Camping is without a doubt one of the most exciting and fun pastime activities, and quality takes priority for any camper out there who, like me, pays maximum attention to their standards of camping. Whether you are camping in your back yard or on a scenic mountainside, you are bound to have a wonderful time. Whether you are camping alone, with your partner, or with your friends and family, it’s always a lot of fun.
Here is a list of the Best Camping Stove
The best thing about it is that it takes you out of your comfort zone and allows you to experience the outdoors in a very unique way. Now that we have established that camping rocks, it is important for you to understand that the fun isn’t all based on where you are and who you're with. The equipment you bring along has a huge influence in terms of how much fun you will have on your camping trip.
Think of it this way; you have the perfect camping spot on a forest clearing with your family, but you don’t have a camp light, a tent, or even a stove. It doesn’t take a genius to tell that you that your fun level will definitely be hindered. This is why my group and I invested a lot of our time, skills, and resources in presenting to you a collection of the best camping stovesout there.
This time around, we will be taking you through not only the reasons why you need a camping stove, but also the best camping stove to suit your individual needs. Deeper through this article you will be able to understand the mechanism of finding and comparing the available camping stoves in order for you to find your best fit.
To begin with, we evaluated the new brands in the market that have popped up a little more recently. Later on, we checked on the older brands to see if they’ve ramped up their features to compete with the modern brands. By the end, you will be a camping stove guru so you can strike it off your camping equipment list.
Table of Contents
- Here is a list of the Best Camping Stove
- Our Pick
- First Alternative
- A Solid Fuel Option
- A Two-Plate Gas Fuel Stove Option
- Why Buy Our Selections?
- Why Many Opt For Camping Stoves and Not Backpacking Stoves
- Our Pick
- Equally Good Alternatives
- A Solid Fuel Option
- A Two-Plate Gas Fuel Stove Option
- BTUs and Power
- Gas Stove vs. Electric Stove BTU for Camping
- Camping Stove Grill Grates vs Grill Plates and Griddles
- Number of Burners for Camping: What Works Best?
- Matching Your Camping Needs with the Proper Stove
- General Factors to Consider When Choosing a Camping Stove
- Usage and Maintenance Tips to Ensure Longevity
- Bottom Line
- Related Posts
Coleman 2000010642 Single-Burner Propane Stove
Rating: 4.7 / 5.0
After our rigorous testing period, we were finally able to draw a verdict on this awesome stove. This Coleman was made in the USA, which is definitely a testament to its reliability compared to other stoves on the market.
There are several features that captured our attention even before we got down to the testing process, and I can’t wait to tell you about them.
Quality is always a foremost priority, but there are other features to consider. A portable stove is light and relatively small, making it easy to work with in several conditions. However, don’t be misled by folding stoves. Sometimes the folding mechanism actually increases the weight of the stove, making it less portable.In addition, the stove may be light but too bulky to maneuver. Useless! Fear not, though, we’ve found the perfect balance of weight and size to comfortably suit your camping needs.
Additionally, the manufacturers of this product also incorporated dissembling features so that the burner and the base can be separated from the propane bottle,making it even easier to carry around.
Food is definitely one of the things you don’t want to camp without. This particular stove features a 10,000 BTU burner for excellent performance. This means you can use your stove non-stop throughout your camping trip without worry.
With each propane cylinder, which is sold separately, this stove will last you for two and a half hours at a maximally high flame, which is comparable to that of other stoves currently available, including those with a higher price tag.
This stove’s burner is 8 inches in diameter, allowing you to use a variety of pots and pans without the limiting size of other stoves.
Though this stove doesn’t have the biggest burner available, its high level of portability in terms of weight, size, and shape make the tiny size difference irrelevant. Other stoves with similar or larger burners will generally not be as portable as this one.
The adjusting knob for this burner gives you the ability to accurately control the temperature of your stove. However, it’s important that we let you know that we did experienced imperfections with some of the knobs in stoves we tested.
You will definitely want your food to be cooked properly, so being to control the temperature of your stove is key. Knobs that have no stability will not be accurate while you are adjusting your temperatures. It’s important to carefully research and test the accuracy of burners and knobs before you commit to a camping stove. However, this is one of the brands we had no issue with concerning temperature control knobs.
Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stoves with Piezo Ignition (Orange)
Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
We understand that there may be reasons you don’t choose to purchase our incredible first pick. The item may run out of stock before you can get your hands on one, or perhaps one or more of its features and attributes, such as price, size, or design, don’t fit your individual needs for a camping stove. To help suit the needs of everyone, we are presenting to you the Etekcity Ultralight camping stove and several more alternatives!
This Etekcity piece is equally outstanding when compared to our first pick, and it’s sure to offer you security and stability during use and transportation.
Just like our pick, this alternative is easy to carry around;it’s light, small and collapsible. The stove can be disassembled into separate parts and packed into a carrying case included with the purchase, giving you a stove that’s incredibly easy to move and store
As far as performance is concerned, this product scored equally great. It has a measure of 6.666 BTUs. While this isn’t the highest measure available, the heat is completely satisfactory. Unless you’re planning specific activities requiring a more extreme stove, this one will suit you just fine.
