Camping fuel is not the same as kerosene however you are free to use kerosene as a fuel for different purposes during camping.
In the outdoor world, white gas is referred to as camp fuel or Coleman fuel which is the purest form of gasoline on the other hand kerosene is not that pure.
Despite that, both fall under the category of liquid fuel.
To understand the difference and usage clearly we need to know the fuels that are available in the camping market.
Keep reading the post if you want to educate yourself all about camping fuel.
In between the post, we will also discuss some commonly asked questions about using kerosene during camping which you can directly hop into using a table of contents.
Table of Contents
- Types of camping fuel:
- Can you mix camp fuel (white gas) with kerosene?
- How fast does kerosene evaporate?
- Can we use petrol on a kerosene stove?
- Can you use kerosene in a Coleman catalytic heater?
- Can I use Coleman fuel in a kerosene lantern?
- Can I use camp fuel in a kerosene heater?
- Final Thoughts
Types of camping fuel:
If we consider all the fuels that can be used while camping regardless of safety then we have 9 different fuel types available to use in camping stoves these are kerosene, white gas, gasoline, diesel, petrol, alcohol, propane, butane, and isobutane.
Look at the table given below and you’ll technically know how kerosene is not the same as any other camping fuel.
|Fuel Name||Fuel Type||Flash Point (For Liquid fuel)||Vaporization point (Where gas turn into liquid and not ignite)||Availability (+,++,+++)||Key point|
|White Gas||Liquid||0°F||Not found||+||Pure gasoline without additives|
|Kerosene||Liquid||100°F||Not found||++||Can be used. Purer than diesel but not white gas|
|Diesel||Liquid||140°F||Not found||+++||Worst for your stove|
|Petrol||Liquid||-50°F||Not found||+++||It is dangerous to use in stoves|
|Alcohol||Liquid||80°F||Not found||++||Works best for alcohol-based stoves|
|Propane||Gas||Not found||-44°F||+||Ideal gas for cold temperature and cleanest gas to burn|
|Butane||Gas||Not found||31°F||+||Butane is fine for summer but not in cold (32°F or below)|
|Isobutane||Gas||Not found||11°F||+||Lighter canisters and can cook longer with less fuel|
Which fuel type is easier to find?
Among all the 9 different fuels gasoline and petrol are the ones which are easier to find but not any experienced camper will recommend you to use petrol as it can lead to fire casualties due to its highly flammable nature.
So the only easily available option left is gasoline followed by propane, kerosene, alcohol, isobutane, and butane. Pure butane is quite hard to find.
Propane is something that is most commonly used in everyday things like BBQs to camping stoves which makes propane be easily found pretty much in every city.
Fuel that is most safer for camp cooking
White gas is the most safer to use fuel for camping cooking. This fuel has gained its authority due to its highly refined character with no additives makes it gas with no poisonous chemical in it.
Because it has no impurity it can help you to cook fastly and leaves no due on your camping cookware.
If you are talking in terms of which is a little harder to light but offers a strong amount of heat so that there are low chances of fire accident then kerosene will be a good choice.
To be aware, kerosene is not cleaner than white gas so you might see some dirt on your cookware over time and don’t use it indoors.
However, the type of camping cookware you have will also determine the quality of cooking and the overall taste of food. You can read more about this in our recent post on best camping cookware for open fire.
If you find that white gas is expensive for you, you can use unleaded gasoline as an alternative for stoves, lanterns, heaters, etc.
It is cheaper than white gas and the Coleman fuel and to be honest most gas lanterns will not work fine if you use unleaded gas.
Can you mix camp fuel (white gas) with kerosene?
You should not mix kerosene with white gas because white gas no additive whereas kerosene is a mixture of hydrocarbon chains with 6 to 16 carbon atoms in length.
In any case, if you mix both of them, the mixture will be treated as gasoline.
This will make the flashpoint considerably low and can damage your stove or some accident because of the overpressure generated in the fuel tank by the heat from the burner.
How fast does kerosene evaporate?
Under normal temperatures, kerosene will not evaporate.
Thus if you accidentally spill some kerosene in your camping stove, gears, clothes, etc then for a long time you can smell kerosene.
It won’t evaporate even when you wash it all down so to cut its burning effect and smell you need to clean your gears or clothes using oil fighting detergent mixture.
Can we use petrol on a kerosene stove?
Never use petrol on any stove including kerosene stoves because petrol is a highly flammable fuel that vaporizes too fast that can produce an uncontrollable flame which you may not eliminate that quickly.
Also, kerosene stoves have wick so when you petrol in it then the vapors of it can accumulate around the wick which can ignite with a quick flash.
Can you use kerosene in a Coleman catalytic heater?
You can use the kerosene in a Coleman catalytic heater but it is not ideal to do so due to a variety of reasons like kerosene is dirtier so it can clog also kerosene can help to increase the carbon monoxide content in surroundings.
If you are curious about your health then not use it instead of use propane or white gas (unleaded gasoline can also work)
However, why are you still using Coleman catalytic heater when the same brand is making a heater that has sensors to shut down automatically when carbon monoxide dominant oxygen.
Can I use Coleman fuel in a kerosene lantern?
You should not use Coleman fuel in kerosene lanterns as they are specially made to handle a person which is a bit harder fuel than Coleman (Naptha).
As kerosene has a higher heating point than Naptha, many kerosene lanterns use a smaller size of fuel jet to maintain the ratio of fuel and air
Using Coleman fuel, pump gasoline, etc in kerosene can be hazardous so I would not recommend it.
Even though, if you like to burn Coleman fuel or unleaded gasoline then you can buy a Coleman dual-fuel lantern.
Can I use camp fuel in a kerosene heater?
Taking safety first, you should not use any camp fuel or gasoline instead of kerosene in a kerosene heater because such fuel can fire or explode which nobody wants.
Can kerosene heaters emit Carbon Monoxide?
Yes, kerosene heaters can emit carbon monoxide because it uses organic fuel and any heater that run on organic fuel can emit high amounts of carbon monoxide and soot when not provided enough oxygen.
However, among natural fuels kerosene is cleaner so the production of carbon monoxide is comparatively low.
That’s the only reason why experts recommend you to have a carbon monoxide sensor in your heater room and to vent the area surrounding the heater well inside your tent or home.
Intaking of carbon monoxide could even result in asphyxiation or carbon monoxide poisoning.
I recommend you to read this article about asphyxiation on healthline.com
I hope you now know the clear difference between kerosene and other camping fuels.
Each fuel has its own specialty and weak points like kerosene is cheaper but it gives helping hands in increasing greenhouse emissions.
Where white gas which is referred to as camp fuel is a little expensive but it is known to be the purest and cleanest gasoline with no poisonous chemicals added.
Likewise, if you go on you’ll find that every fuel is different than others in usage and effects.
So which stove fuel to choose for camping? If you have a budget and want liquid camping fuel you can go for white gas also known as Naptha, Coleman fuel, and camping fuel.
While propane serves better when comes to gas fuels for camping.
Both white gas and propane work fine in winter seasons but you can also go for butane or isobutane for light options which work best for fast backpacking.