JetBoil vs. MSR - Fuel Canisters

10:52 p.m. on June 8, 2009 (EDT)
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I have a chance to buy fuel canisters at discounted price for case quantity large size canisters. And my question is which brand performs better in the cold weather. I know the jetboil has 3 grams more fuel and is physically lighter than the MSR. But what is the difference between the two in cold weather below 25 degrees F.

11:08 p.m. on June 8, 2009 (EDT)
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I don't have the information immediately at hand, but whichever has more propane and less isobutane would work better at low temps. I think they are 80/20 or 70/30 propane/isobutane. Or maybe both are the same composition, someone on this forum should know.

11:47 p.m. on June 8, 2009 (EDT)
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The MSR (and Markill) uses 70% isobutane (10F vaporization temperature) and 30% propane (-40 vaporization temperature), where the Jetboil does not state the mix on the canister or on their website (they claim it is a "Four Season Mix"). (lambertiana, the dominant gas has to be either butane or isobutane, since having more than half propane requires higher pressure, meaning a much heavier canister). The MSR and Markill are cheaper per gram of fuel at the stores I can get them locally. I have found no difference in their performance at low temperatures in the same stove. They all slow way down by 15-20F with the screw-on stove tops.

However, any of them are far better at low temperatures when used with the Helios and a couple other inverted canister stoves I have tried at really cold temperatures, meaning -5F, the lowest I have used all 3 canisters (I have used the Markill canisters at about -10 to -15F with no serious problem in an inverted canister stove).

2:19 a.m. on June 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Thanks Bill

I think I read someplace that the jetboil is a 80/20 mix. As far as Markill brand goes I have never seen it around here but on the same note we only have one store that deals with backpacking gear and that is EMS and its a small store unless you count gander mountain (hunting), dicks (golf) & bass pro (fishing). As far as price goes MSR is the most expensive at $6.50 - $7.00 for a 8oz can vs jetboil at $5.00 for the same size can.

2:24 p.m. on June 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Prices for MSR canisters are lower here, and I find that prices vary a lot depending on where you buy the canisters. They are very high, for example, in Yosemite Valley and in some of the Sierra foothill towns as well as at one particular re-supply station along the John Muir Trail (surprise! backpackers who get to the trailhead without fuel can be desparate).

But the larger size canisters are lower in cost per gram, as well as the empty canister weight being lower per gram of fuel contained. Then again, white gas is lower cost for the fuel and the fuel bottle is an even lower fraction of the fuel weight, with the advantage growing with larger fuel supplies. And it has no problems with cold weather.

9:59 p.m. on June 9, 2009 (EDT)
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Bill - You're right, it should be more isobutane.

Around here, I can get the MSR, Snow Peak, and Jetboil 8 oz canisters for $4.99. A store here in town sells the Brunton 8 oz canisters for $3.29. Since the Brunton and MSR canisters are identical other than markings (from the same manufacturer, with the same DOT number), I buy the Brunton.

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