How to use a aerosol gas stove safely
Guidance on the safe use of aerosol gas stoves.
(Published April 2022, replacing June 2019)
Aerosol camping stoves are cheap and popular with all sorts of campers. However, there have been several instances of the aerosols in these stoves exploding.
In at least one case, the incident involved initial problems with the locking lever and gas control dial. Later the gas canister exploded. For a while this type of equipment was banned in Australia until regulations were put in place due to cases of overheating resulting in explosion.
Some tips to follow to help you safely use this type of stove:
- Always use the stove according to the manufacturer's instructions
- Explain to adults and young people about the potential hazards and how to deal with them.
- Ensure the collar of the canister is properly aligned (look for the notch) and seated before using the locking lever.
- Don’t use the stove if it can’t be properly aligned and locked without effort.
- Turn the stove off safely if you hear irregular hissing.
- Vacate the area in the event of a leak.
- Many stoves are packaged with the trivet upside down. Only use the stove when the trivet is the right way up, with the pot supports facing upwards.
- Don't use this type of stove for cooking for long periods than the manufacturer recommends. It is aimed at tea making and small level cooking.
- Never use the stove in a way that causes the canister to overheat – e.g. don’t use pans larger than the size of the ring/trivet - when the pot is too big, it concentrates the heat down toward the gas canister, causing it to overheat and explode. Don’t use Griddle Plates for the same reason.
- Clean your stove regularly as the build-up of fat from cooking can ignite and cause fire.
- Never leave a working stove unattended.
- Never attempt to turn off an over-flaming stove without protection to hands, arms and eyes.
- Have suitable equipment on hand to cool-down the stove and extinguish flames.
- Don't use any gas stove in a confined area where gas cannot escape freely. Allow for adequate air flow around the stove.
- Don't leave the aerosol canister inside the stove when not in use.
- Aerosols when not in use should be stored in a cool dark place (an old cooler box with drilled ventilation holes that is not used for food storage can be good for this but should be clearly labelled).
- See Camping Gas - Guidance on Safe Use for further information, particularly on the risk from Carbon Monoxide.
Take extra caution when using these types of stoves on camp or during Scouts activities, and to always carefully follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. If you've experienced issues with these stoves, please let us know by emailing us.