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California Set To Ban Single-Use Propane Cans For Camping

The Problem With Single-Use Propane Cans

Single-use propane cans have been a favorite with campers at Yosemite National Park for years. However, park rangers haven’t loved the 1 lb canisters nearly as much. They’re tasked with the job of picking up and disposing of used propane bottles.

Every year, campers leave behind thousands of the little forest green canisters. Some propane cans are disposed of in the appropriate recycling bin, and others pile up on the ground around trash recycling bins. Last year, park rangers and park employees crushed and shredded some 24,000 single use propane cans in a machine they purchased specifically for that task.

Safety hazards

Used propane cans are frequently thrown away in trash bins. Propane cans have to be carefully picked out of trash bins by park employees. There’s no way to know if a single-use propane can still contains propane. Because of this, it’s a safety hazard for workers when it comes to disposal.

Refillable propane cylinders

Two years ago, single-use propane cans were such a problem that Yosemite Park store stopped selling them altogether. Instead, they started stocking Little Kamper refillable propane cylinders. These are the 1 lb propane cylinders that are sold throughout California via exchange programs. When Little Kamper propane cans are empty, they can be exchanged for a full one. Click here to find out more about how this innovative propane cylinder exchange program works.

The program works a lot like the common exchange programs for 20 lb propane cylinders. The first 1 lb reusable propane can costs $22.00. After that, refilled cans are $11.00. Either way it’s a lot more than the cost of a Coleman or Benomatic single-use cylinder. People don’t seem to be throwing away nearly as many of these bottles at the park.

California to ban all single-use propane cans

In August, California passed a bill that will ban the sale of all single-use propane canisters by 2028. Those who violate the bill following the ban date will receive $500 per day fines for first offenses. Second offenses will net $1,000 per day fines, and $2,000/day fines will apply to all subsequent violations. The bill is the first of its kind to be passed in the US.

How will the ban affect campers at Yosemite National Park?

Many campers are worried about how the ban on single-use propane bottles will affect their camping trips. The truth is, that the ban on single-use propane cans probably won’t effect campers negatively.

Since 1 lb refillable propane bottles will still be available, campers will just have to get used to exchanging empty cylinders instead of disposing of them. The ban on single use 1lb propane cans is an environmentally responsible move that will create less waste and a safer working environment for Yosemite staff.

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Author Lynne Fedorick Avatar

Lynne Fedorick

Lynne lives, travels and works full time in the R-Pod 180 with 3 pointers and 1 small but vital corgi mix named Alice. Lynne began full time RVing as an experiment in 2019, but she quickly fell in love with the convenience, freedom and minimalist lifestyle offered by full time RV living. Lynne is a professional dog trainer, offering mobile and online dog training services through her website at You can read about her travel adventures on her blog at:

78 thoughts on “California Set To Ban Single-Use Propane Cans For Camping

  1. A question. We work in the homeless camps in Ohio and give the “campers” a little green propane tank weeks when it is freezing at night. Does anyone have info on access to the can crushers or shredders? We would be interested in such a resource.

    1. Those “single use” Coleman 1 LB propane can can be refilled. I’ve refilled mine several times. It’s easy. Just have a 20LB or 30LB propane can (like in RV’s) put the 1LB can in the freezer till it cold, use a propane regulator valve like this Turn the large tank upside down then connect all 3 pieces together.

      1. I seen people on YouTube refilling those 1 lb Coleman propane tanks using a 20 lb propane tank you have to listen for when the liquid to stop flowing when it stops flowing that means the tank is full, but you have to put the empty 1lb tank in the freezer for 15 minutes before you refill it.

  2. You can buy an adapter that allows you to refill the one pounders from a standard 20# tank for a few dollars from Amazon as well as other suppliers.

