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spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Lower limit of UNinverted canister on 10/11/2011 06:43:40 MDT Print View

Assuming you treat it right (take it to bed at night...and close to your back in the daytime), what is the lowest range you can expect to run a canister stove, uninverted? I'm not talking specifics, just a ballpark--10s, 20s(F)? Assume it's a brand with a high propane content. I know there's a 101 articles of stove nerdery, but my objective is simply to be able to to look at a weather forecast for an overnighter and know whether to pack my Crux or not.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Down low on 10/11/2011 06:55:34 MDT Print View

I used mh Pocket Rocket into the single digits a couple Fall's ago in the Crabtree Meadow area in early Oct. Two nights in a row, temps were into the single digits, my temp gauge showed that and the ice on slow moving water also.
Duane

spelt the enigmatic
(spelt) - F

Locale: SW/C PA
Re: Down low on 10/11/2011 07:01:57 MDT Print View

Did you do anything special besides keep the canister warm when not using it?

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Lower limit of UNinverted canister on 10/11/2011 08:06:53 MDT Print View

I use my Pocket Rocket down to 20F occasionally - gets very slow

Stuart R
(Scunnered) - F

Locale: Scotland
Re: Lower limit of UNinverted canister on 10/11/2011 08:33:30 MDT Print View

When it's full, the lower limit will be ballpark 0F.
BUT, as the propane gets used up, the lower limit will rise rapidly. Then, the lower limit depends on which gas is left.
If this is iso-butane, then the lower limit when near empty will be around 20F.
Otherwise, with regular butane the lower limit when near empty will be around 40F.
These temperatures refer to the temp of the canister, which may not be the same as ambient.

Aaron Benson
(AaronMB) - F

Locale: Central Valley California
Re: Re: Lower limit of UNinverted canister on 10/11/2011 08:35:19 MDT Print View

I used a SP GP with a small SP canister on snow this weekend. It was noticeably slower and was a bit finicky when starting. I didn't do much warming of the can' as I was curious to see how it would do. Air temp was mid 20s.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Down the pants on 10/11/2011 09:03:12 MDT Print View

I only placed my canister in my pants or somewhere for a few minutes, then after the stove ran a few minutes, dunked the whole thing in the water, instant higher flames, did that twice on the very cold AM's, worked fine, YMMV.
Duane

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Lower limit of UNinverted canister on 10/11/2011 09:11:18 MDT Print View

"These temperatures refer to the temp of the canister, which may not be the same as ambient."

When it's cool but above freezing, after I boil a couple pints of water the outside of the canister will be cold, water vapor will condense on the outside of the canister and freeze.

This is part of what happens at cold temperatures. You have to figure that the canister is colder than ambient.

And the fact that a full canister will operate a bit better initially as the propane boils off isn't very useful. I need my stove to operate for several days, including after the propane is all gone. I don't know why they bother adding propane, unless it just naturally is part of the mixture and would be difficult to remove.

USA Duane Hall
(hikerduane) - F

Locale: Extreme northern Sierra Nevada
Isobutane does that on 10/11/2011 11:16:46 MDT Print View

It does not matter how cold it is outside, the canister is still going to cool down due to the released gas. When I dunked my canister with the PR attached to it still, there may be some thermal transfer from the burner to offset the cooling effect of the escaping gas. If anyone has ever used some vintage Svea 123's or other brands of stoves like a Optimus 111 line that use gas or kerosene, they will notice the thermal feedback from the burner. That helps pressurize the fuel. Maybe not so much using Isobutane.
Duane

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
"Lower limit of UNinverted canister" on 10/11/2011 14:19:31 MDT Print View

Well, It really doesn't happen that all the propane is burned off first. It is just primarily propane. Read this and note that there is still some vapoure pressure even at about -40F (though not much.) Propane has much greater vapoure pressure, but not all will be boiled off, even at -40F.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isobutane_(data_page)

This is a graph of gaseous pressure for propane. Note that even at very cold temps it maintains fairly good pressure.
http://encyclopedia.airliquide.com/images_encyclopedie/VaporPressureGraph/Propane_Vapor_Pressure.GIF

Generally, a topper stove is mostly not usable without tricks at around 20F.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Re: Lower limit of UNinverted canister on 10/11/2011 14:45:47 MDT Print View

> I don't know why they bother adding propane,
Because if they didn't, the stove wouldn't work at cold temperatures at all.

Read our stove articles.

Cheers

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Lower limit of UNinverted canister on 10/11/2011 14:50:22 MDT Print View

Back in the old days forty years ago, I don't think that butane-blend fuel was known. It was pure butane back then.

The only places where pure butane worked well at cold temperatures was at extremely high elevations, like on Mount Everest.

At cold temperatures, the worse butane works, but at high elevations, the better it works. The reduced air pressure makes it easier to exit the canister.

--B.G.--

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Lower limit of UNinverted canister on 10/11/2011 16:03:25 MDT Print View

Generally, operation down to 20F/-7C over the life of an isobutane-propane (no n-butane) canister is a reasonable expectation. As has been noted, the canister temperature will typically fall below the air temperature, so you need to take some steps to keep the canister temperature up. Generally putting the canister in (liquid) water is pretty safe and will keep the canister going. If things get really cold, it can be hard to keep that water liquid.

However, as Bob mentioned, the higher you go, the lower a temperature you can operate a canister stove at. The following graphic may be useful. Sorry it's in English units only. :(


HJ

P.S. Remember that you need about 10F/5C degrees "clearance" above the vaporization (boiling) point in order to have enough pressure to operate a stove. For example, at sea level, isobutane vaporizes (boils) at 11F/-12C, but don't think you can operate a stove that low. You need some "clearance" where the fuel temperature is above the vaporization point. At sea level, about 20F/-7C is about right. At 10,000 feet, the vaporization point is going to drop to around 2F/-17C -- but you still need some "clearance" so more realistically at 10,000' you can operate your stove as long as you keep the fuel temperature at about 12F/-12C (pardon my rounding errors).

Edited by hikin_jim on 10/11/2011 16:47:39 MDT.