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Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/19/2012 23:35:36 MST Print View

Of course it's possible to refill backpacking type gas canisters. But what are the real risks? What are the practicalities? Is it even worth it?



Please join me as I explore Refilling Gas Canisters

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
url on 01/19/2012 23:42:00 MST Print View

thank you!

Edited by JohnAbela on 01/20/2012 00:16:27 MST.

Jason G
(JasonG) - F

Locale: iceberg lake
hm on 01/19/2012 23:43:57 MST Print View

^

Edited by JasonG on 01/20/2012 12:02:00 MST.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: url on 01/19/2012 23:54:52 MST Print View

Hi, John,

How's that? Happy to oblige.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
Re: Re: url on 01/19/2012 23:57:41 MST Print View

Thanks!! btw, I posted on your blog a quick thought. hit me after I posted... what about being able to transfer from one of those big 500g canisters down into one of the smaller 100g canisters. Those 500g canisters are about 8 bucks, while the 100g canisters are something like 5.50 up here where I live. Person could save some serious money by buying the big 500g canisters and transferring over to the 100g canisters.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: url on 01/20/2012 00:04:34 MST Print View

Hi, John,

The 450g threaded canisters cost $9.00 at the REI and Sport Chalet near me. The equivalent amount of butane is $2.50 (two 227g butane canisters at $1.25 each). I can save a good deal more money by refilling with butane.

There would definitely be advantages to refilling from the 450g canisters though -- you'd have a "four season" blend of gas rather than the "summer" gas that I'm using for refilling. However, you'd need a different refiller than the one I'm featuring in this particular blog post. That particular refiller for whatever reason (popularity?) is roughly double (ouch) the cost of the refiller I'm using.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

John Abela
(JohnAbela) - MLife
ouch on 01/20/2012 00:07:11 MST Print View

So realistically the average hiker (excluding the long distance hiker who happens to be using a canister system, which is getting rare these days) could likely go a season or two and never even begin to pay off the costs involved in the little connector.

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 00:15:12 MST Print View

Jim: Small math error in the blog: "a gain of 21 g" after your brief refilling period should be "a gain of 41 g" (184-143=41). It's still all very clear what to do and what the precautions are.

I agree with your logic that if the fuel is much cheaper, you use your stove more. Maybe even take more hot showers on trips, which improves everyone's quality of life!

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 00:19:09 MST Print View

Hi all

Just so there are no misunderstandings here. (It's called CYA.)

BPL does not endorse the refilling of gas canisters. Anyone doing that must accept full responsibility for their actions.

A tiresome disclaimer, I agree. But we have both experts and novices reading these pages. I hope you all understand.

Cheers

David Thomas
(DavidinKenai) - MLife

Locale: North Woods. Far North.
Re: ouch on 01/20/2012 00:25:11 MST Print View

John: Yeah, if you're not using your stove a lot and/or don't want to play with the adapters, just stock on store-bought canisters. The payback would take a while.

In addition to BPing trips, I've gone from white gas to butane and propane stoves for canoeing trips and family mini-BPing trips to USFS cabins where we aren't trying to save fuel.

But for me, it's maybe a point of pride as a plumber, engineer and DIYer that I can repair my car, build my house, assemble a computer, refill my stove, etc. I keep methane, butane, propane, oxygen, CO2, helium, and a few dozen liquid chemicals on hand for home projects, science demos, etc.

I've also got a variety of buildings and locations at different temperatures, with and without any occupants. I wouldn't do as much as I do if I lived in an apartment, in a city, with neighbors within a few hundred yards.

Give a man a canister and he can cook for an hour. Teach him to use an adapter and he can play with his stock of empties for years!

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: ouch on 01/20/2012 00:25:30 MST Print View

John:

If 110g backpacking canisters are $5.00 each, 227g butane canisters are $1.25 each, and the refiller costs $37.00, then you break even just a little past eight 110g canisters.

If for example you bought ten 110g canisters, your cost would be $50.00. The equivalent amount of butane would be $6.25. Add in the cost of the refiller, and your total for butane is $43.25. So, if you use the equivalent of ten 110g canisters but use butane, you'd save $6.75. Any refills after that result in further savings of $8.75 per 227g canister of butane purchased. Paying $1.25 for $10.00 worth of fuel is pretty good. Refilling with butane is cheap.

