Tips & Basics

Best Camping Stoves for Your Next Adventure

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Shelf-stable, pre-packaged foods don’t make a tasty dinner on the campsite.

Pull out your cooler, fire up your camping stove, and start pan-searing a fresh steak that you picked up from the store on your way down.

Because camping stoves are more than they seem, we’ve researched and selected the six best models.

6 Best Camping Stoves Reviewed

1. Winner: Camp Chef EX60LW Camping Stove

Sale

Camp Chef EX60LW Camping Stove

  • Ultimate Camping Stove: This propane camping stove has two…
  • Portable Camping Stove: The Camp Chef Explorer has…
  • Versatile Camping Cooking Stove: This camp stove fits Camp…

Camp Chef simply met all the criteria in the most cost-effective manner possible.

Starting with their brand, Camp Chef has a long history of good to excellently rated customer satisfaction, as well as providing enough of a warranty that you feel secure.

This unit features a one-year warranty, which gives you plenty of time to test it out and check for manufacturer defects.

The main thing that really won us over with Camp Chef’s Explorer model was the sheer power: 60,000 BTUs between two burners is magnificent, and more than you get at home on your range.

You also get grilling plates included with your purchase, giving the feel of an at-home countertop electric grill and providing near-perfect sear marks on your meat and vegetables.

But despite being excellent, this unit is far from divine. All that power comes with a lot of weight: 36 pounds isn’t exactly a lightweight camping grill.

We recommend bringing this along with larger parties in a group camp setting due to its power and weight, so you can have someone help you out.

You’ll find this more useful at campsites with direct vehicle parking nearby, rather than dispersed camping for a few miles off the trails.

Although it is less portable, it offers an exceptional amount of space. 448 square inches of grilling surface is more than many backyard grills have (and they usually charge triple what Camp Chef is asking for).

The unit itself isn’t the most corrosion-resistant. Maintaining its light coating, especially when roughing it in the wilderness, can be challenging.

Altogether, this should last you for well over a decade with proper care.

Pros

  • High-volume cooking requires massive power.
  • 448 square inches of cooking space for a grilling experience

Cons

  • Less portable than other units
  • The unit is not as corrosion-resistant as it should be.

Product Information

  • Type: Pop-up camping stove and grill.
  • Fuel: propane or natural gas
  • Weight: 36 lbs.
  • BTU: 30,000 per burner / 60,000 combined.
  • Burner Quantity: 2

2. Best Gas Option: Coleman Camping Stove

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Coleman Gas Camping Stove

  • Cooking power: Up to 20,000 total BTUs. Fits a 12-inch and…
  • 2 adjustable burners: For precise temperature control
  • Wind-blocking panels: Shield burners from wind

Hitting the trail for some solo or duo camping? Coleman’s going to be your wingman.

This simple two-burner unit folds down to an extremely compact size, not only making it good for storing in your backpack but also ensuring a lightweight design.

You’ll be carrying a total of eleven pounds, so we must give Coleman credit for convenience and power.

Each burner boasts 10,000 BTUs of power, mimicking your home range. This uses only propane and comes with a handy spot to mount your canister safely.

Nobody should have their propane tank rolling around on the ground while in use. You fold this grill up like a laptop, extend the slanted sides, and pin them in place.

Although it reduces wind resistance, there is room for improvement. Despite not closing the hood like a grill, the material’s thinness absorbs all heat, which then escapes on the other side. There’s plenty of conductivity, but almost zero retention.

The grate is removable for quick and easy cleanup, giving you access to the depressed burner platform to wipe up any drippings or grease. The only major functional issue is that you don’t control the flame; it controls you.

You essentially have the option to turn the stove on or off, with minimal control over the intensity of the flame. The good news is that you can decide to only use one side of the stove at a time, so if you alternate between group and solo camping, this will be perfect for both occasions.

Pros

  • When closed, it’s extremely lightweight and portable.
  • Separate burner control preserves propane use.

Cons

  • Little to no propane output control
  • Hood is very thin, making heat retention difficult.

