One thing I hate is profiteers. Long ago, the cost of MSR 8 oz gas canisters started being price at upwards of $6-8. Currently, they are on sale on Amazon for $15!!! What the fuck? In response I bought generic gas canisters from Fred Meyer, which were priced between $3-4 apiece. However, this past winter they raised the price to $6 for an 8oz canister. Sad!
EDIT 5/15/16: I got a lot of flak for this one on the Reddit Ultralight Forum. I went to REI today and found both Jetboil and MSR 8oz canisters for $5.95. My local Fred Meyer sells Coleman 8oz canisters for $7.99. Fred Meyer used to sell the generic ones for $3-4. I was wrong that they were being priced at $8-10.
Also, people were saying that there’s no way I could use enough gas to make this worth it, some stating that an AT thru hiker only needs three canisters for the whole hike. I’m not thru hiking (although I wish I was lol). I go on group backpacks where I have the only stove and we make coffee, make breakfast, cook dinner (simmering actual food), and make hot drinks at night to enjoy. In the winter sometimes I have to melt snow. I’m not eating at restaurants on the AT and only jet boiling water to make some nasty Backpackers Pantry meal. So for my purposes, it pays off to refill my canisters safely. It may not be worth it for you.
For all the criticism that I’m doing something unsafe, not one person could find a documented instance of these things exploding either from using it stupidly/improperly or from refilling them. There are much more dangerous things in the world of backpacking than refilling a butane canister.
I realized that I pay more for cooking gas than I do to drive to the god damn trailhead. I spend between $4-8 in gasoline to drive to where I need to get, for basically 2-4 gallons of gasoline mas o menos. So why the fuck is an 8oz blend of butane/propane so expensive? Because they know you’ll pay for it. Most people don’t give a shit because they only go backpacking a couple of times per year. However, for the some of us that cost adds up.
I said fuck it to buying this overpriced gas. MSR, Burton/Brunton whatever, Max, et al, can all go fuck yourselves. After doing some web searching I found plenty of info about how to refill your own gas canisters. Search around and ye shall discover. There is of course risk involved, including death and fiery explosions. Do this at your own risk and don’t be a fucking idiot. I’ll tell you about how today I refilled my own canister using $1 butane gas cans from the Asian supermarket.
First off make sure your canister is truly empty. I make a cup of tea using up the last bit. Just crank your stove (unlit) to let out all the gas afterwards.
Then attach your adaptor to your butane canister. I got mine here. You’ll have to scroll down a ways to find the adaptor, it wouldn’t let me link right to the adaptor.
Invert the gas from the Asian Supermarket and push down on the empty gas can. Its better to put it in the fridge first to condense the gas and the process will go quicker.
Do not overfill. Luckily this canister has 8oz of fuel, exactly what I need to fill the canister so I can’t go wrong here. Do not use propane. Only use Butane even though it’s a bastard gas. Propane is at a much higher pressure and will explode in your face and you’ll never backpack again. Some people say you could mix it, but I don’t think Im gonna push my luck here. Don’t fuck around with propane
After I filled it, I tested it and made another cup of tea. Perfect. And instead of paying between $6-15, I paid $1. Over the next few days I weigh the canister to see if gas has escaped and so far so good. Don’t pay more if you don’t have to.