by Ray Birks
Early spring, after pulling out the blue plastic bins in the garage, gearing up for the first bike packing adventures of the season, I always groan at the fact that I have a few half-filled isobutane stove fuel canisters. Trying to figure out which one has just enough fuel to last me for a trip without having to take two gets the mental math going and soon my mind dredges up questions I don’t want to answer right before heading out the door.

“How many meals will I be cooking this trip? Do I have enough fuel in one canister to last me the whole time? Do I have to bring two half-full canisters, that take up valuable space, to make sure I have enough fuel? Can I just not cook things and survive off of beef jerky and energy bars? Is food even necessary?”

But now I have less time to stress about fuel since discovering a cheap, little tool that transfers fuel from one canister to another. This little tool attaches to both canisters and provided the temperature and pressures are different, neatly moves the fuel from the more full to the less full. The idea being you can combine two half-full canisters into one, or buy an ironically larger and cheaper canister and continually fill up the smaller one that fits nicely in your pack.

The cost savings, although not overly substantial, become apparent with some quick math from canisters available on the REI website. A larger 13.4 oz canister of JetBoil Jetpower fuel costs $6.95, which comes out to be $0.86 per ounce. While a smaller canister weighing 3.53 ounces costs $5.95, which is $1.67 per ounce. We pay more than double for the convenience of having a smaller, more packable-sized canister, which the smart people at REI use to their advantage.

Using the fuel transfer tool is dead simple, just attach both canisters to the tool and open the valve. There’s a satisfying hiss of fuel following the laws of physics, making its way to its new home.

After transferring fuel a few times and reading up on others’ experiences, I found that putting the emptier one in the freezer for half an hour and putting the fuller one in the sun for the same amount of time helps the transfer process, as does placing the emptier one on the bottom.

There are quite a few of these available on Amazon and they’re all roughly in the $10-20 price range, with the most popular, and most algorithmically advertised on my Facebook feed, being the FlipFuel, which comes in at a whopping $35. But there’s not much to these tools so look for one with a lot of stars and positive reviews and you usually can’t go wrong. The one I bought was humorously called the:

“Gas Refill Adapter Fuel Canister Refill Adapter for Stoves, Upgrade Camping Experience Gas Saver Plus – Refill Flat Tanks, Convert Butane Cartridges, and Lindal Valve Canisters with Ease”

The body is made of aluminum with a bit of copper for the release valve and comes in at only 0.9 oz, so it’s easy to toss in the pack or blue bin until you need it.

Whatever the name may be, they are simple machines that perform a simple task so pay accordingly or spend a little more and buy locally.

Editors Note: The writer Ray did not receive any perks in exchange for the gear recommendations he made above. 

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Like WenOut? Subscribe Now!

Get hand-picked trail guide posts, events, and more delivered to your inbox.