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Old Farts in Camping Parks


Perhaps contrary to what might be suggested in the title, this article is not about the type of 'gas' generated after too many beers and vindaloo curry!

Range of sizes available
Safefill Gas Cylinders

Different types of fuel are available for cooking, running fridges etc for the hiking, camping, caravanning and mobile home communities. Fuels include liquid fuels (for example methylated spirit or alcohol) and solid fuel such as wood or charcoal, and gas - typically Butane, Propane and LPG. Many camping grounds / areas do not allow open fires or charcoal BBQ's due to the fire risk, so gas is the 'go to' solution for most.

The variety of gas cylinders, sizes, fittings and regulators are pretty mind boggling. If you plan to travel just in the UK then choice of stove / BBQ etc may be a bit easier to make. If you have (say) a Campingaz two burner stove and a (Propane Gas) portable BBQ then you traditionally need two separate branded gas cylinders, hoses and regulators, one for each appliance. Wouldn't it be much easier if manufacturers were to agree or be driven to a common standard but clearly this is not going to happen (at least in the near future).

A company called SafeFill (other brands are available) produce gas cylinders that can be filled at most regular high street petrol stations - at least those that sell LPG. LPG is available on some (not all) garage forecourts but with a little planning finding a retailer is not a problem. A list of LPG outlets across UK and Europe can be found online here. In Europe, adapters may be required to connect the Safefill Gas Cylinder to the filling point. These adapters are readily available (for example, see LPG Shop). The good news is that this gives you access to a gas supply that is much cheaper and easier to find than retailed branded bottled gas in many countries.

Quick Release Coupling

Having a readily available gas supply is just part of the challenge. The diving world has used 'Quick Release Couplings' for Low Pressure (LP) air for a long time and similar ones are now available for gas.

A Quick Release Coupling (QRC) can be fitted in the gas hose between the regulator and the appliance (on the low pressure side). Take care to check the designed direction of gas flow through the QRC to ensure it's fitted correctly.

Flow rates. Some gas regulators may have slightly different flow rates for use with different branded equipment. Check that the flow rate is correct and / or use the correct regulator with the stove / BBQ / fridge or other appliance being used. Once your gas appliance hoses are fitted with Quick Release Couplings, it is very easy to switch between appliances.

Different gas cylinders and regulators with QRC's.
Quick Release Couplings (QRC)

In an emergency this potentially allows gas from any brand of cylinder to be used with any appliance but do check manufacturers instructions for details.


The above suggestion is offered as a practical solution but you fit a Quick Release Coupling at your own risk. Ensure hose clamps are tightly fastened in place and conduct a leak test prior to use. Gas hoses should be changed every 2-5 years depending on condition; cracked or damaged hoses should be changed straight away. Consult manufacturers handbook to confirm which gases can be used with appliances.

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