Nothing says, “Best camp trip ever!” like waking up after a relaxing night in nature to the soothing sounds of eggs crackling and coffee bubbling, as the smell of frying bacon and toasting bread wafts through camp. However, having the wrong camping stove is one surefire way of turning breakfast dreams into terrible nightmares. Have no fear- the perfect camping stove can save the day!
Below you’ll find information our top ten tried and tested best camping stoves, along with information on what to consider when selecting a stove, as well as frequently asked questions so that you’ll have the perfect camping stove for the perfect camping trip.
How to Find the Best Camping Stove
In order to find the perfect camping stove, you have to start with a few guiding questions: How much space do I have to transport the stove? How much weight can I carry? What do I plan on cooking? What conditions will I be camping in?
Size and Weight
There are major differences between a camping trip where everything is strapped to one’s back and one where the car is close by and easily accessible, so it’s important to choose a stove that reflects this distinction.
If it’s a solo backpack adventure that you have planned, lugging around anything larger than the size of your fist will be a major mistake! You’ll need something light, easy to carry, and dynamic to make the most out of your single burner. Likewise, if you are cooking for a family of four or prefer glamping to actual camping, bringing a single burner will wind up in a huge headache and leave many unhappy campers. Serious camp chefs and larger groups will benefit from two to three burner stoves.
Types of Cooking
Some stoves are perfect for simple meals like oats and quickly boiling water, while others are perfect for multi-course culinary wizards where what matters most is the variety of cooking that can be done. What kind of camp cook are you?
Those doing serious backpacking and planning on using a stove solely for coffee making and heating freeze-dried meals will benefit from compact stoves with high heat capacity and auto-igniters. Those whose intentions are simultaneously grilling meat, roasting veggies, and making a pan sauce will benefit from larger surface areas, grill attachments, and the ability to hook up to a larger gas tank. And don’t worry, for those that do a bit of both- there’s still the perfect stove for you too!
Four season campers (those who camp in summer’s sun, winter’s snow, and everything in between) know that there’s nothing worse than trying to make warm food in freezing weather with a faulty ignitor or stove that doesn’t block the elements. Proper windshields, working ignitors, and the right type of fuel will all ensure warm bodies and full bellies no matter the weather.
Top 10 Best Camping Stoves on the Market
The above questions pondered, which camping stoves are the best stoves on the market? We’ve broken down our list into three categories ranging from compact single burners to tabletop stoves, ending with some freestanding luxury.
Coleman is one of the most trusted and recognizable outdoor brands and for good reason: their pricing, simplicity, and functionality is top-notch. Their bottletop portable stove is no different. Perfect for simple camping out of backpacks (or vehicles!) with limited space, this is the quintessential compact camping stove.
It’s got the standard 10,000 BTUs and is large enough to fit an 8-inch pan but small enough (the burner and base twist apart from the mini propane tank) to store in a backpack.
- Inexpensive, simple and easy to use, works well in wind.
- Slightly larger and heavier than the smallest of single burners and we found that it doesn’t have the best temperature control.
With looks as fancy as its name, this super compact and collapsible stove is a must-have for serious backpackers. Campers pressed for space and weight will love it. It also comes completely apart so it’s easy to clean on the go. Its ignitor is another great feature, so carrying lighters are a thing of the past. Because of its size, however, cooking options are a bit limited.
That being said, this is the best compact stove on the market for its incredible price and makes for a great gift for a boy/girl scout. It is also a priceless addition to an emergency camp kit.
- Compact with the aluminum alloy and stainless steel combining for a serious but light piece of equipment. Good auto- ignitor and temperature control.
- Small surface area to cook on which can be difficult depending on what you’re preparing.
This stylish, single butane burner from Coleman is the perfect step up from its bottletop predecessor. It’s not as compact (it doesn’t fold up or screw apart) but it is more sturdy, and it fits a 10-inch pan, allowing for more cooking surface area. It has matchless ignition and we loved its temperature controls, aiding in precision cooking. (Although with only 7,650 BTUs, you may have to wait an extra minute or two to boil your water or get your bacon extra crispy). Thoughtfully, it also comes with a carrying case so leftover bacon grease doesn’t get onto other camp supplies.