Product Information

  • Type: Two-burner
  • Fuel: Propane
  • Weight: 11 lbs.
  • BTU: 10,000 per burner / 20,000 combined.
  • Burner Quantity: 2

3. Best Portable Option: MSR Ultralight Camping Stove

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MSR Ultralight Camping Stove

  • Ultralight (2.6 oz) and compact (2x2x3 in) folding canister…
  • Boils one liter of water in just 3.5 minutes and flame…
  • Fueled by high-performance isobutane-propane fuel canister…

MSR is the leading player in the butane industry. This super simple and budget-friendly option simply hooks onto the top of a butane canister and releases flames from three heads, creating a fast solution that boils a liter of water in just under four minutes!

Designed for minimalists, it weighs a whopping 2.6 ounces. You simply cannot find a more lightweight solution than this. Speaking of “lighter,” you may want to bring one because MSR doesn’t include an ignition option with this snap-on stove.

The good news is that you’ll have butane nearby to refill your lighter. Design-wise, the only other flaw is that, since it’s so lightweight, it’s easy to bend the supports.

Store this strategically in your backpack, and make sure it is under the least amount of pressure.

You won’t have to worry about damage even if those spots bend because the finish is corrosion-resistant.

Pros

  • The unbeatable carry weight and compact size are ideal for minimalist campers.
  • Durable corrosion-resistant finish

Cons

  • It is easy to accidentally bend certain components.
  • No ignition option.

Product Information

  • Type: Foldable mini unit
  • Fuel: propane or gas
  • Weight: 2.6 oz.
  • BTU: 2,000–5,000 (est.)
  • Burner Quantity: One

4. Best Propane Option: Coleman Fold N Go Camping Stove

Coleman Fold N Go Propane Camping Stove

  • Portable 2-burner propane stove, perfect for outdoor cooking…
  • Accommodates 2 pans (up to 10 inches each) and generates…
  • Pressure-control technology ensures consistent heat in…

We know Coleman are the kings of the outdoors, and this compact fold-and-go stove is a testament to their innovation.

It’s a tad bit too big to go into anything under a 55-liter backpack, but still lightweight at 8.5 pounds to carry by your side if need be.

That’s a tiny bit heavier than a gallon of water. Many camping stoves run into issues with heat centralization: you burn food in the center of the pan while the outer edges haven’t cooked enough.

Coleman combats this issue with larger burners and even flame disbursement to heat up the entire pan.

Your camping cookware may contribute to some heat centralization issues, but Coleman makes every effort to plan ahead.

As we see with other Coleman models, adjusting the flame size is barely an option. This model either operates at full blast or slightly below it, before switching off.

Unlike their other folding model, Coleman doesn’t give you much wind resistance, and while the flames will live through some light winds, it doesn’t do your cooking progress any favors.

Pros

  • The lightweight design folds up to a compact size for simple backpack storage.
  • Even the spread of flames prevents food from burning.

Cons

  • Adjusting the flame size is difficult.
  • The wind has zero resistance.

Product Information

  • Type: Fold-up camping stove
  • Fuel: Propane
  • Weight: 8.5 lbs.
  • BTU: 10,000 per burner or 20,000 combined.
  • Number of burners: two

5. Best for Backpacking: Etekcity Portable Camping Stove

Etekcity Portable Camping Stove

  • Durable material: made of aluminium alloy and stainless…
  • Compact and collapsible: portable design (with small…
  • Broad compatibility: Compatible with any 7/16 thread single…

First and foremost, we praise the highly durable stainless steel construction, which provides corrosion resistance and abrasion resistance.

The sole issue with this unit is its tendency to manifest obvious signs of mishandling upon delivery. The steel construction often bends the fold-out legs, making it challenging to bend them back without tools.

That’s a little buyer-beware information for you, but the only other major issue is that the heat centralizes (based on the size of the unit), so you’ll need to constantly be stirring your food to prevent burning it.

Heat centralization can be a beneficial thing when it comes to boiling water, but not for frying pan dishes.

But the positive news is that your flames aren’t going out anytime soon. This unit’s head, tempered with alloy and molded in a honeycomb design, effectively blocks harsh winds and maintains perfect lighting under all conditions.

It’s a great, inexpensive unit, and you get two in a pack.

