Best Camping Stove – Reviews & Buying Guide
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Best Camping Stove – Reviews & Buying Guide (November 2019)

Updated: August 25, 2018

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

After 44 hours spent researching the best camping stoves, we think Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove is the best for most people.

This choice is based on several criteria: number of burners, runtime, pre-cooked food, temperature settings, ideal for, windshield, construction, carrying case, steady fuel stream, cooking area, accessories, collapsible design, power source, removable grates, and BTUs, among other things.

 ProductPriceOverall RatingDesignConstructionRuntimeAccessoriesValue for Moneynumber of burnersruntimepre-cooked foodtemperature settingsideal forwindshieldconstructioncarrying casesteady fuel streamcooking areaaccessoriescollapsible designpower sourceremovable gratesBTUs
Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveCamp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveCheck Price4.44.04.05.04.54.5Two15 hoursYesAdjustableMajor mealsYesAluminumNoYes14” by 32”NumerousYesPropaneYes60,000 (30,000 per burner)
Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveCheck Price3.94.03.53.54.04.5Two60 minutesYesAdjustableMajor mealsSold separatelyAluminumYesYes10in and 12in pansSold separatelyYesPropaneYes22,000 (11,000 per burner)
Coleman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveCheck Price4.14.04.53.54.04.5Two60 minutesYesAdjustableMajor mealsYesHeavy-duty, nickel-chrome frameYesYes10in and 12in panGriddleYesPropaneYes22,000 (11,000 per burner)
Coleman Classic Propane Portable Camping StoveColeman Classic Propane Portable Camping StoveCheck Price4.14.53.54.04.04.5Two60 minutesYesAdjustableMajor mealsYesAluminumYesYes10in and 12in panSold separatelyYesPropaneYes20,000 (10,000 per burner)
Iwatani America ZA-3HP Portable Camping StoveIwatani America ZA-3HP Portable Camping StoveCheck Price3.84.03.53.54.04.0One74 minutesYesAdjustableMajor mealsNoAluminumYesYes14 in x 11inNoneNoButaneYes12,000
Best Camping Stove

A camping stove is an essential tool – no matter whether you’re soaking up the great outdoors overnight, or for several weeks.

It allows you to enjoy cooked meals, and given how advanced some appliances are, it’ll be like you never left home!

A reliable stove is the first step to take in purchasing a range of accessories which enable you to give you and your loved ones sustenance during a camping vacation. However, you shouldn’t forget that there are several other pieces of kitchenware which you’ll need in order to use this appliance to its full potential.

Oftentimes, a powerful stove will boil a decent amount of water in a matter of minutes.

For example, a whistling kettle should be right at the top of your wish list. That way, as soon as you get up in the morning, a cup of tea or coffee is never far away.

Oftentimes, a powerful stove will boil a decent amount of water in a matter of minutes – and provided you’ve got enough of a water supply, it’s also possible to use this heated water for keeping yourself nice and clean during the trip.

It’s important to make sure that any pots you take with you are going to be able to fit onto the camping stove. Thankfully, most manufacturers provide detailed information as to the maximum size of pans which can be used – while still ensuring that its contents are cooked thoroughly.

Some people offer cheats such as removing windshields so you have more space to prepare food, but this may result in an unevenly cooked dish.

Selection Of The Best Camping Stoves

Here are the best camping stoves for most people according to Outlinist:

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove
(rated 4.4 / 5)
Design
Construction
Runtime
Accessories
Value for Money
Check Price

What’s the last thing you need after a day hiking and exploring? A cold dinner eaten straight out of the can, that’s what.

The Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove will put an end to unappetizing food and allow you to rustle up a feast!

Information

When you are cooking up a storm, you want to be confident that the stove you are using is up to the task in hand.

This strong performance two-burner stove makes the ideal companion for all of your camping and outdoor pursuits – wherever you go.

You can also depend upon it for those awkward times when you have a power outage – and you have guests arriving in an hour!

Whatever your outdoor or emergency cooking needs are, you can depend upon the robust construction of the Explorer 2-Burner stove to get you through.

When you are cooking up a storm, you want to be confident that the stove you are using is up to the task in hand. The Explorer 2-Burner stove has won awards from Fish Alaska Magazine – for being the type of kit that will get the job done.

number of burnersTwo
runtime15 hours
pre-cooked foodYes
temperature settingsAdjustable
ideal forMajor meals
windshieldYes
constructionAluminum
carrying caseNo
steady fuel streamYes
cooking area14” by 32”
accessoriesNumerous
collapsible designYes
power sourcePropane
removable gratesYes
BTUs60,000 (30,000 per burner)

You will get 15 hours of cooking from just one 20lb tank of propane (not included,) and the fully adjustable heat control dials will make sure your food is cooked properly without being burnt on the outside and raw in the middle.

Even slight breezes can make cooking outdoors a problem, but the three-sided windscreen on this stove offer some protection against the irritating scenario of the flames blowing out and wasting propane.

There is no such thing as even ground when it comes to cooking in the great outdoors, and the Explorer 2-Burner stove makes allowances for this with adjustable legs, which can even be fully removed if that makes your life easier.

There’s nothing quite as irritating as trying to use a new piece of camping equipment and discovering that it will take forever to set up (and a PhD in engineering). This stove is ready to use in seconds out of the box.

The regulator and the 3ft long hose ensure that connection to a propane tank is quickly achieved. That way, you can start that cook-out as soon as you like. All that’s left to do is to decide when and where you are going to begin.

Pros

This versatile stove is compatible with many Camp Chef accessories, including the Italia Artisan Pizza Oven.

So, we’ve had a quick look at the Camp Chef 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove, it’s now time to have a closer look at what it has to offer, and what you will get for your hard-earned dollars.

  • There are lots of accessories available: Although it’s great to have two burners on your portable stove, what if you fancy pizza or would like to have your steak griddled? No problem, this versatile stove is compatible with many Camp Chef accessories, including the Italia Artisan Pizza Oven.
  • You get a whopping 60,000 BTUs with the Explorer 2-Burner: This means that you get 30,000 BTUs for each cast aluminum burner. That’s a lot of fast and efficient energy to cook with when you consider that just one BTU will heat a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.
  • Perfect stove for canning: If you like to take advantage of seasonal products so that you can enjoy it all year through, then let this stove help to take some of the pressure off when it comes to canning season and keep the heat out of your kitchen.
  • Love pungent food but don’t love the smell? The versatility of this outdoor cooker make it the perfect companion stove for cooking the foods that you enjoy but which have a tendency to live lingering aromas, such as fish, onions, cabbage or spicy foods.
  • A sturdy stove means a safe stove: Cooking outside has much to commend it; perhaps it satisfies the inner hunter/gatherer in us! But it has to be said that many camping stoves are rickety, which makes them unsafe. Not this stove – sturdy and robust is standard.
  • So you’ve finished eating – now it’s time to clean: This has got to be the worst part of cooking on an outdoor stove – any food splashes are a nightmare to remove. Not so with the Camp Chef Explorer – simply wipe clean in preparation for the next delicious episode.

Cons

It’s rare that any product gets 100% rave reviews, so it’s good to know what aspects of an item are going to let it down. Here are three things that we think you need to know about the Explorer camping stove:

  • Expect heavy propane usage over time: Although you will get around 15 hours of use from a 20lb propane tank, the high energy output of this stove means that this is less than other, less powerful stoves – so do you compromise energy for more hours?
  • Simmering could mean you lose the flame: The wind guard seems to work well when the stove is being used with a relatively high flame, but simmering can be problematic with the flame being blown out quite often – something you will need to keep an eye on.
  • An 8″ pan may not be enough: Don’t be packing your largest pans to take on your camping trip because the Camp Chef Explorer won’t be able to cater for them at the same time. For two-pan cooking, it’s advisable to have pots about 8″ each.

