Most of my complaints about upright, remote, and integrated canister stoves like the Kovea Supalite, MSR Windpro, and Jetboil Flash relate to the fuel canisters, not to the stoves, which are generally excellent: powerful, user-friendly, durable, lightweight, etc.
In particular, the canisters are:
- Heavy, in consideration of the amount of fuel they contain;
- Expensive, relative to other fuels like alcohol and white gas; and,
- Not refillable partially or completely, which forces backpackers to carry more fuel than they need, and which results in having at home a box of partially used canisters too depleted for a full trip.
Or so I thought.
How to refill & transfer stove fuel between gas canisters
Thanks to some readers on Facebook — notably Michael Chervonnyi, Chris Ozolins, and “Nitro Joe” Buettner — yesterday I learned of a product that eliminates one of these downsides and lessens another. I bought one this morning before my wife had even left for work. This may be old news to those who more regularly peruse the forums, but for most readers I suspect it’s a bit of a revelation.
With a G-Works Gas Saver R1 or G-Works Gas Saver Plus, which cost $26 and $39 on Amazon, respectively, stove fuel can be transferred between EN417 gas canisters, which is the worldwide standard and which are made by MSR, Snow Peak, Jetboil, and others. The benefits:
- Consolidate fuel from partially used canisters into a single canister; and,
- Refill a canister with “just enough” fuel for a trip, as can be done with alcohol or liquid fuel.
Also, with an additional $10 adapter from CISNO, transfer butane — which is much less expensive — into the fuel canisters. Hikin’ Jim, who has shared excellent directions on his Adventures in Stoving website, calculates that his cost to refill a 110-gram/3.9-oz canister costs just $0.63, versus the $5 retail cost.
For good reason, canister manufacturers do not sell adapters for transferring fuel between canisters, and it probably has little to do with profit. Simply put, it can be dangerous. The gas is highly flammable and the canisters are highly pressurized.
In this post I am pointing out that you can transfer fuel, but not necessarily that you should. I will again link to Adventures in Stoving, where Hikin’ Jim has discussed the dangers and has outlined a safety-first procedure for transferring fuel.
Moreover, I cannot personally attest to the performance of this product. I purchased one this morning, and eventually will report back about it.
G-Works Outdoor Solutions is a Korean company. Their website is worth a look even if you don’t understand Korean — stove geeks will, well, geek out over their product line. G-Works appears related to Peakway. If you have not heard of them either, you are not alone.
Gas Saver R1 versus Gas Saver Plus
The Gas Saver R1 is more basic than the Gas Saver Plus, hence its lower price. The Plus features an air release valve so that no air — just gas — is transferred into the canister. With the R1, the small amount of air trapped between the canister valves gets transferred into the canister along with the fuel.
I’m uncertain if this is a meaningful benefit, even after reading the manufacturer’s explanations (which are in poor English). At a minimum, the absence of air in the adapter will marginally increase the available space for fuel.
If the air burns off along with the gas, it may have a small effect on combustion. But if the air accumulates with each refill, in theory the canister could become occupied by a notable amount of air over many, many refills. However, you’d probably dispose of the canister before this point, because you’d feel that you got your money’s worth from it or because the canister threads were damaged.
Do you refill and transfer fuel between canisters? What’s been your experience?
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