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Topic: re: using 20lb propane cylinder for your appliances

Posted By: jgioe on 07/19/06 11:42am

I am considering getting the necessary accessories to allow me to use my coleman stove and lantern (not at the same time) off the main 20 lb tank. My first question is what exactly do I need to make this converstion (preferably with a quick release connect), and my second question is, where do you set up your stoves and lanterns so that you dont have a bunch of hose snaking around the campsite tripping people and looking unsitely. Right now I prefer to put the stove on the picnic table 15-20 ft away, instead of next to the camper (hence the convenienc of the 1 lb cylinders).

Posted By: motx72 on 07/19/06 11:56am

We tent camp, so this might not be the exact answer you were looking for. Have you thought about carrying a second 20lb tank? Or installing a second tank?

When we tent camp, we use our 20lb tank all the time. The kitchen area is set up near the lantern "post" provided at the campsite. We have a propane "T" we use to run a hose from the tank to the stove and another hose to the lantern. My father-in-law has a distribution tree that mounts to the top of his propane tank, and he can attach a number of hoses around that one tank.

We both use the 20lb tanks, but a buddy of mine has an RV and he's always using his 11-lb tank for his camp cooking. I'm looking at getting one myself, simply for the lightweight convenience! I do carry one or two of the small disposable cylinders for use in a second lantern.


* This post was edited 07/19/06 11:23pm by motx72 *

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Posted By: DaYooper on 07/19/06 12:22pm

When we had a PU, it only had it's one 20 lb tank, so I purchased a second one and the J hooks, to hold next to the other one, and when we would set up, I'd remove the tank from the PU and place it under the picnic table and ran a 3 or 5 foot hose to our stove or grill.

Another benefit was if I ran out of propane for the trailer I had a backup, and could always use the one pounders on the stove or grill until I got refilled.

I never tried the the T's or trees mentioned by Motx72 as we had an outside stove on our PU, and normally used the bulk tank for the grill.

Posted By: RRUGG on 07/19/06 03:24pm

We carry a 5 pound cylinder for just that purpose. It's small so easy to find a spot to stow it.

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Posted By: ESCIII on 07/19/06 03:52pm

We also use a 5 lb. tank. It's very convenient, and just the right size. I bought it from the local propane dealer. We use it exclusively for our Coleman stove and our Weber Baby-Q.

Posted By: dbogus1 on 07/19/06 04:11pm

If you are only using one tank (vs two tanks with a auto-switch regulator), then these links show a solution. You can use this with two tanks and an auto-switcher also, it's just that I could not figure out which tank to tee off since either one might be empty at any one moment and if you are connected to the one that runs dry, you are s.o.l. for your stove etc.
The deal is that you can not run your high pressure appliances (stove, lanterns) from a connection that is after the PU's regulator since the PU regulator is low pressure and gas flowing out of it will not be at a pressure that is enough to satisfy the high pressure appliance's needs. This means that you have to tee off of the propane tank before the PU regulator. These diagrams demonstrate the configuration possibilities pretty well. I think that many RV places sell a similar solution.
(note: yopu must have adobe acrobat reader (available for free at to read these) Your Options- outside cover.pdf Your Options- inside cover.pdf

Posted By: skiff on 07/19/06 05:10pm

What is everyones experience getting 5 lb tanks refilled? I have a 10 lb tank I pretty much gave up on because most LP retailers wanted the same amount of money to refill it as a 20 lb tank [emoticon]
Very rarely can I find someone who sells LP by the gallon and they also don't want to bother with a small tank unless maybe I'm also getting some larger ones filled too.

As for running stuff off a 20lb tank with a post distributor I've been doing it for years...

Posted By: fairfaxjim on 07/19/06 05:41pm

We have used an 11 lb. tank with a post at the picnic table for years of tent camping, and now use it the same with the PUP. I carry it in a plastic milk crate with wrenches, bungies, etc. and set it on the end of one of the benches, the stove (now Coleman Roadtrip) across the end of the table next to it. Coleman lantern on top of post if lots of light is needed, hose to stove from bottom of post, & wrap extra hose around the tank handle. I also made a holder for a single burner stove, the kind that screws on the top of the 1 lb. disposable containers, that can be clamped to the table and hooked up with a hose also. I only use that when I need extra burners and will be there for awhile. Have also hooked up a extra stove too. The short 11 lb cylinder stores and caries easy and lasts a way long time.

