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Fuel canisters and the Tetons

I'm hoping for some opinions on how much fuel I need for six or seven days in the Tetons. I am trying to decide whether I need to bring two canisters. The only size available is the 220.  I am looking at the map, but that doesn't take into account the fact that I only use my stove a couple of times a year, which, by the way, is a pocket rocket 2.  nor does it take into account the bad guys never use it at that kind of altitude.  I will be making 12.5 oz two person mountain House meal in the evening, either a mountain house or oatmeal for breakfast oh, and hot cocoa likely with those meals.  I am leaning towards two because fuel is not necessary the place I want to take the chance of not having enough in hopes of saving a few ounces. it's really more question of space sense I am going by myself and my osprey Xena 70 is going to be maxed out with the bear canister.


21 Replies

@Daxigait For a data point...ymmv...We did the 3 person, 7 day trip in the Sierras last July camping at mostly 10,000 feet plus.  We all had BV500  bear cans.  I had plenty of room for two or more 220g canisters in my 70L pack but we only took 1 and we barely used half of it between the 3 of us...(227g net start  -> 124g net end)  We shared a JetBoil Minimo stove...cooked MH type meals in the evening but generally had a cold breakfast and lunch. Hot drinks for dinner (cocoa) and breakfast (instant coffee). We may have eaten less hot food than you are planning.

We did have an unplanned backup of a partially filled 100g canister which we did not use...due to a mix up that was almost all we had...but a nice couple gave us a new 227g MSR canister.  We also helped them out since they forgot a lighter.

Your stove may be less efficient.  MSR claims 1oz of fuel will boil 2 liters of water for the PR2.

Running it full blast is usually fast but the most inefficient way so practice to find the valve position that will boil the water most efficiently...least fuel in least time.

Wind and canister temperature rather than altitude are the main factors to consider since both will effect the efficiency of your stove.  If it is windy find a sheltered spot.  If it is cold (ie. close to or below freezing)  warm the canister somehow to get things going then once you have some, stand the canister in liquid (not hot) water. Water boils at a lower temperature at altitude so it should not use more fuel for just heating water.  You may use more if you want to simmer to actually cook something since you will need to simmer it longer for the same amount of cooking.  You can reduce this time by cold soaking first to do some of the work of softening the food but that assumes the cold soak is warm enough at least to not freeze.  I'm not sure how water temperature affects the effectiveness of the cold soak since I have never found it necessary.

Note: You can estimate how much gas you have left in the field by seeing how high the canister floats in water...practice and weigh with a scale to calibrate full and empty canisters.  MSR canisters have a scale marked but I found the empty mark was not accurate and the canister empty before that mark was reached.  It may vary between brands and canister lots but is more accurate than guessing.

Thank you very much that's good information. I used less than a half a canister on my trip doing the Teton Crest trail . I might have used a little bit more had I not skipped the one day but there was a freak snow storm and I wasn't going to spend 20 hours in my tent in the snow.   So it started lightly snowing which was the most it called for, and I went up over paintbrush divide.  That was miserable it was snowing a lot up there with 50 plus mile an hour winds on top.  The back side of that hing is scary when it's dry I've been told.   It was definitely scary in weather.   I emerge from this trip having enjoyed it, but knowing I will find anyway not carry that much weight ever again. I'd rather do without things especially on a trail that well used where you could ask for help.  Also, medium weight gloves are insufficient in the mountains even in the summer you never know.


" I'd rather do without things especially on a trail that well used where you could ask for help."Ominous words.  Will there be someone on this well traveled trail when you  need help and will they have the gear and expertise to assist you?

It is easier and safer to modify your gear so that you aree self sufficient and adequately supplied, rather than trusting your fate to complete strangers

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maybe, but it's also unacceptable to me to ever have to hike with a pack that heavy again.  especially when so many of the supposed have to have items were not necessary not in the slightest.  in fact many of them I've never used on repeated hikes. I think unless you're going on some sort of through trick a small first aid kit is sufficient and there are things that could be cut out.  somewhere you have to balance an acceptable amount of risk versus trying to carry the kitchen sink.  this is especially true on a trail like the Teton Crest Trail where there are multiple points where you can be accessed and there are lots of people especially in August traveling it in fact there are multiple day hikers doing each section.


I don;t know your source for "hiking essentials." but certainly some sources probably do go a bit overboard and are not specific for certain regions and seasons.

You specifically mention first aid kits and that is an interesting example.   At one time I was an active volunteer is wilderness/mountain SAR and I carried a HUGE FAK (BP cuff, stethoscope, air splints, CPR, and the whole nine yards.  These were often used.

Even then , we improvised.  I recall fashioning a cervical collar (nick brace) from six inches of closed cell foam whacked off from my foam pad.  It worked just fine.

Now, I carry a much less extensive FAK, and I rely on other items in my gear, like the foam pad, to come into play if needed,

Thee key to a lighter pack is careful, thoughtful selection of items that are versatile and multi-functional.  This takes time and thoughtful selection, with careful attention to the potential problems posed by the specific hike in question,

I would b curious to know what recommended items you have found unnecessary and that you now leave out.  What is the weight of your pack now?

A huge factor in pack weight is the amount of water carried, which is really heavy and yet often critically necessary.

Looking forward to a rewarding discussion....

Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.

To be honest that is something I have not dealt with yet.  I just know It is not enjoyable lugging fifty plus pounds so I have to decide what is truly necessary.  I love my new Osprey Xena enough to live with its five pounds and the two person verses a one person tent.  Other things need evaluated.


@Daxigait, by the way, let's see some pictures! Please!

REI Member Since 1979





There are several issues at play here - granted that no one would carry fifty pounds when a forty pound load would be quite adequate - I certainly don't!

What pack were you carrying this load in?  Is it properly fitted to your torso and well balanced?  This makes an enormous difference.

Had you been carrying moderately heavy loads before taking on fifty pounds?  This is a matter of conditioning, acquiring core and leg strength.  One good way is to gradually increase your load over time and work on conditioning.  This doesn't happen overnight, but the end results can be startling.

And s lways, be judicious and thoughtful about the need for the items you pack.  This is highly individual.....


Superusers do not speak on behalf of REI and may have received
one or more gifts or other benefits from the co-op.