Pros

  • Corrosion-resistant stainless steel construction
  • A high-temperature alloy combustion head is wind-resistant.

Cons

  • Heat centralizes, requiring more attention to prevent burning food.
  • New units often require re-leveling; they arrive bent.

Product Information

  • Type: Foldable mini unit
  • Fuel: Butane
  • Weight: 8.8 oz.
  • BTU: 3,000–6,000
  • Burner Quantity: One

6. Best Combo Option: Coleman Camping Stove

Coleman Camping Stove

  • 2-in-1 design so you can use the grill and stove at the same…
  • Wind block panels help shield burners from wind or fold down…
  • Instastart Ignition for push-button, matchless lighting

Can’t decide between cooking your food or grilling it? You’re not the only one. Coleman created this two-in-one hybrid model with you in mind.

There are two separate burners, one going to the stove side on the left, and the other fueling the 130-square-inch grilling surface on the right.

Your package will include a plate that you can use as a flat-top griddle to cook pancakes and eggs without a pan.

Coleman got one thing right on this grill/stove combo: controllable flames. Many of their other outdoor units turn on or off, but you get more control with this.

Rubber feet on the bottom of the grill prevent it from moving, which can come in handy when you’re stirring a pot while scraping bacon off the griddle pan.

All grills and griddles need a grease tray, and this has one, but beware: it’s small.

If you’re cooking for a party of four to six people, the tray might overflow from cooking camp favorites like bacon and hash. This unit’s overall weight is reasonable, at just under fifteen pounds.

That’s partially due to the wind resistance panels on the back and sides, which do an excellent job of keeping the flames alive and well.

Pros

  • It is highly wind-resistant thanks to the durable hood.
  • Rubber feet let you use this without skidding it off the table.

Cons

  • There is only 130 square inches of cooking space.
  • The removable grease tray is small and tends to overflow.

Product Information

  • Type: Folding camping grill
  • Fuel: Propane
  • Weight: 14.7 lbs.
  • BTU: 20,000
  • Number of burners: two

Things to Consider Before Buying

cooking using a camping stove

We’ve reviewed the best, but you shouldn’t solely take our word for it. Look at the products individually and rate them based on a number of factors, including but not limited to the following:.

BTUs

British Thermal Units, or BTUs, are the measure of how much power your camping stove has, in a simplified sense.

A standard home range has between 7,000 and 12,000 BTUs, so base your decision on how much power you want outdoors and how much you want it to feel like cooking at home.

Portability/Weight

Camping stoves can either be compact and designed for minimalist campers, or they can be like our first model with a designated tray design and aluminum legs.

Because nobody wants to literally drag a unit from their truck to the campsite, even larger units are still fairly lightweight, but they may not fit in your backpack.

Burner Capacity

This all depends on your party size and what you’re cooking.

Everyone is different: some of us like to take electric coolers with ten pounds of steak; others prefer a minimalist approach and more survival-related experiences in the wild. 

It’s up to you, but keep in mind that you need more burners for a larger party. Single-burner units are suitable for one to two people, two-burner units for up to four, and three-burner units for up to twelve.

Associated Materials

Look for aluminum or steel burners, thick legs (for standing units), and as little plastic or rubber use as possible.

If you’re looking for something lightweight, aluminum is the way to go. If you’re looking for something compact, you’ll have to stick with a single-unit burner.

Ease of Use

If you’re finding it difficult to use this simple piece of technology, then you aren’t using the right stove.

When manufacturing practices improved in the 1980s, complicated camping stoves became obsolete, so avoid settling for a subpar model.

It should be simple to set up and even easier to use.

Types Of Camping Stoves

From lightweight and portable stoves to high-volume, high-BTU stoves, there are pros and cons for each. Let’s look over each type now.

Classic Camping Stoves

These single-burner units are the epitome of classic camp stoves. You can use them for single-person use or light meals for up to two people, but no more.

Classic units are the best portable camping stoves you can find, and they take up minimal space in your backpack.

The only downside is that you’ll find a lot of propane camp stove reviews from people who don’t know what they got themselves into, assuming they could save money and feed a large party.

Get the burners and BTU power you need, not the cheapest. You might also find these models that fold in half for compact storage but still feature the same style.