After testing, we found the performance to be strong enough to comfortably endure through a long camping trip.
One of the major interests we had with this stove’s features is the super-strong Piezo ignition system. The specialized system makes it much easier to ignite the stove and enjoy a consistently stable flame throughout the preparation of your meal.
This burner is around seven inches in diameter, which may be smaller than other burners, but is a perfectly ample size for most pots and pans.Additionally, most pots and pans specifically designed for camping will be the same size as or smaller than this stove, so there’s not much to worry about.
There is also a valve that allows you to control your temperatures. I particularly loved the way this valve functions, because unlike in other products, this valve was very stable and consistent in making adjustments whether from high to low or vice versa. This level of control makes for a very satisfying experience.
A Solid Fuel Option
Cuisinart CCG-190RB Portable Charcoal Grill, 14-Inch, Red
Rating: 3.7 / 5.0
As we mingled with campers across the globe, we realized that some have different tastes concerning the type of fuel they use, and some are extremely devoted. For this reason, we decided to present a solid-fuel option for those of you that are interested. Further along in this article, you will find a review and comparison of different types of fuels and the outcome of using them.
This Cuisinart piece is great in terms of the performance, durability, and portability. The large diameter of its upper grill allows you to prepare a ton of food, and probably offers more space than any of the propane pieces. If you frequently camp with your family or in large groups, this may be the camping stove for you.
As for portability, the product is light and a breeze to carry. However, the size and shape may not be as friendly as that of the propane stoves, but it's still manageable in all situations.
While talking about a solid fuel option, we have to highly regard durability, as its task is quite more demanding. Let’s begin with the fire box.You’ll realize that it has an enamel coating, making it strong and durable and ready for the harsh grilling period. They have also used the durable enamel material as a cover.
With wood systems like this one, temperature control is all based on the amount of air that is in circulation. Therefore, if you want to minimize the heat, you minimize the amount of oxygen, and if you want to maximize, you again maximize the amount of oxygen. This is the concept behind having the dual venting system featured in this piece. Through it, you are capable of precisely controlling the temperatures and the grilling speed.
More of this product’s appealing features will be discussed in depth later. If we were to reach a verdict based only on the information presented so far, this solid-fuel stove is a great piece, especially to anyone who is particular about quality camping with quality tools.
A Two-Plate Gas Fuel Stove Option
Camp Chef Mountain Series 2 Burner/High Pressure Stove
Rating: 4.4 / 5.0
You may have noticed that all of our picks thus far have been one-plate stoves, and this is for reasons we will explain further along in the article. In case you’re looking for something a little different, we’ve decided to present to you another kind of stove. This Chef Mountain Series, apart from having two plates and burners, has plenty of other great features.
There are a lot of great features that come along with this awesome piece, starting with the burners. To begin with, this stove features two burners that are well-protected from wind by the lid and side shields. This offers you continuous, smooth, flawless burning.
In addition, the stove features separate burner controls, allowing you to boil on one end and warm on the other end simultaneously.
As if having two burners was not enough, the manufacturers went ahead and boosted your cooking speed more than ten times as compared to other stoves by setting the BTUs of this stove at 20,000. Here’s some news for you: it’s not 20 for the average BTUs, but for each of the burners. This piece is for those who will gamble with neither quality nor quantity in terms of performance.
This piece may not be possible to disassemble for easy transportation, but it’s relatively light and has a handle to make carrying easier. One advantage of a stove that can’t be broken down is you’ll never have to spend time separating and assembling the pieces every time you want to relocate. We did long distances and its portability surprised even me.
Why Buy Our Selections?
As mentioned before, we used a very thorough testing process to definitively identify the best camping stove currently available.I have been in this testing and selection reviews industry for over three years now, and I’ve been working hand in hand with other experienced reviewers in the industry in order to work out critical issues I’ll need to consider when searching the entire market for the best products.
After one year, I realized perfection in this field was too demanding for me to work out alone. This is how I ended up with a competent group, making it easier to find, examine, and test all the brands in the market. Our testing activity included conducting interviews with the most prolific reviewers in the market along with the individuals that use these products most frequently. We did this in order to acquire deep details of products, their manufacturers, and the trend in performance for the last several years.
We have worked with everything from camping tents and floor protectors to camp lighting and inflatable beds. Each and every guideline, tip, and camping hack offered in this article and all of our other articles is from an experienced and researched point of view. This is to ensure that you have all the information that you need to make an informed decision when preparing to buy your camping equipment.
Why Many Opt For Camping Stoves and Not Backpacking Stoves
There is a thin line between the camping and backpacking stoves we currently have in the industry. Our research indicated that even though backpacking stoves are more efficient in terms of carriage and usage, many campers still prefer the camping stoves.
Let’s begin by distinguishing the two types of stoves. In this case, the stoves we are referring to as the backpacking stoves are those that mostly use propane, butane and other similar fuel bottles. These are collapsible, making them especially easy to pack and carry.
