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Hobo Travel Tips
By Andy the HoboTraveler.Com

ISSUE:  056
DATE:  January 21, 2002
TIP:  Alcohol Cookers
LOCATION:  Iquitos, Peru





There are lots of way to cook and heat food or

Propane tanks.
Gas tanks with a little pump.
Special Camping stoves.
The local backpacker store with charge enough
money to live here for a month for one of the latest
and greatest ways.

I use an electric hotplate. I find the management
of the hostels do not like it when I build a fire, or
use gasoline in my room.

But... Rubbing alcohol?
Why not.


An electric one burner hotplate whether it use 110 or 220
electricity cost about 5 dollars USA to purchase from
Mexico to Argentina, and about anywhere else
in the world. So this is my cooker of choice, Light
and easy to use. (Liquid fuels weigh a lot)

But there are time when I want to cook rice, spaghetti
or just have my morning cup of coffee, and there is
no electricity. Maybe the electricity is temporally off, or maybe
you are living in a place without electricity.
All I know is that for some reason, in the last four
years of travel there is about 1-5 times a month
when I do not have electricity. I have a room, but
no electricity.
(Note: The electric hotplate is my number one way to save money)

So like the normal backpacker or trekker, when I get
a chance I look in the gear store for ways to cook.
The gear manufacturers are very creative, and have really good systems.
But in reality once I leave the store, I may not be able
to buy the fuel for the next four countries. And I do not
want to carry around 4 kilos of fuel, or high pressure tanks.
Airline companies are not fond of gas or pressurized tanks.

Most flammable liquids are hard to buy, and not everywhere.
This is the great thing about alcohol and candles.
You can buy them about anywhere in the world.
The local drugstore, grocery, or convenience store almost
always sell these product. Plus you do not have to buy
a liter or a gallon. Only a small bottle. Use the bottle, and
throw it away. Then buy the another bottle in the next city.
And candles are good for romantic evenings.

This is a lot more expensive than the electric hotplate.
(Electricity compliment of the hostel)
But in a pinch alcohol or candles are better than nothing.

Take a normal soup can, or they food you purchased,
or any type of can. Cut slots in the sides. LARGE slots.
Leave the bottom can intact, so you can put
in about 1-3 inches of fuel.
a.k.a. Alcohol or Candles.
It needs to be more for candles.
If you leave the top or bottom of the can on until you are
through cutting the slots, it will be easier to cut the slots.
A steak knife will do the job, or that expensive Swiss knife
you have been carrying for the last year.
(If you wish... Sell the knife instead, and go have breakfast)

You can now prop up three to four candles, or pour in a
small quantity of rubbing alcohol. Save your Rum for later.
Find a solid non flammable surface like brick or concrete. I did this
in the bathroom here under the shower faucet.
Be cautious, and light a wadded up piece of paper and
extend it over the alcohol to light. DO NOT put your cigarette
lighter over the alcohol to light. This is dangerous.
Be careful and you will need to experiment to learn.
Some people need to have there parents watch
over them, and this is not for children. But in the end
as the British say, “Good fun”

NOTE: This is just for small foods. It is very difficult to use for
more than just heating soup, or a can of beans. Hot water for
instant coffee is great. Candles will leave soot on the bottom
of your pot and are dirty, they are my second choice of fuel.
In reality the candle burner is better for “Good Fun”. But it
the do work. I recommend you do NOT carry the alcohol
to the next location. This could be dangerous or messy.

And MESSAGE BOARD for your comments.

Andy was here.    X

Hobo’s mark your locations so we remember.
Have fun! Life is Good!

As always, these are suggestions. Please realize I am
giving guidance, and there are always other opinions.
“One mans paradise, is another mans hell”
This way we do not all go to the same place.

Article written by Andy the
On year 4 of Hobo trip around the world.
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Hello, Here is a Travel Tip written by Andy of Alcohol Cookers