Whether you’re heading off on a camping trip or experimenting with a portable gas stove at home, it’s important to understand how these devices work. They offer excellent convenience, heating speed and temperature control – but can pose danger if used incorrectly.
While it’s not common to use a portable stove inside, many Japanese products are specially designed for indoor cooking. They allow chefs to cook up national favourites such as Sukiyaki – a warming stew packed with mushrooms, beef, noodles and more – directly on dinner tables in front of customers.
These stoves include various safety technology such as thermocouples, which help to shut gas burners off if the flame goes out unnoticed.
Typical British portable gas stoves don’t feature the same level of safety equipment however, so it’s important to take care every time you use one. Follow these general safety tips to make sure you use yours correctly and avoid unnecessary injuries out in the wild.
Transport your stove carefully
Getting your stove safely to your destination is a good place to start. If you’re carrying gas canisters, it’s best to keep them upright and well ventilated. This allows the safety valve to release gas if too much pressure builds up, rather than leaking in a dangerous liquid form.
Beware of leaving propane gas canisters in your car on a hot day, too.
Set it up safely
Once you’ve arrived and set up camp, make sure to only use your stove in a ventilated outdoor area – unless it’s a Japanese stove of course!
Using a portable gas stove inside a tent or vehicle risks setting fire to flammable materials or giving off dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. In England and Wales, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning results in roughly 200 hospitalisations each year.
You should also make sure your work surface is firm and level to prevent your stove tipping over.
Manage the flame
Gas stove flames can generally be set to low, medium and high. Yours shouldn’t creep around the edge of your cookware as it could burn your fingers – and should only be turned on while you’re using it.
Leaving a flame unattended can also lead to unnecessary accidents.
Maintain your equipment
You should always allow your gas stove to cool before removing any canisters. Clean it thoroughly afterwards and check it for any damage before storing it in a cool, dry place. You may need to clear the burner holes from time to time.
Don’t be tempted to modify your gas stove – you could easily render it unsafe.
Use the right utensils
Using the wrong equipment with your stove may seem like a silly mistake, but it’s easily done. Your chosen materials should be anti-corrosive and non-flammable, so choose copper over plastic or glass.
Your utensils should also be the correct size to cover your flame when turned up high, without being so large that it risks toppling over.
Portable gas stoves can become dangerous. But by following the safety tips above, you’ll soon be cooking up a storm.