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Addie Bedford
(addiebedford) - MLife

Locale: Montana
The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 10/26/2010 16:38:04 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
good article on 10/26/2010 17:05:18 MDT Print View

good article Roger

If you look at figures 3 and 4, towards the end of the life of the canister, the blue and yellow are both good - any n butane is not good for cold weather, iso butane is much better

This is the same as my experience, isobutane is good down to maybe 20 F (or maybe 22 F).

I have been buying Snowpeak "Giga Power" at REI that is a propane/isobutane mixture that has worked good.

Actually, putting in any propane is unnecesary. It helps early in the life of a canister, but towards then end of the life of the canister it makes no difference.

Dan Durston
(dandydan)

Locale: Cascadia
Excellent on 10/26/2010 17:07:14 MDT Print View

Excellent article. This will be very helpful.

Steven Evans
(Steve_Evans) - MLife

Locale: Canada
Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 10/26/2010 17:17:54 MDT Print View

Great job! This is the stuff that keeps me here.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Brilliant on 10/26/2010 17:23:43 MDT Print View

Effin genius .... This should put all cold weather stove arguments to rest

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Giga Gold on 10/26/2010 17:24:55 MDT Print View

the SP Gold lists 85% Iso-butane, not N-butane

http://www.snowpeak.com/gigapower-fuel-250-gold-gp-250g.html

maybe their old red can stuff had N-butane in it??????

Adam Kramer
(rbeard) - F

Locale: ATL, Southern Appalachia
Re: Brilliant BUT on 10/26/2010 18:04:40 MDT Print View

c'mon, not one fart joke? is this not the same backpacking light that published the arm sluice no TP method?

Christopher Knaus
(Knaushouse) - M

Locale: Northern California
I haven't had this much fun.... on 10/26/2010 18:19:57 MDT Print View

... since thermodynamics class 30 years ago. Now when I'm on a mountain trail, boiling water on my Snow Peak, trying to keep my can (canister?) warm, I'll think fugacity!

. .
(biointegra) - MLife

Locale: Puget Sound
Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 10/26/2010 18:26:23 MDT Print View

Great Article, thank you.

If anyone has any data on other brand fuel mixes to add for reference, this may be a good place:

[Key]
Brand: Propane / Isobutane / N-butane (country) net/gross weight

Jetboil ?? / ?? / ?? (Korea) 230g/356g
Brunton: 30 / 70 / 0 (Korea) 225g/355g
Optimus: 30 / ?? / ?? (???) ???g/???g
Max Burton: 20 / 60+ / <20 (Korea) 230g/???g
Campinggaz 20 / ?? / ?? (France) 230g/???g

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 10/26/2010 18:37:08 MDT Print View

Fascinating article. I'm much further up the learning curve after reading it. Will read it multiple times. Thanks for the spreadsheet.

You add tremendous value to BPL!

Michael Richey
(beaverboymike) - M

Locale: Southern Utah
Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/26/2010 20:47:29 MDT Print View

Every good article has a summary or conclusion section.....for those who don't speak chemistry but want a quick 3 sentence explanation!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Giga Gold on 10/27/2010 03:19:12 MDT Print View

> maybe their old red can stuff had N-butane in it??????
I think that is the case.
Obviously, they have seen the light.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/27/2010 03:22:01 MDT Print View

> a quick 3 sentence explanation!
Unfortunately, seriously technical things are not that simple.

However, try the paragraph after Figure 4 for a summary, and also the whole section after that for another recommendation.

cheers

David Booth
(davidbooth) - M

Locale: Australia
Cold canisters on 10/27/2010 04:28:22 MDT Print View

Roger, can the expansion/boiling at the valve cause the canister temperature to plunge (I have seen mine freeze) taking the actual temperature of the canister well below the ambient temperature? Could this take most canisters (regardless of percentages of each gas) into the no flow zone at -20 degrees C, even when air temperatures are around zero C?

bill roderick
(jumaaa) - F

Locale: shenandoah
workaround on 10/27/2010 05:12:51 MDT Print View

I just sleep with a quart of water (which starts out just below boiling and dwindles to warm by morning) and then use a bit of it in the morning in a 1.5 inch deep bottom of a gallon milk jug (which I use as wash basin, water dipper, and bowl. I set the canister in the water with the stove attached and the gas flows great in freezing temps.

kevin goulding
(kevingoulding) - F
FAA temperature chg on 10/27/2010 08:51:11 MDT Print View

You said ambient air temperature drops about 6.5C per 1000m in elevation gain (per FAA).

that's equivalent to 3.6F per 1000 feet. That sounds about right (if a little high); but doesn't your original height make a difference. E.g. going from 0 to 1000ft versus 11,000 to 12,000ft?

