I'm trying to figure out how many cannisters of isobutane to bring on a 5 day family backpacking trip.

I figure we'll boil about 1.5 gallons of water per day (use this as a unit of measurement: gallon of water to boil).

So, to simplify: Let's assume 8 oz of isobutane (or whatever unite you want to use)

  • it is usually indicated in the manual of the stove
    – njzk2
    May 11, 2016 at 0:27
  • 2
    Eh, what's the temperature outside?
    – Usurer
    May 11, 2016 at 11:55

1 Answer 1


1 oz of isobutane will boil about 1.8 L (about .475 gallons) of water, for a Whisperliite Universal Stove enter image description here

  • 1
    Don't forget to factor in altitude as well if you are in the mountains.
    – timbo
    May 10, 2016 at 23:25
  • @timbo water boils at lower temperature in higher altitudes, so not factoring that in would not result in any problems, since you can boil even more water - at a lower temperature. I wonder however if isobutane might burn faster for the same reason, and how available oxygen, or the lack of it, might influence the burning speed.
    – Peter1807
    May 11, 2016 at 8:34
  • My anecdotal experience is that it takes longer to boil at higher elevations. However, there are many factors which contribute... available oxygen, often colder water, etc. I think a major factor may be that the pressure of the gas inside the canister will be lower relative to the ambient atmosphere at higher elevation, meaning you'll get a lower gas flowrate.
    – nhinkle
    May 11, 2016 at 19:51

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