The 10 Best Camp Stoves
10. Coleman Bottle Top
- price is affordable
- 3-year limited warranty
- control knob is finicky
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
9. Etekcity E-gear
- metal feet are retractable
- electric spark ignition
- burner head is narrow
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
8. GasOne GS-3000
- integrated auto shutoff system
- knob is heat-resistant
- inconsistent flame intensity
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
7. Uberleben Stoker Flatpack
- collapses for easy portability
- corrosion-resistant design
- panel edges are quite sharp
|Rating||3.7 / 5.0|
6. Camp Chef Explorer
- 3-foot hose is included
- 448-square-inch cooking surface
- connecting fuel tanks is a pain
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
5. Coleman Classic
- 20000 btus of power
- relatively fuel efficient
- getting food to simmer is difficult
|Rating||4.5 / 5.0|
4. MSR Whisperlite Universal
- ideal for use in cold weather
- built-in legs for stability
- flimsy stitching on the stuff sack
|Rating||3.9 / 5.0|
3. Optimus Crux Weekend
- stove nests in pot for travel
- works continuously for 90 minutes
- folding burner head
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. Solo Stove
- extremely lightweight design
- made from food-grade stainless steel
- includes a nylon storage sack
|Rating||4.6 / 5.0|
1. Camp Chef Outdoor
- adjustable dial controls
- built-in carrying handles
- lid doubles as a 3-sided wind screen
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
Carry Your Cookery
Cooking at the campsite presents its fair share of challenges, not least of all is what you're going to cook for the bears. I hear they like salmon, but if you're hiking a long way into the site, you're going to need to bring a cooler because bears are notoriously picky about the freshness of their fish. If you decide you'd rather not feed the bears, there are certain things you can do to avoid your duty, but not to avoid the karma that follows.
Either way, we can all agree that it's much more enjoyable eating in the wilderness if you can get some heat under your meal. Cheese wedges, summer sausage, and gorp can only take you so far along the trails before you start to lose your mind.
Portability is the primary difference between the stoves on this list and the stoves in your home. These ranges and pots all get up and get going with you wherever you want to take them, though a few of them are more suited for the hiking trail, while others are truly designed for family camping out of a car, trailer, or RV.
The stoves on our list all allow you to get cooking in the wild by either using a connected gas tank filled with butane or a butane/propane mixture, or by using foraged materials like leaves and twigs.
Whatever fuel you end up using, all of the stoves here let you heat up liquids, which can mean fresh, safe water should you run out of purification measures, as well as the ability to rehydrate and cook freeze-dried camping meals that are tremendously easy to pack and lightweight in the bag.
What Do You Want To Eat?
I've always been an occasional camper, but when I go, I go hard. We're talking 12 to 15-mile hikes in the day, setting up shop in bad weather and worse locations, etc. Before I hit the long trails, I usually need to upgrade my gear pretty significantly, but a good stove will last a lifetime. I've had my camping stove for about a dozen years and I've done just about everything to it that should stop if from working short of dropping it off a cliff, and it still keeps kicking.
Considering how durable the stoves on our list are likely to prove, it behooves you to make a selection that will serve the bulk of your camping needs, since it's the one you're going to have at your disposal for so long. Of course, if your needs are diverse enough you may find that you need more than one of the stoves on our list.
All of the smaller stoves you see are great for trail hiking, camping wherever you end up when the sun starts to set. They're small enough to fit in most packs comfortably, and their fuel usage is conservative enough to keep your canister count at a minimum. A few of them are pot-only models that don't allow you to get very creative beyond heating water for soup or sanitation and for making pre-made freeze-dried camping foods. These are fine if you're not the most creative cook, or if your packs are so laden with other supplies than food that you need to conserve weight and space, two things the freeze-dried stuff does really well.
Other models work the same way that the range in your kitchen works, creating a small stage above the flame upon which you can place a pot, or a pan, or anything you like. These tend to take up a little more room in your pack, and a few of them are built with full stands and dual burners. These are clearly intended for less intense camping, as they're too heavy and bulky to pack for a hike.
Ask yourself exactly where you're going, how you're going to get there, and what you want to cook when you arrive, and you should get a pretty clear sense of one or two great options on our list.
Fine French Cuisine
I don't know if there's a single piece of camping gear in the world that didn't originate as a military technology. Everything from the tent to the trekking pole came from the mind of some soldier or military-commissioned inventor, and the camping stove is no different.
In the late 1920s, a French industrial engineer named Jue Lefare pitched the idea for a portable gas stove to the French Army, and began in earnest to create a viable prototype. By 1932, he had his cooker complete. The design had a troubled start, however, as its first true test faced the German's advance on the French countryside in May 1940.
After the war, especially as the baby boomer generation came of age in the US, active interest in camping and other outdoor activities exploded. It was around this time that we saw the invention of a tent made from synthetic materials, as well as things like mountain bikes and other tools for exploring the wild. Right there along with them burned the flame of the portable camping stove.