On the other hand, if you bought a threaded refiller, you're paying $9.00 for the $20.00 worth of fuel, roughly the equivalent of four 110g canisters.

To compare the two:
Using 100% butane is $1.25 for $10.00 worth of fuel.
Using 450g threaded canisters is $4.50 for $10.00 worth of fuel.

Butane is significantly cheaper, and the butane refiller is half the cost of the threaded refiller. Consequently, it would take a lot longer to recoup the cost of a threaded refiller.

It's late, so I hope my math is right.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 00:28:59 MST Print View

Small math error in the blog: "a gain of 21 g" after your brief refilling period should be "a gain of 41 g" (184-143=41). It's still all very clear what to do and what the precautions are.
Now we see why David is the engineer and Jim is the blogger. :) (Thank you, David)

I agree with your logic that if the fuel is much cheaper, you use your stove more. Maybe even take more hot showers on trips, which improves everyone's quality of life!
Especially my tent mate's. ;)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Alan Bradley
(ahbradley)
Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor (3) be less hassle/safer? on 01/20/2012 06:47:47 MST Print View

Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor variant (of the one in your Butane adaptor III post) be less hassle/safer than refilling?

http://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2012/01/butane-adapters-iii-upright-canister.html

The connector looks like it could do with something to fold into the canister notch and lock it: maybe if a big brand adopted such adaptors and required such improvements...

perhaps reduce the 79g adaptor weight (seems light enough anyway)

Edited by ahbradley on 01/20/2012 06:49:11 MST.

Kronos Master of Fate
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: Behind the Redwood Curtain
Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 06:58:19 MST Print View

Thanks, but no thanks. After all by the time I factor in fuel to get to and from the trailhead($50=last time) What is another dollar or two on a canister. I use up the partials car camping in the winter to run the lanterns and such. The empties get recycled. Easy peasy.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 10:53:29 MST Print View

Hi, Ken,

Yeah, definitely not for everyone. Now that I'm married and have a family, I find that 99% of my trips are local, and of those, the vast majority are only about a half hour's drive. Of course, I live in an area where there's lots of hiking opportunities. Not everyone will be in that situation. Anyway, it works for me, but as I say, not for everyone.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 11:00:59 MST Print View

Yes, it is not for everyone and can be dangerous if one is not careful.

But the important thing to me right now is Ken's avatar. So who is running the remote control and making the viewing decisions? Ken or his friend?

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 11:32:56 MST Print View

Aren't they in a vehicle looking out? I suppose God then is in control of the view? ;)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 11:46:14 MST Print View

Jim,

Upon closer look and zoom, you are correct. At first it looked like a TV. Well, you and Ken shall experience this too eventually... it is the aging process.

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Refilling Gas Canisters on 01/20/2012 12:14:08 MST Print View

Already there. I tease you only because I understand it so well. :)

HJ
Adventures In Stoving

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Los Angeles, CA, USA
Re: Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor (3) be less hassle/safer? on 01/20/2012 12:22:31 MST Print View

Wouldn't a quality stove adaptor variant (of the one in your Butane adaptor III post) be less hassle/safer than refilling?
I find that it's easier (at least for me) to do the fiddling at home rather than fiddling with an adapter in the field. Also the adapter weighs more (78g) than many stoves (MSR MicroRocket, 73g), so weight wise it doesn't appeal to me. But that equation will be different for different folks.

However, if one were out on a long distance hike, carrying the adapter would mean that one could use either type of fuel, which might be an advantage. I've seen the butane canisters in a lot of grocery stores, stores that I've never seen a BP'ing type canister in.

The connector looks like it could do with something to fold into the canister notch and lock it: maybe if a big brand adopted such adaptors and required such improvements...
Better still would be a proper stove, for example the ST-310 from Soto.


350g though. A tad on the heavy side. But it's a step in the right direction. I saw a lot of this type of stove in Japan when I was there about a year ago. The side laying butane canisters are quite a bit more popular there. They have multiple sizes, including a 100g size which I've never seen in the US.

HJ
Adventures In Stoving