Camping with a portable gas grill or stove is a common choice for many, since they are highly convenient and you can find so many different designs. But a gas tank obviously needs one very important thing…the gas. Propane is the most popular, since you can readily find portable cylinders from many different brands.
Carrying extra propane while camping is very important for longer trips, because you’ll stay prepared. The terms “tank” and “cylinder/canister/bottle” are often interchangeable, but the larger sizes are usually referred to as tanks.
There are certain things to look for, though, in the best camping propane tanks for grills and stoves. Typically 1lb propane canisters are not refillable – there are some exceptions if you use a refill adapter, but always check with the manufacturer first.
Propane cylinders for camping come in all different sizes, and serve various purposes. 30lb, 40lb and 100lb tanks are frequently used with large grills and RVs, 20lb ones work with slightly smaller barbecues, and 1lb bottles are for smaller portable gas grills.
Understanding the most reliable brands is crucial, as they will provide quality materials, connectors, regulators, and valves for the safest experience. That’s why we’ve uncovered the best propane for camping grills you can find today, so keep reading to find the right one.
The Best Propane Canisters for Camping Stoves and Grills
1. Coleman Propane Fuel Cylinders
Number of bottles: 4
Amount: 1lb Each
You might think of tents or other camping gear when you see Coleman, but they also sell many camping accessories like this pack of 4 propane canisters.
Each one contains 1lb of gas, and they’re connected by a plastic connecter rings at the necks. This lets you carry them with ease, preventing the risk of forgetting about one or storing them incorrectly. You can keep them on the connecter and pull them off one-by-one (like a pack of beer with neck rings).
To ensure they stay upright, we appreciate that they have rubber bases. This prevents slipping on the ground, which stops them from falling over. One of the coolest things about this pack is that each one can be attached to power up a lantern.
- Rubber Base for Secure Grip on Ground
- Can be Attached to Lantern
- Robust Steel Construction
2. Bernzomatic Camping Gas Cylinders
Number of bottles: 2
Amount: 1lb Each
Next is this 2-pack from Bernzomatic. The bottles have a thick base that looks reinforced – it’s also the same width as the rest of the bottle which boosts stability. Much like the previous bottles, these ones can also connect to a lantern, or also a blowtorch.
Constructed from durable steel, these are still lightweight and effortless to take along while camping. These also have neck rings, which form a handle in the middle to easily carry around and place upright.
- Universal Design Fits Most Appliances & Doubles as Blowtorch
- Durable Steel Build
- User-Friendly Valves
3. Jetboil Jetpower Camping Propane Tank
Number of bottles: 1
Amount: 3.53oz, 8.11oz, 1lb Available
Jetboil provides us with a unique type of canister here, with a different shape than a traditional bottle. It comes in 3 different capacities. The 3.53oz size gives you the right amount of fuel to boil around 12 liters of water, the middle size can boil approximately 24 liters, and the 1lb version can do 48 liters.
It’s a combination of propane and isobutane, where the latter makes the canister lightweight and easier to carry. Using higher vapor pressure, these canisters are suitable for use in 4-seasons, as they will improve the connected appliance’s performance in cold temperatures.
Compatible with Jetboil stoves and cookers, you can connect it in a cinch for fast and convenient cooking. We appreciate that each canister is recyclable, which can be achieved using their Crunchit device that is sold separately.
- Compact Design Consumes Minimal Space
- Completely Recyclable Using Crunchit Device
- Intense Vapor Pressure Improves Performance in Cold Weather
4. GasOne Butane Fuel Canisters
Number of bottles: 4
Amount: 8oz Each
Lastly is this pack of 4 from GasOne. Each bottle will last you about 2 to 8 hours of burn time, so these are perfect for a short camping trip of 4 days where you can use one canister per day. In addition to using these for portable grills, you can also attach them to some torches for a longer burn, as well as to a blowtorch piece.
These use butane rather than propane. Butane has a higher peak boiling point when compared to propane. In terms of storage, propane gas uses more pressure, whereas butane utilizes less pressure at the same temperature.
