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Old 09-05-2015, 05:27 PM   #1
Rivet Master
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
How much propane is used?

I have seen a number of questions on the forums as to how long does a propane tank last when boondocking. There is no exact answer of course, but here is one experience.

I have been forced out of my home due to wildfires. I took the Airstream FC 20 for my bug out home. I camped in Forest Service Campgrounds for the entire trip, no hookups at all.

Both propane tanks were full when I left. After 14 days out, one tank became empty. The refrigerator was on propane constantly, the water heater was on propane 24/7. Cooking for one on the propane stove. Some heat, not a lot. It went down to 42 several nights, but warmed up quickly in the day, so only some heat overnight. I never sit around cold however.

I don't think the use would increase a lot with more people, mostly it would be hot water use difference. Heat and cooking and refrigeration would not change much at all with more or fewer bodies in the rig.

So, just though I would post the information.

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Old 09-05-2015, 05:30 PM   #2
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What size tanks?

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Old 09-05-2015, 06:09 PM   #3
Rivet Master
1974 Argosy 20
2014 20' Flying Cloud
Kooskia , Idaho
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 4,591
Oh, Standard 30# (7 gal) tanks. Not very many 20# or 40# used on Airstreams, but a few.
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Old 09-05-2015, 07:24 PM   #4
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1988 32' Excella
Ojai , California
Join Date: Aug 2014
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I have been tracking propane used for some time. We have 2 40# tanks (~9.6 gal each)

Summer usage is 40-44 days/tank this includes all cooking and the water heater running 24/7. We do a move once a week so the fridge runs for a few hours on that day.

Winter is 16-22 days/tank with the same usage plus running the catalytic almost 24/7 but moving is down to once every 3 weeks.

Hope this helps.
Dave & MJ
1988 32' Excella 1000 (Beauty)
1999 White Dodge SLT Laramie 3500 Dually, 4x4, 5spd, 5.9 CTD 260k+ (The Beast)
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Old 09-05-2015, 07:42 PM   #5
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1972 25' Tradewind
North Vancouver , British Columbia
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When I lived in mine during the winter, here in Vancouver, one 30# cylinder lasted a few days. That was with the furnace going 24/7 and the use of the stove and oven every day. As soon as one cylinder was empty, I switched over and refilled. During the summer, I only used the range, as my water heater also ran on electric, so did't need the gas for that. The cylinder lasted for a couple of weeks. If I were to live full time in the winter, I'd order one of those huge cylinders that you see on construction sites.
Cameron & the Labradors, Kai & Samm
North Vancouver, BC
Live! Life's a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death! - Mame Dennis
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Old 09-06-2015, 08:14 AM   #6
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2016 26' Flying Cloud
2016 25' Flying Cloud
1997 21' Excella
Watervliet , Michigan
Join Date: Apr 2015
Posts: 268
Recently took a 2016 25' FC on a 4 week 5,000 mi trip (3,700 trailer miles):

- total pull time approx. 8 days, 12-14 hours per day on refrigerator propane. Refrigerate set on 3-4.
- 7 days required supplement furnace heat in the morning. Approx. 20-30 min. total burn times each.
- supplemented electric water heater with propane water heater every night for multiple showers. Approx. 30 times for 30 min. burn times.
- stove used daily for approx. 15 mins. Approx 20 days.
- no gas oven used, I have convection oven.

The regulator never switched to 2nd tank and the primary tank, after refill, measured 2/3 empty.

Interesting my 1997 21 Excella Classic on recent three week trips and less travel days would use 1 1/2 30lb. tanks and far less showers (everyone hated this shower but me). I contribute this to not having an electric water heater and mostly I believe is the 20 year old refrigerator was taking a setting of 5 to barely maintain coolness. So when traveling or boon docking it basically had to run the propane all the time.

2016 RAM 2500 6.7L Cummins, 4WD, Crew, Rear Air
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Old 09-06-2015, 10:44 AM   #7
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2014 20' Flying Cloud
Mohnton , Pennsylvania
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We have been monitoring our propane usage for a little over one year with nights camped approx. 165. Summer usage running frig. 24/7, not heater required, cooking for two, and hot water heater only turned on 10 min. prior to showering ( otherwise off)....we can go three full weeks with one 30 lb. tank. We always keep our second tank off so we know exactly when the first tank empties. This past winter Jan-Apr. camped in southwest but we had intermittent electric at some state parks and one 30 lb. propane tank lasted 33 days.
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:00 AM   #8
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1969 31' Sovereign
Kerrville , Texas
Join Date: Jun 2015
Posts: 158
Hello all,

Purchased a new 28'FC (2015) in Kent, Wa. Pulled it back to Texas then off to Montana and back. Have traveled 6000 plus miles mostly on propane cooling for frig in route, hot water, cooking. (No microwave)

Propane tanks have not run out yet. Tried to top them off before last trip and service guy said no point because they were almost full.

Got to love these Airstreams.

Happy trails ya'll.
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Old 09-06-2015, 11:01 AM   #9
4 Rivet Member
1977 31' Sovereign
Lynnwood , Washington
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 311
Without doubt, the furnace is your #1 propane thief. Water heater is #2; washing dishes and taking showers.

Refrigerator, practically none. Hardly worth mentioning.

Stove, depending upon usage, not much. A 7 gal tank could last a month on just the stove.

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Old 09-06-2015, 12:26 PM   #10
2 Rivet Member
2004 28' International CCD
Cocoa , Florida
Join Date: May 2015
Posts: 62
I never boondock, so this thread is not for me.. I just wanted to say I hope all is good for you after your wildfire.. I hate the suffering you see during a natural disaster.. Again, I hope you and your family is OK
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Old 09-06-2015, 02:29 PM   #11
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1988 25' Excella
Montrose , Colorado
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 28
Propane usage

We winter (mid-December-mid-March) in Mesa, AZ. I have 2 thirty pound tanks.
Depending upon the weather: cooler season, 1 tank per 2 weeks; warmer season 1 tank per 3 weeks. One consideration: our water heater is gas only. We do not leave it on constantly. We turn it on for one cycle in the morning, then turn it off until 5 or 6 in the evening, then another cycle. This dramatically reduces fuel usage and there is no need for us to have piping hot water constantly.

During the summer here in Colorado a tank will last pretty much all season, of course depending upon how many campouts we have.

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