Fire is one of the most essential things you will need when you are in nature. Not only does it provide warmth and comfort to raise your spirits, it is also an excellent tool for food preparation, especially if you plan to keep protein in your diet. Learning to start a fire on your own can be a bit difficult if you do not bring a lighter, but there are other methods you can use.
Rubbing two sticks together has always worked for many people, but the task itself may take a long time, and may not always have the right conditions for it to work. However, if you learn to make gel fuel, all your problems will disappear. It is essential to have this fuel starter on all your hiking trips, or if you just want to light a nice fire in your fireplace. Having DIY gel will also save you a lot of money instead of having to buy starter fuel whenever you need it.
What you need to know about gel fuels.
Gel fuel is a recently new substance that is sweeping the world of camping. It is mainly due to the ease of manufacture and use, and can be stored for a long period of time, allowing you to prepare for any trip properly.
It is an alcohol-based product that does not emit smoke or noxious fumes that could become dangerous to your health. This makes it an excellent source of fire that you can use, even inside your tent, if it is very cold outside.
And a fire can provide a sense of comfort, especially when the weather is bad and you need me to be picked up. A positive attitude can make the difference between surviving and surrendering, and a warm and pleasant fire may be exactly what you need.
Keep in mind that there are commercial gel fuel containers that you can buy, but it is more about making your own gel fuel so you can have your own stable and reliable fuel source for your fires. One of the best things about gel fuel is that it can be done safely from the comfort of your home. There is no need for any luxury equipment, special tools or a large amount of ingredients that you must buy to make your own gel fuel.
Above is a video that explains exactly what gel fuel is.
DIY gel fuel – different ways to do it
There are several different ways to make gel fuel from the ingredients you already have at home, as well as some that you can buy at the store. Either way, the basic concepts of gel fuel require two main ingredients: an incendiary component and a gelling agent.
Make fuel gel with soy wax.
Soy wax can be found in candle making shops and comes in small round balls. Actually, they melt quite easily in response to the heat and will help keep your fire going.
First you must add six ounces of soy wax to a pan and then add 1/2 cup of isopropyl alcohol (70-99%). Stir them together until they are completely combined. Then, pour the mixture into several cans (soup cans or pet food cans work best) and place a wick that touches the bottom, inside the mixture. Then, place them in the refrigerator overnight so they can harden. If you want to make a larger supply, simply increase the quantities proportionally.
How to make fuel gel with calcium acetate.
This method is more preferred, since the resulting fuel lasts much longer and is easier to manufacture on your own instead of buying supplies. You can choose to buy calcium acetate or do it yourself.
To make calcium acetate, you will need calcium carbonate (chalk) and white vinegar (acetic acid). Combine four parts of vinegar with one part of chalk, but be careful that the resulting odor is like rotten eggs, so it is best to do it in a well-ventilated area.
Once the mixture has settled, there will be a solid in the bottom and a liquid in the upper part, which is used in part to make the fuel gel. Evaporate at least half or two thirds of the solution water by allowing it to sit in the sun or simmering. If it can not wait that long, it can be filtered through a filter of coffee or other porous material.
To make the gel fuel, you must combine nine parts of isopropyl alcohol with one part of calcium acetate. Mix them together until they start to gel and then pour the mixture into several cans. You want to add 1 part of water for every 3 parts of calcium acetate.
Here are two useful videos that show how to make gel fuel with calcium acetate:
How to make fuel gel using hand sanitizer
If you want an even easier way to make your gel fuel, the hand sanitizer has a high alcohol content and will burn just as well. Hand sanitizer is also relatively inexpensive, so it is a good alternative to use if it can not be done with the other materials mentioned above.
Here are two videos on how to make your own gel fuel using hand sanitizer:
How to make fuel gel using alcohol, vinegar and antacids.
Instead of going out and buying the materials you need, why not look in your own closets? You may already have vinegar, alcohol, and antacids in your home, and these can replace acetic acid and calcium carbonate.
This is definitely the best method to use if you’re in a hurry and you really need to do some gel fuel quickly.
