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Old 21-03-2016, 03:58   #1
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Ice and gas availability in Europe

Hello,
I'm sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere, I couldn't find it.

I will be sailing around Europe from May till October (Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy) and I wonder if packs of ice can be readilly obtained in these countries?

Also, are there differing gas connectors throughout Europe? If so, can reductions be bought in situ? My bottles are Swedish Primus.

Thank you for any information
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Old 21-03-2016, 04:13   #2
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sinfected View Post
Hello,
I'm sorry if this has been discussed elsewhere, I couldn't find it.

I will be sailing around Europe from May till October (Poland, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Netherlands, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy) and I wonder if packs of ice can be readilly obtained in these countries?

Also, are there differing gas connectors throughout Europe? If so, can reductions be bought in situ? My bottles are Swedish Primus.

Thank you for any information
primus,which sound like the same as blu gas in 4.5kg bottles with the regulator screwing into top of the bottle,or the carrying handle when transporting or not in use are available all over Europe though maybe not in poland.

ice will be more of a problem,but most big supermarkets sell it but few garages or fuel docks sell ice.
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Old 21-03-2016, 04:45   #3
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

here is a link to camping gas/blu gas bottle readily available throughout Europe and exchangeable for a full bottle.

Camping Gaz 907 Bottle - Empty
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Old 21-03-2016, 05:13   #4
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pirate Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

No worries with Gaz or Ice.. most marina's have ice machines and chandlers/hardware stores/garages carry Gaz bottles as Motor caravanning is more popular than cruising..
Back in the 90's it was hit and miss but today one has to go way off the beaten track like mainland N Greece where they'll refuse your Spanish, French whatever euro coins.. they only like Greek ones..
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Old 21-03-2016, 05:37   #5
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

My experience, which for whatever reason might not be representative, is that gas is different in almost every country and the bottles are not interchangeable.

One type in the UK (Calor propane or butane), another in France, another in Germany, and yet another type in Finland and Estonia.

If you are willing to buy new bottles, and fiddle with fittings and regulators, you can overcome these problems, but buying (and storing!) a new bottle which you can't use in the next country is expensive and troublesome.

It may be that Camping Gaz is common in many continental countries (not in UK however) but the bottles I have seen are either very small, or too large for my gas locker, which is designed for 4.5kg Calor bottles.

I'll be bringing an extra bottle of Calor butane to the Baltic this year.
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Old 21-03-2016, 05:52   #6
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
My experience, which for whatever reason might not be representative, is that gas is different in almost every country and the bottles are not interchangeable.

One type in the UK (Calor propane or butane), another in France, another in Germany, and yet another type in Finland and Estonia.
Seconded.

Exception being small (like 200-400g) propane-butane canisters used for outdoor activities, where 'only' two standards compete :/, one being a screw on, another a punch through type. Both are available, usually in same places.

Bigger bottles, from ~2kg onwards, use country specific connectors, not interchangeable, although aftermarket adapters can be purchased on eBay etc.. In some countries 11kg bottles will use different (larger) thread than smaller ones... Joy, isn't it?
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Old 21-03-2016, 06:07   #7
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

Guys, thanks for the quick replies!
I was kind of afraid of hearing about different standards in each country. My bottles are 2Kg primus, like this one:
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Old 21-03-2016, 06:14   #8
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pirate Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrm View Post
Seconded.

Exception being small (like 200-400g) propane-butane canisters used for outdoor activities, where 'only' two standards compete :/, one being a screw on, another a punch through type. Both are available, usually in same places.

Bigger bottles, from ~2kg onwards, use country specific connectors, not interchangeable, although aftermarket adapters can be purchased on eBay etc.. In some countries 11kg bottles will use different (larger) thread than smaller ones... Joy, isn't it?
Don't know where you guys are sailing.. from Denmark to Turkey I've not had problems.. okay sometimes it may involve a walk.. or like in the 90's a trip to say Alcudia in Mallorca to get it refilled or drop of at marina office on a Tuesday and collect it filled the next day.. pretty much like in the West Indies.. there was even one enterprising cruiser who offered a filling service refilling bottles by gravity from the huge Spanish canisters.. garages that supply gas cars will do refills and carry the adaptors for doing this.. but these days as Atoll says.. the Blue 4.5kg's are easily obtained.. may involve some walking..
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Old 21-03-2016, 07:02   #9
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
Don't know where you guys are sailing.. from Denmark to Turkey I've not had problems.. okay sometimes it may involve a walk.. or like in the 90's a trip to say Alcudia in Mallorca to get it refilled or drop of at marina office on a Tuesday and collect it filled the next day.. pretty much like in the West Indies.. there was even one enterprising cruiser who offered a filling service refilling bottles by gravity from the huge Spanish canisters.. garages that supply gas cars will do refills and carry the adaptors for doing this.. but these days as Atoll says.. the Blue 4.5kg's are easily obtained.. may involve some walking..
Calor bottles like the ones you show are not available anywhere except the UK. The blue ones are the ones my boat was made for. Alas.

Filling Calor bottles by gravity is done in ONE place in the entire Baltic, in Sweden, or was (I think it's been shut down). There is a lot of talk about it in the specialized forums. It's a risky and illegal procedure by the way.

It used to be possible to get Calor gas in Cherbourg, specially for Brit sailors, at 4x the price, but that is supposed to also be gone.


It is a real problem.


My advice is the following:

1. If possible, bring enough gas to last you the whole cruise. Be careful about storage of extra bottles, however. Never under any circumstances in a lazarette which communicates with your bilge.

