Best Camping Stoves 2018 – Buyers Guide

Spending the night underneath the stars with nothing but the wind blowing through your hair is one of the many calls people feel pulling them towards a camping break. In this article, we’ve rounded up the best camping stoves available on the market so you don’t have to traipse through the entire internet before finding the ideal one for you. And after a long day of hiking up mountainous terrain and climbing up to the most beautiful peaks, a warm meal or steaming cup of coffee is just what you need to warm those aching bones.

Finding the perfect camping stove for your specific requirements can seem a daunting task when you consider the wide variety of options available. However, it is important that you do your research in advance to ensure you don’t spend your hard earned money on a stove that swiftly becomes more of a burden than a life saver. Our Buyers Guide talks you through some of the key factors to take into consideration before purchasing your new camping stove.

best camping stoves

Best Camping Stoves Comparison Chart

ItemFuel Type 
Wood
Propane
Alcohol
Propane
Butane
Butane
Wood
Propane
Fuel Tablets
Propane
Propane or Natural Gas

Best Stainless Steel Stove

The Ohuhu Portable Stainless Steel Wood Burning Camping Stove is a high quality and portable stove for the camper looking to lose themselves in the wilderness of nature. Fuelled by wood – a sustainable fuel that can easily be sourced wherever you happen to set up camp – this stable stove has a 3-arm base for exceptional support and holding it steady even in blustery conditions. The stove is fully collapsible and comes with its own mesh carry bag allowing the lightweight body to be transported with ease. This stove is the ideal choice for those conscious about their impact on the environment with its natural fuel source and lack of chemical emissions.

Pros

  • Small and easy to transport
  • 3 arm base for increased durability and sturdiness

Cons

  • Smaller size means a smaller capacity
  • Uses wood to burn, potentially harder to start and put out

Best Cast Iron Stove

For smaller groups of up to 3, the Sportsman SBCIS Single Burner Iron Stove is a solid and durable addition to your camping repertoire. Made from cast iron, this portable stove weighs in at 2.25lbs and boasts a capacity of 15,000 BTUs. Gas fuelled by propane, this full flame burner is suitable for one-pot-dinners while also promising to boil up a steaming cup of coffee just when it’s needed. An ideal choice for use on any campsite, this stove promises to be quick to light and simple to maintain with its solid frame. Whether you’ve chosen to pack it all up and head off for a romantic weekend or are setting out on your first camping holiday as a little family, this reliable stove promises to finish off every evening with functional ease.

Pros

  • Cooks with propane for a more reliable way to heat food
  • Durable construction

Cons

  • Propane has the potential to be dangerous if not used properly
  • Quite a big and bulky design, not good for transportation

Best Alcohol Stove

Ideal for those choosing to travel with minimal luggage, the Solo Alcohol Burner is an attractive choice for any avid camper. Compact in size and easily slipping in your pocket or a side section of your backpack, this highly functional stove is fuelled by alcohol and features a twist on cap with o-ring seals which enables you to hold on to unused fuel for future use. An economical choice, the stove also features a simmer lid with a fold out handle that can efficiently control the flame and switch it off instantly when you have finished cooking. Ideal for boiling up water for a warm beverage or keeping your soup bubbling while you cut and butter your accompanying bread.

Pros

  • Lightweight and easy to carry
  • Sturdy design

Cons

  • You get what you pay for
  • Alcohol based cooking can be risky if not done safely

Best Propane Stove

An all around exceptional performer, the Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove has been specifically designed to aid the enthusiastic camper. Fully adjustable to allow control of the flame, this stable cooker boasts PerfectFlow™ technology which ensures the flame stays stable at all times when in use. Able to support an 8-inch pan and delivering 10,000 BTUs, this stove also features wind baffles that protect the flame from natures regular occurring blusters. An ideal choice for those seeking compact power, the stove can be detached from its propane bottle while lasting up to 2.5 hours on it’s highest power with just a single 16.4ox propane cylinder. With its 3-year limited warranty and durable design, this camping stove is a fine choice for occasional campers for a reasonable price too.

Pros

  • Propane generated at a consistent level
  • Designed to be sturdy and secure

Cons

  • Bulky to transport
  • Slightly more expensive

Best Portable Gas Stove

The versatility of the Gas One GS-2200 makes it an ideal choice for those wishing to travel with minimal luggage. Fitted with a piezo-electrical ignition for instant and reliable flames, this burner needs no additional fuel such as lighters or matches reducing both its bulk and required storage space. Designed for the entire family, the Gas One features a push and turn operation which prevents accidental use and heat dial knobs that stay cool throughout its use. This stove also has a feature which detects excessive pressure in the butane cartridge and will automatically switch off the flame if it determines dangerous or unsuitable use. The non-stick grill and stainless steel plates use reflective technology to ensure delicious and evenly cooked food every time while the tempered glass lid maintains the hygiene of your cooking surface even during transportation. Using a single 8oz butane cartridge, this camping stove is a smart choice for campers requiring minimal bulk with optimal performance.

