How Long Does Camp Stove Fuel Last? (Facts & Numbers)

How Long Does Camp Stove Fuel Last

Backpacking and camping are a lot of fun. Being out in the world on your own, somewhat living off the land, sleeping in tents, it’s all invigorating! One important item that most backpackers and campers will bring along is camp stove fuel. It makes it easier to cook your food, you can plan things out by determining how much fuel you will need, and you will make the trip just a little bit simpler by bringing it along. But how long does it last?

How long does camp stove fuel last? The most common 8-ounce canister will last for 3 hours straight on high. However, camp stove fuel lasting is determined by the size of the canister that holds the fuel. Most companies also sell these canisters in 3.5 and 16-ounce canisters. So, a 3.5-ounce canister can last around 1.5 hours while a 16-ounce can will last up to 6 hours straight cooking on high.

This should provide an accurate idea as to how long your stove fuel will last you throughout the trip. Let’s say you’re planning to take a weeklong camping and backpacking trip. An 8-ounce canister should be plenty if you are taking the trip solo. The average amount of cooking fuel needed for one person on a weeklong trip ends up being a bit under 8-ounces, so that should provide what you need for the week.

Tips for Determining how Long Camp Stove Fuel Will Last

There are two ways in which camp stove fuel “lasts.”

  • Having enough fuel to last throughout your trip so that it doesn’t run out in the middle of your expedition/camping trip.
  • Making sure that any fuel you have left over from previous trips has not sat on the shelf long enough to expire, which depends on whether it has been opened or is still sealed.

While you’re out in the wild on your trip, and also how long it lasts while it’s on the shelf. We will take a look at both of these factors to set you up for a great trip that has minimal roadblocks so you can enjoy the time out there.

Nothing is worse on a camping trip than being left with a problem that makes the trip difficult, which can be many things. But we’re going to make sure that your camp stove fuel doesn’t end up being one of those issues.

In the table below you can find the average stove fuel lasting for the most common canister:

Canister (ounce)Stove Fuel Lasting (Hours)

Choosing the Right Amount of Camp Stove Fuel for Your Trip

As we have covered earlier in the article, it should not be too challenging to determine how much stove fuel you will need for the excursion. But I also think it’s important to acknowledge whether or not you are a newbie to these types of trips.

No worries, either way, we want you to have an awesome time! But I believe that if you’re still feeling things out and figuring out the ways of the wild, then it may be a better idea to bring a little extra fuel just in case.

If you’re going to be out there for at least a week, then at least an 8-ounce canister will serve you right. Being an experienced backpacker, this amount should give you plenty of stove fuel to get through the week.

If you are planning a trip with an experienced group of campers, then planning to bring along 8-ounces of fuel for each person is a good idea. It’s best to even bring an additional 5-ounce can just in case. The more people that come along, the larger the possibility for error. Having backups is never going to be a bad idea.

Now, a person who happens to be new to this sort of thing, but is determined to head out on their first solo trip may want to plan a little more extensively. This is to be sure that if anything goes wrong, you will be covered and won’t have to worry because you prepared. Preparation is key in the world of backpacking.

So, a weeklong trip with one person and 8-ounces of fuel should be enough for the excursion. But if you want to grab an additional 3.5-ounce can to be safe, that’s never a bad idea either. It’ll add a little weight to your pack, but not enough to be a detriment on your journey. As I always like to say, better safe than sorry.

Related: How Do RV Rentals Work: 7 Expert Tips

Being Certain That Your Camp Stove Fuel Hasn’t Gone Bad

An important point to touch on is the shelf life of camp stove fuel.

Does camp stove fuel go bad? Yes, camp stove fuel can go badover time. Even if a canister is unopened, it will still have a shelf life. An unopened canister of stove fuel has a long shelf life. It will last around 7 years as long as it’s stored in a dry, cool place and not getting pummeled by the elements

If backpacking and camping was something you loved years ago, and now you’re jumping back into it, make sure the stove fuel you used in the past is still going to be good. Whether it’s a fuel canister that is opened or unopened will determine its shelf life.

If you took a backpacking trip 6 years ago and ended up with an unopened canister of stove fuel, lucky you. There is no reason that canister shouldn’t be perfectly functional and ready to work with your stove.

If a canister has been opened, then the shelf life is going to be significantly shorter. An opened can still has a shelf life of around 2 years, so the fuel will still be good if you’re last trip was before the two-year mark.

But if it’s been longer, you may want to test out the gas to be sure it’s still good. And that’s a good tip for any can that’s been opened, do a quick test to ensure that the gas will still be functional and cook your food out there.

Tips for Great Stove Functionality

Backpacking trips in the wild come in all different shapes and sizes, so to speak, which means that you can have a relaxed trip through the forest with perfect conditions. Or you can be backpacking trough the desert in sweltering heat.

Or you can backpack through the snow-covered mountains in the frigid cold. Whatever your conditions may be, we know you love this stuff. And if it’s your first time, we know you will fall in love with trips like this. But it’s important to make sure you have a functioning stove out there so you can stay nourished. It’s important!

  • Always be ready with your supplies so you can cook in a pinch
  • It’s never a bad idea to use a windscreen when using liquid fuel stoves
  • In cold temperatures, you can invert the canister, so it runs on “liquid mode” to provide better fuel usage with your stove
  • If you drop the gas can into warm water before use in cold temps, this can also help
  • When water is being used to cook, resist opening the lid to check. This uses more fuel, plus you’ll be able to see the steam rise once the water is hot
  • Liquid fuel stoves are usually the better option for efficiency and performance

Our hope is that we have given you enough information to get you started on your preparation or add to the items you have already checked off your list. In the end, we want nothing more than for you to have an awesome trip out trip. Enjoy the wild!

Camp Stoves – Backpacking 101 – Which one? >> Check out the video below:

Jessica Gilmour

Jessica is co-founder of RV and Playa and loves sharing her enthusiasm for the Beach- and RVing lifestyle. As a full-time RVer since December 2017, Jessica playful writing style helps make learning about RV a bit more interesting. Nothing is as freeing as being on the beach (Playa), lacing your feet with the sand, having the water lap your legs and becoming one with nature.

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