CAMPING & HIKING

Best Camping Stove: Make the Best of Your Camping Trip

Best camping stove
Dennis Owens
Written by Dennis Owens

The experience of cooking food and preparing hot coffee just like at home, but instead surrounded by beautiful nature, you’ll have to agree, is priceless! Camping fires, however, are high-maintenance and usually not recommended, even forbidden in many places. This is where stoves come in, and in this article we’ll see what makes the best camping stove for you.

Camping stoves can be small and lightweight, so carrying them in your backpack won’t be an issue. They can also come in big sizes that are great for your backyard, or for car camping. There’s ton of choices on the market, but how to pick the right one for you?

In this article we’ll see what makes the best camping stoves and which features should you consider before buying one. Besides, we also come in with reviews of our favorite products!

Our Top Picks

Product NameWeight# of BurnersFuel TypePrice
Stansport Outfitter Propane14 lbs2PropaneCheck price on Amazon
Camp Chef Pro 9056 lbs3PropaneCheck price on Amazon
Stansport 212-300 Outfitter15 lbs3PropaneCheck price on Amazon
Camp Chef Explorer36 lbs2PropaneCheck price on Amazon
Coleman Triton11 lbs2PropaneCheck price on Amazon
Barbour International DB25040 lbs2PropaneCheck price on Amazon
GAS ONE GS-35003.3 lbs1ButaneCheck price on Amazon
Primus FireHole 10013 lbs2PropaneCheck price on Amazon

Things to Consider Before Buying

There are different features to consider if you’re searching for a good and reliable camping stove. It can make your excursion an unforgettable experience or even so, make you forget about camping altogether.

Nevertheless, carefully consider your needs according to the type of camping (such as backpacking or vehicle camping), a number of people (traveling alone, as a couple or in a large group), and length of your trip (overnight, weekend or 10-day trip).  Finding the right feature of your stove can save you energy, weight, and cost. Here are notable features you should look for in camping stoves:

Type of Camping

The type of camping is the first thing to consider before deciding on the type of stove you’ll want to invest in. For the preliminary choice, we’ll divide it into two categories: car camping and backpacking. Second, you should think about how many people are usually coming to the camping trips.

Big group camping

Car camping usually doesn’t restrict the size and weight of your camping stove, and usually more people are coming to these events. If this is your thing, you should consider more burners and bigger stove – so you may want to focus on car camping stoves.

When it comes to the number of burners, the standard is 1, 2, and 3 burners. Obviously, if you’re traveling alone or with one or two more people, you can just choose the single burner or lightweight dual burners. You would need to choose heavy durable 2-3 burner stoves if you’re in car camping, beach party or large outdoor excursion.

When it comes to backpacking trips, the most critical factor is size and weight. For these trips, you will want something small, light, and compact. Of second importance is the number of people that are going to be using the stove, and the duration of the trip – how much fuel you can carry with you. You will also want to consider whether you want a fast-heating, or slow-cooking option… or both!

Number of Burners

The number of burners is usually proportional to the number of people on a camping trip. If there are 2-3 people coming, one burner stove should be enough, but anything above that requires 2, or even 3-burners on the stove. The bigger stoves are usually fit for car camping, though.

One burner stove

When it comes to backpacking trips that demand less spacious and more lightweight stoves, consider buying a powerful one – a stove that can quickly heat more water. Another option is getting two one-burner-stoves if there are more than 2 people coming.

Fuel type

For high altitudes and cold temperatures, white gas stoves are probably the best option. White gas evaporates quickly and leaves no residue, and it is lightweight and burns efficiently, making it one of the most popular choices. However, it’s not available everywhere, so it is probably not the best choice for everyone.

Liquid petroleum gas canisters are pretty small, making them very portable. The gas is compressed mix of butane, isobutene and propane. These stoves are negatively affected by wind and cold temperatures, so you might want to have wind screen with you.

Propane fuel is best for car camping, and is usually used for big stoves (two burners), for big groups of people. On the contrary, if you’re going solo and don’t do much cooking, alcohol stoves are a great choice. Alcohol doesn’t burn very hot, but it is also safer for you and the environment. Alcohol stoves are cheap and easy to use, and burning alcohol is widely available.

