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Can I Use a 1 lb. Propane Tank for a Gas Fire Pit?

Technically yes, but it won’t be easy–and you may find it’s not worth it.

We always get this question because many people love the idea of taking their fire pit on the road. They want an easy way to enjoy a fire when they go camping, hiking in the backcountry, or as a centerpiece for their football tailgate parties. 

And that does sound fun, but unless you can hire a sherpa or contract for a pack mule, who wants to lug around a 20 lb. propane tank? Even if you’re driving, a 20 lb. tank takes up space and presents safety considerations.

So that begs the question, “Can I use a 1 lb. propane tank instead?” It’s a fair question, but you probably won’t like the answers.

Problem #1

Your first challenge will be connecting your tank to a burner. It’s difficult to find an adaptor to connect the 1 lb. propane tank to a standard thread for a burner system.

Problem #2

Your next problem is the burner ring size. Fire pit burners range from 48,000 Btu/hr. to 294,000 Btu/hr.

Our smallest burner ring (6-inches) burns up to 48,000 Btu/hr. 

A 1 lb. propane tank contains approximately 21,500 Btu/hr. (a 20 lb. tank contains approximately 430,000 Btu/hr.). 

So, you can see that there is only enough fuel in a 1 lb. tank to run a 6-inch ring for about 30 minutes. If you keep the flame size down (and what fun is that?), you can extend this time a little bit.

However, if you really need to use a 1 lb. propane tank for a particular application (like something uber portable), you could consider using multiple tanks. It is possible to refill the smaller vessels from a 20 lb. tank.  

There are many propane refill adapters on the market that allow you to refill a 1 lb. camp stove propane bottle from a 20 lb. BBQ grill tank.  So, if you don’t mind lugging a few bottles along on your trip and changing the tank often, it is possible to extend your entertainment time.

Still, given the challenges and limited burn time of 1 lb. tanks, it might make sense to look for something else entirely.

YOU’LL GET less than 30 minutes of burn time from a 1 lb. camp stove propane tank connected to a 6-inch fire pit burner ring.


One alternative is a traditional campfire made with good, old-fashioned wood. It’ll give you that smokey, nostalgic feel of summer camp and fall bonfires. But it too presents some challenges and may not be allowed in certain venues.

Perhaps a more environmentally friendly compromise can be had with an engineered log such as those from Duraflame.  These are not too heavy to carry with you, and you won’t have to carry them back again. Most burn for several hours.  

Duraflame even makes an outdoor fire log, which is food-safe for roasting marshmallows and hot dogs. With a range of products, you should be able to find one to suit your needs.

Nod to Adventure

We applaud the pioneering spirits that want to take their fire pit party on the road, but there are some instances where it might not be worth all the trouble for a small ring of fire that burns for less than an hour.

Sometimes, it might just be better to have your day hike and then come home to a cold beer, a comfortable chair, and the great blaze of a fire feature you have crafted for your backyard.

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