A safer camping fuel but how well does it work

A safer camping fuel but how well does it work
Our Review

Review Summary
The Vango Fuel Gel is much safer to have around kids than liquid fuels.
The Good Stuff
There's no doubt that this is much safer than meths. And it's good for the environment too.
The Not So Great
It's not going to cook as quick as a gas burner.

Overall Rating

Value for Money


Family Friendly

Last Updated: February 9, 2017

Anyone who appreciates the outdoors will be concerned with any environmental impact.

We may all follow the mantra of “Leave No Trace” but what about the wider impact? Are the things we are wearing, doing, and even the travelling to the countryside causing a negative environmental impact.

So it’s great to see that Vango has introduced an eco-friendly camping fuel.

The Vango Eco Fuel Gel

The fuel is a bio-ethanol gel.

It’s smokeless and non-toxic.

A Safer Alternative

If you are using traditional liquid fuels, such as meths, which has bean used in Trangias for decades, then there’s a risk as the stuff is very flammable, can easily leak, and it also stinks when burnt.

The Eco Bio-Ethanol fuel is much safer.

You if you get the gel on your finger, it doesn’t matter.

It doesn’t easily spill, and if it did, it can be easier to wipe up.

It’s very easy to extinguish. Just cover it up.

Oh, and it’s not toxic to the food you are cooking and eating.

These safety features has meant that this fuel is now approved by both the Scouts Association and the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme.

But is it any good?

On a very cold winter camp, I pitted the Eco Fuel in a Trangia against a typical not-so-eco camping gas stove to boil the water for the first brew of the day.

Now it should be noted that the Trangia isn’t going to boil a kettle full of cold water in anywhere near the time it takes a modern gas stove that is designed to put out a lot of heat.

And sure enough, despite giving the Trangia a head start, the gas stove got to the boil first.

So apart from the speed, how did they compare?

Well, the gas stove got to a good rolling boil in a full kettle of water.

The Trangia never quite got that far.

I had filled the Trangia burner full of the gel, and it had burnt out before the kettle got to a rolling boil. The water was hot enough to make a good warming drink.

It also would have been easy to re-fill the fuel on the Trangia and continue, but I wanted to see just how far a burner full of fuel would go. …. and it did burn for ages, but it wasn’t enough to bring it to a rolling boil on that cold morning.


If you use something like a Trangia, I think this Eco Fuel is a no-brainer over meths. Putting its eco credentials aside, it’s a lot safer all around.

It will be good enough to warm food and even make hot drinks, but obviously, a less eco-friendly gas burner will be quicker. 😉

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Gav Grayston
Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.
Gav Grayston


Family adventures, activities, camping, holidays, OS #GetOutSide champions 2017 & 2018 #DofE brand ambassador @Craghoppers Partnership @campandcarvan @_elddis_
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Gav Grayston
Gav Grayston

Latest posts by Gav Grayston (see all)

  1. Hello,

    From your photos, you had the simmer ring on the Trangia meths burner. This throttles down the heat output – that’s what the simmer ring’s purpose is. If you’re boiling water, you have no reason to throttle down the heat output – that’s not a fair comparison.

    And the gel will not work well when put into the Trangia spirit burner. The burner is designed for liquid denatured ethyl alcohol – “methylated spirits”. You could flip the burner and put the gel on the bottom surface, or use Trangia’s dedicated gel support to put the flame at the right height for best transmission to the pot.

    I half-expect putting the gel into the Trangia burner (instead of on the bottom where it can’t flow into the reservoir) would gum it up. It certainly won’t burn properly there.

    1:11 pm on April 7, 2018
  2. If you don’t have the new burner for gel,use a bottom of a beer can.using in the meth burner can damage the wicks.

    9:57 am on April 6, 2018
  3. You do need to use the special gel burner for this fuel with the Trangia – it burns much better then – it barely works if you use it in the meths burner.

    9:04 pm on July 23, 2017
  4. I think you were putting the gel in the meths burner right ? There is a special more open container for the gel and if burns quicker , with more heat output. Worth a re- try

    10:02 pm on July 11, 2017

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