These stoves have flaws as well, but they’re definitely not deal breakers. If you engage in a deeper research like we did, you’ll realize that to achieve high levels of efficiency, these backpacking stoves have compromised some important features, such as durability.
For a product of its caliber to be suitably durable, a heavy material is needed for its construction. We want a product that’s light and easy to carry, and, unfortunately, we have no choice but to compromise the quality of the material to make it sufficiently light. This is how most of these stoves end up made of aluminum alloy instead of heavier metals.
In addition, the way they are designed to be dissembled for carriage with the fuel bottle aside has the potential to be highly dangerous. Accidental explosions can occur when used carelessly, endangering the lives of you and your group. From this point, we learned that not all countries will support the transportation of this type of stove while heading to a camping site. This may happen in strict countries which may not at all allow any carriage of explosives. Therefore, it’s important to do your homework on where you will be camping before purchasing your camping stove.
Other Camping Stoves
It is important to note that backpacking stoves are camping stoves, too. However, you will find differences when comparing these to other currently available camping stoves.
The rest of the camping stoves have features that do not appear in the backpacking stoves, such as use of plates along with the burners, heavy material in construction for the sake of durability, and incorporation of more than one burner.
In other areas, you will hear some referring to these plates as “lids” that are found on the burner, covering it for protection. If you choose wisely, you’ll get one that has side shields for the same purpose. These two features help in making your cooking efficient and consistent by protecting the burner from variables such as wind and water.
Let’s talk about the number;you have to make a choice regarding the number of burners you need. Typically, your choices are either one burner or two, and we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each a little later on.
The durability of these stoves is usually at 5 stars. Many of these stoves are made of steel, which may be heavy, but it’s definitely more durable than camping stoves made of lighter materials.
On the other hand, this type of stoves also has its demerits. To begin with, they are not easy to carry for those campers that practice technical camping. If you’ll be walking long distances with your stove, this type will highly inconvenience you.Firstly, the durable but heavy material will quickly wear you out. Secondly, you cannot disassemble the stove into parts like backpacking stoves.
The size may cause problems as well.This happens especially where the stove has more than one burner, which obviously increases the size and makes it much larger than the backpacking stoves.
After rigorously studying the differences between the two types, we determined that you will need to determine which features will be priorities for you.
This is the criteria that led us to selecting a backpacking stove as our top pick. Based on research and personal experience, I will testify that a small, easy-to-carry stove is what you’ll want, and these are the most important features to look for. And if you’re looking for the smallest, lightest stove you can find, a collapsible backpacking stove is an excellent choice.
Many shoppers are blinded by the power and the number of burners, so they end up getting a rather large stove. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if you do rather light camping. If you have your car with you, or you are in a camp for professional activities, we actually selected a product just for you. Otherwise, I highly recommend purchasing butane and propane bottle stoves. The small risk of fire isn’t a deal breaker since the bottles are well sealed to prevent any extended risk. As long as you’re careful, you have nothing to worry about.
Coleman 2000010642 Single-Burner Propane Stove
After scouring the market for stoves with incredible features to elevate your camping experience, we came across an awesome piece that you won’t want to camp without. By the time I’m done presenting its features, you won’t want to get any other stove.
With any camping stove, you need an ample burner to accommodate a range of sizes of your cookware. As for this product, you have up to 8 inches allowance, which is more than satisfactory.
The burner has wind baffles that block air from blowing against the flame while you’re cooking. If you’ve ever had problems with improperly cooked food due to exposure to air, here’s the solution.
On top of that, there is a pot support system that distributes the heat all around your pot or pan to make sure that your meal is flawlessly prepared. As someone who personally saw the difference in operation of these systems across the products we had for testing, I can truthfully say that this one stood out.
Slightly below the burner, there is a knob that helps to regulate the temperature, giving you the ability to control your cooking speed and power consumption. I’m going to share a powerful secret with you:these knobs are not all accurate in terms of performance. Some are rather unstable in terms of decreasing or increasing the temperatures. It may sound like a petty issue, but it gets really annoying. Avoid the issue entirely by purchasing this awesome piece.
The BTUs of your stove determine the power with which you cook, and consequently, the speed. This stove might have only one burner, but trust me when I say it has plenty of power. The single burner adds up to 10,000 BTUs.
If you make a clear comparison of this figure to that of other products in the market, you will realize that it’s doing way better than products in higher price ranges.
Another feature concerning the performance and the power of this stove is its perfect flow regulator, which allows the burner to perform consistently regardless of the weather, altitude, and amount of fuel remaining in your bottle. Remember these bottles are bought separately, which means this feature actually saves on money.
Earlier in this article, we discussed a lot about the portability of a camping stove and its importance, as well as level of portability of backpacking stoves. As far as this product is concerned, it’s exactly what you want: small and easy to carry.
We said the portability is enhanced by reduced weight and size. This stove is not an exception; it is light and small enough to carry all throughout your camping trip. In addition to this, the stove can be disassembled into separate parts to make it even smaller and lighter, making for super convenient carriage.
This stove also has a nice, stable base. This is important if you want to avoid a cooking nightmare in which you turn around for just a moment, only to look back at your pot and realize your stove and food are on the ground.
