Recommendations for emergency stove fuel in Get Home Bag stored in car

I am going to store my Get Home Bag in the hatchback of my car day to day, so I have it if I need it when at work, at the grocery store, etc.  I live in northern New England, so very cold in the winter and in the summer months it can get pretty warm, especially inside my car. 

The last aspect of my get home bag planning revolves around figuring out what emergency stove I am going to have in my bag.  I had been planning on a Jet Boil (used this all the time before kids while hiking, rock climbing and ice climbing), but after asking Jet Boil about storing their fuel canisters in my hot car in the summer, they said absolutely don’t do that.  Not surprising.

I was planning on having several Mountain House food pouches in my get home bag to use for food on the journey home and using the jet boil to heat up the water for these pouches.  I thought it was good too because it would double as a back up for water purification (boiling).

If there isn’t a better option, I was thinking I could separate my more “temperature sensitive items” – like IFAK medicines, lighter, food pouches, other snacks, hand sanitizer, jet boil canister, in a smaller separate bag that I would bring into work with me each day and then bring back out to the car at the end of the day.

Does anybody have any alternative recommendations for heating / boiling water that doesn’t involve fuel canisters?  

Could you share how you address managing risks from extreme temperatures in your get home bag?


  • Comments (21)

    • 7

      Wood is plentiful in my area, so I keep a Solo Stove pot in my get home bag.  I have to plan on extreme heat inside my car during Mississippi summers.  That is why I use Mainstay food bars, as they are designed for higher heat than found in a car.


      You can see mine in this pic of my get home bag, up in the top left.  It has been partially taken apart, with the stove taken out of the pot, as normally it all fits together & in its cloth sack.


      • 4

        Thanks Redneck!  I feel like up here in Northern New England this would be a great option for a summer get home bag, but unsure if with all of the deep snow up here I would be able to reliably find dry twigs and sticks in the middle of the winter.  

        The good news is that Jet Boil did say their gas cannisters can sit in very cold temperatures without issue, but they would need to be warmed up a bit in order to work on demand.

        Would it be a good strategy to use a solo stove lite in the summer and then in the winter / cooler months switch out with a jet boil or something similar with a fuel cannister?

      • 5

        A Solo Stove only uses a tiny amount of wood or other combustible.  Why can’t you just add some in your bag?  There are normally small voids in every get home bag.  Otherwise, store some wood pieces in your car.  Best option would be to store some fatwood as opposed to just pieces of wood.  I personally would rather store a little wood or fatwood, than any gas cannisters.

        I keep petroleum jelly and cotton balls in my get home bag.  Those by itself would heat up some water, but I have them to help with damp wood.  Once again, I can store lots of cotton balls in those voids found in my bag.


    • 8

      Check out the little German designed Esbit stove. Uses solid fuel tabs, light & durable, very compact for get home bag. 

      • 6

        Esbit is the solution I chose for my GHB since I typically am within 15 miles of my home (only need a few uses) and supposed to handle the high temperatures (So Cal 100s) .  My backup is an open fire with wetfire tinder.  

        Here’s the one I chose, but there are also very small versions or you can use the tablets in other stoves as well.  

      • 4

        I bought cheaper version of this stove at Walmart. Or it may have been my local army surplus store… Anyways, I think I have the Coghlan’s emergency camp stove. https://www.walmart.com/ip/Coghlan-s-Emergency-Stove/21903802

        Never used it though because I didn’t want to use up the little fuel tablets. I’ll have to give it a try though because it’s kind of dumb to have gear that you’ve never tested before. It may not even work for what I need.

      • 4

        Indeed, Olly.  There are a lot of stove versions just fore these Esbit tablets.  I’ve not tried burning them either (thanks for that reminder!).  I can say those little fuel tablets smell badly if the seal is broken/punctured so I have a couple that I could and should try out (didn’t pack the smelly ones).  I understand from reading reviews and from experienced through hikers blogs that they work to boil water with not much ability to adjust temperature and leave a residue on the pot.  Neither of these are of concern for my GHB use case, just full disclosure here. 

      • 2

        Was watching a YouTube video about stoves and came across a hobo alcohol stove. Probably no the best for your GHB, but I was surprised how quickly it boiled some water. https://youtu.be/NznFixD_4xc?t=485

      • 6

        Olly, I’ve had some fun making soda can alcohol stoves as craft projects. Here’s the you tube video of one.  The simplest type is just alcohol in a can – but you need a stand to hold the pot.  An alcohol stove (not my own making) is in my BOB as it can use the denatured ethanol fuel as well as 91% isopropyl found in most drug stores if we need to scavenge.  It’s also much lighter than a canister stove setup.  

