Backpacking is a very common outdoor activity. In fact, it is branded as one of the best methods to take a break and deal with day-to-day mental stress. In order to engage in this activity, there are quite a few essentials you need to carry and an important one, especially for long or overnight trips, is a stove canister.
However, there are times wherein you might run out of gas. Thus, you must know how to determine how much gas is left in a backpacking stove canister correctly.
Canister stoves are quite popular amongst backpackers as they are one of the lightest, smallest, and easiest to use portable stoves. In fact, they work well even in cold weather or in areas that have a high elevation. But since they are small, they are basically meant for short backpacking trips and has a high chance of losing gas quickly. Nonetheless, it is not rocket science to determine the quantity of gas left inside the gas canister.
How to Determine How Much Gas is Left in a Backpacking Stove Canister: Quick and Simple Methods
People often believe that shaking the canister will give you a rough idea of how much gas is still left inside it. Well, this may help to a slight extent. However, in most cases, your estimate will be wrong.
Option #1: Weighing the Canister
Weighing the canister is possibly the easiest and the most obvious solution in determining the quantity of gas left in it. In order to weigh it, all you will need is a digital or regular kitchen scale.
In most canister brands, the net weight of the can will be placed in the product box. Having the weight mentioned on the packaging makes determining the amount of residual gas easier.
If this is the case, all you have to do is weigh the canister with fuel in it and deduct the original canister’s weight to the weight that you just got. That will be the amount of gas still present in the canister.
In case the product did not put the weight of the canister, the first thing that you need to do is weigh the product without any gas in it. This is best done before you leave for your trip. After which, note the weight. Then, if you have already placed gas in it and used some of it, you should weigh the canister with gas. Then follow the same computation as above.
More often than not, the gas capacity of the canister tank will be indicated. Hence, once you are done computing, you will have an idea if you need to refill it or not.
Option #2: The Float Test
Let’s face it, having and carrying a digital weighing scale with you when you are backpacking is quite a long shot. What do you need to do when there is no weighing scale around to measure the amount of gas left? Well, there is no issue there either as you can go back to the basics and just use some of the classic and old-fashioned physics lessons.
The float test is quite simple. All you will need is water and a pot. Take your canister and place it in a pot that is filled with water. Ensure that the water is still and there are no bubbles present by tilting it a little. Using your Physics 101 lessons, an empty canister will float higher on the water in comparison to a full canister that will float way lower in the pot of water.
So, you will notice that a full canister will go down and sink to the point that the sides of the pot of water will begin to round at the top of it. Whereas in the case of an empty canister, the level of water in the pot will rise only about a quarter on the side.
Now that you have this estimate of where an empty and a full canister will float in a pot full of water, you will be able to take a guess of how much gas is actually left inside the canister. Some companies have made it easier for the folks by printing where the canister will float in a pot full of water.
Option #3: G Works Gas Savers (Transferring the Fuel Between Canisters)
Another efficient option to measure the amount of fuel still left in your canister is by using the G Works Gas Saver. This device is used to transfer fuel from one gas canister to another.
The way this works is by plugging it into the Lindal Valve. The Lindal Valve is considered to be a standard attachment system for a canister. This is to ensure that canisters from different brands are capable of interoperating with other canister gas brands.
The G Works Gas Saver has two of these Lindal Valves. You will have to connect and screw in these valves to both of the canisters. On the device, you will find a twist valve which is capable of controlling the gas flow between two of the canisters.
When you are transferring fuel between the canisters, you must ensure that the flow goes out from the canister with the higher pressure and goes into the canister with lower pressure. In order to ensure this happens, you can stack the canister with the higher pressure over the canister with the lower pressure, which will ensure that the fuel gets drained into the lower canister.
This entire device works on pressure differential. So, in order to ensure the process goes smoothly and the adequate amount of fuel is transferred between the two, increase the pressure of the canister above.
You can do so by leaving it in the sun or letting it sit in cold water for a couple of minutes. Unfortunately, this isn’t exactly a rapid process since it will take about 15 to 20 minutes to transfer fuel from one canister to the other.
Knowing how to determine how much gas is left in a backpacking stove canister is essential so that you will have no troubles during your backpacking adventure.
These three are the most effective methods of estimating the amount of fuel left in the gas canister. Since the third method is quite tedious and requires you to bring two canisters and buy a tool, the other two are more recommended.