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How to Choose the Right Size Gas Bottle for Your Campervan 

gas bottles

Making sure you have enough gas for your campervan is essential for a comfortable and stress-free trip. But with so many different gas bottle sizes available, how do you know which one you need?

From heating your camper’s water to powering your stove and fridge, gas is an essential resource for any campervan owner, and there are a lot of different types and sizes of gas bottles to choose from.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about choosing the right size gas bottle for your campervan.

Gas bottles orange
How to Choose the Right Size Gas Bottle for Your Campervan 

What Size Gas Bottle Do I Need for My Campervan?

Selecting the right size gas bottle for a campervan, caravan, or motorhome is super important in making sure you have enough gas to last your entire trip. 

The ideal size largely depends on the vehicle’s size and the specific needs of your travel…

For Smaller Campervans

A 3.9kg propane gas bottle often does the job for short trips or where cooking is the primary use of gas.

This smaller size is lightweight, easy to handle, and convenient for tight storage spaces commonly found in compact campervans.

For Mid-Sized Campervans

These vehicles may use more gas, so they’ll need a bigger supply for heating, hot water, and cooking.

A 6kg gas bottle should give you enough gas for a few days to a week, depending on usage. Plus, this size bottle isn’t overly big, making it easier to store in a designated compartment or under your vehicle.

For Larger Campervans

A 13kg propane gas bottle might be required for a vehicle designed for long-haul travel or equipped with amenities that demand higher gas consumption, including central heating systems.

This larger size ensures a consistent gas supply over extended periods, reducing the frequency of replacements and offering peace of mind during lengthy trips.

Ultimately, the benefits of different bottle sizes range from enhanced portability and ease of storage with smaller bottles to greater autonomy and fewer concerns about running out of gas with larger sizes.

Selecting the appropriate size for your vehicle and travel needs is essential for a worry-free adventure.

Propane gas bottle
How to Choose the Right Size Gas Bottle for Your Campervan 

What Type of Gas Do I Need for my Campervan?

Of course, it’s not just the size that matters. There are different types of gas you can use in your campervan, and these gases have different properties that can affect their burn rate, making them last varying amounts of time regardless of their size.

Propane Gas Bottles

Propane gas is a popular choice for campervan gas bottles due to its excellent properties, which make it highly suited to the varying conditions encountered during travels.

One of propane’s primary advantages is its ability to remain a gas at a much lower temperature than other gases like butane, making it an ideal fuel source in colder environments.

This characteristic ensures that your supply remains consistent and reliable – even in chillier conditions – providing a steady source of heat for cooking, heating, and hot water.

Also, propane burns cleanly, producing minimal soot and emissions. This clean combustion not only makes it an environmentally friendlier option but also reduces maintenance issues related to soot accumulation in appliances.

Overall, propane’s properties make it an excellent choice for campervan enthusiasts seeking efficiency and reliability in their fuel source.

Butane Gas Bottles

Butane gas is another viable option for campervan gas bottles, offering advantages that can be particularly appealing for certain types of travellers.

One notable property of butane is its higher calorific value compared to propane, which means it can produce more heat from the same volume of gas.

This efficiency can be particularly advantageous in warmer climates where the gas’s ability to remain liquid at higher temperatures does not pose a problem.

Butane is a cost-effective choice for campervan users who prioritise cooking and require a reliable heat source for longer periods without the need for frequent bottle replacements.

Also, butane typically burns slightly cleaner than propane, contributing to fewer emissions and a reduced environmental impact. Minimal soot production also means less maintenance for gas appliances.

However, it’s critical to note that butane’s performance is temperature-dependent; it remains liquid and struggles to vaporise at temperatures below freezing, which can limit its utility in colder climates.

Butane gas bottle
How to Choose the Right Size Gas Bottle for Your Campervan 

How Long Does a Campervan Gas Bottle Last?

The duration of a gas bottle’s life depends significantly on its size, frequency of use, and the type of appliance it powers.

Gas Bottle Size Usage Duration
3.9kg Cooking only A couple of days
6kg Cooking and occasional heating Several days to a week
13kg Heating, hot water, cooking Two weeks to a month

These estimates are broad, assuming moderate daily usage and actual durations can vary.

Assessing your trip’s length and activities is essential to choosing the right size gas bottle. This will ensure you have a sufficient gas supply throughout your adventure without burdening yourself with unnecessary weight or space usage.