---
edited per comment below. Thanks.

Edited by kevingoulding on 11/03/2010 12:28:54 MDT.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Temp change with altitude on 10/27/2010 09:14:00 MDT Print View

Actually, I think that 6.5*C/km gained is equivalent to about 4*F/1000ft.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Cold canisters on 10/27/2010 10:00:01 MDT Print View

David - yes, the boiling of the liquid gas will cool the canister below the ambient temp. This is explicitly mentioned in the article. This effect gets worse as the canister empties when there is less mass from which to extract heat. At 0C, the cooling effect will be small when the canister is full but will be enough to stop the flow as the canister nears empty for a P/B mixture. P/iso-B may be ok.

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/27/2010 10:02:26 MDT Print View


> a quick 3 sentence explanation!
Unfortunately, seriously technical things are not that simple.


True that it's not that simple. And I appreciate Roger's and Stuart's explanation of the details. And I've never been accused of being brief. But let me try:


  1. Stop reading if you will be cooking at temps confortably above 0C (32F) (any fuel will be OK) or below about -40C (which is also -40F) (this article offers no help for that case).

  2. For temps between -40C (-40F) and -25C (-13F) use 100% propane and accept a substantial weight penalty.

  3. For temps above -25C (-13F) you can use any of the mixtures that contain both propane and iso-butane with a stove designed to burn canister fuel fed to it as liquid (connected to an inverted canister). Kovea's mix will work down to about -30C with this setup.

  4. For temps between -10C (+14F) and 0C (32F) you could use MSR IsoPro red canister fuel or Kovea white canister fuel (propane/iso-butane mixtures) with an upright canister.

  5. Because of evaporative cooling the above suggestions fail if you want to operate the stove for very long in ambient temps near the colder end of the temp ranges. For that case, switch to a setup that handles colder temps or set the fuel canister in a bowl of cool liquid water (at the cost of increased fiddle-factor). This will also extend the temp range of the upright Propane/iso-butane mixtures a few degrees C when the canister is nearing empty.


OK, that's more than three sentences but I think it makes a usable decision tree.

(edited to reflect corrections from Douglas and Roger ... I was looking the wrong end of the graphs)

Edited by jcolten on 10/27/2010 14:41:40 MDT.

Russell Dewey
(MtnDew)
+ Altitude! on 10/27/2010 10:21:47 MDT Print View

Interesting to note that "back in the day", high altitude Himalayan expeditions favored the old Gaz 206 Bluet stoves. These worked fine in this situation because in spite of the cold (well below freezing) the MUCH increased altitude (lower atmospheric pressure) effectively increased the pressure inside the cannister to the point where the butane would still effectively vaporize.

Bruce Grant
(smartass) - MLife

Locale: Pacific NW
great article! on 10/27/2010 10:51:32 MDT Print View

Just wanted to add my voice in saying I thought this was a fantastic article, deciphering and explaining something that affects anyone using a canister stove. I look forward to using this practical information to ensure I don't go without coffee on a cold morning ever again, wondering what the heck is up with my stove and it's full fuel canister.
Thanks for taking the time to research and post this, there is great value in it for me.

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/27/2010 11:26:25 MDT Print View

Great article! Thanks for the clear details and charts.


Jim wrote:
>2. For temps between -40C (-40F) and -10C (+14F) use 100% propane and accept a substantial weight penalty.
>
>3. For temps between -10C (+14F) and 0C (32F) [...], or use a stove designed to burn canister fuel fed to it as liquid

Since gas-phase propane provides the majority of the pressure in a canister, liquid-fed stoves can work to temperatures well below +14F. I think the recommendation to use a liquid-fed stove should move from range 3 to range 2. I've used my Coleman Exponent Xtreme at -30C (-25F), although when it's that cold out I pack the canister in snow to keep it warm.

Edited by Otter on 10/27/2010 11:48:57 MDT.

Jörgen Johansson
(Jorgen) - M

Locale: www.smarterbackpacking.com
Canisters is cold on 10/27/2010 11:36:59 MDT Print View

Very interesting!
I have for some years experimented with top-mounted canister stoves in winter here in Sweden. I have found one method that works very well. During the day I ski with the canister in my anorak chest pocket. During the night I put the canister in my sleeping bag. No problem what so ever using the stove at -20--25C (-5F).
It is useful to have a cosy of closed cell foam around the canister as long as the canister itself is warmer than the surroundings. Sounds a bit tricky, but I do not cook for long so the canister seldom gets very cold.
Using a canister stove this way makes it very simple to sit up in your sleeping bag on a really cold morning and cook in your tent.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Temp change with altitude on 10/27/2010 14:16:49 MDT Print View

> 6.5*C/km gained is equivalent to about 4*F/1000ft
6.5 C = 11.7 F
1000 m = 3,281'
so 6.5 C/1000 m = 11.7 / 3281 = 3.566 F/1000'
That figure is a generalisation of course.