Propane camping stove

Kerosene burns very hot, but it is also greasy and has strong odor. You should cover your pots when cooking on a kerosene stove. There are also available stoves that can burn multiple fuels – white gas, kerosene, diesel, LPG, etc. It’s good that you can find fuel everywhere, but on the other hand, they are hard for maintenance.

There are also wood stoves available. The good thing is that you won’t have to carry the fuel with you, and wood is widely available. However, it doesn’t burn too hot, and it can be problematic to find dry wood after heavy rain.

BTU Heat Output

BTU, or British Thermal Unit, is a measure of the amount of energy it takes to heat or cool one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. More BTUs mean more power and shorter heating time.

Prakti stove

Consider the type of dishes that you plan to cook while on your trip. Will you need more occasions to boil water, simmer soups, or cook light meals? Would you want to cook pasta, noodles or would need to soften and tender a meat? Would you just need a regular flame to boil water and fry some eggs? Look for low BTU’s for light cooking in small group camping. On the other hand, you should look for high BTU’s for heavy-duty cooking if you belong to a large group.

Price

As with any type of product search, the price of camping stove is just as important. Consider your budget needs, such as how much are you’re willing to spend on a camping stove or consider how often you will go on camping trips in a month or so.

The prices often depend on the brand, BTU output, number of burners, dimensions and other special features of the stove. As you consider the factors in your camping trip, you may already have a rough idea on the type of camping stove that you’re looking for.

Best Products on Today’s Market

You know what to look for when buying a stove and now it’s the time to make your decision easier. Here are the top 8 products considered amongst the best in the current market.

Stansport Outfitter Propane StoveBest Camping Stove: Make the Best of Your Camping Trip

Price: Approx. $115

Weight: 14 lbs

Size: 6 x 13.2 x 24 in

Specific features: Black/silver color, propane fuel type, stainless steel material, Piezo igniter

Best use: Elevated camping and hiking

Description: The Stansport Outfitter Propane Stove comes with a huge 50,000-BTU output, 25,000 BTUs per single burner. Burners are placed on an oversized sturdy steel frame, with stainless latch top, windscreens and an ample stainless steel drip pan.

The stove’s heavy-duty cooking grate can stand heavy pots and pans, while it operates in a 16.4 oz. propane gas cylinder which you can buy separately. The Piezo electric ignition provides quick ignition with no need for lighter or matches.

For added control in varying camping environments and conditions, the Stanport burner has the windscreens, high altitude pressure regulator and the heat regulation control valves. The stove is ideal and can withstand high-altitude pressure even in elevated and high range mountain camping, as it has a powerful flame.

Elevated hikes and long walks may take some toll on the body. This may even arouse some unusual cravings for sumptuous meals and soups, so you may want to plan different camping recipes and be creative in your meals.

PROS:

  • Wind resistant
  • Powerful flame; Can endure high-altitude pressure
  • Auto-ignition
  • Durable
  • Stainless steel drip pan provided

CONS:

  • Igniter a tad difficult to turn
  • Heavy
  • Burners too big for small pots
  • Fast gas consumption

Related: If you don’t have camping cooking equipment yet, with this product we recommend you buy the Stansport Enamel Camping Tableware Set, a high quality durable 24-piece steel tableware set with blue enamel finish.

Check the price on Amazon

Camp Chef Pro 90 3 Burner StoveCamp Chef Professional Series GB-90D

Price: Approx. $230

Weight: 56 lbs

Size: 38.5 x 11 x 18 in

Specific features: 3 aluminum burners matchless ignition, deluxe folding legs, folding side shelves, 3-side windscreen, 3-cast aluminum burners with approximately 90,000 total BTU/hr.

Best use: Large group camping and picnic

Description: The features of the Camp Chef Pro 90 3 Burner Stove includes familiar appliance style controls and valves to help you regulate the temperature and adjust the stove’s heat output.

The big 90,000 total BTU (per hour) of the 3 durable aluminum burners makes it an impressive cooking essential for those planning to hold an overnight camp out of large groups. It has a 3-sided windscreen to protect and shield the flames from winds, in case the weather suddenly changes during your camp.

