Updated: Oct 23, 2019
I did not expect that a subject that should be so straight forward, is actually so complex and confusing! The size and shape of a gas bottle (container or cylinder), type and size of the regulator, its thread, type of gas - propane (Red) or butane (Blue) (or LPG in a tank!?), the policy of replace, refill or purchase new, all seems to vary on a country by country basis.
As I write the UK stands on the cusp of ‘Brexit’ (again). Surely after over 40 years it’s not unreasonable to think this would have been sorted out? The subject of bottled gas is even a nightmare within the European member countries. I thought we were supposed to take a standard approach to these things. I understand the Caravan community have wrestled with this for a long time and maybe I should turn to them for clarity on the position in Europe. Bottled gas seems to be treated in each country like Haggis or Cornish Pasties. “It has always been like this, why should we change it and why would we want to recognise a gas bottle from another country”? (Perhaps the analogy isn’t very good but for those that don’t know, Haggis is unique to Scotland, a large rabbit like creature with small horns similar to a stag that has two legs on one side longer than the other so that it can run in an anti clockwise direction around steep Scottish mountain sides). I digress......
As for Africa …….… it’s not clear whether bottled gas of any type is even available in some African countries and if it is, where do you find it, what bottle sizes can you get and / or can your bottles be refilled?! If leaving Europe for Africa, what bottled gas should you take with you (if you can) and / or what can you get on arrival in Egypt and where from? What adaptors do you need?
There does not seem to be a central website (font of all knowledge ‘gas’) that spells out the problems, shows what is available and where. If it exists, please somebody steer me in the right direction. If there isn’t, maybe with input from those that have experience we might be able to include something useful including the locations of bottled gas suppliers on the country maps.
The advantages of an all diesel solution are becoming clear. Very attractive to drive heating, hot water, the cooker and the vehicle with a single fuel. Of course that still leaves the challenge of finding diesel at intervals on the roadside within the vehicles endurance. I know this is harder than it sounds in some places but overall makes the logistics challenge much simpler.
I think the diesel solution is therefore the best way to go but it is not a panacea. A gas BBQ is so flexible, easy, quick to setup and clear away; I cannot see us setting off without one. Cooking on open fires is great but there is a fire risk in some places so it needs attention; sometimes this is just additional unwanted hassle at the end of a long day on the road.
…………… and so back to bottled gas. Assuming we go the diesel route, the requirement just got smaller but the challenge of type, bottle size, adaptors / regulators, thread sizes, suppliers etc remains. How can something like this be so difficult? Help!