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Buyers Guide For Camping Stoves
To prepare tasty meals and hot beverages while camping, a reliable and enjoyable stove is essential. There are many high-quality stoves available to make your outdoor cooking adventures a success, but not every cook has the same requirements. We have compiled the information to help you know what types of camping stoves are best for your cooking needs to narrow down your choices and assist you when making your purchase.
While you can’t bring all the amenities of home with you, roughing it doesn’t have to mean giving up on hot meals or even fresh coffee. A good camping stove can make you feel at home while you’re out in the wilderness, and they range in size and price quite significantly, so you’ll want to do some research before deciding on one. There are several factors to keep in mind when shopping for a camping stove, including fuel type, weight restrictions, and how much heat the stove produces.
Camping stoves come in a variety of shapes and sizes, offering numerous alternatives for cooking capabilities, fuel types, and cost. This guide will explore what features are important to consider when shopping for a camping stove and then review selections of some of the best camping stoves available for purchase.
What To Consider When Choosing
The question is, how do you choose the best camp kitchen equipment for your crew out of the many options available? Keep reading the considerations we’ve listed down below.
The “British Thermal Unit” is the standard measurement of heat capacity in the United Kingdom. In the context of camp stoves, it is a measure of both energy and temperature. An average residential gas range stove has 6,000-8,000 BTUs of total burner capacity (on average). The lower the BTUs, the less heat is required to cook. While a high BTU reading (over 10,000) indicates a high-temperature cooking environment.
Number of Burners
Two burners are standard on most best-sellers because that’s all most of us really need. In the same way that two stovetop burners working in tandem can speed up the cooking of most meals, this is also true in a restaurant kitchen. It’s also a more versatile option than the single burner, although it sometimes an appeal for camping. Furthermore, three-burner stoves are available for use when catering to a large group.
In contrast to backpacking, car camping doesn’t require as much attention to weight and size, but it’s still wise to think about storage and portability. When working on a large project, a heavy-duty stove is the best option, while smaller, lighter stoves are more convenient for transport.
Fuel Type and Capacity
Most of the stoves we reviewed have a propane tank that holds one pound. Butane is used by a select few. A one-pound canister will usually provide enough fuel for three or four meals, though this will vary depending on the size of your family and the heat setting of your stove.
Pasta can be cooked quickly and easily on a blazing 20,000 BTU burner, but dishes that require more finesse will benefit from a stove with good simmer control. For this reason, steady fuel regulation and a robust flame at low temperatures are essential. Although it is not usually listed in the specifications, a high-end model will usually perform better in a simmer. Even if you’re only using a small amount of heat, a good windscreen can help you keep the fire going.
It’s important to consider the frequency and intensity of stove use, such as during cold weather. The greater your potential range of travel, the greater the possibility of experiencing severe weather and wind.
You probably don’t want to find out on a 10-day camping trip along a gusty coast whether or not your stove can withstand wind. See if the stove comes with or has the option for a windscreen and do some research on the brand’s reputation. Stoves with higher BTU capacities perform better in both wind and cold, which is especially important if you live in a windy region.
Camping trips are typically taken with the intention of appreciating nature. This includes, of course, taking pleasure in the classic camping activities of relaxing in pleasant surroundings and savoring tasty camp cooking.
Having the capacity to boil water is a must for any camp stove. When using a specific stove, water can boil in as little as three minutes, while on another it can take up to ten. While the speed at which water boils on a stove is certainly an indicator of its quality, this is not necessarily indicative of its overall superiority. You might have to give up some boil time in exchange for features like portability or an electric starter.
Types of Camping Stoves
You can choose a camp stove that works best for your needs, depending on how and where you plan to use it while camping. Some are more suited to RV camping, while others are more convenient for backpacking trips or day trips. The most popular varieties of camp stoves are described below.
Classic Double Burner
Coleman’s two-burner propane stove has been a go-to for generations of families and Scout troops camping in the front country. Their durability and ease of use ensure that they will continue to function even after being stored in a garage for several years. When problems do arise, they are usually simple and inexpensive to fix, such as cleaning the burner orifices with a safety pin.
Because of their portability, compactness, and simplicity, canister stoves are widely favored by backpackers. Compressed fuels like butane and propane fit into small canisters that screw directly into the stove. The simplest of meals, like oatmeal or instant noodles, can be prepared in a small pot on one of these stoves. However, these stoves are not as effective in cold weather, and the fuel canisters are not reusable even though they are recyclable.
