Propane Tank and Adapter Dependability - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-21-2019   #1
RidgeLivin's Avatar
Nederland, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2019
Posts: 34
Propane Tank and Adapter Dependability

We're doing a 6-nighter San Juan trip in a couple weeks with 5 people. We are bringing a two burner Coleman Stove and will use it for all breakfasts and dinners. I want to get a larger capacity propane tank and an adapter instead of bringing a bunch of 1lb disposable Coleman containers. From my calculations, a 5lb tank is ~5 of those Coleman cannisters, so may not be quite enough. I considered getting an 11lb tank instead, but my wife worries about just having one tank in case of failure. It makes sense I guess .

My struggle is that two 5lb tanks take up quite a bit more space than 10 1lb cannisters. We just have one 14 ft raft, a ducky, and a SUP for 5 people... so I'll be hauling all the gear.

11lb = 9*9*17 = 1377 cubic inches
5lb = 8X8X13 = 832 cubic inches * 2 = 1664 cubic inches
1lb = 4X4X8 = 128 cubic inches *10 = 1280 cubic inches

Has anyone ever actually had a propane tank or adapter failure during a trip? It seems like the most common tank failure would be accidentally leaving the valve open. I don't want to bring 10 1lb cannisters, but am struggling because it would take up less space than bringing two 5lbs tanks. The 11 lb seems to make the most sense, but I don't want to worry about a single point of failure that will leave us propane-less.

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Old 06-21-2019   #2
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,776
yup a 4 burner partner steel gave up the ghost on us on day two San Juan a few weeks ago. Would not light.

Called the shuttle driver (Valerie is the best) who happened to be in Mexican Hat. She took one of our boaters back to Bluff, picked up a Partner 2 burner I happened to have in my truck. Met us as we were setting down for lunch in the Hat. And that was that.

I am a big fan of Partner Steel stoves but this one crapped out on us. After the trip the owner of the stove called Partner Steel was advised no warranty on that part as P/S did not manufacture it. So three things. One, Even Partner Steel stoves some times die on the river. Two some times even Partner Steel does not stand behind their stoves Three, for what it is worth never go on a multi day western river trip with just one stove. It does not matter what your load is, take a backup stove along.
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Old 06-21-2019   #3
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Bellevue, Idaho
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I try to always have a backup. Instead of a second 5lb tank. I would bring 3 of the 1 lb tanks. But I would also probably start with the 11 lb tank too. And still bring 3. But that's me. I like to have lots of hot water. If you do lose your large tank then you still have 3 lbs and you make it work.
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Old 06-21-2019   #4
RidgeLivin's Avatar
Nederland, Colorado
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I've heard great things about Val. We've already scheduled her for our shuttle. I was planning to bring along my backpacking MSR pocket rocket as a backup, but think I may just get a single Coleman burner to supplement the stove so that we have 3 dedicated burners and a backup in case the 2 burner stove or the single burner fail.
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Old 06-21-2019   #5
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Salt Lake City, Utah
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I've seen more stove failures than tank issues. Just make sure you turn the tank off at night. I would probably take the 5lb tank and some 1lb back ups. I would also have another stove with me, at a minimum a jetboil or some backpacking type canister stove that you could use in a pinch to heat food and water for coffee.
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Old 06-21-2019   #6
RidgeLivin's Avatar
Nederland, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Originally Posted by Senor D View Post
I believe your math isn't right. Those small disposable propane canisters are 16 fluid ounces. your standard BBQ propane tank is 5 gallons (640 fl oz), and would equate to 40 of the little green guys.
We have a little 2.5 gallon tank that I use with our two burner camp chef Everest. I used it for every meal on an 8 day trip, and used about a quarter of the total capacity of the tank.
I have noticed something strange with this setup, though. If I connect the hose, open the tank valve, and fire the stove right up, I sometimes get proper flame for about 10 seconds, then it dies. If I "pressurize" the system for a few minutes before lighting the stove, it works fine. I can't figure out why this would happen, but if I deviate from this procedure, the stove rebels.
It amazes me how much trouble I've been having finding the proper conversion for this on the internet. I'm still not positive, but from what I've gathered: The 16 oz. for those refers to the weight and not the volume. From another forum, I read the the 16oz. of weight equates to just under a quart of volume (32oz)... so a 5lb that holds 1.2 gallons would equate to right around 5 quarts or 5 cannisters.

This shows that 1lb of propane weight = 32 oz of propane volume.
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Old 06-21-2019   #7
Cottonwood Heights, Utah
Join Date: May 2018
Posts: 17
I deleted my post because I got confused researching further, too. I assumed the 5lb you mentioned was the standard BBQ, which is 20lbs. I believe the tank I have is 11lbs and it lasts forever. It took 2.5 gallons when I filled it the first time at our local propane supplier. Good luck!
We launch on the 27th for the SJ, maybe I'll see ya down there!
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Old 06-21-2019   #8
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Nederland, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2019
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Thanks all! We are going to get a tall skinny Worthington 11lb propane tank, an additional Coleman single burner, a valve splitter, and two hose adapters. That way, we can have 3 burners going at once and will have backups for if the stove fails, the burner fails, or either of the hose adapters fail. We'll also bring 3 extra 1lb cannisters in case the 11lb tank fails. What sold me is the fact I can store the 11lb tank in a 5 gallon bucket in a drop bag instead of taking up all the dry box space with 10 1lb cannisters! We have a Deso Gray trip a month after the San Juan trip so this investment will pay for itself pretty quickly.

Senor D, have fun! We are launching July 1 so will be a few days behind you. Looks like there will be plenty of flow this year.
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Old 06-21-2019   #9
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Weld county, Colorado
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Just bring an extra 1# tank or 2, then put the 1# fill adapter in your repair kit in case you need to refill the 1#ers. The fill adapter is small and cheap. I paid about $10 for mine. There is a thousand videos on YouTube showing how to refill the 1# tanks. What I've found is it take 3 times between fill and air bleed to get it.
"It is fun to have fun but you have to know how"---The Cat In The Hat
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Old 06-22-2019   #10
Ft jones, United States
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Jun 2017
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I've started hauling two 5# tanks on any of my trips that last more than three or four days.
I've been surprised by low propane my last night in camp on 7 day trips...most likely caused by a leak.
My slender tank fits in my 2 gallon hand wash bucket. I also keep a 1lb'er in my kitchen for emergency-emergency use. Haven't needed it in a couple years.

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