How to use gas on the campsite
Gas is often the most effective way of heating and cooking when camping, and if electric hook-up is unavailable it’s the only option.
On the whole, it is extremely safe, but it’s important to know what sort of gas you need to use and to follow a few safety guidelines.
There are a few different types of gas containers for use in camping equipment, and the one you choose will generally depend on the type of appliance you have.
Cookers like the classic single burner stoves use cartridges which clip and lock into place and can be disconnected when not in use.
Small camping stoves, especially for backpacking and lightweight camping, use disposable cartridges that screw or clip on to the equipment. They come in two types – pierceable or with an integral valve – and in a range of sizes. Pierceable cartridges can’t be removed once they have been fitted, while those with an integral valve can be unscrewed and detatched from the appliance when travelling. The attachments are NOT universal and you should never attempt to use cylinders which aren’t specifically designed to be used with your appliance.
Other appliances such as double burner stoves and barbecues use larger refillable bottles and need a regulator to control the gas pressure delivered to the appliance. Check with your gas supplier or retailer which type of regulator you will need as they often aren’t supplied with the appliance.
When the gas in the bottle runs out, you simply take the old cylinder back to your local retailer and exchange it for a new one. The cost of a refill should be less than the initial outlay for the bottle.
There are two main gas brands available in the UK – Campingaz and Calor. Calor is generally unavailable on the Continent so if you camp abroad Campingaz would be a better option.
There are two types of gas available for camping, propane and butane. Propane can be used in much colder temperatures than butane but for general family camping, a cartridge will usually have a mixture of both that will be ideal for use all year round.
Gas is highly flammable and potentially explosive, so it’s important to be careful whenever handling it – especially when changing cylinders. Do it outdoors and make sure all connections are secure.
While most manufacturers advise against cooking inside tents, if you do, make sure the cooking area is well ventilated and the burners can’t come into contact with the tent sides.
- Always change bottles and cylinders in the open air
- Turn off cylinders at the valve when travelling
- Never attempt to refill a gas cylinder
- NEVER use a naked flame to look for leaks
- Inspect all hoses and hose clamps regularly for signs of deterioration
- Be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and consider using a CO alarm
- If in doubt – get expert help
Now check out our guide to using electric hook-ups on the campsite