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When I was a kid and was still living in Poland, my parents used to have these few kilo rechargeable gas bottles and compatible stove, which we used during holidays. The nice thing about this was that the gas containers could be refilled in LPG equipped petrol stations for the same price as the gas used in LPG converted cars (so a tiny fraction of the cost of the backpacking gas containers popular today). Is it possible to buy these kind of stoves in the UK?

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Calor Gas is a large UK chain of for Caravan camping the blue 4.5kg butane is very popular calor.co.uk/static-images/widgets/… –  Mapperz Oct 8 '13 at 15:40
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2 Answers

Upfront I would like to mention that I don't live in the UK, but I hope my answer is still relevant.

The most commonly used stove brand in the US is Coleman, and I looked on amazon.co.uk, and it looks like they are common in the UK as well.

For Coleman camping stoves you can buy adapter cables to connect them to large, refillable propane tanks. The common size in the US for those tanks is 5 gallons and you would use this kind of hose (us amazon to 5 gallon tank) to connect a propane camping stove to a refillable tank. Something like this (UK amazon) might be something you need instead.

An alternative approach is a liquid fuel stove (UK amazon). You can refill these with camping gas or regular unleaded gasoline, which makes it a little more versatile. A word of warning: these stoves are a little more involved; you need to manually maintain pressure in the fuel tank by pumping, and you need to prime the stove before you use it (A procedure that is not very difficult and takes about a minute.) I really like liquid fuel stoves, my wife prefers propane. We have both.

Let us know if this worked for you in the UK so we can reword the question and answer so they are not just specific to the UK.

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I have use the liquid gas, propane, and alcohol stoves. They're all good, functional alternatives. The only thing I don't like about the propane is that it's hard to tell how much full you have left. But, you can usually keep an extra bottle on hand. –  Don Branson Sep 8 '13 at 18:15
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@DonBranson: Thanks for contributing that, not being able to tell how much fuel I have is one of my frustrations with propane. –  DudeOnRock Sep 8 '13 at 18:19
    
We also have an old MSR petrol stove, but I am not a big fan. When used with unleaded (as opposed to some dedicated fuel), it becomes really dirty and my hands stink petrol when I take it apart. –  Grzenio Sep 8 '13 at 19:35
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Some petrol stations have a stock of LPG canisters outside, which I'm pretty sure are meant to be returned to be refilled - these are known as 'Calor gas' after the name of the dominant company in this market. They go from about 5kg upward, which I guess is quite large. I've never bought one, so am not sure how you'd go about it. Check which type of gas regulator you have, as I believe there are at least two different types.

A mate of mine swears by the Trangia stove, which is fuelled with methanol. Methanol burns clean and is probably safer than LPG. They're pretty common in camping shops here. The fuel is a little harder to come by and goes by the name 'methylated spirits', which you can buy in DIY shops. 'White spirit' is not the same thing as it is a petroleum byproduct, and would probably produce a smoky flame.

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