what is the difference between butane, isobutane, propane. . . or anything that ends with "pane" in its name? Which one performs better under cold situations (upper sierra nevada, for example).
Chemically they are linked carbon atoms with hydrogen.
A carbon atom likes to for four bonds with other molecules (in this case hydrogens or other carbons)
These are the easy “straight chain” carbon molecules (called alkanes):
Methane 1 carbon, 4 hydrogens CH4
Ethane 2 carbons, 6 hydrogens C2H6
Propane 3 carbons, 8 hydrogens C3H8
Butane 4 carbons, 10 hydrogens C4H10
Pentane 5 carbons, 12 hydrogens C5H12
Hexane 6 carbons, 14 hydrogens C6H14
If they are branched they are called iso alkanes (iso-propane) with slightly different boiling points.
If one of the hydrogens is replaced by an oxygen and a hydrogen it is called an alcohol
In general the longer the chain, the lower the boiling point and the higher the pressure in a container.
Propane takes the strength of a steel bottle to pressurize, butane can be pressurized in a plastic Bic lighter, pentane is a liquid at room temperature.
The problem at cold temperatures is the boiling point of butane is about -1° C, so below that temp is stays a liquid
When burned properly they produce water and carbon dioxide.
There is a lot more info here (look under physical properties: