ClubTread Community - View Single Post - Butane Cannister Shortcomings

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post #26 of (permalink) Old 08-01-2010, 07:39 PM
High on the Mountain Top
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada.
Interest: general mountaineering/ hiking/ backpacking/ skiing/ kayaking
Posts: 1,704

Thank you to Andrew and Scott. You have possibly done a first on this forum and turned this subject around from the beginnings of an all out flame war, back to a discussion... Or at least I hope so.

I have used canister stoves for maybe 15 or more years, because I like their simplicity of use, light weight and safety. I presently use an MSR Windpro stove, that allows me to invert the canister for a better and more complete burn. Also, being a stove separate from the fuel tank and not on top of it, it is more stable and can be better protected from the wind.

While I'm probably not going to get into filling my own tanks, It's good to hear what's involved and I am gleaning bits of information from the discussion. For example, I never knew that the propane and butane wouldn't mix and the hotter propane burns off first. I will invert my tank from the start of the trip and see if that makes a difference in a more even overall pressure and steady burn..

I would like to give a few of my own observations and information:

- Regarding warming a tank to increase pressure: I tried wrapping my tank in 1/4 inch ensolite & duct tape, thinking it would insulate the cold out, but just the opposite! It insulates the cold in when the gas is released and causes an inside tank temperature drop, due to evaporation. Also, I tried the copper wire from the flame, wrapped around the tank and I found no real heat exchange happening. Holding your hands around the tank or placing it in a shallow pan of warm water works better, yet both have their own drawbacks, such as cold hands and the "Catch 22" of having warm water to heat water. Bringing your morning fuel tank into your sleeping bag at night is probably the best bet for an early cup-a-joe, although not very cuddly.

- Regarding steel tanks being stronger than aluminum: Scuba tanks use to be (maybe still are) made from both aluminum and galvanized steel. The aluminum tanks could take a much higher psi pressure than could the steel ones. If lightness and strength need to be combined, then might titanium become a possibility for a refillable tank? I'm referring here to manufactures and not some user made product.

- Regarding spent canisters: They are recyclable through MEC. They will take EMPTY canisters of any manufacture, even if they don't sell that brand (numbers within reason). How does one empty a canister? Well you just use it until it's done and resist the urge to bring a "fresh" canister to start every trip and stop leaving those part filled canisters at home.


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