Buying Guide for Camp Stoves
By Steve Kopitz
No one can be sure, but the earliest evidence for the use of fire dates back 1.5 million years. Since then fire has come a long way and for anyone looking for a good camping stove has some good options. Cooking over a nice fire still has it’s qualities, but there are times and places when building a fire are not an option. Having a good stove can come in handy and in this guide we will take a look at some different stoves and how to choose the right one for you.
Types of Camping Stoves
You have 3 types of stoves for camping. Each has it’s particular advantages and disadvantages so we will begin by going through the different options so you can find the stove that best fits your needs.
Propane stove/grill: This will best fit the car-camper or anyone that does not plan on hiking into the wilderness. Most of these stoves are heavy or bulky and provide more than one burner. These stoves are great for family camping or several campers that must prepare food for a group of people. It’s very common to find these stoves with 2 burners and some are more compact than others. Weight also varies with these stoves so make sure you plan on camping where you can drop off your gear or drive right up to your site. We do not suggest you attempt to hike with this stove type. Propane is the most common gas type for these stoves and you will find the 16.4 Oz cylinders work great for camping. Propane tanks come in all sizes so try and figure out how long you will be camping to determine your tank size I find the 16.4 Oz small tank is good for a weekend of camping.
Canister Stoves: Canister style stoves bring us into the backpacking category. Small and compact these stoves are very easy to use. They run on pre-pressurized gas canisters (isobutene or butane/propane). The gas canister simply screws right on to the stove and it’s ready for use. Always keep some matches handy, but most canister stoves come with an igniter button. When the canister is removed from the stove it self-seals so you will not have to worry about fuel leaks. These stoves have many great qualities including good flame control, burns clean, no priming, and instant maximum heat output. Keep in mind if you decide on the canister stove that fuel is more expensive, it’s hard to tell how much fuel is remaining, and it has poor cold-weather performance. If you decide to go with the canister stove and you do hike in colder weather keep the canister in your pocket or at night store it in your sleeping bag.
Integrated Stove System: Another popular canister stove is the Integrated Stove System. This is a canister stove paired with a cooking pot such as the Jetboil series. Going with this type of stove is going to give you faster boil times, improved fuel efficiency, and increased wind protection. The cookware decision is made so this will give you a little less versatility compared to a standard canister stove, and although everything fits in the cookware container it will take up more room in your pack.
Liquid-Fuel Stoves: This is simply a burner connected to a fuel bottle that can be used over and over. Liquid-fuel stovesmost commonly run on white gas (in the U.S.) using a refillable fuel bottle. This type of stove requires priming and is generally heavier than the other stove choices. This will also require a separate fuel bottle purchase. That being said the fuel itself is less expensive than a canister of fuel, the stable base holds larger cookware, you can take only the fuel you will need, and the liquid-fuel stove is hands down the best stove for colder weather. There is also a multi-fuel option for this type of stove. This is popular among the international traveler. They are the most expensive type of backpacking stove, but can take all kinds of different fuels. These types of stoves also require more maintenance so be sure this is the type of stove your looking for.
Camping Stove Uses
We have covered the different types of stoves but what are the best uses and what stove best fits your needs? Below is the type of stove as described above and beneath them will be the suggested uses.
Hopefully this guide has aided you in making the right choice about your new camping stove. Remember to be clear on your intended use as you have learned each stove has it’s own qualities. Don’t hesitate to contact our friendly customer service staff if you should have any further questions.