What to Do With an Empty Gas Bottle

Disposing of an empty gas bottle requires careful consideration for safety and the environment.

Never throw it in general waste. Instead, return it to the supplier or a certified gas bottle retailer; many offer a return or exchange program for empty bottles.

Some locations also provide recycling services for these bottles. Always check the bottle for any specific disposal instructions from the manufacturer.

By responsibly handling empty gas bottles, you ensure environmental protection and adhere to safety regulations, making your camping experience both enjoyable and sustainable.

Find out more about disposing of your gas bottle from the British Compressed Gases Association (BCGA)

Is a Refillable Gas Bottle System Worth It?

Considering the environmental and economic aspects, investing in a refillable gas bottle system for your campervan can be remarkably worthwhile.

Refillable systems allow for more sustainable travel practices by reducing the need for disposable gas bottles, which in turn helps minimise waste and contribute to environmental conservation.

Economically, while the initial outlay for a refillable system may be higher than purchasing disposable bottles, the cost of refilling is generally lower than the cost of buying new bottles each time.

This means that over the lifetime of your campervan usage, the savings can be substantial.

Refillable systems also offer the convenience of topping up your gas supply at numerous refill stations, ensuring you’re never far from a refill point during your travels.

However, it’s essential to consider the availability of refill stations along your planned routes and whether the type of gas required by your system is readily accessible.

Camping gas bottles
How to Choose the Right Size Gas Bottle for Your Campervan 

Gas Bottle Safety 101

A part of having a campervan gas bottle is making sure that it’s handled and maintained safely. This can involve checking the age of your gas bottle, ensuring it’s properly secured during travel, and regularly inspecting for any damage or wear. 

It’s also crucial to know how to turn off the gas supply in case of an emergency, as well as how to properly handle and store the gas bottle when it’s not in use.

Here are key safety tips to consider:

  • Regular checks: Periodically inspect gas bottles and connections for signs of wear, damage, or leaks. Use soapy water to check for leaks – bubbles will form if one exists.
  • Ventilation: Ensure adequate ventilation when using gas appliances inside the campervan to avoid the build-up of potentially harmful gases.
  • Emergency plan: Have an emergency plan in place. Know how to shut off the gas supply quickly and safely in case of a leak or fire.
  • Carbon monoxide detector: Install a carbon monoxide detector within the campervan to alert you to harmful gases produced by faulty gas appliances.
  • Professional installation and maintenance: Always have gas appliances and connections installed and serviced by a qualified technician.
  • Certified equipment: Use only certified gas bottles and equipment that meet the regulatory standards for safety and efficiency.
Camping gas bottle
How to Choose the Right Size Gas Bottle for Your Campervan 

Summary: How to Choose the Right Size Campervan Gas Bottle

Whether you’re headed off on a short weekend getaway or a road trip round the country, you’ll want to make sure you have a sufficient supply of gas to power your camper. We’d recommend a 3.9kg bottle for small campervans, 6kg for mid-sized, and 13kg for large campervans. 

You should also think about how you’ll be using the gas. If you plan on using it for cooking, heating, and running your fridge, you may need a larger bottle. On the other hand, if you’re only using it for cooking, a smaller bottle could do you just fine.

For more camping tips and advice on making the most of your camper, head over to our blog!


How Long Does a 6kg Gas Bottle Last in a Motorhome?

The duration of a 6kg gas bottle in a motorhome can vary, typically lasting from a few days to a week, depending on the level of cooking, heating, and hot water usage. For moderate use, expect it to last closer to a week.

What Gas Do I Need for My Campervan?

The type of gas you need for your campervan depends on your travel conditions and usage. Propane is ideal for colder weather due to its lower freezing point, whereas butane is better for warmer conditions and offers higher cooking efficiency.

Is it Safe to Have a Gas Bottle in a Campervan?

Yes, it is safe to have a gas bottle in a campervan if you follow proper safety protocols, such as using certified bottles, ensuring regular maintenance, proper installation, and adequate ventilation, along with having an emergency plan and carbon monoxide detector in place.

Do Campervans Need a Gas Certificate?

Yes, in many regions, campervans require a gas safety certificate issued by a qualified technician to ensure the gas system is installed and functioning safely. This certification is crucial for both legal compliance and peace of mind while travelling.

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