I’ve been on the hunt for new camping gear and reasons to create some content around the shopping experience. I’m not in the business of creating content for the sake of content, but as I’ve been searching for a camp stove, the topic of small propane tanks came up. When I talk about a small propane tank, I’m thinking specifically about a 5 pound propane tank, maybe 11 pounds at most.
The Problem With 1 Lb Propane Tanks
A good camp stove is crucial for a comfortable car camping experience. There are plenty of good backpacking stoves that use propane, kerosene, or other liquid and gas fuel types. But if you want to cook up a meal for the whole camp site, or have a little more control of the heat, you’ll probably want a dual burner stove. The Coleman Classic Stove is a buy-it-for-life type reliable. Camp Chef also makes great camp stoves that are a little more modern.
These are typically built and marketed for use with a 1 lb, single use propane tank. Unfortunately, these tanks have a lot of issues. For one, they don’t last very long. If you’re camping for more than a couple nights, you need to haul multiple tanks with you. Additionally, the cost adds up. When you have to buy a new tank each time, you end up paying extra for convenience, metal, and fuel. Not to mention these tanks are incredibly difficult to dispose of.
Thats where slightly larger (but still small) propane tanks come in.
5 Pound (1 Gallon) Propane Tank
The virtue of a five pound propane tank is in the convenience and reusability. People who camp are familiar with waste management. Less trash is better. It’s also more affordable to refill a 5 pound propane tank than to buy multiple 1 pound tanks. You might pay a little more up front for the tank, but if you do much camping you’ll quickly recoup your costs.
Here are some of the best propane tanks I’ve been able to find. These all link to Amazon (disclaimer: affiliate links), but I’ve done some digging and I think these are the best prices. Also included is an 11 pound tank, in case you’re into that kind of thing.
5 Pounds / 1 Gallon
5 Pounds / 1 Gallon
The Flame King 11lb, despite being the largest, is the best price and a super reliable option. It has a small footprint and is easily refillable, but it will take up more space in your vehicle and is heavier if you’re lugging it around. The smaller options are a little more expensive, but you’ll still make up the price difference quickly.