I am getting ready to buy a lightweight canister stove. Is there a guide for which stoves use which fuel bottles? I would like to buy my canisters at Walmart if possible.
Submitted by - Dave - Perry, UT
There are two types of canister stoves: those that burn propane and those that burn a blended fuel (consisting of some combo of propane, n-butane, or iso-butane). The former type of stove is the heavier weight option (and therefore best for car camping), because straight propane needs to be packaged in heavy steel canisters that look like this.
Backpackers are better served by stoves powered by blended fuel, and all blended fuel canisters have standardized lindal valves, which look like this.
For liability’s sake, stove companies always want you to buy their own branded fuel and often make claims saying that burning any other fuel could be dangerous. But I’ve been burning Primus canisters on JetBoil stoves, MSR canisters on Snow Peak stoves, Coleman canisters on Soto stoves, and every other combination under the sun for years, and no danger has befallen me yet. So sure, go on and buy the cheapest canisters you can find. Just be on the lookout for any leaks (they are very, very rare, but they can happen), and inspect the little O-ring hidden inside the female part of the lindal valve on your stove every so often make sure it’s not dried out or cracked.