While camping can be equated with “roughing it”, one thing you shouldn’t skimp on while living in the wilderness is your food supply.
Instead of eating a diet that consists of room temperature foods and pre-packaged junk, the inclusion of a wood stove in your camping arsenal allows for more dietary options, while simultaneously keeping you warm.
Wood stoves use an inexpensive source of fuel compared to their gas counterparts and provide that rustic feeling most campers crave.
They are versatile cookers that can be used for frying, grilling, or boiling your meals, and they require very little maintenance. Additionally, they can provide heat for your tent or cabin on cold days and nights.
But there are many types of stoves on the market that can be used with wood. It can be challenging to differentiate between all the minor features in them all, thus finding which one is right for you, is not a simple task.
That’s what we set out to do for you, presenting all the important information in this in-depth article, taking into account the opinions of existing users, manufacturing quality, and useful and reliable features.
10 Best Wood Stoves for Camping
1. Camp Chef Alpine Heavy-Duty Cylinder Stove
One of the best models available, this cylinder stove screams high-quality. Forged from heavy-duty steel, it weighs a massive 74 lbs., and measures 20″ W x 24″ D x 22 1/2″ H. The stove pipe is 5” wide with over 10 feet in height ensuring you can use the unit inside the tallest of tents or cabins.
Camp Chef has included little features that make this stove stand out. The door latch has a ring on it to easily grab, keeping you from burning your fingers while the unit is in operation. The door also has multiple vent holes that help regulate airflow through the firebox.
With fully adjustable legs, you can maintain even positioning of the stove on any uneven surface, and a fire grate protects the unit from overheating. Dual shelves on both sides help out when you are cooking up a feast, and if you do get ambitious enough to transport it, the legs can be stored inside the firebox for convenience.
- Heavy Duty Steel Wood Stove
- 10-Foot-High Stove Pipe
- Excellent Attention to Detail Throughout the Design
2. TMS Portable Military Camping Wood Stove
This wood stove is a military-grade model that can be used as a multi-fuel, portable space heater and cooker. With dimensions of 17” x 17.5” x 9”, it weighs a reasonable 20 lbs, and is a high-quality option for those that are looking for a nice tent heater and wood burning stove combo. Its solid construction has served the military well, so you know it will work great for you too.
Pumping out somewhere in the vicinity of 15000+ BTUs, you won’t have a problem staying warm or making food with it. It can be used with solid fuels such as coal or wood, and can also be rigged up for use with gases like diesel or kerosene.
The advantage of using gas would be that you can use it for long sessions, and you don’t have to continuously hunt for wood to keep the fire going. This stove includes all the accessories you need (except for fuel can stand), and the collapsible pipe stuffs inside the unit making it easy to transport.
- Military Grade Multi-Fuel Stove
- High-Quality Build for Durability
- Portable Size to Bring Anywhere
3. England Stove Works – Grizzly Camp Stove
For use with a recommended tent size of 16 x 24, the Grizzly model from England’s Stove Works is a monster that weighs a whopping 63 lbs., and can give you up to 8 hours of heating time.
Constructed out of heavy duty 12-gauge steel, it stands 17″ W x 15 1/2″ H x 28″ D, and has a fire box measuring 2.7 cubic feet. It’s easy to load, accommodates large logs up to 22 inches, and is designed as a hexagon for even heat distribution.
Adjusting and controlling the burn rate is made possible by using the circular door draft with the in-door air redirect, as well as a door gasket. A 4” chimney is sold separately, and the legs remove for in-stove storage when you need to transport it.
Additional add-ons are: a bottom saver heat plate for protecting the stove, leg extensions, fire bricks for lining the interior, and stove shelving. Make no mistake about it, this is a well-crafted option for those that are looking for something serious and dependable.
- Heavy Duty Camp Stove Made of 12 Gauge Steel
- Even Heat Distribution for Up To 8 Hours
- Various Add-Ons Available
4. Dachel Outdoor Tent Wood Stove with Pipe
Built from 304 stainless steel, and sporting a 7+ foot interlocking chimney composed of 201 steel, this 22 lb. wood stove is striking to look at and is a triple threat griller/boiler/heater.
Using the platform, you can fry up some eats or boil water when needed, while removing it allows you to throw a grate over the fire for an instant BBQ. Collapsible shelves on either side of the stove allow you to keep plates and utensils nearby while you are cooking your feast.
The stove has an aesthetically-pleasing glass door which mean you can monitor the fire while admiring its design. The fire box measures 14.5” x 8” x 7” offering a lot of room for wood, and the floor of it is swiss-cheesed so ashes can filter through to the drawer below. Adjusting the drawer also helps regulate airflow throughout the stove.
Cleaning the unit is really easy as this drawer can be emptied regularly, and wiping down the stainless-steel platform doesn’t take long at all. Furthermore, the chimney pipe, legs, and shelves all collapse for a compact stove that can be moved and stored with ease.