In addition, this product is incredibly pocket-friendly and even includes a limited manufacturer’s warranty.
This is simply the most ideal product for serious campers out there.
Equally Good Alternatives
Etekcity Ultralight Portable Outdoor Backpacking Camping Stoves with Piezo Ignition (Orange)
There may be a reason you’re not completely sold on our top selection, so we’ve provided several alternatives. To begin with, we identified this great Etekcity piece.
The burner of this stove is about the same size as our pick, and allows you to accommodate large pots of up to 7 inches. Within the burner, you’ll find a spark ignition system which allows you to quickly ignite your stove without hustling around for match boxes.
The burner also features a flame control valve which is just as accurate as that of our pick. This valve allows you to smoothly adjust your flame from the high boiling point all the way to a low simmering flame. A consistent, controllable flame is key to proper cooking, and this stove delivers.
The stove is of average power, meaning it will sustain you throughout the average camping trip. Its BTUs are at 6,666,which is definitely sufficient and actually a little higher than many similarly priced stoves. Just as a reminder, we had the power of the stoves we select as one of our top priorities,so you can be assured that this stove is satisfactory even though it’s not the strongest.
To be honest with you, this piece is quite heavy, but still rather portable. It’s actually about the same weight as our pick. However, it is not the same size as our pick; it is smaller. This means it has added weight somewhere, but it’s still relatively easy and convenient to carry around, just like our pick.
We’ll discuss the reason for this added weight later on. For now, focus on the high level of portability. The burner and base can even be separated from the gas container, making the system even smaller and more convenient to carry. You are also capable of separating the burner and the base from the gas bottle, which makes it even smaller and easier to carry.
In addition, this stove comes along with a carrying case to help ease your transportation even further.
Other Great Features
There are several other awesome features, like the level of durability. We mentioned that this piece is heavier than we expected;this is because the material used is a mixture of aluminum alloy and steel. The purpose of steel, just like in the rest of the products, is to boost the durability of the product. They have, however, mixed it with aluminum to regulate the weight making it affordable.
Another great thing about this product is the fact that it leaves no soot behind after burning, which is important to those who like stoves that burn clean without emitting any noticeable smell.
This product also includes a 1 year warranty.
Etekcity Ultralight Portable Camping Stoves Video Review
Comparison to Our Pick
It goes without saying that you will never find a perfectly created and designed stove in any corner of the market. There will always be flaws here and there whenever you compare the features to your interests. However, it is a good thing that not all stoves will come along with similar features. Whatever will be a miss in one product will appear in the other product. This is how the market has been balanced by manufacturers across the globe.
To regulate the fact that you won’t find any perfect product, it is best to take note of the most important features that you cannot bear a without. I call them the “Primary Features.” These are the features that lead us through the acceptance of one stove and the rejection of another. To cut the long story short, there are features that you will find in other products that do not appear in our pick, yet we still maintain it as our pick. This product too is no exception, as it has advantageous secondary features that do not appear in our pick. On the other hand, there are more important things than the secondary features that you will miss out on if you choose this product instead of our pick.
The number one advantage that this product has over our pick is its durability. We described the material used in this stove as a mixture of aluminum alloy and steel. Steel comes along with an extremely high level of durability. Our pick is purely made of steel without any aluminum, meaning it will be slightly heavier than this stove.
Secondly, this stove has a cleaner flame than our pick. By a cleaner flame, I mean its level of soot is way lower than that of the Coleman piece.
One of the reasons we did not select this piece as our pick is due to the figures of its BTUs. Our pick’s burner cooks with 10,000 BTUs while with this Etekcity piece offers only 6,666 BTUs, meaning the power is slightly lower. The amount of power will determine the amount of heat you are able to cook with. The flame’s strength determines the amount of time it’s going to take and whether or not you are capable of boiling water and cooking your food all the way through.This is a primary feature and should not be overlooked at all cost.
The second demerit we came across while comparing this product to our pick is absence of the perfect, regulated flow present in our pick. This feature is meant to consistently provide you with a perfect flow of gas in order to have a strong and stable flame. This makes cooking consistent and predictable regardless of the altitude, weather, or the amount of gas in the bottle. Stoves without this feature can become frustrating as they can cook things rather unpredictably.This stove also lacks wind baffles, which means your flame may be compromised if exposed to harsh wind conditions, which can be irritating unless you cook under shelters. Its burner also accommodates 7 inches while that of our pick accommodates an extra inch on top of this. This extra inch will not only increase the range of pots and pans you can use, but it also increases the stability of the stove whenever you use large pots.
If you pay attention, you’ll understand how we determined which would be our top pick and which would be our alternative. In terms of primary features, it is highly beneficial while our alternative is highly beneficial in terms of our secondary features.
A Solid Fuel Option
Cuisinart CCG-190RB Portable Charcoal Grill, 14-Inch, Red
In case you have a particular taste regarding fuel types, we have brought you this awesome solid fuel option that will spoil you with great-tasting camping dishes and soot-free cooking.
