Although camping is designed to give us a sense of returning to our natural roots, that doesn’t mean that we have to forgo some of the more modern conveniences of everyday life. While we do have to “rough it” in a variety of ways, cooking shouldn’t be something that we have to struggle to do when we’re out in the woods. Sure, there is something to be said for roasting your meal over a roaring fire, but there are only so many dishes that can be prepared in such a way.
So, what is your best option to ensure that you can make great meals while out in nature? A camping stove, of course. The best camping stove allow you to control your flame as you would with a barbecue, meaning that you can roast meats, cook soups, or do anything else you want, provided that you have enough fuel.
Today we’ll look at some of the best camping stoves available, as well as go over the most important factors when looking at them, so you know which one will be the best option for you. Happy cooking!
How to Choose – Best Camping Stove
As we’ve seen, propane is by far the most common fuel used in camping stoves, but that doesn’t mean you have to buy a model that runs on propane. While this substance does give you far more control over your heat output, it is limited and can run out quickly if you’re not careful. For our money, we recommend buying a stove that can use alternative fuel sources if you plan on camping for up to a week or more. However, if you are doing a weekend excursion, then a propane model will be perfectly suitable for your needs.
If you’re not familiar with BTUs, the acronym stands for British Thermal Unit, and it is the measurement of raising the temperature of a pound of water by a single degree. Thus, one BTU will increase the water temperature by one degree.
As we’ve seen, many camping stoves provide over ten thousand BTUs of heat, meaning that you can boil water much more rapidly than over an open flame. If you want to make your cooking more efficient, then we suggest getting a model with a higher output. However, if you don’t want to go through so much propane, then opt for a unit that produces less heat.
While heat and fuel are important, size certainly does matter when picking out a camping stove. Not only do you have to make sure that you get one big enough to use the right cooking equipment, but you have to keep in mind how much space it takes up with your gear. If you have limited room, then you will be forced to buy a smaller model, which will also produce less heat.
Overall, if you camp on a regular basis, we recommend getting multiple sizes so that you can take the right one for the trip. Day or weekend journeys require a smaller stove, whereas weeklong excursions will necessitate a larger model.
Best Camping Stoves Reviews for 2020
1. Volcano Grills 3-Fuel Portable Camping Stove
Finally, we come to the Volcano Camping Stove. If you want something light and versatile, this is a great option.
We love the fact that you can use multiple fuel sources with this model, meaning that you aren’t forced to rely on having enough propane to last you throughout your entire trip.
Because of the design of this stove, you can toss charcoal or wood into the bottom and use it as a standard barbecue grill. However, if you prefer to work with propane, it comes with a hose and attachment system that can produce up to 19,500 BTUs when fully activated. For best results, it’s better to hook it up to a full-size tank, but it will work with a 16.4-ounce version as well.
The other thing we like about this stove is that it is collapsible, taking up far less space than you might think. Overall, this is a handy model to have and can work with any type of camping, whether you’re backpacking or staying at a campsite.
2. Stansport 2 Burner Propane Stove
For the most part, camping stoves have two primary features: two burners and a propane tank connector. Because propane is one of the most stable fuels available, it is the preferred method for cooking while camping.
Although some purists may prefer wood or charcoal, propane allows you to forgo spending all of your time cultivating a flame and focus more on cooking than anything else.
So, with that in mind, we have the Stansport 2 Burner Stove. This is a stainless steel model that offers two burners, each of them producing up to 25,000 BTUs of heat. What we like about this model is that it comes with a Piezo ignition switch, meaning that you don’t have to worry about having matches or a lighter to get started.
The other thing we appreciate about this stove is that it comes with three windshields to help protect your flame from the elements. Depending on where you wind up cooking, these shields can make all the difference. Finally, a rugged steel grate allows you to hold large pots so that you can cook anything from stew to chili without any interruption.
3. Coleman Triton Series InstaStart 2-Burner Stove
As far as outdoor gear brands go, Coleman is one of the most well known and respected in the industry. From tents to camping gear, the company is one of the best at making sure that you get the best outdoor experience possible.
With that in mind, the Triton Series Camp Stove is a versatile and robust addition to our list.
When talking about performance, this particular model is about middle of the road, with an output level of 11,000 BTUs per burner. That means that you can grill, roast, and boil water, although doing the latter will take a bit longer than if you had something like the Stansport above.
Other features of this stove include instastart matchless ignition, fine-tuned control knobs to give you more precise temperatures, and a PerfectFlow pressure control system to ensure that you’re not using more propane than you need. Finally, the Triton comes with a wider cooking area so that you can use full-size frying pans if you like, or larger pots for cooking.
4. Primus Kinjia Single Fuel Stove
Much like the Spire LX model above, the Kinjia Camp Stove from Primus is designed more for portability than anything. The size and output of this stove are less than we’ve seen thus far, making it ideal for quick cooking or fire roasting.
When talking about performance, these burners are only capable of producing up to 7,000 BTUs.
While that can be enough for things like eggs and bacon, boiling water may take a while, so we don’t recommend it. Overall, this stove is perfect for making breakfast, whether it’s the aforementioned eggs or something else like pancakes or hash browns.
The size of this model is also remarkable, weighing about ten pounds and being thinner and smaller than the competition. If you don’t have a lot of room in your truck or bag, then this could be a viable option for you. Other features include a drip tray, windshields, and easy to use knobs. Finally, this particular model has to be lit with a match or lighter, which may or may not be a good thing depending on your needs.
5. Primus Onja Stove
Next, we have a stove that looks more like a briefcase than anything else, meaning that it’s more focused on portability than anything else.
If you’re looking for something quick and convenient to help warm up your food or cook something fast, then this could be a good option.
The way that this stove works is that you open the case and pull out the wooden cover to reveal the metal grates inside. Then, you hook up your butane tank and light it. What’s most amazing about this stove is that even though the design is so lightweight and portable, you can still get up to 10,000 BTUs per burner. Also, the wooden board can be used for prepping or serving as you see fit.
Overall, we like the portability of this stove, but some components are not as durable as others, so we don’t recommend using it heavily as it could break down much easier than other models we’ve seen. Ideally, this unit is more for day trips or picnic style outings rather than multi-day camping excursions.