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Old 06-11-2005, 21:49   #1
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Propane Camping Canister Stoves

Hi, I just read the alcohol/propane stove thread, but I didn't see any mention of propane cooktops that are feed by a propane camping canister. I've seen two or three of these recently in smaller boats (27-29 feet).

1) I'm sure these are somewhat expensive for extensive cruising, knowing how fast I go through the canisters with our camping stove. Dumping all the empties must be a pain as well.

2) I've seen one where the canister simply stuck out the side of the cabinet and over a settee. The one I saw today had the camping canister simply below the galley sink, near the diesel.

Now, obviously, these canisters carry less fuel, but aren't they unsafe to simply stick under the sink?

Personally, I like the non-pressurized Origo stove, although I've yet to figure out how much alcohol to dump in them for different tasks.

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Old 07-11-2005, 02:23   #2
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Propane is not to be stored inside “living spaces”.
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Old 07-11-2005, 07:10   #3
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now common on power boats, even designed in, are the kenyon butane stoves with disposable canisters. very inexpensive. fuel canister is good for about 3 hours. great option for weekenders. we use our stove / oven to make coffee in the am. thats it. we do not have a cook, but the navigator always seems to find a spot to anchor or moor that has a good restaurant close by. curious. with kids, we would sometimes pay to be at dock to let them run.

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Old 07-11-2005, 07:39   #4
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We have one of these, used to take it south as a "spare" , luckily never had to use it so now I leave it at home where it has been used a couple of times when the power's been out. BTW WM has this at an outrageous price 50 or 60 dollars. They can be found in hardware stores here for $25, no Kenyon logo on them but probably made by the same factory in China.
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Old 07-11-2005, 20:10   #5
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In other words...

Quote:
GordMay once whispered in the wind:
Propane is not to be stored inside “living spaces”.
In other words, it's a bad thing. I've been surprised by how many used sailboats have less than safe propane set ups. In one, we found a scuba tank-sized propane tank strapped in beneath the cockpit seat, dropping right down into same area as the bilge and the diesel. We pointed it out to the broker, and she said, "Yep, it's illegal." Or at least foolhardy.

It appears the desire to move to propane has led to more than a few "owner-installed" hazards.
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Old 07-11-2005, 22:18   #6
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Jim - for what it's worth, I used one of those camp stoves on my recent trip. worked fine until the flint got wet (and unfortunately so did all our lighters). we were getting about 3 days to a canister for 1-2 hot meals and coffees.
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Old 07-11-2005, 22:22   #7
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... 1-2 hot meals and coffees per day, that is. so, you should have no trouble for extended cruising. i agree with Gord that alcohol might be better, but i wasn't too concerned with those little canisters. i like the discreet canisters too - it seems if one were punctured, it might not be a disaster
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Old 07-11-2005, 22:58   #8
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A variation is the gimbled canister stove the force ten puts out. I keep one for my boat to heat water in the cockpit. Works great even in the muck, and I do not have to go below. Works great when I single hand. I am comfortable using it below as well, but I store the spare canisters in a locker on deck. The canisters do not fair well in a mrine environment. they rust fast.
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Old 08-11-2005, 07:12   #9
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alcohol stoves are probably the safest, but leaks can occur. i really dislike the smell when starting one up. boats have been made with propane, or lng, lockers for a long time. they are simply a separate compartment in the cockpit with a securing strap or bungie and an overboard drain. if you are seeing illegal setups, i would guess they had alcohol stoves originally that were incorrectly replaced with propane. very bad idea.
i have used the smaller propane units on various power boats. i did not store canisters on the boat - just bring a couple for the weekend.
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Old 08-11-2005, 20:42   #10
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Quote:
sneuman once whispered in the wind:
canisters. i like the discreet canisters too - it seems if one were punctured, it might not be a disaster
I think that's theory-- the canisters are small, so even if they leaked it wouldn't be as much fuel getting around. We've used a propane camping stove for sailing, but we always cooked on the dock (in part because the boat was so small).

