How Much Coleman Fuel Do I Need?

Ever wondered how long Coleman camp stove fuel will last? (Coleman® Fuel – ‘White Gas’), or their propane fueled camp stoves…

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 determine approximate Coleman fuel consumption estimates which will help you decide 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…

Guide Series Dual-Fuel Camping 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 of Coleman fuel.

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

2.5pints (tank size)
2hours (both burners on high)
1.25pints per hour
0.16gallons per hour
6.4hours per gallon
Coleman example data (I converted to fuel ‘per hour’ figures)

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…

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.

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.

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18 Comments

  1. I have been using the Coleman Dual Fuel two burner camping stove in almost daily use for about the last five years on unleaded pump gas. I think that it is a model 424. Running it once a day, I normally refill the fuel once per week, whatever the size of the tank is. Although I have a spare pump it has needed no repairs. When it gets “sloppy” enough to recommend cleaning the stove can be completely dis-assembled with just a Phillips screwdriver and the insides washed. Don’t put it in the dishwasher, LOL.

    As mentioned by Ken above, during the big freeze we had in S.E. Texas the power was out for 2 days so no gas stations. Using a siphon hose — an Oklahoma Credit Card — it was a cinch to “boost” several weeks’ worth of fuel from my PU truck.

  2. – My Dad bought the Coleman white gas stove that is currently In my garage in 1962. It still runs just fine, and gets used on occasion.

    I ended up giving my oldest daughter the propane stove that I bought in 1970, when she had a power outage for several days. I told her to just keep it, and I bought a new one.

    In my experience, so long as they are kept clean and dry when not in use, the stoves (and lanterns) last forever. I have replaced two pumps, one on my stove and one on my single mantle model 200A lantern made in 1955. That’s the original little red lantern they used to use on their logo. It’s not even used there anymore, but it still works and gets used when needed for camping, fishing or a power outage.

    Mantles for lanterns are very fragile, and I try to keep a handful around at all times. I do have a couple of propane lanterns, but I let my brother have my two-mantle propane model. It is only very slightly brighter than a single, and burns through fuel quite a bit faster.

    One of my propane lanterns was bright enough hanging in my living room that I had an irate neighbor show up at my front door during a power outage wanting to know why I had power at my house when he did not!

    – Papa S.

    1. – I mentioned spare mantles above. I have a lantern safe on my little red lantern and I keep spare generators for all the liquid-fueled appliances. I have cleaned the generator that is in my stove; as I said, I have spare generators for both the stove and lantern, but they are still in the original packaging.

      – Papa

  3. I have the propane bottle Coleman stove. One handy item is a propane tank (bbq tank) tree, allows attachment to the tank, a hose connects the propane stove, the top of the tree pipe has a connection for a propane Coleman lantern to screw on, a third connection available but I never use it. Had an old propane stove, gave to one of my kids for camping and got a new one. As a kid i used the white gas stove and lanterns, for a while the outdoors world ran on Coleman.

  4. Back in 1959 when Pat Frank first published, Alas Babylon, my dad was working at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque. He bought a Coleman 2 burner stove and a single mantle lantern that ran on Coleman fuel. That started his brief foray into preparedness. I still have both items, still use them when camping, and they work every time. I’ve had to do some maintenance replacing the leather cups on the pumps and the lantern mantles. I have spare pumps and a generator but they are in their packaging and unused. Why aren’t things still made with that reliability?
    Thanks, Dad.

  5. I’ve had and used my two burner Coleman stove for over 50 years, last year the seam on the fuel tank started leaking under pressure, I was feeling bad about my old stove and then I found out, they had an attachment for the 1# propane tank that I can use with that stove. I bought a reducer that I can fill the 1# tanks from a 20# tank, and I believe I like it better than the original tank, no more pumping and getting Coleman fuel all over my hands before I go hunting. I once bought a number of cans of Coleman fuel and some rusted out before I used them all. Trekker Out

  6. Thanks for the article Ken. A good reminder. Have also been reading up on distilling of regular “unleaded” gas to make “white” gas which is basically what Coleman fuel is : gasoline with no additives. I think I may have a safe method of doing this, just need to try it out. As the “keeper” of 3 of these big Coleman stoves (and 3-4 small military ones) plus 30++ lanterns, I can tell you they run best on “white gas”. Propane lanterns (and even some of the butane fired models from the 50s) are nice, but they just don’t have the ambiance of the white gas fired models. “Sunshine of the Night”.

