The Best Camping Stoves of 2022 - Picks from Bob Vila

2022-09-23 23:48:00 By : Ms. LEO LI

By Chase Brush | Updated Sep 23, 2022 1:11 PM and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Unless you’re prepared to cook your meals over an open fire, a good camping stove is one of the most essential pieces of camping gear to bring on your outdoor adventures. These devices, which run on various kinds of fuel, feature compact, portable designs, making it easy to boil water, fry eggs, or even whip up a gourmet meal—all far from the comfort of home.

Today’s camping stoves come in many sizes and designs, and the right one depends largely on personal needs. Standard stoves with two and three burners work well for casual car camping, while lightweight single-burner camp stoves are ideal for backpacking. Most of them run on propane, but some may use butane or alternative fuel options. Wherever your next outing takes you, find the best camping stove for your needs in the roundup below.

Like a quality tent heater or other essential camping gadgets, a good stove can take much of the discomfort out of any wilderness outing. Performance, portability, and fuel type are all important factors to consider when searching for the best stove for camping.

Whether it’s for an adventure deep into the backcountry or just to a local campground, a camping stove should be compact enough to take along without much hassle. In general, there are three types of stove designs: tabletop, freestanding, and backpacking.

For car camping trips, where weight is less of an issue, a tabletop or freestanding stove is a good choice. The former, which can easily be set up on a picnic table or other flat surface, often incorporates built-in covers and windscreens to protect the burners from the elements. Freestanding camper stoves, on the other hand, feature collapsible legs that can be set up on uneven surfaces and may accept larger fuel canisters for group cookouts.

Alternatively, for backpacking trips in which every ounce counts, opt for an ultralight stove. The best backpacking stoves weigh less than a pound or 2 and consist of only the essential parts—usually a single burner and fuel canister.

In general, the size of a stove corresponds with its performance or power; that is, the bigger the stove, the more powerful it is likely to be. Camping stove power is usually measured in British thermal units (BTUs), in which 1 BTU is equivalent to the energy released by a burning match.

Most tabletop stoves feature two burners and can boast anywhere between 10,000 and 25,000 BTUs, making them suitable for small campouts. Freestanding stoves may offer more burners or burners with higher BTU output, allowing them to feed even more people.

Most backpacking stoves consist of just one burner that can produce around 10,000 BTUs. Some backpacking stove manufacturers measure performance in terms of the time it takes to boil a cup of water, which can range from 1 to several minutes.

Camping stoves also vary in terms of fuel type and capacity. The most commonly used fuel type is propane, a gas stored at high pressure in durable steel canisters of varying sizes. Butane, another type of gas, is also common. It can be stored at lower pressure in lighter, easier-to-carry aluminum canisters. However, propane has a lower flash point and works at higher altitudes than butane, making it a better option for all-season camping.

Unlike a gas stove for camping, some camping stoves may run off alternative fuel types, such as alcohol or wood. These can be even lighter than canister fuel—wood, for example, can be gathered freely on-site—but they also sacrifice heat output and control.

Beyond size and power, several additional features help maximize a stove’s performance. Many tabletop stoves come with built-in covers that can protect the stove when it’s not in use. When opened, this cover—along with collapsible screens on either side of the stove—help deflect wind from the burners, allowing the flames to maintain an even temperature while cooking.

To make cleanup easier, some stoves feature removable grates and drip trays that can be washed separately. The best stoves also come with cases to carry them from the car to the campsite and back again.

For campers who want to do more than boil water and grill hot dogs, a stove with adequate simmer control is essential. This type of control helps the stove maintain an even temperature at low settings, which is important for foods that require a bit of finesse, such as soups or pancakes. For added convenience, consider a stove with matchless—also known as “piezoelectric”—ignition, which makes firing up the stove a snap.

The roundup below balances fuel type, size, performance, and function across a variety of the best camping stoves. Whether it’s for a weekend trip with family or a multiday backpacking excursion, a stove on this list may fit the bill.

Coleman’s iconic green stove, which has been around for generations, appeals to first-time and veteran campers alike thanks to its affordable price and rugged design. What this model lacks in frills—there’s no matchless ignition, for example—it makes up for in efficiency and dependability.

The two burners can output up to 20,000 BTUs, helping boil water fast, but they’re also capable of maintaining a low, even simmer, letting outdoor cooks fry eggs and pancakes without burning them. And because of the stove’s simple design, users don’t have to worry about breaking any frivolous parts. Thanks to its design and durable aluminum-steel construction, this stove should last through years of use.

Get the Coleman Classic camping stove at Target.

