Tips: Taking care of Gas Bottles

Story by Godfrey Castle

Just think where we campers would be if there were no portable energy source like gas? Liquefied Petroleum Gas, or LPG as it’s more commonly known, has to be the ultimate energy source in a ‘bottle’, boasting more energy than Energade, Lucozade and all the other sports drinks put together! There are gas appliances aplenty, to cook, cool and illuminate, and they all play their part in making camping life so much more comfortable – thanks to the portability of gas.

Of course, gas is all very wonderful; but, if we didn’t have a gas cylinder to put it in, it’d be unmanageable. LPG gas is stored in liquid form in the gas cylinder; it turns to gas only when it’s released from the pressure inside the gas bottle. For this reason alone, a gas cylinder must always stand upright, with its outlet at the highest point, never on its side or upside down, as these positions will release the gas in a liquid form which is considerably more volatile and explosive.

Types of cylinders

To suit our camping needs, there are various sizes and types of gas cylinders. The model most common to us, here in SA, is made of steel, and comes in various sizes identified by the amount of liquid gas each holds – e.g. 3 kg, 5 kg and 7 kg. There are smaller sizes which come in a can or cartridge. Some of these can be used only once, as the appliance breaks the seal on the cartridge, which can only be separated from the appliance once all the gas has been consumed. There are also the self-sealing versions which can be reconnected and disconnected at whim. However, neither of these types is refillable – so, once empty, each should be tossed into the appropriate recycling bin.

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