Home Forums Truck Camper Adventure Forum Propane Tanks Composite/Aluminum

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    • #47596

      I wonder if any TCAer’s have experience in using composite or aluminum propane cylinders?
      In my career as a Firefighter I experienced the transition from steel, aluminum, fiberglass and finally carbon fiber SCBA tanks.

      Although the industry standard steel cylinder is certainly cheap and readily available.
      For many TCAer’s , refillable propane cylinders are their primary source concentrated onboard energy and I could imagine some distinct advantages of a lightweight refillable propane cylinder.
      Even with the advantage of a slide out tray, hefting a full steel 20 or 30 lb propane cylinder into the high side storage storage compartment of a typical truck camper, is rarely an ergonomically correct evolution and seems to invite injury.
      Additionally, lightweight propane cylinders could offer another small way in which weight conscious TCAes’s could reduce their overall GVW.

      Johnny V.

    • #47598
      Mello Mike

      Sure, I’ve used aluminum propane tanks on the old Airstream travel trailers I used to own. They work great and like you say, they’re much lighter. I bought mine at Vintage Trailer Supply…


      No experience with the carbon fiber SCBA tanks, though.

    • #47675

      Thanks for your response Mike!

      I checked out the Vintage Trailer Supply link, and it seems like a good source for aluminum cylinders in the standard 20 and 30 lb cylinders configuration that most TCAer’s might use.

      I have heard rumors that composite propane cylinders are used in the marine industry due to their corrosion resistance. Are there any TCA/boaters able to confirm or deny this ?

      Johnny V.

    • #48832

      We thought about switching to lighter weight tanks, I have bum shoulder and getting two tanks up into the very tight hatch on the Bigfoot 1500 is a pain.

      What we found locally (we live in a port town, so lots of marine supply houses.)

      A number of places around us sell the composite tanks but they are pricey, close in price to the aluminum tanks.
      Around $200 for an 11# tank for the fiberglass and $260 for 20# aluminum tanks.
      Viking and Trident are a couple of the companies making the fiberglass tanks.

      There was a problem with one type of fiberglass tank, and they were recalled and now lots of places will not refill a fiberglass tank, (even though they are, I know Viking has a special form and they tell you to tell the gas station to call the DOT to confirm that it’s safe to fill the tank.)

      The other issue, they need to be re-qualified every 5 years, vs I think 11 or 14 for other tanks, so that’s something else to think about.
      The good news a 17# tank weighs only ten pounds.

      The cost, the hassle and the re-qualifing are the reasons why we didn’t move forward with getting lighter weight tanks.

    • #49102

      Hey Squish,
      Thanks for your response! Yeah I’ve got a Bigfoot too – and I covet the slideout trays on Northern Lites…….
      I mean yeah, they do sound pricey, and hydro testing is always a hassle – but how much of an inconvenience and what is the cost of a back or shoulder injury while your truck camper adventuring. Seems as if starting out with a couple composite cylinders in the hold doesn’t seem like an all around bad idea, then ya know, if you can’t get ‘em refilled on the road, steel is readily available.

      You mentioned a 17# cylinder, is that the number designation of a standard 20lb propane cylinder ?

      Do any TCAer’s know if a composite cylinder is the same physical dimensions as a steel. Also…..anyone have a guess as to what a full 20lb composite cylinder weighs VS. a steel one ?

    • #49117

      I believe both Viking and trident list tank dimensions on their websites.

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