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Genius Camp Stove Tube Extension

For a couple years now, I've been using a Coleman Camp Grill/Stove. While the stove isn't perfect, I don't consider its drawbacks to be that big a deal, and as far as camp stoves go, I think its one of the better values out there.

In fact - both of my (only) complaints about it are related to its fuel system: first, the burners aren't adjustable enough - they tend to be fully on, or off. This is annoying, but not really that big a deal for what I do on the trail, primarily boiling water or reheating food I've previously prepared. The second issue however, has been bothersome. The propane connection - on this particular model - is on the back right corner, and the propane neck situates the propane bottle diagonally behind the stove.

This positioning of the propane bottle means that the entire setup needs a bunch more room. It can't easily sit on a bench or narrow table like most stoves - which generally situate the bottle next to the grill, by having the connection in the front right corner.

But, I recently discovered and ingenious solution. And by discovered, I mean that @Dirty Pool over on TacomaWorld suggested it to me after I complained a bit (not to him, just in general).

The solution is to cut the neck (replacement part 5430) on the propane regulator using a small tubing cutter, and then clean up the ends with a reamer. Once that's done, you can use a length of ¼-inch inside diameter vinyl tubing to extend the regulator line by any length you'd like - in my case, 2 feet. I used a hair drier to heat the tubing enough to slip it over the ends of the steel pipe - and no need to worry about clamps on the connections here; the regulator that's connected to the propane cylinder keeps the line pressures at 5 psi.

Now, for the price of $0.69/foot of vinyl tubing, the propane cylinder can sit anywhere I please. And that makes this stove even better.

Oh, and one final thing - for all those keyboard commandos of the internet... Yes, I know that the vinyl tube I'm using isn't technically fuel-grade tubing and might harden over time. But that's the key - over time. This tube will see use maybe 100 nights/year for about 10 minutes per night. I'll get dozens of years out of it before it degrades, and if it ever does, I'm sure I'll see it coming. The cost and weight savings of going this route are totally worth it for me, but if you're one who wants to tell me to use something different - by all means, go that route yourself; the design idea is the important bit.

9 Comments

  1. James Garvey
    James Garvey October 29, 2020

    Spend a few extra bucks and do yourself and everyone else a favor and buy a rated hose. Not only will this harden overtime but it has the potential to leak or melt very easily leading to a massive fire risk and after the wild fires we have seen this year why would you want to risk being the source of the next one? This is not a good idea.

    • turbodb
      turbodb October 29, 2020

      James, I appreciate that you're concerned but I'm going to have to disagree with you, in practice. You made a couple points and I'll address each of them.

      • When you suggest that vinyl will harden over time, you are correct - but what is that timeframe? It is not minutes or hours of exposure to fuel, it's hundreds of hours. Very few (if any) stoves are used for hundreds of hours over their entire lifespan. And, even if they are, that timeframe provides ample ability to see the hardness coming, and replace the tubing.
      • With regard to leaking - there is very little chance of this. The flexible tubing is stretched nearly 50% over the metal pipe; heating it to allow expansion is require just to get it to fit (as I noted). Propane, from a camp stove regulator, is regulated at less than 5psi. In fact, it's usually regulated around the same as low pressure household propane, which is in the ~1psi range. All of these things mean that the leak risk is extremely low.
      • Melting - when propane exits the cylinder, it's actually cooling down (that happens as it converts from a liquid to gas). That's why propane cylinders often freeze up. As such, melting of the hose is not an issue unless you put it over the open flame of the burner. No one does that. At least, no one I know 😀
      • Massive fire risks and wild fires this year - as I've noted above, this really isn't an issue when it comes to fire risk. Having the open flame on the stove *at all* is a much higher risk, as are the propane fire pits, etc.

      At any rate, I appreciate your concern for safety, but I think this solution is just fine. However, the genius part of the mod is the idea - that you can use flexible hose to position your propane anywhere. If you'd rather implement that a different way than I chose to, I 💯 for that as well!