The shape of this stove may not be as friendly as that of the gas-fuel pieces, but its portability is enhanced by the fact that it is light in weight. You can carry it around any campsite without tiring or experiencing issues.
I particularly loved this part of its features. It is far larger than similar pieces and outperforms the butane bottle stoves we’ve presented. The stove has 14-inch diameter, which is more than enough grilling space for your entire family.
This is not like the ordinary solid fuel stoves where temperature control has not been enhanced. With this unique piece, you can control the temperatures of your cooking stove through the dual venting system. The system achieves this by allowing you to manage the charcoal and airflow while cooking.
Through this management system, you can plan on your charcoal usage under the same concept of temperature control.
One of the other great features of this product that we couldn’t find in the market is the level of durability. The fact that its firebox is coated with enamel enhances its durability. Other coatings have also been incorporated for the same purpose of durability, for example, the grill plate, which is coated with chrome material.
A Two-Plate Gas Fuel Stove Option
Camp Chef Mountain Series 2 Burner/High Pressure Stove
Again, regarding the preferences of our readers, we decided to examine a different piece in terms of the number of burners. This camp stove carried home the gold when it came to the dual burner stoves available in the market. Let’s have a look at the appealing features you’ll enjoy if you purchase this awesome piece.
This is the part that sealed the deal. We can affirm that of all other features, the power of a stove is the core quality every smart camper will consider first. Let’s see the details of this stove’s strength.
Firstly, having two burners boosts the power of the stove, as each burner offers its power output in different turns. You can boil on one end while simmering on the other end.
Secondly, with this stove specifically, each burner has 20,000 BTUs, a performance that is more than double that of the propane and butane bottle stoves. With two burners, it means the stove will be more than four times more powerful than other ordinary stoves.
The two burners improve the power of your machine, reduce the time taken in cooking or boiling, and increase the convenience. Slightly above these burners, there is a stainless steel tray where you can conveniently place your cookware and utensils.This stove also has wind baffles and three side wind barriers that prevent your flame from being affected by wind. The matchless ignition also makes it easy to ignite your burner and start your steady flame.
Heat dials also help you to manage the temperature of each burner while cooking, boiling, or simmering, and each burner has its own separate dial. This is how you are able to cook at two different speeds on two different burners.
Camp Chef Mountain Series 2 Burner Stove Video Review
As you can see, the stove is small in size and it’s lightweight to enhance the portability, so need to worry about moving around with this stove.In addition, the manufacturers included carrying handles for extra convenience.
BTUs and Power
What is BTUMeasurement?
The power a stove gives out is measured in units referred to as British Thermal Units (BTUs). In technical terms, one British Thermal Unit is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of pure water by one degree Fahrenheit.
In layman’s language, BTU is simply how much heat energy each burner on your stove gives off at the maximum heat setting. The BTU measurement is an important factor to consider when choosing a stove, whether or not you plan to use it for camping. This is because this one simple measurement will determine everything from what you can cook, how much you can cook, how long it will take you to cook, and even what cooking equipment you will be able to safely use on the stove burner.With so much hanging on the balance, you need to find the stove with the most suitable BTU value for your camping needs. This means that stoves with too much power are out due to their high-maintenance nature and fuel consumption, whereas weak stoves are out because it will take too much time to get all your meals prepared. Something within the 4000 - 6000 BTU range should be perfect for all your camping needs.
Gas Stove vs. Electric Stove BTU for Camping
The gas stove vs. electric stove debate is one that has gone on for a very long time. One way to resolve this dilemma as a camper would be to consider and compare the BTU measurements.
However, this is not easy because electric stove power, unlike gas stove power, is not measured in terms of British Thermal Units, but rather in watts, where one watt is equivalent to approximately 3.41 BTU per hour. So much math, right? To make this long mathematical story short, electric stoves have a much higher heat energy output capacity. Below is a list of pros and cons of gas stoves and electric stoves to help you compare and make the best choice between our two amazing alternatives.
- The burners use actual flames, so they heat up very quickly. The elements also cool quickly allowing you to leave your pots and pans on the stove without having to worry about overcooking your meal.
- The gas fuel used offers clean burning, unlike wood and charcoal cookers.
- Gas stoves are highly portable and you can carry yours anywhere you want without having to worry about finding a place to plug in.
- Gas refills are relatively inexpensive.
- One of the greatest concerns when using a gas stove outdoors is the significant instability of the flames in windy weather. To overcome this, you might have to build a sort of windbreaker shelter when cooking.
- The stove surface is difficult to clean due to the presence of the grates.
- They have a higher energy output which allows you to cook faster. This way, you can get the chore of cooking out of your way quickly and enjoy the rest of your trip.
- The flat-top cooking surface ensures even heat distribution for uniform cooking.
- The surface is easy to clean.
- The absence of flames makes it safer and usable even in wet or windy weather.
- One of the greatest drawbacks when using electric stoves is the fact that its use is restricted to places with electricity. So unless you plan on bringing a generator on your camping trip, you might have a hard time finding a place to use it.
- The use of elements means that the electric stove takes longer to heat up than the gas stove.
Camping Stove Grill Grates vs Grill Plates and Griddles
1. Stove Grill Grates
What Are They?
