A comparison of carbon monoxide levels during the use of a multi-fuel camp stove

R. B. Schwartz, D. J. Ledrick, A. L. Lindman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective. - The use of camp stoves in an enclosed or poorly ventilated space is clearly not recommended due to the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Instances may arise, however, when use for a limited time is necessary. We sought to find differences in CO levels between various fuels used to power a commercially available camp stove. Methods. - A comparison was made between unleaded gasoline, kerosene, and white gas (Coleman fuel). The stove, fuels, and CO detector were all purchased from local retailers. A 0.4-m3 space was constructed with a cardboard box. Three trials were performed using each fuel in which water was heated over the stove for 5 minutes. Measurement of the CO level within the box was taken every 30 seconds. Results. - Kerosene created CO levels of 714 (SD = 113.5) parts per million (ppm) at 2 1/2 minutes but was out of the measurable range of >999 ppm within 4 minutes on each of its trials. White gas burned the cleanest, with an average of 212 ppm (SD = 27.8) at 2 1/2 minutes and 348 ppm (SD = 76.0) at 5 minutes. Unleaded gasoline created 305 ppm (SD = 27.1) at 2 1/2 minutes and 464 ppm (SD = 31.6) at 5 minutes. Conclusion. - All of the fuels created a high level of CO in a short period of time. White gas burned the cleanest and would be preferred to unleaded gasoline or kerosene in the event that the unvented use of a camp stove was necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-238
Number of pages3
JournalWilderness and Environmental Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • Camp stoves
  • Carbon monoxide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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