    1. Absolutely. Just keep the canister rust free and cap the valve end in storage. Once the valve leaks, it is over. Some canisters i have used 6-7 times before the valve leaked. 25 cents per use compared to 2.50. understand that you only get a 2/3 fill because of the low pressure of the small tank. Put the empty canister in your freezer 15 minutes before refilling to make it suck in more propane.

  3. Just more stupid laws to try to make it harder to enjoy our public land and keep us corralled in the cities for an easy round up.

  4. They are a total rip off and don’t last very long. Then end up in a landfill somewhere, I’m just fine with the ban! 👍

  5. The last time I bought the “little green bottles”, they were $7 each! That was incentive for me to install a connection to my RV system and run my grill from the “big tank” via new regulator for the grill. This also allowed me to provide much better temperature control on the grill. No more burning up dinner!

    1. Buy a refilling adapter and if you get a citation you can prove that your canister is not a single use canister. Case dismissed.

      1. Ya But the ranger is still going to cite you and you’ll have to go to court to prove it. Guilty until proven innocent.

        1. If you read the article, the ban is on the SALE of single use cans, not the use. And Yosemite is not banning the single use canisters, they just stopped selling them at the store in the park.

          No ranger is going to cite anyone for possession of a single use canister,

  6. As much as I hate California liberalism, this rule makes sense and a long time coming. I never thought of it, all those empty canisters. Wow.

  7. It’s truly a joke that’s on you California residents that just adds to the bottom line…DOLLARS that only make cents to the local politicians, just a money grab and if that’s your only option then deal with it. How is this planet ever going to last with these types of money hungry,dirty rotten scoundrels making all the rules that only help the rich get richer and our children’s futures get poorer…

  8. If you really wanted people to purchase the refillable propane bottles you would price them according you can purchase 2 one pound disposable tanks cheaper than what your asking to refill the 1 pound refillable

    1. Yeah, this is the most bizarre part to me, I just checked at Walmart and a 1 lb Coleman propane tank is $5.50, so the fact that I would be paying twice as much for something that should in theory be less expensive because I’m not buying the tank is kind of stupid, if it was like $3-$4 for a refill, I’d be all over it

  9. What if, just what if, California adopts a financial incentive for people to return the single-use canisters? You know, like they do for aluminum cans and plastic bottles. I guarantee if one camper doesn’t take it in, others will! This is how I am with recycling bottles and cans. If someone doesn’t want them, I’ll take them and get the $ for it. I even go to neighborhood parks to find bottles/cans there to take in. I’d gladly do it for the propane canisters.


  10. Yes, to echo what others have said here, people have already been refilling these for years. Don’t trust some company who will part you with your money for the “green” (pun partially intended) solution when you can do it yourself for a fraction of the cost. I like my own stickers on the tanks better anyway.

    1. I would be very careful about refilling those single use canisters, my uncle lost most of hands and was severely burned from one of those exploding while refilling it.

  11. Though my brother lives in California I will never live there. They are backwards in all that they do. Let’s put a bunch of food waste in a big pile to stop green house gas. Who’s getting paid for this. The only way to reduce green house gas from food waste is to collect the gas and burn it. By doing what they are doing is just making the green house gas release faster into the environment. With all the liberal policies in place it’s no wonder that there’s a trash problem in the parks. Look at all the liberal controlled cities and states and you will see the high crime rates , high unemployment, higher inflation, more homeless, less morals.

    1. Vermont has high crime rates? I didn’t know that, thanks.

      I didn’t know that conservative cities are crime free. Cool!

  12. Probably just a other tax scheme by the state. They probably charge a per cylinder license fee. Strange too, Yosemite is a National park so why is the State involved. Again, a taxable opportunity.

  13. People are not realizing how they are destroying this planet 🌎 mostly because of ignorance and no self discipline! It makes me sick to see beautiful beaches littered with diapers and all kinds of trash when there are trash cans only 50 feet away!! There should be a class everyone takes on the importance of saving this world!! Otherwise I would don’t know what is going to happen everywhere!! We are doomed!! But my life has been good! Im not internet savy! I don’t spend my time here! I live by older rules where we preserved our campspots and beaches by cleaning up always! Good luck stupid people ! All for ur kids and so on!! Ur dooming everyone!

