Most preppers know basic methods for starting a fire.
I’d be willing to bet the vast majority of you reading this have access to a fire starter or two (if you don’t then click here to see our selection of fire starters).
But what most preppers don’t know much about, or don’t have dependable access to is gel fuel.
Not familiar with gel fuel?
That’s OK, you’re not the only one.
Gel fuel is a smokeless, odorless, alcohol based fuel that’s perfect for use indoors and out. One of the reasons people like it so much is because it doesn’t splash like liquid fuels…essentially it’s a fuel paste that can be burned without the risk of spillage.
You might have seen gel fuel being used in fireplaces, but it also has extensive survival uses since you can make it with ease and store it for a long time.
There are two ways to make gel fuel, both of them are effective and safe, it’s really going to come down to preference.
I’ll explain them both here and then I’ve got a video on the more popular version at the bottom of the post.
Gel Fuel from Soy Wax
If you know how to melt a candle and know how to stir and pour then this option is going to be your preferred method.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- 6 oz. of Soy Wax
- 1 bottle of 70 – 99% isopropyl alcohol (the higher the percent alcohol the better)
- An old sauce pan
- 6 Clean pet food cans
- 6 Candle wicks
Once you’ve compiled all the ingredients follow these steps:
- Melt the 6 ounces of soy wax in the pan on medium heat
- Slowly pour in a 1/2 cup of your alcohol while stirring it in until it’s thoroughly mixed
- Pour 6 equal parts into your pet food cans until they’re approximately 3/4 of the way full
- Insert the wick so it touches the bottom
- Cool in the fridge
Presto, you now have a portable gel fuel cooking element.
If you want more gel fuel then just multiply each unit in the ingredients by as many times as you think you’ll need. You can store it in any kind of container, but ones with easy pour spouts are the easiest. Just label it hazardous so someone doesn’t eat it by accident.
Now if you want to try the alternative method then you’re going to require a different ingredient list and you’ll learn a different method on how to make gel fuel.
Gel Fuel from Chalk
Calcium acetate, or plain old chalk is the next main ingredient use to make gel fuel.
You’re still going to use alcohol, but you’ll also include a little bit of water in the mix to accomplish your gel fuel production.
You can buy calcium acetate, but it’s rather expensive.
A better alternative is to make it yourself, which is quite easy and quite inexpensive.
To make your own calcium acetate buy calcium carbonate (you can purchase this online, or at some hardwood, or garden supply stores) and some white vinegar.
Here’s what Theresa Crouse says about making this gel fuel essential.
Making calcium acetate at home: You’ll need crushed chalk (calcium carbonate) and white vinegar (acetic acid). Combine 4 parts vinegar to 1 part chalk and the result will be carbon dioxide, which will evaporate, and calcium acetate and water, both of which will remain. This process smells like rotten eggs, just so you know.
You’ll be left with a solid on the bottom and a liquid on the top. It’s the solid that you want, though you’ll need some of the liquid to make the gel. You’ll need to evaporate 1/2-2/3 of the water out of the solution. You can do it by placing the solution in the oven for a few hours, sitting it in the sun, or carefully evaporating it on “low” on the stove top. You can also strain it using a cheesecloth or coffee filter.
Once you’ve made the calcium acetate it’s time to get your gel fuel mixture going.
Let’s say you want to make a little more than a gallon of gel fuel.
Take 1 gallon of alcohol, mix it with 1 3/4 cup + 1 teaspoon of the calcium acetate/water mixture and then get mixing.
You can add more alcohol if you want to get the gel fuel a little more viscous.
That’s all it takes to make gel fuel.
Not too bad, huh?
If you want to see how this works then take a look at the video below to get a good idea on what this looks like exactly.
So You Learned How to Make Gel Fuel – Here’s Gel Fuel’s Best Friend
If you’re making gel fuel because you want to use it in survival situations, or for camping and backpacking, then you’ll want to combine a fire starter with your fuel supply.
Ideally you want one that’s lightweight, dependable, and will produce a brilliant, hot spark every time.
We have several fire starters that’ll meet those specifications on our store.
Click here or on the image below to view one of our top sellers.