As much as camping is treated as a recreational activity, it is as rough as it can actually get. Aside from requiring us to sleep somewhere off our air-conditioned bedrooms, it also requires us to cook our own food. We would not want to keep living on biscuits and beans, would we? Thus, unless we want to keep gathering firewood, we should have camping stove. This will help upgrade our camping cooking experience.
The best camping stoves do not have a specific list of common elements. They can vary depending on our camping needs, location, and weather condition. There are two essential things that we should consider, design and fuel. For the design, you have the option of either freestanding or tabletop. Regarding a stove’s fuel, the options are propane, butane, liquid fuel, and wood.
From several campers’ viewpoint that we’ve gathered, these are the best camping stoves:
1. Camp Chef Everest Two-Burner
2. Coleman Triton
3. Coleman Classic
4. Camp Chef Explorer Freestanding Double-Burner
5. Stansport Outfitter Series Three-Burner
6. Eureka Ignite Two-Burner
7. MSR WindBurner Stove System Combo
8. Camp Chef Tahoe Deluxe Three-Burner Grill
9. Kovea Slim Twin Two-Burner
10. Primus Onja Stove
For you to have a better understanding of camping stoves based on design and fuel, below are the descriptions of each.
Types of Camping Stoves Based on Design
These stoves are those that come with legs so that they can stand freely, as the name suggests. Usually, they are associated with bigger, high-output designs, which would take much space on a picnic table. Thus, they are more on the heavier side, which might be a bit more challenging to transport. However, they offer much more cooking space than the other design. This means that we can totally get creative with the meals we prepare. Also, if our concern is transport, most of these stoves come with removable legs.
As the name suggests, tabletop stoves are those which we can place easily on top of our picnic bench. They have a smaller footprint, lighter weight, and are easier to pack and fit inside our camping vehicle. Since they are more compact and portable, many campers prefer them over freestanding stoves. We would just have to bring a picnic table or bench with them. It will be essential not only as a support to the stove but also for some meal prep work.
Types of Camping Stoves Based on their Fuel Type
Propane Stove Models
Propane-fueled camping stoves have the title as the most common among all camping stoves. Often, campers use the ones with small green propane bottle containers. However, larger propane tanks can also be good options like the ones we use in our occasional home barbecues. We just need to have the right adapter and hose, and they will be compatible with most stoves.
The best thing about propane stoves is that they are reliably very easy to use. At an instant, they can light up, mostly with a high British Thermal Units (BTU) output. Also, they are conveniently economical and are widely available all over. One downside is that propane fuel may not perform best in cold weather conditions. Apart from that, there are no other major concerns to worry about.
Butane Stove Models
Butane camping stoves are not as popular as the propane stoves. However, they can be a decent choice to take on our outdoor camping. Usually, they come in as single-burner stoves that are relatively powerful as well as efficient. Also, their fuel is on the more affordable side.
But like propane stoves, butane models are also plagued by concerns in cold weather conditions. In fact, they may even be less efficient than the other model as temperature levels dip.
Liquid Fuel Stoves
Most of this model utilizes a white gas rather than either propane or butane. These are among the most reliable camping stoves available. Aside from that, unlike the two previous models, these ones perform well in cold weather and high elevations. Typically, stoves that run on commonly white gas use refillable containers. This property is one to boast as it allows us to minimize the environmental impact.
Drawbacks for this model, however, are quite numerous. For one, liquid fuel stoves are typically a bit difficult to start, use, and to maintain. Apart from that, they are often heavier with a price that is quite expensive. And in terms of availability, we have far fewer design options to choose from.
Wood Burning Stoves
As the name suggests, these camping stoves use wood for fuel. If our campsite permits, we can bring our own firewood to use for the bigger wood-burning designs. Otherwise, we can utilize either pellets or fuel tablets for the models that would require it. Most smaller designs, though, work best with twigs and sticks that we can find and gather in the forest.
Perhaps we are to choose these stoves as they can have a lesser impact and are more cost-efficient. However, when it comes to performance, we ought to know that they are not the best and most efficient. Also, we should know about burn bans restrictions if we are to use this type of stove.
