How Much Coleman Fuel Do I Need?

Ever wondered how long Coleman fuel will last? How long it will burn, and what is it’s shelf life? I’m talking about the special fuel that is made for the Coleman camp stove (Coleman® Fuel – ‘White Gas’)… What is it? How long can I cook with a full fuel tank? And does it go bad after awhile?

Many of us have one of these stoves, the brand name of which has been around for decades. I thought it would be helpful to address these questions, and determine approximate Coleman fuel consumption estimates. The answers may help determine how much fuel you might need depending on your usage.

I determined the consumption values based on the Coleman website per-hour usage for their Two-Burner camp stoves (Coleman® Fuel, and Propane).

Two-Burner Camp Stove Fuel Consumption (White Gas)

How long does Coleman fuel last?

This is my Coleman dual fuel stove. I’ve had it for a LONG time! It still works great…

Coleman 2-Burner Dual-Fuel Stove
(view on amzn)

Coleman fuel consumption obviously depends how long you operate your burners. So I will list a few examples, based on data I found from Coleman.

Both Burners on High for 1 hour will consume about 0.16 gallons (about 20 ounces) of Coleman fuel.

That would be almost exactly one gallon if you did that for a week (lets say your camping for example).

The fuel tank holds 2.5 pints, or 40 ounces.

A full tank will burn for about 2 hours on high.

The dual burner camp stove will burn about 1.25 pints (20 ounces) of Coleman fuel per hour. However, that’s if it’s on high. This may be the case if you’re boiling water. But unless you want to burn your dinner, chances are that you will lower the burner and the fuel will last a lot longer (just saying).

You can get about 6.4 hours of both burners on high, per gallon of Coleman fuel.

TIPS:

  1. Fill up the fuel tank before you use it. Doesn’t matter how full you think it is. Just fill it up. It will work better.
  2. Pump the tank according to the instructions. It is easily possible to pump it too little. It is very hard to pump it too much.
  3. Once you light it, DON”T TOUCH IT. Let it sit for a few minutes so the generator can heat up fully. This is the number one thing that makes people think their stove isn’t working properly. I know it’s tempting, but seriously, don’t touch it.

The dual fuel aspect is for emergencies. Unleaded gasoline is not what you’re supposed to use on a day-to-day basis.

Coleman Fuel

Yes, you can buy it by the gallon. However, that can be a pain to deal with. I’ve found that the following 32-ounce can is a convenient size for most people and situations. Easier pack and storage too.

32-ounce
(amzn)

What is Coleman Fuel, and the difference between that and the new Premium Fuel?

I discovered the following information…

If you look at the MSDS’s for the original Coleman Fuel versus their newer ‘premium’ fuel shown above, th premium has Xylene which is a solvent… it should help to clean out varnish inside the fount/tank. It also has Ethylbenzene would should make it easier to start in colder weather. Other than that, it’s a light naptha just like the original fuel.

Coleman Camp Fuel contains:

Cyclohexane
Nonane
Octane
Heptane
Pentane

Coleman Premium Camp Fuel contains:

Cyclohexane
n-Hexane
Xylene
Ethylbenzene

Two-Burner Camp Stove Fuel Consumption (Propane)

Their latest dual burner propane stove:

Propane Stove, 2 Burner

Again, from Coleman estimates…

A 1 pound propane cylinder will last a bit longer than one hour with both burners on high. Your results may vary. And often you’re only using one burner anyway…

TIP:

The 1 lb propane bottles can be refilled. The hose kit is available and not expensive. Learn the correct method to refill— it’s easy.

Here’s an adapter
(amzn)

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. Personally (just an opinion) I would not recommend using unleaded gas in your dual burner stove as your normal ‘go to’ fuel. Rather, use it in an emergency when you don’t have Coleman fuel. Obviously, be very aware of the dangers while using such fuels and flame… I do know that some people use this regularly without issue…

Propane

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.

