Camping stoves are such a blessing to every camper. Imagine spending days or weeks outside with nothing but bread and water to eat. Or having nothing but cold water to drink, even when it’s freezing outside.
Thankfully, we don’t have to imagine the horrors we are being saved from, thanks to camping stoves.
But now that we have camping stoves, the next thing to be concerned about is what sizes our camping stove gas canisters should be, and how long they last depending on their sizes.
It is no fun to travel with a large gas canister for a few days because of the uncertainties of a small one, just as you wouldn’t want to travel with a small canister and run out of gas in no time.
So, let’s get familiar with the different sizes of camping stove gas canisters so that you know what each size entails.
Standard Camping Stove Gas Canister Sizes
Generally, camping stove gas canisters have three size ranges, which some people loosely refer to as small, medium, and large. However, it is best to be specific when talking about size.
For instance, the canister we call small ranges between 100g and 113g in size. The medium canister is between 220g and 230g, while the large canister is 450g in size.
When they’re not measured or referred to in grams, ounces are used to measure them, in which case what you find is 4oz, 8oz, and 16oz for the small, medium, and large canisters respectively.
I would advise that you refer to gas canisters by their actual size measurements when shopping to avoid misunderstanding, especially with regards to what qualifies as large and what doesn’t.
Now that we’ve squared things up with the sizes of gas canisters, let’s go into details about each canister size.
1. Small camping gas canister (110g-113g)
This gas canister is the smallest on the list, and as expected, lasts for the shortest duration when camping.
This small canister is great for short solo or two-person trips such as a weekend camping exercise.
Although several factors affect how long your small gas canister will last, such as the kind of stove you’re using, what kinds of meals you’re making, and how many people you are cooking for.
Based on experiments, you can boil about 48 cups of water with one 100g canister with a JetBoil, and 25 cups of water with a pocket rocket stove.
It’s important to experiment with your own stove to know how long the canister can last you because the variants can sometimes be huge depending on the stove you use.
While the timing differs depending on the type of stove you use, a small gas canister should boil about 10 liters of water, make between 10 and 14 quick meals, or last for 1 hour when used continuously in the best conditions.
You can experiment with your small gas canister on the go, to be sure what’ll you’ll get, but it’s always safe to go with a spare canister if you aren’t sure how much cooking you’ll be doing.
2. Medium camping gas canister (220g-230g)
Campers love this gas canister because it allows them to explore cooking while they’re out without worrying so much that it could finish at any time.
Although the medium canister is not as light and easy to carry around as the small one that would fit comfortably into your backpack, it isn’t as heavy as the large canister, so you can travel comfortably with it.
If you’re spending the weekend camping in a group, or you’re spending longer than a weekend on a 1 or 2-person trip, then the medium gas canister is best for you.
The lifespan of your medium gas canister depends on the stove you use, what meal you’re making, the temperature, and the elevation of your camp. Your usage efficiency is also a contributing factor.
With all the right conditions in place, your medium gas canister can handle an average of 24 liters boil, 25 to 30 meals, last for 3 to 5 days, and will last between 3 and 4 hours continuously on low heat and 2 to 3 hours when used on high heat.
3. Large camping gas canister (450g)
The large camping gas canister should probably not be on your radar if you’re doing solo camping for a few days.
Not only is it too large to carry around, but it would also be a waste to go about with such a large canister when you might never use even half of it.
However, if you’re going car camping or base camping with your family or a large group, this gas canister just might suffice.
As expected, the large size of this canister is not without an advantage, which you find in the fact that it lasts a REALLY long time compared to other gas canister sizes.
A 450 gas canister will boil about 48 liters of water, cook between 50 and 60 meals, and last for 6 to 10 days at intervals, or 4 to 6 hours on high heat and 6 to 8 hours on low heat continuously.
Although we have made a workable estimate, you need to pay attention to the gas’s quality because low-quality gas will not last as long as we have estimated. Although it can be costly, ensure that you purchase the best quality gas for your canister, especially if you are getting a product refill.
How To Know What Size Canister Is Best for Your Camping Stove?
Now that we have established the standard gas canister sizes, it is important to point out something that many campers miss, which is the relationship between your camping stove and gas canister.
There is a ‘best size’ canister for every camping stove and this is hinged on the fact that they have to be a good fit to work well. Generally, the normal canisters are recommended to be used with liquid fuel stoves.
On the other hand, large gas canisters are recommended to be used with gas stoves. But that’s not where things end. The actual type of stove is an important consideration because you must check to see the best type and size of canister for your stove model.
First, your camping stove will be compatible with one of these canisters; the easy-click, screw-in, aerosol, or pierce-style gas canisters. These canisters have a specific size range that’s connected to their type. Let’s see what I mean below.
1. Pierce-style canisters
The pierce-style canister is the cheapest of all canisters, which is connected to the fact that they need to be re-sealed every time they are used, which is neither comfortable nor environmentally forward.
This canister is typically a propane/butane mix and comes in 190g sizes, which is somewhere in between the small and medium canisters we discussed earlier.
I wouldn’t say the pierce-style canisters are as popular amongst campers as other types although they are sold globally. They are more in use in eastern and southern European countries, and France.
2. Easy-click canisters
These canisters are also called clip-on or non-threaded canisters. You can also see tags like CV470, CV270, or CV300. Although they are similar to screw canisters, they are not compatible because they have different valves.
Easy-click canisters contain propane and butane fuel and they come in three size ranges; 230g, 240g, and 450g.
3. Screw-on canisters
Screw-on canisters have the widest size variety as far as camping gas is concerned. They come in 100g, 200g, 250g, and 445/500g sizes and contain propane and butane gas.
They are sometimes referred to as normal, threaded, or C500, C100, or CA500 canisters, and are popular within the U.S, the U.K, and Europe.
4. Aerosol canisters
The aerosol butane canister mostly comes in the 250g size and is quite similar to hairspray. This canister is mostly used to refill lighters, torches, and other tools and appliances.
They are popular in the U.S, Japan, Korea, and Europe, and they often come with adapters to make them fit properly into different kinds of appliances.
Conclusively, depending on the type of stove you purchase, you’ll be guided on the best type and size of the canister to use.
Burn time and boil time are two determining factors where camping stove and the canister size are concerned. Burn time refers to how long a particular stove can run on a given amount of fuel, while boil time refers to the speed at which a stove can boil a given amount of water under ideal conditions.
Calculating your stove’s boil and burn time lets you know what size of gas canister you should carry for your trip, depending on what you’re cooking and how long you’re staying.
A stove with a fast burn time would naturally use up more fuel than that with a slow burn time and therefore need more fuel.
What Happens When You Use a Wrong Size Canister for Your Camping Stove?
As far as camping stoves and sizes are concerned, two possibilities exist when you use the wrong size canister for your camping stove.
First, you might run out of gas in no time if you use a smaller canister for a larger stove. Your fuel will burn very fast and you might find yourself in need of a spare canister faster than you expected.
On the other hand, in cases where the canister size is too large, not much can go wrong, provided the type of canister you’re using is compatible with your camping stove.
If there are compatibility issues, such as a difference in the type of canister, then the problem there isn’t really the size of the canister but the type.
In the end, it is important to pay attention to what manufacturers have to say about the sizes and types of gas canisters that are compatible with their camping stoves.
Now that we’ve covered all you need to know about camping stove gas canister sizes, you don’t have to make the mistake of buying or using the wrong size of canister for your camping expeditions.
Follow the general rules, ask questions, plan for the unexpected, and you’re all set!