Comparison

 

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveCamp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Coleman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
number of burnersTwoTwoTwo
runtime15 hours60 minutes60 minutes
pre-cooked foodYesYesYes
temperature settingsAdjustableAdjustableAdjustable
ideal forMajor mealsMajor mealsMajor meals
windshieldYesSold separatelyYes
constructionAluminumAluminumHeavy-duty, nickel-chrome frame
carrying caseNoYesYes
steady fuel streamYesYesYes
cooking area14” by 32”10in and 12in pans10in and 12in pan
accessoriesNumerousSold separatelyGriddle
collapsible designYesYesYes
power sourcePropanePropanePropane
removable gratesYesYesYes
BTUs60,000 (30,000 per burner)22,000 (11,000 per burner)22,000 (11,000 per burner)

Summary

This is one of the more functional and sturdy camping stoves on the market and represents excellent value for money.

This is one of the more functional and sturdy camping stoves on the market and represents excellent value for money. The fact that it can incorporate so many different accessories makes it a complete cooking solution.

Perhaps the most irritating aspect of this stove is the size of pans that it holds – although some shoppers have reported using larger pots, an iron Dutch oven – and even a pressure cooker to prepare meals.

The energy output of this stove means that the days of waiting for a feeble flame to heat through a can of beans is over. With the Camp Chef Explorer, you can prepare and cook proper meals that will give you the energy to carry on camping.


Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove
(rated 3.9 / 5)
Design
Construction
Runtime
Accessories
Value for Money
Check Price

Have you ever finished a long day’s hiking with only the thought of a hot dinner keeping you going – only to discover you left the matches on your kitchen table?

The Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove will make sure that kind of mishap remains a distant memory.

Information

The Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove will let you cook all of your favorite meals wherever you are.

As its name suggests, the Coleman InstaStart features Piezo ignition, so regardless of the weather conditions (or your damp matches,) you can prepare a hot meal.

The two burners ensure that one-pot meals are no longer camping must-haves; you will be able to produce the same quality meals that you do at home.

And you can use your regular pans, so there is no need to spend your hard-earned bucks on cast-iron versions that weigh a ton!

The Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove will let you cook all of your favorite meals wherever you are, and it is a great addition to your kit when you go camping, to the beach or when you fancy some a tailgating cookout.

number of burnersTwo
runtime60 minutes
pre-cooked foodYes
temperature settingsAdjustable
ideal forMajor meals
windshieldSold separately
constructionAluminum
carrying caseYes
steady fuel streamYes
cooking area10in and 12in pans
accessoriesSold separately
collapsible designYes
power sourcePropane
removable gratesYes
BTUs22,000 (11,000 per burner)

The large cooking area is perfect for lovingly preparing different types of meals, so no matter whether you fancy something simple like eggs and sausage, or whether you want something more substantial, like a stir fry with steak and pasta, you can have it.

The patented WindBlock Shield on this stove prevents the flames from blowing out so you will be spared the frustration of repeatedly lighting one burner while the other threatens to join its mate and perish (we’ve all been there!).

In fact, another of Coleman’s patented features – the PerfectFlow Pressure-Control System – makes sure that both burners keep up a consistent heat regardless of air temperature or altitude, which makes the InstaStart stove the perfect camping companion in awkward locations.

Another frustrating camping stove scenario is not having enough energy to cook a meal in anything less than starvation time. Fortunately, Coleman is aware of this and has provided this stove with a combined high-performance of 22,000 BTUs, so you can eat when you want to – not three hours later.

And when you are done eating, cleaning up and putting your stove away is a piece of cake. The nickel-chrome, heavy-duty grates can be removed for easy cleaning and then the whole stove simply folds up like a briefcase.

Pros

The InstaStart uses 16.4oz canisters that attach to the side of the stove and are easy to transport.

The Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove has a lot to offer but it is time to get up close and personal and have a closer look at it so that you can decide whether it is the right stove for your needs.

  • Propane canisters for easy to use, efficient cooking: When you do some serious camping, the last thing you want is a heavy cooking fuel canister to lug about with you. The InstaStart uses 16.4oz canisters that attach to the side of the stove and are easy to transport.
  • You can get cooking for longer with this camping stove: Many people are concerned that using a small fuel canister means that they are likely to run out of energy mid-way through cooking a meal. Rest assured that the propane canisters for the InstaStart will provide one hour’s cooking on high.
  • Take your InstaStart anywhere: Not only does the InstaStart fold up into a manageable 21.1in x 14.2in x 3.7in, but it has an integral handle that makes carrying it simple and easy. It weighs 20.6lbs, so take that into consideration when you are planning your trip.
  • Large pans are not a problem: Sometimes it can be difficult fitting regular pans onto a camping stove – but not on the InstaStart. It will fit a 12ins and a 10ins pan side by side, but if you want something larger, such as a wok or a paella pan, simply lie the rear wind shield down.
  • The right heat when you need it: Both burners on the InstaStart are independently controlled, so it is possible to have one pan boiling while another simply simmers. And the PerfectFlow system enables boiling to simmering instantly without any difficult adjustments.
  • Use on a table top – or even the ground: There are many camping stoves that boast legs, but these are not as portable as those that don’t. The InstaStart makes camping feel more real: if you have the luxury of a table, you can cook on that; if not, satisfy your survival instincts and cook on the ground.

Cons

The Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove has many reasons why it should be put on your shopping list. But before you do, let’s have a look at some of things that are not so good so that you can make an informed decision.

  • InstaStart that doesn’t always: One of the unique selling points of this camping stove is that you don’t need matches. The trouble is that we found that the Piezo ignition isn’t infallible. As such, if you buy this stove, our advice is have back-up matches just in case.
  • No fuel shut off valve: The InstaStart doesn’t have a fuel shut off valve, which means that whenever you want to store your camping stove, you will need to disconnect the fuel pipe before you do so for safety reasons.
  • Country of origin: This just happens to be China, and while this alone isn’t a fault, some reviewers believe that this stove doesn’t quite match up to some of Coleman’s other products. And of course, we need to take into consideration the air miles this stove has done and its carbon footprint.

Comparison

 

Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveCamp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Coleman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
number of burnersTwoTwoTwo
runtime60 minutes15 hours60 minutes
pre-cooked foodYesYesYes
temperature settingsAdjustableAdjustableAdjustable
ideal forMajor mealsMajor mealsMajor meals
windshieldSold separatelyYesYes
constructionAluminumAluminumHeavy-duty, nickel-chrome frame
carrying caseYesNoYes
steady fuel streamYesYesYes
cooking area10in and 12in pans14” by 32”10in and 12in pan
accessoriesSold separatelyNumerousGriddle
collapsible designYesYesYes
power sourcePropanePropanePropane
removable gratesYesYesYes
BTUs22,000 (11,000 per burner)60,000 (30,000 per burner)22,000 (11,000 per burner)

Summary

If you know that you will be cooking big meals (or meals in big pans) then this could be the stove for you.

The Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove is a budget friendly stove that incorporates many of Coleman’s technologies in order to present an efficient and portable stove for campers and outdoor enthusiasts that enjoy good food on the go.

It is disappointing, however, that one of the things that it prides itself on (indeed, sells itself on) – the Piezo ignition – isn’t as reliable as it should be. Whether this is a deal breaker in an otherwise highly functional stove will rest with you.

If you know that you will be cooking big meals (or meals in big pans) then this could be the stove for you. By accommodating for bigger than average pots, the InstaStart gives you more flexibility over the menus you can provide while still enjoying the great outdoors.


Coleman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Coleman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove
(rated 4.1 / 5)
Design
Construction
Runtime
Accessories
Value for Money
Check Price

Are you sick and tired of having to eat soggy sandwiches on your camping vacations? Do you crave hot breakfasts before a day of exploring?

If so, the Coleman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove could be the answer to your prayers.

Information

As you’d imagine, the unique selling point to this product is how two burners are included.

According to Coleman, their Triton camping stove is the ideal companion for all three courses – from breakfast right through to supper around the campfire.

As you’d imagine, the unique selling point to this product is how two burners are included.

This pales into comparison to rival stoves, which normally accommodate just one pot at a time – and boy, do they pack a punch!

It’s worthwhile purchasing this Coleman camping stove before you go shopping for pans, just to ensure that your kitchenware will be fully compatible with this appliance’s setup.

