STEPS : RV Hook Up External Propane Tank (Pictures)

STEPS : RV Hook Up External Propane Tank

When you go camping, one of the most important things to know is how to connect up a propane tank so that you can have a source of heat and cooking.

There are many different ways to do this, depending on what type of hot water heater or cook top you use in your RV. Some people opt for the burner style camp stoves, while others prefer the safer electric options.

Either way, here’s how to hook up an external propane tank to an RV.

How to hook up external propane tank to your RV


It is very important to hook up the external propane tank correctly in order to avoid any safety hazards.

What You Need

The first step is making sure that you have:

  • External propane regulator
  • Hose
  • Shut-off valve
  • Hose
  • And of course a propane tank with high quality fittings from which you can connect the hose.

What Type Of Hose?

There are two types of propane hoses: “hard” and “soft.” The hard hose is used for 20 lb tanks like those found at gas stations.

The soft hose is used with larger LP bottles that you might use at a cabin. What you’ll need depends on the size of your RV’s propane tank and the type of connection you need to make with it.

For example, if your RV has an adapter for connecting up to a 20 lb tank, then you’ll only need the hard hose. This is commonly called a “camper” connector because it can hook up directly to camper tanks or larger storage tanks that are kept at camp sites.

You’ll also want a quick-coupler so that it can be disconnected when not in use. Another option is to leave it connected and just turn off the propane flow from time to time – this will keep air from building up inside your gas line which could cause pressure problems.

To connect to an RV’s larger propane tank, you will need a soft hose and quick-coupler as well. These tanks usually have the DIN fitting and it is this that connects up to the propane lines of your RV.

The hose itself will either be grey or white and made of braided steel cable that resists breaking. While these are very strong hoses, they can still be punctured so keep them away from sharp objects when in use.

Place Your Propane Tank

The most important thing with all types of propane hook ups is proper positioning because a leak could cause serious damage or even start a fire if not handled properly.

So always ensure your propane bottle is placed on level ground where it won’t roll, tip over or be knocked. Further, ensure the propane supply hose doesn’t run across the ground where it could get snagged on something and become damaged.

Propane tanks should also be inspected regularly for damage to the cylinder from dropping or scraping against objects. If there is any indication of a leak you must replace your tank immediately because storage of propane in an unsealed tank is illegal.

When You’re Ready To Hook Up

Once you’ve verified that your external propane tank is hooked up properly and is not leaking, now it’s time to turn on the fuel flow so that gas will reach your RV’s burner or electric hook up point.

Again, this requires either a quick-coupler or camper connector to connect the propane supply hose into your RV’s gas line. This is usually located under the kitchen or bathroom sink, depending on which system you have in your RV.

Tee Connection

It seems commonly thought amongst RV’ers both knowledgeable and those who aren’t that two 20 pound propane bottles should be connected together via a tee fitting and run off one regulator … but I’m not so sure.      

I’m in the camp that thinks you should never “tee” your lines – or put more than one regulator between the tank and appliances as there is a greater chance of CO 2 leaks , not to mention possible regulator failure and propane pouring out with no where for it to go causing potential ignition when you don’t want it to. 

Even if it doesn’t ignite, just imagine what your lungs will feel like if some of this propane gets sucked inside to be reburned.

Can you hook an external propane tank to RV?

Yes ,If you’ve got a permanent propane supply nearby, live in a state that doesn’t allow trailers with their own tanks, or want to take an extra-long winter trip without having to refill your RV’s tank…you can you put an ordinary 20 lb propane tank.

How do you fill a propane tank without moving an RV?

It’s really easy to fill up your propane tank at most any RV park or campground.

You just drive into their large fenced in area (they usually don’t allow “tanks” into their regular customer parking spaces for safety reasons) where they’ll plug your hose into their pump instead of coming onto your rig (for safety reasons).

When you’re done, it’s just a matter of unhooking from the propane source, then drive your rig out and go.


If you use a lot of propane or your RV is to small to fit in a propane tank ,installing a external propane tank can solve your problems.

As you saw its very easy with a few parts and tools.

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