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Is it safe to carry the 20 lbs propane gas cylinder in the minivan?

I have carried the small Coleman's gas cylinder for camping in car trunk but now with family, I am not sure if what's the right way with the larger 20 lbs cylinder. I guess I am asking, is that the standard way people carry it when going camping with a gas stove? or perhaps they carry it in open truck?

  • If you have an open truck or a place on the outside of the van, that might help. – Willeke Aug 11 at 8:52
  • In some cases, depending on the size of cylinder and gas involved, and local requirements, you may need a gas sticker, but this is not always the case – Aravona Aug 12 at 9:06
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Storage methods for propane tanks:

  1. Ensure the area is well-ventilated
  2. Make sure that the tank is upright at all times
  3. Keep the surrounding temperatures low by avoiding direct sunlight during summer
  4. Avoid ignition source (lighters, matches, tinder, electric sparks, etc.)

When you're transporting the tank:

  1. Leave the window or trunk slightly open to prevent accumulation of leaked gas
  2. Use a milk crate or special platforms to keep it upright
  3. Turn on air-conditioners (if the trunk is connected with the car internal)
  4. Ensure the valve is closed before transporting the tank
  5. Immediately remove the tank after reaching your destination

If your trunk is not connected with the inside of the car or the tank will be exposed to the sun, I suppose it will not be a problem because there are built-in safety features to the tank:

  • Reflective/white in color: Reflects most of the sunlight to slow down the heating process
  • Pressure relief valve: When heat builds up in the tank, the pressure of the gas will increase. The tank will relief the pressure by venting out some gas

Above are some general information about storing and transporting normal propane tanks. It is advised to contact the manufacturer for detailed tips and tricks while transporting the tanks.

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A 20lb Propane tank can be safely transported in your mini van. It can also be transported unsafely.

Safely: up right, secured, ventilated, kept cool

Unsafely: on its side, not tied down, un-ventilated, allowed to get warm

The key is to keep it secured, upright, cool and ventilated. The problem becomes on a trip camping are you going to stop for potty breaks? if so how do you keep it cool? Those are questions you will need to consider and answer for your personal situation.

Safety is a mater of degrees, nothing is absolutely safe or unsafe. You asses the risks and mitigate those that you can, with specific attention to the most likely.

You travel wearing your seat belt, what happens if that propane bottle is in the van when you have an accident? If you get rear ended is it going to rupture?

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There may be restrictions in tunnels or ferries. For example BC Ferries states

Remember, all dangerous goods must be declared at the terminal ticket booth or to a vessel officer. Failure to declare dangerous goods is an offence under Canadian law.

There follows a list.

Dangerous Goods Commonly Encountered by BC Ferries

. . .

Propane: Propane valves must be closed and sealed with the tags issued at the ticket booth, and the cylinders must be upright and firmly secured, to prevent tipping.

  • RVs are permitted a maximum of two cylinders of not more than 25 kg each (50L water capacity each), provided they are connected to a regulator, and secured in or on the vehicle. Recreational vehicles may carry a third cylinder no larger than Bar-B-Q size (commonly called a 20-pound cylinder).

  • Passenger vehicles are permitted to carry one cylinder not to exceed Bar-B-Q size (commonly called a 20-pound cylinder).

. . .

One very important thing is to always keep the cylinder upright and secured. If you brake sharply, the last thing you want is a 20 lb lump crashing around the van.

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