Favorite Camp Stove Fuel

Which fuel do you prefer?

  • Coleman Fuel / Unleaded Gasoline ( Dual Fuel )

    Votes: 13 34.2%
  • Propane

    Votes: 25 65.8%

  • Total voters

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Rum Runnin'
Apr 18, 2005
Durham, NC
I searched through the threads and read a few discussions about propane vs coleman fuel / gasoline for a camp stove application. I have also read about the "coleman fuel is gasoline" debate, and it seems like the two are interchangeable as long as you can clean the stove of the extra soot that is created by burning unleaded.

Either way, I'm looking at building my camp kitchen into my second storage drawer and I am going to buy a new grill to put in it, unless I can find a good deal on a used unit ( haven't found one this month ). My question to you is what are the advantages of propane over coleman fuel? Does one burn hotter? Does one burn cleaner? Is one safer than the other for transporting over long distances? Which is easier to start, and which gets up to temp fastest?

After that question is answered, we will determine which grill, for a given fuel, is the best for camping / wheeling.
Propane, When they came out with lantern stands and three burner stoves, it was a no brainer for me...
Really? Why's that?

Come on, no one else has an opinion or is this topic too:deadhorse:
Here is the skinny--

Propane is more convenient and smells better. It is much easier to light. Propane lanterns are quieter.

Gasoline stoves burn hotter, and are slightly cheaper to run. Plus you always have unleaed gas.

So, you have to choose what you want. If you are looking to grill, most are prorpane, so that might influence your thinking. If you're grilling, the Solaire is by far the best grill I have ever used. It totally rocks.

On balance, I run propane while camping, and run out of a bulk tank (1 gallon or 2 gallons).

It's also nice to have a manifold pole.

If you do go propane, the Century hoses and poles are 1000X better than the Coleman equivalents. Trust me on this.
I use to use Coleman fuel for stoves and lanterns, something about the loud hiss that is very nostalgic.

But where I live now, I can not store cans of gasoline in my home, so switching over to propane was the safe choice.

Also I find it much easier to cook on a propane campstove than I do my old Coleman fuel stove.
No pumping, and it burns cleaner with no flareups or that darn yellow flame that is sometimes hard to get rid of with gas.

So I voted for propane above.
I also switched over to a hose setup and a five pound tank to use for the stove instead of the throwaway green Coleman propane bottles.
So gasoline burns hotter, but propane is more convenient. Makes sense. If I was out on a camping trip, I would hate to run out of fuel for my stove, so it seems that gasoline is better in that respect. Also considering transport of propane, how do you guys carry it? Do you just lug around a 5# bottle in your truck? I don't think I'd be able to do that with my sleeping system setup in the truck, so such a large bottle is out of the question. I have a M416 I could set up to do that, but I don't want to have to bring that everywhere I want to camp.

The propane grills I've seen are just cast iron grill plates above a propane burner. The same thing could be accomplished by using a cast iron grill plate on top of the coleman stove, and it could be just as large or small as you want it, as long as it fits on top of the stove. Having a stove instead of just a grill allows you to cook with pots + pans as well as a grill plate, which leaves a wider range of possibilities for cooking.

So it seems like propane is a better + easier setup but takes up more total space. The Coleman stove is less convenient, but burns hotter and is more compact. Those conclusions sound logical?
One more difference that may or may not affect you is that gasoline stoves work better in high altitude and/or very cold conditions. Last time I camped at timberline (Colorado, late June) there were other backpackers nearby who's butane/propane stoves wouldn't light. After a hungry/cold night for them, I fired up my 35-year-old Svea 123 brass stove and cooked them breakfast. That old stove is always with me when wheeling just for emergencies. It has never failed to light in 35 years, and has only one moving part (the needle for the jet).

That's why I voted for gasoline in the poll, but again you may not be vehicle camping at those altitudes.
I'm down with the propane too. Switched last year after swearing to never convert... I also realized I excell at "stubborn" and not "smart ".

Picked up a propane tree that clips on the top of a 20# cylinder, and converted the stove with a conversion kit from Wallyworld, and can't believe I fought with the white gas thing for 30 yrs. Hook everything up, the light goes on the top of the pole, the 3 burner stove connects to a 6' whip, nice and simple.

I do agree that it is not as hot burning...but it's well worth the trade off.

for heating i use propane and also for cooking when not using my wood burning hobo stove.

wood is all around us here in BC, so i use it for fuel.
I cast my vote to propane due to ease of use, but when I hike I prefer to use white gas.

For wheelin' I use one of the three burner Camp Chef stoves so btu's aren't an issue.
propane is the choice pretty much all the convenience, ease of use ect. liquid fuel is safer to transport if only because its not under pressure, but, how many times do you hear about either camp fuel going off?

so i'd say propane.
IMO propane is much safer. When it leaks, it escapes to the atmosphere. I've never heard of a problem with propane. Liquid fuel on the other hand can leak, spray, soak into fabrics, drip, trail, etc, and as soon as there's flame, everything is ablaze. I've heard of some terrible accidents with liquid fuel stoves.

That said, I'm a sucker for old fasioned liquid fuel stoves. I'm not a fan of propane, even though its just so much easier to use. Unless you have some specific reason not to use propane (altitude, very cold temps, or weird obsessions with liquid fuel stoves :D ) propane wins every time.
I am no expert, but I have the coleman dual fuel stove that I love, and will guarantee me never to run out of fuel, as long as I have fuel in my vehicle or in a jerry can. I also have a propane grill but the more camping I do, the more convenient it is to light a fire and grill over the coals. (where allowed.) Plus, the little propane tanks create a lot of garbage since they are not refillable....
Propane for me for all my camping stoves and barbies (Isobutane for my JetBoil :)).

I know plenty of guys still using white gas stoves. After using them for 2-decades I switched to propane mostly because I got tired of the: Smell and nasty flare ups during the warm up phase of using a white gas stove and/or lantern.

I also have a Solaire BBQ and like Cruiserdrew stated: It is a champ. However having said that I've been experimenting with a new dual sided Lodge cast iron grill/griddle atop a regular burner. And it really works great! The biggest bonus is it takes up less space in my camp kit.
im with latinoguy, still using dual fuel coleman as you cant beat just filling up a jerry can at a gas station and knowing how much is left in it. I lumber about enough propane tanks with our fork lifts at work!
On fuel leaks: the only time I could imagine fuel leaking in any case is because of being bounced around while on a road. I would hate to have my truck fill up with propane gas because of a leak, as opposed to geting a bit more of the ever present smell of gasoline.

I've read that if you make an adapter, you can fill those little propane tanks from a larger tank, no? Don't you just have to be careful with how much you put in?

How many of you guys prefer charcoal over 'pane when it comes to home grills? None of the disadvantages of a gasoline stove seem that far off from the disadvantages of running charcoal at home. Seems like a regular camping day to me!!
The only problem with refilling the small disposable cylinders, is once you do, they are no longer DOT approved.
The only problem with refilling the small disposable cylinders, is once you do, they are no longer DOT approved.

I don't understand the implications of that as it applies to trucks. Are coleman stoves DOT approved?
I'm sure the tank is, otherwise you wouldn't be able transport them. As far as I understand it, any fuel container that transported on a public road has to be DOT certified.
I also have a propane grill but the more camping I do, the more convenient it is to light a fire and grill over the coals. (where allowed.) Plus, the little propane tanks create a lot of garbage since they are not refillable....


i'm really getting into cooking over coals, i enjoy the flavour of wood smoke on my meat.

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