One of the greatest joys of camping is savoring a hot, delicious meal after a day full of adventure in the great outdoors. But to cook those satisfying campfire feasts, you need more than just a pile of sticks and kindling. The right camping stove allows you to cook safely, efficiently and conveniently no matter the weather or terrain.
In this guide, we’ll share our top picks for camping stoves across common fuel types and use cases. Whether car camping with family or backpacking solo, we’ll help you find the perfect outdoor cooker. We’ll also provide tips on key features to consider and answer frequently asked questions.
Grab your mess kit and appetite, as we dive into the best camping stoves on the market!
Top 5 Camping Stoves
1. Coleman Classic Propane Stove
This rugged propane cooker from Coleman has been a camping staple for decades thanks to its simplicity and power. The adjustable 20,000 BTU burner can boil a quart of water in under five minutes while the wind-blocking panels help maintain efficiency in breezy conditions. An integrated pressure regulator provides consistent gas flow. It’s built to last years of frequent use.
- Time-tested rugged design
- Powerful burner with adjustable heat
- Wind-blocking side panels
- Runs up to one hour on high on one 16.4 oz. propane cylinder
- On the heavy side at 10 pounds
- Requires match or lighter to ignite
- Dimensions: 21.9 x 13.7 x 3.5 inches
- Weight: 10 pounds
- BTUs: 20,000
- Fuel: Disposable 16.4 oz. propane cylinders
2. Jetboil Flash Camping Stove
This all-in-one stove system from Jetboil utilizes their proprietary FluxRing technology to deliver incredibly fast and efficient cooking. It boils a liter of water in just over two minutes! The push-button igniter ensures consistent lighting while color indicators let you monitor boil status. And it all packs down into an included 1-liter pot for portability.
- Amazingly fast boil times
- Easy push-button igniter
- Compact and lightweight when packed
- Efficiency in windy conditions
- Smaller cooking surface
- High price tag
- Dimensions: 4.1 x 6.5 inches
- Weight: 14 ounces
- BTUs: 10,000
- Fuel: Isobutane-propane mix canisters
3. Solo Stove Lite
This versatile wood-burning stove from Solo Stove uses a double wall design to feed oxygen to the fire while emitting less smoke and minimizing heat loss. Just feed it sticks, pinecones and other biomass fuel to start cooking. And when finished, it easily packs down into the provided stuff sack. A great eco-friendly option for minimalists.
- No need to carry fuel – burns biomass
- Double wall design for efficiency
- Lightweight and compact when packed
- Low smoke output
- Relies on finding dry wood and tinder
- No flame adjustment
- Dimensions: 4.25 x 3.75 inches
- Weight: 9 ounces
- Materials: Stainless steel
- Fuel: Sticks, pinecones and other biomass
4. Eureka Spire LX Camp Stove
This rugged propane-fueled stove offers excellent simmer control over its two 15,000 BTU burners. The enamel-coated cooking surface is spill and chip resistant while the integrated windscreen helps block gusts. Large circular feet provide added stability on uneven ground. It’s an ideal blend of durability, performance and versatility.
- Dual 15,000 BTU burners
- Great simmer control
- Rugged protected cooking surface
- Windscreen for better heat retention
- On the heavy side for extended backpacking
- Piezo igniter can be finicky
- Dimensions: 23.5 x 13 x 4.5 inches
- Weight: 12 pounds
- BTUs: Dual 15,000
- Fuel: Disposable propane cylinders
5. MSR PocketRocket Ultralight Backpacking Stove
Weighing a mere 2.6 ounces, this ultra-compact canister stove from MSR lives up to its name as a perfect choice for minimalist backpacking and thru-hiking. Its 15,000 BTU burner delivers strength and stability in an incredibly packable profile. Features like pot supports and a windscreen maximize usefulness despite the small size.
- Incredibly lightweight at 2.6 ounces
- Compact design for backpackers
- Efficient 15,000 BTU output
- Windscreen blocks gusts well
- Smaller cooking surface area
- No flame adjustment
- Dimensions: 4 x 2 inches
- Weight: 2.6 ounces
- BTUs: 15,000
- Fuel: Isobutane-propane mix canisters
Now that you’re acquainted with the top camping stove options across common fuel types, let’s discuss how to evaluate your needs and choose the best model for the type of adventuring you love.
