The Most Effective Coleman Fuel Substitutes

It's a fun idea to go camping with our family and friends because it can help relieve ourselves from the daily pressure and stress of urban life.

Aside from that, it also connects us with nature, wherein we feel happier and lighter.

However, we need to have an energy source when we go camping. This power source is called Coleman fuel and is used to fuel the heater to stay warm in a tent and outdoor stoves we bring with us on our camping trips.

It's very useful and helpful in fueling up our camp lamps and stoves. But the only downside to it is the steep price.

Because of this, it makes perfect sense for us to use a Coleman fuel substitute. In this article, we’re going to tell you everything about it.


​About Coleman

​Any true camper must have heard about Coleman Company. Behind this name stands the firm that specializes in outdoor recreation equipment, but their focus is primarily on camping gear.

The business was founded by William Coffin Coleman, a young salesman who started his career by selling gasoline pressure lamps in Kingfisher, Oklahoma back in 1900.

The history teaches us that back then, lamps burnt kerosene which produced flickering, dim, yellow light.

As William had extremely poor vision, the first time when he encountered the new type of lamp in a drugstore window in Alabama, he was enchanted.

This innovative lamp used gasoline and produced steady, strong, white light which helped him read the smallest font in his books. He saw potential in this new invention and decided to seize the opportunity.

So, if you trust US based companies with a long tradition, you will find their 117 years long work experience impressive. Since 1902, Coleman’s headquarters is stationed in Wichita, Kansas.

Their most famous product is, of course, Coleman lantern, a lamp that was originally built to run on gasoline.

However, models that we use today run on Coleman fuel (white gas - a mixture of cyclohexane, nonane, octane, heptane, and pentane) or propane, creating intense white light.

If you are shopping for camping gear, you will certainly notice Coleman’s sleeping bags, camp stoves, generators, coolers, tents, backpacks, small boats, dog toys and many other things.

#1 Unleaded Gasoline

Unleaded Gasoline

Via Instagram


Probably the best Coleman fuel substitute is unleaded gasoline. This is because unleaded gasoline is way cheaper compared to Coleman fuel.

What's best is that you can find them almost anywhere, especially now that there are gasoline shops almost anywhere.

These also have similar performance to the Coleman fuel, which is why you won't have to worry about compatibility problems.

Take note that a gallon of unleaded gasoline costs around 2-3 dollars. Compare that to the terrifying price of Coleman fuel which is around 10-15 dollars per gallon, depending on where you get it. That's how stark their difference is.


However, there are also downsides when it comes to using unleaded gasoline as a fuel for your lamps or ovens.

Unleaded gasoline is not quite as refined, which can cause minor damage to the appliance it powers.

Because of this, your generator's tubes might get clogged, which could then lead to potential further damage and might shorten your product's lifespan.

Final Thoughts

It's also important for you to remember that unleaded gasoline has a shorter shelf life compared to Coleman fuel. It's best used within six months.

But then again, you don't have to worry about using unleaded gasoline as much as you'd think because there are even some Coleman products that are specifically designed to run on unleaded gasoline.

You might also want to use a stabilizer before using it.

#2 Kerosene



You can also try to use kerosene to fuel your lanterns or oven because this kind of fuel is also a mixture of hydrocarbons and petroleum.

This makes it a little bit similar to Coleman fuel.

What makes kerosene a very handy fuel substitute for lanterns and outdoor ovens is that is very cheap. You can also find it almost anywhere.

It is available in many grocery shops and convenience stores.


However, you should always consider the brand or the quality of the kerosene, as it varies from place to place.

Some kerosene products are not very refined. These might still have particles that can cause further damage to your generator.

There are also some cheap kerosene products that are mixed with water just to increase their volume. You surely don't want those kinds of fuel running in your product.

This is the only downside to using kerosene, but it's not a problem because you just need to be vigilant when choosing one.

Final Thoughts

You also need to remember that you should have sufficient knowledge when it comes to using kerosene.

See to it that you know the technical requirements of your product as well as how to do maintenance work if something goes wrong.

Kerosene used in an incompatible product would most likely result in clogging problems. It would also be better if you preheat your lantern or oven before using kerosene. It’s a little bit difficult to fire up kerosene fuel.

#3 Homemade Coleman Fuel


Though this kind of fuel is not meant to be tested by people who don't have sufficient knowledge or background in professional chemistry, it is still a legit option.

It's possible for you to make your own homemade Coleman fuel as long as you have your gas distillation apparatus.


Remember that this is a complicated process and that if a certain step is not done properly, you're sure to be in real danger.

How to Make the Fuel:

Gently pour unleaded gas to the apparatus. Make sure that it is ethanol-free. You also need to ensure that the apparatus has a sealant and that it is air tight so that the moisture does not evaporate.

You can also check out this video:

Before starting to make your own Coleman fuel, it's best if you ask yourself why you want to make one. Is it because you want to save money? Well, there are a lot of other cheaper fuel options out there, such as unleaded gasoline, kerosene, and white gas.

#4 White Gas


White gas, also known as petroleum naphtha, is the generic name of the Coleman fuel brand. This kind of fuel is made from coal tar, natural gas, oil, or peat, depending on the brand or maker of the fuel.

If you find Coleman fuel to be too expensive, then you might want just to get yourself the white gas itself. After all, that's what the Coleman fuel brand is made of, right?


There's a certain amount of risk involved in this because generic white gas is usually unrefined. What this means is that it is more flammable than the Coleman fuel brand.

When you're using white gas, it's best that you use extreme caution because it can spark a fire or worse, explosions. Avoid keeping flammable stuff around.

Things like cigarette, candles, or even cell phones can easily start a fire in this situation.

Why Find a Coleman Fuel Substitute?

Why Find a Coleman Fuel Substitute?

It is important to know that Coleman fuel is required for camping stoves, camping lanterns, and other camping devices and appliances to function.

It is the most popular fuel that lets them produce heat and light. Because it is highly sought after and made by a very reputable company, prices of Coleman fuel are soaring high.

With this, it makes perfect sense for you to find fuel substitutes to use on your camping lanterns, stoves, and other things, especially if you frequently go camping.

You surely don’t want to spend $10 to $15 just for a gallon of Coleman fuel, when in fact, you can get an unleaded gasoline worth only $2 to $3.

The sheer affordability makes it wise to resort to using Coleman fuel substitutes. By knowing the alternatives you can use to fire up your lanterns and stoves, you're able to plan your trips more cost-efficiently.

You don’t have to worry about not having enough fuel which might cause a blackout or might make you starve because you can’t cook your food.

These fuel substitutes are indeed a life saver, which is why it's a good idea to familiarize yourself with them.


There are a lot of alternatives to Coleman fuel you can try. These are unleaded gasoline, kerosene, and white gas. You can even make your own Coleman fuel at home.

There are a lot of advantages you can get when you resort to these substitutes. One of the best reasons is the lower price.

However, there is also a certain amount of risk when you're using these fuel options, such as their unrefined nature, which can cause damage to your generator.

Making your own Coleman fuel is also not an easy task because it can cause fire and explosions. But then again, it's worth it if you've managed to avoid these situations.

You not only save money, but you get to have more fuel to keep your appliances powered should you wish. It's a minor risk worth taking.

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