Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

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Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby mclassing » Sun May 10, 2015 4:47 pm

I know that many here have chosen to use propane fueled stoves and lanterns. These seem to be very popular these days. After just a few trips cooking and lighting with propane, my wife and I were amazed how many cylinders we went through -- about 2 to 2.5 per weekend.

We chose to switch to Coleman Camp Fuel because of cost, less waste, and because National Parks such as Yellowstone do not allow the sale of disposable cylinders. Supposedly, they also won't allow you to dispose of them within the park. I don't know how readily this is enforced.

Bulk propane would have also been another option; however, we didn't want to add the weight to the tongue of our teardrop, refill / exchange can be a pain, etc.

I worked out the cost difference for propane vs. Coleman Fuel in the following spreadsheet. Once under way, I also compared the space required to store each. The storage space considers only calculated volume (i.e. volume of a cylinder vs. the space it would take to store a round cylinder in a square box).

Perhaps someone will find this information useful?

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bz6VOAXGGO2bQXpMMUFfQ1lTTzQ/view?usp=sharing

The key drivers of our decision to switch were cost and energy density. It didn't hurt that Coleman fuel is nostalgic and that I had my Grandparents 1959 200A Coleman Lantern. :)
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby tony.latham » Sun May 10, 2015 5:56 pm

The one pound containers are expensive. I've been refilling mine with one of these for years:

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They work well. I grew up having to refill our white gas lanterns every morning... so... :thumbdown: You know how it is when your a kid tasked with a chore.

T
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby PaulC » Sun May 10, 2015 6:20 pm

Tony, do you have a link to that?
Cheers
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby MtnDon » Sun May 10, 2015 6:37 pm

Our 6x12 deep vee nose cargo trailer camper conversion... viewtopic.php?f=42&t=58336

We have a small off grid cabin we built ourselves in the NM mountains; small PV solar system; 624 watts PV, Outback CC & inverter/charger ... http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=2335.0
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby Gladtobehere » Sun May 10, 2015 6:41 pm

I use 5 lb propane refillable cylinders. The 1lb disposable are used only as backup. I like to minimize the risk of spilling liquid fuel.
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby tony.latham » Sun May 10, 2015 6:59 pm

PaulC wrote:Tony, do you have a link to that?
Cheers
Paul :thumbsup:


Yeah, that dang Don beat me to the punch (Schnozzle). I should have articulated what it is.

http://www.amazon.com/Shnozzle-SAFEST-P ... =schnozzle

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Propane-Refill- ... 5027&rt=nc



I used to use a refill adapter sold by Harbor Freight. The Shnozzle supposedly has an overfill adapter. They're cheap.

T
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby Sandyman » Sun May 10, 2015 10:13 pm

Look at getting a 5 or a 10 lb refillable tank. They are not that big and you can use a distribution tree to them and use several gas burning appliances at the same time. The lantern fit on the top and the stove runs off one of the ports.

Sandy C :D
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby KennethW » Mon May 11, 2015 5:42 am

Will the refill adapters work with a upside down newer valve tank or just the older tanks?
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby tony.latham » Mon May 11, 2015 9:09 am

They work fine with the new valve system.
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby Shadow Catcher » Mon May 11, 2015 9:40 am

We do have a 25# tank on the tongue but it is fueling the gas grill cook top and water heater. However we use an LED lantern with rechargeable batteries. Back in our tenting days we used a 60+ years old Preway stove and Coleman lantern. One gallon of fuel would last for a couple of years.
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby mclassing » Mon May 11, 2015 8:55 pm

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

The information I posted about Yellowstone not allowing disposal of single-use propane cylinders has proven to be dated (mid-2000s). I have since come across information that they, in fact, accept them for recycling in select areas. They might even sell them now???

We considered smaller propane cylinders but ruled them out because we wanted to be able to purchase fuel about anywhere along a journey. I know that in my area, folks who exchange tanks vastly outnumber those who fill them. The same might be said about those who sell Coleman fuel but a full gallon and what fits in the stove and lantern should last for our upcoming two-week trip.

More than anything, I've got about an hour into the research to share the spreadsheet posted above that shows the energy density of propane vs. Coleman fuel (naphtha). This is something I looked for but couldn't find anywhere.

The conclusion that we were able to draw for ourselves: Coleman Fuel isn't the cheapest fuel, but it is the best value for the space it consumes.
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby kludge » Tue Jul 21, 2015 3:54 pm

I have a 10# (11?) tank that is my favorite to use camping (a shorter version of a 20# tank). It fits perfectly in a milk crate (which also keeps it from tipping/rolling for unmounted use) and I have a "tree" which give me spot to put my lantern right by my stove(s).

I fill it at the local Tractor Supply for $2.19 a gallon.
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby Wolffarmer » Sun Dec 20, 2015 10:21 pm

Looks to me that refilling a Coleman fuel device is a piece of cake compared to refilling a 1 lb propane bottle. And Coleman fuel can be used as a grease/oil solvent if you need to do some mechanic work. I am going to stick with my coleman GPA gear.

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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby DrewsBrews » Mon Dec 21, 2015 11:15 am

At one point I had saw a gallon of liquid fuel was roughly equivalent to 5lb propane. So, kicking around numbers in my head, I came up with the conclusion it edges out ahead of disposable propane but is about double the cost of bulk propane. Your calculations confirm I wasn't all that far off.

I wasn't planning on having a galley. Liquid fuel ticked the most boxes for me:

- Low startup cost when buying used: So many of these liquid fuel stoves and lanterns have been made over the last century, and they are built to last so the used market is flooded with perfectly functional units.
- Flexibility and simplicity: Not much setup/install compared to hooking up propane hoses/distribution trees or refilling disposable propane tanks. Have the option of just filling the fuel tanks and leave the can behind for a short outing. Can combine partially filled cans.
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Re: Determining Which Camp Fuel Is Right for Me...

Postby Wolffarmer » Mon Dec 21, 2015 8:11 pm

I also like the whole ritual of lighting up a liquid fueled stove/lantern. Gives me something to do and often impresses people that you can make those old things work and still have eye bows. Or in my case a beard.

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