Does the starting altitude have any effect? Not a lot pre se, but I would imagine local conditions will play a far larger part in this.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/27/2010 14:27:11 MDT Print View

Thanks Jim :-)

However, I do not agree with point 2:
> For temps between -40C (-40F) and -10C (+14F) use 100% propane and
> accept a substantial weight penalty.
My reason is that I have cooked below -10 C many times quite happily.

During the day I keep the canister in my pack next to my water bottles, which are close to my back. That means the canister never gets *too* cold, as the water bottles don't freeze. A good use for body heat which should not be ignored.

I always use a liquid-feed stove in winter, and they can run with a canister temperature down to about -24 C. Not strongly, but they can get going. As I usually manage to keep the canister warmer than the environment, this lower limit is not very limiting in practice/

I leave the canister exposed to the flame radiation and maybe sitting in a bowl of cool water - which is above 0 C of course. This means that the canister never gets too cold while in use. If you do this you MUST monitor the canister temperature for safety of course, but that is rarely a problem.

However, if you have a static situation where the canister is at -30 C (eg left behind in an igloo for several days during a cold spell), then you might have a problem. Will Rietveld uses a propane stove for this very successfully.

Cheers

Jim Colten
(jcolten) - M

Locale: MN
Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/27/2010 14:44:20 MDT Print View

I've edited my summary to reflect responses from Douglas and Roger. Thanks

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/27/2010 14:54:52 MDT Print View

Hi Douglas

> although when it's that cold out I pack the canister in snow to keep it warm.
Now that is something which not many people will think to do! It needs 'warm' snow of course.

I have heard that even in very cold conditions the inside of an igloo can get up to 0 C when people are cooking inside. Will R has experienced this.

Cheers

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/27/2010 16:26:32 MDT Print View

Jim, a comment about your "#4" =For temps between -10C (+14F) and 0C (32F) you could use MSR IsoPro red canister fuel or Kovea white canister fuel (propane/iso-butane mixtures) with an upright canister.=
I have been at 2000 M on Mt. Rainier, 24*F, with a 1/2 full red MSR canister and it was barely pushing a flame. In 15 min it made my buddy's water was maybe luke warm and the stove flame was getting smaller. This is on the warmer end of the graph but still caused a problem.
We had a MSR Dragon fly as a back up so all was well.

I now use a Coleman Xtreme and a MSR Windpro with an inverted canister and have never had a problem

Edited by bestbuilder on 10/27/2010 16:39:39 MDT.

Mary D
(hikinggranny) - MLife

Locale: Gateway to Columbia River Gorge
The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 10/27/2010 17:44:13 MDT Print View

One morning last fall, the temp when I woke up was 18*F (-8*C). I hadn't put my MSR canister in my sleeping bag, and I knew I had to warm it up to make it work. I put it inside my coat for about 20 minutes (a somewhat frigid experience at the beginning!) and it worked just fine. However, I also found that I needed to prewarm my butane lighter. Once I got that warm (only about 3 minutes under my jacket), everything worked just fine. I had a piece of thin foam to insulate the canister from the ground, and used a ground-to-pot windscreen that went 3/4 of the way around the canister. This kept the canister from getting cold again while I was heating my water. I of course checked the warmth of the canister at frequent intervals. It stayed cool, but not cold, to the touch.

Frankly, most of the article was obscure to me, since it has been 60 years since my high school physics class. It's good to remind everyone that isobutane canisters need an extra boost of warmth to work in cold weather!

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Thanks! on 10/27/2010 18:06:29 MDT Print View

Articles like these are why a membership in BPL is worth it. BPL has to be the most informative backpacking website going when it comes to objective, science-based equipment testing.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/27/2010 19:49:02 MDT Print View

Jim an y'all- thanks!

I didn't get that stuff either but I knew (well, hoped) I wasn't the only one. I love this place cause people aren't afraid to ask the gurus what the Hell their mosaic of charts means- AND they will gladly answer. (except when Sir Nisley gets the same question repeatedly) :)

I guess I'll just stick with the Spider and not look back

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 10/27/2010 22:35:42 MDT Print View

Well done and timely--- my last trip found me cooking breakfast below freezing and I wondered about stove performance in cold weather.

I wonder if a chemical toe warmer pack might help on a cold morning? They aren't terribly hot (safe on your toes) and might add just enough heat to a canister to safely get a breakfast going.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
chemical on 10/27/2010 23:23:18 MDT Print View

ive use them and they work fine for me ... better than the ole warm with a lighter trick ... lol

Ed Jones
(cowboy) - F
reflective wind screen/shield on 10/28/2010 00:55:02 MDT Print View

The application of a 3/4+ circle of reflectix around the stove/pot during use will warm the fuel canister, thus repressurizing it, and increasing the efficiency. The surface temp of the cannister can safely reach 120 degrees. With a 1" minimum gap of windscreen around the pot,the canister has plenty of ventilation room to not overheat. This process allows for full fuel usage, even at the very end of capacity. It shortens cooking time as well.

Cowboy

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/28/2010 02:22:53 MDT Print View

Jim - one small point:

"3. For temps above -25C (-13F) you can use any of the mixtures that contain both propane and iso-butane with a stove designed to burn canister fuel fed to it as liquid (connected to an inverted canister)."

For a liquid fuel stove, the iso-butane is not neccessary. It will work just as well with regular butane. What is required is 25% or more propane.

And a general point: all the temperatures in the article refer to the temperature of the CANISTER. This could be more (or less) than ambient!

Wesley Witt
(weswitt) - M

Locale: Northwest
Kovea Fuel on 10/28/2010 09:11:52 MDT Print View

Where can you buy Kovea fuel?

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Kovea Fuel on 10/28/2010 14:23:09 MDT Print View

> Where can you buy Kovea fuel?
That's more difficult. Each shop makes its own buying decisions - often depending on what rep comes around.

CAUTION: if you see a cheap canister with a label saying "Primus, Compagnion, ????" (I forget the last name), DO NOT BUY IT! I tried it and found that the mixture is raw unfiltered gas with a lot of dust in it. My stove blocked up at once - several times. A cheap Chinese import I suspect.

Btw, that is NOT the same thing as the Primus Power Gas canister. The real Primus canisters are good.

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
On the summit of Everest on 10/28/2010 14:39:52 MDT Print View

Hi all

Someone mentioned that they used to use plain butane canisters on Everest, back in the 'good old days'. Out of interest, I generated a canister pressure chart for the summit of Everest at -28 C (ambient pressure about 300 mBar).
.
Everest 1 Canister Pressure
.
Indeed, looking at the red curve we can see that it would JUST function at -28 C. That curve starts with 15% propane, but quickly falls to a nearly pure n-butane mix by about 50% remainder. So if the climber could get the canister any warmer than -28 C he would be cooking.

Cheers

Gaute Lote
(glote) - MLife

Locale: Norway
coleman propane vs white gas on 10/28/2010 14:53:37 MDT Print View

In the article you mentioned the Coleman propane canister with a full weight of gas and canister at 935 g. I had look at Coleman's stoves for these canisters and they do look heavy... No weights on Colemans website (that I could find), but my guess is at least as heavy as your typical white gas stove. Given that my large MSR fuel bottle which full of white gas weighs in at around 875 g (220 g for the bottle w cap and fuel almost to fill line) why would I choose the propane stove?
It seems to me white gas would give me about the same total system weigth and more fuel as a bonus?

Bailey Gin
(pugslie) - F

Locale: SLO County
Re: coleman propane vs white gas on 10/28/2010 15:23:16 MDT Print View

My Coleman remote propane canister stoves (3025-701 and 5452-700) weigh-in at ~19oz each. My Coleman Xtreme Powermax stove converted to straight propane weighs ~16.oz with storage bag and 2 adaptors.

Frank Oslick
(franko1946) - F
gas stoves on 10/28/2010 23:33:34 MDT Print View

"Interesting to note that "back in the day", high altitude Himalayan expeditions favored the old Gaz 206 Bluet stoves. These worked fine in this situation because in spite of the cold (well below freezing) the MUCH increased altitude (lower atmospheric pressure) effectively increased the pressure inside the cannister to the point where the butane would still effectively vaporize."

Also interesting how many people think that gas stove performance goes down as altitude increases. Since higher altitude usually means lower temperature the stoves often do not perform as well, but it is because of the temperature, not the altitude. Some "experts" have even tested gas stoves at higher altitudes & then published the "results".

Scott Bailey
(Smbailey) - F
Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 10/29/2010 00:00:24 MDT Print View

Users of different gas cylinders (GAZ, MSR, Snow Peak, etc.) should be aware that due to varying ratios of isobutane/propane can have increased BTU output and burn hotter than the oiriginal vendors gas.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: coleman propane vs white gas on 10/29/2010 15:24:35 MDT Print View

Hi Gaute

> It seems to me white gas would give me about the same total system
> weigth and more fuel as a bonus?

