12 Important Facts about Camping Propane (Explained)


Camping propane is the most efficient way to cook while camping because it is clean, safe, and simple to use.

Typically, camping propane is nearly comparable to standard propane. The sole distinction between the two is that camping propane is available in smaller tanks. These are better suited for a camping stove or temporarily powering gadgets.

Camping with propane is generally straightforward, but there are a few things you should be aware of before you get started.

Difference between camping propane and torch propane

While camping propane consists of 2% of Butane in the mix, torch propane consists of 100% pure propane.

Torch propane is a form of propane that is only used for torches. It is made up of two components: propane and oxygen. When the two mix, they produce a hot flame to melt metal.

Camping propane does not burn as hot as torch propane. As a result, it cannot be used for welding or other operations requiring a very high-temperature flame.

Additionally, camping propane costs less than torch propane. A gallon of camping propane can be obtained for as cheap as $3.80, whereas a gallon of torch propane costs between $8 and $20 on average.

Camping propane does not provide as much heat as torch propane, but it is significantly less expensive.

Torch propane is the superior alternative if you need a fuel source to produce a very high-temperature flame. On the other hand, Camping propane is a more cost-effective option if you only need to prepare food or provide heat during an emergency.

What is camping propane?

Camping propane is a “family” of gases known as LPG. Propane, often known as C3H8, is composed of carbon and hydrogen atoms.

It is derived from natural gas and is a popular fuel since it is energy-efficient and can be stored in small containers.

However, it may not be as straightforward as it appears. When most people think of camping gas, they envision either the white 15 or 20-pound propane tanks or the small green Coleman or Bernzomatic tanks.

Both are easy to pack and store, and they give a good way to power camping appliances.

Camping propane gas can be found and purchased at any store. The Coleman propane tank is the most well-known and most cost-effective choice.

Is Camping Gas Propane or Butane?

Camping gas can be either camping propane or camping butane, which you may not be aware of. You have the option of using either type of tank!

Typically, the tank will be labeled with either propane or Butane. This is seen in the Coleman propane tank, the Bernzomatic propane tank, and many more tanks manufactured by other firms.

You should also be aware that camping propane is not entirely propane; it contains roughly 2% butane. Even though propane is normally preferred for camping stoves and other appliances, camping butane might be an excellent alternative.

You must exercise extreme caution when using it, whatever sort of gas you choose. Natural gas is not something you should experiment with. So, before you use or add cylinders to an appliance, take your time and learn how they work!

How Many Propane Tanks Do I Need for Camping?

Camping requires approximately 1/2 pound of propane every day. However, if you use a furnace or a lamp, your propane consumption may be higher, which is why you should bring many 1 pound propane tanks with you when camping.

Because propane cylinders come in various sizes, determining how much you require can help you select which one to purchase.

As a result, it is recommended that you purchase around 1 pound of propane for each day of your vacation. Take roughly three pounds of propane if the trip is three days long. You can even take a little more than you need if you need to run a larger device.

Can you use camping propane for torch?

Yes, it is possible to use camping propane for the torch but not at the pressures used for cooking.

It’s important to remember that torch propane burns hotter than camping propane, which is why it’s so popular for torching.

Torch propane is a stronger propane form created primarily for heating metal. It has a larger BTU value than camping propane, providing heat more quickly.

This makes it an excellent choice for applications requiring rapid and even heating of metal, such as welding or blacksmithing.

Is propane or butane better for camping?

Propane burns slightly more efficiently than other fuels because it produces more heat. Because of the low temperature of a camping stove, the difference between propane and Butane isn’t substantial, but propane is the more energy-efficient fuel.

These fuels have a wide range of applications and combustible hydrocarbon gases containing carbon and hydrogen molecules.

Both fuels are lightweight and energy-efficient.

Because they both derive from natural gas, the extraction procedure for these two gases is similar, and producers employ a pressurization technique to convert these gases into liquid fuel.

Boiling Point

The fundamental distinction between the two fuels is their boiling points. The boiling points of Butane and propane are as follows:

  • The boiling point of butane is 30.2°F.
  • The boiling point of propane is -43.6°F.

Butane has a maximum temperature of 2,400°F, and propane has a maximum of 3,600°F.

Heat and Efficiency

Propane generates more heat, implying a more efficient combustion mechanism.

However, unless you have access to industrial applications such as propane torches, you won’t be able to generate that much heat.

