MercatorGear Gas Canister Calculator(TM) works out the best combination of stove and gas canisters for your trip, in 3 easy steps.

  1. Use the sliders to specify the Number of People, Days on the Trail and Boiling Water required per person per day.
  2. Select the Type of Stove, and Size of Gas Canister.
  3. The RESULTS  tells you how much gas you will need, and the minimum number of selected gas canisters.
Add Safety Reserve allows you to add in extra gas for safety and flexibility. You can adjust the reserve to optimise the number of canisters.



The MercatorGear ‘Gas Canister Calculator’ is a tool to estimate gas consumption and canister requirements for your particular expedition or trek depending on the number of people and the number of days, how much water you need to boil, and the type of stove and canister used.

We use gas consumption data from real usage cases to create a realistic set of consumption figures. This enables you to experiment with different stoves and usage scenarios to work out which is the optimum combination for your particular trip.

Inputs for the Gas Canister Calculator* 

A) Number of people in the group

B) Number of days/nights on the trail

C) Boiling water requirement per person per day in litres. Here is a rough guide;

  • 0.5 litres (2 cups) is for classic ultralight/minimalists thru-hikers
  • 1 litre is enough for a dehydrated meal and a couple of hot drinks
  • 2-4 litres gives you plenty of boiling water plus cooking
  • 5 litres is for those who wish to boil most of the water they need for hydration and do plenty of cooking
  • On the trail in northern Europe, the MercatorGear research team live well and do plenty of cooking (including a lunchtime brew up) on less than 3 litres per person per day. 

D) Canister Size: This enables you to try different standard sizes (100g/3.5oz,  230g/8oz & 450g/16oz) to see which is the best combination to optimise the stove & canister combination for a specific trip.

E) Stove Type: Our calculations are based on extensive testing with three different types of KOVEA stove, each with its own weight and efficiency attributes;

i) Canister-top Stove: 

Lightest, but less efficient…

KOVEA Titanium SupaLite (56g):

ii) Remote Canister Stove:

More efficient & flexible… 

KOVEA Spider (168g):

iii) Integrated Stove: 

Most efficient, but bulkier / heavier.

KOVEA Alpine Pot Wide (APW) (461g*)

NOTE about other stove brands: Although our data has been collected using KOVEA stoves, our calculations should be broadly similar for other good quality stove brands within the same categories. 


Results from the Canister Calculator  

The MercatorGear ‘Canister Calculator’ uses data we have accumulated from actual stove use in a range of environments to generate estimates of how much gas and how many canisters you will need depending on your usage requirements and type of stove. Data includes:

1. Gas Required (in grams): for selected trip profile and stove

2. Gas required per person per day (grams): This figure is a quick way to compare different usage scenarios and different stoves

3. Whole Canisters Required:

4. Carbon Dioxide Emissions based on total gas usage.

You can use the sliders and buttons to try out different trip profiles, canister and stove combinations until you have found the best fit for your trip and style of stove usage.


The MercatorGear ‘Canister Calculator’ assumes above freezing usage (no snow melting or inverted canister use), and a reasonably sheltered location away from the wind. The calculations also account for the fact that canister-top stoves are the least efficient of the three types, and that stoves are always less efficient outside than they are in the lab.  We have also allowed for greater efficiency for larger amounts of water boiling / cooking. 

The resulting figures are deliberately conservative and include a margin for error.

Experienced stove users should be able to achieve greater efficiencies than those shown. 

If you have any feedback or suggestions to improve this version (2.0) of the MercatorGear ‘Gas Canister Calculator‘, please feel free to get in touch through our contact page.

* COPYRIGHT NOTICE “Gas Canister Calculator” name and software is copyright of and its parent company. All rights reserved.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Charles Krim

    Thanks for the detailed guide! It makes it so much easier to decide which butane gas to bring for different camping scenarios.

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