A stove grill grate is a detachable cast iron mesh that is placed on a stove burner for the purpose of grilling. The grates expose the food to the direct flame for faster and more even cooking. They also give your food the characteristic grill lines. This makes it perfect for solid foods that you need to cook thoroughly, such as meat. With a good grill grate for your stove, you can turn every camping meal into a fun barbecue for everyone to enjoy. So feel free to include burger patties, hotdogs, and ribs on your food shopping list for your trip. To help you make your decision a little easier, here are a few pros and cons of using a grill grate on your stove.
- They are detachable- Having something portable for all your grilling needs while out camping makes your life a whole lot easier. This way, if you are in the mood for a burger or a grilled steak, all you will have to do is pull out your grate, place it on your open-flame stove, and wait. This is a huge advantage compared to a full grill, which is cumbersome and will limit your menu while out in the wild.
- They are available in a large variety of sizes- Grilling grates for your camping stove come in a variety of sizes and cast iron designs. The size you settle on depends on what you are cooking and how many people you are cooking for. Either way, it is nice to have options.
- Can be used on both campfires and gas stoves - Grates are designed to work with open flames. This means that if you invest in one, you will be able to use it on your open fire stove or even over your camp fire. This makes it super convenient as you do not have to invest in another source of fuel such as charcoal for a grill.
- They have insulated handles for safety - This feature allows you to safely handle the grill even when hot. It comes in handy when removing the portable piece from the flames to allow the meat to cook slowly.
- The covers ensure your food is protected while it cooks - More often than not, grill grates for stoves come with a cover piece. This serves two purposes:the first is to protect your meat from dirt and the open air, and the second is to ensure thorough cooking on all sides of the meat.
- You cannot use a grill grate on an electric stove - The open base design of grill grates make them unsuitable for use on electric stoves due to the absence of the open flame. If you use the grate on an electric stove, you will have the meat overcooked on the surface while completely raw inside.
- Cannot be used to grill runny food - Food like eggs, pancakes, soft vegetables and whatever else that can easily fall through the grate gaps is off the menu if you choose to rely solely on a grate.
- You need to find the perfect fit for your stove- With grill grates, the open flame means that having even heat distribution is a bit of an uphill task, so you'll need to find a grate which will fit your stove burners to avoid uneven heat distribution.
- It is difficult to clean - If you place the meat on the grate without first greasing it, you will have a very hard time cleaning the grate after cooking. This is because the food gets stuck on the grates and forms a hard coat when things cool down.
2. Stove Grill Plates or Griddles
What Are They?
Grill plates or griddles for camping stoves are also detachable. They have a flat, open-plate design, unlike grates that feature alternating cast iron and flame gaps with a cover. This makes them perfect for fast cooking of softer foods like eggs and pancakes.
So if you were worried about having to give up your bacon and eggs breakfast while out on your camping trip, your fears will be eliminated by the grill plate. Below are some of the pros and cons of choosing a grill plate for your stove over other grilling options.
- They offer even heat distribution - This is as a result of the full plate design. This makes the griddle perfect if you want to cook light foods that don’t require a lot of heat.
- Can be used to cook runny foods and vegetables - With a griddle, you can use your stove to cook everything from ground beef and veggies to pancakes and eggs due to the flat, solid base.
- Can be used on electric stoves - One reason why this is possible is the fact that grill plates have a closed bottom and this ensures even heat distribution. In addition, the material typically used to make the griddles is compatible with induction cooking surfaces for electric stoves.
- One griddle can accommodate several food items at the same stove - With camping stove grill plates, size is not an issue. The excellent heat distribution allows you to use the griddle on both electric and gas stoves, whether the burners are large or small. This gives you the freedom to invest in a large surface griddle which will accommodate several items at once. So if you are cooking for many people at your camp site, this is probably the best option.
- It is easy to clean - The flat surface makes it super easy to scrub even when food gets stuck.
After all is said and done, both stove grilling grates and griddles have their fair share of pros and cons. To help you make your decision, you first need to consider how many people you will be cooking for. If you have a large party of camping companions, a griddle or a large grate would be your best choice.
If you have a party of one or two, a simple grate should be sufficient. Another thing you need to consider is your priority foods. Do you care more about the burger and steaks or are you more of a breakfast person? If you can’t bear sacrificing either, you are always free to get both. The fact that they are detachable pieces makes packing and carrying both of them around more convenient.
Number of Burners for Camping: What Works Best?
The number of burners on each stove varies with design, brand, and model. When considering the number of burners, you need to factor in the number of people you are cooking for and how many different types of food you will be making every meal. Below are the three main types of stoves in terms of number of burners and their advantages and disadvantages.
- Single burner stoves- A single burner stove has only one cooking space, which severely limits campers who are cooking for a lot of people since you can only prepare one meal at a time. However, for a small camping group, the single burner stove is perfectly sufficient. The enclosed space conserves heat and allows you to save on gas or electricity used to power the stove. It also happens to be very small, making it super easy to pack and carry around.