The 31-inch height allows it to stand on the deluxe folding legs, which also has folding side shelves – fairly convenient for an average height camping chef. The 16 x 38-inch surface is ample enough for cooking if ever you need a wider elbow room for your pans and skillets.

As it has a matchless ignition, there’s no need for matches – a quick fire way for you to start the stove even in challenging weather conditions. Since it is quite heavy at 56 pounds, the Camp Chef is not for marathon backpackers and week-long campers, but ideal for short camp outs in the weekend.

PROS:

  • Suitable for cooking large amounts of food for the group
  • Can handle all sizes of cooking utensils
  • Matchless ignition

CONS:

  • Flame sometimes falters in windy conditions
  • Not that easy to clean and maintain
  • Heavy
  • A tad expensive

Related: If you want to protect your stove from scratches during transport, or keep it from catching dust when in storage, we recommend the Camp Chef Carry Bag.

Check the price on Amazon

Stansport 212-300 Outfitter Propane StoveStansport 212-300 Outfitter Series

Price: Approx. $150

Weight: 15 lbs

Size: 6 x 13.75 x 24.25 in

Specific features: Black/silver color, oversized steel frame, Piezo electronic ignition, stainless steel drip pan, extra heavy duty cooking grate, two oversized 25,000 B.T.U. burners with a 10,000 B.T.U. center burner

Best use: Few nights camping for groups of four to six people

Description: The Stansport 212-300 Outfitter Propane Stove features a whopping total of 60,000 heat output, in two large 25,000 BTU rust resistant steel burners and single center burner with 10,000 BTU output.

You don’t have to worry about wet lighters or damaged matches, as the stove features the Piezo electronic flame ignition. Even more, its oversized stainless steel frame allows you to go the extra-mile in heavy types of cooking, as it has a durable grate to carry sizable camping pots or skillets.

In addition, it features the high altitude pressure valve regulator, in case your trip takes you into higher plains or elevated ranges. The stainless steel drip pan provides a small catch plate for oil, soup or sauce drips. However, it has several flaws, as it has powerful flames, you may not want to use any thin pan for your food will likely burn.

All the burners, including the middle burner, can quickly boil water, especially if the valves are cranked up. However, the 25K BTU outer flames are shaped like a cup, which actually directs the flame straight up, making it withstand a sudden breeze; so you may just want to use average flames in your cooking.

PROS:

  • Matchless electronic flame ignition
  • Stainless steel drip pan
  • High-altitude pressure regulator
  • Highly adjustable flame
  • Convenient size to be carried

CONS:

  • Quality not that good
  • Not durable

Related: If you’re going to buy this stove, we suppose you’ll be going camping with a group of friends or family. To help keep the campsite clean, we recommend the Stansport Collapsible Campsite Trash Can. It is made of durable polyethylene material, and it can also be used as ball bag, poolside towel hamper, or simply for gear storage.

Check the price on Amazon

Camp Chef Explorer 2 Burner RangeCamp Chef Explorer 2 Burner Range

Price: Approx. $100

Weight: 36 lbs

Size: 34 x 16 x 9.5 in

Specific features: Black color, two BTU cast aluminum burners system with overall power of 60,000 BTU, comes with regulator, 3-foot hose for bulk propane tank

Best use: Overnight large camping or picnics

Description: The Camp Chef Explorer 2 Burner Range is hefty, but this rugged stove might be the right burner for large group campers, notably in occasions you plan to go out with family or friends.

It has a heavyweight construction at 36 pounds, making it a tough outdoor stove for weekly or monthly camping getaways. For your alfresco cooking in summer at the beach or maybe in a nearby park – you can easily pack it, with its removable legs, and even carry it up the hills, in case you plan to spend a night in the mountains.

The overall heat output and build quality are very good, with enough burner capacity to boil a 35-quart pot in a 60°F weather condition. Other notable features include the appliance style knobs, 3-side windscreens, 450 square inch cooking area, 3-foot hose, regulator and propane tank.

This Camp Chef burner is ideal for those in need for a mobile kitchen in their base camp while overlooking a lake. It has a matte finish, but well-built and sturdy, which is not common for heavy burners – yet keeping its efficiency and usability by being able to consume less than 6 gallons of propane on any camping trip.

