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How to Hook Up an External Propane Tank to Your RV in 4 Steps

Written by Philip Lopez / Fact checked by Paul Lemaire

how to hook up an external propane tank to your rv

One of my fears when boondocking is to have my propane gas run out in the middle of winter. I don’t want to drive all the way to a propane dealer, so finding an easy camper propane hookup is a blessing. If you feel the same, make sure you know how to hook up an external propane tank to your RV to have a smooth RV trip.

All you need is a propane kit to connect a cylinder to your RV tank. Consider running a longer hose if the propane receptacle is far from the camper.

Let’s elaborate on more details on the process below.

Table of Contents

What to Prepare


  • Propane adapter kit, like the Extend a stay propane kit
  • Wrench
  • Soapy water or gas detector

For large propane hookups

  • Extension propane hoses
  • A regulator that’s 10 psi or below
  • Fittings (to connect the hose for the propane tank to the extension)

Step-by-step Instructions


1. Install Extend A Stay Propane Kit

Open the propane compartment of your RV. Here, you’re going to see the propane fill knob, propane tank gauge, and on/off valve.

  • Close the valve completely to stop the flow of propane.
  • Use a wrench to disconnect the valve from the regulator and make space for the propane adaptor.
  • Insert each side of the adaptor between the on/off valve and the regulator.
  • Tighten the RV external propane tank adapter using the O-rings.
  • Close all connection caps when not in use. Use a wrench to tighten those down carefully.

2. Connect External Propane Tank

Now, it’s time to hook up the external propane tank to the propane adapter. The common tank sizes are 20 lbs or 30 lbs.

  • Use a wrench to loosen the plug of the inverted flared connection intended for the RV propane hookup.
  • Unscrew the fitting the rest of the way using your hand and set it aside. In some models, you’ll have a little rubber grommet that can be used to store the fitting.
  • Get the hose that will be used to hook up to your propane tank and connect it to the opening of the outflow connection. Tighten the connection with a wrench.
  • Finally, connect the propane tank to the other end of the hose tightly.

Watch how to link an external propane tank to your camper in this video.

3. Hooking Up Larger Propane Tanks

You might need to run a long hose connection if you want to hook up a large propane tank to camper that’s far away from the propane compartment.

  • Fit the kit’s supplied propane hose to the adapter, then connect an extension hose to reach the location of the 100 lb or 500 gal of propane tanks.
  • Use the right fittings to ensure that the propane grill style connection links to the standard propane hose connection properly.
  • At this point, you’ll have two regulators – one on the propane tank and another near the Extend-a-stay (both will likely be 9.5” – 13” WC regulators). Remove the regulator out of the tank to keep the propane flowing.
  • Install a new regulator on the large propane tank to drop the pressure and prevent freezing the lines during winter.

4. Check For Gas Leaks

Before you use the RV external propane connection, check for leaks.

  • Get a spray bottle of a gas leak detector or make a soapy water solution of 50% liquid dish soap and 50% water.
  • Turn the propane tank valve to the on position and spray or apply the solution into the little connections of the propane adapter.
  • If you see any bubbles, there’s probably a gas leak. Tighten the connections again to seal them.
  • Continue spraying until you get no bubbles.


Now that you know how to hook up an external propane tank to your RV, you can go camping with an easy mind. You don’t need to worry about looking for a propane dealer in the middle of nowhere.

Let us know your experience of linking an external propane tank to your camper. You can also share this helpful guide with your friends if you like it.

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