- Twin burner stoves- Twin burner stoves are great for both large camping groups and small camping groups. For the large groups, you can get two pots or pans with the same food cooking at the same time. For small groups, the twin burner comes in handy when cooking two different types of food. This means that you can have your spaghetti going on one burner while the sauce simmers on another.
- Four burner stoves- This is the largest camping stove there is in terms of number of burners. This makes it the absolute best choice for large camping groups of eight or more people. The high burner count allows you to have several meals cooking at the same time so everyone gets to enjoy mealtime together. The four burners also help to conserve heat energy, especially when all four are used together, as they keep the heat concentrated around the cooking surfaces and grates. One of the main drawbacks, however, is the fact that these burners are significantly larger than the other two and this makes it a little less easy to carry.
With all these pros and cons, it all boils down to what suits your needs best. The four burner stove is cumbersome, but is super convenient when you are cooking for many people.
The single burner stove, on the other hand, is super small and convenient, but only makes sense when your camping party consists of three people or less. The twin burner is the perfect blend of the other two’s pros, making it the best choice in our opinion. So when shopping, just consider what your cooking needs are and it will be a lot easier to determine what kind of stove you want.
Matching Your Camping Needs with the Proper Stove
When shopping for the perfect camping stove, you'll need to consider what your cooking needs are. Below are a few guidelines on which stoves to suitably meet your individual requirements.
Proper Stove for Boiling
While out camping, you will need to do a lot of boiling. Whether it is to purify drinking water or to prepare something like rice or spaghetti, you need a stove that will offer you the right amount of heat and at the right speed and intensity for good results. If boiling is one of your main priorities, some of your best options will be gas stoves and canister stoves. The latter offer you fast boiling and their small convenient size makes them perfect for boiling water.
Stove for Simmering
Unlike boiling, simmering requires slow and consistent heating, making an open flame undesirable. Instead, opt for an electric stove that you can control the temperature a lot more easily with. This way, you can leave it as a set low temperature, allowing your food to simmer nice and slowly for even and thorough cooking.
Stove for Roasting and Barbecuing
Here, open flames are your friend and this makes grilling stoves and gas stoves with detachable grates the best choice. The point is to expose the meat to the flames and these stoves do just that.
Stoves for Deep and Shallow Frying
Just like simmering, when looking for a camping stove for shallow and deep frying, you need something whose temperature is easy to control. Gas stoves work just fine,but electric stoves will allow you more control and precision.
Stoves for Heating Purposes
Believe it or not, camping stoves are not only meant for cooking. You can use your stove as a source of heat on those cold nights out when your campfire just won’t cooperate. All camping stove designs can be used in this way;just stay close to the source of heat and enjoy the toasty goodness.
With so much to consider while shopping for your camping stove, it might seem like a very difficult task. The trick is to identify your needs and go from there.
In this case, your cooking needs should be your starting base allowing you to end up with a product that will make your cooking experience just as fun as the nature exploration. In the event that you have more than one need, find the stove that will help you fulfill them all, or find accessories such as grates and simmer plates that will help you turn ordinary stoves into awesome camping tools.
General Factors to Consider When Choosing a Camping Stove
- Number of people you are cooking for - This is important because it helps you not only decide the size of the camping stove you'll want, but also the brand and cooking capabilities. Your final pick should be a stove that will allow you to cook for everyone on camping trip. If you have a lot of people with you, it is sometimes more convenient to invest in more than one stove for the trip. This way, you can divide the cooking duties to help speed things along. Having multiple stoves for a large camping party also allows you to enjoy having a lot more food as you aren't restricted to the small capacity of a single stove.
- What is on your menu? - This factor will help you settle on the stove type and accessory cooking utensils. If your menu heavily features meaty food, you'll probably want to opt for gas stoves and grilling accessories such as grates and griddles. Gas stoves are also perfect if you plan on having a lot of fried foods, as they allow slow and even cooking, unlike electric stoves that are a bit too fast and powerful. Finally, for things like stews and steamed veggies, an electric stove is a great option for fast cooking. If you plan on having them all, then you best option is to settle for a gas stove and find the right accessories for all the different food types.
- The location of your camping site - This is a very important factor to consider, especially if you are inclined towards electric stoves, because they'll require a power source, and not all campsites offer electricity. So if you are camping in a forest, a mountainside, or in a cave next to a river, a gas stove would be your best option.
- Stove price vs. your budget- Good camping equipment doesn’t come cheap and stoves are no different. To get a stove that will adequately serve its purpose, you will have to part with a few bucks. In order to avoid overspending or ending up with a cheap product, you first need to identify what features matter to you and then do some research on models with those features that are within your price range. So if, for example, you want a gas stove with twin burners, you need to find the brand and model that has these specific features and is within your budget.
- Cooking utensils you have- The utensils and other cooking accessories that you have or that you are planning to buy will influence your choice of camping stove. For the electric stove, you would need to have thick bottom cookery that will distribute the heat and maintain a steady temperature. For electromagnetic cooker tops, you might even have to consider getting induction-compatible pots and pans.
