Do Camping Propane Tanks Expire? How to Dispose of a Propane Tank?

Do you have an older camping propane tank and are not sure if it is still good? Read on to more about camping propane tanks expiry, how to check propane tanks and safety tips

Do Camping Propane Tanks Expire?

Yes. Camping propane tanks have expiration dates on them. They are usually a year, but it varies depending on the location and brand.

It is important to remember that they will expire because as the gas expands and cools in the tank over time, propane content decreases. Eventually, the expansion of this gas could cause an explosion or a fire hazard within your camper or RV.

How can you tell how much propane is left in the tank?

The best thing for you and your family is to check your tank before it expires. These tanks can be checked by taking the following steps:

  1. Turn off the propane valve and remove the tank from the tank base. This will ensure that there is no gas flowing out of the pipe leading to your camp kitchen.
  2. Remove the cap on top of your tank, but DO NOT remove it completely from its socket. This will ensure that there is no gas trapped in the tank when you check it.
  3. With a hose attached to the tank, measure how much propane is in the tank.
  4. Calculate how many gallons your propane tank holds by dividing the amount of propane by 1.06 kilograms per gallon. (1 pound of propane has a density of about 1/1,600 g. or 1.06 kg/l or 0.2454 US liquid gallons).
  5. If the tank is full, simply replace the cap and turn on your propane valve in its socket. If there is less than a one-quarter tank of gas left, you need to purchase a new propane tank before it expires and replace your old one with it.
  6. After you finish checking your tank, refill your propane tank.

When you head out camping, be sure to have a second propane tank with you so that if your first run out and you do not have an alternative vehicle’s gas line hooked up, then one of your extra tanks can be hooked up to keep the kitchen fires burning. Be sure to check your tanks often and refill them as needed.

How to Properly Dispose of a Propane Tank?

When you are done with your tank and it is empty, do not throw it in the trash can! Smaller tanks can be dismantled and disposed of at most propane dealers.

Larger tanks need to be disposed of by professionals. Your local propane dealer or fire department should be able to refer you to a company that specializes in disposing of large propane tanks.

You should also know that propane tanks are dangerous to dispose of in a regular garbage can because car exhaust will get mixed in with the fuel, creating a serious fire hazard.

To safely dispose of your propane tank, you should find at least one nearby waste transfer station (there may be more than one in your area) that will accept these containers and mail you a bill for the service. The cost is usually about what you pay for an empty tank.

If you do not have a waste transfer station in your area, contact your local trash removal company to ask if they will take the tank or recommend one that will. NEVER discard an empty tank with household trash.


Camping propane tanks do expire. They typically have a one year expiration date on them, but the date can vary depending on the brand and location of purchase.

It’s important to remember that these tanks will expire because they expand and cool over time and as a result, the propane content decreases. Eventually, this expansion could cause an explosion or fire hazard in your camper or RV.