|Nothing like camping with a buddy… a Mr. Heater Buddy|
That being said….
I decided to rig up a way to use a 20# propane tank for the winter months. It is sitting between the bed and the kitchenette. The hose is routed through the bottom of the kitchen counter and out through the far side (near the heater).
To accomplish this, I purchased a Mr. Heater brand 10 foot hose, model F273704. The less expensive hoses require the use of an inline fuel filter. This is because the cheaper style hoses can ooze a little oil as line pressures build up. That can cause problems at the heater. The F273704 is a “non-plasticizer” type material, doesn’t secret the oils, and thus no filter is needed.
To deal with the potential for scraping, I drilled 1.5″ holes (large enough for the connectors to pass through) using a hole saw attached to a drill. At the local Ace Hardware, I located these very large rubber things… I guess I will call them grommets but they are more like bushings. They snap into place and protect the hose nicely. The amount of isolation from the wood edge to the center hole is around 3/8″ of an inch. It worked out great! The best part is that by opening and closing the van door, the hose slides in and out a bit so no strain exists. Then when the weather warms up in March or April, I can just unhook the hose and store it inside the kitchen cabinet.
The propane tank still needs to be secured before the van is put in motion. I’ll likely add some screw eyes and tarp straps to keep the tank from moving. At the end of each use I turn off the propane valve by the bed and let the Mr. Heater run for a few seconds until it burns off the last of the vapor. Then I also turn off the heater to make help ensure no gas leakage.
A one pound can of propane lasts about 6 hours on the low setting. This 20lb tank will run between 100 and 120 hours and costs less than half the price! That is also going to make boondocking much easier this winter. No more waking up to switch little tanks in the middle of the night. 🙂
Brad, the Van Trekker