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-   -   The Holy Grail of Gas Cooking? (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/4wd-overland-tech/the-holy-grail-gas-cooking-41611)

roamingyak.org 20 Mar 2009 01:08

The Holy Grail of Gas Cooking?
I remember reading quite a few previous posts on cooking gas for overland vehicles and wondering if there was a general consensus on the best equipment to buy for cooking with gas (in a 4x4, not on a bike etc) for a long trip (down the west coast of Africa in this instance)?

In the past I have simply used a gas bottle (usually from Morocco) with a single cooker fitted straight on top of it. This means it is highly portable and so can move it around depending on the wind etc. But I'll be in Europe for quite a while before hitting North Africa this time and want to buy someting beforehand.

So should I go for Propane or Butane? What is mostly sold in Europe and what is sold in Africa etc? And there seemed to be endless talk of fittings and regulators? Is there an easy answer? ;-)

Many thanks as always....
(Note: I have a fold up bbq (thanks for the link Ollie) and a backup camping stove and like to cook by fire where suitable etc as well, but gas is easy!)

Joanna290 22 Jun 2009 09:55

Any answers?

I've just read your post on gas fittings and am currently in a similar situation with my van. I wondered if you got any answers for what fittings to use and so on. I have a little stove and am looking for the right regulator and fittings.



roamingyak.org 22 Jun 2009 10:18

No replies other than yours ;-) Looks like a case of searching and collating bits and pieces from different replies....

rclafton 22 Jun 2009 14:14

i was going to dum gas comletly but then with the change of vehicle i came more dependant on it not less,

so i've been looking at the refillable bottle systems you can now get

this is an lpg (propane) system where you fill up at any lpg filling station (garage) . the bottles have an overfill protection system . in the uk you can fill at house lpg prices or fuel prices but both are cheaper than buying bottled gas

they are bigger cyls than camping gaz which may give an issue in smaller 4x4's , you can get 6 kg and 11kg

european availability seems to be good for vfilling - africa not so sure but as the cyls are designed for refills any attemp at least should be safer

take a look at Gaslow - home


Chris Scott 22 Jun 2009 14:47

... And there seemed to be endless talk of fittings and regulators? Is there an easy answer? ;-)

From what I've read myself, the answer is 'no' so carry a small back up and be prepared to buy regs/valves and bottles as you go in places like Africa and Asia. It won't be that expensive.


roamingyak.org 22 Jun 2009 15:05

Right, so two small gas bottles from Dakhla and see how long they last like last time..... ;-)

Maybe the Chinese will sort out an African wide solution soon like they are doing for the roads ;-p

graysworld 22 Jun 2009 15:39

I would take 2 x13kg propane bottles and when one runs out get it filled .
I have filled them myself by borrowing a local bottle using a straight through valve, turning the full bottle upside down and the gas/liquid runs from one bottle to the empty. when the pesure equalizes you have to release some presure from your own bottle and the reconnect and start again...repeat until full. This may contravine all health and safety regs but when in Rome do as the Romans do.


Chris Scott 22 Jun 2009 15:51

I have filled them myself by borrowing a local bottle using a straight through valve

Me too - or I got it done in a Tunisian back street by a blind man with a straw.

This may contravine all health and safety regs but when in Rome do as the Romans do.

Exactly. I believe it's important not to over-fill gas bottles but if it's anything like filling up with fuel in Africa - up to the brim and then a quick squirt for luck - this may be a tall order if done by a local.

btw, I believe once on the road the handy 'football' sized bottles (5kg?) are less common than the 20kg ones used domestically RTW.


roamingyak.org 22 Jun 2009 16:09

2 x 13kg bottles in a Defender 110 will take up a bit too much space I think. But then cooking is semi important....

I like to cook directly off the top of the gas bottles, so moving them around seems like hard work. Assuming a 13kg bottle is 2.2 times the size of a football sized 5kg bottle so you'd probably want it strapped away somewhere? I'll go and have a look in b&q or homebase to see how big they are....

Is Propane or Butane best? What is sold in Africa\Europe and beyond under what names?

So to summarise, for the 8 weeks in Europe before I hit Africa, there is nothing useful to buy that will be of any use to me later in Africa? Unless I buy the correct bottles in Europe and find a blind man in Africa?

Many thanks for the replies!

Chris Scott 22 Jun 2009 16:40

it's all gas
Is Propane or Butane best?