We loved how easy it was to connect the gas to the stove, making it accessible for both older and younger campers or those with dexterity issues. However, as it is porcelain, it can be a bit fragile and we noticed that it has the potential to dent easily. Overall, this stove would be best for foodie solo campers and couples, less so for backpackers.
- Easy to transport, instant ignition, overall ease and function.
- Longer boiling time for water, its bright blue color could be a turn-off for some campers, can dent.
This camping stove definitely takes the cake as the coolest stove on our list. It is compact, stable, made of stainless steel, and best of all is powered by wood so that nature lovers and environmentalists don’t have to worry about gas emissions or harmful toxins. It also means weight-conscious backpackers don’t have to haul around burdensome propane tanks!
Wood is added at the bottom of the stove and when lit, the heat is funneled upwards, producing a concentrated, hot flame. Best of all, it comes with a mini grill attachment for that wood smoke flavor we love so much about camping. Fun fact: if wood isn’t available where you’re camping (or is wet due to inclement weather), the stove also works with solidified alcohol tablets. The only thing we didn’t like is that you can’t add more wood to the stove while it’s cooking (however this does allow for more steady cooking temperatures).
- Environmentally friendly; wood powered but has a backup fuel option. It’s compact and comes with a grill attachment. A windshield attachment is also available for purchase as an add on.
- No feeding slot to add wood once you have started cooking, no way to control the temperature (as it is wood burning), can’t cook a lot at once because of the relatively small surface area, does blacken pans.
Straddling the line between tabletop camping stove and single burner is the Jetboil Genesis camping stove. Although the stove comes in as one of the pricier options on our top 10 list, it is a very impressive piece of equipment, and once you are a Jetboil owner there is no going back.
The stove is the size of a single burger but in fact has two burners that fold in onto one another, giving superior cooking ability with a very low profile. If cooking multiple things at once while being conscious about space and weight are the top factors for consideration, this is your stove! The only thing we didn’t love is the time it took to boil water, but the fact we can boil water and fry eggs at the same time on this compact stove made up for it!
- Camp nerds will love hooking up the Genesis Basecamp stove to Jetboil’s other products to create a full high-tech camp kitchen.
- Pricy, the orange color is not for everyone, and the gasket can be a bit tricky to use if you are not very dexterous.
If you are a fan of the outdoors, you’ll know this as the ole faithful stove of the camping world. This is the tabletop stove that has no frills but gets the job done well, ranking in as one of the most affordable two-burner stoves on the market. It’s compact, with the top and sides of the stove popping out when opened to create windshields (although the windshields certainly can’t withstand anything past ‘breezy’). The stove is fitted with high- pressure regulators to provide a constant output of gas that also helps in a battle with the elements.
- This stove is affordable, relatively light, performs well, is easy to use and clean, and lasts forever. It is a true staple.
- It’s basic and what you see is what you get. Not recommended for use in particularly nasty weather.
Although a bit pricier than the Coleman stove listed above, the popular Camp Everest two-burner stove has two times the BTUs as the Coleman (translation: double the cooking power!). This means faster water boil time for those who need a coffee first thing in the morning and faster bacon-to-mouth ratio. This stove is also adaptable, as you can attach a larger propane tank for longer camp trips.
It is a powerful yet compact tabletop model that has wide burners to fit two large pots or pans at the same time (you can also adjust the temperature controls on each burner separately for different amounts of heat). All this, yet it’s still light enough to carry easily, in part due to its built-in handle. It also has a sturdy windshield for superior wind protection.
- Stainless steel, easy clean up (has a built-in removable drip tray), and tons of cooking power.
- Burns a bit hot and is more of an investment than cheaper models. There have also been some issues with the self-ignitor, so pack a backup lighter.
8. Unigear Wood Burning Camp Stove Picnic BBQ Cooker/ Potable Folding Stainless Steel Backpacking Stove
In the case of this stove, the name says (just about) it all. The Unigear stove is unique in quite a few ways from other tabletop stoves, namely in that it can take an almost unlimited amount of sources as its fuel.
The stainless-steel structure is made to burn wood, pinecones, and sticks, but if those resources can’t be used or aren’t available, it can also burn solidified alcohol tablets, coal, or gas. This stove has a very compact design that folds up in the shape of a book and weighing in at just less than 2 pounds you can truly take it anywhere. Another bonus is its simple assembly: the stove is composed of just four break apart pieces for ultimate ease.
