Towable RV owner? Then you’ve probably needed to transport your rig’s LP cylinders in for a fill-up, while the RV stays put. It’s important to move them safely. The propane industry is emphatic: LP cylinders should be transported upright, and secured so they won’t fall, shift, or roll around. If you’ve ever tried transporting an LP cylinder in a pickup, you know how difficult it can be to wrangle the durn things. Here’s a do-it-yourself modification that can help you stay safe.
Uptight about upright?
Some wonder, what’s the big deal about transporting an LP cylinder upright? We’ve been at propane refill stations many times and watched folks just toss cylinders into the back of a truck or a car trunk, carrying them on their sides. The problem? The safety relief valve built into the top of the cylinder must be in “direct communication” with the vapor space at the top of the cylinder. If the cylinder is not upright, then it’s likely that the relief valve will be in contact, not with vapor, but liquid LP. That’s a problem.
If the safety valve were to “pop off” or open when in contact with liquid LP, then that liquid could gush out of the tank. Liquid LP will disperse in a greater quantity than the vapor, and the danger of fire is greatly enhanced. Keeping cylinders upright has a purpose. Tanks that are allowed to roam free can also get into trouble. While LP cylinders are relatively sturdy, they aren’t indestructible and impacting on something hard and sharp could allow LP release.
Keep it upright – keep it secure
RVing boondocker Frank Billington struggled with hauling his LP cylinders. He used straps, and they proved “unacceptable.” “They always work their way out of the straps,” observed the bothered boondocker. Frank set about implementing a solution to the LP cylinder carrying conundrum. His mod tackles the “keep it upright, keep it secure” directive neatly and in short order. Click any of the photos to enlarge for a better view.
Frank took a piece of 5/8” plywood and cut it to fit the rear-end of his pickup, stretching from side to side. The plywood serves as a solid footing for what holds the bottles in place: dual propane cylinder racks. You often see them installed behind the hitch of travel trailers. Frank found his on Amazon.com, and they price out at about $35. The racks often have several slotted holes punched in the bottom of their trays.
With rack in hand, Frank tells us, “I chose holes that lined up with the grooves in the truck bed, and carriage bolted them to the plywood from the bottom up. I ground off any of the bolt that protruded beyond the nut.” His purpose in this was to ensure the cylinder could sit down in the tray, and not rub bolt ends.
Frank adds, “No need to drill holes in the bed of the truck. The only time the bottles could possibly come out is if the whole sheet of plywood came out at the same time. That would only happen in a rollover, at which point you would have much more to worry about.”
The Brainy Billington sums up his clever contraption this way: “I found this worked really well as the bottles were firmly attached, yet easy to get at. It also leaves easy access to the back of the box to load other items, and then still be able to open and close the tailgate as needed.”
We say, “Tanks a lot, Frank!” for the great idea, and the photos.
Another easy and safe way to transport LP cylinders is in milk crates that are strapped or bungie-corded snuggly into the truck bed.