As for filling, if you are getting another cylinder filled, most places that do have a minimum will not charge it for the 2nd smaller cylinder. It is a pain though, and I made up a "draught" hose that I can refill the smaller cylinders (NOT throwaways!) from a 20 lb. cylinder turned upside down. I carry it with me and can refill the 11 lb. from one of the PUP cylinders if needed without going to the propane station.

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Posted By: Europe Rick on 07/19/06 05:48pm

skiff wrote:

As for running stuff off a 20lb tank with a post distributor I've been doing it for years...

I've seen those distibution posts called a "tree". A good idea but I hardly use my propane lantern so it would be a waste for me.
I bought a adaptor hose years ago in my tent camping days to opperate a Coleman stove from a 20# tank. At the time I figured by the time I emptied one 20# cylinder I would save enough to pay for the tank, the hose adaptor and a tank refill.
I now use a 3 burner Coleman which comes with the adaptor hose packed inside. I carry the 20# tank in my front storage compartment. I started last season with a full tank....camped and cooked with it 46 days and just filled up 2 weeks ago.
I think it is a cost effective set up.

Posted By: anthop on 07/19/06 07:19pm

I agree with MOTX72... Had mine fabbed up like his with the TEE only difference is that the hose going to the stove is 10 foot long and the other hose is 25 and it disconnects like a air hose (chuck) so if I need the hose for the lantern than I hook it up other wise no extra hoses laying around

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Posted By: jgioe on 07/19/06 08:08pm

Do these various propane tank adaptors work with the White rhino tanks or do you have to use your own "refillable" cylinder.

Posted By: fairfaxjim on 07/19/06 09:20pm

The propane tank valves should all be the same - Acme thread on the outside, left hand POL thread on the inside, and have a three sided hand wheel, indicating that it has an overfill prevention device.

Most of the appliance adapters will use the left had POL thread, but more and more of the newer ones will be fitted with a type Type 1 (Acme or also known as OPD) connector on a hose or pigtail that is like the one your PUP uses to connect to the tank valve.

Posted By: mike4947 on 07/19/06 09:41pm

The only difference between the Rhino cylinders and regular cylinders is the Rhino folks put a ball inside the valve that stops refilling. Unless you know to put a magnet an the indentation on the side of the valve which pulls the ball out of the way and the cylinder can be refilled just like any other.
BTW Rhino got such bad press over the non refillable cylinders that they stopped putting them into the system. But they also didn't take them out of the system, so all the originals are still out there. They just add regular ones when needed. Your daily guide to the Open Road

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Posted By: whomadeangus on 07/19/06 10:05pm

I have the propane tree. Most time I use the lantern, on the top of the tree. I then run a hose for the stove and one for the grill.

I love them and will more than likely always use them.

It is so much cheaper than the little bottles. I fill the tank and it lasts about 14 days.

Posted By: Golden_HVAC on 07/19/06 10:26pm


I have seen the Propane Posts that others have connected to their propane tanks, it is a 36" long pipe with two outlets on the sides for connecting a stove or other regulator, and a top outlet for mounting the propane latern on it. They seem very handy. Sears used to sell them, I don't know of a vendor off hand though.

I use a "Extend-A-Stay" on my motorhome, and it is a tee that is connected into the main tank, between the tank and presure regulator. Then I have a 6' long propance extension hose connected to this. I have a bracket on the side of my motorhome to hold the latern up, and about 18" away from the side of the motorhome. It is also near the front window, so I can cast a shadow into the dining room if I desire. It is a two peice bracket, with a 36" long rod with a hook on one end that slips into the bracket.

I can also use my portable small tank to run the stove or BBQ anywhere in the campsight, as well as hook my 6' extension hose to the portable tank to run the light someplace else. Many times I find the wind is not blowing the correct direction, and I don't want to set up the BBQ near the front mounted RV propane tank. This is where the portable tank comes in handy.

I also bought a pair of propane "Inlet" fittings, and a 3/8" x 1" brass pipe to connect them togother. With this adapter, I can take my portable tank, it's 4' hose, and connect this to my RV's Extend-A-Stay fitting, and use the 5 gallon tank to provide propane to the RV. The propane leak detector is after the regulator, so it will still shut off the propane supply in the event of a leak.

Extend-A-Stay can be bought at, as well as the 6' propane extension hose, and a 4' hose that connects to a propane tank with a fitting on it that will screw into your BBQ or stove, or propane lantern.


Posted By: Europe Rick on 07/20/06 06:31am

Coleman makes the propane tree and Wally has another brand (I assume imported) that sells for a bit less than the Coleman....for some reason $30 comes to mind for the Coleman.