Two-Burner Camping Stoves

For mid-sized parties of two to four people, the best 2-burner camp stove is going to fulfill everything you need.

These aren’t the most lightweight, but they can sport up to 30,000 BTUs of power per burner, letting you cook higher-volume meals for a medium-sized camping party.

They can also support larger propane tanks, allowing you to camp out for a week with three square meals per day without worrying about running out of fuel or carrying an excess tank with you.

Three-Burner Camp Stoves

Large party volumes and high efficiency are factors in the design of the best 3-burner camp stove models.

You’ll see burners with over 20,000 BTUs of power in tow, giving you a faster way to feed a family or a ton of friends.

Three-burner stoves are generally the dominant propane camping stove models that you’ll see on the market, thanks to their efficiency.

Ultralight Camp Stoves

Minimalist campers traditionally revere ultralight camping stoves because they reduce your overall carry weight.

Typically, these backpacks have lower BTU outputs, ideal for solo or two-person camping. If you prioritize lightweight backpacks, this is the perfect option for you.

Some ultralight camping stoves are also just add-ons to the top of a propane or butane tank and can weigh as little as 2.6 ounces, which is great for minimalist campers.

Hybrid Charging Stoves

These are exactly what they sound like: you can charge your phone, and you can also use the unit as a stove.

While these aren’t the most popular picks for diehard campers, they’re popular among millennial campers who use their phone instead of a survival watch.

There’s no denying the power of these stoves, either. They boast plenty of BTUs and ferocity; they’re just not the first choice of seasoned campers.

FAQs

How many BTUs should my camping stove have?

If you have 10,000 or more, you’ll be ready to go. For personal, one-man use, a single-burner 10,000 BTU camping stove is ideal, while a unit with two burners and 30,000 BTUs is suitable for larger gatherings and high-volume cooking.

How can I use a camping stove effectively?

Test the pan temperatures after one minute of use, and stick with whatever heats up faster. Also, understand that maximum output isn’t the same as maximum efficiency.

When you’re boiling water, the higher the BTU output, the faster the water will boil, but for most foods, you can stick with a lower flame.

How can I attach a propane tank to a camping stove?

To create a tight connection, connect the propane tank hose to the camping stove gauge and turn clockwise. Gas doesn’t need much space to leak, so tighten this to the best of your ability.

Make sure it isn’t coming from the line, but rather from the burner only. When you’re sure of this, ignite the burner and wait one to two minutes to ensure a stable connection.

How much propane does a camping stove use?

It depends on the millimeter-sized burner output. For instance, a 16-ounce propane tank with a 0.32-mm burner output usually lasts for about two hours.

Fuel gauges on any propane tank are not reliable; they measure pressure, but temperatures can influence the readings. It is critical to understand the averages without relying on a fuel gauge.

What do you place your camping stove on?

Your camping stove needs to be on a completely flat surface. When you’re using Mother Nature’s back to set up shop, that can be difficult.

Consider bringing an adjustable camping table with you, allowing you to individually adjust each leg length to remain level despite the terrain.

How to clean a camping stove?

Disconnect all fuel lines that lead to the propane tank entry point; use a designated container to run water through the lines; and store for proper disposal at a later date.

Since you can’t clean these in streams or anywhere else in the wilderness, you should perform maintenance once you get home.

How long does it take to boil water on a camping stove?

On average, it takes 10 minutes to boil 1 liter of water, depending on the water’s starting temperature, elevation, and wind. You may want to consider grabbing a 2-burner camp stove to maximize your output and minimize cooking times.

Are there any laws governing the use of camping stoves in national parks?

You’ll have to check with individual National Park Service websites for absolute surety, but just about every national park in America is okay with you using a camping stove.

You’ll find that most laws and regulations revolve around lighting campfires, but where camping stoves are small and controlled, there should be no problem.

Wrap-Up

You’ve seen the best camping stoves, but now it’s time to put them to use.

From our camping stove reviews to our usage guide, you’ll have everything you need to master cooking in the wonderful outdoors.

Whether you prefer a two- or three-burner, whether you’re a minimalist camper or not, it’s time to eat like a king in survival and wilderness situations.

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