30 Comments

  1. Currently I have four metal gallon containers of coleman fuel that have been stored over 10 years 3 unopened.
    and I expect these to be completely fine and usable.
    One of those I opened last summer to test a single burner thing and zero problems.

    Personally I wouldn’t expect it to last years if it’s been opened several times, oxidation and degradation, but it could happen.
    I keep the lantern full, has been full for a couple years and lights every time I take it out to test.
    Until it doesn’t.

    1. I had a gallon can of Colemen fuel that was (unopened) for more than 10 years. When I opened it, the stove ran fine. Their shelf life estimates are perhaps CYA, whereas in reality it lasts longer.

  2. I think the refill adapter for the propane tanks is a good idea, i also like keeping a couple adapters so i can run my camp stove on a bigger bottle, handy, i have an oven for my camp stove, not perfect but can be quite useful. More and more because of cost im leaning towards old school though as in firewood and cooking on open fire, at the moment thats where im at but am going to build a wood stove for my outdoor cooking area. Trying to figure a way to tie it in with my smoker so if i want a better regulated and removed smoke/heat source i can use it for that

    1. I’m curious. What have you cooked in the oven adapter?. I’ve looked at them and like the idea but they run 300.00 plus so I haven’t pulled the trigger. I can bake bread or biscuits in a dutch oven with coal’s but like the idea of this product

        1. I found if you get a pizza stone and put on the bottom (amazon) I use a nine inch round one. But I think the 12×12 also works. It acts as a heat sink and allows you to regulate the temperature better. Found the idea on the tube.

    2. kulafarmer, i have a coleman stove and several lanterns that all use the propane tank. correct me if i am wrong but a friend of mine would refill his propane tanks by putting them in the freezer for so long before he would fill them up, he said it would make filling them up easier/hold more propane. i just remembered that.

      1. 007 – I refill about a dozen 1 lb propane cylinders every year. Once you have an adapter, I leave the empty 1 lb cylinders in the freezer overnight, leave the full 20 lb propane tank outside usually in the sun to warm up. Attach the adapter to the 20 lb tank when ready (keep 20 lb tank valve closed), invert 20 lb tank on edge of the picnic table, attach cold empty 1 lb cylinder to adapter, open main 20 lb tank valve, listen to the hissing sound of the propane being transferred, about 15 seconds later the hissing stops, close main valve, remove 1 lb cylinder, repeat. Sometimes I only get 12 oz of propane in the small cylinders but that’s okay. Yes, sometimes I overfill them but I use those over filled cylinders first…
        This is how I do it, not recommending my method as safe or legal in some areas.

        1. Dont the new tanks have a safety valve that closes off when you knock them over or are in any position other than upright?

  3. Original Coleman fuel was “white gas” comprising mostly of naphtha, octane rating of 85. If you use “unleaded gasoline” in your Coleman, you would be best to use low octane regular without alcohol in it. You are looking for the fuel with the least amount of additives. I have heard of people making their own Coleman fuel by taking low octane regular gas and distilling it to be free of the additives. That could be pretty dangerous, so would not recommend it. If burning unleaded gasoline in your Coleman lantern, Best to have spare generators as they will plug up sooner than if fueled with Coleman fuel.

    1. I’ve had the same Coleman Fuel Stove for 25 years and several Dual fuel and StandardColeman lanterns and all are still going strong. I’ve had to replace the generator on one and the leather pump washer on a couple which is typical maintenance and keep at least two of each essential replacement parts (generators, pumps, washers, globes, nuts, tank caps etc.) on hand along with spare wicks and as Horse said, I’ve had unopened gallons of camp fuel keep for years with no problems.