PROS:

  • Extra burners provided
  • Burner setup is easy
  • Great power

CONS:

  • Burners leave black residue on pots and pans
  • Quality not good; legs not stable; rusts easily
  • Not easy to clean

Related: For a pre-seasoned out of the box option, Camp Chef CGG16B Iron Grill is a very good choice to use with Chef Explorer, for more cooking options.

Check the price on Amazon

Coleman Triton 2-Burner Propane StoveColeman Triton + 2-Burner Propane Stove

Price: Approx. $80

Weight: 11 lbs

Size: 14 x 5.9 x 23 in

Specific features: Steel, 2 burners with 22,000 total BTUs, Independent control, easily-adjustable simmer to boil controls range, durable steel construction, Instant start push-button ignition with no need for matches

Best use: 5-6 days camping

Description: The Coleman Triton Stove provides 22,000 BTU total heat output (for two burners), in a relatively light 11-pound weight. The built-in handles on its underside allow easy transport and increased portability in case you need to transfer base camps.

It has the fully-adjustable dual burners, with the Coleman’s Insta-Start matchless lighting, so you don’t need lighters, as it provides quickfire ignition for impromptu cooking of ramen noodles, soups or boiling water for a cup of tea.

It has the removable grate right along the aluminum cooking top, which allows easy and faster cleaning. You can put in a 10 inch pan and a 12 inch pan at the same time, in case you like to simultaneously cook sunny-side-up eggs and flatbreads.

The wind lock system shields the flame from dust and wind, while the stainless steel withstands rust, a durable stove essential for regular campers. However, the built looks somewhat flimsy, but quite obviously it was built that way to make it lighter and easier to carry. The assembly is pretty straight forward and can easily be packed in camping bags.

PROS:

  • Fully adjustable dual burners
  • Quick auto-ignition
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Lot of heat in the flame

CONS:

  • Carrying not convenient
  • Controls of burners not fine tunable
  • No low setting

Related: If you want to store or carry this stove in a bag, the Coleman Small Stove Carry Case is the perfect choice. It has a rugged, PVC-coated polyester construction that helps protect your stove. This case is strong and comfortable and it has a web handle for easier carrying and extra portability.

Check the price on Amazon

Bayou Classic DB250 Outdoor Gas CookerBayou Classic DB250

Price: Approx. $140

Weight: 39.8 lbs

Size: 32.5 x 19.4 x 13.6 in

Specific features: Two 50,000 BTU burners, 13-inch heavy-duty height steel welded frame, 25 inches extension legs with no bolts/screws, double brass control valves, 3-foot pressure hose, regulator kit, valve assembly kit

Best use: Overnight large group camping, vehicle camping, mobile outdoor kitchen

Description: The Bayou Classic DB250 Cooker features an overall 100,000 BTU heat output, for the dual high-pressure burners, which is perfect for an overnight beach party for family reunions or company excursions.

It has the 13 inches tall welded steel frame, along with leg extension that raises the height up to 25 inches for adjustable cooking height. The stove features a dual 14-inch diameter cooking surface for ample elbow room for different meal preparations using different types of pots and pans.

Other great features include dual brass control valves, 15 PSI preset regulator, and 36-inch stainless braided hose. The 360° windscreen protection provides a wide shield against winds, while the sturdy leg design brings stability even for juggling varying weights of pans, skillets, kettles, and pots.

The unit comes in a fairly easy to follow assembly, as it is also quite simple to pack for transport if you change campground locations.

You may notice the extensions bring the burner to stand on edge, but you will have no problem placing two 30 quart pots (around 8 gallons each). For more stability, you can allow the burner to sit on a flat board on the ground just the same. However, the burner is pretty stable with moderate pushing, stirring or gyrating.

PROS:

  • Easy to assemble
  • Powerful burners
  • Even heat distribution; Works great for canning, brewing beer, etc.
  • Easy to use controls
  • Worth the price

CONS:

  • A few pieces with missing screws
  • Legs not tight enough

Related: With this product we recommend buying the Bayou Classic Aluminum Fry Pot and Basket if you don’t have a similar product yet. It is the perfect size for backyard cooking, tailgating, camping, and more.

