How to Choose a Camping Stove

camping stove is a great way to enjoy a delicious meal during your outdoor camp adventures. Prepare a nice fully-cooked warm meal whenever you feel hungry in the wilderness. Campers will have their mini kitchen! Since there are different camping stove types, read below to know what camp stove best suits your cooking need.

Camping Stove Types

Although available in many types, the camping stoves are characterized into two main categories which include camping and backpacking stoves. As the name suggests, the backpacking stoves often come with one burner and portably designed for easy carrying while camp stoves are more massive and use fuel gas or liquid fuel.

Standard propane camp stoves 

The most common and widely sold campground stove is the standard propane stove. They are durably built with one or two burners that run on propane. A grille is often attached on top of it for the primary cooking during camping time. No more open campfire, as it runs on propane coming from separate propane tank connected to the stove via a hose. Thanks to the easy availability of propane fuel, the propane stoves are used for RVs, boats, caravans, canoe, and car camping. Also, the double burner stoves are perfect for cooking meals for a large number of people at the campground.

If you plan to feed 5-10 campers at the same time, a standard propane stove is the most suitable option. However, it is large and heavy, not designed for backpacking.

Pros

  • 2 burners
  • Versatile cooking
  • Durable rugged built
  • Affordable
  • Best for group campouts

Cons

  • Bulky and heavy
  • Requires propane canister
  • Not suitable for backpacking
  • Doesn’t work well in cold outdoor conditions

Canister backpacking stoves

The ease of setup, portability, and compactness of canister stoves makes them a popular option among hikers and backpackers. There’s no need to carry another separate fuel tank, as it features an attached pot, a mini stand, a burner, and a fuel canister that contain compressed and pressurized lightweight Isobutane. This backpacking stove boils water quickly in less than 2 minutes. Plus, among other camping stove types, the canister stove is inexpensive. Although compact canister stove is excellent for instant water boiling, to warm coffee or tea, and heat packaged meals, it is not intended for actual cooking.

If you plan to go on the kayak, float, canoe camping, or solo backpacking that need ultra-portable stoves to boil or dehydrate food packet, the canister stove is the right choice for all three seasons use except winters.

Pros

  • Quick setup
  • Portable and lightweight
  • No fuel leakage
  • Fast boiling

Cons

  • Compatible with Isobutane canister only
  • Doesn’t perform well in chilly weather
  • Not for Cooking

Liquid Fuel Stove

Unlike upright canister stoves, it uses an inverted canister that feeds liquid fuel into the stove without air or barometric pressure’s hindrance. The stove’s ability to use a wide range of fuels, including white gas, unleaded gasoline, jet fuel, kerosene, and fuel canisters, makes it versatile depending on fuel availability. Also, the liquid fuel stove works under all weather conditions and seasons. The wide base tripod also makes it stable on uneven surfaces and can hold larger pans or pots. The only downside is that it takes a little longer to set up, and it is a little heavy.

When it comes to winter season camping, mountaineering, or backpacking, the best choice is the liquid fuel stove since all other camp stove types are bad options for winter camping.

Pros

  • Versatile fuel compatibility
  • Works great in cold weather
  • Stable Tripod stand
  • Suitable to cook larger meals

Cons

  • Bulky
  • Time-consuming setup

Wood-burning stove 

Not in a mood to carry or pay for stove fuel? Another standard camping stove is the one that uses woods, twigs, sticks, leaves, pellets, and cardboard from the campsite as fuel to produce heat energy. If the fuel is readily available and dry, there’s no need to carry any fuel. The higher efficiency of wood stoves as compared to cooking over a campfire makes it a lot cleaner to use while cooking temperatures are easier to control. Also, some stoves convert heat energy from the fire into small usable electrical power to recharge your small electronic gadgets while the camper cooks.

Wood-burning stoves are gaining popularity as they are naturally fueled; why spend extra o stove fuel every time you go camping. An excellent choice for a campsite where dry woods and twigs are easily obtainable! However, it requires post-cooking clean-up and a fire ban in the camp area might obstruct stove’s usage.

Pros

  • No fuel carrying
  • Heat and electrical energy
  • Uses wood and twigs as fuel

Cons

  • Slow cooking time
  • Restricted in fire ban areas

What to look before buying a camping stove

With so many camping stove options in the market, it’s tricky to find the one that fulfils all your needs. In order to buy the right camping stove, consider some of the few things:

Size 

Size does matter! It all depends on the number of hungry campers. If there’s a need to cook a meal for about 5-8 people, one must buy a portable folding double burner stove with a compact tabletop. These stoves are lightweight and easily fit into the vehicle. Plus, a two-burner system lets two campers to cook at the same time or two meals to be prepared using one stove. A single-burner stove is enough for 2-3 people. When you plan to go on an extended camping trip, it’s better to have a large fuel canister and hose adaptor.

Weight 

Weight is also another significant factor when it comes to camping stoves. All camping stoves come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You have to consider weight and space depending on the duration of your camp trip and how much room you have in-car or pack.

Fuel type 

There are 2 fuel choices for camping stoves; liquid fuel and gas canister. Gas stoves are more common as they are more convenient and more comfortable to work with. Fuel type choice depends on the availability and what type of camping you’ll be doing. Liquid fuels work better in colder temperatures and at higher elevations. On the other hand, canister stoves tend to gum up and freeze in cold as the gas inside condenses.

Cooking requirement 

Another decision is what type of cooking you need to do. Suppose you require boiled water for freeze-dried meals, a canister stove with high heat output is the one you need. Cooking meals need the stove to have shimmer ability, a regulated stove or stove with an adjustable flame.

Location and weather

Another critical consideration to make is to think about weather conditions and the campsite. The temperature and pressure-sensitive nature of the canister stoves make it a poor choice for cold weather and mountaineering. Multi-fuel stoves can be used in any climate all year around. Although wood fuel can be found readily in all environments, the potential for wildfire makes wood-burning fuel is a big no in some camp areas or national parks.

Conclusion

Camping stoves are essential campground gear to prepare meals just like you do the in-home kitchen. Choose the right type of camp stove to enjoy warm food, even in the woods or wilderness.

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