How Much Coleman Fuel Do I Need?

Ever wondered how much Coleman camp stove fuel (Coleman® Fuel – white gas, or propane) that you would consume or use under certain conditions? Many of us have one of these stoves, the brand name of which has been around for decades and is considered to be of good quality. I thought it would be helpful to calculate and list the following Coleman camp stove fuel consumption estimations which will help you decide how much of the fuel you may wish to stock up on, based on your own needs.

I determined the consumption values based on the Coleman website per-hour usage for their Two-Burner camp stoves (Coleman® Fuel and Propane). The statistics are based on both burners running on high (a worst case scenario – if you will) and calculated for 1, 2, and 4 hour per day consumption scenarios. Unless you will be boiling water for drinking and/or heating water for washing, etc, I would guesstimate that a likely realistic consumption may be 1 hour per day, maybe 2 if cooking foods that require more use of heat or for more than a few people.

I attempt to make no cost comparison between the methods which would include cost differences between Coleman white fuel, unleaded gasoline (which can be used with the Coleman Duel-fuel stove), and propane. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, which will vary depending on your own circumstances and needs.


Two-Burner Camp Stove Fuel Consumption (White Gas)

Slightly higher values assumed for unleaded gasoline (burns a bit cooler than white-gas)
Both burners on high
(values rounded)

GALLONS day week month year
1hr/day 0.2 1 4 53
2hr/day 0.3 2 9 105
4hr/day 0.6 4 18 210

Two-Burner Camp Stove Fuel Consumption (Propane)

Both burners on high
1-pound cylinders
(values rounded)

POUNDS day week month year
1hr/day 1 8 31 370
2hr/day 2 15 62 739
4hr/day 4 31 123 1,47


Types of Fuel for Coleman Camp Stoves


Coleman® Fuel (White Gas)

Also called white gas or camping fuel, you can’t beat it for camping in the winter or at high altitude. Burns hot even at subzero temperatures. And unlike butane and propane, output doesn’t falter as temperatures drop. Coleman® Fuel is very refined, and burns hotter and cleaner than other liquid fuels. It’s not difficult to come by. By carrying the fuel in small refillable fuel bottles, you don’t have the disposal considerations you do with empty propane or butane cylinders. But unlike appliances that use those fuels, you do need to fill liquid-fuel appliances. And for steady output, they need to be pumped occasionally to maintain pressure within the fuel tank.

Shelf Life of Coleman® Fuel (White Gas)

An un-opened container of Coleman® Fuel stored in a dry area with no rapid extreme changes in temperature will remain viable for five to seven years. An opened container stored in the same area will remain viable for up to two years though will be at its best if used within a year. Coleman® Propane Cylinders can be stored indefinitely in a dry area. The propane fuel inside the cylinder will not break down.


Unleaded Gasoline

Coleman DualFuel™ appliances are made to accommodate automobile fuel. Coleman’s modified valving even allows for differences between summer and winter blends. At 1/10 of the cost of propane, unleaded gas is the cheapest of all appliance fuels. And it’s available everywhere, of course. In an emergency, you can siphon gas from the tank of your RV or car to use in a DualFuel lantern or stove. Although it’s the most economical fuel to use, you’ll extend the life of your appliance by using purer Coleman™ Fuel most of the time.



More campers use this fuel than any other, probably because of convenience and ease of use. No pouring. No priming. Just attach the fuel cylinder to the appliance and you’re in business. Coleman equipment is pressure-regulated at 15 psi (pounds per square inch) to ensure steady output throughout the life of the cylinder. Propane offers great overall reliability, but be aware that it operates less effectively at subfreezing temperatures than liquid fuels. Cold will cause a pressure drop in the cylinder and output will diminish as a result. If you tend to set up camp and stay for days or weeks, investing in a refillable bulk tank will significantly reduce the overall cost of fuel.


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