Brunton has taken the decades-old concept of canned heat and added a couple crucial modern twists. The company’s new line of GreenHeat fuel canisters, which are being marketed to backpackers, climbers and anyone else who needs to pack as light as possible, are filled with a special concoction of gelled and highly-flammable vegetable oil.
The concept is bone simple: Pop off the can top, throw in a match and cook. (Or boil water or melt snow.) Healthy, hot-burning flames will stir and whirl from the magical green goo inside the can for up to 80 minutes, and Brunton says in optimal conditions you’ll be able to boil a liter of water in as little as seven minutes.
Despite the fact that my test liter of water took about 22 minutes to boil in a slightly breezy, 65-degree setting — a common backcountry venue — I was impressed overall with the product. The small, inexpensive GreenHeat cans are a no-nonsense and much-needed upgrade to the Sterno-brand canisters I’ve intermittently used over the years.
A hotter flame is their No. 1 asset. Brunton also pushes the environmental angle with GreenHeat, as the flammable gel is vegetable-oil based and does not give off noxious fumes. Another advantage: GreenHeat canisters come with lightweight sheet metal pot holders that quickly and conveniently let you set a cooking pot over the flame.
Brunton sells the GreenHeat products in two configurations: The Standard version is a 6.4-ounce canister that will burn for up to 80 minutes at 4,700 BTUs, according to Brunton. Packs of two Standard GreenHeat canisters with the pot support cost $19.
For the fast-and-light backpacking crowd, the company’s smaller Fastpack GreenHeat canisters weigh about 3.2 ounces and provide a flame for up to 45 minutes, which also burns at 4,700 BTUs, according to the company. They come in packs of three with a single pot holder for $10.
After use, the flame in a GreenHeat canister can easily be blown out and re-capped. They can be used over and over until the fuel runs out. The thickly concealed gel will not freeze and has an indefinite shelf life, according to Brunton. It’s also a non-explosive fuel, so some airlines may allow it to accompany travelers on their way off to an adventure.
Beyond cooking, Brunton is promoting GreenHeat as an emergency firestarter. Stowed away in the bottom of your backpack, a Fastpack can weighs less than a jackknife but will burn steady for more than 40 minutes. In an emergency, light the can, throw on some dead pine bows, leaves and a few dry sticks and a roaring warmth will soon ensue.
Contact: Brunton, 1-307-856-6559, www.brunton.com.