When it comes to satisfying your energy needs while living your best Vanlife, you have a couple of options. These include diesel, kerosene, solar and, of course, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).
Each one has its pros and cons, and just like the age-old debate between Hitop vs Pop-Top Roof Conversion, everyone has their preference on which ones one should include in their next van build.
But whatever you decide: do not skip having a permanent gas setup!
I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to find out the hard way like most of us did.
A campervan gas installation is essential to RV life, and here are eight reasons why.
1. You’re going off-grid
Only a few RV owners can resist the urge to pack it all up and go off-grid once they have finished their perfect DIY campervan, motorhome or caravan build all setup.
It gives them a chance to disconnect from this overconnected society and be closer to nature in order to destress and be more active.
If this sounds like you and you want to stay out there longer, having gas and solar installed is a must.
With your gas cylinder safely stowed in your fibreglass gas bottle box, you can cook, shower and even keep your refrigerator running. And it doesn’t matter whether it is sunny, raining or snowing outside, gas will always be there for you.
2. It’s efficient and cheap to run
Many people don’t know this, but you can do a lot with even the smallest of gas cylinders.
LPG is one of the world’s most efficient fuels. Even if you use it for cooking, heating and refrigeration, you will get a lot more hours from it rather than other forms of energy.
Of course, it all depends on what you’re using it for and for how long.
For example, let’s say you are using a 4 kg gas cylinder.
If you are only using it for cooking on a two-burner cooker, this can easily last you approximately four weeks.
On top that off, it is cheaper than most any of the other energy sources – talk about getting more bang for your buck!
3. It’s versatile
Another major thing that gas is praised for is its versatility.
It can run a range of everyday appliances that you need on the road. Fridge? Check! Outside BBQ? Check! Full outdoor kitchen? Check! What about that water heater? No worries!
Gas has you covered on almost any appliance that makes life on the road easier.
And when the winter hits, gas will be your best friend. It can keep that indoor heater running to make sure you are warm and toasty rather than feeling like you are trapped in a cold metal box.
So head into the winter with your gas installed and the cylinder safely housed in that fibreglass gas bottle storage box and fear no cold.
4. Will you be in a remote area?
If you are heading to a remote area, then you know how hard it can be to get supplies.
This is especially true if one of those supplies is kerosene or diesel that you need for energy.
Rather than go into energy conservation mode, that gas cylinder you installed is about to come in mighty handy.
If you need a refill, there are plenty of SWAP'n'GO dealers located all around the country, even in most regional towns and suburbs.
Plus, you can easily refill the gas in major camping grounds and hardware stores, such as Bunnings Warehouse. Even service stations, such as Caltex, Shell or BP, can fill up your gas cylinder with no problem.
The bottom line? Gas is easier to find than kerosene and much easier to store than diesel.
5. It’s a little touch of home comfort.
Imagine coming home from an awesome day of hiking, now starving hungry and ready to cook some delicious dinner.
You are standing at the back of your RV doing the needful, but the wind is relentlessly blowing your little kerosene burner out.
The hairs on the back of your neck stand up as you realize you won’t finish cooking before having to start again for breakfast tomorrow. This nightmare situation can be avoided with a permanent gas set up in your vehicle and paired with a trusty campervan gas stove.
And since the gas stove is a permanent fixture, you don’t even need to go through the hassle of setting it up every time you want to use it.
This comes in handy when you pull up to your favourite spot at sunset and just want to get straight to cooking.
Also, when hooked up to your water heater, you get instant hot water for cleaning the dishes after enjoying your meal or that nice warm shower before bed.
6. Cheap to install
Compared to solar, gas is significantly cheaper.
A gas bottle costs anywhere from $20.00 to $90.00 on average for a 4 kg cylinder, a gas storage box starts at $289.00 and gas piping install cost and materials is generally $400 to $800.
Solar will cost you anywhere from $600 to how-deep-are-your-pockets, depending on how big you want the installation to be.
7. Say bye-bye to those tiny, easy-to-lose canisters for portable stoves
Granted, it’s not really a reason why a permanent gas install is necessary, but it’s definitely a reason why not!
That little canister always goes missing when you need it the most.
For example, during that quick canister changeover right as the water for the pasta is about to boil. You rummage through all the junk, trying to find that little can, which you swear was “in the green bag, with all the other cooking equipment!”. Well, too late… you can’t have pasta now!
8. Fewer safety concerns
Not that we are hating on those little tiny canisters, but they do pose a potential danger over having your gas cylinder stored in a gas storage box for your motorhome.
You have to keep hoping that one day you won’t return to your beloved house on wheels in the scorching heat of summer and find the doors blown off from a gas canister explosion.
Ok, I’ll admit, that’s probably a lot less likely to ever happen than I fear, but it’s something that genuinely concerns me (maybe more than it should).
No one wants to have such fears hanging over their head – I sure don’t.
In all seriousness though, a permanent gas installation requires you to have a motorhome gas bottle storage box installed, just like one of these HERE.
The benefit is that your gas is stored safely in a compartment, which is sealed off from the inside of the vehicle and it’s also not sitting out in the direct sunlight/heat.
This gives me all the peace of mind I need.