Even when the windshields are in force, you can easily accommodate a 10″ pot and a 12″ pot simultaneously – making it possible to fry up some steaks and boil some rice all at once. This way, you can spend less time cooking and more time enjoying your trip.

number of burnersTwo
runtime60 minutes
pre-cooked foodYes
temperature settingsAdjustable
ideal forMajor meals
windshieldYes
constructionHeavy-duty, nickel-chrome frame
carrying caseYes
steady fuel streamYes
cooking area10in and 12in pan
accessoriesGriddle
collapsible designYes
power sourcePropane
removable gratesYes
BTUs22,000 (11,000 per burner)

Coleman has included two of their signature pieces of technology in this product. The first is known as PerfectHeat, and this guarantees that you receive consistent temperatures at all times.

This is particularly essential for ensuring that you don’t inadvertently give your guests or loved ones food poisoning – and acts as a guarantee that any fish or meat will be evenly cooked through before it’s served. When combined with a temperature probe, you’ll undoubtedly be onto a winner!

The second innovative streak up this manufacturer’s sleeve is PerfectFlow. This helps to ensure that your propane gas canister is only used in safe conditions. Even if you’re camping in cold temperatures or on mountaintops, you’ll get a consistent and even flow of gas – keeping you safe if you’ve been nominated as head chef.

On just one propane gas canister, which is sold separately, you can get an hour’s worth of continual use. As such, if you’re going to be on vacation for a while, it might be a good idea to pack a couple of tanks so you aren’t caught out.

Pros

This lightweight stove poses minimal inconvenience thanks to an integrated handle on the protective cover.

Now that we’ve become a little better acquainted with the Coleman Triton 2-Burner, let’s kick the tires of this camping stove further and discover what’s under the hood. There are some crucial features included to make this product practical, including:

  • A built-in handle so it’s easy to carry: When you’re out camping, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with all the accessories that need to come along – such as your tent, clothes and furniture. This lightweight stove poses minimal inconvenience thanks to an integrated handle on the protective cover.
  • The grates are resilient and easy to clean: Some camping stoves are only designed for a couple of uses – and difficult to remove grates is evidence of this. The Triton’s nickel-chrome grates are heavy-duty and durable though, and better still, detaching them and scrubbing them spotless are a breeze.
  • WindBlock technology ensures your flame is shielded from the elements: Sick and tired of continuously having to relight the fire of your stove? The strategically-placed windshields included with this appliance will help to keep the flames under control – and this doubles up as a much welcomed safety precaution.
  • There are adjustable controls provided for both burners: Are you looking to boil the contents of one pot, but gently simmer the food inside another? This isn’t a problem with the Triton camping stove. Specific controls have been provided for both stoves, giving you full control over your cooking experience.
  • You get a total of 22,000 BTUs with this camping stove: This works out at approximately 11,000 BTUs for each of the two burners which are provided. If you’re unfamiliar with this measurement, 1 BTU is the amount of energy which is required to increase the temperature of 1lb of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Thankfully, it doesn’t take a genius to setup: All too often, you can feel like you need a PhD in science to get one of these camping stoves up and running. However, the Triton needs minimal assembly, and a detailed instruction manual is provided which holds your hand every step of the way.

Cons

Of course, it’s very rare that any product – let alone a camping stove – would receive a full 10/10 in a review. There are several quirks that we’ve noticed with Coleman’s Triton which are worth bearing in mind during use. They are:

  • Firstly, the product has been manufactured in China: Although this doesn’t mean poor workmanship and shoddy quality by default, it certainly does mean that this portable camping stove comes with a hefty carbon footprint. Plus, by opting for a “made in the US” alternative, you support local economies here at home.
  • The connector for the propane canister is rather flimsy: According to some shoppers who went for the Coleman Triton, the copper tube which transports the propane gas from the tank to the stove is quite thin and liable to snap. As such, treat it gently so you aren’t left high and dry.
  • Check that the controls have been aligned properly: In some cases, the knobs which allow you to adjust the temperature on each burner can become misaligned – and this means that you could end up boiling pots where you wanted significantly less power. In these instances, you may need to recalibrate.

Comparison

 

Coleman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveCamp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
number of burnersTwoTwoTwo
runtime60 minutes15 hours60 minutes
pre-cooked foodYesYesYes
temperature settingsAdjustableAdjustableAdjustable
ideal forMajor mealsMajor mealsMajor meals
windshieldYesYesSold separately
constructionHeavy-duty, nickel-chrome frameAluminumAluminum
carrying caseYesNoYes
steady fuel streamYesYesYes
cooking area10in and 12in pan14” by 32”10in and 12in pans
accessoriesGriddleNumerousSold separately
collapsible designYesYesYes
power sourcePropanePropanePropane
removable gratesYesYesYes
BTUs22,000 (11,000 per burner)60,000 (30,000 per burner)22,000 (11,000 per burner)

Summary

The Coleman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove comes recommended if you have several mouths to feed.

This is, by far, one of the more functional camping stoves that we’ve seen on the marketplace. It comes with a long list of patented technologies from Coleman, which has become well-known for innovation when enhancing the camping experience.

We do wish that some of the most crucial parts – including the tubes which deliver gas to the burners – were a bit thicker and more resilient. Although quality workmanship is evident throughout this appliance, this particular component leaves the stove wanting.

The Coleman Triton 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove comes recommended if you have several mouths to feed, and if you’re a diehard camper who wants equipment that will go the distance in vacations for many, many years to come.


Coleman Classic Propane Portable Camping Stove

Coleman Classic Propane Portable Camping Stove
(rated 4.1 / 5)
Design
Construction
Runtime
Accessories
Value for Money
Check Price

If you are the kind of camper that likes to travel light but still wants to eat well, then have a look at the Coleman Classic.

This table-top stove has the convenience of a basic appliance, coupled with the power and versatility of something much larger.

Information

Coleman’s patented PerfectFlow enables consistent performance regardless of where you are or what is happening.

Forget the days of one-pot cooking when you are on your travels; this stove will allow you to cook a proper meal on its two burners.

From bacon and eggs for breakfast, to steak and potatoes for dinner, this small yet powerful stove can do it all.

And when you’re done eating, it packs away quickly and easily so that you can carry on with your adventures.

This convenient two-burner stove from Coleman offers 20,000 BTUs, which means that you can get boiling water in just 4-1/2 minutes on one of its independently adjustable burners while you simmer chili or some other delicacy on the other.

Coleman’s patented PerfectFlow enables consistent performance regardless of where you are or what is happening – cold weather, high altitudes and low fuel levels make no impact on the performance of this stove.

number of burnersTwo
runtime60 minutes
pre-cooked foodYes
temperature settingsAdjustable
ideal forMajor meals
windshieldYes
constructionAluminum
carrying caseYes
steady fuel streamYes
cooking area10in and 12in pan
accessoriesSold separately
collapsible designYes
power sourcePropane
removable gratesYes
BTUs20,000 (10,000 per burner)

The stove also features Coleman’s WindBlock system, which provides the burners with adequate protection so you don’t need to worry about your flames blowing out and being left with an under-cooked dinner – or about wasting precious fuel.

This effective barrier to wind and breezes is adjustable so your Coleman Classic will be able to accommodate a variety of different sized pots and pans – up to a 12in and a 10in side by side.

You will also be able to choose which fuel to use with your Coleman Classic – either unleaded gasoline or Coleman Liquid Fuel – and with an hour’s cooking time, you will have more than enough time to rustle up something great.

The cook top on the Coleman Classic has been manufactured from aluminum steel, which means that is rust resistant and very easy to clean – so you won’t need to waste any of your precious vacation time scrubbing the stove!

Pros

The Coleman Classic features removable grates in order to make sure that your stove remains in optimum condition quickly and easily.

