If there is something that every American loves, it is a good “home” cooked meal even when he/she is camping. That has now become easier with the best cook stoves for camping.
The best camping stoves for backpacking provide you an opportunity to make hot meals when you are camping away from home. In that regard, read my article about how to start fire with sticks, without a lighter, like a boy scout!
If you are going car camping there is no reason why you should not bring a cooking stove with you, and make delicious hot meals for everyone. A hot meal revives the spirit.
Even when you are going backpacking, there are smaller stoves that you can take with you in your backpack. Whatever kind of outdoor vacation you are taking, you know that a good meal gives you the energy, and the motivation to go on.
Best cook stoves for camping reviews
Buying the best cooking stove for camping requires that you choose keenly if you would like to use it for a long time to come. Price is not the overall consideration here, but it is all about the value that you will get.
With so many brands, so many types of camping stoves using different types of fuel, what do you need to buy? That is what we will try to find out here.
Top 5 Canister Stoves
Coleman Bottle Top – Best propane camping stove
This is a propane stove made for someone who loves the trails. It is made with PerfectFlow technology that enables it to perform well even in unfriendly conditions. It is sold with a limited warranty of 3 years.
a) It has PerfectHeat technology that enables it to cook efficiently, thus consuming less fuel.
b) You can buy a 16-Oz propane canister that is sold separately which can last a continuous 2 ½ hours of cooking.
c) The large base ensures stability even as you stir your food.
d) It is made to fit cooking pans that are even as large as 8 inches
e) Has wind baffles to shield your flame from the wind.
f) Heat your food or water at varying temperatures. Just use the control knob
g) Has space for two gas canisters and each canister can burn for 2 ½ hours meaning that you have like 5 hours of cooking time if you have two canisters. Roughly, this measurement is for boiling 2 cups of water on medium heat.
Etekcity Ultralight – Best Portable Camping Stove
This one is not only effective but it is a good-looking camping and backpacking stove too. It is made of an alloy of aluminum and stainless steel. Designed to be collapsible, it is easy to carry and is a good companion to backpacking, camping and hiking enthusiasts.
Here are more things you should know about it:
a) It works well with all 7/16 thread canisters – butane or butane/propane
b) Has no soot or debris and adheres strictly to the US Forest Service Leave No Trace standards
c) Sold with its carry case
d) It is wide enough to accommodate a 7 inch cooking pan
e) Comes with the Piezo ignition system for easy firing up
f) Covered by one year manufacturer’s warranty
g) It can work with canisters made by Coleman, Primus, Jetboil and MSR among others.
h) Has a flame adjuster knob to lower or raise the flame for simmering, heating or cooking food
WindBurner Stove from MSR – best cook stoves for camping
The WindBurner Stove comes combined with a pot and mug. You will love it. It is enclosed to prevent the wind from getting to your fire, yet it also allows in enough air to cook. You can then eat your food from the mug, which is insulated, thus very safe.
Here are more features:
a) Uses a 4 oz fuel canister, which you will have to get separately
b) Can work with accessories such as the WindBurner 1- liter accessory pot
c) Lid has straining and drinking ports
d) Comes with capacity to boil one liter of water in 4.5 minutes
e) At maximum flame the gas can last 95 minutes
f) Uses butane or propane-isobutane
g) Weighs 16 ounces and is compact and foldable for portability
It does not have an igniter, thus, you will have to use matchbox or lighter. Center of gravity is a bit high, but other than that, there are really no other cons to note.
Jetboil MiniMo camping stove for backpacking
Having entered the market way back in 2004, this one attracted rave reviews because of its compact design, being a cooking system rather than just a stove. Over time, the quality has not diminished but by the look of things, it has gotten much better, and has become a darling to many thru-hikers and camping enthusiasts.
Here are a few of its features:
a) It has fast boiling time, which is less than 2 ½ minutes.
b) Has a 3.5 ounce gas canister
c) It is self lighting with a push button ignition
d) Great simmering temperature control
e) 1-liter pot
f) PVC insulated metal handles for the pot
g) Lid has a drinking spout and a strainer
h) Pot stabilizers to prevent toppling over
Does the Jetboil MiniMo has any cons? Yes, it may not ignite fast when you are on high altitudes. That is a common problem with all canister camping stoves. Thus, you need to warm it up a bit by wrapping your hands for a few minutes to warm the gas inside the canister.
Fire-Maple Star FMS-X2 – Outdoor Cooking System
This camping stove comes with the Piezo Ignition system, POT Support & Stand. It is also light, compact and has wind-proofed heating capacity. It uses Propane and Butane gas canisters. The pot body is insulated to keep your hands safe but at the sometime, the bottom of the pot is built with a high conductor metal for faster cooking. This cooking system can boil 1 liter of water in 4 minutes, maximum 5 minutes.
Here are other notable features
It is sold with a pot stabilizer and support so that it can be used with many cookers
The stabilizer is also compatible with different sizes of gas canisters from 110g to 450g.
