"Adapting" to Propane & No Hookups

We've been preparing over the last month for our first trip without any hookups.  We should be there in the mountains right now, but another hurricane has postponed things for a while.  But, we're prepared now with a 150AH golf cart battery, 100W of solar power, a solar charge controller, and a battery monitor.  Plus I've updated my modified copy of Jenn Grover's spreadsheet with estimates of our electrical power usage (which makes me glad we've got some solar to complement the battery), so we can gauge how we're doing with our power management.

Recent questions about my propane tank pressure gauge & its reliability, how I plan to fill the tank, etc, got me thinking a little bit more about our propane usage and how two of the major consumers of electrical power for heat & refrigeration in the [email protected] will now become the major consumers of propane in addition.  Having never used propane for anything but the stove before, we've still got nearly 2/3 of a tank after 8 trips over the last year.  And, BTW, I also keep a "Grill Gauge" hand scale for more accurately checking tanks by weight when needed & it agrees roughly, for now, with the pressure gauge.

We also have a spare 20-lb propane tank previously used on a BBQ grill, and currently about half full, which we plan to carry with us in a special tray carrier which holds it upright with bungee cords.  From what I've read of other's experiences, we expect these tanks should get us through a 4-night, 5-day trip.  I do like being prepared, but our local propane filling station requires an empty tank, so I won't be getting either one topped off. 

We will be bringing a couple of extra 1-lb cans for the Q1200 grill.  We've got an Y-connector on the [email protected] tank for an optional hose to the grill, but probably won't make use of it for this next trip, since there will already be 3 appliances running off of that.  I have ordered these two new propane tank adapters which I thought could come in handy with regards to both running out of propane and filling empty cannisters..


The "steak saver" propane adapter could be handy if the [email protected]'s tank runs out at an inconvenient time (did somebody say it's always 3am?) or a spare is not readily available, by allowing connection of a small 1-lb canister to buy some more time while getting running again quickly & more easily.

The second adapter will allow you to fill an empty 1-lb canister directly from a 20-lb one, if your grill runs out and you don't have a spare (or to be more economical & recycle/reuse the cannister).  I would also add a brass screw cap to a refilled one or any on hand for protection.

So these are my latest "propane on the brain" thoughts. 🤪

Comments

  • ScottGScottG Posts: 2,211Moderator
    edited October 9
    FWIW, I've done eight consecutive nights without hookups a couple times. The fridge ran the entire time on propane, the Alde was fired up at least once a day to make hot water, the stove was used at least once a day to make coffee, and I ran my Weber Q directly from the onboard tank sometimes twice per day for extended periods. Total propane usage for those times was 8-9lbs (about a half a tank), and I'm sure the bulk of that went into the Q.
    In short, I think you will have plenty of fire for your 4 night trip.  ;-)  
  • MuttonChopsMuttonChops Posts: 289Member
    Sounds like you are fully prepared.  Don't expect you'll have any surprises. :)

    I've not tracked propane + battery only days/nights but expect am a heavy propane user in part because most of my adventures start with the Fridge pre-cooling on propane (no electricity at storage site).

    Anyway, on last adventure of six nights with a mix of with / without electricity ran out of propane. It was perfect timing. On last morning while heating the cabin before getting up the Alde shut down with a propane failure, checked Fridge and it was also off.  Had been considering skipping normal morning routine anyway so no big deal and got on the road . . . hot coffee and ready to eat food was not too many miles away :)
    2018 [email protected] 320 Spitched axle, 3020HE
    TV: 2017 Colorado V6 Z71 4x4, Tow Package, Factory Trailer Brake Controller
       Adventures:  12       Nights:   34 
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 4,368Member
    @BrianZ, I use those to fill my one lb bottles from the big tanks! I've gone 14 days using the provided tank, using the fridge on propane. Got a little antsy, and had the bottle filled...only took about 3-4 lbs. I was in the least shocked at how little I had used! :)
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  with,
    Ruger aka: Adventure Companion

  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,816Member
    You will be totally fine. I have traveled with a spare 20lb tank and it is more of a hassle than it is worth, unless you are FT or staying in the same spot more than 2 weeks, but even then, you could get by with 1 tank.

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 180 | Pittsburgh PA

  • N7SHG_HamN7SHG_Ham Posts: 66Member
    Propane refrigerators are very easy on propane. In a previous job I drove a work truck with a large propane frig, two 30 pound tanks lasted weeks and occasionally we also ran a couple space heaters too, but mostly propane usage and I bet we got 3-4 weeks from a single tank, usually switched tanks and filled about once a month just because.
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 2,801Moderator
    How true😏
    Sharon
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio
    2017 TaB CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan

  • BrianZBrianZ Posts: 435Member
    Hmm, wastewater!  Havn't really given that much thought either, maybe because our longest trip so far was only 3 nights, and I don't think we ever approached 50% on any tank, but then we've always used campground showers & only limited use of our toilet.  We expect to still have a campground bathhouse & water source as well as dump station available at this national park, just no hookups, so don't really expect any issues for 4 nights/5 days.

    We do have a 5-gal water container if needed to refill the tank, but no plan for wastewater.  What are your experiences with wastewater - how long can you go & what do you do?
    This will be our first national park, and with our senior pass, it's 50% off of $20 per night, so only $10 a night.

