Propane Vs Butane
We just finished our latest edition to the teardrop trailer family. Pine interior with aluminum exterior and checkerplate highlights. As we were preparing the kitchen, I began thinking of ways to become more efficient with our limited space.
The trailer before was all birch interior and had a similar box, but the camp stove was propane.
Although it looked very nice, we had to cut a hole into the box, attach a hose and leave a small propane tank inside. Taking up valuable space.
Thats when I discovered Butane stoves. No hose,
No cutting. Just place the butane cylinder in the slot beside the stove, lock it in place and Voila.
Fire ! Now that it's done I wondered about the difference between propane vs butane. After all, everyone uses propane. Why doesn't anyone use butane, I thought ? Well this is what I found.
The gases are quite similar, and the choice between the two largely depends on the availability and intended use of the product. The fire and hazard risks of both gases are quite similar.
One of the advantages of butane is its improved fuel efficiency. If similar volumes of both substances are burned at temperatures above freezing, butane will provide about 12% more energy. This advantage makes butane a good choice for those trying to pack light, such as backpackers or campers, Or a teardrop trailer kitchen with limited space.
If the gas needs to be stored for a long time or in variable weather conditions, propane is usually a better choice than butane. It is relatively easy to liquify and compress, and has a boiling point of -44°F (-42°C), which means that it turns into a gas as soon as it comes out of the tank at any temperature above this. Propane can easily be stored outside in almost all environments, since temperatures below freezing don't affect how it is stored or used. Butane is rarely used to heat homes or buildings in places where it gets very cold because it cannot be stored outside and still work effectively. (info taken from: http://www.wisegeek.com)
My conclusion: If you're not camping in the arctic or in the middle of the winter, Butane is more efficient and a great space saver. It cooks the same and it's easy to find. Any Walmart or target store has refill bottles. I use coleman. Comes 4 in a pack, approx $14. That's $3.50 a bottle and each bottle lasts approx 1.5 hours. Now don't get me wrong, I'll probably also use propane in the future as well. It's just nice knowing the options out there.
Who knows, We may camp one day in the winter ( Doubt it ) and propane is a better choice for situations in which temperatures may drop below freezing. Butane burns more cleanly and provides more energy. Ultimately the choice is yours. I plan on using both...