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Gear Guy

Who makes recyclable fuel canisters?

I really like canister stoves but concerned about the throwaway nature of the fuel containers. Other than the Coleman Xtreme stove, most seem to use canisters that are non-recyclable, including all the new ultralight stoves. Is any manufacturer currently working on the recycling issue? Jeff Shoreview, Minnesota

A: Nobody seems to be rigorously pursuing recyclable fuel canisters, most probably because consumers have never stood up and demanded it. Coleman deserves some credit for doing so, but while the X-type stoves are excellent products and have sold reasonably well, they haven't taken the market by storm.

Xtreme Powermax

Obviously, one way around this is simply to go for liquid-fuel stoves. They're reliable, generally easy to use, and very hot. The classic, of course, is the MSR WhisperLite ($60;, but there are others. However, while I use liquid-fuel stoves quite a bit, I also like the convenience and the usability of canister-fuel stoves. They offer the added advantage of being extremely light, particularly for short trips. A Snow Peak GigaPower stove ($40; and fuel canister, sufficient for several meals, weighs a mere ten ounces.

So what to do? Well, at the risk of sounding extremely non-eco-friendly, my advice is this: Don't worry about it. I'd wager you're doing a lot more harm to the environment burning fossil fuel to reach a trailhead than you are throwing out maybe 100 empty fuel canisters. Short of that, of course, Coleman is at least leading the charge with its recyclable Powermax fuel cartridge ($73 with the Xtreme stove;

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Lead Photo: courtesy, Coleman