As mentioned in the photo caption above, Andrew Skurka keyed in many of us, via his readers, into the
G-Works Gas Saver R1` and the somewhat more advanced GAS Saver Plus. (Only version available as of May 2020)
The Gas Saver R1 is a cool little device I am finding for canister stove users.
Alcohol stoves are wonderful tools.
They are light, simple, inexpensive, very good for boil and cook type meals and work well if you are not doing lengthy resupplies.
But they have their limitations.
The main limitation? In our increasingly dry and fire-prone West, wood and alcohol stoves are often outright banned.
Even back East, we are starting to see bans on stoves with open flames (no on-off valve).
People can, and will, quibble and look for loopholes. And we can argue about the safety of one stove versus another.
The fact is that for various reasons, certain stoves are not kosher in many of our current backcountry conditions.
A person can take a white gas stove. Or go stoveless. Or take a variety of canister stoves.
A canister stove is by far the most popular option.
A no-name knock-off can be purchased for less than $10, weigh 3 oz or so and uses commonly available fuel.
“Better” stoves can be bought. And sub-1oz canister stove wonders are even now available.
The main issue with canister stoves? A person ends up with a collection of partially filled canisters that can’t be refilled commercially. Sure, a person can bring canisters to use for very short trips. Or brew a cup of tea while backpacking. But that is impractical in many cases.
The solution? The GAS Saver Plus.
I’ve been using the G-Works R1 this past month to consolidate my own collection. Why the R1 versus the Gas Saver Plus? Because following Jim’s detailed instructions and explanation, I can’t see me using a canister beyond when the GAS Saver Plus would be useful. YMMV.
Once you are no longer re-filling the canisters, recycle them appropriately.
No need for me to reinvent the wheel about instructions and how to use the device. Look at Jim’s instructions linked above.
I will just add that the device is very intuitive to use. A trick I found useful is to put the receiving canister in the freezer for a bit. The difference in pressures between the donating canister and the now-cold canister will speed things along quite a bit versus just relying on gravity.
Obviously, any time a person is dealing with fuel, caution needs to be used. Again, read Jim’s excellent instructions esp the part about weighing the canisters. The main takeaway? *** DO NOT OVERFILL THE CANISTERS ***.
But using the G-Works tools are no more dangerous than driving, using power tools, changing a tire, operating heavy machinery or repairing electrical equipment. All tasks that a person needs to be cautious about, educate themselves appropriately, heed the proper warnings and plan accordingly.
As an aside, most of the fuel canisters in the world are manufactured in Korea. And G-Works is a Korean company…. Just saying…
Being able to consolidate fuel is more efficient and logistically easier than having a misc collection of near-empty canisters.
If you regularly backpack in
~45F +/- 1 weather refilling the canisters with butane is a safe and cost-effective option as well. G-Works also makes a $10 butane bottle converter that may be purchased to facilitate this task. Most of my backpacking is at least the cusp of this range, if not lower, so I do not expect to use the butane converter tool personally.
1. UPDATED to ~50F; see discussion in the comments below.
Overall the G-Works Gas Saver+ has proven to be a nifty little device for me. And for less than $30.
Update 2020: The original version spiked in price. There is a less expensive version available. I never used it myself.
This G-Works Gas Saver R1 was purchased with my own funds.
I have taken to weighing all of my new canisters, so that I will know how much fuel was in them when new. I have yet to empty one, so I don’t know what they weigh empty. It’s easy enough to approximate the empty weight by subtracting the nominal contents from the full weight, but canisters aren’t always full when you get them. A tiny leak in the valve may allow some of the fuel to leak out. After weighing several canisters, I get a pretty good sense of how much a full one should weigh and I know when… Read more »
Hikin’ Jim from “Adventures in Stoving” swears by the butane as he backpacks in warmer weather. His site is an example of gear discussion done correctly. Good stuff!
I’ve been following HJ’s blog for ever and I’m glad to see that he’s posting again.
Bill, my experience is that canisters are very very close to their stated net weights, sometimes even a gram more. Re 45F as the cut off for using 100% plain butane, I’m now going more towards 50F after using it for several years, and warmer is better. With the G Works, one should be able to fill with exactly the blend that came with the canister originally, so the range of temperatures should be the same as when first purchased. NOTE HOWEVER that plain butane is much safer inasmuch as it has very low vapor pressure. Propane-isobutane mixes (Jetboil, MSR,… Read more »
I must confess, I saw you listed 40F. Other sites said 50F. So I split the difference/hedged my bets at ~45F +/- . 😀
Thanks, as always, for the great material.
Have a good Thanksgiving!
Yeah, an experienced user can go down to 40F if they know what they’re doing, although you won’t have a lot of power. But for the general user, I’ve come around to the 50F number. You have decent power at 50F for a typical two cup boil (long cook times result in more canister cooling; two cups is pretty short and the canister cooling isn’t as dramatic). I should probably update whichever post I put 40F!