  • ScottGScottG Posts: 2,211Moderator
    We've had no problems with wastewater on those eight night trips, either. We do the same thing you are planning to do--using campground facilities for showing and limiting use of the [email protected] plumbing to light wash-ups, midnight pit stops, and conservative dish washing.
    If absolutely necessary, there are portable plastic tanks that can be used to transfer your waste water to the dump station. Some can even be towed (gently) behind your vehicle.
  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 2,801Moderator
    We carry a 12 gallon portable gray tank.  If you are not using the shower you will probably not need to dump and you can carry a smaller system just in case.  Use paper plates to limit gray tank fill.  We have been to State parks that have handy gray water pits and it is easy to roll a portable tank over to the pit and dump it.  Or just put it in the back of your TV and dump it at the dump.

    We take advantage of Park bathrooms as much as possible to limited black tank fill while dry camping.  I think Dale Helman had a nice small portable tank on wheels that he rigged up.
    Sharon
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio
    2017 TaB CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan

  • BrianZBrianZ Posts: 435Member
    I was also thinking that because our tank volumes are 11gal fresh & 19gal gray, it would not even be possible to approach needing to empty the gray tank until after we have added more to the fresh water tank, so that would be an easy signal to keep an eye on the gray tank level.

  • ScottGScottG Posts: 2,211Moderator
    True, though not all the water you add ends up down the drain. Water for coffee, cooking, and drinking usually finds another path back to the land.  :-)
    Also, some FW goes in to the black tank--there's another six gallons of capacity.

  • BrianZBrianZ Posts: 435Member
    edited October 10
    Found these items that could be useful for draining & emptying gray water..
    (or just the tote if used with a standard sewer hose, but the regular water hose & adapter could be easier)

    Tote-N-Stor 25951 Portable Waste Transport - 6 Gallon Capacity https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0085KGOF2


    Valterra W01-4048 1/2" x 4' Tote Tank Fill Hose https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0006MTR7O


    Camco Durable Sewer Cap with Hose Connection- Caps the Sewer Connection to Prevent Leaks, Easy Install and Simple Use (39463) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000BQKBP2


    Valterra T1020-5VP Gray Water Drain Adapter https://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HDIBDI


  • ChanWChanW Posts: 1,915Member
    (love that senior pass!)
    Chan       --         Buffalo NY (Beau Fleuve)
    2014 'S' Maxx - 2011 Tacoma 4cyl Access Cab
  • ericnlizericnliz Posts: 4,368Member
    Ahem... I prefer to call it the "Well Seasoned Folks Pass!" ;)
    2016 [email protected] MAX S-aka: [email protected]
    TV: 2006 Chevy Avalanche LT Z71 aka: WhiteWolf, or 1972 Chevy Custom10 P/U aka: SnarlingWolf
    Spokane, Wa.
    Eric aka: Lone Wolf  with,
    Ruger aka: Adventure Companion

  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,816Member
    I use 2 of those 6 gallon tanks for long term boondocking. I found, if I was judicious with water, and showered every other day, I could go 2 weeks with the grey tank, plus filling both tanks. I have an 11 gallon grey tank.

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 180 | Pittsburgh PA

  • BrianZBrianZ Posts: 435Member
    So, @jkjenn, I just measured & my tank drain is only about 7 inches above the ground, but this tank is supposed to be 9" tall/thick. I'm thinking the thin end, which also appears to have a hose connector, might fit under a regular [email protected] drain, but do you know what that height is at the thinner end of the tote?  I'm thinking you have a boondock version, so don't have such a height limitation.  I thought I could use this tank if the thin end was low enough to fit below the drain.
    Also, sounds like you wouldn't even need the extra tanks for up to a week.

  • jkjennjkjenn Posts: 4,816Member
    BrianZ said:
    So, @jkjenn, I just measured & my tank drain is only about 7 inches above the ground, but this tank is supposed to be 9" tall/thick. I'm thinking the thin end, which also appears to have a hose connector, might fit under a regular [email protected] drain, but do you know what that height is at the thinner end of the tote?  I'm thinking you have a boondock version, so don't have such a height limitation.  I thought I could use this tank if the thin end was low enough to fit below the drain.
    Also, sounds like you wouldn't even need the extra tanks for up to a week.

    My tanks are a different shape, so I cannot help you. Also, my garden hose adapter was long enough to lay the hose down away from the tank gate. 

    Yes, I could go a week. When I first bought my [email protected], I would dump every chance I had. Now that I am pretty good at estimating when I will need to dump I can push the limits, a bit.

    Jenn Grover | 2015  [email protected] S Max Silver/Turquoise Trim | 2018 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk v6 | Nights spent in [email protected]: 180 | Pittsburgh PA

  • Sharon_is_SAMSharon_is_SAM Posts: 2,801Moderator
    edited October 11
    @BrianZ, the garden hose and adapter are the way to go.  You don’t need to put the tank directly under the outlet, either.  The gray tank is higher than the portable.  It will drain.
    Sharon
    Cleveland Heights, Ohio
    2017 TaB CSS / 2015 Toyota Sienna Minivan

  • BrianZBrianZ Posts: 435Member
    I had ordered a 4ft hose that I thought would be handy for draining grey water to a tote, but thanks to you both for pointing out that the tote can be away from the drain on lower ground if needed, and we do have a spare rinse hose that could be used for that.

    Now that the hurricane has passed, we can get back to planning our postponed no-hookups trip & count our blessings.  Apparently there were 5 deaths here in Virginia, more than reported so far in Florida.  Most here were from flooding, and it was very rainy & windy here last night, but our [email protected] & home are fine.  My rain gauge measured 4.01 inches between 5pm & midnight, but we only had a momentary power outage & highest measured wind around 40mph, which is always on the low side due to lots of big oak trees nearby.  I feel more than ready now!
Sign In or Register to comment.