OK, if you have read this far, it is safe to assume that you are interested in the Coleman Classic Propane Portable Camping Stove. So: let’s have a look at it in a little more detail. The advantages include:

  • Get it clean, get Coleman: In addition to the easy-clean aluminum steel cook top, the Coleman Classic features removable grates in order to make sure that your stove remains in optimum condition quickly and easily.
  • Adaptable fuel connector for longer cooking: The Coleman Classic is ready to use as soon as you have connected it to a one-use fuel canister (not included) but if you are looking for a more cost-efficient solution, purchase a five foot hose and connector and use a 20lb propane tank.
  • Convenient and easy to take anywhere: The Coleman Classic measures just 21in x 12in x 3.5in when it is folded away, which makes it amazingly compact and easy to transport. And because of its handy size, it’s perfect to carry in your trunk for impromptu picnics and tailgating.
  • Integral carry handle for easy transportation: When you park the car up and go off on a hike, the last thing you want to do is to haul a cumbersome stove with you. The Coleman Classic has a built in handle that make it easy to carry – in fact, this could be a job for the kids!
  • Use your regular pans: If you have used camping stoves before, you will know that oftentimes using cast iron pans is the best way, but you’ll be glad to hear that you don’t need to go to that expense with the Coleman Classic – your regular pans are perfect.
  • Get your coffee fix, too: There are times when only a coffee will do – but when you are miles away from anywhere, this could be a problem. Not with this stove, however. The Coleman Drip coffee maker fits it perfectly so you can enjoy your caffeine hit anytime.

Cons

Every review should come with a list of negatives as well as outlining all of the positive aspects of a product, so here goes: some of the things that we weren’t quite as impressed with when it comes to the Coleman Classic.

  • Don’t forget the matches: Many camping stoves have an inbuilt ignition but the Coleman Classic doesn’t – which can make things awkward if you forget to take any matches with you, or they get damp. If you are going miles from anywhere, remember to pack your matches in a damp-proof container.
  • Make room for the propane: We would have been happier with the Coleman Classic if there was room for the propane canister in the case when the stove folded away. Sadly, there isn’t so leave room in your backpack for it.
  • Be prepared to wait if there are a lot of you: The Coleman Classic can cope really easily if there are just a couple of you but if there are more then perhaps you should consider upgrading to a bigger model – otherwise mealtimes could take a very long time.

Comparison

 

Coleman Classic Propane Portable Camping StoveColeman Classic Propane Portable Camping Stove

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveCamp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
number of burnersTwoTwoTwo
runtime60 minutes15 hours60 minutes
pre-cooked foodYesYesYes
temperature settingsAdjustableAdjustableAdjustable
ideal forMajor mealsMajor mealsMajor meals
windshieldYesYesSold separately
constructionAluminumAluminumAluminum
carrying caseYesNoYes
steady fuel streamYesYesYes
cooking area10in and 12in pan14” by 32”10in and 12in pans
accessoriesSold separatelyNumerousSold separately
collapsible designYesYesYes
power sourcePropanePropanePropane
removable gratesYesYesYes
BTUs20,000 (10,000 per burner)60,000 (30,000 per burner)22,000 (11,000 per burner)

Summary

The two burners work independently of each other so you can have something boiling while something else is simmering.

The Coleman Classic is a great stove for those moments when you want to enjoy some outdoor cooking – as long as there aren’t too many of you. It is compact and easy to transport, and cleaning it isn’t a problem.

The two burners work independently of each other so you can have something boiling while something else is simmering, and the Coleman PerfectFlow and WindBlock systems ensure consistent and safe energy wherever you may be.

Carrying numerous propane canisters may be a pain – but on the upside, you will get an awful lot of cooking per canister (some reviewers have claimed two hours using both burners on a moderate heat) – and having small canisters means you can be a mobile camper.


Iwatani America ZA-3HP Portable Camping Stove

Iwatani America ZA-3HP Portable Camping Stove
(rated 3.8 / 5)
Design
Construction
Runtime
Accessories
Value for Money
Check Price

All too often, it’s near impossible to find a camping stove which offers consistently high levels of power in a small, neat package.

However, the ZA-3HP from Iwatani America does exactly this – and it’s had rave reviews from campers in the most rugged conditions.

Information

Interestingly, this camping stove has actually been designed and certified for indoor use.

The one thing you’ll love about this stove is how the temperatures provided by the single burner are incredibly easy to adjust.

Even if you just want the gentlest of flames to heat up a sauce, the ZA-3HP has you covered.

Plus, this camping stove is powered off butane – and offers impressive levels of heat through canisters which take up far less room than propane.

Interestingly, this camping stove has actually been designed and certified for indoor use. When manufactured by Iwatani America, it was created for cooks who wanted access to a gas stove, even if they were working in an electric kitchen.

However, this product also comes highly recommended as an ideal stove for campers and backpackers – principally because it’s lightweight and powerful.

number of burnersOne
runtime74 minutes
pre-cooked foodYes
temperature settingsAdjustable
ideal forMajor meals
windshieldNo
constructionAluminum
carrying caseYes
steady fuel streamYes
cooking area14 in x 11in
accessoriesNone
collapsible designNo
power sourceButane
removable gratesYes
BTUs12,000

It will barely take up any room on your picnic table – and we’ve noticed that it’s especially adept at one-pot cooking. That means that if you and your family are in the mood for a stir fry or some pasta, you’ll be sitting down to dinner in minutes.

It is worth bearing in mind that although the ZA-3HP is incredibly powerful, the fact that it doesn’t come with a windshield means you might encounter some difficulties if it’s rather breezy outside. As such, you might want to purchase a small windshield – which is available as an accessory from other vendors online – to ensure that your plans for dinner aren’t interrupted by a pesky gust or two.

Once you’ve taken the ZA-3HP out of the box, you’ll notice that it’s cleverly designed. A heat sink has been included which helps to transition butane from the canister to underneath the burner. By ensuring that the cylinder remains warm at all times, Iwatani America has been able to boast about their technology which guarantees a consistent flame at all times, even if energy supplies are low.

Purchasing several appliances is also worthwhile for outdoor buffets – as it keeps dishes heated as people help themselves.

Pros

The ZA-3HP is capable of regulating itself against abnormal pressure coming from the butane gas canister.

It may look like quite an unremarkable product on the outside, but the Iwatani America ZA-3HP is a camping stove that you’ll be wanting to write home about. With incredible performance capabilities both day in and day out, advantages include:

  • A safety system is integrated into the camping stove: The ZA-3HP is capable of regulating itself against abnormal pressure coming from the butane gas canister. If this should occur, the gas is automatically shut off – preventing any unwanted accidents. From what we’ve seen, few other stoves provide this.
  • You’ll get 12,000 BTUs of use with consistency: This single burner has a runtime of 74 minutes – and the burner offers a measurement of 12,000 BTUs, placing it in line with larger camping stoves on the market. Heat Panel technology reduces the prospect of wasted fuel, and you’ll get power until the canister runs out entirely.
  • Piezo-Electric ignition will reduce your reliance on matches: Another unique selling point of this camping stove is how you don’t require matches in order to ignite the flame on the burner. Instead, it comes with Piezo-Electric technology which does the job for you – and guarantees you won’t be caught out!
  • It’s available to buy in bulk packs of six: You might be interested in saving a considerable amount of money by purchasing a half-dozen Iwatani America ZA-3HP camping stoves at once. This ensures you can cook several dishes simultaneously, without taking up ridiculous amounts of space and wasting energy.
  • The stove has been awarded CSA Commercial indoor approval: If you’re caught out by continual torrential downpours during your camping vacation, this stove will be suitable for taking into shelter (but not a tent) and cooking from there. No danger is posed by doing so, making it even more versatile.
  • Better still, this camping stove is made of aluminum: Incredibly easy to clean – and rather pleasing to the eye – the ZA-3HP goes one better than being compact and well-designed. It’s also lightweight, and you’ll barely notice you’re carrying it once it has been placed in the carrying case provided.

