Light Me Up - Kerosene Question

Submitted: Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 01:36
ThreadID: 99820 Views:3414 Replies:10 FollowUps:6
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It has been a long time since I had to look for liquid fuel, especially from a roadhouse.

Has anyone noticed if kero or shell lite is commonly available from roadhouses across Australia?

Is it one of those items kept locked up because it is stolen for substance abuse?

Has anyone had their fuel stolen while camping between roadhouses?

(background to question - I am walking solo without a support vehicle around Australia and choosing the best UL camp cooking system by choosing the most convenient and safe fuel type. The choices are shell lite/kerosene MSR Whisperlite or propane/butane for Jetboil)
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Reply By: KSV - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 02:19

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 02:19
Since we have LED kerosene not in favor anymore :-( You better search other type of fuel if you like to be able to find it everywhere. Metho is perhaps best one, though some gas does more calories.
AnswerID: 501793

Reply By: Gaynor - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 03:24

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 03:24

This MSR unit works on canister fuel, white gas, kerosene and unleaded gasoline.

Every roadhouse should have unleaded gasoline. Perhaps for convenience you might want to change to this system, if you can afford it?


The hybrid-fuel WhisperLite Universal stove delivers the ease and simmering capabilities of canister fuel, and switches easily over to liquid fuels for longer trips, cold-weather, and international use. Our patent-pending AirControl™ technology is what really makes it unique, delivering outstanding performance with all compatible fuels. It’s also the lightest stove in its class, offering excellent stability and easy maintenance, adding to the reasons this could be the only stove you’ll ever need.

Hybrid-Fuel Performance: Patent pending AirControl™ technology creates the optimal fuel/air mix for top-notch performance with canister fuel, white gas, kerosene and unleaded gasoline.

Canister Liquid Feed: Delivers better cold weather and low-fuel performance with a more consistent output over the life of each canister. Canister stand Included.

Lightweight: Aluminum mixer tube, extra-stable stainless steel legs and refined design keep weight to a minimum.

Easy Transitions: Liquid and canister fuel couplers pair with fuel-specific jets for quick and easy transitions.

Field Maintainable: Self-cleaning Shaker Jet™ technology and redesigned leg assembly facilitate fast cleaning and even easier maintenance in the field.

Includes: Fuel pump, windscreen, heat reflector, small-parts kit, instructions, and stuff sack. (Fuel bottle not included)
AnswerID: 501794

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 03:26

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 03:26
I am assuming you have the standard Whisperlite?
FollowupID: 778019

Follow Up By: Member - Terra'Mer - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 11:23

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 11:23
:) That's correct. It's an oldie but a goodie :)

Looked at the universal and, if MSR haven't made a newer better one when it comes time to replace it, I will probably get it.
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Reply By: Member - Tony (ACT) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 06:32

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 06:32
I have a Trangi cooking set, they come in 3 sizes i think. Run on metho which is a very safe fuel to use and carry.

In the set you get two cooking pots, lid/ pan and handle, they all stack together with a stap around them. I have used a lot of the other types of units and the Trangi is the most simple to set up and get cooking.
AnswerID: 501797

Follow Up By: Gaynor - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 17:07

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 17:07
I have had a trangi for almost 30 years. Very simple for sure and never failed.... except for that time in Greece when I could not read the writing on the packages and bought something flammable that turned my cooking set into a flame thrower. Could have burned the tent down along side it had I not killed the flames in the sand.

In recent years I have become shy of using the trangi because the pots are made of aluminum and one pot showed signs of corrosion. I now use a stainless steel billy which is slightly too big to fit into the stack method. It is all getting a bit clumsy now, so stopped using the trangi.
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Reply By: Bushranger1 - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 07:59

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 07:59
I have a Coleman dual fuel stove & when I can't get Shellite I run it on Unleaded. (it won't run on Kero). Someone suggested this as an option so if you can use unleaded use a few drops of injector cleaner with it to keep the jets clear.

In answer to your question, Shellite is available at most hardware stores but I have never seen it at roadhouses. It fairly pricy in comparison to Unleaded so if your stove will handle Unleaded I would go that way.
By the way the Opal fuel which is used in some parts of Australia to minimise petrol sniffing works fine.

AnswerID: 501800

Follow Up By: Member - OnYaBike - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 01:57

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 01:57
I buy Shellite in a 20 litre drum from the fuel depot, works out around $3 a litre against up to $7 in small bottles or by buying Coleman fuel. I take 10 litres with me with the intention of using unleaded if I run out of Shellite and can't get it at a reasonable price.
I also have one of those Gasmate type burners with the disposable and easily obtainable gas cartridges, cheap to buy and run and good for a quick boil up on the track or for breakfast.
FollowupID: 778151

Reply By: Member - Stephen L (Clare SA) - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 10:04

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 10:04

Depending on where and the size of the Roadhouse, the answer in most cases will be no.

Seeing that you are on foot and are choosing the best, it is a wonder that you have overlooked the MSR DragonFly stove that will use all the available types of liquid fuels, but far more importantly will use diesel.

You may or may not know,but diesel is the safest of the liquid fuels to carry, is available anywhere and in remote areas, is often the only fuel available.

