Liquid / Pressurized Gas Fuels
Masahiro Sayano (sayano@MICRO.CALTECH.EDU)
Thu, 21 May 1992 11:55:47 PDT
Greetings, Fellow Scouters!
At the risk of shooting a dead horse: IMHO liquid and pressurized gas
fuels should not be used in the program of the Boy Scouts of America
with very few exceptions.
In fact, I feel that solid wax-based pellets, lighter fluids, and
charcoal starters (including "match-light" charcoals which have starters
impregnated into the bag or the briquets themselves) should not be
used by the BSA. The only acceptable sources of fire are wood and
charcoal which is lit by wood. (My troop even bans the Kingsford
chimney-style charcoal lighters; they're too easy to use.)
The arguments that wood is messy and dirty are not valid in my opinion.
Proper selection and use of wood and wood stoves (including the Zip
Ztove that someone mentioned earlier and Sheepherder style stoves),
charcoal, etc., make wood and charcoal not as harmful as other fossil
fuels, if not comparable. The difference is that fossil fuel pollution
is not visible, while wood smoke is. And as far as cleaning pots and
pans go, so what if it takes you a few extra minutes? Soap the pans
and it won't be so bad.
And as far as low-impact camping is concerned, with the exception of
a few places, wood fires are allowed---in stoves. The amount of wood
you burn to cook a couple of meals, even when multiplied by a large
number of campers, is not significant compared to the total supply
available if the fires are made correctly in terms of size, duration,
But please remember that there are places that do not allow wood
fires for any reason, and these reasons are valid. I am referring
to cases where there is an option that liquid/gas fuels should not
The reason our troop purposely makes things difficult is that our
program is a training program. The troop program is geared for
mental, physical, and moral fitness and preparation; therefore it
must be more difficult than what would normally be encountered so
that the scouts will be able to sail through any problems.
I apologize for sounding like a flame on this issue, but it is a
pet peeve of mine as well. (Caused by my experiences, or am I just
eccentric?---but that's not the point.) I do not like relying on
equipment which I may not have in a pinch, since I believe that
personal knowledge and skills are far more important than material
objects on which everyone relies. After all, it is the only thing
you cannot leave at home, lose or break on the trail, or run out of
So, you practice (not just a few times, but constantly!) for the
worst-case conditions. Then, when things go bad, you can still
do well. But to be able to do so, you must train. If I am practicing
basketball, and I make 10 shots out of 20, is that enough? or should
I practice more, scrimmage some, etc., so in a game, I can still get
the shots in?
Be Prepared, to me, means Be Prepared for anything, any time, any place,
when the only thing you can rely on is yourself.
Yours in Scouting,
Assistant Scoutmaster, Troop 738
Los Angeles Area Council
Boy Scouts of America
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City