Recent Calor gas cylinder shortages have been well documented; increased demand throughout the pandemic, a growth in self-build leisure vehicles, whilst maintenance issues and staff shortages at key depots have all led to supply chain issues over the last couple of years.
If you've tried to get hold of a 4.5kg or 7kg Calor butane gas bottle, you've likely been met with a shake of the head from your usual supplier. J. R . Hartley made fewer calls in the 80s than we did when trying to source some of the popular smaller-capacity cylinders last year.
To help reduce the impact some of the issues have caused, Calor has announced that they will be streamlining their offering from 1st February 2023.
What cylinders are being discontinued?
The following cylinders are being discontinued from 1st February 2023:
Why are these sizes being discontinued?
Paul Downes, Calor's National Account Manager for the leisure and hospitality sector, says, "Improving our cylinder service is a priority. Our existing range of cylinders is creating complexity within our supply chain. This means longer change over times and reduced filling capacity on high-volume key sizes. That's why we've taken the difficult decision to reduce our cylinder range, simplifying the business. We realise this change will affect customers that rely on these sizes, but we know these changes are necessary to improve our cylinder service significantly."
What if I have one of these bottles?
So, what can you do if you already have one of the sizes that are being discontinued? Assuming bottle dimensions (and weight) aren't an issue, alternative capacity cylinders are available, often without swapping regulators. Those looking for a 4.5kg Butane could be offered a 7kg Butane, and those looking for a 3.9kg Propane could swap to a 6kg Propane. If that doesn't suit you, then the Campingaz range might have a suitable alternative.
Current Cylinder Size
New Regulator Required
Yes - See below for further guidance
6kg Lite Propane
*7kg Butane will not fit the "Cube Heater"
What if I need to change my regulator?
If you currently have a 4.5kg Butane cylinder, you'll need a new regulator to switch to a 7kg Butane bottle. We always recommend using a gas-safe registered engineer when changing regulators, though Calor has produced a helpful YouTube video.
What if I'm restricted to a 4.5kg butane bottle?
If you are restricted on cylinder size due to space limitations, you might be able to swap from a Calor 4.5kg Butane cylinder to a Campingaz 907 bottle.
This bottle does have a smaller capacity at 2.72kg but is the largest Campingaz offer at 20.3 x 23.5cm. They weigh around 6.5kg when full and hold enough gas to run a double-burner stove for approximately 8 hours.
You will need to change from a Calor regulator to a Campingaz regulator, and these are readily available with or without an attached hose. Again, we recommend you consult a gas-safe registered engineer when changing regulators.
A Gaslow refill at a garage forecourt works out to around 50% of the cost of a Calor swap; however, there is a higher initial outlay for the bottle or for the purchase and professional installation of a system. So you might need to do some maths before taking the plunge.
A further advantage is that these bottles can be refilled throughout Europe (subject to having the correct adaptor), and you don't need to wait until the bottle is completely empty.
Flogas is a bottle-swap alternative, and they offer a couple of lighter options, with their 5kg and 10kg Gaslight options being popular alternatives for caravanners and motorhomers. These bottles take a 27mm regulator and are translucent, allowing you to see the remaining gas level.
Flogas also offer a 3.9kg propane bottle and a 4.5kg butane bottle, which may provide you with a suitable direct swap for the discontinued smaller Calor bottles.
If you're a year-round camper, then you're probably already aware of the limitations of butane once the thermometer heads below zero. The boiling point of butane is -2 °C (28.4 °F). This means that the closer you get to 0° and below, the harder it is to produce a gas vapour.
There is more at play than just the ambient temperature; humidity, bottle construction, and the amount of gas used all play a part in the performance of your appliance's efficiency. By comparison, the boiling point of propane is -42°C (-43.6 °F) In short, if you camp or caravan year-round, then it's likely that propane would be a better option for you.
LPG percentage mixtures by country.
LPG purchased from a pump at a UK or Ireland garage will generally be 100% propane, whereas elsewhere in Europe, this can be a mix of propane and butane. Furthermore, this can vary by season to allow for proper vaporisation.
If you're looking for LPG on the continent, you may need to look for GPL (in French, it is “gaz de pétrole liquéfié” and in Spanish, it is called “gas licuado de petróleo”.)
Rob is the General Manager at Alan Rogers Travel Group, he is responsible for the ongoing development of the Alan Rogers website and publication of the Alan Rogers Guides.
He has been involved in the leisure industry since completing a BTEC in Travel & Tourism in 1993. Previous roles have included the promotion of tourism in Yorkshire and running a motorcycle touring company in the Australian Outback.
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