Everyone loves food. But do you know what everyone really loves? Hot food!
Depending on the time of day or the climate you are in, hot food and drinks can be a lifesaver when you are spending time in nature.
Camping stoves make a huge difference in the quality of your outdoor adventures, as they allow you to bring those delicious comfort foods on the road.
The various options offer different set-ups which make them useable for large family camping trips with a multiple burner option, or a lightweight portable stove, for those short hikes and morning coffee.
The prices vary and it’s mainly dependent on the strength of the burner, the size of the unit and of course, the brand.
But with so many choices available how do you know which camping stove is the best one to buy? We get to the bottom of your questions with our camping stove buyer’s guide.
Best Camping Stoves for Cooking at Camp
1. Camp Chef Explorer Double Burner Stove
This is a beast of a camping stove at a great price and comes with everything you needed for some fine outdoor meals. Camp Chef provides two large 30,000 BTU burners on a 448 square inch surface area.
Translated, you get a ton of heat over what is essentially the same width of a common house stove. Incredibly built for longevity, the legs are removable allowing for convenient storage and portability, and it comes with a windscreen as well as a 3-foot regulator hose for connecting to a large propane tank.
You can also purchase a separate griddle that sits on top of burner, turning it into a grill.
- Rugged Construction Ensures Years of Use
- Exceptional Performance
- Extremely Affordable
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2. BioLite Electric Campstove 2
This high tech, modern wood stove not only makes food, but also generates 3 watts of electricity so you can charge your devices vis USB while out in the bush.
A feature-heavy little unit, the battery can be charged for future use, the LED screen helps keep an eye on your fire strength and power output, a 1L KettlePot boils water in under 5 minutes (and is used to house the entire unit), and a portable grill attachment allows cooking of multiple items at once.
You can also regulate the fire using the 4-speed fan settings, which is designed to improve/circulate airflow.
- Generate Electricity for Device Charging
- Designed for Modern Lifestyle
- Portable and Easy to Use
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3. Coleman Fold N Go Propane Stove
Two 10,000 BTU burners are just one of the highlights of this handy Fold N Go gas stove option from Coleman.
Lightweight and portable, the burners are controlled by knobs on the stove and can hold up to 10-inch pots or skillets depending on if you are making burgers or cooking chili.
Attaching a propane canister is very simple and the button ignition eliminates the potential of fire-related hand injuries.
Made out of aluminized steel with a 2 foot-wide footprint, Coleman stoves are known for their longevity and practicality. This one is no exception.
- Folds Up for Easy Storage and Clean-Up
- Button Ignition
- Quality Product in Coleman
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4. Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove
If you are looking for something to keep you warm while cooking the carcass of a small animal, this heavy-duty wood stove from Camp Chef might be exactly what you are looking for.
Built like a tank out of heavy gauge steel, this 70+ lb option works well outdoors or for wall tent camping. Included is a 10-foot tall chimney pipe, wire spark arrestor (so you don’t accidentally burn down your tent), door damper, drying racks, and adjustable legs.
You can also purchase a separate 3-liter water tank that latches onto the side, giving you an endless supply of hot water. This cylindrical wood stove can fit a variety of sizes of wood and doubles as storage when you are ready to pack it up.
- Built to Last
- Safety-Minded Design
- Doubles as a Fireplace to Keep Tent Warm
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5. Stansport Outfitter Series Propane Camp Stove
Sporting two 25,000 BTU burners, and a third 10,000 BTU burner in the middle for lower output cooking, this propane camping stove gives you plenty of space and will have your food ready in no time.
Stansport equips it with a Piezo ignition button and control knobs to regulate the temperature.
The grates are pretty heavy duty and clean up is made simple with their stainless steel drip-pan system.
Built with durability in mind to withstand any environment you might subject it to, you won’t be disappointed with this option.
- Triple Burners
- Rugged and Portable
- High Power Output
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6. Coleman Triton Gas Stove
This is a nice entry from Coleman that will give you a solid propane camping stove without breaking the bank. It’s a 2-burner cooker that employs a push-button ignition system to get your flame going.
You get about 11,000 BTU per side and the windscreen pops up to keep those temperatures at their maximum level.
For use with 10 or 12 inch pots and pans, you should have no problem cleaning it due to the open design, chrome-plated grates, and rust-resistant aluminum. As with most things Coleman, it’s a solid choice.
- Good Budget Stove
- Can Use With Large Pots/Pans
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7. Camp Chef Everest 2 Burner Stove
Weighing in at a mere 12 lbs. and 2 feet wide, the Everest 2 specs are exceedingly deceptive as this is one powerful camping stove.
Each burner is capable of putting out 20,000 BTU’s of white-hot glory, cutting your cook time down significantly.
The separate knobs allow you to control different temperatures simultaneously, and the nickel-coated grates are tough enough to withstand years of use.
No need to bring matches for it as it has push-button ignition for convenience.
Designed for use with 16 ounce propane canisters, although you can purchase an adapter for large tanks separately.
- Small but Powerful
- High BTU Output
- Excellent Durability
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8. Coleman 2 Burner Grill Stove Combo
If you have always wanted to make pancakes and coffee at the same time, this combo camp stove from Coleman might be perfect for you.
While the burner is smaller than the grill, it can still hold a 10-inch pan to get things cooked, and you can manage temperatures with the control knobs that are independent of each other.
A drip tray has been included under the grill for no-fuss disposal of grease drippings, and feet have been included to elevate the unit from the surface you have it on.
A pretty well-rounded and multi-functional propane stove that shouldn’t be overlooked.
- 2-In-1 Combo
- No-Mess Clean Up Grill Tray
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9. TMS Portable Military Camping Wood Stove
This cylinder wood stove is a solid choice if you are looking for something that gives you the multiple functions these types of camping stoves afford, but are also looking to not spend a crazy amount of money.