Several reasons why I would stick with LPG:
1) Propane contains more energy than white gas
2) Propane is considerably more efficient than white gas once you allow for priming and operational factors - almost twice as efficient in the field in fact (my records from many years).
3) Propane is Much easier to use in the field.
4) Lighting a propane stove in a small tent in a storm is stress-free compared to priming and lighting a typical white gas stove.

Re the last item: the MSR instructions for the XGK stove explicitly state that priming the stove requires a 'fireball'. Thank you!

Cheers

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 10/29/2010 15:29:03 MDT Print View

Hi Scott

> Users of different gas cylinders (GAZ, MSR, Snow Peak, etc.) should be aware
> that due to varying ratios of isobutane/propane can have increased BTU output
> and burn hotter than the original vendors gas.

I looked at this, and found that the energy differences for typical variations in canister composition were pretty small in practice. That does not worry me.

What can change between the three gases is the flame velocity, and that makes 100% iso-butane canisters a bit tricky on some non-MSR stoves. Iso-butane seems to have a lower flame velocity and if you turn the stove up hard the flames can lift off and blow out sometimes. Shouldn't happen with a 'large' burner.

Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: white gas on 10/29/2010 15:43:50 MDT Print View

"Re the last item: the MSR instructions for the XGK stove explicitly state that priming the stove requires a 'fireball'."

That's partially true. On a high expedition, three of us were using a new XGK, and due to weather, we had to cook inside the tent vestibule. At the beginning, I had to light it each time with a pretty good flare, and I was so paranoid about burning the tent down that I had a lot of aluminum foil deployed to catch the flare. But then after a few days, I was more practiced about igniting it efficiently without so much flare, and after one week, it was nothing at all. We got so efficient that by the end of the expedition, maybe 11 days, our three-man team had used the same amount of white gas as the best two-man team with the same stove.

--B.G.--

Brad Groves
(4quietwoods) - MLife

Locale: Michigan
Re: Re: coleman propane vs white gas on 10/29/2010 15:44:40 MDT Print View

There are situations in which white gas might make more sense or be quite practical. I've camped plenty in 0*F and colder temps, but never needed to cook in my tent.

Regarding "once you allow for priming and operational factors," I've noted that in the past those cited operational factors included letting the stove run between meal courses or some such thing. That's simply not fuel efficient or necessary in my experience. Priming uses remarkably little fuel.

I'm beginning the process of comparing several sub-11oz WG stoves along with remote-canister gas for those interested in winter stoves. Unfortunately, some of the stoves won't be available until winter so it will be awhile before I have more data & info...

Elisa Umpierre
(eliump) - MLife

Locale: Midwest
Re: Where's the Summary or Conclusion section? on 10/29/2010 21:02:43 MDT Print View

LOL, I scrolled to the end of the article looking for the same three sentences.

Gaute Lote
(glote) - MLife

Locale: Norway
priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 10/30/2010 06:28:36 MDT Print View

I've tested boiling a liter of water om my Msr Dragonfly in "perfect conditions" (in my living room...) and the fuel consumption was 16 g of white gas. Note that I used the 2,1 l Primus Etapower pot with heat exchanger.

My canister stoves use about 10-12 g of fuel to boil a liter of water in the same pot.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 10/30/2010 12:47:45 MDT Print View

After using MSR stoves for over thirty years, I would say that they are really good for boiling 1-4 quarts of water at a time.

I refer to the plate-roarer type of stoves, and not so much the quieter types.

--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 10/31/2010 00:00:40 MDT Print View

Hi Gaute

> 16 g white gas to boil 1 L
> 10-12 g canister to boil 1 L
Yep, that's about the ratio I find too. Canister stoves and fuel are far more weight-efficient.

Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 10/31/2010 00:33:42 MDT Print View

Roger, have you compared the cost of fuel for each liter of water boiled?

--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 10/31/2010 01:47:07 MDT Print View

> have you compared the cost of fuel for each liter of water boiled?

It is far less than the cost of the rest of my gear, and far less than the cost of the fuel required to get to the trackhead, far less than the cost of the food eaten on a trip, and (over quite a long period) less even than the cost of a liquid-fuel stove. That will do me.

Ymmv
Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 10/31/2010 02:11:48 MDT Print View

Many backpackers are cooking for only one or two mouths.

I've spent years leading and cooking for groups of 8, 10, or even 12 backpackers, so for those trips I like the relative economy of a white gas stove or two. This is especially true in the winter when more fuel is expended than in summer.

