How to cook food is one of the most common issues you will face during your camping trip. A great way to overcome this issue is by bringing a good camping stove with you. A camping stove is a portable, gas-powered stove that enables you to cook up your favorite dishes anywhere, even while camping in the great outdoors.
An ideal stove for camping is lightweight, portable, and packs enough power to cook meat at a safe temperature. We took a look at the most popular and highly talked about camping stoves on the market, evaluated and tested each, and chose the best models for you to bring on your camping trips.
So, ready to get cooking? Let’s take a look at the six best camping stoves.
The 6 Best Camping Stoves
6. MSR PocketRocket 2 Ultralight Backpacking Stove
The MSR PocketRocket 2 Backpacking Stove is one of the smallest, lightest, and most portable camping stoves on the market. This tiny stove only weighs an impressive 2.6 ounces by itself and 4.2 ounces when inside of the included carrying case. When open and ready to cook, the PocketRocket measures 4.8 x 4.8 by 3.6 inches. When collapsed and packed, those dimensions are reduced to an insanely small 2 x 2 x 3 inches. Keep in mind however, that these tiny measurements do not include the fuel canister.
To operate the PocketRocket, you’ll need a isobutane-propane fuel canister which is not included. The PocketRocket attaches directly to the top of the fuel canister, so setup literally only takes a few quick seconds and there is no need to preheat, pump, or pressurize anything. This stove does not have an ignition, however, so it will need to be lit using a lighter.
Despite its small size, the MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove packs a serious punch. The temperature is adjustable and can be set anywhere in between simmer and broil. Believe it or not, this tiny little stove can boil one liter of water in just 3.5 minutes. This is one of our favorite portable camping stoves, and we highly recommend it for people who want to pack light and bring minimal gear on their camping trips.
- Weight: 2.6 ounces, 4.2 ounces with carrying case.
- Packed size: 2 x 2 x 3 inches
- Assembled size: 4.8 x 4.8 x 3.6 inches
- Fuel: Isobutane-propane
- Includes a small lightweight carrying case
- Very lightweight
- Very small and easy to fit inside of a backpack to transport.
- No ignition
- Fuel canister is not included.
5. Terra Hiker Gas Camping Stove
This Terra Hiker Camping Stove is another great option for a tiny, portable camping stove. Weighing only 8.5 ounces, the Terra Hiker is great for backpackers or hikers who want to travel lightly. When it is unfolded and ready to cook, the Terra Hiker measures 5.9 x 2.9 inches. Alternatively, when folded and ready to pack, it is only 4.5 x 3.3 x 2.8 inches.
The stove is made of high-quality aluminum alloy and stainless steel, which means it should resist scratches, corrosion, and general wear-and-tear. It can support the weight of large pans and pots up to 18 liters, so it’s capable of cooking for the family or a large group.
Operating the Terra Hiker camping stove is very simple. First, a gas valve is connected to a isobutane-propane fuel canister. Next, you simply press the ignition switch to ignite the flame, and then adjust the flame using the temperature knob. On the highest heat setting, the stove can boil 400 ml of water in only two and a half minutes.
- Weight: 8.5 ounces
- Packed size: 4.5 x 3.3 x 2.8 inches
- Assembled size: 5.9 x 2.9 inches
- Fuel: Isobutane-propane
- Material: Aluminum alloy and stainless steel.
- Ignition is included.
- Includes a small box-shaped carrying case.
- Small and easy to pack and carry.
- Fuel canister is not included
4. Ohuhu Camping Stove
The Ohuhu Camping Stove is another great portable backpacking stove that is perfect for camping or hiking. The stove is woodburning, which is great because there’s no need to carry propane or butane with you during your trip. Instead, you can find fuel anywhere. Dry twigs, sticks, pinecones or leaves will all effectively power the stove, but the manufacturers recommend using dry hard woods for maximum efficiency.
