All of us who love to camp and do it very often have our own backpacking stoves. These are handy pieces of equipment that are basically, a lifesaver. They help in cooking delicious food or making the water hot in the middle of nowhere. However, you may find yourself at times in need to use these stoves inside your house. This could happen if you have run out of gas or there is an issue with your cooking range or something entirely else altogether. Hence, can you use a backpacking stove indoors or are there any repercussions to it? Let’s find out.
In general, it is not recommended to use backpacking stoves inside a home, and there is a good reason behind it. Backpacking stoves use propane in order to light up. This is very different than methane, the kind of gas which we use at home. The most basic distinction between the two is that methane burns far more cleanly in comparison to propane. Likewise, propane is also more prone to have incomplete combustion.
In a case where there is incomplete combustion, the burning propane will likely end up producing gases like carbon monoxide. Such is an odorless and colorless gas but is very toxic to humans. To talk about what the ill-effects of this gas is, briefly, it is harmful when we breathe it as it will displace the oxygen in our blood and will leave the brain, heart and several other vital organs deprived of oxygen. If you consistently inhale carbon monoxide, you will begin to lose consciousness and eventually suffocate.
It all boils down to the fact that backpacking stoves are not designed in a manner to work indoors. Also, they do not go through the same safety standards that an indoor gas stove goes through. In short, an indoor gas stove has to go through far more safety standards in order to be declared safe to use.
Additionally, you will also notice that other cooking appliances that are used exclusively for outdoor stoves are significantly cheaper than the ones that you use at home. This is because even indoor cooking appliances have to go through several safety standards. Testing is quite expensive, which in turn makes the product expensive too.
Having said that there are harmful effects of using backpacking stoves indoor, there is a way to get around it. However, before we talk about how to use them indoors, there are a couple of things that you will constantly need to watch out for. Let us speak about them briefly.
To start off, only use a backpacking stove that is designed for indoor use. If you find your backpacking stove clearly stating that it should not be used indoors in big letters, it is best to believe the manufacturer and not use it. Certain backpacking stoves are exclusively designed to be used outdoors and can prove to be fatal if done otherwise.
With that in regard, always check the packaging or the stove itself whether it has been approved by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for indoor use. The UL will provide all the necessary safety certifications to several clients, manufacturers, companies, service, and consumers. If you do not find a safety stamp, then it is completely unsafe to use the stove indoors. Nonetheless, if such is not found either on the packaging or the stove, you can refer to the company’s website.
When you use a backpacking stove indoors, always ensure that there is good ventilation in that room. Try to place the stove near a large window if you can. Keep all of the windows wide open and turn on the vent as well in order for the carbon monoxide to escape the room safely. As mentioned earlier, this gas is very harmful and is surely going to be emitted from the stove, which is why being cautious is the only way to being safe.
Also, ensure that any fire hazards are far away as possible from the stove. These include stationary items like papers, books, and other items like spray cans, oil, etc. To make it as simple, just keep the stove alone on the table if possible.
If you are using backpacking stove indoors very often, it is wise to invest in a carbon monoxide detector. Place this near the stove itself. These are very easy to find at hardware stores and they do not cost much.
If you find that the flames on the stove appear to be quite weak, that is if the flames are far away from the burner, or if you find that the flames are suspiciously stronger, that is they are quite large and yellow in color, then these two are a clear sign that your backpacking stove is malfunctioning. You may also possibly find a whole lot of soot. So, if these do occur, it is best to immediately switch off the stove and let the room air out as quickly as it can.
As much as you could possibly get around cooking with a backpacking gas stove indoors, it is better and also safer that you don’t. Another alternative to cooking indoors safely is using an induction plate. These are designed to be used indoors and are said to be extremely safe to use. They make a perfect alternative to regular gas stoves.
So, to answer whether can you use a backpacking stove indoors or not, we cannot give a definite answer. While technically it may be a yes, it does come with its own set of risks, and you will need to take an endless number of precautions to be safe. Now, whether you think all of them are worth it entirely depends on you. However, we would strongly recommend against it if it were up to us.