Cons

Of course, there are the odd downsides to camping stoves – and the Iwatani America ZA-3HP is no exception to the rule. Unless you take the initiative to buy in bulk, you’ll probably find it’s insufficient for cooking for large families. Other disadvantages include:

  • The plastic carrying case lets down the design: As we’ve discussed, the main thing that you’re looking for from camping stoves is durability. However, how can this be possible when the carrying case won’t suitably protect the appliance from bumps and scrapes? A sturdier box would have been welcomed.
  • You may find the butane replacement canisters expensive: We would have preferred the power supply for this Iwatani America camping stove to be more cost-effective. Instead of buying 8oz. cylinders for the manufacturer, consider opting for cheaper brands offering canisters of the same size to save some cash.
  • It isn’t ideal if you want some slow cooking: Unfortunately, this appliance is not designed for budding chefs who want to prepare a stew or a roast over several hours. In the main, this is because the power supply is inadequate for prolonged use – and there are also sizeable space limitations.

Comparison

 

Iwatani America ZA-3HP Portable Camping StoveIwatani America ZA-3HP Portable Camping Stove

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveCamp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

Coleman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping StoveColeman InstaStart 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove

PriceCheck PriceCheck PriceCheck Price
number of burnersOneTwoTwo
runtime74 minutes15 hours60 minutes
pre-cooked foodYesYesYes
temperature settingsAdjustableAdjustableAdjustable
ideal forMajor mealsMajor mealsMajor meals
windshieldNoYesSold separately
constructionAluminumAluminumAluminum
carrying caseYesNoYes
steady fuel streamYesYesYes
cooking area14 in x 11in14” by 32”10in and 12in pans
accessoriesNoneNumerousSold separately
collapsible designNoYesYes
power sourceButanePropanePropane
removable gratesYesYesYes
BTUs12,00060,000 (30,000 per burner)22,000 (11,000 per burner)

Summary

The safety features integrated into this appliance ensure that it won’t overheat, or that you won’t get a sudden surge of flames owing to the uneven distribution of butane gas.

This is a remarkable product, and we’ve been impressed by how much power it’s able to pack into just one burner. You’ll particularly find this useful if you’re continually backpacking between sites, and are running out of hands to carry all of your equipment. The Iwatani America ZA-3HP will help to keep things simple.

The safety features integrated into this appliance ensure that it won’t overheat, or that you won’t get a sudden surge of flames owing to the uneven distribution of butane gas.

One thing which would have been the cherry on the cake for this camping stove is a windshield. It would have ensured that you can enjoy the powerful flames despite interference from the breeze – but hey, this accessory is available separately.

How To Choose The Best Camping Stove

2-camping-stove-buying-guide-choiceFirst up, you need to get acquainted with the different camping stoves which are available for you to buy from specialist stores and online, and you shouldn’t confuse them with propane grills. There are appliances for all budgets – and machines which are suitable for beginners, intermediate campers and experts alike.

The main point of difference you’ll notice between products is the fuel which they need in order to generate a flame. You should temper the cost of any appliance with the price of the power source it needs. Although it’s easy to think you’re getting a bargain, some stoves work off inadequate, difficult to find cartridges which subsequently prove to be a very poor return on investment.

The main point of difference you’ll notice between products is the fuel which they need in order to generate a flame.

So – the three main types of fuel are as follows:

Solids: If anything, the selling point about this type of energy is how these small chemical tablets will barely take up any room in your luggage. That frees you up to carry other things – such as your family tent, camping chairs and clothes. However, you’ll often find that these flammable liquids – like hexamine – damage your pots and pans, and aren’t compatible with stoves which offer several temperature settings.

Methanol: One huge advantage to camping stoves which use this power supply is how they barely require any maintenance, making it perfect if you’re pretty new to the camping scene. Many of these products come with a stove and pot rolled into one nifty package – and this should be at the top of your list when buying for teenagers.

Propane: Camping stoves which work off a propane canister have the added benefit of being cheap to run, and replacement cartridges are really easy to find. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to purchase refills direct from the manufacturer of your stove. They light in a seconds, and are often associated with stoves which offer multiple temperature settings.

How many burners are there?

3-camping-stove-buying-guide-many-burnersWhen you’re scouring the market for your first-ever camping stove, you should have a long, hard think about how many people you’re normally going to be cooking for on a typical evening.

True, it’s usually possible to feed your party using just one burner – but this can usually time consuming… and the people who are left waiting until last (yourself included) may end up feeling rather grouchy, with their tummies rumbling!

There are several entry-level camping stoves which come with two or more burners. This means you can have several pots and pans on the go at once.

Thankfully, there are several entry-level camping stoves which come with two or more burners. This means you can have several pots and pans on the go at once.

As you’ll soon find out, it proves particularly advantageous if you’re trying to cook a meal – say bacon and eggs for breakfast – and you don’t want to prepare one part after the other, meaning it can’t be enjoyed together without something going cold.

Typically, you’ll find that a camping stove which offers two burners will be operating on propane – and as we discussed a little earlier, this is really easy to find on the market. Given how you’ll want to ensure that the flames remain alight, and don’t blow all over the place, interfering with the other, larger stoves often contain windshields which protect your burners against a persistent breeze.

You should remember that if you have burners which are capable of heating up large pots – or a stove capable of handing several pans at once – this will dramatically affect the amount of time that your gas canister will be able to run for before it needs a replacement.

In the worst-case scenario, you could find that you desperately require a brand-new cartridge for every single meal. Resultantly, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to how much gas you take along.

Can you adjust the temperature?

4-camping-stove-buying-guide-adjust-temperatureAs you’ll know if you’re quite a seasoned cook, there isn’t really a “one size fits all” when it comes to lovingly preparing a meal.

Whereas you’ll want plenty of power for boiling water for eggs or pasta, there may be other occasions where you want to leave food simmering for a little while to ensure that it cooks through thoroughly.

That’s where dials where you can adjust the temperature of the camping stove come in. You should check, especially if you’re buying a stove with a multiple burner, whether or not there are separate dials for each burner.

Just make sure that you only cook in a particularly protected area, where you’ll be less susceptible to the breeze.

Frustratingly, when you’re trying to reduce the settings on a camping stove so that you’re simmering on a very low heat, the flame can suddenly turn off – meaning that you have to contend with painstaking minutes of trial and error before you get the heat to the exact level you require. As such, always check to see whether or not there’s an effective windshield to prevent this from happening.

Of course, this feature doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker – especially if you’ve become enamored with another camping stove which is completely devoid of a windshield. Just make sure that you only cook in a particularly protected area, where you’ll be less susceptible to the breeze.

Do remember that the boiling times cited by a manufacturer are a mere estimate. However, you’ll normally find that stoves operating off liquid fuel will heat up a pan of water in record time – as do appliances which are working off a canister.

Always make sure that you try to recalibrate the knobs which allow you to adjust the temperature every so often, too.

What has the camping stove been constructed of?

5-camping-stove-buying-guide-materialsThere are several reasons why you need to take great care in deciding which materials you want the camping stove itself to be constructed of. Firstly, you need to think about all of the other things that you’re going to be carrying to your chosen campsite.

If you’ve chosen a stove that’s been made out of a really clunky metal that weighs you down, it’s likely that you’re going to have to make several return trips to your car before you’ve got everything you need.

Good materials – such as nickel-back chrome – are really easy to clean, and don’t rust or tarnish over time.

Also, it’s important to think about how durable it’s going to be on a rugged trip. It’s inevitable that our possessions encounter the odd bump and scrape during a camping vacation, and on top of all of this, you might be cooking on the ground, where the terrain is rugged and the surfaces are uneven.

Good materials – such as nickel-back chrome – are really easy to clean, and don’t rust or tarnish over time.

Plus, when camping stoves constructed from this metal include a carrying handle fused into the protective cover for the burners, it’s easy to carry it along like a briefcase, with your other belongings slung over your back. Now, what could be simpler than that?

When it comes to the pots and pans you’re taking with you, aluminum should be top of the agenda for the fact its lightweight.

However, they often wear down over time, and stainless steel is a much more resilient favorite that’ll be reusable for years to come.

Again – and this is all in the name of portability – it isn’t hard to find camping stoves which have the actual burner situated directly underneath the pan – meaning it’s rather narrow and quite tall.