Best Camping Stoves
Camp Chef Everest Two-Burner
This propane-fueled tabletop stove is neither the most powerful nor the most compact. However, its best qualities comprise of cooking power, reliability, and convenience for a great $90 price. It offers two large burners that pump out a considerable amount of power, 20,000 BTUs each. Also, it has the best simmer control to accommodate our different cooking needs. All of that is packed into a convenient small frame that weighs just about 12 pounds. Unless we need a third burner, this camping stove option is one that is hard to beat.
One drawback of the Camp Chef Everest stove, however, is the markings on the heat-control dials. They may be somewhat unclear for our liking, but it should just be a minor concern once we’re familiar with it.
|Two large burners||Heat-control dials labels are rather vague|
|Good amount of power, 20,000 BTUs|
|Good simmer control|
|Greatly priced at around $90|
The Coleman Triton is a relatively smaller and lighter model than the Everest. It weighs only about 10.2 pounds, but still with a reliable two-burner stove with 12,000 BTUs. Its size makes it easy for us to squeeze the unit under a car seat or even at a large glove compartment. With a reasonable price, this stove unit is a solid compromise between budget and more advanced stoves.
However, as much as the size offers convenience in transport, there may be a concern in our cooking convenience. Apparently, two large pots resting over its burners at the same time might sometimes be impossible. Aside from that, it only offers moderate wind protection.
|Two 12,000 BTU burners||A bit small for two large pots|
|Compact at 10.2 pounds weight||Moderate wind protection|
|Good simmer control|
|Reasonable price at around $71|
This model from the same line as the previous one is probably the simplest camping stove option. For just a very economical $44, this unit offers two burners with 10,000 BTUs. It is relatively less powered, but it can cook several meals on a camping trip. Speaking of simplicity, it does not have a striker, which means we will have to use matches or a lighter. However, like the previous one, it blocks the wind moderately as well. This property can either be a pro or a con depending on our camping location and the weather condition. Also, at a 12-pound weight, it has a nice simmer control so that we can avoid burning our slow-cooked meals.
|Two 10,000 BTU burners||Moderate wind protection|
|Compact at 12 pounds weight||Does not have a striker|
|Nice simmer control|
|Affordable at around $44|
Camp Chef Explorer Freestanding Double-Burner
This double-burner freestanding stove from Camp Chef is obviously considerably heavier at 36 pounds. It is also pricier compared to the previous models mentioned, but cheaper than other freestanding ones. At about $117, it is a beast in terms of power and efficiency. In fact, its two burners come in at 30,000 BTUs, enough to keep us worrying about cooking our meals.
However, the Explorer may just comprise less in the way of wind protection compared to other freestanding models. Also, it can be a bit awkward to carry. But all these are just small prices to pay, also literally, for its solid all-around performance.
|Two 30,000 BTU burners||Awkward to carry|
|Greatly priced for a freestanding stove at around $117||36-pound weight|
|Efficient and reliable||Relatively poor wind protection|
Stansport Outfitter Series Three-Burner
This stove unit is another propane-fueled tabletop stove. Two of its burners come with 25,000 BTUs each, while the other one comes with 10,000 BTUs. It is safe to say that it combines the best elements of the Coleman Classic and the Camp Chef Everest.
The most notable feature of this unit is its third burner. In case you think the third burner is not necessary, the series also offers a 2-burner model. It is also worth noting that the flame controls of the burners can adjust to our desired temperature. It can operate anywhere between simmer and boil. Other than that, the unit has a piezoelectric ignition and built-in windscreens. The latter is the element that makes it up as the best option for cooking in the wind.