  7. I have a two burner white gas stove that I inherited from my father. I first remember him using it in the 1960’s and believe it was one he likely brought back from WW2. When on active duty I acquired a white gas one burner squad stove which I subsequently left for my replacement when I left the platoon for a staff assignment. I subsequently purchased a civilian Colemen 1 burner white gas stove. I have two 2 burner Coleman propane stoves with a case of the 1# tanks, a refill valve, and two 20# tanks with a hose to feed the stoves. I also have/use a pressurized kerosene stove. Two is one and one is none and three is better.

  8. After 5 Summers with no grid and 3 winters with no grid, I love white gas for the reliability. I love propane for the convenience. If I had to choose, I would select the white gas lanterns and stove due to the reliability.
    If you make the same choice and use your white gas stoves and lanterns on a daily basis as in off-grid, tear down your pumps, seals and other small parts to inspect, clean and replace at least 1x per year to keep it running smooth. The gov. agency I worked for had free white gas and kerosene and propane for use while living in off-grid seasonal quarters. The caretaker’s cabin that was off-season use in Winter also provided both white gas and propane.
    ( This may be vintage information since this took place in 1980’s California ). For me, fuel was free no matter what choice I made. I chose reliability over convenience.
    My only gripe about white gas stoves or burners: they are either on or off. Difficult to simmer, do fine dining on white gas stove. White gas backpacking stoves are essentially blowtorches with a base to provide stability for a cooking pot. In all fairness, I have not tried to cook fine dining on the latest generation of Coleman stoves in years. They may be easier to work these days.

  9. Post Script: For my backpacking/mountaineering stove, I used an MSR XGK multifuel stove which had 2 heat settings: on or off. It was designed to do one of 2 things: melt snow and boil water. It did just that for over 18 years before I sold it to a Sporting goods shop as a still-functional relic. I never tried to make Crepes on it.

  10. I have two of those two burner things and they both need gasket replacements.
    I have a coleman single burner, works great, also 5 gallons.

    The stove here is lp, the only thing running off lp.
    The outdoor tank will supply that for 5 years.

    Lantern, several mantles in the protective case.

  11. Hmm, about fifty yrs or so ago I was working in the order department of a large packing house when I was approached by the safety director wanting to know what prize I wanted, so not knowing what to get , I chose a coleman lantern. Well, needless to say, my wife suggested that we should rent or get a travel trailer ( which we did ). That lantern has come handy on more than one occasion, from back yard get togethers, lights when the electricity goes out during storms and for use on camping trips.About 4 yrs ago, while walking though the local big box store, I came by the clearance stand and here was Coleman two burner stove, new in the box marked down to a really low price. When I ask a clerk if that was the right price, she said it was and I picked it up and left.

  12. – DW really likes the propane stove, as it is just like using her favorite natural gas stove. It is very easy to use, convenient, just needs a match or lighter when you fire it up. the white gas stove is adjustable, but not nearly as easy to maintain a pot at a simmer or the like. You have to keep the tank properly pressurized (don’t have to worry with propane) and other such things. On the other hand, the gas is much more reliable and will work at much colder temperatures. That is why I keep (and use) both.
    – Papa S.

  13. hmmm….
    Have some white gas that’s more than 7 years old.
    I guess I’d better test if it’s still good.

    1. I believe that I once had an unopened gallon jug of white gas that I suspected was a decade old. It ran the stove just fine. Which surprised me…

  14. T for Texas,
    it may not burn as hot, but it will burn.
    i still wouldn’t leave it in the tank for to long though.

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