Recent Comments

White gas stoves more versatile

stove-200x148Q. Why are white gas stoves more versatile than butane, propane, or other canister stoves?
— Chef Robert, Round Rock, Tex.

A. Thanks for the question, Chef. White gas stoves are indeed more versatile than screw-on canister-type stoves. The main reason is they burn reliably in all weather conditions, whereas canister stoves are typically unreliable in winter weather. When temps approach freezing, the pressurized fuel canisters can lose their pressure and become unusable.

Another thing that makes white gas stoves more versatile is that they operate with refillable fuel bottles that you fill at home with exactly as much gas as you expect to use on your trip. With canister stoves it’s impossible to tell how much fuel is left in a partly used canister, so you always have to bring a couple (added weight) and when the canisters are empty you have to pack them out (dead weight clanking around in your backpack).

White gas is cheaper too. Fuel for white gas stoves is up to 10 times less expensive (especially when you buy it in bulk versus purchasing individual fuel canisters).

Now keep in mind, all of the above does not mean that canister-style stoves are a bad option. They are great, too, and I use one myself on lots of trips. In general, canister stoves are more compact, simpler to operate, and there’s never a danger of fuel spilling or leaking in your pack.

But you’re right — white gas is more versatile. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate in versatility, check out a multi-fuel stove which can burn white gas, kerosene, unleaded gasoline that used for cars, and even jet fuel. Now that’s versatility!

Ask the Gear Guy

Not sure which gear to buy? Need tips for maintaining your equipment? Click here to send in your questions for the Gear Guy. Selected questions will be answered here and in the printed magazine.

4 Comments on White gas stoves more versatile

  1. Good for boy scouts need that to

  2. White gas stoves are more versatile because they can be used in almost all conditions. Canister stoves are better for high altitudes, but at most high altitudes, it is much colder. And white gas is much more common in other countries than canister fuels are. So, White gas stoves can be used just about anywhere, at any altitude, in any conditions.

  3. Actually, it isn’t impossible to find out how much gas is in a canister stove, but you have to use a different method than opening a lid and peering inside.

    Just put the canister on a scale! Each canister lists how much fuel it carries, typically in ounces. When you weigh a partially-used canister, you can find out how many ounces you have left. Easy!

  4. campingrules!! // July 7, 2009 at 10:33 am // Reply

    versitile indeed! Jet-a,unleadad,and kerosene! i use a canister stove and have never tried white gas.

Leave a Comment

Please don't use your real name.