Best Backpacking Stove

At the cheaper end of the spectrum, the Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Stove offers a cooking solution for any adventurous backpacker. Designed to fold up tightly and requiring minimal space within your already packed out backpack, this functional camping stove has been made of aluminium and stainless steel – chosen for their durability and lightweight properties. Collapsing down and supplied with a carry case, the stove has a piezo electric ignition which requires no additional fuel and a flame that can be adjusted quickly and efficiently. Ideal for those conscious of their footprint on nature, this clean burning cooker leaves no chemical residue or debris and comes with a 1-year guarantee for added peace of mind. The perfect choice if your next excursion will consist of living out of a backpack for the duration of your stay.

Pros

  • Strong and durable to ensure a long life
  • Collapsible

Cons

  • Smaller size
  • You get what you pay for

Best Wood Burning Camp Stove

Relying on natures fuel, the EcoZoom Rocket Stove is an investment piece ideal for those who regularly frequent camping sites. Designed with eco-friendly care in mind, this highly efficient stove can be powered by any wood, charcoal or solid biomass fuel sourced from your location or blocks taken with you – depending on your available luggage. The fully insulated combustion chamber channels the fuel to where you need it most and provides a consistent flame which can be adjusted to your specific needs. The EcoZoom three-prong stove top stable holds any pot or pan during cooking and stirring while also protecting the workings underneath while the plastic and steel handles allow the cooker to be transported easily and moved without risk of injury. With its higher price tag, this camping stove is an ideal choice for the family that spend many days wiling away the hours under the stars or simply the keen solo-camper who yearns for homely comforts while enjoying the beauty of nature.

Pros

  • High quality design
  • Durable and sturdy

Cons

  • Really expensive
  • Bulky design, doesn’t compact

Best Coleman Grill Stove

The most enthusiastic of outdoor chefs will love the Coleman Road Trip Propane Portable Grill LXE. Sharing design aesthetics with traditional BBQ’s, this portable grill features an interchangeable cooktop allowing you to choose from a griddle or stove gates depending on the meal in question. Instantly lighting without the need for a match or lighter, this propane powered cooker features PerfectFlow technology for exceptional performance every time while the large protective lid allows you to smoke certain meats while ensuring safe transportation. Fully collapsible, the grill also boasts sliding tables to either side allowing you to store cooking utensils or food before and after cooking – a benefit that most camping stoves fail to achieve. This easy to clean grill has a wide cooking surface making it ideal for larger groups and can be used independently of any external fuel source allowing you to take it into the wilderness with you on your next trip.

Pros

  • Lots of space for your needs
  • Provides more than enough heat for the job

Cons

  • A high price to pay
  • Quite big, even when collapsed

Best Hiking Stove

If your penchant is the steeping and sloping hills, the Esbit Ultralight Folding Pocket Stove could be the perfect solution. Folding down to fit in the palm of your hand, this pocket sized camping stove has a simple construction made from durable galvanised steel. Suitable for boiling water and heating food, the stove comes with 6 smokeless Esbit 14g solid fuel tablets which promise 12 minutes of burn time. This allows you to bring 500ml of water to the boil in around 8 minutes – ideal for serving up steaming cups of tea or coffee after a long and arduous hike. Folding out to deliver sturdy support to pots and pans, the stove offers two cooking positions making it the ideal choice in every hiking scenario.

Pros

  • Plenty of fuel for your needs
  • Collapsible design for easy transportation

Cons

  • Smaller than some other models
  • Basic design

Best Camping Oven

The seasoned camping chef will be hard pressed to find a more reliable appliance than the Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven. Larger in stature than the other camping ovens in our list, this sturdy cooking machine replicates your trusty home oven in an outdoor environment. Featuring an internal oven alongside two gas powered range burners, this oven has been designed specifically for bulk cooking in either a group campsite or outdoor event. With the ability to cook for up to 5 hours on a high heat and using just a single 1lb can of propane, this camping stove offers everything you need to cook a wide variety of meals from bubbling soups through to homely pies. Measuring in a 21 x 12 inches, the cooker is still capable of being transported with ease and will fit into your camping set up as if you were never without it.

Pros

  • Fully capable and ready to use
  • More than enough capacity

Cons

  • Very expensive
  • Very big, and impractical for light travel

Best Two Burner Camping Stove

Ideal for mid-size groups, the Camp Chef Explorer 2 Burner Range offers all the functionality you will need for exceptional cooking in the wilderness. Additional accessories can be purchased to turn the cooking unit into everything from a BBQ grill through to an artisan oven to help you create any meal you take a fancy to. With 448 square inches of cooking space, this stove can easily support most pots and pans while the two patented aluminium burners emit a blue flame with an output of 60,000 collectively. Fuelled by propane or natural gas, this outdoor camping stove has been produced by one of the leading brands in outdoor cooking appliances and utensils and promise to last for many years – and camping trips – to come. For reliable and sturdy cooking on any terrain, this stove is worth the investment.

