Goodbye Campingaz?

One of my longest serving gear items is a Campingaz Turbo 270 canister stove. I've had it for nearly 15 years as my regular go-to camp stove for three-season backpacking trips. It has performed flawlessly, without fail, the entire time. I've never had a reason to even consider replacing it. But now its days may be numbered.

The distinctively blue Campingaz canisters feature a unique valve—known as a nipple valve—which means that there are no other options when Campingaz canisters can't be located. And recently, they've become a lot less available; at least one major outdoor equipment chain has stopped carrying them indefinitely. Here's the story as I understand it.

Campingaz is a French company. In the U.S., Coleman acts as their distributor for outdoor gear shops around the country. So the canisters get shipped twice: once from overseas to Coleman and once to the stores. The problem is that there have apparently been issues with gas canister shipping boxes becoming damaged en route to Coleman, which then prevents Coleman from redistributing them because the damage puts them in violation of U.S. shipping regulations for hazardous materials. As a result, outdoor gear shops have experienced difficulty getting them and some have chosen to discontinue them.

Almost every other canister stove uses a threaded screw valve, which means that gas canisters made by MSR, Snow Peak, Primus, JetBoil, and others are all interchangeable, no matter which company made the stove. This is pretty convenient and helps significantly increase the odds of finding a gas canister when you're traveling (I was recently stymied trying to find a Campingaz canister in southern Utah, but found plenty of Primus and MSR). So we'll see. I'm now in the market for an alternative, and have my eye on the Snow Peak GigaPower.

And while we're talking canister stoves, here's a friendly reminder to please recycle them when you're done! It takes a little more effort than tossing a used aluminum can in the recycling bin. For obvious reasons, recycling centers won't process a canister of compressed gas unless they are assured that it is empty and no longer under pressure. This means that you must drain your used canister of any residual gas (just burn it off) and then puncture the canister. After making 100% sure that the canister is 100% empty, I simply take a hammer and nail and wham-o into the side of the canister. Once drained and punctured, the canister can be recycled. Check with your local recycling center to find out if you can simply add it to your recycling bin or need to bring it in to center yourself.

Equipped” is an AMC Outdoors blog, written by Matt Heid.

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