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calor gas bottles how to choose the right camping gas

How to choose the right gas for your motorhome or campervan

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Gas can be essential for your trip or holiday, especially if you like those little luxuries like, you know, food and warmth. Often though, knowing how to choose the right gas can be tricky.

Luckily, we sell a range of brands, including Calor, CampinGaz and Patio Gas, for a wide range of uses, like for caravans, campervans, motorhomes, BBQs and patio heaters.

Our product range includes LPG and Butane and we also have a limited stock of the now discontinued Calor 6kg Lite Bottles – designed specifically for caravans and motorhomes. These bottles are lighter than the usual 6kg bottle and feature a useful level gauge.

We have also put together this handy guide to help you choose the right camping gas for your needs. There are a few expert handy tips thrown in too.

The gas buying guide

So what actually is the difference between Butane and Propane gas?

Operating temperature is the main difference between Propane and Butane gas. Butane will stop working at around freezing and Propane will work till about -40degree Celsius (-40 degree Fahrenheit).

Propane is suited to colder climates, handy for those heading off on holiday in the winter on their caravan or motorhome, and Butane works well in warm climates.

If you are using gas indoors then you should use Butane, as the cylinders are less pressurised. If you are using gas in any type of cold weather and the bottles are outside, then use Propane.

Which is best: butane or LPG?

As usual, it depends what you’re going to be using it for. Butane burns cleaner than, Propane as it will only produce carbon dioxide when lit.

Butane is also more energy efficient compared to propane. Butane usually produces around 12% more energy than propane when the same volume of each gas is burned. This makes butane particularly attractive to those who light up their BBQ a few times a week.

However, LPG is better for a motorhome or caravan. We’ll explain more below.

Which gas should I use in my motorhome or caravan?

With a lower freezing point, Propane is better in the cold. Butane will freeze at zero degrees which is pretty useless if you are on holiday at minus two degrees and need your gas powered heating on!

If you try to use Butane and the temperature is below freezing Butane will not be able to turn into a gas. In this situation, when you turn on your gas appliances it will look as if you have run out of gas – even if the gas bottle is full.

If you are sure the temperatures will stay above zero then Butane will work just fine and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Propane will work until around -40. If you are away in temperatures this cold, you deserve a medal and probably wouldn’t be bothered about heating.

Which gas is cheaper: Butane or Propane?

Butane is a bit cheaper than Propane which is why people tend to use it. It is possible to switch between gas types but remember, you will need a different regulator to do this which is a bit of a faff.

Technically you should test your gas pressure and for leaks each time you change the regulator to ensure your safety. Most motorhomes and caravans are supplied ready to use a propane gas bottle.

Does Propane last longer than Butane?

Not really no. In fact, I doubt you would notice any difference between the two.

What’s the point of Butane?

Butane is stored at a quarter of the pressure of Propane so is much more suited for indoor gas uses and camping. Where users are close to the bottles, Butane is a sensible choice.

Propane is regularly used for heating homes where the bottles are stored outside, or in a motorhome where the gas storage area is separate from the living area.

Once you get your gas bottle and fit it in your motorhome. How do you know how much gas is left in the bottle?

Calor’s now discontinued 6kg Lite bottle featured a useful gauge on the top. It is far from exact but gives a good idea. The best method is to weigh the bottle: weigh it when full of gas, and weigh it when empty.

For example an 13kg Calor gas bottle will weigh 24kg when full. Therefore if the bottle weighs in at 15kg you know you are nearly out of gas.

Another method is to use warm water. Yes, really! Pour a cup of warm water down the side of the gas cylinder and then feel the bottle with your hand. You will feel a temperature difference. The gas bottle will be cooler where the liquefied gas is sitting. This will show you where the gas level is.

You can buy all sorts of gas level meters but, between you and me, most seem fairly useless. A recent product is a bluetooth level gauge. These seem to have varying results and reviews.

My personal favourite is to lift the bottle and feel the weight and listen for the liquid gas inside slopping around. Personal experience will teach you when you are getting low.

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