Best Camping Stove

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Camping stoves are essential if you are planning on camping in the great outdoors for even a night! Even if you are wild camping right out in the middle of nowhere, you will need to eat during your time there! Camping stoves allow you to cook a wide variety of foods so that you can have warm meals throughout the day (and warm drinks as well!).

There is nothing better after a day outdoors, than being able to sit down to a warm coffee and a hot meal at the end of the day. Equally, waking up after camping overnight to a nice cooked breakfast really can make your camping trip. But choosing the best camping stove is crucial, otherwise you could find yourself with fresh food and nowhere to cook it – leaving you hungry and possibly even having to end your camping trip early!

Types of Fuel for Camping Stoves

There are three main types of fuel that you will have to choose from when purchasing a camping stove. There are pros and cons to them all so it is important to consider what is going to be right for you!

  • Solid Fuel – This includes things like alcohol gel, ‘hex’ blocks and other methods of solid fuel. The benefits of these methods are that they are safe and very easy to use, plus easy to carry with you between locations. However, they are known for being rather inefficient due to how slowly and unreliably they burn. This means that these types of fuels can also be hard to come by as they become less popular!
  • Liquid Fuel – These types of fuels include paraffin and unleaded petrol, plus propane and butane gas cartridges. This means that they are very readily available on the market and can be purchased from most garages or DIY shops. They are reliable and will work well in most conditions, including higher altitudes, so can be relied upon in difficult circumstances. This is crucial for if you are genuinely relying on your camping stove for survival whilst you are out in the wilderness! However, some of these fuel types can be heavy to carry if you are transporting all of your cooking and camping gear between different locations!
  • Gas Fuel – There are three main types of gas fuel that you will find for cooking stoves, including butane, isobutane and propane. They are fantastically efficient and can be relied on in most weather and altitude conditions. The one that is important to remember though, is that gas fuel will struggle to work in particularly low temperatures. For Isobutane and Propane you should be fine, as these work in as little as -11℃ and – 42℃ respectively, however butane will be ineffective at anything less than 0℃, so is not ideal for winter or high altitude camping.

Types of Camping Stoves

Now that you know the different fuel types that you will have to choose between when purchasing a camping stove, it is important to learn about the actual different types of camping stoves that are available to you! Again, there are 3 main types to consider, and which you choose will largely depend on the type of camping that you are going to be completing.

Backpacking Stoves

If you are going to be carrying your stove between different campsites, whether you are on a hiking or biking trip for example, then you will without a doubt need a backpacking stove. These are made to be as small and as lightweight as possible, whilst still being effective in their uses. There are a variety of different styles that are available on the market but they all do pretty much the same thing – heat your food using a small gas (or liquid) canister. The main downside to backpacking stoves is their small size does mean that they are far less powerful, so will be able to cook far less at once (or a lot slower!). But in saying this, I know that I would rather have hot food that has taken a while than cold food after a long day out walking!

There are two different types of backpacking stoves; personal cooking systems (PCS) and compact stove and pot combinations. Personal cooking systems are basically a burner that screws straight into the top of the gas canister, meaning that you have less to carry around with you, both in size and in weight. The main issue with these is that they don’t often have the flexibility of larger stoves so are usually suitable for boiling water but not much else (unless you want it burned!).

Compact stove and pot combinations are larger and heavier (although still designed to be as lightweight as possible) so will be more of a burden to carry around with you, however they do massively increase the flexibility in the amount of things that you can use them for. They will have a larger ring and usually a simmer option, meaning that they are much more similar to a standard gas hob (only smaller) so that you can cook a variety of things.

Car Camping Stoves

Car camping stoves are the perfect compromise for if you are wanting small and compact, but also easy and versatile to use, but they come with one main issue – you need a car! If you are planning on going hiking to your camping destination then these stoves aren’t for you, as they require the extension from your car to be able to function. However, if your car is going to be with you when you are camping then they really are perfectly designed.

Coming in various different sizes, there is one to suit every camper. Some have one ring whereas others have two or even three, meaning that you can cook a wider variety of meals as can have different pots on the go at once! There are even larger models that have a small grill included! They are still lightweight and will pack away to a nice, compact size if you have a lot of kit to take with you in your car. Car camping stoves are more expensive, due to their more complex functions and design but in our opinion, they are well worth the extra cost if it means that you can cook a full meal for your family when out cooking!

BBQs and Grills

It goes without saying that BBQs and grills are the much larger options for if you are camping, and are definitely only suitable for those people who are travelling to their campsite and quite probably going to be staying there for a period of time.

That said, there are many smaller BBQs and grills that are perfectly designed for camping situations, or even days out to the beach or park! They are usually light and small enough to be carried short distances, but then solid and large enough to be able to cook for enough people for the duration of your stay.

TOP TIP: It is important to make sure, no matter what style of camping stove that you purchase, that it is going to be safe and secure in the environment that you are using it in. Camping stoves can have devastating effects if left unattended or if they knock over when lit. 

Camping Stove Features

There are some additional camping stove features that you will need to consider before making your purchase. These will help to not only improve the efficiency of your stove but also the environments in which you can use them, which is crucial when you are hoping to use your stove in the unreliable British countryside.

  • Reflective Windshield – Some of the best camping stoves will come with windshields that are designed to reflect the heat that is escaping back towards the pot. This way they will increase the speed at which the pot will heat, by protecting it from the wind, and also allow you to use less fuel as your pot will heat faster.
  • Reflective Base Plate – A reflective base plate is to be used to reduce the heat that is lost through the ground on which your camping stove is placed. This will again help to increase the efficiency of the camping stove that you are using, and therefore preserve your precious gas.
  • Lighting method – Most stoves will have a “click” lighter (also known as a piezo igniter) making for easy lighting. However, they can be unreliable so it may be worth considering having matches or a flint and steel with you if your camping stove is going to be your only method of food!

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need specific pots for a camping stove?
This really depends on the type and style of camping stove that you purchase. Larger models will usually be able to work with any smaller pots. However, it could well be worth purchasing camping stove specific pots, so that you know they are going to be lightweight, considerate of space and compatible with the size of the ring on your burner.

How should I maintain my camping stove?
Your camping stove is likely to be travelling here, there and everywhere with you, so it is important that you look after it correctly! Failure to do this could leave you in a sticky situation! Make sure to thoroughly clean your camping stove after use, and keep it dry to avoid any rust forming on the metal components. It is also important to make sure that it is packed away safely with the gas (or other fuel) disconnected. Check this regularly to ensure that it is

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