How Long Does a Backpacking Propane Tank Last?

By Anna Duncan

Backpacking propane tanks are a great way to bring the convenience of campfire cooking with you on the trail without having to lug around a heavy fuel canister. But when you are out in the wilderness, it’s important to know how long these tanks will last so that you can plan accordingly.

The amount of time a backpacking propane tank will last depends on several factors, including the size of the tank, how much fuel is in it, and what type of stove or appliance is being used. Generally speaking, a 16-ounce (450g) backpacking tank should last about three hours when running a single burner stove at full blast. However, this time can be extended if the stove is used at lower settings or for shorter periods of time.

In addition to size and usage, other factors that affect how long your propane tank will last include temperature and elevation. Colder temperatures make gas burn more slowly while higher altitudes require more gas to reach the same heat output as at lower elevations.

To get more out of your backpacking propane tank, try using an insulated pot or pan on your stove. This helps retain heat and reduces the amount of fuel needed to cook food. Additionally, using windscreens can help keep fuel from burning away too quickly.


Overall, how long your backpacking propane tank lasts is dependent on multiple factors such as size, usage, temperature and elevation. A 16-ounce (450g) tank should generally provide about three hours of burn time at full blast but this can be extended if you use lower settings or an insulated pot or pan on your stove.