How To Make Camping Gas Last Longer
For those of you who have been wild camping, thru hiking or another such adventure where resources are precious, I’m sure that you will have thought about how to make camping gas last longer. It is a common question with many answers. Hopefully, this article will enlighten you with some nifty tips and tricks to make your camping gas usage more efficient and last longer while remaining effective.
Using the tips below, you will soon be able to save money on fewer gas purchases, minimise wastage and extend your expeditions. Be sure to let me know if you have any other great tricks to add to this list in the comments!
1 - Keep your gas cylinder warm.
If you were paying attention in your science lessons, you will know that a gas cylinder contains many particles. Lots of particles moving around quickly create pressure. This is why when you are running low on gas, the performance of your stove decreases, as the pressure is lower. When particles are warm, they have more energy than cold particles. This allows them to move around quicker and increases the pressure inside the canister.
When you are camping in colder conditions, consider keeping your gas cylinder insulated from the ground, especially frozen ground. If you are a fan of an early morning brew up or cooked breakfast, I would even consider keeping the cylinder inside of the tent during the night. This will keep the cylinder a few degrees warmer. However, being an exposed metal object, it may produce condensation, so be mindful of it's placement.
*Safety warning. Never artificially increase a cylinders temperature and always use a stove in a well ventilated area.
2 - Use a wind shield.
A windshield is an amazing multi functional piece of equipment to include with your cooking stove. Firstly it does what it says; blocks the wind. To maximise conservation of gas it is important to ensure that the burning flame is focusing on the cooking pot. If it is transferring heat anywhere other than the pot, it is ultimately wasted. By blocking the wind, the flame will be uninterrupted and speed up cooking/boiling.
Another side effect of the wind shield, is that it collects the heat around the stove which would otherwise be lost to the environment. This heat is then transferred upwards and towards your cooking pot, increasing the overall temperature of the pot and speeding up the cooking/boiling time once more.
Similar, the warmer air trapped around the stove can expand downwards and towards the gas canister. This warms the canister and increases the pressure as previously explained. This will really help when your gas supplies are depleted and running low.
Finally, a wind shield can be an important safety shield against mishaps. Extreme care should always be taken when using a gas stove in order to not burn the surrounding area. A shield can help keep stray long grass away from your flame. Should the worst happen and your stove takes a tumble, it may land on the heat shield.
3 - Consider cold soaking.
Cold soaking can be considered a sole method of food preperation by itself. All that is involved is soaking your food (pasta, noodles, couscous for example) in cold water. Over an hour or two, this allows the food to become soft and edible. However, should you still want hot food, you can easily replace this cold water with hot water once the food has already softened. This would result in hot, soft food, ready to eat within just a few minutes of cooking.
4 - Use a lid when boiling water
As with some of the above points, any heat that is not going into the pot or it's contents is mostly wasted. By adding a lid to your pot, you can dramatically reduce boiling times. All that hot water vapour that is produced when boiling water can be conserved and re-transferred into the water and pot. This will speed up your cooking time and save your precious camping gas. No lid for your pot? How about trying an ultra light weight piece of moulded tin foil?
I hope that you found at least something useful in this article. Be sure to try out any new tricks that you have learnt! If you are really interested (and I mean, over the top interested) why not check out my article comparing the efficiency of various size gas canisters to help determine which size you need on your camping expedition (here).