While camping can require a bit of an investment, quality gear doesn’t have to break the bank. This butane stove from Gas One is an efficient, portable way to cook meals for roughly the same price as it is to get into a campground. This stove, which has one burner capable of outputting 9,000 BTUs, is strong enough to reliably feed two or even three hungry campers. It’s compact enough to transport easily.

The GS-3000 camp stove runs on 8-ounce butane canisters, so it’s not ideal for especially cold weather or camping at high altitudes. However, this means that even beyond the compact size of the stove itself, this model is much lighter and more portable than many others. Plus, despite its low price, this stove offers a few convenience features, including push-button ignition and an automatic safety shut-off system.

Get the Gas One camping stove on Amazon.

In heat output, most two-burner stoves tap out at around 20,000 BTUs. And while that may be enough to whip up some scrambled eggs or boil water for morning coffee, campers looking to prepare truly gourmet meals on the trail may need a bit more heat. That’s where the Camp Chef Everest 2x Camping Stove comes in. With 20,000 BTUs per burner—that’s 40,000 BTUs total—the Everest is one of the most powerful camping tabletop stoves available, capable of searing steaks and simmering stews at the same time.

Beyond heat output, the Everest also boasts piezoelectric ignition, strong cover latches, and all-around rugged construction. The foldable cover works seamlessly with two sizable windscreens, helping to shield meals from inclement weather. Of course, more powerful stoves also require more fuel, so this one comes with a regulator adapter for attaching 1-pound propane canisters.

Get the Camp Chef Everest camping stove at Amazon, Lowe’s, or Dick’s Sporting Goods.

For those who enjoy cooking for a larger group or simply prefer the extra space and flexibility of three burners, the Stansport Outfitter stove may satisfy. This stove offers more than 200 square inches of cooking space, enough to hold two large skillets and a small pot of coffee comfortably. In total, the stove boasts 60,000 BTUs—25,000 on the left and right burners and 10,000 for the middle one—which make it a powerhouse even without the third burner.

Moreover, the Stansport Outfitter features matchless ignition, durable windscreens, and a high-pressure regulator for use at higher altitudes. The stove is designed to be carried vertically rather than horizontally, which can be a bit awkward, but that may be a small price to pay for all the power it packs.

Get the Stansport camping stove on Amazon or at Target.

Cooking for a large crowd requires more power and space than a standard tabletop stove can provide. Those who frequently host large gatherings may want to invest in a freestanding stove like the Camp Chef Tahoe. With a 608-square-inch cooking surface and three 30,000-BTU burners, this hefty piece of equipment offers almost twice the space and heat of most standard camping stoves, making it perfect for family reunions, scout troops, and other large gatherings.

The Tahoe stove features a 3-foot hose and a regulator to attach it to a full-size propane tank if desired. Freestanding legs, which elevate the cooking surface to 30 inches, can handle uneven terrain, but they don’t adjust. However, they can detach for tabletop use.

Get the Camp Chef Tahoe camping stove on Amazon or at Target.

No campout is complete without some grilled burgers or veggies, but cooking them correctly requires a grill, not a stove. Luckily, this propane stove from Coleman combines the best of both worlds, letting outdoor cooks simmer soup while searing patties or percolate coffee while flipping flapjacks. The two surfaces share 20,000 BTUs of cooking power, which, while not outstanding, should be enough to handle more than one cooking task at a time.

This stove also includes removable grates and a grease tray that make cleanup a breeze. Another stand-out feature is the stove’s two windscreens, one of which folds flat so users can lay cookware on top.

Get the Coleman Camp camping stove on Amazon.

Multiday treks into the backcountry require a whole separate set of calculations when shopping for the right stove. Compared to traditional tabletop models, backpacking stoves are designed to be simpler, smaller, and lighter in weight. Few stoves fit these criteria as well as the MSR PocketRocket 2 Stove, a cult favorite among backpacking enthusiasts.

Despite its size, this mini camping stove is powerful and can emit more than 8,000 BTUs, enough to boil 1 liter of water in less than 4 minutes. A large wire knob allows for easy flame adjustment, and a serrated cooking surface prevents pots and pans from sliding off. Like most backpacking stoves, the PocketRocket 2 runs on isobutane-propane, a special mix of fuel that can be carried in lighter-weight canisters that can’t accommodate standard propane. Given its size and power limitations, it’s not made for intensive cooking, but it serves its purpose for those who travel light.

Get the MSR camping stove at Amazon, REI, or MSR.