These stoves are more versatile than others because they can use a variety of fuels, including white gas, unleaded gasoline, and kerosene. Because of their efficiency in extremely cold weather and at altitude, as well as their greater accessibility in foreign countries compared to gas canisters, these fuel sources are frequently chosen for high-altitude, out-of-the-way expeditions. The downside of using these fuels is that they require more upkeep than canisters do, and liquid fuel can be messy to decant into the correct bottle.
There’s also a newer style of camping stove that’s great for both backpacking and car camping: a wood-burning stove. The stoves run on natural materials like twigs and leaves, saving you money on fuel (though some models are also compatible with wood pellets and charcoal briquettes) while giving you the experience of cooking over an open fire with much more precision and safety.
The simplicity of their operation makes them a viable option for campers in areas where open fires are prohibited. The only drawback is that, similar to campfires, finding dry kindling could be challenging if you’re camping in the rain.
These units are as portable as a large water bottle and contain everything you need to cook: a pot, burner, fuel canister, stand, and lid. Faster than two minutes, they can bring a full kettle of water to a boil. Even though it is possible to prepare full meals on such a stove, most people limit themselves to reviving coffee grounds and rehydrating meal packets. Is there anything else a hiker needs to survive in the wilderness?
There are solar-powered designs which again can’t compare to the ease and dependability of conventional models but do allow for fuel-free cooking under the right conditions.
Long-distance hikers frequently opt for alcohol-burning stoves due to their portability and low weight. Although they take much longer to bring water to a boil than canister stoves, these stoves are easy to use, reliable, and long lasting. These are straightforward, secure, and efficient stoves, typically featuring a simmer ring for finer temperature regulation and a fuel-saving screw lid.
How We Chose Our Top Picks
Your choice of camping stove should reflect your individual tastes, financial constraints, and the nature of your camping trip. We polled more than a dozen seasoned campers and camping experts for their best advice and stove recommendations to help you make the right choice for your outdoor kitchen. Reviews from customers, who may or may not be picky eaters but are certainly picky about their kitchen equipment, were also carefully considered.
What is the best fuel source for camping stoves?
Even though propane is the superior fuel for most outdoor activities, we really like the convenience of the isobutane and propane blends that are often found in backpacking-style canisters. Even though campfire cooking has its advantages, it is not always permitted due to high fire risk in the summer.
Should I use a butane or propane camping stove?
Butane and propane each have their advantages and disadvantages. Both are pressurized gases, or gases that have been compressed to the point where they exist in a liquid form. To a greater extent, butane’s performance suffers in cooler temperatures. Tanks for propane are available in a wide range of sizes. You can find propane in most grocery stores, hardware stores, and home improvement centers throughout the country.
Can I use my camping stove without an aluminum table?
Most camping areas have picnic tables where you can set up your camp stove at a workable height, but not all of them are situated in ideal spots for outdoor cooking. And the picnic table could come in handy for a meal. If you’re going camping, it’s good to have a few options for a makeshift table. Why does it have to be aluminum, anyway?
In addition to being lightweight and long-lasting, aluminum tables also prevent damage from being done by placing hot dishes directly on them.
How many BTUs should my camping stove have?
One’s intended use for the camp stove is a determining factor. A camp stove with 10,000 BTUs per burner would be sufficient for most people. The extra BTUs will come in handy when feeding a sizable crowd. A word of caution, though. If you’re not careful, the higher BTUs will scorch your food or the bottoms of your pans. Don’t forget that higher BTUs mean quicker fuel consumption.
Making decisions based on theory is much easier than doing so in practice. Learn from other campers’ experiences online, especially if their camping preferences align with your own. The glowing recommendations of a family of five who camp in their car may not be relevant to your needs on the Appalachian Trail.
We’re confident that you’ll get a lot of use out of whichever camping stove you decide to purchase, and no matter where you travel too.
Don’t forget to look for critiques from reliable sources. Even word of mouth is effective (only credible ones). Inquire around, especially if you know someone with a reliable camp stove that has stood the test of time. A better idea is to ask that friend if you can borrow their camp stove, or even better, to go camping with them so you can observe the stove in action while spending quality time with them in the great outdoors.