This link, MSR DragonFly Stove gives you the run down on how to use and service the stove.

We have travelled to many areas, and have personally never seen kero or shellite for sale over the counter, but have seen it in hardware stores.

It is your call, but if you say that you want the best cooking system, then the MSR DragonFly should be the only one to consider.


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AnswerID: 501812

Reply By: The Bantam - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 10:29

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 10:29
Kerro is out of favour these days, its getting hard to get and its EXpensive.

When I was a kid every petrol station had a tank of the stuff and it was way cheaper than petrol.

kerro ins much heavier oilier and less volotile than shelite.

Shellite is a branded version of white spirit, which is close to the hydrocarbon base that petrol is made on, shelite you will find more expensive than white spirit because of the brand royalties.

Colemane fuel and whatever other stove brand of fuel will also be white spirit or very very close.

Do not confues metho, which these days is nearly pure ethanol with white spirit.

All of these are volotile solvents and are no safer than any other to carry, they all sit in the same dangerous goods catagory as petrol....class 3- flamable liquids.

Standard disposable butane casisters have become very popular, available all over the place and very cheap along with their stoves...they have the safety advantage that they are self sealing and the fuel is contained in small packages.

AnswerID: 501815

Reply By: Member - Terra'Mer - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 11:19

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 11:19
Thanks for everyone's thoughts, ideas and experiences with camp cookers and fuel.

The reason I only mentioned the 2 cookers is because I already have a whisperlite (over 10 years old and my old trusty) and jetboil (newish, been on only a few treks and still getting used to it) so I will not be buying a third camp cooker until one of them dies. But when I do need to replace one of them it will be with another MSR ultralight system.

I tried a trangia about 23 years ago (they haven't changed much in that time) because my fellow venturers raved about them but it didn't have the right feeling for me.

With the whisperlite my preference is white spirits because anything heavier/thicker can block the fuel line and it is very fiddly fixing it. It has only failed on me once because I used heavy fuel and it took hours to fix it. If i could get white spirits regularly across Australia I would but I know I can't but kerosene is still more common so I was just hoping roadhouses stocked it.

Finding a bottle of kero at a road house will certainly be easier than a threaded gas canister suitable for the jetboil. I have almost abandoned the idea of taking the jetboil because the right fitting canisters will be rare outside of townships with camping stores. I have a hard enough time finding them in a major town where I live, my choice here in civilisation is just 3 outdoor stores all over 25kms away. Even while walking around Tassie many towns had nothing i could use with the jetboil but servos had a variety of spirits.

Idealy I'd have a support crew with a qualified chef who could drive ahead, set up the outdoor kitchen and cook me up a vegetarian feast but that is not my reality.

I'm good at improvising but it is good to know what the situation is outback and bush. I might email/phone the roadhouses and ask them to order in a bottle when I get close to them.

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Reply By: Bazooka - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 13:20

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 13:20
Where are you walking this time Terra? I'm sure people on here heading the same way would be happy to drop off a few decanted bottles of your preferred with your name on them if asked.
AnswerID: 501844

Follow Up By: Member - Terra'Mer - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 15:29

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 15:29
That kind of help will be wonderful :)

I phoned Jeff (or Geoff) from Madura RH and asked a few questions and he was very helpful and put my mind at ease. If i phone ahead the roadhouses can order in what I need and, in some cases where multiple roadhouses are under the same management, send stuff like a bottle of shell lite forward.

Still walking around Australia. It is a 7 year, 32,000km walk started Sept last. Finished walking 1200km around Tassie but I missed some bits so I will need to go back during one of the 4 wet season breaks I'll be taking as I walk across the top. I'm a slow walker but right now I'm stopped in my tracks waiting for safer/cooler weather, for the cart to be completed and some medical tests.

The next section, sponsored by ExplorOz, is a 2,600km walk from Melbourne to Adelaide via Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Bathurst, Bendigo, Shepparton, Swan Hill, Mildura, Renmark, Mt Gambier, Murray Bridge and Kangaroo Island. I'm not expecting to start until mid to late Feb.

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Follow Up By: Member - Terra'Mer - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 23:09

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 23:09
NOT Bathurst! Ever since I was a little kid I mixed up Ballarat and Bathurst, even after having visited both several times. Oops
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Reply By: Pushy - Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 16:41

Sunday, Jan 06, 2013 at 16:41
Its all to do with the current regulations regarding transport storage and dispensing flammable goods.
In the old days most servos had a small tank for kero or shellite which they dispensed into a container.

This is a big no-no now. It can only be dispensed through a bowser or in prepacked bottles.

You would be more likely to find kero or the like in a hardware store.

Roadhouses may be able to get bottles of kero in for you but it may be difficult as they will have to buy it in carton lots and flammable goods can not travel on the same truck as foodstuffs including per food.
AnswerID: 501863

Reply By: SDG - Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 00:08

Monday, Jan 07, 2013 at 00:08
Just about every servo I have been to has had bottles of metho, kero, or turps on the shelf. Never been to any road houses in the Central area, so can't help you there.
Supermakets also sell them.
AnswerID: 501883

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