[an error occurred while processing this directive] Canned Heat

Canned Heat

by Bryan A. Thompson

Last Updated 2/10/2003



This stuff might be useful to backpackers, so I have included it here.


Energy, Density, Weight, etc

See the Fuel Comparison Chart (or as an Excel File) for more information.


Energy Efficiency and Energy Costs

See the Energy Efficiency Comparison (or as an Excel File) for more information.

Anything you burn (including this stuff) is extremely efficient.  Capturing that heat and making it useful is another story altogether.  I see these as being very inefficient since it would be hard to capture all the energy these provide and make it useful. 

Sterno and other canned heat - It's difficult to boil water with Sterno.  Some people refill the Sterno cans with denatured alcohol and that burns a lot hotter than the Sterno did.  It all sounds pretty dangerous and the alcohol probably won't store well, so I'm not recommending it. 

Trioxane Bars - The military uses these things to heat food.  One bar weighs about 1 ounce and burns at 14,000BTU for 8 minutes.  This is enough to boil a cup of water for coffee or heat a meal.  This stuff is really convenient for backpackers - it's package is waterproof and doesn't require a stove to use the fuel.  It has toxicity warnings all over it, so it probably isn't safe to handle before you eat.


Storage Cost

Nothing.  It comes in its own sealed storage containers.


Storage Information

Sterno evaporates quickly, even in its own sealed container.  This is another reason I'm not recommending it.

Trioxane is sealed in individual waterproof pouches, so it stores really well.  I just burned some that was packaged in 1979 and it worked fine.  It should be stored sealed in those waterproof pouches until it is used.


[an error occurred while processing this directive]