Propane vs. Butane: Does Type of Stove Fuel Matter?
We all want fuel that lasts and fuel that makes our outdoor cooking sizzle. There are so many types of stove fuel, it’s hard to know which one is best at getting the job done.
Camping often turns into an activity that’s all about comparison. Whether you’re selecting a camping stove or stove fuel to pair with it, chances are you will compare options, and then opt for one of the compressed fuels, as they are very portable. But which do you choose?
When it comes to stove fuel for your camp kitchen, propane and butane are the most common in the camping world, however there are alternatives. The type of stove fuel you select all depends on the outdoor activities you plan to enjoy.
Types of Stove Fuel
Do you plan to car camp or backpack? When it comes to backpacking, space and weight are of the utmost importance. Whereas when you car camp, especially with a big group, you’re more concerned with cooking enough food in a relatively timely fashion.
Propane Stove Fuel
Propane stoves are the most diverse since propane can be used for a small backpacking stove or a two-burner camping stove or grill. This stove fuel works well in extremely cold weather and at high altitudes, which can make it ideal for all season camping or mountaineering. The only downside to propane is the weight–many other compressed stove fuel options are lighter which is preferred when you’re headed into the backcountry.
Butane Stove Fuel
If you need to go lightweight, you will want to use butane stove fuel canisters. Because of the way that butane is compressed, the canister holding the fuel lighter. But this is not the fuel you want to camp with in the thick of winter or on a Colorado 14er, as butane does not work well at high altitudes, and is no longer liquid below 32 degrees fahrenheit.
Iso-butane is one of the more well-known stove fuel alternatives to propane and butane. This is a blended fuel that still has the lightweight qualities of butane but doesn’t freeze at 32 degrees. However, if you’re planning to go on a mountaineering trip, iso-butane might not cut it as it can only burn as low as 14 degrees fahrenheit. Primus does offer two different fuel blends (click here to find out more). Power Gas is recommended for temperatures 32˚ to 80˚ and Winter Gas from -7˚ to 45˚
Then there are multi-fuel stoves which can operate on a variety of different stove fuels. White gas, hybrids, and even jet fuel isn’t out of the questions for some stoves–including here at Primus. Multi-fuel stoves can operate in cold temperatures and at a high altitudes, just expect a lower burn.
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