Which Camping Stove?

How to choose a camping stove.

Backpacking stoves
Stoves for backpacking need to be lightweight and compact, and make the most of the space they do take up in your pack. If it’s just you that you need to feed, then consider either an all-in-one stove like a Jetboil or Primus ETA Solo, which are very efficient on a small gas canister and work as cup, pan, bowl and stove. Or consider a separate lightweight stove, like the SOTO OD-1R which has a built-in lighter, fold-out arms and weighs less than a dream. You can couple either system with a range of gas canister sizes, but the SOTO will need a separate bowl/cup for preparing food.  Gas stoves are less efficient in cold weather and at altitude.

An alternative would be a small solid-fuel stove (hexi blocks). These are less dangerous than a gas stove, and lightweight, but are slower to cook on and harder to put out.

Expedition/camping liquid-fuel stoves (aka Mountain stoves)
These require a bottle of liquid fuel, which you then pressurise and feed down a tube to the burner. In our experience they’re much harder to use than gas stoves, but consume little fuel and burn ferociously. Some will be “multi-fuel” stoves which burn any liquid fuel – an excellent point if you’ll be needing to source fuel in remote locations. A big advantage of a liquid-fuel stove is that it will burn well in wind and rain, when a gas stove could blow out. They burn HOT – we melted the teflon off a Trangia pan recently. It did not add to the flavour of our sausages.

Small camping stove systems
All-included systems from Trangia and other brands include a small Meths burning pot and a system to collect the heat and feed it up through pans. These are bespoke systems and are great for cooking one pot at a time. We’ve used a trangia to feed six people casserole with no problem.

Gas cookers or Gas stoves
These have full-size hob rings with either one, two or up-to four burners and are suitable for car-camping where weight isn’t an issue. Smaller versions use aerosol-style gas canisters, and larger ones can be compatible with those larger blue gas canisters you can purchase at petrol stations and DIY centres. These stoves are suitable for families and group camping where you’ll need multiple pans at the same time. Most come with some sort of wind-break, which is very useful. They’re not very efficient, compared with smaller stoves. We usually take one of these stoves away with us if we’re feeling civilised.

Safety note: Don’t use camping stoves in tents; you’ll die horrible and nasty deaths from fire or fumes. Only ever use stoves in an open porch or outside, or if your tent is huge and very well ventilated.