How many BTUs are there in a pound of propane?

11:16 a.m. on February 10, 2004 (EST)

It gets cold here in Minnesota, at least when we have a real winter like we are this year. I have been spoiled by friends with canvas tents and wood stoves pulled into the woods on sleds. Weight is much less of an issue. Until I can afford the transition to warm tent gear, a propane heater will have to do. I have my eye on a 4,000/9,000 BTU model that is rated for indoor use and runs on either one pound bottles or connects to larger five, eleven, or twenty pound bulk tanks.

If I knew how many BTUs a pound of propane was worth I could compute how long the heater would run.

Obviously one must be very cautious about the use of a heater in a tent. I am quite cowardly.

1:08 p.m. on February 10, 2004 (EST)
4,419 reviewer rep
6,010 forum posts

Propane, butane and other gases are usually sold by the cu. ft. Propane is typically 2300 to 2600 BTU/cu ft. Find out the capacity of your tank from the label. The cu.ft. amount is the amount at STP that can be compressed into your tank, so it depends on the strength of your tank. As a rough value, petroleum fuels are around 18,000 to 20,000 BTU/lb.

The biggest danger with a heater in a tent is actually not fire, but carbon monoxide poisoning. Be sure you vent the tent very well, or get the type of heater that uses a heat transfer system with the exhaust gas outside the tent and a hot air radiator inside the tent. Admiral Byrd came very close to dying in Antarctica due to using a heater inside his shelter.

9:56 a.m. on March 19, 2004 (EST)

a.k.a. Jamie Kennedy

Propane: 21,700 Btu/lb
Hope this helps.
I would shut it off before crawling into the sleeping bag.

The canvas tent and woodstove idea sounds awesome. I'll try not to think about it too much as I'm huddled around my candle lantern.

June 22, 2018
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