Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Butane Adapters III -- Upright Canister Stoves

The last two adapters I reviewed (see:  Butane Adapter Warning and Butane Adapters II) were really for remote canister stoves -- stoves where the fuel and the burner are physically separate and a fuel hose runs between the two.

What about upright canister stoves, what's available for them?   An upright canister stove is the type where the stove screws right into the top of the canister.  With a "long" canister like the cheap 100% butane ones, it's most practical to lay them on their side -- which would leave your stove pointing sideways.  What we need is an adapter with a 90° angle.

Turns out there is just such an adapter.
A butane adapter intended for upright canister stoves
This one, unlike the last two, isn't too bad.  Let's have a look.

The legs fold up underneath for storage.  Nice feature.
A butane adapter for upright canister stoves with the legs folded underneath.
How does it work?  Like the last adapter I reviewed, this adapter has two hooks, a larger and a smaller.
This butane adapter has two hooks, a larger one (bottom) and a smaller one (top).
The larger hook at the bottom clips onto the collar around the valve on the canister.  The smaller hook fits through the notch on the canister.
The smaller hook fits through the notch on the canister.
The canister is then rotated about 1/16th of a turn to the right, locking the canister in place.
A canister rotated and locked into place on the butane adapter.
The top of the adapter has a threaded connector, a connector that is the equivalent of the connector on the top of a standard threaded canister.  One nice thing about this adapter is that there is a valve inside the adapter.  In other words, if you hook up a canister of gas, it won't spray all over if you didn't hook up the stove first.
The threaded connector on top of a three legged butane adapter.
Note that the body of the adapter is plastic.  I have read reports on the internet of the plastic melting when used with a larger pan, particularly with simmering type cooking.  Use caution on long, slow burns, particularly with larger pots and pans.  Larger pots and pans may reflect a lot of heat back to the adapter.  I have not personally had any problems with the plastic melting.  If one were using a stove that has a significant amount of thermal feedback, perhaps something like a Coleman F1, there might be melting problems.  A melted adapter could cause a gas explosion.  Monitor the adapter closely the first time you use it with any given stove.  

Well, let's hook it up and see how it goes.  Today's stove is a Markill Hot Rod.  Note the striking similarity of the burner to the burner on a Vargo Jet-Ti, a Kovea SupaLite, and a Snow Peak LiteMax.  Note also the similarity of the valve to the Snow Peak GigaPower (GS-100) stove.  Apparently, stove companies contract out their work to a relative few factories in Korea and China.
A Markill Hot Rod upright canister stove
Ah.  There we are, all hooked up.
An upright canister stove hooked to a cheap 100% butane canister via a three legged butane adapter.
And, when we open the valve on the stove, it fires up nicely.
An upright canister stove running on cheap 100% butane.
Stoves lose a great deal of efficiency if there's any wind, so I normally use a windscreen.
A windscreen in use with a stove running with a butane adapter.
With a windscreen, you could get heat build up that could a) could melt the plastic adapter or worse b) overheat the canister.  Overheating a canister could result in a catastrophic explosion.  Monitor the canister temperature frequently and consistently with your hand.  If it feels hot, TURN IT DOWN immediately or open up the windscreen more.

I experienced no problems with the set up above on a relatively cool day (approx. 50F/10C ambient temperature), with the stove shown.   Every day and every stove is different.  Monitor your stove closely.

This adapter is clearly the best of the lot.  It has an internal valve so you won't spray butane all over if you forget to hook up the stove first.  It has legs that are reasonably stable and prevent the canister from rolling.  Recall that if the canister rolls, you could have a dangerous, uncontrolled flare.  I can see that this adapter could be useful for day hikes, picnics, car camping, motor touring, etc. in warm weather (recall that 100% butane needs to be at or above 40F/5C for there to be sufficient operating pressure and that the canister will chill with use).

However, for serious backpacking, I don't see it, at least for me.  First, it's extra weight (78g/2.75oz).  Second, it's more bulk.  Third, it's extra fiddling (not bad though).  Lastly, that connection is not as secure as a regular backpacking connection.  In field conditions, could that connection work loose?  Somewhat unlikely, but it could happen, and that could be bad, very bad, if the gas were to continue to flow but the connection were loose.  Something to at least consider.

I will give this adapter a somewhat tentative "recommended" rating.  It is up to the individual to determine whether the adapter is useful for his or her particular style of stove use.

Thanks for joining me on another Adventure in Stoving.


Technical Appendix -- Weights

Here is a table of weights of some of the adapters and accessories I have recently discussed.
Brunton Canister Stand       19g/0.67oz
Butane adapter, no legs      29g/1.02oz
Butane adapter, two legs     38g/1.34oz
Butane adapter, three legs   78g/2.75oz
Kovea propane adapter       105g/3.70oz
Brunton Stove Stand         145g/5.11oz


  1. Kovea makes a remote hose and stove stand for butane canisters.


  2. Yes, they do. I've got one, and it looks good although I haven't tested it yet. I'm not sure if it will be popular in the US market or not. Most people don't take 100% butane fuel seriously.



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