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Luc
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Luc
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PostMon May 02, 2022 10:22 am 
There have been several threads about these two topics, but I can't seem to uncover the final word. Feel free to refer me to the correct links.

It seems that there's again an MSR iso fuel canister shortage, at least at REI.

Folks at the box stores usually say "just use another brand" but I feel like when I use other brands, and presumably other mixtures, it doesn't work as well with my reactor. the fuel seems to flare up and not burn as hot, nor last as long.

What's the final word on using other brands/mixtures with the reactor, or mix-matching fuel brands with stove brands and tech in general?

I feel like MSR has worked the best for me, but I'm tired of hunting them down.

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Jaberwock
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PostMon May 02, 2022 6:30 pm 
They're all made in Korea by a company called Kovea. Mixes do vary by brand/label.

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Bronco
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PostTue May 03, 2022 9:30 am 
I don't think there is a drastic difference. This guy liked MSR and Jetboil canisters, so you might try a Jetboil if you haven't already: 

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InFlight
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PostTue May 03, 2022 9:36 am 
These fuel containers are all close to 80% Isobutane, and 20% Propane.
The partial pressure of Isobutane is much lower(30.7 psi at 70F), which allows for the lighter canisters.

Pure Propane canisters are very heavy walled (122 psi at 70F), the 16 ounce Coleman cylinders are 30 ounces.

Isobutane boils at 11F.  Propane boils at -43F.  Adding some propane improves the canisters low temperature performance without a large weight penalty to the canister.  I have used Jet boil, MSR, and Gigapower cylinders, whichever was available locally at the time. I honestly can't say I ever really noticed any difference in actual use.

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Bowregard
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PostTue May 03, 2022 11:07 am 
My understanding is that the impact of different mixtures only affects stoves at cold temperatures and high altitudes. I know the next question is "how cold and high" but I don't enough experience with the various formulas to answer that (I am sure others on this forum do).

Suggestions:
1. Buy alternate brands and use those for low elevation/warmer temp trips (save your MSRs for high/cold).
2. Get a device to allow you to transfer between canisters. I have one and purchase mostly high volume canisters and re-use the smaller ones. Warning: Only do this if you are willing to commit to fully understanding the science since improper use can be dangerous.
3. Buy alternate brands with similar mixtures to MSR (takes research but available).
4. I have never heard of any of the mixes causing damage to a stove so I doubt that would be a concern.

That's all I have. Best of luck to you.

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Luc
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Luc
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PostTue May 03, 2022 11:15 am 
Perhaps the foam distributor in the jetboils and reactors could tilt the efficacy of certain mixes?

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InFlight
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PostTue May 03, 2022 11:46 am 
Bowregard wrote:
My understanding is that the impact of different mixtures only affects stoves at cold temperatures and high altitudes. I know the next question is "how cold and high" but I don't enough experience with the various formulas to answer that (I am sure others on this forum do).

.

Brand name gas cylinders are good down to about maybe 15F or so. The gas mixture is good to about 0F., but you have to consider the cylinder getting colder as you use them.   Some of the cheap ones may have butane rather than isobutane.  Will have to wait for someone on You Tube that wants to hangout in a walk in freezer to test cylinders.

For cold temperature use, white gas (paraffinic naphtha) is likely good down to -35F.   When it's really cold, it's hard to beat the MSR WhisperLite or Optimus stove.

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Navy salad
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PostTue May 03, 2022 12:21 pm 
Good articles on this subject from our own Hikin_jim (may not be active on the site anymore), who writes his own blog on "Adventures in Stoving". If anyone would "hangout in a walk in freezer to test cylinders" it would be him!

https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2016/11/can-i-use-any-brand-of-gas-canister.html

https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2011/11/whats-best-brand-of-gas-for-cold.html

https://adventuresinstoving.blogspot.com/2011/02/word-on-types-of-canisters-and-brands.html

His bottom line: In warm weather, use whatever's cheapest -- any brand will do. In cold weather, use mixes with a higher percentage of propane.

InFlight, awilsondc, Bowregard
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Pyrites
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PostTue May 03, 2022 6:08 pm 
Boiling point of propane, -44f, isobutane, 11f, butane, 32f.

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HitTheTrail
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PostThu May 05, 2022 3:25 am 
Bowregard wrote:
Get a device to allow you to transfer between canisters. I have one and purchase mostly high volume canisters and re-use the smaller ones.

This might be your best solution when the small backpacking canisters are not available. The big box sporting goods store and Amazon usually have the Big canisters in stock. Then just get a fuel canister transfer valve and re-fill the smaller canisters. I have been doing that for years just to get the price of the gas down a little.

In my opnion, the main danger in this method is over filling the small canister when you have a new full big canister. I get around that problem by just cracking the valve for a second and then weighing the small canister. I always take a less than full small canister on most trips anyway so I just under fill the little one.

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Navy salad
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PostTue May 10, 2022 10:48 am 
Interesting in comparing the 4 oz size ($18.50) vs 16 oz ($27), that you only pay about 50% more to get 4 times as much. I may have to try this!

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HitTheTrail
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PostWed May 11, 2022 7:33 am 
Navy salad wrote:
I may have to try this!

You can also use this device to transfer out the remaining gas from your small backpacking canisters. But that does not work as well. Even when a big canister on top starts to get empty the transfer rate slows way down. One method that helps this is to put the bottom canister in the freezer for 5-10 minutes to create a temperature differential. That makes a big difference. This process is all well documented in youtube vids on the subject.

Navy salad, Bowregard
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Bowregard
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PostWed May 11, 2022 8:44 am 
If you do decide to get a transfer device it is important to have a good scale to allow you to evaluate how full the canisters you are working with are. I found weights for the different canister sizes and brands online. I also follow the recommendation I have seen to mark each canister when refilled and limit how many refill cycles before recycling the cannister.

HitTheTrail
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HitTheTrail
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PostWed May 11, 2022 9:22 am 
Bowregard wrote:
If you do decide to get a transfer device it is important to have a good scale to allow you to evaluate how full the canisters you are working with are. I found weights for the different canister sizes and brands online. I also follow the recommendation I have seen to mark each canister when refilled and limit how many refill cycles before recycling the cannister.

This is all great advice, and more or less the same thing I do. I have the empty canister weight in grams written on the bottom with permanent marker and the amount of gas in grams written with erasable marker and keep exact accounting as I use/refill them. I only go out on 10-15 multi day trips a year and usually have two canisters I refill. Each spring I buy two new full canisters and recycle the other two at the same time.

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