Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Gas Powered Lanterns/Stoves? - How to NEVER Pump Them Again!

I Love To BBQ..Even with Propane!
    A long, long time ago I used to really enjoy tent camping. OK, well not exactly tent camping. I would drive a 4 Wheel Drive vehicle way up into the woods (sometimes in a large group) and we'd all camp around/in our vehicles. I did it so often, I built a "kitchen" that fit nicely into the tail-gate. For cooking I would use an older Coleman-style duel fuel (white gas/gasoline) stove. These are the ones you put liquid fuel in and then pump up the pressure in the tank to keep the fuel flowing. Every once in a while you would have to pump it up again to maintain pressure. I still have it. It works GREAT. Of course, in an RV with a full, actual, kitchen it really isn't needed. However, I still have some lanterns that work the same way. Maybe I've become lazy? (more lazy?) but the idea of running around to pump up the pressure seems like a pain. But what can you do? Read on!

While beginning my spring cleaning, (OK, it's not really spring yet, but if I spread out the cleaning over many feels like a less massive amount of cleaning) I found an old box from my camping days. In it was an odd little device (two of them, actually!) that purported to eliminate any pumping needed on gas stoves, lanterns, or anything else that used pressurized liquid fuel when camping. Interesting. It looked solidly made and seemed like a good idea. I must have bought this MANY years ago. The marked price was only $3.95! Such a deal! No idea what one might cost today? Of course it had to have a standard size cap to work..... How does it work? Easy, CO2.

Huh? CO2, Carbon Dioxide. There are these small cartridges that hold Carbon Dioxide gas under pressure. They are used in MANY applications. Most big box stores and even Wally World carry a bunch of different ones. They get used on all sorts of things like BB/Pellet/Paint guns and boating life preservers. This little doo-hicky replaces the filler cap and uses a single CO2 cartridge to maintain pressure in the tank. Allegedly, it will work through an entire tank of fuel. That's likely many hours of use. The package claims 10-15 hours. Of course, you cannot remove it once the CO2 cylinder is punctured, so make sure your tank is full!

The only issue I saw, was one of my stoves had a cap that faced the stove itself, and when the tank was properly attached the device wouldn't fit. It's about 3" long so you should check your stove/lantern/whatever for adequate clearance before buying one. Can you even buy one anymore? Well, I did find lots on Ebay and other online sites. Some were going for big money...$30+. But if you look around, you can find them for around $5 each. Many times you can buy a used lantern with one already attached for much less than the device itself. Obviously, you get the lantern or stove as well.

Not sure if it has any long-term practical application for my RV travels, but it's a very cool little gadget nonetheless. An elegant solution to a (non-existent?) problem. At the very least, it would be a great conversation starter at a campground!

Be Seeing You...Down The Road,

Rich "The Wanderman"

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