Above is a useful video that details the process of how to make gel fuel with these materials.
The benefits of fuel gel.
The gel fuel is a perfect replacement for fire or wood when you want your fire to burn clean and leave no residue. These benefits of fuel gel can convince you to convert to this fuel source, especially if you are considering hiking or hiking in nature.
- It is one of the most ecological fuels you can use to start the fire. Actually more than burning wood or gas. It causes less damage to the environment, as there are no harmful vapors to inhale or leave a residue inside your fireplace. The fuel ingredients are also made from renewable products, so you are not running out of any natural resources.
- It is safe to use inside the apartments as well. The apartments do not really have their own fireplaces, and it does not hurt to have a little extra heat during the winter season. Gel fuel does not require ventilation of any kind because it is very safe to use in confined areas. In fact, it is as safe as burning a candle. And since it does not leave any residue, the containers in which it stores the gel fuel can be used again and again.
- A fire started using gel fuel is very low maintenance. It does not create any ash that must be cleaned and burned constantly for a long period of time. Wood fires usually require adding more wood and flipping logs for maximum burn, but gel fire is much easier to use.
- It does not splash when you knock it down. This makes it extremely safe to use anywhere, as you do not have to worry about your immediate surroundings catching fire. And if you are camping in the forest, there is very little chance that a forest fire will start.
- It can last forever, as long as it is stored correctly. Keep it away from heat, direct sunlight and moisture, and you will have a fuel source that you can use when you need it.
- It is more cost effective than other types of combustion material. The cost of getting the materials to make your own gel fuel is offset by the amount of gel fuel that can be created. Many of the ingredients for making your own fuel gel are probably already in your home.
- The fires are very portable, which may be necessary if you move at night. A stationary fire can make it difficult for you to see the things around you, but if you have a gel fire in a container, then you can take it wherever you need to go.
- There is no special way to put out a gel fire. Like normal wood fires, you must cover them with sand or dirt to make sure they are really off, but for a gel fire, all you have to do is put the lid on and go out by yourself. Then, when you are ready to use, simply turn the fuel on again.
- You will save a lot of arm work trying to start a fire on your own, using only wood. The wood can be wet, still green, or there are weather elements that make lighting difficult. But the gel fuel will always turn on 100% of the time, as long as it has been stored correctly.
The disadvantages of the fuel gel.
Although gel fuel is excellent, there are some things that should be taken into account when using it as the main source of fuel.
Keep in mind, however, that these are simple drawbacks that you should be careful of. They are still outweighed by the wonderful benefits that gel fuel can provide.
- Despite being easy to use, it has a very low heat output. The fire can look good and add a great aspect to your campsite, but it will not produce much heat. However, it is the equivalent of a small electric heater, which is enough for most people. It may take a little longer to heat a quick meal over the flame, but a hot dinner is better than a cold one.
- The gel fuel itself burns very quickly, so to keep a steady fire burning, you will have to refuel regularly if you do not want your fire to go out. A can or can size container can last two to three hours, so it is best to structure your program around this time to maximize the use of your fire.
- The combustion of gel fuel creates water vapor in the air, which can make it more humid. This really is only problematic if you are burning the gel fuel inside your store, but otherwise, it is not a deterrent to its use.
Knowing how to make your own gel fuel can help you be more reliable and keep more money in your pocket, especially when you are preparing to be outdoors for an extended period of time. You can allocate that money to more dry foods to take with you and better camping equipment to make your experience more enjoyable.
Having your own gel fuel also keeps you prepared in case of emergencies, when the power supply runs out and you need some way to move around in the dark of your home, or even stay warm for a few hours. It is easy to do and can do as much as you need or larger quantities so you can store it for future use.
Either way, you do not need to have a chemistry degree to make your own gel fuel, as long as you are careful during your preparation. And, as always, be as careful as you would with any open flame when you are burning your gel fuel. The fact that it is relatively safer than other fuels does not mean that you should not be cautious, so you should be careful at all times.
DO IT YOURSELF