Whether you are looking to heat your tent, cook food, or dry your clothes, this 24 lb. stove ensures you are going to have a good time.
The flue pipes interlock to give you over 5 feet of length, while a snazzy spark arrestor attaches for safety.
A really cool feature it comes with is dual side cook tubes that can be used for additional food, and when you finished with it everything packs up nicely inside the stove.
While not the fanciest or most robust wood stove, it’s a best seller with positive reviews, definitely getting the job done.
- Budget Wood Stove
- Multiple Uses
- Easy Transport
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10. Emberlit Titanium UL Compact Survival Stove
This compact wood stove is a real treat for backpackers and campers alike.
Extremely compact (can fit in your pocket) and weighing next to nothing, you can assemble it within minutes and it has the ability to accommodate small pots as well as larger items like dutch ovens.
The door makes it easy to feed wood, and the overall design caters to a contained oxygen-rich fire, ensuring maximum heat for faster boiling and cook times.
The titanium construction also gives you a stove that is resistant to those high temperatures, allowing for quick cooling once you are finished with it.
- Ultra Lightweight and Portable
- Can Accommodate Large Pots
- Ingenious Design for Quick Results
Frequently Asked Questions
How to use a Camping Stove?
Using a camping stove depends on the model as some are used with wood, and others with propane gas canisters.
Wood stoves take a bit more time to heat up your food/water, while gas canisters are usually a preferred method for their user-friendliness and faster heat times.
Wood stoves will either be placed over a small fire, or have a section built into the stove that you load the wood into.
Stoves that rely on propane for their flame source will attach to the canister via universal threading.
In some models, gas camping stoves can have multiple burners.
How to Attach a Propane Tank to a Camping Stove?
The smaller propane tanks will have an attachment port on them that is universal to most (if not all) camping stoves on the market.
This makes them extremely simple to hook up and have warm food quickly. The downside to using these smaller propane tanks is they only last an hour or two, and while they are refillable, if you are doing an extended trip, you might need more than a few of them.
The solution? Bring your 20 lb. BBQ propane tank!
Hooking up a bulk propane tank works exactly the same way but will usually require a hose/adapter if you want to use it on a camping stove. Sometimes the stove can supply this, but if not, they are readily available as a separate purchase.
How to Clean a Camping Stove?
Cleaning a camping stove isn’t much different from cleaning your stove at home, and doing so will give you better fuel efficiency and flame control.
- If it’s a propane stove, make sure you have disconnected the tank.
- Using a sponge, scrub with dish soap and warm water. For tougher debris, a high-pressure hose is a good way to blast your stove clean. Pro tip: car washes have great high-power hoses if you need to clean your camping stove while on the road.
- Air dry your stove. Easy peasy.
How Long Will a Camping Stove Last?
This comes down to the frequency of use, maintenance and how you treat your products, but ideally, you should easily get multiple years of use out of your stove.
Most people use them a few times per year, and as a result, still have functional stoves 10+ years down the road.
As for how long the propane canisters last, the smaller 16-ounce canisters usually give you anywhere from 90 to 120 minutes of use, whereas a 20 lb. propane tank can last between 15 and 20 hours.
How to Light a Camping Stove?
Wood fire camping stoves are the easiest to light as you will either place the stove over a campfire, or you will put wood into the stove and light it like you would any normal campfire.
The propane stoves can be a bit trickier.
As you are working with gas, always light your stove in a well-ventilated area and keep it away from anything flammable.
It is usually as easy as hooking up the propane tank to the stove, opening the valve to begin transmission of the gas, and then using a long match or BBQ lighter to ignite the flame, but some models work like a BBQ, and will have an ignition button you push to spark the flame.
The size/intensity of your heat will be regulated by either the valve on the propane canister, or knobs on the stove.
Be aware that the flames on a camping stove can be difficult to see in the daytime, so take extra precaution to avoid burning yourself, or use it only during dawn and dusk when the flame is more easily seen.
Butane vs. Propane Camping Stoves
Propane camp stoves usually beat out butane stoves for a few reasons.
Propane burns better in colder climates, higher altitudes, has a lower boiling point, is more economical, and refills are readily available at specialty shops and gas stations.
Butane is popular with backpackers because it is lightweight and easy to carry, but it doesn’t perform well at higher altitudes, and doesn’t work at all below freezing point.
Finding stores that stock butane regularly can also a bit of a nightmare.
Camping Stove vs. Grill
While the main difference is that stoves require cooking your food in pots and pans (whereas grills allow you to cook directly on the grates), camping stoves are also more portable than camping grills.
Having said that, there are some hybrid models available that give you the best of both worlds.
Sometimes these are not your best option though, as the stove burner can be a bit on the smaller size to accommodate the grill.
Camp Stove vs. Wood Fire
Both will get your food cooked, so the choice between the two it is more a matter of convenience than anything else.
Camping stoves that rely on gas usually cook faster and require less maintenance, but are a bit bulkier to travel with and the emissions aren’t exactly environmentally friendly.
Wood stoves, on the other hand, can take a bit more time to heat your food, can leave stains on pots and pants (requiring more maintenance), but are usually a bit more portable and environmentally friendly.
Wood stoves also have the advantage of using free scrap wood you find in the forest rather than having to pay for multiple gas canisters.
Your camping experience will only be heightened when you travel with a stove – be it pocket-sized, foldable, or heavy-duty.
Gas stoves are extremely convenient and make it as close to how you cook food at home, while wood stoves, although they may be a little bit more labor-intensive, have great appeal and cater more to “roughing it” in the wilderness.
Either way, your food will be so much better when you get to eat a warm meal and have hot drinks. With so many choices only you can know what will work best for you.