November 20, 2015 8:16 PM MST - Subscription purchasing, account maintenance, forum profile maintenance, new account registration, and forum posting have been disabled
as we prepare our databases for the final migration to our new server next week. Stay tuned here for more details.
Subscribe Contribute Advertise Facebook Twitter Instagram Forums Newsletter
Canister failure: has this happened to you?
Display Avatars Sort By:
Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Re: Re: Ha! on 04/06/2013 20:41:19 MDT Print View

I'm with Jerry. Max, you're fun because you mean well, you're just really, really young, you think you know a lot, and you don't realize how us old folk (especially the REALLY old folk, like nursing home old folks like Doug) love to tease kids who think they know a lot.

I teach kids your age during clinical rotations and I love it...I get such great enjoyment out of smacking them down and making them feel bad about themselves. Ah, the joys of being a crotchety lady in slippers and a mumu....

Now really, get off my lawn.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
canister valve failure on 04/06/2013 22:10:27 MDT Print View

Oh, and to contribute something to the actual topic. I've had multiple 1lb or whatever propane canisters have their valves not close when using my Coleman stove. I think it's been from over tightening the canister to the connection "arm" that attaches it to the stove. now if i hear it leaking then i just keep the arm connected and leave it sealed like that. never had it happen to a backpacking canister, but i try not to overtighten them anyway.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
"Experts" on 04/06/2013 23:41:26 MDT Print View

As a retired teacher I'm reminded of the saying,"Teaching is appearing to have known all your life what you just learned last night."

Some "experts" outside of education appear to also fall into that category. ;o)

BTW, I never worry about canister performance in cold weather. When the temperature drops below 40 F. I switch to my white gas MSR Dragonfly or my woodburning Caldera Sidewinder/Inferno gassifier stove. No worries and hot fires.

Edited by Danepacker on 04/06/2013 23:44:07 MDT.

Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

I listen to everything. on 04/07/2013 11:31:45 MDT Print View

I know i'm open to other people's opinions and experience. I try to convey that.

If other people don't get that, they're either reading my posts with a predisposition for disregarding me based on something else, or they're misunderstanding me because I've communicated ineffectively.

And I'm not playing the "victim card." I've seen other people use the same condescension and ridicule against other members, and they don't argue like me- they just leave. That's terrible for the forum, and I'll call it out if I see it. I don't really care if there's some "Respect your Elders" rule I'm breaking; I don't need to react negatively to people who handle themselves maturely.

Thanks Jeffrey, that was kind of what I was thinking.

I feel like I'm in a job evaluation.

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: I listen to everything. on 04/07/2013 11:40:47 MDT Print View

Yet again, your post comes across as self riteous and dismissive towards others. You're still more right than others and its everyone else's problem, huh?

"I feel like Im in a job evaluation. "

Saying stuff like this IS playing the victim card!

Max, we do really want to see everyone, including you, get along and be understood, but it feels like a lost cause when the problem has been explained, and nothing changes about your delivery.

Edited by T.L. on 04/07/2013 11:42:42 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: I listen to everything. on 04/07/2013 12:00:52 MDT Print View

Older people have wisdom which is useful to solve problems. But it also results in lack of flexibility, think they know everything

Younger people bring more new ideas and challenge old assumptions, but sometimes have to re-make all the same mistakes

The combination is more productive. People would be wise to respect each other.

Steve B
(geokite) - F

Locale: Southern California
Esbit has poisonous fumes? on 04/07/2013 12:06:57 MDT Print View

jerry adams (retiredjerry) said ways back in this thread:

"Esbit is a noxious substance with poisonous fumes and soot,..."

Do you have any references on that? I know it smells noxious, but that doesn't make it necessarily poisonous.


Michael Ray
(thaddeussmith) - F
Re: Esbit has poisonous fumes? on 04/07/2013 12:09:59 MDT Print View

from wikipedia:

Esbit's Material Safety Data Sheet states combustion can create formaldehyde, ammonia, nitrogen oxide, hydrogen cyanide and ingestion may cause nausea, vomiting, gastrointestinal disturbances, and kidney damage. [1] When burned, the chemical oxidation of the fuel yields noxious fumes, requiring foods being cooked to be contained in a receptacle such as a pot or pan, and burned tablets will leave a sticky dark residue on the bottom of pots. If they are stored or used under damp conditions then they can break up while burning and shed burning fragments.

Ken T.
(kthompson) - MLife

Locale: All up in there
Re: Esbit fumes on 04/07/2013 12:38:24 MDT Print View

combustion can create.

but not will create.

wonder why.

Colin Krusor

Locale: Northwest US
Esbit fumes on 04/07/2013 13:04:41 MDT Print View

This topic might warrant its own thread. My opologies to the OP for participating in this drift. I only found one study that analyzed the exhaust from hexamine (Esbit) combustion in air. The abstract says:

"The primary products were nitrogen and carbon dioxide, with small amounts of nitrogen monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and ammonia. Other possible products such as hydrogen cyanide, dinitrogen monoxide, and carbon monoxide were not detected." (Merritt, et al. Analysis of Hexamine Combustion. American Industrial Hygiene Association Journal. Volume 52, Issue 1, 1991.)

The NOx compounds are the only concern, among those, I think. Formaldehyde isn't on that list because it oxidizes too readily. Formaldehyde was actually the fuel stored chemically in the old trioxane tabs. If there is enough oxygen getting to a burning Esbit tab, you shouldn't find any formaldehyde in the exhaust.

Almost all combustion in air produces nitrogen oxides. I ran across several studies that mentioned NOx production by butane stoves. I don't know how the amounts produced by Esbit tabs compare to combustion of other fuels.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Thoughts on fuel and a note to Max at the end of the post on 04/07/2013 18:09:32 MDT Print View


Almost everything we carry has the "potential" for disastrous results. One could accidentally hang themselves or decapitate their head on a bear hang cord. One could cut an artery with a small knife. One could trip on a shelter guyline resulting in a fatal fall.

Stoves and fuel are the same. What if, what if, what if. I have had a couple canister leaks over the years. Only lost all my fuel once. I have had no problems with a liquid fuel stove, contrary to what I read from other hikers. But I carefully read all instructions in the manual, figure out how the stove works, adhere to all warnings AND maintenance procedures. I maintain my stoves. When I used a MSR Whisperlite a lot, I did the annual maintenance. Recently I cleaned and installed the maintenance kit items in my four year old Gigapower stove. I also pay attention when using any stove. For example, my LiteMax stove's threads are aluminum -- I am very careful when connecting it to a canister. I use liquid, gas, alcohol and Esbit stoves a lot. None scare me. This allows me to choose the best stove option for each trip.


Max, many of us enjoy your youthful exuberance. Don't get discouraged. And don't take comments personally -- it seems you do. I have been hiking a long time, and sometimes my posts get nasty comments. Life is too short to worry about what someone things about what I write. Sometimes I post things that might be inaccurate and someone calls me on it -- it's okay; I apologize, correct it, and move on. One well known and skilled member here once called me a "freaking idiot." That person is entitled to their opinion. I didn't even respond... it wasn't a big deal to me.

There are a lot of folks here who are older and more experienced than you. Don't let them intimidate you. They were once your age. But consider what they have to share.

A couple thoughts...

When I was 18 and left home, I was absolutely sure my Dad was stupid and too set in his ways. After time in the service and college, one night we went out to dinner. It was amazing how smart Dad had gotten in the few years I was gone.


When we look at our avocations, there are two components: knowledge and experience. Take a lot of knowledge and a lot of experience, and you get SKILL. There are a lot of people here on BPL that have more experience than you *and* me, and a lot of people who have more knowledge than you *and* me, and many with more skill than the both of us. Learn from them -- I do.

I would explain it this way; when I was younger, about your age, I became an auto mechanic (before someone benighted us technicians). My boss sent me to school, and I was the top student. Back at the shop I "knew" more about automobiles than anyone I worked with. I could explain the most complex systems, and I could repair some of the newest technology the others could not. But at the end of the day, knowledge did not mean a whole lot -- what mattered was how quickly a mechanic could repair a vehicle and do it right the first time. Speed ruled. The more work an individual could complete in a day, the more money the business made; and the more money the fast guys made. I was slow, and sometimes got myself into trouble during a repair because I had book knowledge and very little experience. Over time I gained experience, and combined with my knowledge I became a highly paid skilled technician. It took a few years.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
Canister failure: has this happened to you? on 04/07/2013 21:25:40 MDT Print View

No. I use only the ~16 oz. Coleman canisters because they last longer than the backpacker boutique ones; and when they sold for half as much in Walmart a few years ago, I bought a whole bunch.

None of them has ever had a stuck valve, at temps in the 20 to 60 degree range, and at altitudes from 500 to 12,000 feet. Some times there will be a little spray when the canister is being screwed onto or off of my Ti Gigapower. Don't think an aluminum thread is such a good idea. You can get ALU fasteners made of very hard alloy, but most ALU is too soft to work reliably for fastening, especially where there will be oft repeated use, as with a stove/canister attachment. When the threads of both fasteners are ALU, that compounds the problem, in my experience.

