What is an Inverted Canister Stove?

What is an inverted canister stove?

An inverted canister stove is a canister stove that can burn canister gas (an isobutane/propane mix) in lower temperatures than a regular canister stove. It’s good for winter camping when the nighttime temperature drops below 15 degrees (F). That’s the temperature at which point regular (upright) canister stoves like a Jetboil Flash, MSR Windburner, or MSR Reactor begin to fail because the gas inside them can’t vaporize.

But an inverted canister stove can burn gas down to about 0 degrees Fahrenheit because it burns canister gas in its liquid form rather than as a gas. This is done by turning the canister on its side or upside down so that the fuel comes out of the canister in a liquid form rather than a gaseous one. Inverted canister stoves are specially made so that they can burn the liquid fuel feed.

Make / ModelUprightInvertedWeight (oz)Price
GSI Outdoors Pinnacle 4 SeasonYY6.0$80
Kovea SpiderYY5.9$65
MSR WindPro IIYY6.6$100
MSR Whisperlite UniversalYY11.2$150
Optimus VegaYY6$100
Primus Express Spider IIY7.1$70
Primus Gravity IIIY10.4$100

“Remote” Inverted Canister Stoves

Most inverted canister stoves are also classified as remote canister stoves because the fuel canister is positioned separately from the burner and connected by a hose.

This has two benefits.

  1. The first is that you can surround the burner head with a high windscreen to make it more efficient, something you can’t do with a burner head that sits on top of a canister because the canister will overheat and explode.
  2. The second is that the stove is much more stable and can be used with much larger cook pots because it’s lower to the ground and less prone to toppling over. Efficiency and stability are very important if you’re melting snow for drinking water in winter, and which you need to bring to a boil to purify.
Melting snow in with a Kovea Spider Remote Inverted Canister Stove with a windscreen
Melting snow with a Kovea Spider Remote Inverted Canister Stove with a windscreen

Better Fuel Efficiency

If fuel efficiency is of paramount importance, and it frequently is in winter, a remote inverted canister stove will burn more efficiently if it’s surrounded by a windscreen, something you can’t do with most upright canister stoves, less they overheat and explode. The one exception to that is a completely enclosed burned head, like the radiant burners used on the MSR Reactor and the MSR Windburner stoves. However, both of those stoves have the same temperature limitation of regular upright canister stoves (like a Jetboil Flash or MSR Pocket Rocket 2) because they can only burn canister fuel in its gaseous form.

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11 comments

  1. I have never seen an inverted canister stove and love the idea. I have needed one for years! New idea or I have just never seen one?

  2. I have a MSR Windburner and its worked fine on 2 expeditions and I know that I had -20C (-4F) on at least 1 occasion inside the tent, but the gas was still liquid. These were propane/butane canisters which I think work better at low temperature. For me the radiant burners stoves are just so efficient, I find that I use ~30% less gas than other people using regular burners.

  3. Hi, I have a Kovea Spider, and I love that windscreen in the picture. Can you say where you got it?

    Thanks!

  4. Good morning from Spain, Philippe. As far as I know, inverted canister gas stoves not only work due to the inverted position of the canister, they also need to have a pre-heater: inside the stove there is a small pipe that passes close to the flame to eat the gas (liquid), in order to be vaporized, and then goes to the burner as a gas to be burnt.
    Thanks a lot for your interesting equipment reviews

  5. One of the best inverted canister stoves I’ve used is the FIRE MAPLE Blade 2. It is very light and had a gassifier (“pre-heater) tube by the burner. (The similar Blade has no gassifier tube.) Yeah, Chinese made, but decent quality.

    I got this stove for my grandsons because of the stability of the burner sitting on the ground. Teenagers are the most irresponsible people on the planet and they needed that stability for safety. It has titanium legs/pot supports and a decently wide burner to avoid hot spots.

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