How much space for cooking will I have?

6-camping-stove-buying-guide-cooking-spaceThis is a tricky balance to master. Of course, in an ideal world, you want plenty of space so your pans aren’t clunking together – whereas at the same time, you don’t want a large monstrosity which is a nightmare to get from A to B.

With a multi-burner camping stove – by a country mile the most popular product that’s out there – you’ll have space for two pans: and one burner will usually be slightly smaller than the other, just like most hobs that you’ll find in the family home.

The most important thing is to ensure that you’re buying a camping stove which offers burners of a decent width.

There isn’t really much room for anything else besides, especially when you consider that there’s likely a windshield which has been thrown into the bargain as well. You’re probably going to need to have a separate picnic table where you can complete any necessary preparations – such as chopping vegetables or slicing meat.

If you try and multitask by using an unoccupied burner for this activity, you could end up with a slightly nasty burn!

The most important thing is to ensure that you’re buying a camping stove which offers burners of a decent width. That way, you can rest assured that the heat will be distributed evenly throughout the pan, cooking everything to the same consistency.

Some manufacturers claim that they have offered a streak of innovation to guarantee that fuel is delivered through the piping consistently, meaning that you won’t have lulls and sudden bursts of blames unexpectedly.

Finally, consider whether or not you’re going to be interested in using some of the cooking accessories which many camping stove manufacturers offer separately. They can include griddles, toasters, coffee pots and kettles. Usually, they fit on a single burner, and can be detached after use.

Are the stove’s grates removable?

7-camping-stove-buying-guide-removable-gratesThe final thing on any camper’s checklist – especially if you’re looking to make a long-term investment – should be a stove which comes with removable grates.

That way, once the holiday’s over, you can give the appliance a deep clean and eliminate those stubborn stains which have may have formed around the burner in recent days. It’s the perfect way to protect your investment, and helps to ensure that the stove requires very little maintenance.

If you don’t clean your camping stove, it’s likely that its performance will begin to diminish over time.

Ideally, the grates should also be detachable in one part – meaning that it won’t be an absolute nightmare to assemble again once you’ve applied some detergent and given the surface a good scrub.

Many manufacturers have made a concerted effort to ensure that there aren’t too many moving parts in their products, which can be finicky to replace and easy to break.

If you don’t clean your camping stove, it’s likely that its performance will begin to diminish over time. Thankfully, getting it spotless is simpler than you think.

Dishwashing liquid should do the trick, along with a generous amount of warm water – especially if it’s grease which has begun to form. You should make every effort to remove any excessive dampness before you stow it away until your next camping vacation, however, or else it’s likely that the metal will begin to rust, and mold could form. Always follow the guidance which is provided in the instruction manual for when it comes to maintenance.

And there you have it – the five key specifications to look for with your camping stove. With several burners, adjustable temperature settings, a solid construction and a generous cooking area – coupled with an appliance that’s easy to clean – you’ll be cooking on gas in no time!

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove
Our pick for the best camping stove is: Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching camping stoves.

Best Camping Stove Characteristics

best camping stove

Have you had a bad experience with camping stoves in the past, where your family were huddled around a flame that wouldn’t light, leaving you hungry?

Such annoyances are easily avoided when you know what to look for in a stove.

The basics of camping stoves are simple: you are essentially provided with a kitchen worktop, which includes burners similar to those you’d find on the hob at home.

It’s important to begin by making the distinction between camping stoves, and the appliances which are described by manufacturers as “backpacking stoves.”

The only difference is how you get the fuel required to start cooking. Whereas the gas or electricity supply comes from the mains when you’re indoors, camping stoves hook up to a disposable power source – such as a propane gas canister – which should provide a steady flow of fuel directed underneath your pots and pans. We’ll have more on that in a few moments.

It’s important to begin by making the distinction between camping stoves, and the appliances which are described by manufacturers as “backpacking stoves,” and designed specifically to fit in your travel backpack, along with your survival knife (or hunting knife), headlamp, flashlight, and maybe even a camping hammock. They may look pretty similar – and even cost a similar amount of cash – but having a think about the types of camping holidays you take, and buying the appropriate appliance – is essential.

A camping stove comes in handy if you won’t be too far away from your vehicle once you’ve arrived at the campsite. That’s because it’s more durable, heavier, and is likely slightly larger. Although it may be slightly cumbersome to transport over short distances, you’ll quickly discover that the power offered by these hobs is parallel to the stove you’d normally be cooking with at home.

Let’s contrast this with a backpacking stove. Here, manufacturers go that extra mile to ensure that its size and weight is at a minimum – and have made a concerted effort to shed every unnecessary pound and inch from the appliance’s dimensions. In some cases, you also get specialist cookware – such as exceptionally lightweight pots and pans – included in the box.

It’s possible that these backpacking stoves may not have the staying power of their camping stove counterparts. Also, in terms of functionality, some of these mega-portable appliances won’t be much use beyond boiling water.

Runtime

2-best-camping-stove-runtimeNow onto probably the most important characteristic of them all – how long the camping stove will be able to run for.

There are several factors which will affect the “runtime,” the vital statistic which is given by most leading manufacturers.

Firstly, you need to consider the power source you are using. A stove operating off chemical solids, producing a very weak flame, might be able to run for more than 16 hours – but as a result, you may find that you don’t have enough firepower to fry some eggs or whip up some pancakes.

One feature which will allow you to maximize the runtime is temperature controls, enabling you to make a gradual transition from boiling to simmering wherever necessary.

On the other end of the scale, dual-burner camping stoves are very energy intensive. As a result, they can completely use up the contents of a propane gas canister in just 60 minutes. Irrespective of the power source which your appliance uses, it’s important to check whether or not a windshield is included in the box – as this ensures that you don’t waste precious energy unnecessarily.

One feature which will allow you to maximize the runtime is temperature controls, enabling you to make a gradual transition from boiling to simmering wherever necessary.

However, one downside of the more sensitive camping stoves is how the flame can be extinguished when you’re attempting to gently reduce the power. Be sure to check whether this is one of the downsides in the reviews you’ll read about the camping stove you’re interested in.

It’s important to find a camping stove which comes with accurate information about how long it’ll run for on a single canister or cartridge. Then, you need to anticipate how many meals you’re going to be cooking over the course of the vacation, and make sure that you have enough fuel to last throughout the holiday. There’s no harm in packing a couple of spare canisters in case of emergencies, too.

Runtime will also be enhanced if you’re able to hook up your camping stove to a larger canister, which contains more energy and lasts for longer.

Ideal for

3-best-camping-stove-idealAs we’ve discussed, many leading camping stoves come with controls so you can adjust the temperatures from low to high on each burner. Appliances which do this effectively mean that you won’t be restricted in what you can cook on your vacation.

Here are just some ideas on what can be achieved with your camping stove:

Delicious coffees in the morning: If you’ve got a camping stove which provides a nice and gentle flame, then you’ll be able to make a delicious cup of Joe using a stovetop espresso maker – a method which was perfected in Italy. It’s beautifully simple to use, as long as your appliance is stable enough.

Remember: the potential ways to use your camping stove don’t end here. There are dozens of other recipes online.

All you need to do is purchase some high-quality roasted coffee beans which have been ground down until they’re fine in consistency. Then, all you need to do is place coffee in the upper compartment, and cold water in the lower compartment. Voila!

A full English breakfast: As the old saying goes, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. When you’ve bought the right accessories, you’ll find that your camping stove is a trusty companion for whipping up some bacon, eggs, sausages and toast. A griddle is going to be the main tool you’ll need – and it’s a relatively inexpensive add-on that’s easy to clean. You’ll also get years of use.

A mouth-watering barbecue: Now we’re talking. Once you’ve got the correctly-sized pans, you’ll find that preparing some burgers and high-quality steaks is far from a chore, and doesn’t take much longer than it would on the hob at home.

Just nip to a butcher’s on the day – if there’s one in your locality – to pick up some high-quality meat, along with bread rolls and some fresh salad. A delicious and simple meal, which, when combined with some beer and a campfire, will be guaranteed to be one of the highlights of your trip.