How to Choose a Camping Stove
With so many sizes, burner configurations and fuel options now available, it’s important to assess your specific needs when selecting a camping stove. Here are some key factors to consider:
- Fuel type – Most common are canister propane, liquid fuel, and wood/biomass. Assess whether convenience, versatility or sustainability is most vital.
- Weight and portability – Important if hiking or backpacking. Canister stoves offer the best balance of power and packability.
- Ease of use – Simpler is often better for avoiding frustration in adverse conditions. Look for easy ignition and minimal parts.
- Boiling speed – Faster boil times use more fuel but allow quicker meal preparation. Consider your patience level.
- Temperature adjustment – If you’ll want more than just boiling, choose a stove with good simmer control.
- Durability – Assess materials, construction and overall sturdiness for your expected frequency of use.
- Wind resistance – Important for maintaining efficiency in exposed conditions. Check for protective windscreens.
- Group size – Will you need a larger stove for cooking with 4+ people? Or just solo use?
- Safety features – Fuel shut-offs and sturdy bases prevent mishaps.
- Budget – Prices range widely based on size, features and fuel type. Set a comfortable cap.
Frequently Asked Questions
What fuel types work best in different conditions?
- Canister propane offers convenience and reliability in most conditions but can struggle in extreme cold.
- Liquid fuel like white gas performs well in cold weather once primed.
- Wood/biomass stoves retain heat nicely but require dry tinder which can be tough to find in wet environments.
How do you properly extinguish and store camping stoves?
Let stoves cool fully before packing away, especially liquid fuel models. For canister stoves, ensure the fuel valve is turned completely off before storing. Allow any remaining fuel in the line to burn off for 2-3 minutes before disconnecting canister. Store fuel away from ignition sources.
Are certain models better suited for high altitudes?
Yes, especially when above 5,000 feet elevation. Look for stoves with pressure regulators to allow consistent fuel flow and flame adjustment. Canister and liquid fuel stoves tend to handle altitude best.
Can camping stoves be safely used in cold weather or during winter?
With a few precautions, yes. Look for models with remote fuel lines that keep the canister upright and insulated. Invert canisters occasionally to keep the fuel mixed. Use a windscreen to retain more heat. And keep the stove and fuel canister somewhere warm like inside your jacket when not in use.
How easy are camping stoves to clean?
It depends on the model, but most feature fairly easy cleanup. Wipe down exterior surfaces with warm water and soap. Use a brush or cloth to remove debris from burner heads. Enamel-coated cooking surfaces just need dumping of ashes and debris after use and an occasional scrub.
How compactly do camping stoves pack down?
Again, it varies by model. But the most packable canister stoves like the MSR PocketRocket compress down small enough to fit inside your cook pot or cup. Larger two-burner stoves often have folding legs and detachable components to minimize space.
Should I choose a stove with automatic ignition?
Auto-ignition is wonderful for convenience but adds cost. Simple manual ignition via match, lighter or piezo works fine for most conditions. But auto-igniters eliminate the need for separate ignition source.
How long do canisters of camping stove fuel last?
On average, a 16 ounce disposable propane cylinder will last around 1.5-2 hours of total burn time on high. But that can vary based on your specific stove model and if you’re also doing simmering. Always wise to have backup cylinders!
What maintenance do camping stoves require?
Luckily not much! Clean them regularly after trips to remove debris and food residue. Perform occasional deeper cleanings of burner ports and orifices if needed. Visually inspect for damage pre-trip. Replace seals, gaskets and ignition components as needed over time.
Cook Hearty Campfire Cuisine With Ease
A quality camping stove allows you to quickly prepare tasty outdoor cuisine to fuel your wilderness adventures. We hope our recommendations for the best camping stove models across common fuel types have helped you determine the right fit for your needs.
Always assess key factors like intended use, group size, fuel flexibility and ease of use before deciding. But with a stove like the versatile Coleman Classic Propane model or ultra-packable MSR PocketRocket in your arsenal, you’re assured delicious campfire cooking no matter the destination.
Fill your mess kit with trailside delicacies or gourmet car-camping delights using one of these outstanding outdoor stoves. Just be ready to satisfy the voracious appetites you’ll work up from all the hiking, kayaking, and wildlife viewing!