Weighing only 14.2 ounces, the stove is easy to pack and carry while hiking or exploring. When folded, the size of the Ohuhu is only 5.3 x 5.3 x 5.3 inches. In addition, a mesh carry bag is included with the stove, which makes transporting it even more of a breeze.
The Ohuhu Camping Stove is high quality stainless steel, with a sturdy 3-armed base that will remain stable on grass or in windy conditions. Also included are a pot supporter and a grill grid. The pot supporter allows you to cook the traditional portable stove way, by holding a pot or pan over the stove’s burner. However, by swapping the pot supporter with the grill grid, you can grill directly over the flames. Time to grill some hot dogs!
- Weight: 14.2 ounces
- Packed size: 5.3 x 5.3 x 3 inches
- Assembled size:
- Fuel: Wood burning
- Material: Stainless steel
- Carrying case is included.
- No need to carry heavy fuel canisters.
3. Coleman Portable Bottletop Gas Stove
The Coleman Portable Bottletop Camping Stove is one of our favorites. It’s very affordable and can usually be found for under $25 at most stores in the US. In addition to being very popular among campers and outdoor enthusiasts, this Coleman portable stove is the official stove of the National Park Foundation.
Included with the Coleman Portable Gas Stove is the burner and the base. The burner attaches to the top of a 16.4 ounce propane cylinder. Next, the bottom of the propane cylinder is placed into the stove’s base. While the propane cylinder is not included, the stove is extremely fuel efficient. With just one 16.4 ounce cylinder of propane, you can cook for up to 2.5 hours. A knob on the side of the burner provides full temperature control.
Along with many other outdoor experts, we highly recommend this stove. It’s perfect for backpacking, camping, or hiking.
- Size: 6.62 x 7.81 x 7.75 inches
- Fuel: Propane
- Up to 10,000 BTUs
- Very dependable, highly recommended.
- Lightweight and easy to carry.
- Fuel efficient, but still powerful.
- Fuel canister is not included.
The Explorer Double Burner Stove from Camp Chef is a heavy duty cooking machine. Equipped with two powerful cast aluminum burners, this bad boy is ready to cook. The two burner cooking surface measures 14 inches by 32 inches, which is more than enough room to quickly fry up a bacon and eggs breakfast for the whole family. The burners are powered by propane via an included 3 foot hose and regulator. Each burner can output 30,000 BTUs per hour, for a combined 60,000 BTUs per hour!
While the stove itself stands 29 inches, the 3-sided wind screens around the burners reach a height of 32 inches. Additionally, the four legs are adjustable for uneven ground, and removable if you would prefer to use the stove on a tabletop instead.
The entire unit weighs 30.5 pounds, so we highly recommend this stove for campers who are stationary and do not hike or carry their gear for long distances. If you are planning to just head to the campsite and relax with the family, the Camp Chef Explorer Stove is the one for you.
- Height: 32 inches
- Weight: 30.5 lbs
- Cooking Surface: 14 inches x 32 inches
- 2 Burners
- BTU: 30,000 per burner / 60,000 combined
- Fuel: Propane or natural gas
- 2 burners with a large cooking area.
- It’s very powerful with an output of 30,000 BTUs per burner and 60,000 BTUs combined
- It has a versatile modular design compatible with various cooking accessories
- Adjustable and removable legs.
- Heavy & difficult to travel with.
1. Solo Stove Titan & Solo Pot 1800
The Solo Stove 1800 Titan & Pot Combo is a beast. We absolutely love this deal. Along with the Titan Stove, the combo also includes a large pot to cook in. Like the Ohuhu Camping Stove described above, the Solo Titan is a wood burning stove. This means there’s no need to carry propane or butane with you during your trip. Instead, you have the ability to power the stove with dry twigs, sticks, or pinecones. For maximum efficiency, the manufacturers recommend using dry hard woods.
Both the stove and the pot are 304 stainless steel, which is very dependable, high-quality, and long-lasting.