- Stainless Steel Stove/Griller/Heater
- Stands Over 7 Feet Tall
- Easy Cleanup with Included Ash Drawer
5. Zafiri Traditional Turkish Semaver
This traditional Turkish Semaver is essentially a tea pot that can used in a few different ways to prepare food. Constructed from chrome steel, it has two compartments and a chimney.
The lower compartment is where you load your fuel (wood or coal), with the top compartment being a 4L hot water reservoir. The chimney cuts through the reservoir to keep it nice and hot, and it includes a tap for easy dispensing.
Standing 13” high with a 10” diameter, you can remove the reservoir to use only the lower compartment as a small cooker. Small cups or pans can be placed on it and you can cook and boil food quickly.
Ideally, it works best as a boiler for tea, coffee, and water, but seasoned campers are resilient enough to figure out multiple uses for their gear. Being a lightweight option that breaks down in to 6 pieces, it would benefit backpackers or hikers the most.
- Wood/Coal Versatility for Boiling or Cooking
- Holds Heat for Long Periods Of time
- Lightweight for Easy Carry
6. Guide Gear Outdoor Wood Stove
This outdoor wood stove from Guide Gear allows you to pan-fry or boil water on its platform while heating your cabin/tent at the same time. Well-built for durability and longevity, it weighs 47lbs., and is crafted out of galvanized steel. A heat-resistant finish allows it to withstand the high temperatures that come from burning wood.
The firebox measure 11” W x 17” D x 8” H, and an 8” x 10” opening allows you plenty of space to feed it fuel. The hinged door is crafted from cast iron and comes with vents for you to regulate the temperature. The unit sits a safe distance from the ground, propped up on 4 legs that each measure 7.5 inches.
These legs are detachable and can be stored inside the stove for easy transport, along with the 5 interlocking pipes that make up a 77.5” chimney. Additionally, Guide Gear provides you all assembly hardware, an ash rake, and a fire poker which doubles to open the stove door safely.
- Well-Built Wood Stove for Heating & Cooking
- Adjustable Vents to Regulate Temperature
- Stove Pieces Fit Inside Itself for Portable Transport
7. Solo Stove Bonfire Fire Pit
This compact wood burning fire pit requires zero setup, and gives off an intense, low-smoke fire that can be enjoyed for hours. 19.5” in diameter, and 14” high, its fashioned from 304 stainless steel and double-walled for airflow purposes.
With vent holes at the bottom of the unit starting the combustion process, it takes in oxygen and sends it up the walls to feed the fire. Once the air is dispersed over the fire through the upper vents, a secondary burn is initiated, which ensures wood particles that are normally smoked get burned off quickly.
The upper vents also control the fire’s pattern, which is unique to this model, looking quite different from a traditional fire pit. You will need kindling to get it going but the pit is big enough to house logs for a continuous, low-maintenance burn. Great for heating, roasting marshmallows, or kebabs, this fire pit is a popular choice with its stunning aesthetics, simple use, and easy-cleaning design.
- 304 Stainless Steel Low-Smoke Fire Pit
- Portable Unit with No Setup
- Easy to Operate & Clean
8. Bushcraft Essentials Outdoor Stove Bushbox
The Bushbox LF is a small outdoor stove that is about the size of a large coffee mug, but offers excellent flexibility in what it can do. The stove comes in a few pieces of flat stainless steel, which assemble together to provide a sturdy structure. Wood is then fed into the structure, and you can throw a small pot or pan on top of the unit to cook/boil.
This unit is an ideal solution for backpackers or hikers that are trying to lighten their load on the trail. It weighs a mere 1 lb., and compacts to a 5.5” x 3.9” x 0.5” sack. The downside to a unit like this is that you can only cook 1 thing at a time, for 1 person at a time.
The upside of having a tiny portable stove that is ultra lightweight is that you can bring it anywhere you go and always have warm food and drinks, even if the setup and cook time is slightly involved.
- Portable Stainless-Steel Outdoor Stove
- Can Use with Wood or Fuel Tablets
- Excellent Option for Backpackers and Hikers
9. Kotula’s Outdoor Wood Burning Stove
This wood stove from Kotula is 47 lbs. of galvanized steel for a sturdy and durable outdoor heater and cooker. Equipped with a long stove pipe measuring 77.5 inches, it connects together from 5 interlocking pieces, so you can customize the height depending on your application.
Overall, the unit measures 17.75” L x 11.75” W x 16.25” H, and stands 7 feet, 10 inches when fully assembled. The firebox includes a hinged cast iron door that makes loading wood into it simple, and Kotula has supplied 2 adjustable vents on the door to aid in temperature control.
Constructed to manage high-temperatures, this is a heavy-duty option that’s also conveniently portable. With the legs and pipes pieces nesting inside the stove during transport. Great for heating, cooking, or boiling, Kotula also includes an ash rake, fire poker and door opener for everything you need.
