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New safety warnings for butane gas cookers

Renewed warnings to throw away your old butane stoves after four people burned in two explosions in North Queensland.

In early March last year we reported that the lunchbox style butane gas stoves that most of us have in our camping kit had been banned from sale by the NSW Office of Fair Trading.

BANNED – Portable Butane Gas Stoves

This followed the death of a 33 year old man who received 100 percent burns to his body when the stove he was using exploded in his caravan annexe at Casino, NSW.

The recommendation then was that owners should discontinue their cookers due to the risk of them exploding due to a potential fault in the safety cutoff mechanism.

Last week the Queensland Government renewed this warning following two explosions of the popular cookers in Far North Queensland.

Natural Resources and Mines Minister, Dr Anthony Lynham, advises that “Anyone who bought one of these butane gas lunchbox cookers manufactured before July 2015 should stop using it and dispose of it, they are potentially lethal.”

“Many models of these were recalled last year. I am now expanding that warning to any cooker manufactured before July 2015, when manufacturing standards changed.

“Check the compliance plate on the sides or underneath the cooker, and put your safety, and the safety of your family and friends first.

“Dispose of it, spend the $20-25 for a new one, and be safe rather than sorry.”

It’s believed that there are more than one million stoves in circulation that were manufactured before July 2015.

The so-called “lunchbox” cookers use a butane gas canister that should eject when the gas canister overheats. Many models were recalled nationally in mid-2015 because the safety mechanism didn’t work.

Overheating is often caused by pots or pans being used that are too large and they cover the gas canister compartment. The reflected heat from the pot or pan overheats the butane cartridge which can cause it to explode if the safety shut off mechanism fails.

In this video below you can see the result when a stove is deliberately overheated.

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Steve Baile
Steve Baile
I’m the founder of Expedition Australia, a writer, filmmaker & adventure travel junkie. Passionate about my family, health and fitness, hiking, 4WD touring, adventure motorbikes, camping and exploring as much of the planet as I can.


  1. Threw my butane cooker away last year, I was not prepared to risk it after explosions. We loved the Big Lap cant wait for you to make another one.

  2. As the warning on my stoves says ” don’t use large pots, pans or BBQ plates ” bit of common sense really.

  3. Would be less of a problem i users learned to read and follow the manufacturers instructions.
    Unfortunately for users, the ‘recall’ was to stop selling particular models. Not users return for refund or credit in return for specific stove models.
    New models are now around the $35.00 mark.

  4. Steve and Jen. I’ve just finished watching Big Lap, marathon effort over 4 nights. I so want to do it, however, being a single lady in my 60’s has it’s challenges. All the same, you have inspired me. And you have such a lovely family, such happy kids too. It took you 7 years to plan, hopefully it won’t take me that long. Hope all is well with the new addition. Best wishes,
    Lyn Harris

  5. I got rid of mine even though it was hardly used, six cannisters and bought new one for $28 which I thought ok safety wise. Tried to tell others! World war 3 nearly broke out over $25.00. I’ve had mine for years with no problems syndrome. To me being horribly burnt is worse.

  6. Hi Steve, We are looking for a portable stove to take on our big lap trip, could you please advise if you think that a butane stove would be suitable? I am unsure about using one due to all the recalls in the past. Thanks.

    • Hi Michelle, if you buy a new stove now from a reputable business then you should be fine. The problems have been fixed since the recall.

  7. I was recently given a gift, a Martin VT202 Butane stove. Serial number was a stick on and it read 2015.7 It is certified by CSA STD11.2.-011 and ANSI STD Z21.72-2011…… Can you tell me if this unit is safe for use?

  8. I threw out mine, the left over canisters are great fuel for soldering irons. I now use the ultraportable hiking stoves, also great for day hikes or multi day hikes. I must warn that if you use a wind shield with the stove that attaches directly to the top of the canister, they do overheat and can also explode. I recommend a stove with a hose that is separate from the canister, far safer, can use a wind shield and the cut off valve is at the bottle not the stove. There are also ones that run on petrol, diesel or butane canisters (I have one, the best stove I have).

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