Update 16/10/17: Wow, 4 years later and this is still the most popular page on my site! The Camping In Taiwan store has changed some URLs, so I updated them accordingly.
Update 13/05/13: It has been noted by someone that the company’s policy of shipping their adaptors in simple sealed, unpadded envelopes can cause problems – the unpadded envelope may rupture, leading to package loss. I suggest voicing any concerns with shipping to the owner.
An $8 piece of equipment which I highly recommend to any canister stove or lantern user is this butane canister refill tool. I managed to find it from the Camping In Taiwan website/webstore, here (scroll down).*
- MSR Isobutane (113g): $4.90
- Primus Isobutane (450g): $10.00
- North 49-branded Bayonet Canister (227g) : $2.99
- Generic Bayonet Canister (227g): $1 to $1.50ea (look for these in 4-packs @ your nearest Asian food market)
- MSR: 23.1 g/$
- Primus: 45.0 g/$
- North 49: 75.9 g/$
- Generic: 227.0 to 151.3 g/$
The substantial savings become obvious when comparing like that. Note also how much more you get per dollar when using the larger isobutane canisters compared to the smaller ones. Asian markets carry lots of the bayonet cans at dirt cheap prices, since curved woks won’t work on regular electric stove elements, and the butane home ranges are often used instead. But seeing as I don’t live near any Asian food markets, I recently have relied on Canadian Tire’s North 49-branded bayonet cans as fuel (and sadly, have been paying the mark-up on price).
The break-even amount I have found is 2 full refills, using my MSR 113g and the North 49 refills. The adapter has already paid for itself a few times over.
As in the above picture, I’ve managed to over fill. By adding these extra 11 grams, I have increase the total fuel by ~10%. Since this refilled can is just pure butane now, instead of the usual isobutane/propane mix, the cold-weather performance should be noticeably less exciting. Butane boils at 0C @ sea level, and so this technique will really only work for spring/summer/fall use. Isobutane boils at -12C, and Propane boils at -42C, and so these fuels should work much better in the cold.
However, this allows us to exploit the higher boiling point – we *can* over fill by some degree with impunity. This can occur without the canister bursting because pure butane won’t make as much vapour pressure at room temperature as isobutane/propane will. Slightly overfilling is a good way to cut down weight if you should need more fuel – more fuel for less space and per packaging weight. A way to do this with minimal risk is to let both cans reach room temp, then try at filling a little more. The pressures should equalize to a safe level, and you should still get a little extra fuel added. BUT if something does go wrong, I don’t take any responsibility.
* This is not an advertisement for Camping in Taiwan, nor have I had any compensation for this review.