Now We’re Camping With Gas
Choosing gas-powered camping equipment can be a tricky business. You first need to decide exactly what you're looking for. Do you really need a generator, or are you just looking for a way to make hot water? Do you need a grill, or will a campstove do? Will an RV fire pit provide the ambiance you're looking for, or will it just create a hazard for your children?
Once you've sorted out those issues, there's the matter of deciding which model to buy. See below for some of the options before you.
Gas-powered portable generators can provide power for all sorts of camping activities. When deciding which to purchase, consider four important factors:
- The wattage of the generator you buy will determine what you can use it for. Lights take about 75 watts each to run, while televisions slurp up about 450 watts.
- The noise of a generator can be more than you expected, so choose wisely. Generators usually emit from 55 to 85 decibels. As a reference point, a vacuum runs at around 70 decibels.
- The size of the generator you should buy depends on what you plan to use it for. If you'll be hauling it from campsite to campsite, think light and small. If you'll be installing it at your lakeside cabin and never moving it, don't worry about the dimensions.
- The type of starter will determine how easy the generator is to fire up. Choose between a recoil start (or pull start), which is like a lawn mower, and an electric start, which uses a button or switch.
Another popular camping item running on gas or propane is the portable grill. There are a wide variety of all types. Some of the most appealing are a 20-pound, 14,000 BTU infrared model and an ultraportable 15-pound grill with a single 8,000 BTU stainless steel burner. There are many others to choose from, all sure to make your camping experience delicious.
Various other tools may enhance your outdoors experience. If you're an RV camper, nothing beats the portable propane-powered fire pit. On cold nights, you might be happy to have a gas-powered camping heater, and on cold mornings, you'll thank goodness for your portable gas water heater.
Whether you're interested in a basic portable grill or a full RV fire pit set-up, gas-powered equipment will help you have the glorious camping experience you envision.
The Dirt on Camping Fuel
It's that time of year again . . . sleeping bags and tents come out of storage, and all the outdoors-lovers head off to go camping in the hills. There are many different ways to camp, but unless you're a backwoods wilderness warrior who starts fires by rubbing two sticks together, you're probably going to be using some kind of fuel when you're out communing with the bears.
The most common camping fuel is propane, which is one of several gases that compose natural gas. The others are butane, ethane, and-the most prominent-methane. Propane is separated from the other gases at gas processing facilities and sold to propane dealers who bottle it for your use out in the woods.
Natural gas is also sometimes used as a camping fuel. Like, propane, natural gas can be bottled as a liquid (known as liquefied natural gas, or LNG). It can also be compressed (for compressed natural gas, or CNG) or supplied in its uncompressed form (plain old "natural gas").
There are many uses for such fuels on a camping trip. The most prominent of those is of course for cooking. The gas provides fuel to portable cookstoves or grills, of which there are a wide range of varieties (see following blog post).
Most of the other uses are for campers who aren't going far from their vehicles. Generators that run on natural gas or propane are popular for supplying power for a range of activities at the campsite. Dedicated gas-powered camping heaters can come in handy on cold nights, and portable propane or natural gas fire pits can make a cozy hearth out front of one's RV. If you're loath to take a cold shower, look no farther than the gas-powered portable water heater.
When deciding whether to use propane or natural gas for your camping needs, take several things into account. First, most camping equipment is already built for propane use. Propane contains 2.44 times the useful energy of natural gas, so it is much more efficient and portable, making it the usual choice for camping. However, some products, especially those not designed to be particularly portable, will come designed to use natural gas, and it is possible to convert some propane-oriented equipment for use with natural gas.
Speak with a knowledgeable salesperson before making final choices about gas-powered equipment. There are big differences in quality, efficiency, and safety.
Tips for Greener Camping in the Great Outdoors
Even camping can generate a sizeable carbon footprint, so here are some helpful tips for combining comfort and convenience with the goal of going greener as you commune with nature this summer.
The first thing to do in order to reduce carbon emissions and conserve energy - while saving money on gasoline and diesel - is to maintain the mechanical condition of any vehicle you take out on the road. Tires that are over or under inflated, engines that need a tune-up, and air or fuel filters that are overdue for cleaning or replacement are just some of the simple things that can cause a vehicle to perform poorly. Poor performance leads to less fuel efficiency and more pollution.
Soak up some rays while in the wilderness, too, by using solar powered gadget rechargers, lanterns, and cook stoves. While you're planning your campsite kitchen and pantry, also try to create meal plans for the entire excursion that use minimal packaging. That way you won't have to hike out with an abundance of trash that you hiked in with from the grocery store. You can also buy biodegradable utensils made from plant starches and fibers, and plates and bowls made from exotic materials like sugarcane. A wide selection of biodegradable products for the camp kitchen can be found in the food service section of ecoproductsstore.com.When you need a household cleaner for doing the dishes in camp or disinfecting the picnic table, consider using a solution of diluted vinegar with a few drops of naturally antiseptic tea tree oil added for good measure. Baking soda mixed with sea salt makes a good substitute for abrasive counter top and stovetop cleansers, and you can use a baking soda and salt mixture as toothpaste, too.
To create a wonderful outdoor ambience you can also use a portable natural gas fire pit. They came in various shapes and sizes and typically work with propane tanks, but for $50=$60 you can buy conversion kits to make it possible to switch propane appliances to natural gas. That gives you flexible options for using a fire pit, cook stove, lantern, or other propane powered item both at home and while camping. Best of all it eliminates the need for propane tank refills while ensuring that your fuel won't run out unexpectedly to spoil the outdoor fun.