However, it seems like this idea can be taken too far-- as in screwing in a new canister down near the diesel and forgetting about it. Maybe it would never happen, but a leak could lead to something nasty, and there's no shut offs or anything like proper systems have.

As for used boats, I think a well done propane system with a vented locker, good lines and a shut off could be a real plus.
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Old 08-11-2005, 22:18   #11
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yes, i agree. theory. no guarantees from me.
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Old 09-11-2005, 05:12   #12
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Propane Safety ~ Smaller Portable vs Larger Fixed Propane Bottles:

The smaller portable fuel (propane) canister will provide less (explosive & combustible) fuel, and hence probably less severe consequences, in a “failure mode”.
Unfortunately, it’s portability also lends itself to improper storage - ie: unsecured, in non-vented locker. This will increase the probabilities of one of those “unhappy events” (failure) actually occurring.
Any basic risk analysis includes the multiplication of Probability of Occurance x A Severity Score, hence (to accrue any advantage) the reduction in severity must be greater than the increase in probability. In this case, I don’t consider the “risk assessment” trade-off to favour the use of smaller portable propane bottles.
Safety should be a prime consideration in designing a cooking fuel system, followed by other functional aspects.

Some time ago, I wrote an unpublished piece on “Failure Mode Effects Analysis” - a method for facilitating (equipment, systems, & procedures) failure prediction, planning preventative measures, estimating the cost or severity of any failures, and planning systems and responses to failures for the Cruising Yacht.
I was never satisfied with the presentation, as my treatment was much to academic and dry (clumsy). In any case, I’ve lost the article (and any interest in reproducing it).


There are numerous models for risk analysis, more or less suitable for our purposes. It’s important that we have available some consistently rational decision-making method, and wise to use one or more of these decision trees in evaluating the many trade-offs which challenge cruisers.

Perhaps one of our Engineering types (or knowledgeable others) would like to discuss the methodology used in technical Fault-Risk analysis, and decision-making?

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Old 09-11-2005, 12:00   #13
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There is one simple and plain rule to follow. Propane-LPG/CNG should NOT be stored inside "living spaces".
Thank-you Gord.

The amount of gas stored in even the smallest "camping" canister, if allowed to leak out, is way waaay WAAAY more than required to turn your boat to matchwood and set off a seriuose ringing in the ears, not to mention clothes being ruined and maybe the addition of wings being sprouted. The cu ft of gas in storage in those little canisiters is still large. It takes only a little in a confined space such as the hull, to make a bang. Slightly off the subject of fule type, but as a for instance, 1/4 cup of petrol detonated in a confined space, is equal to force of one stick of dynamite.
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Old 07-12-2005, 19:43   #14
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Those little camp stoves with the "throw away tanks"make great beach party stoves and great back-up stoves in a pinch. I would not however, recommend use below decks unless you use great caution. I know a seasoned sailor who damn near cooked his boat because of a poor tank to stove fitting.
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Old 07-12-2005, 20:31   #15
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Re: In other words...

Quote:
Jim H once whispered in the wind:
In other words, it's a bad thing. I've been surprised by how many used sailboats have less than safe propane set ups. In one, we found a scuba tank-sized propane tank strapped in beneath the cockpit seat, dropping right down into same area as the bilge and the diesel. We pointed it out to the broker, and she said, "Yep, it's illegal." Or at least foolhardy.

It appears the desire to move to propane has led to more than a few "owner-installed" hazards.
Jim, are you sure you weren't looking at a CNG tank in this case? They look exactly like scuba tanks, and are mounted inside the living area, usually behind a setee. The idea is that CNG, unlike propane, will not settle in the bilge and is lighter than air. It will rise and escape.

In retrospect, that doesn't sound very safe, since you could have all the hatches and ports closed when it decides to give, causing a strong concentration of gas, regardless of its tendency to rise or sink.

I did see a number of CNG tanks installed like this when looking at boats last year.

Also, the best way to store anything that has the possibility of leaking (LPG, CNG, etc...) is to have an aft locker with proper ventilation overboard. That way, if the fuel leaks, it will just waft out of the aft locker and into the atmosphere... no risk.
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