Do You Need a Fuel Canister Stabilizer?

Do You Need a Fuel Canister Stabilizer?

When you boil water with a canister stove, it’s very easy to tip a top-heavy pot full of scalding hot water all over yourself or the ground. It’s dangerous because you can get seriously burned and it uses up precious stove fuel if you’re running short. It’s even worse if your dinner was in the pot and ends up on the ground.

You can minimize the chances of this happening by carrying a folding tripod-like contraption called a fuel canister stabilizer, which is usually bundled with complete stove systems such as the Jetboil Flash and the MSR Windburner. These are both top-heavy cookpots when full of water and prone to tipping over.

Fuel canister stabilizer help prevent tip-overs if you have to cook on uneven ground.
A fuel canister stabilizer helps prevent tip-overs if you have to cook on uneven ground or rocks.

When expanded, the canister stabilizer forms a tripod that is wider than the diameter of your fuel canister and makes pots stacked on your stove less likely to tip over. They’re particularly useful if you set your stove up on uneven or rocky ground, which is the norm at most backpacking campsites.

These stabilizers have slots that fit 4 oz, 8 oz, or 16 oz isobutane canisters from most manufacturers. Because they’re folding and weigh less than an ounce, they’re easy to pack in most cookpots.

The last place you want a tip-over is inside a tent if you need to boil water or cook food when it’s raining.
The last place you want a tip-over is inside a tent if you need to boil water or cook food when it’s raining.

However, if you use a standalone canister stove like the tiny BRS3000T, the Soto Windmaster, or an MSR Pocket Rocket 2 that isn’t sold as part of a complete canister stove kit, they usually don’t come with a fuel canister stabilizer, so you might want to purchase one to add to your cooking kit. Fuel canister stabilizers only cost $6, they weigh virtually nothing, and they can really save you a lot of grief.

There was a time when I would leave the fuel canister stabilizer that came with my canister stove system at home rather than bringing it along on trips. I figured I could save weight by carrying one less thing. In hindsight, that was pretty idiotic and I now make a point to carry a fuel can stabilizer on backpacking trips when I’m using a canister stove.

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About the author

Philip Werner has hiked and backpacked over 7500 miles in the United States and the UK and written over 2500 articles as the founder of, noted for its backpacking gear reviews and hiking FAQs. A devotee of New Hampshire and Maine hiking and backpacking, Philip is the 36th person to hike all 650 of the hiking trails in the White Mountain Guide, a distance of approximately 2500 miles, completing a second round in 2021. Philip is the author of Backpacking the White Mountain 4000 Footers, a free online guidebook of the best backpacking trips in the White Mountains in New Hampshire and Maine. He lives in New Hampshire.

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