Pros

  • High price, superior design
  • Works through propane for a reliable cooking experience

Cons

  • Propane is dangerous when not handled safely
  • The tank can be quite bulky to travel with

Best Camping Stove Buyers Guide

Fuel

  • Every camping stove needs fuel to produce it’s roaring fire and considering the form of ignition required is a key aspect to consider before making this significant purchase. Solid Fuel Stoves use either alcohol gel or ‘hex’ blocks which can be easily packed into a backpack and are one of the safest forms of fuel available. However, these stoves can have a slow burn rate and finding the appropriate fuel block for your stove can be difficult. Unpressurised Liquid Stoves use methanol which can be tricky to transport but these cooking machines offer low maintenance and safe performance making them ideal for younger campers. Gas Stoves are guaranteed to light up quickly and are usually easy to set up and maintain. However, consider that the use of one of these would mean transporting pressurised cartridges of butane or propane with you which always holds a risk if not stored appropriately. Finally, Pressurised Liquid or Multifuel Stoves are highly reliable and suitable for use at both high and low altitudes. Able to burn a variety of different fuels, these stoves are the perfect choice for the avid explorer as you can tailor your choice of fuel according to your available luggage. However, these can be high maintenance machines which are more likely to get clogged up and can be more difficult to light so may require a more experienced hand.
  • Consider how accessible your source of fuel is. Can you stock up or will you have to pick up extra supplies along the way? And if you do, how easy will it be to find your fuel source in conventional stores or will you have to go to find a camping specialist shop along the way? All of these things take away precious time from your enjoyment of the holiday and can cause undue stress should you be unable to prepare a meal.
  • Also, consider how much fuel you’ll need for the duration of your trip and what luggage you have to transport this. If you need endless tubes of pressurised gas but are planning on venturing out with just a backpack, you may need to consider the solid fuel stoves instead for their compact, fuel source.

Size and Weight

  • How far away will you be camping from your vehicle – if indeed you intend to have a vehicle with you at all! Larger camping stoves (something known as Car Camping Stoves) are designed to be within close proximity of your car. They are usually more like your cooking stove at home and are suitable for use with larger groups. Smaller camping stoves (sometimes referred to as Backpack Camping Stoves) are lightweight and compact. Designed to use their fuel efficiently, they are ideal for campers who plan to venture right into the wilderness but can sometimes be less sturdy in their construction to accommodate for their light weight.
  • It is also worth considering how many people will be using the camping stove at any one given time. For groups of 4 or less, a two-burner option can offer sufficient space and heat to serve delicious meals while smaller groups could even be served by a single burner – should the cook know enough one pot meals. Take note of the dimensions of each stove to ensure they can accommodate the pans and pots you plan to take with you and consider whether you will need additional side space to store food before or after it is cooked.
  • Larger groups need to consider their transportation options and compare this to the size of camping stove they wish to purchase. The bigger stoves will, in turn, be much heavier and you will need to take note of the set-up for each appliance in your camping environment. Can you realistically transport a larger cooker to your camp site or will you need extra equipment? Would it be more practical to invest in numerous small cookers instead to minimise the risk of injury from moving them into place?

Boil Time

  • No one wants to come back from a cold and wet excursion to discover that the steaming cup of tea they’ve been daydreaming about the whole afternoon is going to take half an hour to boil up. Considering the boil time of your chosen camping stove not only helps when boiling water but will also help you to understand how long you need to cook certain meats and vegetables for and what time frame you should give yourself for preparing certain meals.

Cost

  • How often are you really going to need your camping stove? Considering how much you are willing to spend is an essential factor in choosing your stove. If you are a keen camper who takes to the hills every couple of months – or even weeks – then investing in the best quality and more expensive options may be the best choice for you. However, if you plan to camp once a year or even less, do you really want to make a large hole in your savings for an appliance that will come out of the loft less than the family suitcases?
5 Uses For Camping Stoves

Your camping stove need not stay packed away at the back of your shed for its annual trip. There are many other events or activities where these handy portable cooking appliances can come in handy to ensure fresh, home cooking for the entire party. We’ve listed our Top 5 here but don’t feel restricted – any outdoor event will surely welcome the tantalising aroma of just cooked food!

  • Camping – The obvious one!
  • Hiking – Taking to the hills and mountains is hungry work!
  • Backpacking – Limited luggage and starving bellies need a practical and reliable solution
  • BBQ – The next time you invite friends and families to dine al fresco, your camping stove can make it’s grand entrance
  • Power Cuts – No need to warm cold cups of teas or soup over a candle anymore – your trusty stove is all you need in even the most uncontrollable of eventualities.