Remember: the potential ways to use your camping stove don’t end here. There are dozens of other recipes online.

Carrying case

4-best-camping-stove-carrying-caseThere are several things you should be looking for from the carrying case for your camping stove. Firstly, it needs to be exceptionally durable, and made from waterproof materials. Accidents can happen – and dropping the appliance from a small height shouldn’t leave it in pieces. It’s your right to expect a resilient product.

In some cases, you get a carrying case included along with the stove. However, there may be instances where it needs to be sold separately – and it’s a worthwhile way of protecting your investment.

You’ll know that you’ve found a carrying case which deserves gold stars when there are also pouches provided on either side of the camping stove.

Just a few of the features you should expect from this bag include sturdy zippers which will keep your stove shielded away from any unwanted moisture, which can cause the appliance’s metal to begin to tarnish and rust over time.

So it isn’t a burden, also look for some nicely-built handles, enabling you to transport the camping stove much like you would a brief case.

You’ll know that you’ve found a carrying case which deserves gold stars when there are also pouches provided on either side of the camping stove, which are designed to transport the canisters which include your power supply.

The number of cylinders you’ll be able to carry at any one time will vary – but normally it’s between two and four. Check to ensure that any propane cylinder replacements you buy are the correct sizes for the pockets that have been provided.

Another crucial consideration – particularly if you’re buying the carrying case as an accessory – is whether or not it will be compatible with your specific model of camping stove. A full list of the appliances it can comfortably accommodate is usually provided in the product description.

Once you’ve begun to use your functional camping stove for the first time, it’s highly likely that it will have become your pride and joy – something you want to protect so it can be reused on vacation after vacation. An effective carrying bag makes this possible – and believe us, it’s worth the extra cost.

Steady fuel stream

5-best-camping-stove-steady-fuel-streamEspecially if this is your first time using a gas canister, you’re likely going to be concerned about the safety implications of hooking it up to your camping stove.

However, one feature that’s often found in appliances – working to assuage your fears – is technology which ensures that fuel is distributed consistently and steadily from your stove. This helps to prevent energy from being wasted, and stops the constant wild fluctuations between small flames and sudden bursts of fire.

Oftentimes, this technology also helps you to maximize the use out of every propane gas cylinder you purchase – delivering consistent results until every last drop of fuel has been spent out of the canister.

The real test of a camping stove’s ability to provide a steady fuel stream is when the appliance is put to the test in cold weather. Although it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to get results when you’re in sub-zero temperatures, it should still work when the weather gets a little chilly late in the evening, and you’re all angling for a midnight snack.

Oftentimes, this technology also helps you to maximize the use out of every propane gas cylinder you purchase – delivering consistent results until every last drop of fuel has been spent out of the canister.

Overall, this helps you to save money, and could prove useful when you’re trying to get that little last bit of energy out of a cylinder before you head home!

Coupled with a steady fuel stream, you should also be looking for burners which are able to distribute the heat over the whole cooking area.

Although a camping stove may be able to accommodate a 12″ pan, this isn’t always translated into practice, as the heat ends up distributed on the center of the pan, meaning the food around the edges often goes neglected. Worse still, giving the contents of the pot a stir only means that your whole meal becomes lukewarm.

Lastly, always keep an eye out to make sure that the tubes which connect your brand-new camping stove with the power supply are sturdy, and don’t snap under pressure. Otherwise, you could be left up a creek without a paddle – as you’ll have no way to direct fuel to the burners.

BTUs

6-best-camping-stove-btusFinally, it’s time to learn what the measurement for power used with camping stoves is. BTUs (which stand for British Thermal Units) are typically the specification that you’ll find provided by the manufacturer.

One BTU is the amount of power that’s required to increase the temperature of a pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit. As you would imagine, the higher the BTU rate, the more effective the appliance will be.

You should try to make sure that you don’t end up purchasing a stove which is going to go through cylinders at an unsustainable pace.

Do bear in mind that if the company you’re interested in buying from has provided a “total BTUs” figure – and this is over two or three burners – you will need to complete a little bit of division in order to determine the power that’s provided per hob.

For example, if a camping stove offers 40,000 BTUs, and comes with two burners, it’s more than likely that you’ll get 20,000 BTUs per burner.

Earlier, we were talking about runtime in detail, too, you may recall. It’s worth bearing in mind that an appliance which offers higher levels of BTUs will normally consume fuel in greater quantities than their weaker counterparts.

As such, you should try to make sure that you don’t end up purchasing a stove which is going to go through cylinders at an unsustainable pace.

The BTUs will also be an indication of how long it takes your new camping stove to boil a pan of water. Hopefully, you should be able to achieve this in just a couple of minutes – after all, nobody wants to be waiting around for half an hour just to be able to have a cup of tea in the morning, do they?

In summary, there are five key characteristics you should be looking for in the best camping stove. They include whether or not the stove runs for a decent amount of time, whether it’s ideal for all meals – from breakfast right through to dinner – and if there’s a dependable carrying case which will shield your appliance from the bumps and scrapes which your belongings normally face during a vacation.

Pre-cooked food

2-camping-stove-reviews-pre-cooked-foodIt’s highly unlikely that you’ll want to be cooking fresh meals every day during your camping vacation. However, there are countless blogs available on the Internet which offers wholesome and innovative recipes which are easy to prepare at home, and take with you to your destination.

The only thing you need to do is to reheat the food using the camping stove that you’re going to purchase.

Another thing to check is whether or not the camping stove is capable of cooking food evenly and thoroughly.

However, not all of these products are equal. The way you’ll be able to judge whether or not an appliance will be suitable for reheating pre-cooked food in a safe fashion – killing all bacteria which could cause one of your party to fall unwell during the trip – is by making sure that temperature controls are provided for one or all of the burners.

Also, it wouldn’t do any harm to have an in-built probe which allows you to check the temperature of particularly dangerous foodstuff – such as cooked meat, dairy, rice, pasta, beans and egg-based products. After all, these are all likely going to be staples of your dining experience while you’re out on the road.

Another thing to check is whether or not the camping stove is capable of cooking food evenly and thoroughly.

Although it might be able to hit exceptionally high temperatures in a relatively short space of time, such a feature will be completely immaterial if it isn’t able to distribute the heat from your power source consistently through a meal.

Not only can it be incredibly unpleasant to find that part of your dish is stone cold – and the rest is lukewarm – but it’s also potentially dangerous.

Remember: cooking food on a stove – even if you’re out in the wilderness – doesn’t have to be a scary experience, and there’s absolutely no need to second guess your every single move if you’ve been nominated as Head Chef. Just make sure that you use your common sense, stay hygienic, and use the camping stove as instructed.

Windshield

3-camping-stove-reviews-windshieldsUnlike when you’re in a nice, climate-controlled, indoor environment – getting a flame to ignite (and stay lit) with a camping stove can be a battle on your hands if you’re not prepared.

However, deploying that innovative streak that we’ve all come to know and love, most camping stove manufacturers have gone out of their way to ensure that it won’t be a recurring headache for you when they’re out in the field.

Coupled with the windshield, you also need a flame that packs a punch – and ideally, you should be aiming to have burners which offer at least 10,000 BTUs of power.

Many products on the marketplace come with unobtrusive, yet sturdy, windshields which wrap around three sides of your stove. That way, the only thing you need to judge is which direction the wind is coming from, and you can turn the appliance against it – leaving one side open so you can conduct your culinary mastery.

Coupled with the windshield, you also need a flame that packs a punch – and ideally, you should be aiming to have burners which offer at least 10,000 BTUs of power.

That way, even if there’s a slight breeze which makes its way to the flame, it won’t extinguish without a fight – and you won’t get flames dancing around and increasing the risk of you becoming burned.

If the perfect camping stove doesn’t come with a windshield – potentially because this is seen as an accessory which diminishes your overall cooking space – don’t worry. There are normally detachable windshields which are available to buy online. Double-check they are compatible with your model.