Camping stoves typically have a maximum temperature of 400°F. There will be no discernible variation in heat output within this lower temperature range.

Because propane has a larger heat output, it burns slightly more efficiently.

Because of the comparatively low temperature of a camping stove, the difference isn’t considerable, although propane is the more energy-efficient fuel when compared to Butane.

Vapor Pressure

When storing propane, you’ll need a tank with a pressure of about 850 kPa to keep the liquid stable at room temperature or around 70°F.

Butane has a substantially lower vapor pressure and requires only 250 kPa of pressure to remain liquid at ambient temperature.

Propane’s higher vapor pressure makes it ideal for outdoor use, while Butane is the best option if you plan to stay in a cabin or other lodging where you can store your fuel inside.

The weight of the gas is also affected by vapor pressure. Propane weighs 1.55 times more than air, and Butane weighs twice as much.

If you’re going camping or hiking in a chilly region, such as a mountain range, you should get a propane stove.

Propane is also a fantastic option if you want somewhat lighter canisters or easier access to refills. Butane is a preferable alternative if you’re camping in the summer or want a more inexpensive and compact camping stove.

Is there a difference between camping propane and regular propane?

Regular propane and camping propane are nearly comparable. Camping propane is available in smaller tanks, which is the sole difference between the two. These are more suited to running a camping stove or a few short-term items.

Regular propane is the type of propane that is commonly used in homes for grilling, cooking, and even heating items to the boiling point. People rely on it because it is not impacted by electricity and may be used even during a power outage.

Is Coleman camp fuel propane?

No! Coleman camp fuel is not propane. Coleman camp fule is stirred in liquid form while propane is stored under pressure within a sealed container.

Coleman camp fuel, often known as white gas, is a colorless petroleum-based liquid fuel. There are no additives in this petroleum distillate, unlike gasoline.

White gas, also known as naphtha and supplied in one-gallon gas cans, has a high carbon concentration of 5 to 9 carbon atoms per molecule, making it a tremendous energy source.

As a result, it differs from propane. White Gas is preserved in liquid form, whereas propane is an LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas).

White Gas can only be used in liquid fuel stoves, whereas propane can only be used in gas stoves.

Because propane is under pressure, it must be stored in pressure-resistant steel containers. On the other hand, White Gas is not held under pressure; thus, it is kept in thin metal canisters similar to those used to hold paint thinner at the hardware store.

Is Coleman camp fuel the same as kerosene?

Coleman camp fuel is not the same as kerosene. However, you are allowed to use kerosene for various uses when camping.

White gas, also known as camp fuel or Coleman fuel, is the purest type of gasoline in the outdoor world, whereas kerosene is not.

Despite this, both are classified as liquid fuels.

Is camp propane different from regular berzomatic propane?

Yes, they are both different from each other. When it comes to the construction and fundamental use of a propane tank, Bernzomatic is one of the best manufacturers. Bernzomatic tanks are generally small and designed to fit into any burner setup.

When you look closely at the tanks, you will notice that they are in the shape of little cylinders. This device is made of high-quality steel and features a comfortable cylinder. As a result, lifting and carrying become significantly easier. They are suitable for any propane structure.

Camp propane is another fantastic option to choose from if you want to acquire a robust and durable product. Coleman propane heater tanks are typically larger in size and design.

They provide more dependability and strength. The 1 pound camp propane tank is composed of stainless steel and is very robust.

However, the width is significantly more than that of other propane tanks. Because it is smaller in size, you may not encounter any difficulties transporting your excursion with a camp propane tank.

Can I use butane on my propane camping stove?

No. Butane and propane are not the same gas, and mistaking one for the other will cause issues.

Butane’s chemical formula is C4H10. Propane’s chemical formula is C6H12. If you try, the jets will be wrongly sized for your specific fuel combination.

This can cause your stove to fail catastrophically (explode), which is probably not what you want when boiling up a can of beans.

Is camping gas the same as liquid propane?

Both camping gas and liquid propane are propane. However, they serve different purposes. Camping gas is primarily used for cooking, whereas liquid propane is primarily used for heating and powering equipment.

Conclusion: Which Fuel is Better for Camping?

When compared to a butane/isobutane blend, white gas is a good alternative for travelers. While you can use white gas in cold weather, backpacking stoves that use a mixture of butane and isobutane perform poorly in extreme cold.