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Canister failure: has this happened to you?
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Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/09/2013 22:29:33 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/08/2013 19:27:29 MDT.

eric chan
(bearbreeder) - F
Re: Jetboil in the wind: Doing the Jetboil Shuffle on 04/09/2013 22:48:19 MDT Print View

youll be fine ...

as a side benefit it acts as a bit of a hand warmer ...

and if you should suddenly feel the need to panic ... just chuck the thing as far as you can and shout "FIRE IN THE HOLE !!!" ... at least the fuel doesnt spill all over u when u toss it at that innocent bear

people burn down tents with liquid fuel stoves (a common hazard in the early mountaineering days), they spill alcohol all over the place and start fires (just search for those vitrolic threads), and then theres fire bans ... etc ...

ANYTHING can be "dangerous" if you dont use it properly ...

Hikin' Jim
(hikin_jim) - MLife

Locale: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Jetboil in the wind: Doing the Jetboil Shuffle on 04/09/2013 23:09:09 MDT Print View

Just don't tilt the thing, especially with a fresh canister. Shake a canister some time. Hear that sloshing sound? That's liquid inside. Yes I know it's a "gas" canister, but it's under a lot of pressure down inside that little canister, and it all squishes together and becomes liquid. "Squishes" is a scientific term that I'm sure Roger will appreciate. ;)

Seriously though, put a gas under enough pressure and it does indeed liquefy, as evidenced by the aforementioned sloshing sound. If you tilt the burner too far over, liquid might come out and instead of that little tame blue flame, you'll get 8"/12cm high yellow flames shooting out the sides. And it's in your hands.

Yes, I do test this stuff, and no this is not a theory. Here's an MSR MicroRocket (MSR will now disown me) on a Brunton stove stand with the canister inverted.

Now, let's fire it up.

It was broad daylight when I shot this and the wind was blowing, but I think you can see yellow flames extending well beyond the normal flame limit of a MicroRocket.

MicroRocket, normal flame:

Now, think about it. You're holding the whole thing by the cozy. Your hands are where? Above the burner. Get my drift?

The safest best is to set it down although I know plenty of people hold it. Don't know that it's a good idea.

Adventures in Stoving

Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Re: Jetboil in the wind: Doing the Jetboil Shuffle on 04/09/2013 23:18:03 MDT Print View

Its worse in the cold. The valve on my inverted stove is VERY touchy in cold temps. Just the slightest turn, and I'm liable to get a delayed rush of fuel, causing a mini fireball. Finicky that thing is. I've learned to be patient and careful with inverted canisters, and I wouldn't want to be holding a lit canister, Jetboil or not, if some liquid hit the feed.

steven franchuk
Re: Jetboil in the wind: Doing the Jetboil Shuffle on 04/10/2013 00:16:34 MDT Print View

"Another side benefit, filling the jetboil with clean snow was as simple as shaking it off the tree branches into the cookpot. This could be done, little by little for better efficiency without stopping the stove. Plus you can watch the flame and make sure it doesn't got out.

Of course, this could be a big no-no. "

Deniel, I don't see any issue with melting snow shaken off of trees slowly other than it might not be as efficient as doing a one full pot with the stove on high.

It is interesting to note that of all of the first hand reports of canister failures none reported the the canister exploding. The two second had reports (I heard from soneone ...) included canister explosions. The two second hand report don't appear to be more myth than reality to me.

BPL did acually run a story about canister safety and one canister was actually heated until it failed. It failed at 98C and it took 16 minutes to heat it up to that point.

Note a canister is made of 3 parts, the valve, the main can, and the bottom of the can. All are tightly crimped together. When a canister fails it will fail in its weakest spot which is likely where two parts are joined together. So the most likely failures are:

1 A seam ruptures and the all the gas is released and the can stays in one piece.
2. A seam ruputes and the two parts of the fly of in oposite directions.

A failure of two seams at the same time is note likely to happen because one seam will always fail first and when it does the pressue in the can goes to zero before the second seam will fail. The only way you can get more than three seperate pieces of metal would require high explosives.

If a canister is going to explode in front of you you will get burned by the fire and one piece of the can might hit you and cause an injury (likely a cut) while the other will be moving in the oposite direction. You won't loose multiple limbs due to flying metal.