Those valves are inside the top of the canisters, and are pushed open by a needle on the stove when the canister is screwed in place. So inside the canister is where the sticking would have to be, not in the stove. Sounds like that is what is happening with some canister brands. It would make sense to steer clear of those brands, IMO. It could be that the manufacturing in some of the imported ones is getting sloppy. Or it could be that hikers have been sloppy and fouled the valves on canisters. Hard to tell. Maybe it's a good idea to keep those little plastic tops on the canisters when not in use.

With all the advantages of canisters in three season use, I'm just as wedded to them as others are to other types of stoves, and am not about to ditch them when no problems are occurring, and the evidence of any potential dangers is pretty scanty.

On an unrelated note: Not sure whether the return of the personalizing is good or bad. Maybe gear was getting to be just too boring a subject. People are much more interesting. Then again, there is always Facebook. It would be intersting to know how many of the Max attackers are also avid Facebookers.

Hk Newman
(hknewman) - MLife

Locale: Western US
Re: Canister failure: has this happened to you? on 04/07/2013 21:42:02 MDT Print View

I've had a couple canisters from a well-known company leak, both during the initial light-up and when unscrewing it. The former being the worse since it was accompanied by flare-ups. Basically the top of the canister was on fire like a big fireball. I kicked some dirt on it both times, and the stove resumed normal function. At this point, if there's no problems I'll keep the stove but one more flare up will send it back to REI.

Never had these issues with the heavier MSR Superfly.

Sam Farrington
(scfhome) - M

Locale: Chocorua NH, USA
canister failure on 04/07/2013 22:08:37 MDT Print View

That sounds like gas was leaking from around the stove/canister connection.
That would probably be due to a bad seal inside the stove end of the connection.
There should be an O-ring there to prevent that. So I see that the canister could be fine, and the problem could be with the stove.

Guess we all know from the space shuttle disaster what a little thing like a bad O-ring can do.

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: Canister failure: has this happened to you? on 04/08/2013 04:23:44 MDT Print View


> Basically the top of the canister was on fire like a big fireball.
Please check the screw region on your stove. To me it sounds as though your stove is missing the essential sealing O-ring. That can be very dangerous!


Max Dilthey
(mdilthey) - M

Sounds Dangerous on 04/08/2013 08:40:00 MDT Print View

Flare ups?

IIRC, I was on the AT last summer and I heard a story about a disabled guy who runs a hiker hostel. He and his friends/family contribute a lot to maintaining that section of the AT.

Story I heard was, his leaking canister stove hit a spark and blew up, and his leg or legs were amputated and he's in a wheelchair for the rest of his life.

So, I don't use canister stoves.

Couldn't resist. Love You BPL :)

Edited by mdilthey on 04/08/2013 08:40:32 MDT.

jerry adams
(retiredjerry) - MLife

Locale: Oregon and Washington
Re: Re: Re: Canister failure: has this happened to you? on 04/08/2013 08:46:56 MDT Print View

Maybe the pin on the stove is too long so the Lindal valve opens before the O-ring seals. Or if the stove stops on the rim of the canister, the distance from that surface on the stove and the o-ring is too long. Or the o-ring is damaged and leaks.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
Canisters can't explode from simple ignition... on 04/08/2013 11:47:51 MDT Print View

BTW, a leaking canister that encounters an ignition source that ignites the leaking fuel CANNOT explode simply from the fuel igniting. The canister HAS to heat up an build enough pressure in the canister to fail. The fuel inside the canister CANNOT explode as the fuel to air ratio will not support combustion.

The only way a canister is going to “explode” is to fail because it got to hot. When it does come apart the fuel can (an quite possibly will) ignite.

Edited by Hitech on 04/08/2013 11:49:04 MDT.

Jake D
(JakeDatc) - F

Locale: Bristol,RI
Re: Canisters can't explode from simple ignition... on 04/08/2013 13:37:39 MDT Print View

Larry, this is no place for facts and common sense. This is where were talk about how Max is afraid of bigfoot and aliens abducting him so he ties himself to a tree every night.

Dave -
(FamilyGuy) - F

Locale: Up there
Re: Re: Canisters can't explode from simple ignition... on 04/08/2013 13:45:59 MDT Print View

"This is where were talk about how Max is afraid of bigfoot and aliens abducting him so he ties himself to a tree every night."

This is not recommended because of the potential for lightning strikes and biting ticks, not to mention Treebeard.