Really, you shouldn’t buy a camping stove without one – and that’s because the prolonged exposure can result in you wasting fuel, increasing your costs as you continually have to buy replacements.

Another thing to look for with the windshields is whether or not they remain stable in the wind. Although it’s certainly not recommended that you should whip out a camping stove during torrential downpours and gale force winds, the odd gust shouldn’t have the capacity to blow the shield over, as this can become a safety hazard – especially if it isn’t fire resistant.

Accessories

4-camping-stove-reviews-accessoriesOf course, purchasing a camping stove all on its lonesome isn’t going to do you much good. You also need to invest in some cooking utensils and crockery to ensure that you can whip up a sumptuous treat – and at the top of the list should be some pots and pans.

The only thing to double-check is how much cooking space your new stove provides, as you don’t want to bring along a 15″ pan only to make the grim discovery that your appliance is only compatible with 12″ ones.

You might want to purchase some dedicated pots and pans which you can take along with you on all of your camping vacations.

You might want to purchase some dedicated pots and pans which you can take along with you on all of your camping vacations – or just bring some along from home. It’s also worth bearing in mind that most leading manufacturers also provide accessories which are specifically designed for use with their products.

Here’s a list of some of the extras that you’ll find most useful if you’re a diehard camping enthusiast:

Griddles: These can be slotted securely over the burner, allowing you to prepare brilliant breakfast dishes including pancakes and eggs. Available in a wide variety of materials – including steel, cast iron and aluminum – they’re great for frying food evenly and safely, and oftentimes, they’re an absolute dream to wash afterwards, preventing the buildup of unwanted grease and bacteria.

Lighting: Some nifty companies actually provide lights which can be clipped onto the stove so you can see what you’re cooking even in the dark. This means that a sneaky midnight snack will never be off limits!

Stands: If you don’t want to place an active camping stove onto a rather unstable picnic table – especially if there’s also a propane gas canister which makes this impractical – you might want to consider getting a dedicated stand that’ll position your appliance at a suitable height for cooking. Stakes ensure it remains firmly embedded in the ground.

Stovetop espresso maker: This will be a must if you’re a diehard coffee fan, and usually, espresso makers designed for indoor use will work just fine.

Collapsible design

5-camping-stove-reviews-collapsible-designEven if you’re angling for a multi-burner camping stove – which by default will be considerably larger than an appliance with a single hob – companies across the US have gone to great lengths to ensure that they take up as little room as possible, something which can prove essential when you’ve got plenty of other things to transport to your camping site.

One great feature to look for in particular is a collapsible design, which means that the stove’s windshields and connection tubes for the power supply fold outwards when you need them. This means that when it’s being taken from place to place, it won’t be an awkward shape which requires two hands to fold with confidence.

In addition to a clever design, you should also consider the merits of a carrying case – or at least a camping stove which comes with integrated handles.

Coupled with this should be a durable box which will ensure that the camping stove doesn’t suffer any unfortunate breakages if it’s accidentally dropped – a rugged design is essential for all products which are meant for use in the great outdoors.

You may find that the windshields which have been integrated into your camping stove actually double up as a cover for the burners – and this can be highly advantageous especially if they’re made out of steel or another resilient material.

In addition to a clever design, you should also consider the merits of a carrying case – or at least a camping stove which comes with integrated handles, which means it’ll transport just like a briefcase does. If you manage to find one of these products, you should wholeheartedly expect other campers on the site to look on in envy as you set it up – and get cooking like a Michelin-starred chef in no time.

Of course, there will be some cases – especially if you’re going for one of the largest camping stoves which are designed for whole families – where having a small appliance won’t really be possible.

However, there’s absolutely no reason to compromise on a clever design. A thorough instruction manual should also explain the steps you need to take in order to expand and collapse the appliance before and after use respectively.

Power Source

6-camping-stove-reviews-power-sourceAnd last, but by no means least, let’s have a look at the power sources which camping stoves typically run from. Some methods cost considerably more than others, especially when you need to buy replacements.

It’s about striking that perfect balance between purchasing a camping stove which consumes power modestly – while offering exceptional performance – and opting for one which offers cheap refills.

All you need to do is connect the cartridge and go – meaning that you can get a flame going in a matter of seconds.

First up, you’ve got methanol – and this comes highly recommended if you haven’t got a detailed working knowledge of camping stoves, and don’t want to get involved with intricate mechanics every time you’re firing it up to cook a meal.

All you need to do is connect the cartridge and go – meaning that you can get a flame going in a matter of seconds. What could be simpler?

One power supply which has enjoyed a surge in popularity recently is propane – and many companies offer their own gas canisters which can be purchased in tandem with stoves.

Plus, if these brands offer a loyalty scheme, it’s likely you could enjoy considerable savings on further tanks of propane, and receive discounted rates when you purchase them in bulk. You can also purchase propane from other companies aside from the brand where you bought the camping stove, as long as the connector of your appliance is compatible.

And last, but by no means least, we have solids. Unfortunately, they aren’t very powerful, but they do bring the added benefit of being the most portable power source out there. In a way, they look like the tablets you’d place in your dishwasher because they are so small – and this is fantastic. Another thing to consider is how the chemicals found within hexamine, the flammable liquid which is the active ingredient with this power source, can cause your pans and pots to stain over time.

And there you have it: a full summary of the five criteria to look for when you’re buying your next camping stove. There are scores of products out there, and now, you have a firm idea of the features you’re going to need for a reliable product.

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove
Our pick for the best camping stove is: Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching camping stoves.

Summary

camping stove reviews

When you’re on the market for a brand-new camping stove, it can be frustrating to contend with all of the gimmicky product descriptions issued by manufacturers.

Here, we’re going to cut through all the noise – and tell you what to look for.

If you’re worried about whether or not you’re going to be able to find the perfect camping stove for your needs, here’s a comforting statistic: in 2011, 15% of the US population went on a camping vacation.

Do remember that you should select a stove which can be reused time and time again – and one that is built well enough to last for several days of continuous use.

Better still, on average, the typical person spent 12.6 days camping in the space of just 12 months – which, at nearly two weeks, is quite a remarkable feat.

Given this figure equates to 42.5 million Americans who are heading out into the great outdoors for their vacations, major manufacturers of camping products have reacted accordingly. They now offer specialist items to satisfy every niche – and the same applies to stoves.

Whether you want a product that’s enough to keep you fed and watered as you head on a retreat by yourself – or need to provide sustenance for a small army – there’s scores of potential stoves to consider.

Another reason why camping holidays – also referred to as “staycations” by some parts of the media – have exploded in popularity is because they are a cheaper way to spend valuable time with the people you love. There’s no need to pay for plane tickets and fly halfway around the world when you can have just as much fun at one of the many beautiful sites that can be found in the States.

Camping manufacturers fully acknowledge that their customers are on a budget, and that’s why you won’t pay through the nose for a good stove, either. However, going for the cheapest one you can find might not always be the best approach.

Do remember that you should select a stove which can be reused time and time again – and one that is built well enough to last for several days of continuous use, with fuel replacements as and when they’re necessary.

Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove
Our pick for the best camping stove is: Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Portable Camping Stove. This choice was made after spending 39 hours researching camping stoves.

Sources

  1. Travel Tips for Backpackers, Campers and Fishers, Transportation Security Administration, May 13, 2014
  2. Portable Camping Stoves Continue To Cause Burns, National Institutes of Health, 1999
  3. Cooking in Camp - Camping, U.S. National Park Service
  4. 11 Essentials to Complete Your Backcountry Kitchen, The NOLS Blog, July 26, 2016
  5. Best Camping Stoves of 2017, Switch Back Travel, March 31, 2017
  6. The Best Camping Stove, The Wirecutter, August 9, 2017
  7. The Best Camping Stoves of 2017, Outdoor Gear Lab, November 16, 2017
  8. The Best Camping Stoves You Can Buy in 2017, Gear Patrol, July 20, 2017
  9. The Best Camping Stoves You Can Buy, Business Insider, September 25, 2017
  10. The 10 Best Camp Stoves, Ezvid Wiki, October 29, 2017

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