Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Canister Stoves 101: Thread Care

Don't screw on your canister stove too tight.

Why not?

Well, take a look at the threads on a canister some time.
Notice how the threads do NOT go all the way out and form a sharp line.  These threads are rounded off.  That means that the only part of your stove's threads that are going to grip the canister is the very tip (very outer edge) of your stove's threads.

Whoa!  Wait a minute.  Do you mean to tell me that the only thing holding the stove on to a canister is the edge of the threads?

Yes, that's what I'm saying.  And that's a fairly thin bit of metal.  Too much pressure will put excessive wear on your stove's threads.  Heavy users have reported threads so worn that stoves have literally fallen off the canister.  Once your stove's threads are so worn that they no longer grip the canister, you're pretty much out of luck; you have to replace the stove.

So, Canister Stove Thread Care 101:
  • Don't over tighten.  If you're getting good gas flow and no leaking, that's tight enough.
  • Use the little cap on your canister.  Sure, it's a hassle to keep track of the little plastic cap, but dirt, sand, etc on the canister's threads could screw up that nice  stove you've got.  
  • Keep the threads clean on your stove.  Keep it wrapped in a bandana or something to keep crud out of the threads.  I normally keep my canister stove wrapped up and in my cook pot when it's in my pack.  Some stoves come with a little pouch or case which may be a good alternative if you don't store your stove in your pot.  Don't wrap your stove in something that sheds a lot.
  • Inspect the threads on your canister.  If there's damage on the canister threads, get a new canister (if available).  It's not worth it to use a damaged canister which might screw up your stove.
  • Do NOT cross thread.  Make sure you thread the canister on correctly and that it turns smoothly.  If it feels "funny," stop and check.  Cross threading is a great way to damage your stove.
I generally don't recommend lubricating the canister threads because crud might be more prone to stick to the lubricant, but I do know some people who lubricate the canister threads with silicon grease to prevent binding.  Perhaps there may be some advantage to this approach.

The main thing to remember with canister stoves is that a little care goes a long way.  Keep things clean, don't over tighten, and be careful how you screw on the canister.

I thank you for accompanying me on another Adventure in Stoving.


Related articles and posts:


  1. Pencil graphite can be used to lightly lubricate threads without attracting grit and grime.

  2. Hi Jim, the links to the Seattle Backpacker's Magazine articles go to 404 screens. Just wanted to let you know. Thx.


My apologies to real people, but due to Spammers I have to moderate comments. I'll get to this as rapidly as possible but do understand that I like to hike and there's no internet in the wilderness. Take care and stove on!