Home Camping Tips How Much Propane Does a Camp Stove Use?

How Much Propane Does a Camp Stove Use?

by Rayhan

We all know how important it is to be prepared when camping. After all, who wants to be stuck in the middle of nowhere with no way to cook food or heat up water? But have you ever stopped to think about how much propane your camp stove uses?

It’s something that most of us don’t think about, but it’s essential to know in case you run out of propane while you’re away from home. So, how much propane does a camp stove use?

The answer may surprise you. It turns out that a camp stove doesn’t use very much propane at all. A standard 20-pound propane tank will last for about 22 hours of use on a camp stove (20,000 BTU rating). That’s more than enough time to cook all your meals and boil all the water you need for a weekend camping trip.

So, if you’re planning a camping trip, don’t worry about running out of propane. Your camp stove will use less than you think. Just be sure to bring along a spare tank, just in case.

Quick Estimation of How Much Propane You’ll Need

BTU’s Per Hour       Number of Hours/20pound tank    Average Usage for One Person

14,000                             314                                                2-3 meals/day

8,000                               250                                                3-4 meals/day

22,000                             150                                                4-5 meals/day

If you need to cook for more than one person or plan on cooking multiple times throughout the day, you will want to use a larger tank. A 40-pound tank will last for about 44 hours (22,000 BTUs per hour), while a 100-pound tank will last for about 220 hours (11,000 BTUs per hour).

*Note: These are only estimates. Actual use may vary depending on the size and power of your camp stove and how often you use it.

What Are the Different Types of Camp Stoves?

There are 4 main types of camp stoves: canister stoves, liquid fuel stoves, wood-burning stoves, and solar stoves.

Canister Stoves: Canister stoves are the most popular type of camp stove. They’re easy to use and very portable. Canister stoves use small, lightweight propane or butane canisters to fuel the stove.

Liquid Fuel Stoves: Liquid fuel stoves are a bit more complicated to use than canister stoves, but they’re still relatively easy to operate. Liquid fuel stoves use white gas, kerosene, or unleaded gasoline to fuel the stove.

Wood-Burning Stoves: Wood-burning stoves are the least popular type of camp stove, but they’re still a good option if you’re looking for an alternative to propane or liquid fuel. Wood-burning stoves use, you guessed it, wood to fuel the fire.

Solar Stove: Solar stoves are a great eco-friendly option for those who want to ditch propane altogether. Solar stoves use the sun’s rays to heat up food and water. They’re effortless to use and completely free to operate. However, solar stoves can be slower to heat up than other types of camp stoves.

What Factors Influence Camp Stove’s Propane Consumption?

There are a few factors that can influence how much propane your camp stove uses:

Type of stove you’re using: Canister stoves tend to be more efficient than liquid fuel stoves, which means they use less propane. Wood-burning stoves are the least efficient type of stove, so they’ll use the most propane.

The stove size: Larger stoves will use more propane than smaller stoves.

Pan size: The size of the pan you’re using will also affect propane consumption. A larger pan will need more heat to cook the food, which means it will use more propane.

How often you use the stove: The more you use your stove, the more propane it will consume.

What you’re cooking: Some foods require more heat than others. For example, boiling water will use less propane than cooking a steak.

The weather: Colder weather will cause your stove to use more propane than warmer weather. That’s because the stove has to work harder to maintain a consistent temperature in colder conditions.

How Can You Save Propane When Using a Camp Stove?

There are a few things you can do to save propane when using a camp stove:

Use a Windscreen

A windscreen keeps the wind from getting into your stove, making it harder for the furnace to maintain a steady temperature. It means your stove will have to use more propane for cooking the same food. Also, be sure to keep the windscreen clean. A dirty windscreen can block the flow of air, making it even harder for your stove to function correctly.

Cook Multiple Items at Once

If you’re only cooking for one or two people, try to cook multiple items at once. This way, you can make use of all the heat that’s being generated by the stove. Not only will this save you propane, but it will also save you time!

Turn Off the Stove When You’re Not Using It

This one seems like a no-brainer, but it’s essential to turn off your stove when you’re not using it. Leaving your stove on will cause it to use more propane than if you turn it off and on again as needed.

Preventative Maintenance

As with anything, preventing problems is always more accessible (and cheaper) than fixing them after they’ve already happened. The same goes for camp stoves and propane consumption. Taking some basic preventative measures can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Clean Your Stove Regularly

One of the best ways to save propane is to clean your stove. A clean stove will be more efficient than a dirty one, which means it will use less propane. Be sure to clean your stove after each use, and perform a deep cleaning on it at least once a season.

Check Your Fuel Lines

Another way to save propane is by regularly checking your fuel lines for leaks. Fuel lines can develop leaks over time, which will cause your stove to use more propane than it should. Regularly checking for leaks and fixing them as soon as they’re found can save a lot of propane in the long run.

Invest in a Good Camp Stove

If you’re serious about saving propane, you must invest in a good camp stove. Cheap stoves tend to be less efficient, so they’ll use more propane. But if you spend a little extra money on a high-quality stove, you’ll get a much more efficient stove, saving you money in the long run.

What Are the Safety Concerns with Using Propane?

Although propane is a safe and efficient fuel, there are some safety concerns that you should be aware of.

Leaking Fuel Lines: One of the most significant safety concerns with using propane is leaking fuel lines. Propane is a highly flammable gas, so even a small leak can create a dangerous situation. If you think the fuel lines on your stove are leaking, turn off the stove and get them fixed immediately.

Open flames: Another safety concern with using propane is open flames. Keep any open flames away from your stove while it’s in use. It includes candles, lanterns, and other lights. Also, keep your stove away from flammable materials, such as paper or leaves.

Storage: Your propane stove must be stored appropriately when not in use. Stoves should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from flammable materials. Also, keep the stove’s fuel lines and connections clean and debris-free. Doing so will help prevent leaks and other problems.


So, there you have it. A camp stove doesn’t use very much propane, so you don’t need to worry about running out while on your trip. But it’s always a good idea to bring along a spare tank, just in case. With this knowledge of how much propane a camp stove uses, you can be prepared for anything on your next camping trip. So don’t wait any longer, get out there and enjoy the great outdoors!

Frequently Asked Questions

Propane does have a shelf life, but it’s much longer than most people think. Propane can be stored for up to 10 years without significant quality degradation. So, if you have a spare tank of propane that you’re not using, there’s no need to worry about it going bad anytime soon.

A camp stove burner will stay on for as long as you have fuel. So, if you’re using a small can of propane, the burner will only stay lit for a few hours. But if you’re using a large propane tank, the burner can stay lit for days or weeks.

Yes, you can use a camp stove indoors, but you must be very careful. Make sure that there is plenty of ventilation in the room where you’re using the stove, and never leave the stove unattended.


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