- Feb 19, 2018 at 3:56 pm #3519236
I recently went on a snow camping trip where the temperature dropped down to around 0 F. I decided to use my standard Pocket Rocket style stove with an upright canister that screwed to the bottom. I decided it to get it to light by keeping the canister warm.
On the trip, my friend had a Kovea Spider which can be used as a remote inverted stove. He used a canister he did not pre-heat. He opened the valve on it. It’s not entirely clear what happened, but we think that the gas was released, hit the cold stove, and liquefied. When he lit the stove, it burst into a huge flame. He pulled it away, and the snow actually caught on fire and burned for a bit.
I incessantly mocked him for lighting the snow on fire, but then I did something even worse. It was stupid. I tried to keep the canister warm. I hooked up my upright canister stove. I opened the valve and the gas started coming out. I had a bit of trouble getting it to light, so the gas ran for a bit longer than I hoped. Eventually it lit, and apparently I had the same problem. The gas liquefied onto my stove. Since it wasn’t a remote stove, it didn’t liquefy on the snow as well, it liquefied on the canister.
Not only did the stove catch fire, the canister caught fire! My initial attempts to stomp it out failed, so I quickly threw it into the powder nearby. That put it out. Fortunately, the canister was fairly cold, or else I could be dead right now.
Now I was left with a stove covered in ice that couldn’t light even if I wanted to. I didn’t want to. I borrowed water from a friend.
Despite the weight penalty, I’m buying an inverted canister stove. If I set the snow on fire, I’ll turn down the gas and spend the minute or so to let it burn off.Feb 19, 2018 at 4:02 pm #3519238
Jon FongBPL Member
@jonfongLocale: FLAT CAT GEAR
With inverted canisters, I am pretty sure that the instructions state that the canister should be in the upright position to light. You light the stove and set it to a low setting, after it warms a bit you invert the canister. The flame level will increase (sometimes by quite a bit) as you are now converting liquid to gas. My 2 cents.Feb 19, 2018 at 9:47 pm #3519301
Ah yes – that happens. The secret is to ALWAYS start with the valve nearly shut, and maybe to light the Bic before turning the valve on.
As Jon suggests, it is usually easier, if the temperature permits, to start with the canister upright and let the stove warm up a bit before inverting the canister. Don’t leave the canister upright for very long – and have the flame low anyhow.
That said, you can start with the canister inverted. The Coleman Xtreme stove was always started this way as the Powermax canisters only gave out liquid fuel. But users had little trouble once they figure out the ‘start with a low flame’ bit, and it remains an extremely good stove.
We (BPL) have lots of good articles on canister stoves and their use in the snow. They are easy to use and reliable. Worth reading the.
CheersFeb 19, 2018 at 10:02 pm #3519306
Ken T.BPL Member
You can use an upright canister in those conditionsFeb 19, 2018 at 10:32 pm #3519321
I understand that you can use an upright canister in those conditions. In fact, I was using one just fine when my friend set the snow on fire. I wasn’t really paying attention to how my friend lit his inverted canister stove (canister up or down). I just noticed him upset / laughing that he set the snow on fire.
I don’t want to bash canister stoves. I plan on using them in the winter. I just think that upright canister stoves can be very dangerous if you can’t get it lit quickly in the winter because the gas will condense on the canister itself rather than the snow below. I’ve used upright canisters in the cold for some time. I’ve had some difficulty getting it to light, but I never had something terrible happen.
This past time, something terrible happened.
Could I have prevented this by getting a lighter going and then turning on the gas? Probably. My point was that doing it wrong can be very dangerous.
My other friend used a Jetboil. That design makes the gas condensing on the canister much less likely.Feb 19, 2018 at 10:40 pm #3519326
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
That’s pretty good using upright canister at 0 F without Moulder strip or other technique
How did you pre warm the canister? How warm was it?Feb 19, 2018 at 10:50 pm #3519329
I warmed the canister by keeping it my tent cinched down pretty hard, which then became a bunker when it snowed around 1.5 feet around me. The inside was quite warm. I then removed the canister and used it to make breakfast. Thank goodness that I didn’t try to use it in my tent!Feb 19, 2018 at 11:38 pm #3519342
Thank goodness that I didn’t try to use it in my tent!
Burnt tents are not good. Even worse in the snow. :)
But many of us always cook inside our tent. In bad weather, it can be the only way to get a hot dinner. So it is eminently possible to quite safely fire up a canister stove inside a tent. It’s worth practising such skills.
CheersApr 16, 2018 at 2:55 am #3530645
Patrick PodenskiBPL Member
Another good resource for dealing with canister stoves in winter cold can be found at Hikin’ Jim’s website
Gas stoves in cold weather.Apr 16, 2018 at 6:59 am #3530656
May I record that I disagree with a lot of what Jim has written about Regulator stoves? A regulator valve is simply a needle valve with some extra jazz attached. BPL has a full article about this here. Two main points should be made:
It is true that opening up a regulator needle valve stove fully will not make as big a flame as opening up a standard needle valve stove. But so what? Only an idiot would blindly open up the valve on his stove full bore before lighting it. We do hope you are not such an idiot.
In cold weather a regulator valve can NOT do anything about the gas pressure in the canister. All the regulator bit can do is further inhibit the flow of gas. Numerous advertisements have claimed otherwise, but those ads were written by marketing cretins who do not know any basic physics.
It’s an old argument which was resolved years ago, at least here at BPL.
CheersApr 16, 2018 at 2:13 pm #3530679
Jerry AdamsBPL Member
@retiredjerryLocale: Oregon and Washington
I agree with that Roger
I’ve used a Soto regulator stove and a Pocket Rocket needle valve stove
If it’s somewhat cold and I turn on a needle valve stove, after a while it cools down and slows way down. It’s slightly annoying to notice that your stove has slowed way down and is taking forever. But I then just have to turn the valve up.
With Soto it’s automatic.
A very slight advantage to the regulator.
More than that, Soto seems like a well designed, reliable stove.
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