      • 4

        Years ago I’ve tried making two alcohol stoves with old soda cans and neither of them came out very well. I’ll need to do my research and try making some again. 

        I heard Root Beer cans make the best stoves 😉 mmmm… root beer

    • 5

      Thank you everybody for these excellent suggestions!  I will check these options out 🙂

      • 7

        I’m new to prepping and only just starting to put together a get home bag for my car and I plan to use an alcohol stove

        I’ve left a bottle of methylated spirits in my car for years for cleaning windows etc… I use a proper fuel bottle with an O-ring that won’t degrade when it’s in contact with spirit fuels, I’m in the UK so temperatures don’t get that extreme but it’s been tested down to -15C, and I park against a south facing wall every day at work so it does get hot in the summer. So far it’s never leaked and I’ve had no problems with it

      • 6

        What does your alcohol stove look like LadyKaos? I just made one yesterday with an old mini paint can, toilet paper roll, and 70% isopropyl alcohol. I’ve seen it as a recommended emergency heater that you could leave in your car.

        Here’s a random video I found about it just to show you what I’m talking about. I bet I could use it as a little stove too if needed. https://youtu.be/flBOACMk33M?t=413

      • 7

        I had one I made a few years ago from a beer can using a similar design to this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdGu_0eJr3k it worked just fine until I lost it on a camping trip and it got replaced by a trangia burner that I bought in the camp shop, this design: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Esbit-Spirit-Meths-Spare-Buner/dp/B004RHPSMM/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=alcohol+burner&qid=1619468426&sr=8-10

        I have a few different designs of store bought spirit burners now, they mostly all work and none are very expensive, I was just going to add one of them with a stainless steel camping mug to my get home bag, and I keep spirit fuel in the car anyway so I should be OK

        the only thing I’d add is it’s tempting to leave fuel in the trangia style burners long term because they have a sealed lid but in my experience when the seal gets a bit worn they leak slowly over time, it’s OK to fill it in the morning and use it in the evening but if you left it filled in a car there’s a chance it would dry up over time

      • 4

        Thanks for the experience on storing alcohol fuel in the car.  I’ll see how well my re-purposed dish soap bottle with plastic wrap reinforced lid works out in my BOB in the variable temperature garage.  Water worked over 3 months but it’s less volatile.  

      • 3

        I too use some plastic wrap to reinforce the lids on my bottles in my bug out bag. And also put them in little sandwich baggies for good measure. Don’t need shampoo leakin all over the sleepin bag

    • 8

      It depends on your geography, the further north you are the less reliable butane / propane are, then if you are in an auto wreck do you want explosive gas canisters OR petrolium inside your car.  I prefer Hexamine fuel tablets in my vehicle kit, I dont know what they are called in the US   they are flammable tablets that normally come with a simple cooker unit, and they are normally dirt cheap. they store for decades and there is nothing to leak or spill.

      One tab will cook a boil in the bag or heat a litre of water.



      • 3

        also consider SELF HEATING MEALS, I’m sure you can get them in the US


      • 4

        I live in central NH and spend a ton of time up north climbing and backcountry skiing.  I use the hexamine tablet stoves as my primary light and fast stove, though one that is more efficient than the little box stove.  Specifically the flat cat stove system.  It works great.  I also have one of the box style ones posted above in my bugout bag.  From my experience spend some time playing with them, and carry a wind screen, especially in winter.  

        I do prefer them over a standard jetboil for extreme cold.  I have had a canister stove fail to boil water in winter when cold enough out.  In winter you really want an inverted style canister stove if you are going with a canister, like the jetboil joule or switch to a liquid fuel stove like the whisperlite.  

        My car kit currently doesn’t have a stove, maybe it should given how many I own….. I just have a couple of those ration bars, the 3 day ones and figure that is sufficient.  I do keep my survival kit in a pot, so I can melt snow/boil water over an open fire.  Plenty of dead standing that can be processed and also snags to be found in the northeast.   

    • 3

      Hello!  I wanted to update everybody I decided to go the solo stove lite route for summer get home bag and will be using the jet boil option for winter get home bag.  FYI – solo stove is having a pretty big sale this weekend.  I just purchased the entire solo stove lite system package (burner, pot, wind shield, alcohol burner attachment, fire striker and kindling stick) at a pretty good discount.  I am excited about the alcohol burner attachment.  I will experiment with this and this may replace my jet boil plan for winter if it works well.  Thanks everybody for your feedback and advice!

      • 3

        Looks like a good set up!