Why throw away “disposable” small camping propane bottles when you can refill them? It is easy, safe, inexpensive and environmentally friendly to re-use 1 pound propane tanks. We’ll show you how to use a propane refill adapter to refill 1 lb propane cylinders in minutes … and, we’re guessing you are going to love this cool camping gadget! Psst we’re compensated…see our disclosures.
How To Refill 1 lb Propane Cylinders, Tanks And “Disposable” Small Camping Propane Bottles
Tools Needed To Refill “Disposable” Small Camping Bottles / 1 lb Propane Tank Cylinders
Assuming you already have a “disposable” small propane camping bottle and a larger propane tank, you really only need one tool, a Propane Refill Adapter, to transfer propane from the larger tank into the small one. Here are the items we use when we refill our cylinders.
- Propane Refill Adapter
- 1 lb Propane Cylinders (the empty 1 pound tanks you want to fill)
- Propane Tank 20 Pound (the full tank you will be transferring from)
- Safety Glasses (not required, but a good idea to use)
- Kitchen Scale with ounce/gram measurements
- Work Gloves (not required, but a good idea to use)
Steps To Refill 1 lb Propane Cylinders, Tanks And “Disposable” Small Propane Bottles
NOTE: This process should be done outdoors for proper ventilation.
1. Check The Empty 1 lb Cylinder For Good Condition.
Check the condition of your 1 lb Propane Cylinder to ensure the tank is not dented or rusty and that the threads are in good condition. If the bottle is not suitable for refilling, dispose of it properly. Only refill bottles that are in good shape.
2. Chill The Empty 1 lb Cylinder.
The propane is actually moved from one tank to another by pressure. When there is a pressure difference between the two tanks, the higher pressure tank will force propane to move to the tank with the lower pressure until the pressure in both tanks equalizes. To help this along, leave the Larger Propane Tank in the sun to warm it up and raise the internal pressure AND cool the 1 pound Propane Cylinder by placing it in a cooler environment such as inside a freezer, refrigerator, ice cooler or at the very least, in the shade which lowers the internal pressure of the bottle. This will ensure adequate propane transfer into the smaller bottle.
3. Weigh The 1 lb Empty Cylinder.
Don’t refill the 1 pound cylinder beyond its allowable limit. In order to know how much propane you have in the bottle once it is refilled, you have to know the weight of the empty bottle prior to filling it. We use a Kitchen Scale for this step.
4. Thread The Adapter To The Larger Filled Tank.
When you connect the Propane Refill Adapter into the valve of the larger tank, remember it has left-handed threads (so turn the adapter to the left to tighten). You may need to use a wrench to get a snug fit but hand-tightening with a pair of Work Gloves has always worked for us.
5. Connect The Empty 1 lb Cylinder To The Adapter.
Just screw the 1 pound cylinder to the Propane Refill Adapter being careful not to cross-thread!
6. Invert The Connected Propane Tanks.
Now that both tanks are connected by the Propane Refill Adapter, you want to invert the entire “contraption” and set it on a flat surface.
7. Open The Larger Tank’s Valve.
With everything inverted, VERY SLOWLY open the valve on the larger tank until you hear the transfer of propane taking place. Keep everything inverted during this part of the process so maximum liquid transfer takes place.
UPDATE: Thank you to Steve who mentioned in a comment that new propane valves have a “sudden lock out” safety feature (which is triggered in the event that there is suddenly an open line, such as a pipe rupturing.) To avoid triggering the sudden lock out, just open the valve much more slowly at first. There will be a point where there is enough pressure in the little bottle to keep the safety valve from closing, then you can fully open the large tank valve.
8. Listen For The Transfer To Stop.
The sound of the transfer will come to a stop when the pressure in both tanks is equalized. We usually get just over 1 pound of propane in a refilled cylinder which is well within the safety limits of the max-rated capacity of the cylinder.
9. Turn Off The Larger Tank’s Valve.
After the transfer is complete, turn the tanks right-side-up and close the larger tank’s valve.
10. Remove Both Tanks From The Adapter.
Unscrew the 1 lb refilled propane cylinder from the Propane Refill Adapter and replace its plastic thread protector cap to safeguard the threads. Then, remove the adapter from the larger propane tank by turning the Adapter to the right (remember these are left-handed threads.)
11. Weigh The 1 lb Refilled Propane Cylinder.
To ensure you have not exceeded the max-rated capacity of the 1 lb cylinder, use a Kitchen Scale to weigh the refilled cylinder and calculate the net propane weight by subtracting the empty weight from the new refilled weight. Each model is different so check with your manufacturer for specific details.
Camping Gear That Uses 1 Pound Propane Cylinders
Most people use 1 lb Propane Cylinders to provide energy for cooking food. We have used these cylinders with other types of camping equipment too. Here are some other cool camp items you may want to use with your refilled “Disposable” Small Propane Bottles.
No time to look for recipes, create a menu and write a grocery list? No Problem! Get our 3-Day Dutch Oven Camp Menu Plan here!
More Helpful Tips For RV And Tent Camping
- How To Charge Your Phone Without Electricity While Camping
- RVing Tips For Beginners: Enjoying The Maiden Journey
- RV Tool Kit Checklist
- Camping Gear List For First Time Tent Campers
- Best Quiet Generators For Camping
- Solar Products For Camping
- Best Camping Lights For Lighting Your Campsite
- Camping Safety Tips For Families
- Dutch Oven Temperature Chart
- Dutch Oven Camp Cooking Tips
- Dutch Oven Recipes For Camping
- Camp Dutch Oven Accessories
- Camp Cooking Tips And Tricks
- Campfire Cooking Equipment You Can’t Live Without
- Camping Recipes List
If you need camping recipes and menu ideas, you can find them here at the Camping For Foodies Camping Recipes list.
Don’t miss a thing…sign up for Camping For Foodies email updates!
Your purchase of our products will help support World Vision ® Building a better world for children.