  14. We built and sold a Propane Bottle Recycling machine a few years back to Yosemite, and if I understand correctly, Yosemite put it in their machinery bone pile. I tried over the last couple months to talk to a representative of the park to buy the machine back so I can repair it “if that’s what it needs?” I can’t get anyone at Yosemite to call me back. And then I can sell it to another park. We build the PBR recycling machines and have trouble finding customers to buy them. We are just a couple guys that tried to do the right thing, but we don’t have enough money to get it off the ground properly. Our machine collects the small amount of propane left over and it cuts the cylinders in half so they can be recycled for the steel and the propane is recycled. Great idea but can’t get it off the ground floor! Check out

  15. Get a refill adapter!!! You can get one for ten to twenty bucks. Then you just refill off the big tank!!! No more buying new cans!!! Been doing this for 3years and never once had a problem. Tip: turn big tank upside down then open the handle and both tanks will find an equilibrium!! You can fill a little cylinder for pennies on the dollar literally.

      1. I’ve never heard of anyone getting hurt by refilling the bottles. I think it’s just to reduce liability issues. It cost about $1 to refill a green bottle and about $5 if you buy a new can.

    1. Or get the adapter to just use an actual small propane tank that’s what I use and you won’t be aut of propane on your trip

  16. It seems like every solution to a problem presents a new problem. I moved away from the little green canister to the smaller refillable propane tank with a mast & a hose for the camp stove & lantern on top.
    With so many burn bans, instead of a coleman lantern in the campsite, I have solar lights. The problem is disposal of the little green canisters, who recycles them ?

  17. Instead of banning them why not have a deposit on them like aluminum cans to encourage recycling. These propane cans can be resused over and over. This is the problem with California … Yes I get the littering but an outright ban just hurts people who do recycle them and benefit from their use while camping.

      1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s just the sale of them in California that is being banned, not their use anywhere?

  18. All of these stupid regulations California does.. it’s no wonder why it is a crap show there. Just makes me not want to go to California.. ever.

    1. Then don’t come here.
      Who needs LAZY campers with no social responsinility ??
      Typical American entitlement syndrome.!!!!

    1. I hate that Yosemite is in California. Let’s petition that Nevada and California borders be changed so Yosemite is part of Nevada.

      1. You can buy a6foot hose that screws right to the white tanks for $25 dollars , I never buy the green bottle also you will also cau buy a wand that hooks to all stove for around $15 dollars . This hose also hooks to all Lanterns to.. so $40 dollars you will never buy a green tank again.

  19. They are banning sales. They aren’t banning use or possession are they? Can users refill the exchangeable ones at home like we can the other ones?

  20. Hi Lynne
    Please publish the fact that the one lb canisters are refillable .
    I bought an adapter on Amazon…. Can refill off a 20 lb can .. besides it’s much cheaper!

  21. First off, the Little Kamper exchange cylinders are ridiculously expensive, both the “deposit” purchase and the exchanges are way above a competitive market price. Second, the Little Kamper bottles are just FireKing self-fillable bottles. I purchased a set of them and the refilling equipment kit about a year ago; not because of California and it’s burdensome and invasive regulations, but because I didn’t like buying the Coleman canisters over and over again. Either way, while it is a nice idea to try to do away with one time use propane bottles, regulating it away won’t work. Refillable solutions, especially ones that can be done by the end user, have to be more affordable than disposable options for a change like this to come into effect.

  22. So because of a problem at one park, the entire state is forced to use the more expensive alternative.
    $11.00 for one pound of propane is outrageous. I wonder who made some campaign contributions? What is going to result is people are going to refill the single use bottles which is dangerous for everyone. Wait until one of those refilled bottles fails or causes an accident, then the genius legislators will ban all propane in Yosemite.