--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 11/01/2010 03:42:59 MDT Print View

Hi Bob

> cooking for groups of 8, 10, or even 12 backpackers
That's a hard life :-) Turns a hobby into a job.

Your situation is a bit outside my experience. Have you considered the weight economics of using a larger LPG cylinder and a larger stove, given the weight savings with the fuel? Just curious.

Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 11/01/2010 04:10:14 MDT Print View

When you write "LPG," I think Propane.

I think the cost economics won over weight economics. In the traditional backpacking world, and among the group leaders, white gas is the winner. As soon as I left that traditional world and made the zigzag turn into the ultralightweight world, the fuels of choice became butane blend, alcohol, or Esbit.

Propane has never been a good choice except for "car camping" where the weight of the heavy canister is not a factor.

When on a big mountain expedition, our group of fourteen was divided up into tent teams of 2 or 3 people, and every team was using white gas. Plus, nearly every other expedition on the mountain was using white gas. I don't know. Maybe it is an altitude thing.

--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 11/01/2010 14:50:15 MDT Print View

Hi Bob

Cost factor for commercial groups understood.

> nearly every other expedition on the mountain was using white gas.
Ha - you should what it is like in Nepal. One poor unfortunate porter gets to carry the keg of kerosene for the whole trip. Because they are too skint to afford decent reliable metal cans, they use cheap plastic containers which ALWAYS leak. Often the caps disintegrate. Poor guy.

Cheers

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 11/01/2010 15:13:34 MDT Print View

They were not commercial trips. They were shared-cost group trips for an outdoor club.

As for Nepal. Yes. Been there, done that, read the book, saw the movie.

On my first trek there in 1983, we had about 25-30 porters at the start of the trek. One poor guy carried the large kerosene container. You sure did not want to light a cigarette around him. However, back then, they were still allowed to burn some local firewood. By my 1997 trek there, firewood was not allowed to be burned because there was very little left.

--B.G.--

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 11/03/2010 21:22:53 MDT Print View

Hi Bob

> By my 1997 trek there, firewood was not allowed to be burned because there was very little left.
Yeah, I could see that coming all right.

They make their own kero stoves in the markets in Kathmandu: not so backward in technology.

Cheers

Bradford Rogers
(Mocs123) - MLife

Locale: Southeast Tennessee
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: priming a white gas stove and fuel consumption on 11/08/2010 08:37:00 MST Print View

A friend of mine from the northeast made me a canister coozy this weekend for using canister stoves in the cold. He said that he used it all winter up north without issues. I was curious as to why I had never heard about this method before and why it isn't more common?

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
canister coozy (was Re:...) on 11/08/2010 10:28:02 MST Print View

>A friend of mine from the northeast made me a canister coozy this weekend for using canister stoves in the cold. He said that he used it all winter up north without issues. I was curious as to why I had never heard about this method before and why it isn't more common?


YMMV, but the problem is that a coozy is just insulation. If you start with a warm canister and very cold air, then it will help preserve the original heat. But as you use the canister, it's going to cool down (PV~T). If you use sufficient gas, the canister temp will drop enough to cause problems, and the coozy doesn't help in this case (and works against you if ambient air temp is now warmer than the canister). Thus the recommendation to use a water bath (or packed-snow bath) to ensure the canister temp remains at or above 0C (32F).

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
canister coozy on 11/08/2010 10:56:31 MST Print View

Have you used a chemical hand warmer?

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
canister coozy on 11/08/2010 11:14:48 MST Print View

>Have you used a chemical hand warmer?

I'm not sure who you're asking, but that would really do the trick, especially with a coozy (or your hands) to hold it onto the canister. With a max temp ranging from 45-65C (110-150F) * it might be a bit on the hot side, but that's easily remedied in cold air. However, as the article mentioned, 0C (32F) or better is sufficient, and a water or snow bath is a zero-carried-weight item.

* http://www.wemjournal.org/article/S1080-6032(09)70081-X/abstract
( http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/1080-6032/PIIS108060320970081X.pdf )

Edited by Otter on 11/08/2010 11:16:38 MST.

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
chemical hand warmer on 11/08/2010 11:41:27 MST Print View

I can remember years back Primus designed a chemical canister warmer that you would place in the void beneath their fuel canister stoves. These hand warmers needed to be boiled in water to gain the energy and by pushing a metal “plate” in the hand warmer activated the chemical agent absorbed the water energy, and thus releasing their energy. I think you can see the down side to this device as there is a downside to the “one shot" chemical hand warmers.