Posted By: motx72 on 07/20/06 06:39am


Coleman 30" Propane Distribution Tree.

Coleman Propane Tee.


Posted By: countrymech on 07/20/06 12:03pm

I built my own extend-a-flow system for our PUP after I added the second 20lb cylinder. I added a tee and a quick connect ahead of the regulator for hooking up the appliance hose. I have to manually switch the hose between tanks to swap appliance gas. The trailer supply gas is still controlled by the auto switch device at the regulator.I also have a tee that can be added to the hose to split off another hose which we run inside to the BUDDY heater. It works great but was kind of pricey piecing it together. The actual extend-a-flow kit sold at the dealer would have actually been sufficient and cost effective but I wanted quick connects instead of threaded connections. Good luck.

* This post was edited 07/21/06 12:37pm by countrymech *

Posted By: skiff on 07/20/06 04:07pm

Don't get me started on Blue Rhino's proprietary valve preventing most places from refilling their tanks. Guess what else? Their 20lb LP tanks only have 17.5 lbs, so they are double ripping everyone[emoticon]

Now here is weird one- about 3 years ago we were camped in Rocky Mtn NP and needed a 20lb tank refilled, rode into Estes Park and found an LP dealer. He REFUSED to fill the tank because it had some brand name LP outfits plastic wrapper on the tank! Being a confirmed smartass I asked if I took the cheap plastic wrapper off would he fill it then? He said YES. Still puzzles me what that was all about[emoticon]

Posted By: hobbystuff on 07/20/06 09:07pm

is extendastay the same as extendaflow???


Posted By: fairfaxjim on 07/20/06 10:06pm

hobbystuff wrote:

is extendastay the same as extendaflow???


Nope! The Extend-A-Stay tee is designed to back fuel a large RV from a small cylinder (i.e. 20 lb.) when the main installed tank is empty, preventing having to move the RV to the propane filling station, thus extending the stay. It does have a connection that will allow connection of a tank pressure hose to a portable high pressure appliance, but that is not it's primary function.

The Extend-A-Flow is designed to be inserted between an RV propane tank - any size - and the pigtail to the RV's propane regulator. It has a third connection for a hose to a portable high pressure appliance (the 1" male fitting that is the same as on the 1 lb. disposable propane bottles and on most extension hoses for portable propane appliances.) It is specifically designed for tapping off of a cylinder before the regulator for use with stoves, bbq's, heaters, etc.

There are two version of the Extend-A-Flow. One has the left hand thread POL fittings on both ends, one male and one female. The other (also sometimes referred to as Extend-A-Flow Plus) has male left had POL threads for connection to the cylinder, and the male ACME threads for connection of the Type I excess flow pigtail connector on the other. It is also referred to as Extend-A-Flow Elbow, as it is not a straight tee, but actually an elbow. Most PUP's have the Acme thread excess flow pigtail connector, so require the Plus or elbow model.

Posted By: jgioe on 07/20/06 10:11pm

Do you have to remove the Extend a stay system every time you need to change over the cylinder with an exchange system like white rhino? Also, how easy is it to connect and disconnect propane appliances from the extend a stay set up

Posted By: Beacher on 07/21/06 10:04am

jgioe wrote:

Do you have to remove the Extend a stay system every time you need to change over the cylinder with an exchange system like white rhino?

No. The elbow, or tee mounts before the hose to your PUP's 20# cylinder connector with the acme nut.

jgioe wrote:

Also, how easy is it to connect and disconnect propane appliances from the extend a stay set up

As easy as screwing on an extension hose!

Posted By: countrymech on 07/21/06 12:41pm

No, they are different. The extendastay is for refilling your propane tanks in position without moving your camper or the bottles. The extendaflow is the system for splitting gas off to run your appliances via extension hoses.

Posted By: jgioe on 07/22/06 06:26pm

How do you fit the brass tee to the propane cylinder, I dont see any nut or fitting as pictured here

Posted By: fairfaxjim on 07/23/06 01:11am

In that picture, the fitting on the left side is a male POL with left hand threads. If screws into the female POL fitting threads on the Inside of the tank valve outlet. The fitting on the right side is male acme thread. The female Type-I acme thread on the PUP pigtail hose threads onto that half of the elbow. The fitting pointing up with the cap on it is 1" male thread that matches the threads on a disposable propane bottle. the female fitting on the hose pictured above the tee (left side of picture) threads onto the 1" male, and the 1" male threads on the other end of the hose threads into the appliance regulator.

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