While most tabletop stoves are designed with space efficiency in mind, sometimes a two- or three-burner stove is overkill. When that’s the case, a good alternative is a single-burner stove like the Eureka! SPRK+, which boasts a compact, lightweight design that is as easy to set up as it is to use. It’s perfect for cramped RVs, quick overnighters, or any other situation where space is at a premium.

An upgraded version of the Eureka! SPRK, the SPRK+ features better wind protection, temperature control, and stability than the original. At 11,500 BTUs, it also has a slightly higher heat output, which is more than enough to put together a single-pan meal. Like the original, the SPRK+ also runs on butane, which is key to its weight-saving design, but it also means it’s less suited to camping in colder climates.

Get the Eureka! camping stove on Amazon or at REI.

Cooking over an open fire is one of camping’s greatest pastimes, but it’s not always the most convenient option. Enter the Solo Stove, which helps take the pain out of the process by making it easy to start a contained, smokeless fire hot enough for cooking. In recent years, the stove has become a fan favorite, prized by campers looking for a minimalist alternative to canister fuel options.

The power of Solo Stove’s Campfire lies in the simplicity of its design. The cylindrical steel body consists of a double-wall chamber and ventilation holes that channel cool air down to the base then force hot air upward toward the cooking ring. This model may lack the temperature controls of a canister fuel stove, but it helps keep the fire hot enough to cook almost any meal. And because the stove runs on wood, which can be gathered freely at a campsite, users don’t have to worry about lugging heavy fuel canisters on the trail.

Get the Solo Stove camping stove at Amazon, Solo Stove, or REI.

For those looking for a dependable camping stove that should last a lifetime, we recommend the reliable and reasonably priced Coleman Classic camping stove. Those on a budget or who only need one burner may want to check out the Gas One camping stove. While it may be cheap, this camping stove top choice doesn’t skimp on features, boasting a lightweight design, a convenient push-button ignition, and an auto shut-off system.

To create this list, we spent hours researching the best camping stoves on the market. We looked at both consumer and expert reviews in an effort to determine the most respected brands and models based on both popularity and ratings.

Overall, we considered more than a dozen products across several different categories, from tabletop to backpacking stoves. Finally, we narrowed this list down to our selections by focusing on features like durability, performance, and ease of use. We also noted where each product excelled or came up short. In addition, we have extensive hands-on experience with two of the stoves that made the cut—the Coleman Classic camping stove and the MSR camping stove—which made recommending them easier.

Most camping stoves are designed to withstand the rigors of outdoor life, but users can take steps to ensure they last as long as possible. In addition to wiping down the stove after every outing, users may want to disassemble it periodically for a more thorough cleaning. Some stoves incorporate removable grease trays and grates that make this process easier. Additionally, if the stove doesn’t come with its own carrying or storage case, you may want to purchase one.

It’s also important to consider how to manage a stove’s fuel supply. Though made of recyclable aluminum, butane canisters are not designed to be refilled, which means they must be thrown out after each use. In contrast, propane canisters can be refilled numerous times, which can save money and also make them a more environmentally friendly option. Some outdoor stores can refill or recycle empty fuel canisters. To maintain your camping stove responsibly, follow these tips:

Still wondering how to choose a camping stove? Keep reading for some frequently asked questions about these devices, from fuel to cooking methods.

Which type of camping stove is best depends entirely on personal needs and purposes. When cooking for large groups, a freestanding stove like the Camp Chef Tahoe camping stove can be useful. For backpacking trips, a packable, ultralight stove like the MSR camping stove is helpful. Based on dependability, price, and performance, we recommend a standard tabletop stove like the Coleman Classic camping stove for most campers.

Backpacking stoves are a type of camping stove that is designed specifically for backpacking, which means they’re more compact, weigh less, and usually break down into separate components, making them easier to pack and carry. Because of their reduced size, most backpacking stoves are less powerful than full-size camping models, but they should still be able to boil water quickly and allow for basic cooking.

Butane and propane are both types of liquified petroleum gas, though they have different properties. The most important difference is their boiling point: Propane will continue to vaporize down to -44 degrees Fahrenheit, while butane stops at around 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Butane liquifies more easily, allowing it to be stored in lighter-weight containers at lower pressure, while propane must be stored at higher pressure in thicker steel tanks.

Campsite cookies can be scrumptious, but to make them on a camping stove, you have to get a little creative. Specifically, you’ll need cookware designed for baking on an open flame—think a cast iron pan with a lid or a Dutch oven.

Using your stove inside a tent is possible but probably not a good idea. Unless the structure is extremely well ventilated, running a stove inside poses a fire hazard and can even lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

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