  23. The Coleman cannisters are easily re-filled from a standard 20lb tank. I know some say it is not allowed but it is very simple, safe, affordable and practical to do, while preventing these cannisters from having to be thrown out in the trash.
    This is the 1st I have heard of the Little Kamper 1 lb re-fillables, but have to say I would never use them because of the cost – ridiculous!.

  24. Got it covered. I will not be using propane in my conversion van, period. It costs more now than I care to pay, but that is immaterial to me as I had already decided to not use any long ago, mainly because I consider it is more dangerous and bothersome than I care to deal with.

  25. I have old canisters will they take the old canisters and replace for new ones like the little camper canisters? If so where do they take unused canisters?

  26. Sounds like a viable and needed program. BUT – what if an out-of-state camper -bringing in “green” propane can – will I be fined for just using what I bring into a campground ? Forced to NOT us green cans and have to buy “Little Kamper” propane cans ? Clarify ?

    Thank you —

  27. Buy a propane adapter to fit your 20lb tank to your 1lb can then you can refill your old empty 1lb propane can.
    I’ve been doing it for a few years easy and cheaper than buying new 1lb propane cans.
    If you must buy new
    Yosemite is close to Nevada.

  28. Those should have been banned years ago. California has the shittiest residents. I’ve been camping and traveling across the country and this is the worst along with the other West Coast states. That’s because all the liberal cunts relocated north. Now Oregon and Washington look just as dirty. If these fucking assholes would pick up their own fucking trash we wouldn’t have these problems.

    1. Instead of bad mouthing the entire West coast maybe you should go live in Palm Beach with your glorious leader. Your post is one of the most ignorant posts I have ever seen.

  29. I have been to Yosemite twice in the past backpacking several of the beautiful trails. We fly in from the eastern US and do so for one to two weeks at a time. Since most areas do not allow camp fires, which we would pass on anyway, we must use backpacking stoves for food preparation. Granted there are liquid stoves as well as cartridge ones but liquid stoves in my opinion are far more dangerous and messy. Since the airlines do not allow the canisters on planes we must purchase them upon arrival. This problem would apply for any of the wonderous backpacking trails in the state.
    I understand and sympathize with the problems they present, but how would we purchase the canisters since we would have to procure them on arrival? Backpacking tanks are generally much smaller than regular campers use.

    1. I have the same concerns about what backpackers are supposed to do. I normally carry a 3.53 can or a 8.11 oz can for my Jetboil stove. If we can refill those size cans, fine. But if not, are we supposed to carry the big cans??

    2. Iso-butane might be different. I have a pot grabber with my cook kit that also has a tool to puncture Iso-butane canisters to recycle them (Outdoor Element). I think a similar tool is needed for propane tanks to safely recycle them. Yes, nothing is safer than a regulated stove, you can’t use any other type of stove in CA parks and the PCT.

  30. Four times the cost for the first purchase, and twice the cost each refill….. Which politician(s) own the Little Kamper company, or the most stock in the company?

  31. More Newsome BS. Can’t buy denatured alcohol now for my backpacking stove, either. Oh, I’ll just use an electric stove…

  32. I can buy and properly dispose of the Coleman tanks for $10 for two tanks at just about any big box store or home improvement center. I can buy a tank from the sole approved contractor in California for $22 and then pay more than double the cost of two tanks to get it filled at one of the sole approved contractor’s locations for $11. Sorry, follow the money. I am not in California but I will still purchase and properly dispose of my Coleman tanks here in NY.

  33. We have been refilling the Coleman cylinders for years now It’s much more affordable and we have the 20# tank at home on the grill anyway. You have to buy a converter, but after that, it’s pretty easy. I don’t think we’ve thrown one out in at least 3-4 years. We’re in the upper mid-west, so no option like the Little Kamper, or I’d be all in!

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