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Backcountry Kitchen The Backcountry Kitchen forum is for the discussion of food and cooking gear related topics for backpacking trips (e.g. menus, recipes, stoves, fuel...).


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  #1  
Old 08-12-2014, 01:23 PM
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Reality Reality is offline
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Canister Stove Fuel Mixtures

For reference, here are some canister fuel mixtures* that I charted a while back:

Brunton Bruntane (80% Isobutane, 20% Propane)
Coleman Peak 1 (70% n-Butane, 30% Propane)
Coleman PowerMax (65% n-Butane, 35% Propane)
Jetboil JetPower (80% Isobutane, 20% Propane)
MSR IsoPro (80% Isobutane, 20% Propane)
Primus Power Gas (50% n-Butane, 25% Isobutane, 25% Propane)
Snow Peak Giga Power (85% Isobutane, 15% Propane)
Optimus Energy Gas (50% Butane, 25% Isobutane, 25% Propane)
Olicamp Rocket Fuel (75% Isobutane, 25% Propane)

*Based upon conversations and material data from manufacturers - please verify for yourself.
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Old 08-13-2014, 11:29 PM
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Wildfield Wildfield is offline
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This is very interesting data.

Is there a specific mixture that burns better than another?

I'm guessing better is relative. Do some mixtures offer a longer burn time while other mixtures offer a hotter burn?
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:29 AM
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Reality Reality is offline
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The mixtures have much to do with making it possible to contain the gas in a lightweight canister and facilitates operating temperatures.

For example, straight (or high percentage) propane would require a heavy steel container to avoid failure from vapor pressure.

Butane doesn't vaporize (from liquid) well in freezing temperatures.

The solution for a lightweight canister fuel that operates well in colder temperatures is to mix the *butane and propane.

Reality
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Old 08-14-2014, 06:51 PM
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FirstRWD FirstRWD is offline
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So perhaps if you're going on a colder weather trip, try to get one with a little higher propane percentage? Is it known if the manufacturers with a lower propane content do indeed make their canisters thinner and lighter, or are they all close enough in percentages that they make the canisters basically the same? I wonder if I can dig up some weights of the different canisters. Having just gotten into using a stove this year, I need to do a lot of reading and learning still. Right now I have the Coleman Micro stove that I picked up on clearance and I've used a couple different fuel canisters chosen randomly.
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Old 08-15-2014, 03:31 AM
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GGervin GGervin is offline
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Great info, Reality. Very helpful.

As to fuel mix vs cannister weight, it's interesting to note the old Coleman Power Max mix came in the lightest weight cannister. I think I weighed mine at 3oz. empty? The fuel mix is one of the two reasons the stoves that ran on those Power Max cans worked so well in cold weather. (The other reason was a regulated liquid fuel feed system.) I still have one of those Power Max stoves, and it's still my go-to stove for snow.

I didn't realize the Peak 1 cannisters were so high in propane. not too different from the Power Max. I'll have to find some and see how they compare to the MSR's I usually use.
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:53 PM
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tonto tonto is offline
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Getting Fired Up

Actually, there are several factors to consider when it comes to gas canisters and the way the stove distributes the fuel.

1. What's in the can (The types of fuel used to fill the can and the "blend" of the fuels used in the can)
2. All fuels burn at different BTU levels.
3. All fuels have different vapor points (the ambient temperature at which the fuel turn from a liquid to a gas).

Each gas burns at a different Btu level and vaporizes at a different temperature.

n-butane produces 3,225 BtU/cu ft with an atmospheric vapor point of 31F
isobutane produces 2500 to 3200 Btu/cu ft with a vapor point of 13.6F
propane produces 2572 Btu/cu ft with a vapor point of -43F

Fuel blend can allow a stove to burn certain fuels at a lower temperature than they would normally vaporize at.

4. How does the fuel leave the can (this relates to stove design)

Most canister stoves are "top feeders". The fuel turns to a vapor above the liquid before it leaves the tank and therefore the ambient temperature is critical to the fuel vaporizing to produce a burn.

Other stoves are "bottom feeders". The fuel is drawn as a liquid from the bottom of the tank and vaporizes at a heated burner head. These stoves can produce a burn at a lower temperature than the fuel would normally vaporize at.

For more discussion check out this post dated 9/3/11 by Outdoor_Jim " Minimum temperature you bring your canister stove"
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Old 09-13-2014, 11:34 AM
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Ralph Ralph is offline
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The straight butane canisters (the type that are cylindrical rather than domed) are substantially less expensive and lighter than any of the domed canisters. I have an adapter that allows the standard butane canister, laying on its side, to be used with stoves using the Primus type threaded connection. As long as the expected temperature isn't going to get near to freezing (in the summer, mostly) I use the less expensive butane.

Butane Adapter.jpg
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