- Versatile Uses with Universal Valve
- Provides 2 to 8 Hours of Burning
- Slim Design
5. MSR Camping Propane Tank
Number of bottles: 1
Amount: 11oz, 1.25lbs, 1.9lbs Available
Compatible with MSR’s liquid fuel camping stoves, these are the MSR Liquid Fuel Bottles available in 3 different capacities. These have rave reviews online, as they’re so simple to use and stand out from most regular gas cylinders.
The bright red coloring ensures you’ll never lose sight of them, and the thinner neck makes them slightly easier to store as they take up a little less space. We think the cap on each bottle is a standout feature, because not only are they push-and-twist, but they’re also child-resistant for your peace of mind.
Another highlight feature for us is that you can carry these to have spare gas for emergencies like for motorbikes, chainsaws, or scooters. These bottles are built using a single piece of aluminum. This prevents leakage, reduces the deprivation of fuel, and handles the pressurization that is needed to operate stoves to full capacity.
- Leak-Proof & Child-Proof Cap
- Aluminum Construction Prevents Leaks & Maximizes Fuel Efficiency
- Compact Thin Neck Design
6. Flame King Refillable Propane Cyclinder
Number of bottles: 1
Here we have a refillable tank from Flame King, alongside a Refill Kit that can be purchased separately. The Kit includes the refillable tank, a cylinder cap, a stand to keep things stable, an E-Z Fill adapter device, and a safety filling key.
The advantage of having a refillable tank is that you’re making less of a mark on the environment, as you’re reusing the same bottle rather than constantly throwing them away. Not only that, but you’re saving money in the long-run as you don’t need to buy tanks upon tanks.
Built from a high-grade steel, this is made to last a whopping 10 years of replenishment. Also, it takes only 4 steps to complete the refill process. It’s important to note that it does weigh slightly over 1lb (1.5lbs) as you must take into consideration the weight of the actual tank.
- High-Grade Steel Adds Durability
- 1 Tank Lasts 10 Years
- X-Ray & Hydrostatic Tested
7. Flame King MT301 Mr. Tank Camping Propane Tank
Number of bottles: 1
Next on our list is this large capacity tank from Flame King. It’s ideal for use with medium to larger sized grills, as well as motorhomes or trailers. You can purchase a single tank, or get a regulator for a slightly higher price. The regulator comes with 12 inch hoses. You can also get a rack with trailers, which keeps it secure. With a premium valve installed on the tank, you’ve got an overfilling prevention device (OPD) to ensure it is refilled safely.
Another unique add-on is the scale, which can be bought separately. Using their Bluetooth compatible app, you can monitor the weight of the tank to know quickly and effortlessly how much gas is left. The scale is even able to measure most other tanks, not just the ones from Flame King.
To know when you’ve got connection with the scale, you’ll see a red LED on the front. Using some AA batteries, the scale will last a whole 3 months. Plus, the app is free of charge.
- One-Touch System for Faster Cleaning
- Premium Valve Prevents Overfilling
- Smart Bluetooth Scale Available with 3 Month Battery Life
8. Worthington Camping Propane Tank
Number of bottles: 1
Next is another large capacity 40lb tank that is suitable for full-scale barbecues and RVs. The design of this cylinder has been engineered for lightweight transport, while remaining robust for safety. It’s made from all-steel, which makes it more resistant to damage.
An added element of damage-protection is the paint, which has a Durabond powder coating that gives it a rugged exterior. The interior is clean and scale free, and the valve is specially designed with an OPD.
To pick it up and move it around hassle-free, the neck area has wide holes to slip your hand through and carry it comfortably. Using the right system, you can refill this tank for years of use.
- Wide Neck for Comfortable Hand Holding
- Durable Powder Coated Paint
- Lightweight Yet Rugged All-Steel Body
How to Attach Propane to your Camping Stove or Grill
- Preparation – The first step involves knowing how to prepare your stove or grill to ensure that you have everything at hand. Lay out your stove or grill, the connecter house, and of course, the gas tank. This prevents any searching or fumbling around when you’re doing the connection process.