  4. something like this could come in handy to reuse old fuel from vehicles for stoves, you know if things go south for a long time. put a link in ken. i’m gonna get me two. and a rotary hand pump.
    amazon.com/iFJF-Separator-Automotive-Complete-fittings/dp/B08S2PHPDY/ref=sr_1_8?crid=26Y672NTM03L2&keywords=dual%2Bfuel%2Bwater%2Bseparator%2Bmarine&qid=1656347990&s=automotive&sprefix=dual%2Bfuel%2Bwater%2Bseparator%2Bmarine%2Cautomotive%2C603&sr=1-8&th=1

  5. on a hand pump, this looks like it may work for what i want. reviews are mixed.
    amazon.com/Roughneck-Two-Way-Rotary-Pump-Kit/dp/B00PX1R52W/ref=sr_1_15?crid=2SS7MZ3B9I08R&keywords=rotary+hand+pump&qid=1656348493&s=automotive&sprefix=rotary+hand+pump%2Cautomotive%2C368&sr=1-15

  6. and in case anyone here was wondering i am a real scavenger. they know me well at our county no garbage just junk dumpsite. : )

    1. Mrs. U,
      NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – The Coleman plant in New Braunfels will be closing after 40 years and around 150 employees will be laid off, the New Braunfels Herald-Zeitung reported.
      According to the report, 47 employees will lose their jobs at the end of August, 55 more by Oct. 30 and the rest in early December. pr KSAT San Antonio.
      Sign of the times, people don’t camp and enjoy the outdoors like they used to.

      1. Well that’s a bummer. Sorry to hear the plant is closing and those folks are losing their jobs.

        Most folks idea of “camping” nowadays is a $100k + RV that they park in the paved campground and watch tv. They just opened a new “Upscale” RV park south of town that has swimming pools, hot tubs, wine bar, gym but doesn’t allow RVs older than 10 years, no popups, truck campers or any RVs with canvas and definitely no tents . Price starts at $87 per night and a monthly discount rate of $1995.

        1. RC: no popups, no rv’s older than 10 years, uh i don’t think i would be able to fit in with that bunch…..wouldn’t want to either.

      2. Scout,
        posted the earlier comment before I scrolled thur the thread, thanks for the additional info.

  7. kulafarmer, i have a coleman stove and several lanterns that all use the propane tank. correct me if i am wrong but a friend of mine would refill his propane tanks by putting them in the freezer for so long before he would fill them up, he said it would make filling them up easier/hold more propane. i just remembered that.

    1. 007 – I did that for several years and I don’t recommend it. It is too easy to overfill containers that were never meant to be refilled. Then at room temperature the full bottle bulges outward. No thanks. Take a look at the Flame King refill system. The bottles are thick steel with a vent at the top, just like a real propane jug.

      1. tmac, i never tried it myself, only remember my friend doing it but i will check out the flame king system, thanks for the info.

  8. I have to stick with propane for any emergency use or everyday cooking and heating.The six burner stove top
    In the kitchen and the furnace are propane fed by two 1000gal.underground tanks that flow on there own pressure.

    Propane is more expensive than ever but in a power outage we can cook and bake using an old time Coleman
    oven.Camp Chef has very handy two burner with a built in oven.I’m hoping to set up a canning area on the back porch this fall using 20lb.tanks and the turkey cooker burner to heat the canner.We are concerned about the long term availability of propane and cost.
    One of best memories is the smell of bacon cooking on the Coleman stove and the hiss of the lantern in deer camp tent.You could buy a gallon can of fuel for under a dollar and the funnel was fifty cents as was a pack of mantles.

    Before this is all over we may be using rocket stoves and a Dutch oven on a tripod.I hope not.

  9. Scout and All,
    Today went on-line to Coleman to get some spare parts for a dual mantle propane lantern… most parts no longer available.
    Also saw that Coleman is closing a plant, so if ya’ll need anything…. get it NOW!

  10. I’ve had my Coleman 2-burner gasoline stove for over 40 years now, burning regular gasoline.
    No maintenance.
    Still working fine.

  11. So, how much Coleman fuel (liquid) do you need to store? Depends on how much you use/will use your stove/lantern?

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