2. Bring a good selection of gas fittings, including especially hose bibs in different sizes which will hook to your solenoid. In many places the local gas bottles are sold with inexpensive regulators which connect to a 10mm flexible hose with double clamps. If you have a corresponding hose bib then after forking over about 100 euros for the bottle plus regulator, Bob's your uncle, at least until that bottle runs out, by which time you're in yet a different country with yet a different bottle type

3. Check with your stove maker, but most marine cookers will work on propane reasonably well, as well as butane. HOWEVER, you must not use the same regulators. The pressures are different.


After a certain amount of painful experience, I now have a Finnish/Estonian 5kg or 6kg propane bottle with a clip-on regulator and with the fittings to attach it to my system. It can be barely wedged into my gas locker. Plus two 4.5kg Calor butane bottles.

When I leave the UK, the Calor bottles are full, and I still have gas left when I get to Finland, usually a full bottle. In Finland (or better in Estonia where it's cheaper), I fill the Finnish/Estonian bottle and switch to it. That will last me for most of the summer, and when it runs out, there usually a full Calor bottle or mostly full Calor bottle left which lasts until I get home. Last year, the Finnish bottle still had gas in it when I got back to the UK and I used it there for a while before switching to Calor.


I also have an induction hotplate, toaster oven, and microwave grill which all work on electricity, so I can cook with electric just in case I run out of gas and can't find any solution.

Restaurants are very expensive in the Baltic, so we cook 90% of the time, and I often have 5 or 6 people on board, so the gas supply is quite important.



A TIP: Note that baking uses huge amounts of gas compared to cooking on the cooktop. I use a toaster oven now for much of what I used to use the anyway crappy gas oven for. It makes the gas last a whole lot longer.

Better yet, if you have a microwave, upgrade it to a convection oven/microwave. A small convection oven works much better than a normal electric oven which works better than a gas oven which works better than the worst oven you can get, which is an LPG marine oven. If you don't have a generator, you can still use it when you're on shore power.
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Old 21-03-2016, 07:05   #10
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

AND no conversation about gas is complete without mentioning safety.

LPG on board is basically a fuel-air bomb. People are lulled into thinking it's like natural gas at home. But natural gas is lighter than air, and houses are leaky. LPG is heavier than air and boats are not leaky below (or else they wouldn't float).

Pay attention to gas safety.

Gas alarm
Remote solenoid
Inspect all hoses for chafe
Always shut off when not in use
Make sure your stove works right, doesn't leak, and has effective flame sensor devices
Be damned sure your gas locker doesn't leak into the hull volume, and that it has a clear drain.
Follow ABYC.
Be careful.
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Old 21-03-2016, 07:09   #11
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The one in the middle is easily available in Ferrateria's, Marina's and garages in Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece and France..
and.. if your paranoid about leaks and gas in the bilge.. crank your hand bilge pump for a minute or two.. this sucks any out.

PS: DO NOT lose the carry handle that screws into the top as some places will not do an exchange without it.. its considered a safety feature and saying they can keep the handle and you'll accept the exchange without won't be accepted.. also.. don't get fobbed off with/accept ones that are showing rust at the bottom, chances are it won't be accepted down the road
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Old 21-03-2016, 07:34   #12
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

Ice you can chop your own just bring your axe with you.

Gas regulators are interchangeable thru Scandinavia. Poland and Germany have differing connectors.

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Old 21-03-2016, 12:20   #13
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

4.5kg Calor Gas bottles are ONLY available in the UK. 2.9kg Camping Gaz bottles are relatively widely available but they are significantly more expensive than UK Calor Gas.
Last year ~£25 for 2.9kg Camping Gaz vs ~£17 for 4.5kg of Calor Gas.

Camping Gaz is nor readily available in Sweden. It is available in some places but the price is very variable - we were offered it for 55 euros in one place and I have heard of 80 euros. generally it was ~33 euros. The strategy is to have two bottles and replace the first to run out as soon as you can find it at a reasonable price.

That said it is easy to switch between Calor and Camping Gaz - either by simply changing the regulator on the rubber hose with a jubilee clip or better still you can by interchangeable regulators.

Someone else has suggested having an induction hob and I would second that.Again Sweden can be difficult as some marinas have 6amp supplier which are only good for about 1.5kW. If you are planning to spend long in Sweden buy a travel kettle which only use about 700Watts.
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Old 21-03-2016, 12:39   #14
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

Sinfected; No "Primus" gas in the Netherlands! May be you can have it filled, but thats not easy to arrange. Nearly every sv here has Camping Gaz on board. In my opinion will that also for you be the best solution going further south. Yes, Camping Gaz is not for sale in Norway and Sweden. In Denmark they have it.

Ice packs, having your own packs frozen won't be a problem, but if you want ice packs direct available;the best way to arrange that is to buy cheap packs of frozen food in the supermarked wich can be used as icecontainers.
Have a nice voyage!
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Old 21-03-2016, 13:25   #15
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Re: Ice and gas availability in Europe

Camping Gaz is the one more common however not in Greece. There are small bottles close to the size of yours, with 1.8kg. The dimensions:

It seems you cannot only find them in UK and Greece. Not sure about Turkey.

Anyway in Greece the refill them everywhere. I did not find any small town that did not provided that service. The best price I got was from a guy in Zante. He give me a lift to a car gas station and they filled it for 2 euros. I thought that I would have problems with the type of gas or with the time it would last, but no, it worked quite well. It seems that is what the local sailors do there.

Curiously the prices vary and they are quite expensive in Italy.
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