Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Occasional Definitions: Fuel

Fuel: Dry standing wood and dry dead branches. Dry inside (heart) of fallen tree trunks and large branches, dry grasses twisted into bunches, dried animal dung, coal, oil shale, or oil sand lying on the surface (not in my back yard). Let’s just call it the stuff you burn.

Fuels Management:
  1. What bureaucrats in the U.S. Forest Service do when they think people are watching. By managing the combustible materials in a forest they can manage the danger of uncontrollable fire, or plan for controlled burns.
  2. Stinginess. Don’t burn all your fuel cooking one meal. Duh. Unless you are the Dark Lord and can just incinerate a few lackeys whenever you need a hot meal.
  1. Government definition: Plants and woody vegetation, both living and dead, that are capable of burning.
  2. Pyromaniac definition: “All them things what make the purty flames.”
  3. Backpacker definition: White gas, butane, isobutane, propane, isopropane, alcohol, kerosene.
  4. Ultralight backpacker definition: Navel lint, stray threads from hiking shorts (if not traveling naked), nose, ear, and eyebrow hairs, spider webs, moss,
    twigs, earwax.

From: Fire In Your Hand About ultralight backpacking stoves. (print)
PDF: Fire In Your Hand (The same, but now paper-free.)



  1. In the quest for multi-purpose gear to help slash backpack weights the UL'er should also consider using their gorp as a fuel source. Remember those experiments in biology class where you set fire to a peanut to calculate it calorie content? Those suckers burnt for ever. It would be even lighter if you only hiked in areas where peanuts grow naturally.

  2. No, sorry. All I got in biology was something with too many legs preserved in formaldehyde. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it to burn, but it was pretty easy to throw across the room. Nice and rubbery. Before I was forced to hack it to bits that is. Not so much fun after that, and it wouldn't fit back together again. Sad, really.