Propane Pony Tank

Propane Pony Tank

Last summer was real hot. Great weather for the beach, but definitely hard on the propane consumption when boondocking. I've been pondering a dual propane tank setup for the longest time, but really did not want to go with the traditional steel 20 pounders. Composite tanks seemed to be an interesting option, so I looked that for a while. A number of fellow Altoistes run a dual tank setup, either traditional or composite, but I was still not certain the path to take. If it was to be dual, then composite seemed the best choice. Viking Cylinders make a nice range of composite tanks, but they are not cheap, and I was a little concerned by what seemed to be a continual lack of stock on their web site. So I crunched the numbers...volume,tank weights, costs, and then made a few decisions.

I ruled out a dual 20lb steel tank setup, so that left the 17lb composites, or perhaps a configuration of a 20lb steel and a smaller 5 lb pony tank. I refer to the little ones as pony tanks, a term used a lot in the scuba world. The pony tank would give us a few days reserve while we looked for a spot to fill up the 20lb tank when it ran dry. Looking at the numbers between the two options, the composites certainly provided more capacity, at the same weight, then a 20/5 tank setup. What ultimately swayed the debate was a combination of our camping style, and the overall cost investment. We can perhaps sacrifice the reduced capacity against the additional trips needed to fill our main tank a little more often. As well, not only is the initial conversion cost much greater with composite, it will be the same situation when the tanks expire.

Decisions out of the way, I found a nice little bracket to mount the tank to the deck of the tongue, tied in nicely with the existing bike rack, and well within reach of the main hose line when the need arises.

old world bracket craftsmanship

A home crafted cover was needed to complete the job. After coming up with a design, then consulting a few You Tube tutorials, I pulled out the sewing machine and went to work. I soon discovered that sewing in tight circles is much harder than straight lines. After a few broken needles and some trial and error, we ended up with a nice looking little tank cover.

At the moment we do not run our BBQ off the main tank, so I suspect this pony tank will for the time being, serve only as a reserve tank. Only goes to show that once again, there are always options out there to best suit everyones individual needs.

2017 Trip 2: urban camping

Trip 2: Rouge River Park - May 2017

We were very excited for this extended long week trip. We headed to the Rouge River campground, a municipal park in Toronto. It is on the lower west side of Pickering, on the Rouge River.

This river stretches from Lake Ontario to north of Toronto. It is a huge swath of green space, that is currently being transformed into a national urban park by Parks Canada, and will be the first in Canada with this designation. The park spans 80 square kilometres in the heart of Canada's largest city. By comparison, it will be 22 times larger than Central Park in New York.

2017 Trip 1: de-winterizing 101

Trip 1: Cedar Cove Resort - May 2017

It seems that as soon as we put the Alto into storage in the fall, we start to plan, and pine, for the next season to begin. This planning is a nice distraction from our generally crappy winters, which some years can certainly drag on. It is also the time where I ponder the new mods I want to do, researching and refining how to go about each that I think of, including whether it is really of any value.

We spent the past week slowly placing our gear back inside. Although over the winter we leave a bunch of stuff in the Alto, there is an assortment that does come out and heads for the basement. By now, a lot of this activity is on autopilot, we have had the Alto long enough that the outfitting plan has few surprises remaining.

Cedar Cove once again, and this weekend, Jenn & Chris were here, as well as brand new owners Donna & Wayne. All of us de-winterizing and getting everything sorted for another summer of camping. The forecast was calling for rain, and sure enough it did rain all weekend. There were a few hours here and there where the sky broke, but only a few.

Jenn & Chris were just finishing setting up when we arrived, and Donna & Wayne arrived around 8:30. We got them squared away, then we all piled into our Alto for appetizers and a visit.

As we had flushed out the antifreeze and then bleached our tanks overnight, Saturday was all about rinsing the tanks and other odds & sods. This year I used baking soda in the final rinse to help remove the bleach smell, and I do think it made a difference. We also checked to make sure everything in the Alto survived the winter and was working as it should. We all then helped Donna & Wayne get their Alto de-winterized and ready. Lots of new gizmos in their latest version of the Alto, so it was neat exploring the new gear. Spot the changes is a little game that I think most of us play in our minds whenever we are in someone else's camper.

As the weather was still ugly, we had late afternoon appetizers over in Jenn & Chris Alto, and sampled a brew from their Aero-press coffee maker (nice full flavour) and then we headed over to the restaurant for dinner...a nice bonus with this campsite. They have a good creative menu, nice surroundings, and the beer was cold. Lots more visiting, sharing Alto tales, upcoming road trips, and plenty of laughs.

The sun was out for a tiny bit on Sunday morning, but only long enough to fool me into thinking that I could get a few extra minutes of drying time for the awning and ground mat. And fool it did. I turned my back for a minute and the skies opened up again, giving everything another good soaking. It did stop later, and we were soon all outside, starting to get things ready to pack up and head out. There was lots of learning and helping each other out going on this weekend.

Although the weather may not have cooperated, having fellow Alto campers together, all excited about the new camping season, our conversations and many laughs filled the days, the weather soon faded into the background. It was fantastic having company and I suspect this may well become a regular happening.