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Old 07-07-2015   #1
goldcamp's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 337
Propane Quanity

I was wondering if anybody had a rule of thumb for how much propane to bring per person/day. Heading out on a 5 day 4 night Gates of Lodore Trip 16 adults and 5 kids. We will have a full 10 and 12 pound tank, 22 total. We will be using a blaster and partner stove.

FYI- Uhaul does propane refills which is really handy for topping off your tank

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Old 07-07-2015   #2
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
Last Deso trip we used 5 lbs in 6 days using a 4 burner partner, no blaster, 18 people. We used the stove for heating dish water. I doubt you'll get into that second bottle too much.

In C Springs, Ace Hardware has put in propane fill stations at most of it's store locations. They charge by the gallon with no minimum charge.

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Old 07-07-2015   #3
zbaird's Avatar
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 884
Only 5# for 18 on a 6 day is impressive management!!

The stove will be fine on the 10. If you blast dishwater hard morning and night on the 12 you will likely make it unless you forget about it a bunch and let it run to long. Also remember that tanks fail. We had 2 almost full tanks fail last GC trip. For your trip a third backup isnt totally needed but wouldnt hurt if you have the space and really want the blaster. Like dan said, you could get away with the partner if the blaster tank goes down. I have heard rules of thumb but I think it can vary widely depending on habits. I have a little 5# tank that I usually bring even if i'm not the propane guy. Have only busted into it a couple times but it was clutch when I did.
zach baird
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Old 07-07-2015   #4
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1976
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 56
Here are my notes on propane:
Put this in your propane bible:

2. We had a bunch of people (10?) on the Main Salmon for a week and got by with one 20lb. propane tank. But we were nervous.
3. A real rough rule of thumb for conservative use of propane is 2 lbs. per day.
4. A partner-type stove should run for 30.5 hours with all burners running at full blast. That’s 4.3 hours per day for a 7 day week.
5. I have been on Grand trips where we took three20 # bombs. That worked out to 4.8 lbs of propane per day. We had a lot left over.
6. Planning on 17 people and we will run a 4 burner stove and a Blaster (on Deso-Grays for 7 days)If we bring one 20# bomb and one 10 # we should be fine. If we bring two 20#ers, we can have hot tubs along the way.
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Old 07-07-2015   #5
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
5#, Deso (6 day), 16 people. Normal useage (breakfast, dinner, dish water).

Not sure what some of you guys are heating up !! I will typically carry an extra 1lb or 5lb depending on trip length, but never have used them. (main, middle, snake...)
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Old 07-07-2015   #6
sledhooligan's Avatar
Craigamerica, -
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 130
Quarter of a pound per person per day. Ive used this and Ive always had enough and it seems to error on the heavy side.
No one cares that you are a river guide
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Old 07-07-2015   #7
Missoula, Montana
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 60
Same as sledhooligan. Have always done 1/4 lb per person per day and never run out.
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Old 07-07-2015   #8
caverdan's Avatar
C. Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 1,443
We always take a 10lb and a 5lb bottle for Deso. This year... the last night.... our stove acted like it ran out of propane, so we went to the back up bottle. When I went to fill it up, it only took 5 lbs. It's always a good thing to have a back up bottle in the plan.
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Old 07-09-2015   #9
Read_N_Run's Avatar
Niwot, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 750
The .25lb/pp/day seems a bit heavy but as folks say - you don't want to run out of propane. A lot of this depends on how you use your fuel, but with this calculation I would imagine you would NEVER run out of propane. If you are looking to estimate closer, you need to take a bunch of factors into consideration:

  • Do you always have a hot breakfast?
  • Are you heating some or all of your dish water?
  • Making pasta or other meals that require longer cook times?
  • Using fuel for non-cooking uses (tiki, fire pit, etc?)
Of course, at a certain point, you need to decide how much brain damage you want to go through before just using a gross calculation like above.

Another point I would make is that I typically opt for multiple sources for propane. If my calc says 20lbs, I would bring a couple of 11's or a 20 and a small 5 just in case something happens with one tank.

"It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it. The hard... is what makes it great."
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