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.


  1. Jim, thanks for this post. Where did you get the small tank bracket?

    1. Ordered it from here Donna.