If you’re planning a camping or backpacking trip with a buddy or by yourself, then having a decent camp stove will help you stay well fed. Sure, you can eat nothing but beef jerky for each meal, but sometimes a little something hot can’t be beat and that’s where a camping or backpacking stove comes into use if you know what to buy.
Now, if you’re just going to be gone for one night, then you’ll likely want to skip the stove cause it will just add extra weight for no reason. My rule of thumb is that the camp stove comes on trips of two nights or more.
There are a lot of different brands and types of camp stoves available for purchase, and shopping for one can be a little overwhelming. Different stoves take different types of fuel, and you don’t even know if you’ll be able to carry as much fuel as you need. If you have never bought or used a camping stove before today, then skip down below and read about the different types of portable camp stoves before you look over my reviews of my favorite little stoves.
Top 10 Camping Stoves 2016
|Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition 3.9oz||3.9 oz||isobutane canisters|
|Coleman PefectFlow 1-Burner Stove||3 lbs||propane|
|BioLite Wood Burning Campstove||2.1 lbs||wood-burning|
|Coleman Classic Propane Stove||4 oz||propane|
|Portable Butane Gas Camp Stove Camping Burner Range||5 lbs||butane|
|Solo Stove Titan & Solo Pot 1800 Camp Stove Combo||16.5 oz||wood-burning|
|Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Stove||42 lbs||propane|
|Flash Personal Cooking System||14 oz||Jetpower Fuel canister|
|Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill||13 lbs||propane|
|Etekcity E-gear Collapsible Windproof Camping Stove||1.04 lbs||butane or butane-propane mixed fuel canisters|
|MSR Reactor Stove||1 lb 3 oz||MSR fuel canister|
|Coleman Triton Series 2-Burner Stove||11 lbs||propane|
|Esbit CS585HA 3-Piece Lightweight Camping Cook Set||7 oz.||Esbit solid state fuel cubes|
|Camp Chef Camping Outdoor Oven with 2 Burner Camping Stove||35 lbs||propane|
After testing out a few different models and brands, I have come up with a list of my top rated portable camping stoves that I am reviewing for you below. Use my reviews to start your shopping so that it won’t take you as long to pick one for your camping trip.
Types of Camp Stoves
As you do your comparison shopping, you’ll notice that there are different types of camping stoves based on the type of fuel that they use as well as the design of the actual stove.
Different Fuel Types
Solid fuel stoves use hex blocks or alcohol gel. Though it is cheap and easy to use, it burns very slowly and offers you zero control over the heat output. For that reason, this type of stove is generally used as an emergency stove.
Unpressurized liquid stoves run on methanol and are also easy to use but slow. A big problem with this type is that fuel leaks are common and it can be difficult to find the fuel to buy. This is not really a popular type of stove among campers.
Pressurized liquid stoves run on paraffin, unleaded gas or Coleman fuel and they are quite popular. Cooking on it takes a little look since priming is required, but still a solid choice for campers.
Gas stoves obviously run on gas fuel and are also popular among campers. I think they are a little easier to use than pressurized liquid stoves, but the fuel for this type is usually more expensive.
Different Design Types
Though we’ve already looked at the various fuel types for camp stoves, you can further break them down by design type. There are four basics that you can choose from:
- Canister stoves
- Integrated canister system stoves
- Liquid-fuel stoves
- Alternate-fuel stoves
Canister stoves are great for getting water to boil quickly and some of the models are even good for simmering if you fancy yourself a bit of a camp chef. The integrated canister system stoves are pretty much designed for boiling water fast and aren’t good for much else. Liquid-fuel stoves, like the canister models, are great for a quick boil and some models are good for simmering. Alternate-fuel stoves are also good for boiling, but they heat up much slower. And, a few models are decent for simmering as well. Advantages: easy to use, burns clean, compact, fast heat output, good flame control. Disadvantages: poor performance in cold weather, fuel is expensive, hard to determine remaining fuel level.
Integrated canister system stoves are good for some people because they are designed to work with a specific pot or French press coffee maker. This is nice for people who only plan on making items with the included accessories. Of course, this camp stove type is not for everyone. Advantages: easy to use, fuel efficient, boils quick, built-in wind buffer. Disadvantages: more expensive than regular canister stove, can’t use with just any cooking pot.
