Best Camping Stoves: Prepare a Dish Anywhere
Cook all your favorite meals in the great outdoors with these powerful camping stoves
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BY Scott Roepel / LAST UPDATED ON October 13, 2019
If you are planning a camping trip, you don’t have to live off nuts, dried fruit, and canned food the entire time. You can bring the comforts of home to the great outdoors by purchasing one of the best camping stoves. They allow you to cook and heat up meals quickly and conveniently. We list some of the top camping stoves to consider before setting off into the wilderness.
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Benefits of Camping Stoves
- Portability: Camping stoves are designed to be taken anywhere and placed on any non-flammable flat surface. Most fold up small and are easy to take along on a camping or road trip, even a tailgate party.
- Variety: You no longer have to stick to roasting hot dogs on a stick while enjoying nature. Anything you can cook on a stove at home can be cooked on a camp stove.
- Convenience: Camping stoves are easy to start, easy to use, and easy to clean. They run on butane or propane, so you don’t have to rely on having dry wood and a fire pit for a campfire to cook dinner.
Types of Camping Stove
Backpacking style camping stoves offer the ultimate in portability. These small burners screw on top of a fuel cell and provide plenty of cooking power for backwoods expeditions. Most are capable of using several types of fuel cells, so finding a backpacking stove that works for you should be easy.
Stand-style camping stoves are an excellent choice for heavy use at a semi-permanent site. Comparable to a BBQ grill in its setup, a stand grill is at home at a tailgate party or in a campground while cooking meals for several people at a time. They usually feature an open-top style, so cleaning them is simple.
Tabletop versions of the camping stove are self explanatory. These versions often pack up into the size of a briefcase, and are placed on flat surfaces like a picnic table or rock. Some manufacturers market collapsible stands to accompany these stoves, making them ideal for a range of scenarios.
Coleman was founded in 1900 and is headquartered in Chicago, Ill. The longtime camp gear supplier produces a wide variety of products for outdoor enthusiasts, and offers several camping stoves including this Coleman Portable Bottletop Propane Camp Stove with Adjustable Burner.
This Cache Valley, Utah based company has been around since 1990. Camp Chef produces a complete line of products for the outdoor cook, making it possible to produce a meal on par with any indoor kitchen. Check out this Camp Chef Pro60X Bundle.
Another Utah company, Blackstone Products in Logan was founded in 2005. They also produce a wide range of products for cooking in the great outdoors. Products like this Blackstone Single Burner Camp Stove are an ideal addition to the campsite.
Camping Stove Pricing
- $50 and under: This range includes mostly single burner, backpack-style stoves, but some double burners can be had. They’re smaller and more portable and offer flexibility for getting off the grid.
- $50 to $100: There are lots of choices in this range, from high-tech backpackers to powerful tabletop styles. You’ll also start seeing stand-type stoves in this range.
- $100 and up: Tailgate party, here we come. Once you break the $100 mark, stand stoves and tabletops come with more bells and whistles for convenience and ease of use.
Variable Flame Output
It’s important that the stove that you choose has the ability to control flame output. You won’t cook a steak at the same temperature you’d cook pancakes, so having the ability to alter heat output is key. Most stoves regulate temperature by use of a valve but make sure your choice comes with quality valves that allow accurate adjustments.
Most stoves have the ability to run on butane and butane-propane mixes, but some may only fasten to certain bottles or fixtures. It’s important to get a stove that allows flexibility when selecting fuel because you could find yourself in a situation where only one type is available. If your stove is fuel-type-specific, you may be out of luck.
Outdoor kitchens can be as customized and personal as their indoor counterparts. Having a stove from a company with a wide range of products and accessories available for it may be important. Accessories like stands, tools, and modular add-ons are a nice feature if your stove’s manufacturer can support them.
- Safety: There are a lot of products available that may appear affordable at first. It’s important to consider how well these products are made and if saving a few dollars is worth it. Our recommendation is to purchase from a well-established company that has a history of making quality products so you know they’ll be as safe as possible.
- Intended Use: Stand-style stoves are excellent for a seasonal campsite or the aforementioned tailgate party. They aren’t convenient for a backwoods hunting trip or a hike down the Appalachian Trail. A backpack style would serve better for those applications. Think of what you intend to use your stove for the most, and choose the right style.
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- Be careful when cooking with flames outdoors. Keep the stove away from anything flammable and off the ground if possible.
- Stay near the stove to monitor it while it cooks and heats up your food. This will ensure that your food is not over or undercooked.
- Put the stove somewhere away from the tent when you are done using it. The smell may attract animals.
Q: How do I clean a camping stove?
A: Wait until the stove is completely cold, the flames are off, and the propane is disconnected. Then take a wet rag or cloth and wipe down the burners and stove. You can either let it air dry or use a dry cloth to dry it.
Q: Do I need special cookware for a camping stove?
A: It depends on the type of stove you purchase. The majority of stoves will be able to handle standard cookware like pots and pans, while smaller, more compact ones will require or come with their own special hardware.
Q: How much propane does a camping stove use?
A: It varies. Those that feature more burners will use more propane, while smaller ones will use less. It will also depend on how long you cook. They generally all use a smaller propane tank, and the hose is rated to fit a certain size of tank and regulator valve.
Consider the Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner Stove if you want a large camping stove capable of cooking all sorts of meals.
There’s also the budget-friendly Stansport Single Burner 10,000 BTU Propane Stove, which is very stable with excellent flame control.