- Transport and storage convenience- When choosing your camping stove, another important factor to consider is how far you'll be traveling while carrying the stove. If you have a vehicle, you really have no limit in terms of the type and size of camping stove that you can settle for. However, if your camping trip involves a lot of hiking and traveling by foot, you need to consider settling for a smaller and more portable stove. The last thing you want is something heavy weighing you down and make your trip harder than it needs to be.
- Stove BTU measurement- As earlier described, the BTU value of a stove simply refers to how much heat energy a stove gives off at its highest temperature setting. The value determines how fast you can cook and how much heat you can get from your stove, which will have a huge bearing on what you can cook, how fast you can cook, and what utensils you need to use on your stove.
- Your fuel preference- Are you particular about the type of fuel you'll be using? If so, this will heavily influence which stove you end up with. The main types of fuel used for camping stoves include wood, charcoal, gas, and paraffin. For a cleaner and more environmentally friendly alternative, you can always go for camping stoves powered by electric energy. The only drawback with such stoves is the fact that you will be limited to camping sites with power sources.
- Your cooking method- Do you want a stove to boil, fry, or roast your meals? This is one of the most important questions that you need to ask yourself when looking for a camping stove. Different stoves are suited for different cooking methods; grilling stoves have grate and griddle holders whereas those for ordinary cooking have ordinary burner tops for you to place your cookery on.
- Stove accessories included- Finally, when shopping for your stove, look for those that come with accessories including covers, carrying bags, and burner grates. These save you a lot of in terms of the extra items that you would otherwise need to purchase separately.
Usage and Maintenance Tips to Ensure Longevity
- Always clean the stove surface after cooking- A clean stove is a happy stove, and a happy stove is one that will last a long time. You need to ensure that you clean the burners and the stove top surfaces after every meal you make. This will prevent buildup of grease and dirt that is not only unsanitary but that will also significantly hinder normal functioning of the stove. While cleaning, you should also target grime that finds its way into the knob and other movable surfaces, which can build up and potentially clog moving parts and prevent them from working properly.
- Do not overload the surface- This applies mainly for flat-top electric camping stoves. Overloading the surface might cause the elements to malfunction, leading to damage and reduced lifespan of your stove. To prevent such damage, make sure to use pots and pans that are compatible with the surface in terms of style and avoid larger items. Also make sure not to overfill the cookery to prevent incidences of spillover that could damage the surface of the stove.
- Don’t use abrasive scouring pads- This maintenance tip mainly applies to maintenance of electric camping stoves, but should also be considered while caring for other types. Using abrasive scouring pads to clean the surfaces can scratch the material, potentially causing damage to the integrity and functionality of the stove. If you encounter a tough stain that just won’t come off, try using things like vinegar or concentrated soap to loosen the grime for easy wiping. If these are not available to you out in the wilderness, a nice trick is to use a bit of soil. It works just like soap by breaking down greasy stains and making them easier to remove.
- Don’t expose the gas stove gas outlet holes to water or oil- Sometimes while you are cooking, especially for many people, you might experience spillage. If the liquids make their way to the gas jets, they cause clogging which prevents the gas from leaving and getting ignited, and this will reduce the overall efficiency of the stove. To prevent this, make sure to wipe the jets with a dry paper towel immediately after the spill occurs. If the debris blocking the jets is solid, you can use a toothpick to clear them.
- Store properly while not in use- Don’t just leave your stove out in the open after enjoying your meal and before you resume exploring. Instead, make sure that you put it in safe storage away from harsh elements, including rain, water, and dirt that could cause damage to your stove. This way, the next time you retrieve it for a meal, you will be working with something clean and ready to go.
- If you are a first time user, read the manual and follow the instructions carefully- Using a stove might be as easy as placing a pan and turning a knob, but every once in a while, you will run into a snag. Maybe the knob doesn’t move as it should, or you need to refill the gas halfway through cooking. In such cases, you will need to consult the user manual to ensure that you do the right thing for your safety and that of your camping stove. As a first time user, you will also need to go through the manual to get a general idea of what to do and what not to do while using your camping stove.
- Use the appropriate utensils for different foods and cooking styles- Don’t use your pan to grill or your griddle to fry. In short, use every utensil for its intended purpose. This might seem like something obvious, but in the spirit of improvisation, it is one of the most commonly made mistakes. What people who do this do not realize is the fact that this can reduce the stove's efficiency and potentially cause damage, because using the wrong utensils means that you don’t get the required heat distribution. It also increases chances of spilling, and that is not good news for your stove.
After all is said and done, all the tips and guideline information above should help you make the right choice when shopping for your camping stove. Use the "Factors to Consider" section to settle on the brand and design you are most interested in.
This will make your life easier especially due to the fact that the market is quite literally flooded with all sorts of brands and models of camping stoves, which can be a little overwhelming. The information on the BTUs should also come in handy in your decision making process as it will help your figure out how much power you need based on your needs.
Finally, the care and maintenance tips should help you take good care of your camping stove to ensure that you'll have it in great condition for many camping trips to come. So whether it is your first time camping or you are an outdoors junkie, the above tips and guidelines for selecting your ideal camping stove will really come in handy.