White Gas vs Propane: Which Is Better for Camping?

To make sure a camping trip is a success it’s important to have all the right gear ready, especially a camping stove. However, before picking one out you need to decide if you want white gas or propane. Do you want to know the differences between white gas and propane and which is better for camping?

What is the difference between white gas and propane? To sum it up, propane is liquid petroleum gas, which is kept pressured in a sealed container. White gas on the other hand is stored in liquid form. The gas doesn’t need to be stored under pressure or in a sealed container. 


What Are The Key Differences Between White Gas And Propane?

One of the key differences between white gas and propane is how they are used. White gas is meant to be used in a liquid fuel stove, where propane is made to be used in a gas stove. However, both can be used for camping so knowing a bit more about what makes them different could help you decide which one is better for your camping trip.

Cooking on a propoane gas caming stove

Their state is another key difference. Propane is gaseous when room temperature, where white gas is a liquid form. They’re both petroleum distillates, making them a great choice for camping.

White gas is very similar to gasoline, the main difference is that it doesn’t have any extra additives. It takes a little bit more time to get white gas lit up because the container needs to be pumped up beforehand. However, it has a very clean burn that leaves no odors behind.

Many people find propane easier to use because it comes in containers which are already set in size, making propane quicker to get fire from.  All they are required to do is attach the container, turn on the valve, and light up the gas. It is already pressurized and ready to go.

Is White Gas The Same As Coleman Fuel?

Many people call white gas Coleman fuel. Coleman is a brand that makes camping gear, such as tents, coolers, chairs, ect. When it comes to camping gear, Coleman is one of the most popular brands in North America. So people aren’t exactly wrong when they say Coleman fuel instead of white gas.

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To be technical, Coleman is a brand that manufactures white gas. Since they are the most common brand to buy white gas from, people have just caught on to calling it by brand name. This is sort of like how people still call off-brand tissues Kleenex.

What Is White Gas Used For?

White gas is most commonly brought on camping trips because it’s able to meet all of their camping needs. There are three reasons people turn to white gas when they go camping:

  • Hot
  • Fast
  • Bright

Campers love white gas because it’s the perfect fuel for their camping stoves and lanterns. They always have how they are going to eat, keep warm, and stay safe on their mind when getting ready for a camping trip. White gas provides them with the right fuel to handle all three.

Camp cooking with propane

How Long Does White Gas Last?

If white gas is stored properly then it has potential to have a really long shelf life. Coleman is one of the leading sellers of white gas, and they recommend it has a shelf life of 5 to 7 years if it hasn’t been opened or 2 years if it has been. However, some people have been able to keep it stored for 30 years.

In order to maintain a longer shelf life, always store white gas in a proper container. Inspect it often to make sure there isn’t any rust or leaks. Since white gas doesn’t have additives it’s highly refined. This means that it doesn’t have any ingredients that can break down and go bad.

White gas should always be stored in air-tight containers and kept in a cool area. If this gas gets any exposure to air then it will lose its effectiveness and may not be the best fuel for camping. Most important of all, never store white gas (or any gas) near an ignition source.

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However, it’s recommended to always filter white gas that has been sitting around longer than the recommended shelf life. If stored properly it could last for decades, but may get thicker. Filtering it will prevent the white gas from getting gunked up in the camping stove.

Which Gas Is Best For Camping Stoves?

To be fair, the better choice of gas depends on the camper. White gas is a lot more reliable, as it gives off a hotter burn and can last through tough weather conditions. Campers that like to bring single burners on their hiking journeys may prefer white gas because it won’t go out on them if the wind picks up.

Propane bottles outside a caravan

That doesn’t mean that white gas is the better choice though. Many people actually prefer propane because it’s so much easier to use. When they go camping they have things they want to do and messing around with cooking gear isn’t one of them. They love that they can hook up their propane, turn it on, and get cooking.

Conclusion: White Gas vs Propane

White gas and propane are the two most popular choices of campers when they need to get some fuel to their camping stoves. Both methods of fuel are excellent choices, however the better one depends on the user’s situation. Cooking while camping doesn’t have to be complicated since both fuels are user friendly.

Fuel gives campers the option to cook their favorite meals in the wilderness. All they need is a good quality camping stove, like the Coleman Guide Series Dual-Fuel Camping Stove, to make their camping trip complete. No more filling up on chips and snack bars, now you can eat like a regular person on your next camping trip.

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