- Stability – Having a stable surface while installing the gas cylinder is super important. If the surface isn’t even, the tank or grill could fall over, which is very risky. If you find yourself on bumpy ground, try digging around the area to make it even. Once everything is stable, you can continue.
- Check the settings – Look at your appliance and ensure that all dials, knobs, and switches are turned off. You do this to avoid any gas leaks from escaping when you connect the hose. Another feature to check is inside the valve at the rubber gasket, which should be done under a strong light. Confirm that it isn’t damaged or bent out of place before moving forward.
- Attach the hose – The time has come to attach the tank to the appliance, and the hose should smoothly slip on and twist with ease. It should have a tight fit.
- Leak test – Now you should perform a quick test for identifying potential leaks. The best way is with a soap and water test – use a spray bottle or pour over a mix of mild soap and water. If large bubbles form, then gas is seeping out and you need to detach to find the problem before trying again.
- You’re on your way – Once you’ve confirmed there are no leaks, you can turn the valve and let the gas flow though. Light the appliance using a long match or lighter and wait for a sturdy flame.
5 Top Uses of Camping Propane
- To heat a tent – No one can get to sleep while freezing, and it’s important to keep warm while living in a tent to prevent serious dangers like hypothermia. That’s where propane comes in, because you can use a single 1lb tank to warm up your tent for a few days, depending on how long you keep it burning. With bottle packs, you can stretch your trip and keep warm while you’re at it.
- RV camping – Use this kind of gas for powering your whole RV, from the hot water to the fridge to the stove.
- Propane camping grills – While charcoal grills are loved for their smoky flavor, you can achieve just as delicious dishes with a propane camping grill. They are speedy to warm up, and you can find countless designs that are suitable for car camping, or even short hikes.
- Camp stoves – Just like the grills, you can attach propane canisters to camping stoves to quickly and efficiently boil your water, make soups or sauces, and use a pan to create a wider range of dishes.
- Showers – Bring along a propane camp shower on your next trip! There are lots of sizes to choose from, and the only other thing you need is obviously a source of water. Rather than a freezing river, you can wash yourself under a warm stream of water.
How do I dispose of empty propane bottles?
You should always check with your area as to where you can dispose of these bottles in a safe and ethical manner. They can’t be put in regular trash. Most times, you can dispose of empty bottles at a facility for household hazardous waste. Research where the closest one is, and if it’s not near your campsite, you must wait until your reach it before dumping the bottles.
How much propane do I need for camping?
The amount you’ll need depends on several things:
- Duration of your trip
- What you’ll be using it for (e.g. stove, grill, shower, to power an RV, etc.)
- The season and weather you’ll be camping in
- Travel method (e.g. Car, backpacking, hiking, etc.)
- How many people are with you
We suggest following the guideline of 2.1oz per person for each day in hotter months, and 4.2oz in colder weather.
Below are some approximate settings (very approximate, because again, the burn time depends on many variants):
1lb tank: 1.5-4 hours of burn time on high settings
20lb tank: 10 hours of burn time on high settings
30lb tank: 25 hours of burn time on high settings
40lb tank: 40 hours of burn time on high settings
100lb tank: 84 hours +
Is camping with propane dangerous?
If you take the right precautions and follow simple safety rules, then it certainly isn’t dangerous to go camping with propane.
Small 1lb bottles are made for travel, particularly camping at that, but you need to make sure to give them plenty of ventilation, keep them upright, never smoke or have open flames around them, and never use one that’s been exposed to lots of heat.
Also never refill a single use cylinder or canister, as this can lead to serious injuries, so say the National Park Service government website.
Conclusion on Camping Propane Canisters
While camping is generally about roughing it in the wild, there are some creature comforts that many of us can’t live without. That can be something as simple as a delicious meal, or something a little more advanced like a warm shower.
You don’t have to settle for uncomfortable situations when you camp, and that’s why camping gas tanks are a go-to product for powering your trip. Remember to store them correctly in a dry, cool, ventilated place to achieve optimal quality while burning, as well as to ensure longevity for the canister.