Water bath is still the best way to go OR use an external inverted fuel canister with a heat rod design to vaporize the liquid fuel as has been explained in the following article:

http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/myog_winter_stove_summer_upright_stove_brunton_stnd.html

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: chemical hand warmer on 11/08/2010 11:53:13 MST Print View

Ken, you refer to a sodium acetate phase change hand warmer. I have a couple, and they work fine.

Often, I don't have as much liquid water sitting around as you describe, so I simply warm the canister with a candle flame.

--B.G.--

Douglas Frick
(Otter) - MLife

Locale: Wyoming
Re: chemical hand warmer on 11/08/2010 11:57:55 MST Print View

I'd forgot about those (sodium acetate warmers); my EZ Heat (Pristech Products, Inc.) weighs 3.8oz. One drawback is that it must be boiled for about 10 minutes to ensure all the crystals melt, which requires more fuel than I'm willing to spend. And, worst, the one time I carried it, I found that I had accidentally snapped the metal plate or shocked it sufficiently to activate it, and when I needed it, it was hard and cold. Now it doesn't leave the house.

Edited by Otter on 11/08/2010 12:00:40 MST.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: chemical hand warmer on 11/08/2010 12:06:32 MST Print View

"Often, I don't have as much liquid water sitting around as you describe, so I simply warm the canister with a candle flame."

I would consider this advice Very carefully. Past performance is no guarantee of future longevity.

IMHO.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: chemical hand warmer on 11/08/2010 12:51:57 MST Print View

Oh, the candle flame is tried and true. First of all, we don't use a big candle, and we don't put the flame on a seam. Instead we warm the large metal surface initially, then save the candle for next time. We generally only need to do this when it is a very cold morning in snow country, and the fuel canister is cold.

As for the sodium acetate hand warmer, I carry mine in a durable plastic container, so it never gets set off accidentally. Boiling water will recharge mine in six minutes.

--B.G.--

KEN LARSON
(KENLARSON) - MLife

Locale: Western Michigan
chemical hand warmer on 11/08/2010 13:44:17 MST Print View

.......and fuel to recharge that can be use for other uses.

Robb Kenny
(robb155) - MLife

Locale: Tri-state area
upright canister in cld weather. on 01/29/2011 15:08:20 MST Print View

When cold out i put my upright canister stove in a cup of warm water while using the stove. this works best if using small canister for they fit tight and it needs just a little bit of water. jet boil bottom cup or snow peak solo set has a cup also. Having this extra cup is still lighter than buying a remote canister stove. I tend to use a insulated cup for winter use.

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: upright canister in cld weather. on 01/29/2011 17:35:03 MST Print View

So I have the Primus Spider remote can stove. I used it at around 10-15 deg F last week and it worked great upright, but when I inverted it, the fuel leaving the can made the valve freeze and it went out. I had to leave the can upright. The Jetboil Helios and others have an inversion canstand. Wouldn't they all freeze? I thought it was a winter stove designed to be inverted...

Thoughts?

It worked great upright, even at 15 deg, so I'm not worried, just wondering...

PS: the Caldera cone for a 1300mL upside down is THE BEST wind screen.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: upright canister in cld weather. on 01/29/2011 20:05:56 MST Print View

> when I inverted it, the fuel leaving the can made the valve freeze

This is possible, but rather hard to do deliberately. Normally the fuel goes down the hose as a liquid and vaporises in the preheat tube near the burner. For it to be vaporising at the valve on the canister is odd.

What to do if this happens? I'm not entirely sure as I have not had this problem more than once or twice. I THINK what I did was to open the valve up for a moment, to overload the system and force liquid fuel down the hose, then shut it down to a gentle flow again quite quickly. Once the hose is full of liquid fuel all seemed to be well.

But I am not recommending that you should do this, just saying what worked for me. Experimenting like this has a few hazards... big ones.

If the stove continues to behave like you described, I would return it for exchange, as it just may be that the hose is missing the filler cord which is meant to be inside it. Once again, I am not sure about this.

Cheers

Jeffs Eleven
(WoodenWizard) - F

Locale: Greater Mt Tabor
Re: Re: Re: upright canister in cld weather. on 01/29/2011 20:25:18 MST Print View

Interesting...

It only took a few minute from when I first inverted it to when it started freezing. I held the valve in my hands and chemical warmers but it would still freeze (my chem warmers are horrible though). I tilted it back and forth changing whether or not liquid or gas was going in and it would make the stove roar then subside. I kinda lost the feel of when to have it be liquid or gas and it went out. Finally I just turned it upright and kept it going.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Re: upright canister in cld weather. on 01/30/2011 02:12:32 MST Print View

Weird. Dunno. Did not happen with mine. Sorry.