Check the price on Amazon

GAS ONE GS-3500 Portable Butane Gas StoveGAS ONE NEW GS-3500

Price: Approx. $30

Weight: 3.3 lbs

Size: 10.9 x 3.6 x 12.8 in

Specific features: 7,650 BTU/hr heat output, Burgundy color, single burner, safety shut off system, Piezo type electric starter, black carrying case

Best use: Thru-hiking, camping, emergency stove kit

Description: Hikers, who don’t mind the long walks across the Appalachian Trails, know that the basic rule is to travel light. You certainly don’t want to carry additional 20 pounds of steel, canisters, and other hefty stove materials in your bag. Every added pound can be felt in your back.

The Gas One New GS-3500 Portable Butane Gas Stove is popular for thru-hikers for it is light, as it weighs just 3.3 lbs; nonetheless, it is also highly efficient and functional even with a single burner as it provides around 7,650 BTU per hour heat output.

The Gas One stove uses the standard 8 oz. Gas One butane canisters which are sold separately, so just bring along extra canisters if you have extended trips. The unit comes in a color box package and includes a black carrying case, which is ideal if you’re looking for a nice gift for someone who loves camping and hiking.

The safety features include the safety shut-off device, safety cartridge setting device, safety joint, and safety governor system. This stove is ideal for lone hikers or couple campers.

PROS:

  • Most parts made of metal
  • Light
  • Easy to set up
  • Good amount of heat
  • Sturdy
  • Compatible with different sizes of cookware
  • Cheap

CONS:

  • A tad flimsy
  • Flame a bit unsteady in windy conditions

Related: If you are planning on having a longer cooking session on your trip, you might want to get these GasOne 12 Butane Fuel Canisters too.

Check the price on Amazon

Primus FireHole 100 StovePrimus FireHole 100 Stove

Price: Approx. $100

Weight: 13 lbs

Size: 15 x 4.9 x 19.9 in

Specific features: Propane fuel type, red color, integrated flexible fuel line, twist-click Piezo igniter, recessed control knobs, easy-carry handle, 24,000 BTU, with 1 lb. propane canisters, preparation area convertible to magnetic windscreens

Best use: Weekend campers and backpackers (2-4 people)

Description:  The Primus Firehole 100 Stove features the rust-resistant stainless steel grates, which allows you to hold up medium sized iron-cast pans and skillets. Even more, the ergonomic dual handles provide easy and non-slip handling. The recessed knobs, propane canisters, and integrated fuel line is finely tucked into the stove for smooth packing and easy storage in camping bags.

Ideal for 3-6 days camping and road trip, the stove works just fine if you decide to climb 3,500 ft to 10,000 ft altitudes. The Piezo igniter can fire up in campground temperatures providing an even flame and heat outputs.

The stove’s flame control allows you to adjust the right amount of heat in case you need to simmer or boil some liquid in your pots. It has durable control handle, which is often damaged in rough transports and rugged hike in back roads, so it can fairly survive in long walks.

A small flaw would be the flimsy clips used to hold the fuel hose, but overall the stove is sturdy and well-built – ideal for those looking for introductory camping stoves.

PROS:

  • Heat distribution even
  • Stury
  • Easy and quick ignition, even in high altitudes and low temperatures

CONS:

  • Clips that hold fuel hose are flimsy
  • Few customers have reported flimsy burners

Related: What better way to enjoy a nature morning than with a hot cup of tea in your hands? Primus LiTech Coffee/Tea Kettle is the perfect choice for this.

Check the price on Amazon

Wrap Up

Hopefully, the article provided you a helpful guide in your search for your next purchase of a reliable, functional, and efficient camping stove. As you can see, there are different types of stoves for different types of situations and needs.

If you have some questions or comments about the products we’ve reviewed, just let us know in our comment section. Feel free to share your experiences using a specific camping stove and we’re eager to hear your best stories from camping trips.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens

Dennis Owens is a graduate of National Camping School and REI Outdoor School. He knows everything about what gear to take with you, how to plan your trip to stay safe and what to do if you get lost in the mountains. We are lucky to have Dennis with us as he is a ‘walking encyclopedia’ when it comes to the wilderness.