The stove has a fixed, locked handle for easier handling even if the pot is full.
It is sold with its own carry sack
Not sold with fuel
This portable cooking system is great for camping, hiking and backpacking. Many propane camp stove reviews praise it highly. While it may not be as popular as the Jetboil MiniMo, it is definitely worth every penny that you pay for it, which is not much.
Best five liquid fuel backpacking & camping stoves
Although bigger and bulkier than the canister camping stoves, this one would be the best camp chef stove for you if you are camping in extremely cold places or when you intend to cook for a large group of people. Even as you look for the best gas grills under 200 to take camping with you, consider this light backpacking stove for backup.
One of the main benefits of using the liquid fuel stove is that fuel is cheap. You can use it for melting snow, and you can refill the fuel bottle.
Here are a few best liquid fuel camp stoves:
MSR Dragonfly – Best portable camping stove
It comes with many accessories like the windscreen, fuel pump, stuff sack and heat reflector. The fuel bottle is to be bought separately as it is not included in the initial purchase
It is a multi-fuel stove – You can use kerosene, diesel, jet fuel, unleaded fuel for cars and white gas. It can be used with large pans, even up to 10 inches in diameter
This stove can heat up very fast – from zero to high heat with the turn of a knob. It also has excellent flame control with two control knobs
You will also love that you can fold it down to about a third of its size for easier transportation
This is the best stove for high altitudes camping. However, sitting up for the first time may be a bit of a fuss, but after you get used to it, it will be bliss. That it can use different types of fuels is a big plus for it.
Coleman Sportster – Ultra Light backpacking stove
This is another convenient Coleman camping stove. I call it convenient because you can use unleaded gasoline in it, which I believe is readily available everywhere in America. But it can also use Coleman Liquid Fuel. In any case, camping stove fuels are almost the same anywhere and therefore, most stoves can use one fuel or another. Do not be restricted.
Here are a few features to expect:
a) Set on maximum heat, it will last 2 hours on 1 pint of gasoline or Coleman Liquid Fuel
b) Has wind baffles
c) Made with All Season Strong technology for use in all weather conditions
d) Has wind baffles to enable you cook in windy conditions
e) It is made in the USA and is covered by a limited warranty of 5 years
f) Comes with a free filtering funnel
g) Comes with advanced burner made with Band-a-Blu technology
h) Can fit a pan of 6 inches diameter
This stove has a con though; it is a bit heavy and may require some priming in very cold conditions, but which liquid fuel stove doesn’t? You will love the way it cooks though.
Generic Camping Picnic – Multi-fuel camping stove
This is a multi-fuel camping stove that burns unleaded gasoline, Coleman Fuel, kerosene and white gas. However, note that if you are changing fuels, you have to drain the previous one. It is made in China and has awesome quality, considering that it is a pressure stove. It has a 6.7-inch burner. Give it about ten pumps before you can light it up.
This stove has foldable legs to give it stability even on uneven terrain. It may take some getting used to. However, once you know how to set it up, you will love it even more. It is sold with its carry sack.
MSR XGK EX – one of the top rated camping stoves
You can boil a liter of water in less than three minutes when using kerosene. It has retractable legs and pot support to ensure your dinner does not spill. No one likes to eat from the ground anyway.
The flexible fuel line of this camping and backpacking stove ensures that it packs as compactly as possible. Many of the usual stoves have a solid inflexible fuel lines.
It is a multi-fuel camping stove in the true meaning of that word. It can be used on virtually every liquid fuel available. Whether that is dirty kerosene, dirty diesel, or the clean liquid fuels back in America, this is the right backpacking stove to use.
You can use it to boil a few gallons of water without any trouble at all. This camping stove is not referred to as the de facto king of camping, hiking and backpacking stoves for nothing. It really is king.
It is sold with a small accessory kit that will help you in cleaning and maintaining the stove. It will also come with two heat shields, one for the bottom and the other to wrap around.
MSR Whisperlite Cooking Stove – Canister Stove
Another MSR stove for camping makes it to this list.
This shows just how excellent this brand name is when it comes to the designing and production of high quality and reliable cooking stoves. It uses white gas and with the Shaker Jet Technology, this stove cleans easily, as simple as shaking it.
The materials used to make this stove are steel and brass and thus it will last a long time, but do take good care of it. It is also covered by a limited lifetime warranty and as it weighs just under 500 g, it is a good pick for backpacking.
Solid fuel camp stove reviews
These come in many different types too, just like their liquid fuel counterparts. They are not as popular though, but that does not make them any less effective. The main benefit of using such stoves is that they are quiet, there are no oil spills and they are less dangerous.
Here are a couple of the best of them:
Esbit CS585HA – Lightweight Camping Stove
The use of solid fuel when camping does not come better than it does with the Esbit CS585HA stoves for camping. This is a stove and a personal cookset, which is constructed from anodized aluminum making it to last long.