Compared to the Everest model, this one is somewhat behind in the overall build quality. Also, it can be a bit fragile compared to the other more robust stove designs.
|Two 25,000 BTUs burners and one 10,000 BTUs burner||Quite inferior in build quality|
|Excellent wind protection||Twist ignitor – not the preferable push-button|
|Great Temperature Control|
Eureka Ignite Two-Burner
The Eureka Ignite Two-Burner Camp Stove is remarkably well-rounded in a sophisticated look. It is very lightweight at 10 pounds and has a great wind control with its built-in wind panels. It works well even after several uses with an excellent simmer control. For $100, this stove offers a good cooking performance with its 10,000 BTU burners. Its ignition is a push button to allow us a fast and easy start.
|Stylish||A bit pricey compared to other tabletops at around $100|
|Lightweight at 10 pounds||Average two 10,000 BTU burners|
|Built-in wind panels|
MSR WindBurner Stove System Combo
This canister-fueled tabletop stove system is actually a great cross of camping and backpacking stoves. It is considerably compact and lightweight, which is just about 1 pound and 13 ounces. However, that weight only calls for a single burner. It comes with a high-performing canister stove, a 2.5-liter pot, and an 8-inch skillet.
One drawback of choosing this stove is that it cannot come close to the other traditional camping stoves. Another is that the single small burner can only be used with a brand-specific pot or pan.
|Versatile camping or backpacking option||Slightly poor output and performance than propane burners|
|Lightweight at about 1 pound||Uses brand-specific pots and pans|
|High-performing canister stove|
Camp Chef Tahoe Deluxe Three-Burner Grill
This freestanding, propane-fueled stove from Camp Chef is ideal for any large group camping. It offers serious power as its three burners come with 30,000 BTUs. This power can heat a 12-cup coffee percolator and a frying pan at the same time. It has a push-button ignition and a wind-protective housing with rails. Its legs are also individually adjustable to accommodate unleveled grounds.
All these features come in a whopping 43 pounds weight. Aside from that, it requires a 5-gallon propane tank, for the best large group camp hosting. Also, its price is $200 but for all that extra excellent features.
|Three 30,000 BTU burners||Heavy at 43 pounds|
|Excellent wind protection||Quite pricey at around $200|
|Individually adjustable legs|
Kovea Slim Twin Two-Burner
This is probably our best bet if we want a thin, compact camping stove. In fact, it can almost disappear in the back of our car or in the car’s gear closet. That for a very lightweight of 10 pounds, but for a price of $190. Despite that, it has efficient twin burners with 12,000 BTUs, striker, and two large wind panels. Moreover, this design is freestanding, but its legs might still require an almost perfect surface to avoid wobbling. Also, its simmer control might be a bit off compared to the others if we want to note. It can be the best for boils, nonetheless.
|Most compact, 10 pounds heavy||Quite pricey at around $190|
|Two 12,000 BTU burners||Not the most stable|
|Two large wind-blocking panels||Quite off simmer control|
Primus Onja Stove
The Primus Onja two-burner tabletop stove also tops among the most stylish camping stoves there is. Its style comes with two burners that have 10,000 BTUs – unfortunately not the most powerful. However, it is more portable than other tabletop models as it comes with a convenient carry strap. In fact, its design also makes it versatile to use either on a picnic table or on the ground. Also, it is a bonus that it comes with a cutting board as a freebie.
|Two 10,000 BTUs burners||Moderate wind protection|
|Free cutting board||Each burner requires its own propane canister|
|Stylish||Not the most powerful|
|Versatile – can be used on the ground|
|Portable with a carry strap|
How do we choose a camping stove?
Choosing a camping stove should have us considering the stove’s ignition, the number of burners, and heat adjusting. If we want to minimize potential accidents when lighting one, we should opt with a built-in ignition. We should always have matches or a lighter though in case the built-in ignition fails. According to customer testimonies, the piezoelectric ignition is the best on the market. The number of burners, conversely, should depend on our preferences. The more burners, the faster we can prepare an entire meal set. Lastly, in terms of heat adjusting, stoves with excellent heat regulation and simmer control will prevent burnt food.
How different is a backpacking stove from a camping stove?
Typically, backpacking stoves are lighter weight and have a smaller packed size. Also, they only usually feature a single burner, which limits our cooking space. This is the reason why most backpackers only opt for simple, dehydrated food or one-pot meals. Moreover, backpacking stoves are usually quite flimsier, less stable, and have poorer simmer control. It does not mean that no camping stoves are like this. Generally, backpacking stoves are ideal if we are often trekking deep into the back-country.