Cheers

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 03/20/2011 13:29:27 MDT Print View

Stuart Robb said> For a liquid fuel stove, the iso-butane is not neccessary. It will work just as well with regular butane. What is required is 25% or more propane.

Stuart, why wouldn't the isobutane matter? The pressure in the tank is a combination of all the gasses, yes? In very, very cold weather, I would think the approximately twenty degree Fahrenheit difference (between n-butane and isobutane) in boiling points would make a difference yes? After all, it (the partial pressures) all add up, yes?

HJ

Edited by hikin_jim on 03/20/2011 13:30:04 MDT.

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 03/20/2011 15:28:07 MDT Print View

Jim - did not say isobutane did not matter, I said that it was not neccessary, and this was in response to the comment:
"For temps above -25C (-13F) you can use any of the mixtures that contain both propane and iso-butane with a stove designed to burn canister fuel fed to it as liquid (connected to an inverted canister)."

Isobutane has a vapour pressure ~50% greater than n-butane. With an inverted canister stove, 30% propane / 70% isobutane will work at approx 4C lower than 30% propane / 70% n-butane (look at Fig 4 with 100% remaining).

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 03/20/2011 18:49:57 MDT Print View

Stuart,

Ah. That makes sense. Thank you.

And that's a good point about Figure 4. Thank you for that as well.

HJ

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 03/20/2011 22:32:41 MDT Print View

So, another question, if I may: Does the following statement (referring to Fig. 4) apply for inverted canister use as well?

"you should be able to use the canister so long as its temperature is approximately 5 C above the relevant line"

HJ

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 03/21/2011 03:23:33 MDT Print View

Hi Jim

Yes.

Cheers

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 03/21/2011 03:26:07 MDT Print View

Yes

Fig 4 shows the boiling point of the mixture, ie. the temp at which the vapour pressure equals atmospheric pressure. The gas pressure has to be a little more than atmospheric to get thru' the jet and based on experience, 5C above boiling point is sufficient.
There are no graphs shown for inverted use because the gas mixture does not change, so the graphs would be simple horizontal lines aligned with the 100% remaining point in Fig 4.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: The Effect of Cold on Gas Canisters on 03/21/2011 09:34:37 MDT Print View

Gentlemen:

Thank you very much. I think I've got it. Your first comment yesterday, Stuart, (about looking at the values at the 100% mark for inverted mode) made the proverbial light bulb come on for me. When I re-looked at Fig 4 and that section of the article with that in mind, everything fell into place. This all makes a great deal of sense.

Thank you both very much,

HJ

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Butane composition on 04/24/2012 05:00:29 MDT Print View

When Roger and I wrote this article, my assumption was that a canister which labelled its contents as "Butane" did actually contain >99% butane, and a canister that was labelled "30% Propane 70% Butane" (like Coleman canisters) did contain just that.

But I was wrong. I should not be surprised of course; why would a manufacturer go to the expense of filling canister with a high purity gas which is only going to be burned in a camping stove? No, they are just going to use the cheapest fraction of gas they can get from a petroleum refinery.

So, what is the actual composition of a "Butane" canister?
The Campingaz/Coleman MSDS tabulates the contents of all their canisters under three headings: Butane, Super Butane and Butane-Propane Mix. It then describes each of these as:

Butane: composition in compliance with French decree of 3/9/79
Super Butane: mixture of butanes, butenes and propane (approx. 20%)
Butane-Propane mix : mixture of butanes, butenes and propane (approx. 30 %)

The Comite Francais du Butane et du Propane proscribes the properties of commercial Butane which it defines (in French) as "a mix of hydrocarbons made up mainly of butanes and butenes and containing less than 19% by volume of propane and propene". It also requires the vapour pressure of the mixture to be less than 6.9 bar at 50C.

So, "Butane" is a mixture too: Butanes (n-butane and iso-butane), butenes (4 possibilities, boiling points from -6.9C to 3.7C), propane and propene (less than 19% combined).

The MSDS gives some further information on the atmospheric boiling point of each of these mixtures:

Butane: -5C
Super Butane: -20C
Butane-Propane Mix: -25C

Pure butane boils at close to 0C, so clearly the other components of the "Butane" mixture are significantly depressing the boiling point.

Older versions of the MSDS also listed the PowerMax canisters containing Butane-Propane (40%) mix with a boiling point of -26C.

Conclusion? Depending on where you hike, "Butane" may be adequate for 3-season use, other brands may vary.

Edited by Scunnered on 04/25/2012 03:59:55 MDT.