Quick Tip: Green soda bottle for alcohol fuel

Alcohol stoves are great for the niche they fit. Light, simple and perfect for solo three-season backpacking when there are simple meals , the food carries are short and there are no open flame bans.

Carrying fuel would seem simple, but every year there are questions about “What bottle should I use to carry my fuel?” 

I offer my humble suggestion…

spriteA green 12 oz Mountain Dew or Sprite plastic soda bottle.

Light, durable enough and just wide enough that alcohol can be poured into it easier vs a HEET bottle. And, at 12 oz, holds about the maximum amount of fuel you’d want to use before it makes sense to switch to another stove type.

What I like about the green bottle though, is that it sticks out more versus a clear plastic bottle. A lot harder to accidentally drink from than a small and clear bottle.  If you are a child of the 80s who grew up on the East Coast, as I am, the Mr. Yuk campaign may be familiar. 

Same concept.

So grab a bottle of fizzy sugar water, do some baking if so inclined, remove the label, rinse out the bottle, dry it and voila!


My very worn bottle. Obviously, I missed part of one of the steps… I never did make muffins. Duh…

A light and effective bottle that will stick out.

Where to get: Grocery store or similar ..usually in packs of 8,12 or 24. That’s a lot of fizzy sugar water for muffins…and one effective fuel bottle.



9 Replies to “Quick Tip: Green soda bottle for alcohol fuel”

  1. Brilliant minds think alike. I’ve used the 12 oz. green soda bottles as well. I take four more easy precautions:

    I use a marker to make the Mr. Yuck face on the white cap.
    I write “poison” on two sides.
    I tie a short cord tightly just beneath the cap. Even if I’m not looking at the bottle I can feel it’s my fuel bottle when opening it.
    At night I set it beyond reach of my sleeping bag.

  2. I use 7-Up bottles – green with red tops. I also put tape on it marking with skull & crossbones. Will have to look at adding a cord – I like the tactile backup, but the 7-Up bottles also have the contoured profile, so I may not need that.

  3. I put a few seam sealer stripes along the fuel bottle, so I get the immediate touch sensation that something isn’t right. I like the green idea as well. Guess I’ll switch from Pepsi to Sprite.

  4. I know that it works, but I still don’t like the idea of putting fuel in a bottle that one held a drink. I prefer the Trangia alcohol fuel bottles. I know that no matter what you do, it is always possible that someone that someone will try to take a drink. I’ve used SIGG style fuel bottles for white gas for years and then they came out with water bottles that looked just like the fuel bottles. Of greater importance is the durability of the bottles. The aluminum bottles have been very durable, but I’ve had problems with the threads on the plastic caps and the O-rings on some of the Coleman/Peak1 fuel bottles. On the plus side with the soda bottles, you can use one for a while and replace it for next to no money.

  5. I always use a bottle that originally held a dark-colored drink so that anyone tempted to take a swig will instantly recognize that the liquid inside is not Sprite or 7-Up. (I also mark “fuel” all over the bottle and on the cap.)

  6. I used a little soda bottle for a while. Then I had to become like the rest of the consumerist slaves and bought a squeeze bottle with a closing top. Like this:


    Mainly for safety, partially for practicality, and really because it’s closer to stupidproof.

    When you knock over a squeeze bottle, your 4 days of fuel doesn’t go everywhere. All but a few drops stay in the bottle and if those catch on fire, they burn off in seconds. Though it’s easy to remember to put the cap back on the soda bottle, I have somehow forgotten to do it and lost days of fuel twice. Both times I just ended up mooching off my buddy’s fuel and luckily didn’t end up burning any of my nylon/poly/down everything.

    A comment on my posted brand of squeeze bottle; would not recommend. The cap and its folding closure are way too close to the edge of the top of the bottle. When sliding lengthwise down into a stuffed pack, I’m always afraid the closure will catch on something and open. I think nalgene makes a fatter volume equivalent bottle that would work better.

    Good idea for a post:
    ‘How to use an alcohol stove without burning down Appalachia’ Second tip would be: when cooking something on your alcohol stove in a shelter with section hikers in the pouring rain. Make sure everyone in the shelter knows that if they kick, knock over, or decide to pick up and vigorously shake your stove, it’s gonna burn down Appalachia. Or if your stove catches on fire but not in a good way, don’t try to move it rather move yourself and your thousands of dollars of hiking equipment from its demonic fire spittings. Maybe put an inverted pot over it.

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