My gas bottle ran out last night. In the middle of cooking dinner. Luckily, I have a backpacking stove so I could finish it off (egg fried rice with extra veg).
This is only my second time changing my bottle, and it was almost as much palarva as thr first.
When I installed the bottle, I was living at my friends house, and using a lot of her tools. Including an adjustable wrench, which is required to tighten the screw connector on the gas regulator (thats the thing that manages the flow of gas from your bottle to your appliances, if you didn’t know). All was dandy.
Then after 10 weeks of full time living, the bottle ran out. I’d been expecting it for weeks, as google told me it would last 6-8 weeks. So, I scoped out places to swap it, and the garage I do my laundry at, also does bottles… Score!
Before heading there, I figured I’d clear the space in front of the gas locker, and may as well disconnect the bottle while I was at it.
This is when I realised that I had returned the adjustable wrench, when I left my friends place, and had no way of disconnecting the bottle. Doh!
After a fair bit of swearing, and calling myself an idiot, I repacked the back of my van and headed to B&Q (a hardware store in the UK, for anyone from elsewhere).
Needless to say, an adjustable wrench was aquired. And, yes, I did check that it was the correct size to do the job, before I left the car park.
I rarely see van-lifers explain how to actually swap a gas bottle, probably because it becomes second nature after a while. But I was rather nervous that first time, (thanks, Anxiety).
I pulled in to the garage, in the pouring rain no less, and parked up in a bay off to the side. Did I go in and pay? Did I take the empty with me? Did I need to do an anti-rain dance to get the guy at the counter to come to me?
Biting the proverbial bullet. I wandered in and spoke to the chap. He was lovely. Advised me that they had no ‘stock’ unless it was a swap, which it was. I payed (£36.95) and he handed me a key. With a grin, he said he wasn’t going out in the rain, and I could get myself a full bottle out of the cage, and tuck my empty between them. Trusting much? Admittedly, he could see me from the shop, but still.
It was easy. Wet, but easy. I returned the key to him, and lugged my shiny new bottle to the back of my van.
Installing it was as easy as the first time, unscrew safety lid, screw in regulator, tighten with my trusty wrench, heave into the gas locker, strap it in, turn it on.
You’d think, after all that, the second time would be easier. Today I wanted to do a bottle swap and laundry, so its a two-for-one kinda day.
Like last time, I figured I’d make life easier and clear the locker and disconnect the bottle.
Guess what I couldn’t find? Anywhere?
Thats right, the bloody adjustable wrench!
I pulled out all the boxes, searched through my tools, but it was nowhere to be found. (I did find a mouse nest, so I know where Lil’ Bastard lives)
I have absolutely no idea what happened to it. I’m guessing its in the place other lost things vanish to.
A unexpected trip to B&Q and another wrench purchase later, and I am sitting in the garage lot, with a new gas bottle, waiting on laundry.
Lesson of the day: always put your tools away properly. And have a back-up plan, just in case (i.e a second way of cooking).
I promise, this blog will eventually be about hiking and/or fitness. But its also about life, and I definitely feel like I’ve been weight lifting today…
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