How to Tell How Much Fuel Is Left in Your Backpacking Gas Canister

Nobody wants to run out of fuel on a backpacking trip. We'll tell you how to measure how much fuel is left in gas canisters.

Published Oct. 27, 2021.

While backpacking stoves that use gas canisters are great, it can be hard to tell if you’re running low on fuel—and it’s no fun if you run out of fuel in the middle of meal prep. Here are a few ways to measure how much fuel is left in used gas canisters before you head out into the wild.

  • Use a Fuel-Measuring Device: Just screw the canister into the device and then suspend the canister from it. The device will provide the weight of the canister. Compare this weight to the weight of a full canister (this is displayed on the canister) to get an idea of how much fuel remains. 
  • Use the Weight Method: Weigh a full (unused) canister on a scale, note the weight in ounces or grams, and then weigh your used canister and note the difference. This method works best with two canisters of the same size and brand.
backpacking camp stove
  • Use the Water Method: Place a full canister into a large pot filled halfway with water (you might have to tilt the canister slightly to let the air under it escape) and mark the water line on the canister with a permanent marker. Repeat the process with the used canister and note the difference between the two canisters. This method works best with two canisters of the same size and brand.

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