You will have to buy the Esbit solid fuel cubes that are sold separately. One Esbit tablet will burn for about 15 minutes and will produce enough heat to boil water for your freeze-dried meals and make a cup of coffee or tea. If the tablet remains, just blow it out and use it the following day.
There are all of three parts to this personal trail cooking set. It is made of the lid part, which is for covering the pot. Then there is the pot part, which is 16 oz in capacity and has heat-free handles. Then there is the stove part, which is designed to fit inside the pot. For transportation and storage, you will get a drawstring bag.
It is foldable to a small size of 4.7 by 4.3 0.4 inches.
Coghlan’s – best portable camping stove for emergency
Coghlan brings a great camping burner stove that does not need any priming, wick or the unsafe liquid fuel. You can buy 24 Hexamine fuel tablets, but you can also use Sterno or Trioxane.
It boils water in a flat four minutes and comes in a small compact size measuring just 1.2 by 5.9 by 3.8 inches and weighs a light 10.1 ounces. The first 24 fuel tablets are offered with the purchase of the stove, and when they are through, you can buy more from outdoor stores. This would be a good back up for even the best grill under 300.
SoLoMan Stainless Steel – Best wood camping stove
SoloMan Wood Stove is a lightweight camping, backpacking and overnight hiking stove that can use solid alcohol for fuel. It is a stove that everyone should have in their emergency kit because of its efficiency.
You can also use twigs and leaves that you collect on your camping site for fuel. To reduce the smoke form twigs, the stove comes with patented technology, by using double wall that allows the solid fuel to burn more efficiently.
Weighing a mere 13.3 oz, this is easy to carry with you in your hiking or travel backpack. It is also sold with its own bag for transportation and storage after use. Since it is made of stainless steel, it will withstand all the rigors of the outdoor elements.
Note: SoloMan only sells the stove. You will have to buy the pot separately.
Buying the best backpacking stoves
Here are factors to consider in brief:
The type of stove – Mostly, you can figure this means whether the stove is powered by gas, liquid fuel, alcohol or wood. Gas stoves come in canisters while for liquid and solid fuel, you have to figure out how to carry the fuel.
Stove design – No one wants to risk having their stove toppling over and scalding their feet due to a high center of gravity. Thus, look for a stove with a wider base. It is better to carry a little more weight than spilling your hot dinner on the ground.
Type of food you will be cooking – If you are camping with your family and you want to make them full-blown meals, then you will need a big stove that can cook meals for three or more people. That also means more fuel, so be ready to bring enough of that. If you will be eating packaged meals that just require to be cooked in boiling water, a smaller stove will do.
Your camping destination – The area where you are going camping can also help you to buy the right backpacking stove. For example, a canister stove is best for windy areas as the flame will not be wasted. However, you can also take a windscreen with you to save your fuel.
Take what is not banned – There could be a fire ban wherever you are going camping. You will have to find that one out. Liquid and solid fuel stoves are the seen as the easiest culprits for causing forest fires and therefore they are the most banned. Just make sure you bring one of the best cook stoves for camping that you can use.
Season – There are three season stoves, summer stoves, winter stoves and so on. Basically, you can just use any stove for any season, only that the liquid and solid fuel stoves will consume more in winter when you have to make water from ice. Expert campers and backpackers say that liquid fuel stoves are best for winter camping conditions. Same way there are winter sleeping bags is the same way there are camping stoves for different times.
Other factors – These would be things like the weight of the stove, especially for a backpacking or a hiking vacation. You can also consider the price of the camp stoves and buy what you can afford. However, I usually advice people not to sacrifice quality on the altar of price. It is better to pay a little more money to get more features and longevity, than otherwise.
Backpacking stove fuel
This is the biggest determinant of the kind of stove you are going to buy. Backpacking stoves will be available in three types mostly, as below:
a) Liquid fuel – This stove is built to be connected to a refillable container. This container is then detached when traveling. The recommended fuel is lantern fuel, also referred to as white gas, which is specifically made for backpacking and camping.
b) Canister stove – This is the latest arrival in the camping and backpacking arena, but it is very popular today. It is very easy to use and comes with pressurized gas like propane and isobutane. The canisters are self-sealing, making them spill-free.
c) Solid fuel camp stoves – These run on solid wood as their name suggests. They are not very popular, but they are available all the same. They usually run on wood or fuel pellets, which you can buy at the store.
That is it for the best cook stoves for camping. Having seen a few samples of the best of the gas canisters, liquid and solid fuel stoves for hiking and camping, what are you waiting for? Go get one today. Chewing beef jerky for breakfast, lunch and dinner is not something that you want to do on the trails because you need energy from good food. All the potential energy stored in freeze-dried trail foods can only be freed in boiling water. The stoves for backpacking will allow you to eat hot meals when you are out there in the cold. A good stove will occupy the same space in your backpack as a pair of hiking boots would.