So you go camping and have to avoid eating raw meat and drinking cold coffee? Lol, perfect! In this guide to the best camping stoves, you’ll discover six factors to consider when buying a camping stove, the advantages and disadvantages of table and freestanding stoves.
Guide to Buying the Best Camping Stoves
These days, cooking on a camping stove is fast, reliable and (in many ways) just like cooking at home. There are hundreds of camping cookbooks available to inspire you and delight your palate. The equipment is durable, lightweight and easy to use once you’re set up.
Of course, if you don’t really feel like lighting the stove, you can roast your hot dogs over the campfire, but keep in mind that you have to light the fire first and it will take much longer to get it started and reach a good cooking temperature.
So when your family is hungry, it’s sometimes faster and easier to cook with the instant heat of a stove. This way, you will have more time to sit around the campfire once everyone is happy (with a full belly).
Guide to buying a camp stove: 6 factors
Weight of the camp stove
This goes without saying, but it is obvious that a €20 bottle of petrol cannot be used for a hike. However, for a family of four, a week’s camping trip in a national park is perfect.
Weight is a huge factor to take into account when camping, after all, you are the one who has to bring it to the campsite. It doesn’t matter if you park in a car right next to a table, but if you have to carry it a certain distance, that’s a factor.
Especially if your gas bottle weighs 20 pounds or if it comes in several pieces and needs to be assembled. Remember, for longer trips, the old adage “worth its weight in gold” is sometimes true and, once it’s in place, will make your entire trip more comfortable.
Camping stove size
How big is big enough? Two burners, three or four burners? It all depends on how many people you have to cook for. A family of six or two friends. Two burners are usually enough to cook what you need as safely as if you were cooking in your own kitchen.
For this reason, the most popular table-top camping stoves are the two burners, which can be installed on a frying pan and in a pot at the same time in a comfortable way.
Fuel type of your camping stove
Small propane cylinders or large gas cylinders? It depends on how many people you feed at each meal, how long you are staying, and how many extra fuel cartridges you want to carry.
Most two-burner table-top camping stoves are propane, and the canisters are light and small enough so there’s no problem having a few spare parts just in case you need them.
Larger freestanding units usually require a connected freestanding fuel tank, but they are excellent for larger groups as they usually provide more grunts and can cook food faster and in larger quantities for the troops.
You can save on fuel consumption by providing roasting sticks so everyone can roast their own hot dogs and have fun around the campfire. It can also save you time spent working on the stove while you can laugh and enjoy time around the campfire with others.
Lighting the camping stoves
Are you one of those people who get a little upset when they light the gas with a match or a lighter – and end up buying one of those BBQ lighters with a long spout? Then don’t worry, there are stoves with automatic ignition, so you’ll never have to worry about burning your knuckle hairs.
Ignition is a factor to consider when buying, mainly because an auto-ignition stove will ignite immediately and waste less gas escaping while you light one match after another. Depending on the money you want to spend and the type of camping experience, many high-end models are self-igniting.
Stove wind shield
This is an important question when you are trying to choose the right stove for your family. There is nothing worse than cooking happily and the flame goes out with the slightest breeze. Suddenly, your precious gas supply is wasted, you feel frustrated at having to keep lighting the stove and everyone’s patience runs out as they go from hungry to hungry (so hungry that they get angry).
An effective windbreak system prevents this from happening, so ideally you want a three-sided windbreak that provides optimum heat retention and cooking time.
Power of camping stoves
Some would say that this is the most important factor in choosing a stove. After all, the higher the BTU, the faster your meal is cooked. That’s important, yes, but it’s not an end in itself.
If the wind breaks on three sides, a stove with 10,000 BTU (British Thermal Unit) burners will do the job without losing much performance. That said, when cooking for large groups, you need the power you need for the largest volume of food produced.
A 10,000 BTU burner will get you there in the end, but it will take much longer and use much more of your fuel reserves than a 30,000 BTU burner on a freestanding stove. You really notice the difference, and it reduces your cooking time considerably.
If it’s for two or three people on a weekend getaway, a large freestanding stove may be a bit of a stretch for one or two nights of camping.