How Long Does A Butane Gas Cartridge Last And What Are They Used For?

Butane gas cartridges

I would love to cook my food over a crackling fire when camping, but it’s not the most practical.

Especially when you’re group camping with starving children, I’ll leave the campfire cookout for s’mores at night.

Knowing how long a can of butane gas depends on many factors, such as:

  • Weather Temperature/Altitude
  • Heat Intensity
  • Cook Time
  • How Many People You’re Cooking For

How Long Does A Butane Cartridge Last?

Generally speaking, a butane cartridge or canister can last about 1.5 hours at the highest heat setting or 3 hours at the lowest heat setting.

To be on the safe side, I would bring a butane cartridge per day of camping along with an extra cartridge just in case.

So if I’m going on a three-day camping trip, the minimum I would bring is four butane cartridges.

How Long Does A 220g Butane Gas Cartridge Last?

Let’s use an example:

An 8oz (220 gram) butane cartridge contains about 10,600 BTUs. If your single burner butane stove has an output of 8,000 BTUs, then your butane cartridge will last about 1.3 hours at the highest heat setting.

If you want to boil water:

If it was 70F and you wanted to boil 16oz of water, you would use 142 BTUs.

Here’s why: It takes one BTU to raise one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit. So if the weather outside is 70F and the boiling point of water is 212F, then 212-70= 142.

These are rough estimates as your mileage may vary depending on what type of food you’re cooking and for how many people.

If, for example, you’re only using your butane burner to boil water two times a day, that cartridge can last you a week or more.

Again, these are all rough estimates. If you’re camping near freezing temperatures, butane gas won’t work as efficiently as propane.

What Is Butane Cartridge Used For?

Butane fuel can be used for many different burners, heaters, and other outdoor gadgets. Many prefer butane over propane because it’s lightweight and affordable.

If you’re an ultra-light backpacker in great weather, butane gas cartridges would be your best bet.

Can You Refill A Butane Gas Cartridge?

You can refill a butane gas cartridge, but I will need to give you a fair warning.

Most butane gas cartridges you purchase are meant for one-time use. So you’re not saving much money refilling it yourself and may risk overfilling the cartridge.

Like most refillable propane tanks, there’s a service expiration date on them which is typically ten years.

Once that tank expires, you’ll need to purchase a new propane tank.

When trying to refill butane in a cartridge meant for one-time use, the structure of the cartridge will be compromised over time.

And because butane is cheap, I would not recommend refilling it yourself.

Not saying it can’t be done, but I wouldn’t risk it. That’s just me.

How To Store An Open, Used Cartridge Of Butane

You’re back from your trip and wondering how to store your half-full butane cartridges at home.

Which is a good thing because no one likes to run out of fuel when you’re on the trail.

The proper way of storing an opened, used cartridge of butane is to disconnect it from the grill or stove. Never leave your butane screwed on; you’ll potentially have the risk of gases leaking.

Once disconnected, place the cartridges in a cool, well-ventilated area.

The ambient temperature should never reach 120F.

You can even safely use a portable butane gas burner indoors if it’s in a ventilated area.

We always use it for dinners, such as hot pots and soups.

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