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Camp Stove Performance Enhancement

In your video on Camp Stoves, why do you keep one of the gas canisters in a pan of water?

Question:

In your video on Camp Stoves, why do you keep one of the gas canisters in a pan of water?

Submitted by - Alexa

Answer:

Nice catch, eagle eye! And a very good question. In cold temps (when we shot that video it was about 40°F in the Columbia River Gorge, OR), canister stoves typically see a decline in performance.

A tech at Brunton (maker of stoves and canisters) explains it this way: “During use the fuel inside of the canister evaporates. When this occurs, the canister cools; the existing moisture in the air will condense (and freeze) on your canister. For maximum efficiency, there has to be a balance between the energy or heat the canister is losing to what the canister is absorbing from the outside environment. If this doesn’t happen the canisters temperature will drop to a point where the liquid fuel inside the canister won’t evaporate appropriately.”

By setting the canister in a pool of water–it can be as little as an inch–it keeps the frost from condensing on the canister and chilling the gas inside. Try it, it really works! You can actually see, hear, and feel the stove giving out more heat.

Other cold weather tips: sleep with your canisters so they start off warm, and be sure to use a windscreen and pot lid.

1 Comment

  1. Carson

    I’m familiar with this trick, too, but it’s important to stress that the water the canister sits in should be unheated so that the butane doesn’t overheat inside the cannister. Along the same vein, any windscreen you use should not hold the heat beneath the cook pot too well or the fuel cannister can overheat even more disastrously…i.e. explosively!

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