How to check your gas bottle level

There’s nothing worse than running out of gas when you’re not expecting it. Fortunately, its really easy to check your gas bottle level, and there’s even some fancy gear that does it for you today.

If you’ve ever wondered whether your gas bottle is going to make it through the next camping trip, or if you need to head to the local store to fill it up there is actually a number of ways in which you can check the gas bottle level.

If you run two gas bottles, the preference is just to run one out completely, and then fill the other one up when you are next able to. This works just fine as long as you get several weeks out of a gas bottle (which most people easily do) and you are travelling through towns with gas supplies.

How to check your gas bottle level

There’s a couple of ways to check your gas bottle level, and some of them cost you absolutely nothing, or you can go down the path of technology to do it for you.

Shake it

The simplest, and most non scientific method is to pick the gas bottle up and shake it around. If its completely full, it will feel heavy, but it also wont slosh too much. You can generally feel the weight of the slosh and determine roughly how much gas is left in your bottle. This comes from a bit of experience, but you soon learn roughly how much gas is left in a bottle.

Boiling water

If you get boiling water, and you tip it down the side of a gas bottle, you’ll end up with condensation in a nice little line, which is exactly where the gas level is. You can actually get little gas bottle gauges which use this same principle, but it works even without them.

This is perfectly safe to do, and very common for those who need to know when their gas bottle is running low.

Boiling a kettle
Using boiling water works quite well

Weigh it

The most accurate way to know how much gas is left is to weigh the bottle, and subtract the empty weight of the bottle. We’ve done this a few times at home for interests sake, but don’t do it on the road!

Full 4kg gas bottle
A full 4kg gas bottle on the scales

Gas bottle gauges

You can actually buy a number of different gas bottle gauges that screw onto your gas bottle, in between the hose going to your appliances. I’ve always been a bit sceptical of how these work as your pressure doesn’t change that much over the use of the gas bottle, but some people use and like them.

Smartsense and Truma have their own devices that you can use to check the gas bottle level, with some of them being a semi permanent attachment to your gas bottle, which feed their information back to your smartphone.

Refilling Gas bottles

If you want to fill your gas bottle up, there’s a number of places you can head to, or you can partake in the swap n go process, which works pretty well too. We’ve written a comprehensive post that goes into this here; Gas Bottle Refills. Want to know which is better, and cheaper? Check the post out!

Gas bottles in our R2
We swap n go mainly, but also refill them as needed

How we manage gas bottles

Our solution to knowing how much gas we have left is simple. We run two 4.5 kg bottles on the front of the camper, and always have one full.

When one runs out, we know we have about a month to get the other one filled up, and will try and find somewhere that does gas bottle refills or swap n go’s for a reasonable price, and swap it out.

Ultimately, we don’t really care what level the gas bottle is at, as we always have a spare one available. It’s not easy for us to remove the bottle to check anyway, so we just leave it in place until it runs out, swap over and then fill the empty one up.

Truma hot water system
Our primary gas consumer is the Truma hot water system

Do you keep an eye on your gas bottle levels, or just carry a second one? How long do you get out of a bottle of gas?

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