Gas Stoves - Summary

In practice, the 70% n-butane / 30% propane canisters are fine for warm weather with an 'upright' stove, while the 70% isobutane / 30% propane canisters (eg Kovea) are good for cold weather, but not very far below freezing. The 80% butane / 20% propane ca

We summarise here the key points:

  • Propane: boils at -42.1C, 
    So it is suitable as a fuel under most conditions, including very colds snow conditions around the world. 
    Cylinders for straight propane (think LPG) have to withstand high pressures and have therefore to be made of quite heavy steel. They are too heavy for most bushwalking.
  • Butane: boils at -0.5C, 
    So it requires much lighter canister construction. However, the 'high' boiling point means it will have problems in the snow. It is also known as n-butane, where 'n' sort-of stands for 'normal'.
  • Iso-butane: boils at -12 C, 
    So works better in snow conditions than n-butane.

In practice, the 70% n-butane / 30% propane canisters are fine for warm weather with an 'upright' stove, while the 70% isobutane / 30% propane canisters (eg Kovea) are good for cold weather, but not very far below freezing. The 80% butane / 20% propane canisters and ones with even less propane (including the Bleuet 100% butane ones) are really only suitable for tourist activities in warm weather. For snow conditions you will a different sort of stove: one with a liquid feed. All this is explained in much detail below.