BWCA Bulk isobutane Boundary Waters Gear Forum
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NEIowapaddler
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04/05/2023 02:07PM  
I found this doohickey that looked like it should work well for refilling empty fuel canisters, but I'm having a hard time sourcing larger bottles (or whatever) of isobutane. The biggest I've been able to find are 16oz ones, which don't offer much savings if I buy them to refill my 4 or 8oz canisters.

Does anyone know of a source for isobutane for refilling canisters?
 
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04/05/2023 05:31PM  
I've seen video of them being used. Seems it's primarily for transferring multiple partial full tanks to create a full tank.
 
NEIowapaddler
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04/05/2023 08:26PM  
AceAceAce: "I've seen video of them being used. Seems it's primarily for transferring multiple partial full tanks to create a full tank."


Ah, you could be right. For some reason that possibility didn't occur to me. I guess it might still be worth the $20 for that purpose.
 
AlexanderSupertramp
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04/06/2023 10:12AM  
NEIowapaddler: "I found this doohickey that looked like it should work well for refilling empty fuel canisters, but I'm having a hard time sourcing larger bottles (or whatever) of isobutane. The biggest I've been able to find are 16oz ones, which don't offer much savings if I buy them to refill my 4 or 8oz canisters.

Does anyone know of a source for isobutane for refilling canisters? "


Some states dont allow bulk sale to the public, CA being an example. But to be expected from that state...

Pure R600A (isobutane) is multi-purpose gas and can be found in 20lb bulk tanks pretty easily, some label them as a refrigerant, which it is. They use the same style Lindal valves just like propane (R290), just bigger. Walmart even sells it online for ground shipping but I bet you can find it locally. Where you get that re-filled afterwards I am unsure but I also suspect there are local options near you for industrial purposes that fill 20lb tanks for R600A. Idk how much you use but 20lbs for camping purposes only would last me years.

I do not know how pure isobutane will burn in comparison with MSR or Jetboil isobutane, which is actually blended R600A and R600(regular butane). I am sure it is fine for BWCA purposes but if you're planning on a wide range of climates and extremes, pure R600A might not burn as well. Someone with more knowledge on gases can chime in there, but from what I have gathered, the butane additive is for purposes of burning more efficiently at higher temps and pure Isobutane will burn better at low temps.

To transfer from those 20lb tanks to your small tanks though, you would need a different device it looks like, unless that one comes with adapter. I like how the propane transfer devices have a gauge on them. Would be cool to incorporate that, and probably a check valve. You could easily make your own too just from fittings found at any hardware store.
 
billconner
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04/06/2023 06:12PM  
I'd think you'd have to use a lot to justify the device, bulk fuel and tank, and time.
 
04/19/2023 04:54PM  
Most of the "Four Season" isobutane canisters contain a mixture of isobutane and propane. MSR is supposed to be 80% isobutane and 20% propane. It is hard to get isobutane without a little butane (n-butane) in it. For cold weather performance, you want as little butane (n-butane) as possible. For warmer weather, butane (n-butane) is fine.
 
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