A spark hitting a leaking canister will not cause it to suddenly explode. There is no air in the canister so there is no way for a fire to occur in the canister. However outside the canister will be fuel will burn. That burning fuel could heat the canister and it might heat it enough to cause it to explode. However as fuel burns the The amount of fuel left in the canister drops and the loss of fuel will also cause a cooling effect In short there is race going on when a leaking canister burns. Will it get hot enough to explode before it runs out of fuel? My guess is that in most cases it will run out of fuel before it can explode. Also in most cases it will take several minutes for the can to get hot enough to explode. More than enough time to get up and walk to a safe distance.

In short if your can leaks and catches fire, try putting it out with dirt or water and if possible throw it into snow or a lake. If you can't do that within 20 seconds the best you can do is to move to a safe distance and wait for it to be over. Most of the first hand reports on this forum of leaks and fires are consistent with trying to put it out and if that failes walk away.

From my own limited experience with white gas stoves, white gas is more dangerous.

Before I got into boy scouts my dad had burned off the paint on two stoves due to problems priming them. In scouts I had to use them but the adults kept a very close eye on us to insure we used them safely. Fortunately we had few fire balls while using those stoves. Then in one day in a multi troup camporee I heard a scream and commotion. Later I learned a scout had remove the fuel cap from a white gas stove and poured the fuel in the cap and then put the fuel in the fire (it was a very wet day). He didn't notice a small flame on the cap and when he put it back on the stove. He suffered serious burns on his face. There were apparently other incidents and a year later the local scout councel decided to ban the use of white gas stoves in scouts.

So before the age of 16 I had seen several fire balls and one serious accident with white gas. From then on in scouts we had to use propane stoves. The green canisters were haavy but they were easy to use and we had no safety problems with them.

Once I got back into hiking I purchased a butane stove. Never had anything serious happen with them. I have recently had one case were the stove wouldn't work. I remove the canister inspected it and put the can back on. Then it worked normally. Don' know what happened but it wasn't dangerous. No one I know has had a problem with butane.

doug thomas
(sparky52804) - MLife

Locale: Eastern Iowa
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Svea 123 vs. Canister Stoves on 04/10/2013 04:49:16 MDT Print View

Sounds more like a digestive problem to me

James Marco
(jamesdmarco) - MLife

Locale: Finger Lakes
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Svea 123 vs. Canister Stoves on 04/10/2013 07:33:37 MDT Print View

"Sounds more like a digestive problem to me"
Ha, ha....
Yeah....I would much rather eat cooked food than have gas.


Daniel Fish

Locale: PDX
... on 04/10/2013 08:46:54 MDT Print View


Edited by on 06/08/2013 19:26:30 MDT.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: RE: "Perhaps we underestimate the ability of "older" folks to innovate" on 04/10/2013 17:34:26 MDT Print View

When we talk about older or younger; and innovation, we risk moving into the murky waters of stereotyping. It cracks me up that colleges teach classes on entrepreneurial business. I work with entrepreneurial businessmen almost everyday.

My opinion is that innovators and entrepreneurs are risk takers; and this has nothing to do with age. It cannot be taught. Risk takers are a minority.

I find that many older people are unwilling to take risks because it might jeopardize the security they have in job, home, savings, etc.

A couple years ago I built a workshop and training materials for a client on "attracting, hiring, and retaining Gen Y employees." My research found that Gen Y typically look to peers for approval and feedback, and they prefer to collaborate with other Gen Y's to solve problems. Not a climate for innovation IMO. But then this is the stereotypical Gen Y.

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

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: RE: "Perhaps we underestimate the ability of "older" folks to innovate" on 04/10/2013 17:45:15 MDT Print View

"Conversely, don't try to beat down what is commonly seen as grumpy older folks who refuse to justify their choices "

Why is it that Daniel posts this, and then the next two are from Nick and then me?


Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
RE: "Perhaps we underestimate the ability of "older" folks to innovate" on 04/10/2013 18:04:29 MDT Print View

Old age and treachery will overcome youth and skill. Muhahaha!

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: RE: "Perhaps we underestimate the ability of "older" folks to innovate" on 04/10/2013 18:07:12 MDT Print View

Role models.

grumpy old men

John Nausieda
(Meander) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: RE: "Perhaps we underestimate the ability of "older" folks to innovate" on 04/10/2013 18:12:56 MDT Print View

You egg! Young fry of treachery!
Looks like gibberish to you? Here's what it all means:
To call someone an egg was to draw attention to their youth, suggesting they're so young that they're not even hatched yet. Fry has a similar meaning - it's a tiny, just-hatched fish.