I suspect in Africa, for local/domestic use lower-btu butane (blue bottles here) are the norm. Propane (red bots here) has more energy and work at lower temps - and I think it's nearly the same as Autogas LPG.

I think whatever you buy in Europe won't be swap/refillable in Morocco, say - and once in West Africa there will be another thread/system and maybe no 5kg bottles. But in my experience 2 x 5 with a v-kettle for boiling will last at least 2-3 months. Then, if you can't refill them, buy local. If there is gas in bottles I imagine every market will have cheap, Chinese bottle-top burners or a stove with a hose.


roamingyak.org 22 Jun 2009 16:54

Why doesn't somebody write a book on all of this....
Cheers, trying to be able to cook in Europe and then avoid having to leave useless gas bottles as I go. 2 * 5kg bottles do last for ages when solo - there is one in storage with Matt at the moment from the last trip ;-)

For those reading this and thinking of getting bottles in Morocco, they colour code them there - each area has it's own colored bottle and usually won't let you swap them in a different area. Agadir down to WS is yellow/green so don't buy orange or red ones on the way down through Morocco and then expect to swap them in Dakhla on the way back when they are empty ;-)

m37charlie 22 Jun 2009 18:12


Originally Posted by Chris Scott (Post 247301)
Is Propane or Butane best?

I suspect in Africa, for local/domestic use lower-btu butane (blue bottles here) are the norm. Propane (red bots here) has more energy and work at lower temps - and I think it's nearly the same as Autogas LPG.


Hate to be nitpicky, but per gallon butane has ~2% more btus than propane. Because it is denser. Per kg, I suspect propane has a bit more. But since it's stored and sold by the gallon or liter, the volumetric measure is more important.
What mix of propane/butane is sold as LPG varies by geography and season of the year, because of butane's boiling point at STP of -0.5 C. At least in North America.
Which makes it pretty useless at outdoor ambient temperature in northern European winters. But fine for Africa. The illusion that butane has lower heat value is caused by attempts to use in lower temperatures. Particularly since both substances, as they vaporize in their canister, lower the temperature of the liquid phase as they draw the latent heat of vaporization from the liquid phase, and eventually through the walls of the canister. Which makes butane evaporate even more slowly in temperatures slightly above or around 0 C.


graysworld 22 Jun 2009 22:10

You could take 2 x 907 camping gaz bottles and try to find your own straight through conector for filling, it might take a while to find someone to fill your bottle but you will find someone, they may well have the conector you need but if you take one you just need a local one and a full local bottle. Gas was rationed in India when I went there, but you can always buy it from resturants who get more rations.


freeflyd 23 Jun 2009 09:37

Something from someone who lives in Africa
Greetings all!!!!

I am planning a trans Africa in 2010 up the East Coast and have been researching cooking methods at well. I drive a Land Cruiser 80, so space is not so critical.

Historically I have used Butane gas (Blue Bottle) I have a 2.5kg one which lies flat inside my outback drawers between wolf pack boxes. So it does not take up space at all. When on a trip we cook mostly on open fires, but boil water on gas as well as the od pasta. The little 2.5kg bottle lasts the 2 of us about 3.5 weeks. We have never had a problem filling it in Southern Africa, but it gets really expensive the further away from civilization you get. So I would assume that in West Africa it could get expensive!

For those with landys... Most Land Rover Owners in this country have a double gas bottle holder mounted on the back pillar. (Image no 2 here will show what I mean. Front Runner 4x4 Product and Accessories Gallery) The size is what we refer to as a No 7. I'm not sure what the weight is, but I think that when cooking for 2, I would budget 7 weeks for the 2 bottles.

After much contemplating and researching I have however come up with a different way of cooking. Kerosene (Parrafin) and Benzine are obtainable anywhere in Africa as far as I can gather. A liquid Fuel Stove will use about 500ml of fuel per 2 weeks for 2 people in our experience. So for boiling water and making pasta, we have invested in a liquid fuel stove. We also have a Cobb which is an astonishing piece of kit that you can grill, fry, bake or cook in and on and uses coal which is also readily avaible in Africa. One bag of charcoal (5kg) from our local shop will last 4 weeks when using the cobb every night and we bake bread, make lamb shank, smoke fish and even make chocolate cake in it. Welcome To Cobb International

rclafton 23 Jun 2009 12:56

to conserve gas on trips ive done things like measuring the water into kettles so i only boil what i need, a camping gaz cyl lasted me 8 weeks in scotland/iceland/scotland trip

i like the look of the cobb device though

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