- Other than looking extremely cool, you can’t beat this stove’s price point, durability, flexible fuel sources, and its weight.
- It is quite small, so it takes a bit of time to cook for more than one person.
Stand Alone Stoves
This is hands down the king of all camping stoves. It has the highest capacity for heat of any stove on this list (its three burners pack in a combined 90,000 BTUs!) and includes both a camping griddle and three burners for cooking flexibility.
It has some very luxurious additions, including a paper towel holder, drip tray to catch grease, utensil holder, and a strong windscreen to protect against mother nature’s nastier elements. Weighing in at a whopping 47 pounds for the stove alone (adding the griddle component adds 28 pounds!) this camp stove is best for larger groups, extended camping excursions that take place in one location, and über serious chefs cooking for large groups.
Before buying this bad boy, ensure that there is both enough car space and human Hulks to carry it. On the plus side, it does have detachable legs to help a bit with mobility. During our trials and tribulations, we did notice that the auto-ignite can have some difficulty, so make sure to bring backup lighting options. Overall, this stove is the whole package. People will gather around from miles to get in on the action; the stove is sure to make you the envy of every camper at the campground.
- Luxurious, ability to cook a large amount of food, organizational capacity, ability to hold up to bad weather.
- Weight and price are by far the biggest considerations before purchasing this cooking beast.
In case you’re not a body-builder and the previous option is a little too much (both in size and cost), Camp Chef also makes a more transportable double burner stove. With a cooking surface area of 14 inches, its burners are wide and have lots of cooking space. Speaking of burners, they have a cumulative cook power of 60,000 BTUs, so this grill is capable of serious water boiling and serious feast preparation.
It weighs in at 36 pounds but the legs are removable, so it’s definitely still heavy but mobile. This is a beautiful, powerful grill that pairs with other accessories, so if you ever want to beef up your campsite or set up a (semi) permanent outdoor kitchen, you are able to combine this stove with other Camp Chef products.
- More mobile than other large stand-alone stoves, cooking surface area, cooking power.
- Because of its powerful burners, this stove can blacken the bottom of pots and pans, so it is not advisable to timid chefs or priceless pots.
What are BTU’s?
A BTU is a British Thermal Unit and refers to the strength of the burner. Technically speaking, one BTU is the amount of energy required to raise a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. The stoves in this article range from 10,000 BTU (least powerful, slowest time to boil water) to 30,000 BTU (fastest boiling time).
What types of fuel do most camping stoves use? What are the benefits/ drawbacks of them?
Generally speaking, camping stoves are powered by five types of fuel sources: liquid fuel, canisters, solidified alcohol, solid fuel, and wood. Each source has its own pros and cons. Canisters are great for those who are backpacking or like an easy stove set up. They can, however, be pricey. Liquid fuel, like propane or butane, is cheap and versatile and withstand freezing conditions. Butane in particular is more energy- efficient and less toxic than other types of liquid gas, so proponents of butane say it burns cleaner.
Regardless of the type, liquid gas containers are usually heavy and a bit cumbersome. Solidified alcohol is great for long-distance treks because of its near weightlessness (let’s also not forget that it is incredibly cheap!). However, it is hard to use in wind and doesn’t last long. Wood is a great source of energy because it is environmentally friendly and you can often collect it at campsites (not to mention the fact that it can be foraged for free!) but you need to be mindful of no collection zones and moisture; you also have to wait a bit longer to cook on coals.
Lastly, solid fuel burning stoves are great because they are light- however, they are not very quick nor good in poor weather.
Where can I purchase my perfect camp stove?
We recommend Amazon for their variety, and so you can check out not only information from the sellers but information from real-life users as well. The links have been added below each product for convenience. Happy buying!
With so many different camping stoves available these days, campers are spoiled for choice. That doesn’t, however, mean the decision is any easier. The hardest part of buying the perfect camping stove is sifting through all the available options to find the right stove for your requirements. Whether it’s luxury, utility, or somewhere in between, this article is sure to give you the best recommendations of our personal favorite 10 best camping stoves that we have found to be better than all the rest!