Fancy reading more like that? It's from:
Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 2

Dale Wambaugh
(dwambaugh) - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: RE: "Perhaps we underestimate the ability of "older" folks to innovate" on 04/10/2013 18:17:55 MDT Print View

And in the words of GB Shaw, "What a shame to waste youth upon the young."

Muir makes a better role model:
John Muir

Herbert Sitz

Locale: Pacific NW
Re: RE: "Perhaps we underestimate the ability of "older" folks to innovate" on 04/10/2013 20:56:00 MDT Print View

"Conversely, don't try to beat down what is commonly seen as grumpy older folks who refuse to justify their choices when confronted with the 'why' question. These behaviors also have a place and a benefit and should be loved and appreciated and nurtured."

I know you're trying to draw distinctions between old and young and show both have their good points. But this seems to be taking things too far. Sorry, anyone -- old, young, or in between -- who refuses to justify their assertions when politely asked 'Why?' deserves to be disregarded.

"So my point is this, don't try to beat down what is commonly seen as youthful arrogance. Don't try to beat down what is commonly seen as the young dismissing the elder wisdom."

Conversely, I see no need to tolerate all youthful arrogance. Youth need to learn how to voice their opinions in a respectful way. They also need to learn that their audience may have negative reactions to assertions not because of the content, but because they're made in a certain way. Assuming they want to communicate their ideas, they may need to calibrate their tone and method of presentation to avoid alienating their audience. Giving youth this feedback is not "beating them down"; it's helping them calibrate things so they can communicate better, a skill that will serve them well as they go through life.

Larry De La Briandais
(Hitech) - F

Locale: SF Bay Area
ovee and over... on 04/10/2013 21:27:14 MDT Print View

One problem us old guys have with explaining ourselves is that we have had to explain why for the same thing to one to many people. If you ask after that point... ;^)

I know defending the best way to do something in my line of work gets old quick. But its usually the other old guys I'm explaining it to. My boss once said "I don't see what everyone has against gotos"! You have to be an old programmer to get it, sorry.

Jeremy and Angela
(requiem) - F

Locale: Northern California
Re: ovee and over... on 04/11/2013 00:55:02 MDT Print View

My boss once said "I don't see what everyone has against gotos"

Yes, a Real Programmer would make use of the COME FROM construct instead.

Tad Englund
(bestbuilder) - F - MLife

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Re: Re: ovee and over... on 04/11/2013 01:27:49 MDT Print View

I think my mis-use of the GOTO command is the reason the university I attended made a new policy that if some one created a loop on the IBM 360; the "offender" would have to pick up the tab to reset everything.
Needless to say I didn't graduate in Computer Sci., they didn't like my punch cards typing skills either.

Dean L
(AldoLeopold) - F

Locale: Great Lakes
New/Old Stoves on 04/11/2013 06:07:08 MDT Print View

New-fast, efficient, tend to run a little hot

Old-dependable, proven design, sometimes hard to ignite

But no matter the type, both get the job done in the end.

Jennifer Mitol
(Jenmitol) - M

Locale: In my dreams....
Old school vs new on 04/11/2013 07:29:44 MDT Print View

This thread is totally cracking me up. Max, thanks for being such a good sport!!!

My geezer, arthritic, cardiac-stent compromised hippie dad loves backpacking, so I've been using my newfound epiphanies of going lighter to help him get back on the trail. He went with me once a few years ago (when I was still trudging my 4-man REI 10-pound bomber tent for 2 people) and he didn't get more than 2-3 miles in his dry rotted external frame pack with his massive 6 pound DOWN sleeping bag circa 1979.

So...I'm sort of dragging him kicking and screaming to the 2000s and being lighter, but wow do I run into issues:

He loves his big heavy green army canteen with the metal and canvas holder.
He wants a Eureka Everest! tent...none of this namby pamby trekking pole tarp sh!?
He likes the gorilla I got for him, but he's modifying it to have lids and external pockets and such.
He still carries his SVEA 123 (but I did get him to get a smaller pot...he didn't need an iron Dutch oven...)

My point is that he pines for a time when he was healthy and fit and could canoe the boundary waters of northern MN for weeks at a time...and that means the gear that goes with those memories. And I'm the whipper snapper that questions his wisdom and thinks I know better than he does about these things...

Anyway, it's all relative. Thank you all for some serious chuckles on a thread about stoves.