Liquid-fuel stoves are popular because they are fairly easy to use and the fuel cost is lower than with a canister stove. They are also the best choice for people who travel abroad as the fuel can easily be found in international locations. Advantages: works well in cold temperatures, easy to determine remaining fuel amount, cheaper fuel, no canister to discard, stable base. Disadvantages: heavier than a canister stove, fuel spills possible, priming is required, need to buy a fuel bottle, periodic maintenance required.
Alternate-fuel stoves are interesting because you just use things like twigs and leaves for your fuel, however this can be a problem when it’s wet out from raining. They are a good, eco-friendly choice though. Advantages: don’t have to carry fuel, compact size. Disadvantages: problems when there’s no dry leaves or branches to burn, heat output varies.
Camping Stove Tips
When camping or backpacking with a group of people, say three more, consider bringing along more than one camp stove as it will make meal times go much faster. You can only heat so much food on one stove, which is why a good rule of thumb is one stove for every two people at camp.
If using a canister camp stove out in the cold, you run the risk of it depressurizing and giving off a weak flame, or no flame at all. Warming it back up fixes this issue – or prevent it by keeping it in a jacket pocket or sleeping bag during the day or night to keep it warm.
Despite the weather, never cook in your tent because you can get carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, it’s a fire hazard.
When you are ready to cook, locate the most level space in the campsite to setup your stove. Before lighting it, check all connections, valves, fuel tanks, etc. for any leakage. For best results while cooking, use a lid with the cook pot.
Portable Camping Stove Reviews
If you’re looking for the cheapest camp stove, then look no further than the Ultralight Backpacking Canister Camp Stove with Piezo Ignition.
You can order it with or without the box, but I am a fan of the box – and it’s only a few cents more to get it – so I suggest you go with the box.
You’ll really find that the box comes into good use when you want to drop this into a backpack without damaging anything.
Other than the cheap price, the best thing about this little stove is that it is VERY lightweight at just under 4 oz.
Made of stainless steel and copper metal, this is a high quality and reliable camp stove. It features a quality PIEZO ignition and an adjustable flame.
It doesn’t work with a fuel bottle, only with canister gas. But at this price, you really can’t get a better value portable camp stove for the money.
Bottom line: It’s a powerful little camp stove that will blow away your expectations. Plus, it is the top rated camp stove online and consistently a number one best seller at several online stores. Take it from this reviewer – I think this is a GREAT camping stove.
If you’d prefer a little portable propane camping stove, then the Coleman PefectFlow 1-Burner Stove is the best choice for you.
It’s made by a brand known for their quality camping gear and it has a good price.
A low price isn’t the only good thing about this one. It has a pressure control system so that you always get the perfect flame, which is great for fuel efficiency. The base is nice and wide, which is good for stability so you don’t have to worry as much about it tipping over.
This stove performs well in any temperature, even if you are low on fuel. It features one 10,000 BTU burner and will give you 9 hours on low or 2.2 hours on high. And the eight-inch burner bowl is big enough for any camp cook pot that you want to use.
The only real disadvantage to this one is that once you get your fuel, this is a heavy stove. You’re looking at just over three pounds in weight that will be added to your pack. That being said, it is a very reliable stove that boils water very quickly.
Bottom line: If you don’t mind the extra weight, this is a great value propane camping stove for the money as it packs a lot of power and reliability into a dependable and cheap little camping stove. Plus, it’s a Coleman and you can’t go wrong there!
When it comes to alternative fuel stoves, my absolute favorite is the BioLite Wood Burning Campstove. It is unlike any other camp stove I’ve seen.
It charges USB devices while burning!
How cool is that? So, if you need to charge your cell phone at the campsite, just plug it into the stove while you’re cooking up dinner. Weird, but cool at the same time.
The benefits of this stove are that it is lightweight, doesn’t require you to carry any fuel, boils water quickly, and can charge your USB devices.
The not so great? It has a higher price tag and it’s difficult to start a fire if you’re out in the rain and all the leaves and branches are wet.
The good news is that even though the cost is more up front, it ends up being a cheap buy over time since you are not having to buy fuel each time you go camping with it.
Bottom line: Reliable and durable alternative fuel camp stove that saves you weight and money spent on fuel, works with almost any cook pot and has the bonus of being good for the environment.