- Heavy Duty Wood Stove Standing 7’10”
- Easy to Use and Clean
- Excellent Portability with Detachable Legs and Pipe
10. Flame Genie Smoke-Free Portable Wood Stove
Offered in two sizes, as well as two colors (stainless steel or black galvanized steel), Flame Genie is a portable fire pit that provides a lot of warmth from a clean burn that eliminates smoke.
Unlike its competitors, this fire pit uses wood pellets instead of logs, which make it easy to light and gives it a consistent flame with zero sparking. A downside of these pellets is the fact you have to feed the unit every 5 to 10 minutes to keep the fire from going out.
But employing wood pellets also reduces the amount of ash that is created, with a 100 lbs. bag producing very little debris. An ash pan on the underside of the unit catches it all, making flare-ups obsolete so you can head to bed once the fire is out. You also won’t have to douse the fire with water when you can just wait a few minutes for it to go out.
Definitely an eye-catching piece that will keep you warm and cook your food, the Flame Genie is a model you should consider for your next outdoor trip if you are tired of coming home smelling like campfire.
- Portable Smokeless Fire Pit
- Requires Wood Pellets Instead of Wood
- Available in Multiple Sizes and Colors
How to Choose a Camping Wood Stove
All wood stoves are not created equal. Here are a few pointers to be aware of when you are shopping.
Wood stoves, more or less, use one of these three designs: stove with pipe, fire pit, or extreme portability.
Wood stoves with a pipe are the most common. They have a fire box where the wood is loaded/housed, a long chimney pipe to expel exhaust from the fire (usually over 7 feet tall), and a platform surface where you can cook food in a pan or boil liquid in a pot. The weigh anywhere between 45 – 75 lbs., and can be transported with a little bit of elbow grease.
Fire pits are a popular portable heating option. They can be moved to and from your campsite easily, and can hold a logs or wood pellets for consistent burning. These models are geared toward using as a heater or attractive centerpiece, but you can still roast marshmallows or grill kebobs on them pretty easily.
The third option is an extreme portability stove, which consists of a few flat pieces of metal which interlock to give you a firebox. It stands only a few inches tall and you can fit a small cup or pan on the top of it to make food for one. This is the most lightweight option and great for those who backpack or hike.
In the case of wood stoves, we think so. It really depends on your situation. If you are camping with multiple people, you will probably want a wood stove with a pipe, as they have a large surface space you can cook on. Some models also come with shelves you can rest food and plates on while cooking.
But if you are looking for something to just roast marshmallows in your backyard, a fire pit would do the trick. Backpackers that cook for one person can get away with the extremely compact wood stoves, as long as they don’t mind a slower food prep time.
Return on Investment
Good quality wood stoves are not cheap, and will set you back a few hundred dollars. Having said that, they usually last a very long time, and in most cases will outlive you! So, don’t be afraid to throw down your cash. Their all steel and cast-iron construction make them durable for many years, and a nice heirloom to boot.
Safety Tips for Camping Wood Stoves
When using wood stoves, the addition of fire means you always want to take the proper safety precautions. Here are a few ideas to help keep you safe.
- Protect the area around the stove with a fire-retardant ground mat
- Make sure the stove pipe clears at least one foot outside of your tent/cabin to reduce spark-related accidents
- Use a spark arrestor to keep hot embers from escaping
- Ensure proper ventilation to eliminate smoke that is present in wood fires
- Remove any flammable objects before lighting your stove
- Clean leftover ash and debris regularly
- Never go to sleep without fully extinguishing your fire (flare-ups can happen!)
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a camping wood stove?
A camping wood stove is a portable device designed for cooking food. It can also be used to boil water while heating a tent or cabin at the same time.
How do they work?
There are various spins on wood camping stoves, but they all use the same general operation of loading a compartment with firewood, lighting it, and using a surface over the fire to grill, cook or boil food. Due to the large amounts of heat they generate, they also double as a space heater during cold weather.
Can I use a wood stove in my tent?
While it shouldn’t be done with just any tent, there are specially-designed camping tents that cater to the inclusion of a wood stove. These usually use fire-resistant materials and have a pre-cut opening in the tent’s ceiling where the stove’s chimney can pop out. Of course, take all necessary safety precautions when using a stove in your tent.
What is the most efficient fuel?
While cordwood is widely available, isn’t always the easiest to transport or cheapest fuel to buy. Wood pellets work very well at keeping fires burning while reducing the amount of debris. Most wood stoves can also accommodate coal, which burns at a higher temperature and for a longer amount of time compared to wood logs.
Conclusion on Wood Burning Stoves for Camping
Wood stoves are a fun and engaging way to provide you and your fellow campers warm food options while outdoors. They are well-built to last a long time, heat up your surroundings, and supply you with endless amounts of grilled, fried, or boiled foods.
As we have gone over in this article, there is a wide variety of stoves available. You now have the knowledge and insight to purchase the right wood stove to suit your style and camping needs, while ensuring your belly stays happy.