The stove has a patented double-wall airflow design that makes it extremely efficient. A “secondary combustion” allows the fire to burn more completely so the stove releases very little smoke while cooking. Additionally, the design means less wood is required than with other woodburning stoves available on the market. The stove is so efficient that it can boil water in just 4-6 minutes.
The Solo Pot 1800 has an impressive maximum volume of 61 fl oz (1800 mL), so it is big enough to cook for the whole family. In addition, the pot has a rubber coated lid that is lockable in an upright position to prevent the spill of hot food or liquid, even if the pot were to be knocked over. This also allows you to lock the lid and store leftover food for later on in the day.
A really awesome feature of this stove and pot combo is that it packs up extremely efficiently. The stove can be placed inside of the pot for easier packing and transport. When the stove is nested inside of the pot, the dimensions are reduced to 6.7 inches tall and 7 inches wide.
Solo Stove Titan Specifications
- Packed size – Height: 6.7 inches, Width: 7 inches
- Assembled size – Height: 9.25 inches, Width: 7 inches
- Weight: 16.5 ounces
- Material: 304 stainless steel, nichrome wire
- Fuel: Wood burning
Solo Pot 1800 Tech Specifications
- Height: 6.1 inches
- Diameter: 5.5 inches
- Weight: 12.5 oz
- Max volume: 61 fl oz (1800mL)
- Material: 304 stainless steel
- The patented woodburning design is very efficient.
- Gas is not required, so there is no need to carry fuel canisters.
- A large pot is included.
- Small pot handle which can also get hot.
Buyer’s Guide: What to Look for in a Camping Stove
Food and camping go hand-in-hand, and for this reason, getting the right stove can really make or break your camping trip. The features and capabilities of camping stoves can vary greatly from model to model. Here are a few different things that you should definitely consider when shopping for a new camping stove.
Quantity of Food
Before you purchase a camping stove, it’s important to consider the amount of food it is capable of cooking at one time. Consider how many people at the campsite you will be cooking for. If you are preparing meals for a large group of people, you should choose a large stove and a large camping cookware set. On the other hand, if you are preparing food for only yourself, a smaller stove and cookware set will surely suffice.
You will also need to determine the maximum temperature that you need the stove to be capable of reaching. If you intend to cook meat, it is extremely important that your camping stove be capable of bringing the meat to the temperature necessary to kill all of the harmful bacteria.
The power of camping stoves is usually measured in BTUs (British Thermal Units). You may want to factor in the BTU capability of the stove, especially if you will be cooking for a large group of people. Most portable stoves range between 8,000-20,000 BTU. Higher power stoves do tend to use more fuel, so keep that in mind as well.
Weight & Size
If you are car camping, then the weight and size of the camping stove isn’t a huge concern. However, if you intend to carry the stove with you, it is important to consider how much precious room in your bag that the stove is going to occupy.
Additionally, it is important to consider the weight of the stove. This is especially true if you travel trails and hike between campsites, or if you intend to do any climbing. Essentially, if you will be carrying your camping stove for long distances, it is a good idea to choose one that is as small and as lightweight as possible.
There are two types of ignitions for camping stoves. Depending on your stove model, you will either have to use a flame source to light the burner manually, or you will press an ignition button on the stove. The ignition function is more convenient, but stoves that have it are more expensive than the manually lit stoves. Additionally, ignition buttons tend to slowly stop working over the course of a few years. If the ignition button does cease to work, you can still light these stoves manually with a flame source.
Cooking in windy conditions can be frustrating. When gusty winds constantly blow out your stove’s flame, it can add hours to cooking times and leave your meals undercooked and cold. Many portable stoves on the market come with wind caps to prevent windy weather from become a nuisance. However, not all stoves do, so be sure to look out for this.
Generally, portable camping stoves operate on one of two main sources of gas: propane or butane. Many newer models of stoves can operate efficiently on either. Some portable stove models, however, need a specific gas to function properly. Before purchasing your new stove, check the product specifications to see what type of fuel the manufacturer recommends using.
