Our van has a dedicated gas locker in the garage, but unfortunately it didn’t come with a gas cylinder, so by default we had to take out a rental agreement on a Calor gas cylinder when buying the van, which was quite a rip off.

You would think that with the plethora of European standards in place there would be a common gas cylinder, but there isn’t. Instead there are four variant ‘standards’, different by country, so it would be almost impossible to refill a UK Calor gas cylinder in France or Spain for example.

Given that we’d be travelling around Europe for a couple of years or more, this wouldn’t work for us and so we had to find an alternative solution in the form of a LPG system, comprising two 11 KG Gaslow cylinders and a filling point fitted in the side of the van, meaning that we can refill the cylinders ourselves at a petrol station. Whilst there isn’t one common European standard for the filling point, we have three adapters which will enable us to refill right across Europe.

Filling at a petrol station is pretty easy. Once the gas bottles are switched off, I screw the correct adaptor into the filling point and then connect the nozzle from the pump. There’s usually a big green button on the pump itself which needs to be kept pressed in to fill up. It’s best to wear a glove when disconnecting the nozzle as some gas almost always spurts out which is cold enough to burn skin (I’ve seen photos of some nasty examples on social media).

Screw in the correct adaptor…
… attach the pump…
… and press the green button

The gauges on the cylinders aren’t very accurate, so we don’t leave it until the last minute before filling up. As we can set the gas to run from one cylinder or both, we have it running on just the one cylinder and, when that runs low we flip over to the other cylinder and then fill up. Fitting the Gaslow system wasn’t cheap, but we expect to recoup the cost as LPG is much cheaper than Calor or equivalent, and the convenience of being able to refill the cylinders ourselves is a huge benefit.