More often than not, there has been at least one event that you—or someone you know—have been given a gas camping stove as a gift and you did not know what to do with. And now that you want to go and have some outdoor fun, you are dying to break it out of storage. You have got the basics covered, but you are still wondering, “Do I need a regulator for my camping stove?” While this may seem like a complicated question for someone who has never had the chance to operate a camping stove, worry not.
This article aims to explain the basics the best way possible so that regardless of what gas camping stove you have tucked away, you will be able to know whether or not you need a regulator and if so, how to install it.
Before you get into the bits and pieces of camping stoves and regulators, and whether or not your camping stove needs one, it would be best to know the basics.
A Regulator is a valve which you use to control the input pressure of a fluid such as gas, to whatever necessary output value. Regulators are not at all limited to gas, and in fact, can be seen in many things. Oxygen cylinders, for example, have the same mechanism.
While it may not have rung a bell at first since most people rarely think about whether they have encountered a regulator or not, some day to day items use these devices—dryers, water heaters, stoves, and the like, are just some examples.
Simply put, a regulator is a device that controls the output or release of a substance. In the case of gas stoves, it controls the pressure of the gas. This definition is important to remember as it will be one of the things that will dictate whether or not your camping stove needs a regulator or not.
Presumably, since a camping stove is usually set up outside, chances are you may not have access to gas lines. Hence, your camping stove needs a five-gallon or 20-pound propane tank, depending on the kind of stove you have. And using a propane tank requires the use of a regulator so that you can predict the pressure under all temperature conditions.
However, if you are using your city’s natural gas line or you plan on tapping into a gas line using a large propane tank, then these lines should be regulated. It is also best to have a talk with your gas plumber regarding this matter.
It is crucial to note that regulators are not universal, and the gas pressure and British Thermal Unit (BTU) output will be dependent on a couple of things. These include the distance the gas needs to travel along the line, what the size of the said line is, how many other appliances are connected to the line and several other things.
These are among the reasons why it is highly recommended that you consult a professional first before you decide to DIY anything related to gas. Someone trained to look at all these variables and adequately inform you with what you need so that you do not end up in tears and with a sad whistling noise from a damaged gas line.
As mentioned, the five-gallon or 20-pound propane tank is the usual go-to for backyard gas camping stoves but for larger propane tanks you will mostly need to use a gas line. Not to worry though, as this gas line also presumably fuels your home so the gas professional will only need to check things over and ensure you are getting the BTU content you need, as the line is already regulated for household appliances.
Another thing to cover is that there are different types of regulators, and as mentioned earlier in this article, not all of them are interchangeable between gas tanks or cylinders.
Basically, your regulator will fit on your gas tank or cylinder, where it will control the release of gas to your camping stove. You will then need to connect a hose between the gas tank or cylinder and the stove.
Butane, propane, and other brands of gas have different tank and cylinder fittings. Because of this, it is important that you get both a regulator and a hose that fit perfectly.
Usually, brands of these particular tanks list what fittings their regulator needs. For example, the Calor 3.9kg propane cylinder needs a propane regulator with a Calor screw-on and a hose that is eight millimeters long.
The hose pushes onto the end of a connector on your gas camping stove and onto the end of the regulator, which you fit and tighten with jubilee clips and like the regulator, each gas tank or cylinder may require a different fit.
Most new hoses are stiff, making it challenging for you to fit it over the ends of the regulator and gas tank or cylinder. An excellent tip to make your life easier and spare you many tears is to soak the ends of the hose with warm water before attempting to wrangle it into place.
Thankfully, you only have to do this once, as the hose can safely stay connected to the gas camping stove and the regulator. It is important, however, to ensure it is firm and all the fastenings are secure.
Hopefully, this article has made more sense and was able to answer your burning question, “Do I need a regulator for my camping stove?” As well as other questions that may have risen from it. Remember, when in doubt, do not hesitate to contact a gas professional. It is what they are there for, after all.
No matter how amazing it would feel to set up your gas backyard or camp stove all by yourself through research and strong willpower, safety should always be your priority.