    • Lucrob
      Lucrob May 1, 2021

      Stansport wants $45 for such a hose with ST and postage. I'll give this idea a try. Was already thinking to do it anyway.

      • turbodb
        turbodb May 1, 2021

        Gotta say, this continues to work well. Love this mod. 👍

        • Lucrob
          Lucrob May 1, 2021

          Just made my own thanks to your idea, using a flexible air line I got at Harbor Frieght. Super beefy tube that stays coiled up. It's still good as a air hose too, just 2' less in length. The hose from HF was only $6.50 "Stsbsoietc wanted $45 with ST and Shipping.

  2. Steve
    Steve October 29, 2020

    I like that mod, but I'm a big fan of the dual fuel stoves like this - Coleman Dual Fuel Stove. I really don't like buying propane tanks. I've had a handed down one for years that's probably older than me. The flame has great control for high heat or simmering. The only maintenance has been to put a drop or two of oil into the pump every couple years to keep the leather diaphragm in shape. I have a 2-burner stove for when space is not an issue, and a single burner model to save space.

    • turbodb
      turbodb October 29, 2020

      I too love those dual fuel stoves, and also had one growing up - with a matching lantern! The convenience of propane finally won out for me though, and the fact that my propane cylinders don't leak when I go from sea level to 10K feet of elevation is a plus too!

  3. Jaime Chriswisser
    Jaime Chriswisser October 31, 2020

    I first wanted to say thank you for taking the time and effort to write these articles. I find many useful, and all entertaining. Please don't let the 'keyboard commandos' get you down. I did, and no longer share most things with an unappreciative group.

    My real question pertains to the functionality of the grill on your coleman. Does it actually 'grill'? Does is sear/make grill lines, which impart char flavor??? I find that most grills don't, mainly because of the thin gauge wire grills that lose their heat too quickly, but the coleman looks a bit beefier in the grill itself, so...? I'm designing a lightweight off road trailer to pull behind my 99 4runner, and still looking at cooking options. I would modify it to work with a 20 lb propane tank, but that's easy enough. I like your method, by the way.

    Thanks in advance, and keep up the great work! I look forward to your work! I live in Boise, and we cover some of the same trails-maybe meet up sometime?

    • turbodb
      turbodb October 31, 2020

      Hey Jaime, as far as the Coleman stove/grill goes, I've been happy with the "grilling" capabilities. But, I can tell from your question that I should caveat it a bit, just so you know how I'm using it, and what you should expect if you buy one.

      I use it to cook three things - hamburgers, hot dogs, and grilled corn on the cob. And, when I do, I cook 2 burgers or ~4 dogs. The corn usually goes with the dogs, so it might be 2 corn and 4 dogs kind-of-thing. In that situation, it works great. I get good grill lines on the burgers, and nice char on the dogs and corn.

      Those quantities mean that I'm not overloading the grill when I cook. There's only one burner that runs under the center of the grill - so 2 burgers take up the entirety of the space that has flame under it. If, for instance, I tried to cook 4 burgers at the same time, it might not work as well - because none of the burgers would be over the hottest spot on the grill - they'd be in the 4 corners.

      So, would something like a steak work? Maybe. For me, it'd be a one-at-a-time operation with a steak. I'd also be a little concerned if it were a thicker steak, because there's no cover for the grill, and when I grill at home, I know it can get to like 500 degrees inside the closed grill when I'm cooking a steak - and that hot air does a lot to heat up and cook the part of the steak that isn't directly on the grate. A lid/stainless bowl might solve this for the little camp stove, but I've never tried it. Of course, if you like your steak "still mooing," then that cover may not be so much of an issue 🤣.

      Lastly, I think elevation matters. I definitely notice the heat difference from the propane at say, 10K feet as compared to sea level.

      Hope that helps!

      Oh, and as for working with a 20lb tank - this hose works great, I've used it for years with my little Weber Q100 - Propane Hose for 20lb tank.

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