check them in baggage. Weird right? But rules and regulations change all the time so I'd gust avoid it all together and spend a few bucks at the gear shop when your feet are on the ground

According to the FAA "Propane, white gas, Coleman fuel, Sterno, solid fuels, stoves containing fuel. This description includes all camping fuels such as white gas, Coleman fuel, naphtha, petroleum distillates, propane, butane, Sterno, etc. No amount of flammable fuel can be carried, including even residual vapors. Camping equipment that contains no residual fuel, vapors or other hazardous materials is allowed. Some airlines will not carry used camping equipment that has had fuel in it regardless of how well it has been purged."  

Southwest Airlines, Delta, Iceland Air and Cathay Pacific, to name a few, have similar policies.