Types of Camping Stoves
There are two main types of camping stoves: table top stoves and freestanding stoves. Both stove types have their advantages and disadvantages. Your camping activities and the amount of room you have at your disposal will likely determine which type of camping stove is more ideal.
Table top stoves are lightweight and portable. Compared to freestanding stoves, table top stoves are much smaller, lighter, and easier to transport. Since these stoves are so small, they usually only have one burner. They also have less power and cook food slower than the larger more power stoves are capable of.
Table top stoves are ideal for those that are hiking long distances, camping alone or with a very small group, or have limited car space.
With the exception of the Camp Chef Explorer Stove, all of the stoves that we reviewed are tabletop.
Compared to tabletop stoves, freestanding stoves can cook a larger quantity of food. As the name suggests, freestanding stoves are large appliances that stand on their own legs. They are big, powerful, and capable of cooking a lot of food very quickly.
While their large size makes freestanding stoves more capable of cooking, it also makes them difficult to travel with. A freestanding stove takes up a lot of room in a vehicle, and is almost impossible to carry while hiking or navigating through a camping trail.
Freestanding stoves are ideal for people who only intend to set up camp in one spot during the trip. They are also ideal for camping with a group of people. However, it’s important to make sure that the freestanding stove can fit inside your vehicle, and doesn’t take up too much room when you are packing for your camping trip.
Stove and Grill Combos
If you are a family or group who enjoys car camping, you may also want to consider a stove and grill combo. While they aren’t quite what most people consider a “camping stove,” they are definitely worth mentioning. Stove/grill combinations bring together the best of both worlds in outdoor cooking — in a moderately portable package. The combo gives you the ability to simultaneously cook and grill at the campsite for the whole family.
While they are portable, they are still a bit bulky, so they are not suitable for backpackers or hikers. However, we do highly recommend considering a stove grill combo for car camping. They are also great for tailgating or to bring over a friend’s house.
Similarly, any car campers who love to eat should also consider an RV grill. While they are a bit larger in size, they have real cooking power and capacity.
Camping Stoves FAQs
What type of gas does a camping stove use?
Generally, there are two types of gas that are used in portable stoves: propane and butane. Some camping stoves can only use propane and some stoves can only use butane. Many newer camping stove models can use either propane or butane. Check the product description or documentation for your specific stove to find out what type of gas the manufacturer recommends.
How much gas does a camping stove need?
The amount of propane or butane that your camping stove needs depends on the size of the stove, the size of the burner, and how long you use it for. Furthermore, the fuel gauges on the gas tanks may be not necessarily be accurate, because they only measure temperature and pressure. While preparing for your trip, it’s important to look up the fuel consumption for your specific camping stove model so that you can bring the proper amount of propane or butane with you.
What can you put a table top stove on top of?
To operate safely and efficiently, camping stoves must be placed on a flat service. This can be tricky while camping, because tables are obviously not always available. A lot of campers tend to improvise by finding or creating their own flat surface at the campsite.
We recommend purchasing a small, adjustable camping table where you can adjust each leg to for stability despite the terrain. This will guarantee that you have a flat surface to operate your camping stove on, regardless of your location or circumstances. Most small camping tables are foldable and easy to transport or carry. They are a great investment.
How do you clean a camping stove?
Before you start cleaning your camping stove, the first thing that you should always do is turn off the stove, turn off any propane or fuel source, and disconnect all the lines leading to the propane tank.
Just like household stoves, most camping stove messes can be quickly cleaned up with a rag, a bit of dish soap, and some warm water. In the event of a boil-over, unscrew and remove the burner. Clean the inside of the stove with water and dish soap, and then rinse it off with water. Let the stove air dry.
That’s it, we have taught you everything we know about camping stoves. The student has become the master. Your stomach and your camping group will thank you for it. All you need is your new portable stove, a good camping cookware set, and a few delicious backpacking recipes, and you will be all set! Then it’s time to head out to the campsite and get cookin’! Have fun out there!
What did you think of our top portable camping stove picks? Did we miss an awesome stove that you think we should have included in our list? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.