Camping Stoves – There are several types of camping stoves to choose from, the main considerations being ease of use, portability and fuel type.
Canister camping stoves are the easiest to use of all the stove types. They run on pre-pressurized gas canisters (usually isobutane or butane/propane). You simply attach the stove to the threaded fuel canister, turn the gas knob and light it with a match or, on many models, the push of the piezo igniter button. The canister self-seals when the stove is detached, eliminating the possibility of fuel spills.
Liquid-fuel camping stoves are the most economical long-term choice and perform best in cold temperatures of all the camp stoves. They run on white gas using a refillable fuel bottle that is manually pressurized with a fuel pump. These stoves need to be primed, a process that preheats the fuel line enabling the stove to convert the liquid fuel into a vapor.
Alternative fuel camping stoves use denatured alcohol. These camp stoves have few or no moving parts to worry about, weigh very little and burn silently. They do not burn as hot so it takes longer to boil water and requires more fuel.
Multi-fuel camping stoves use liquid-fuel including some or all of the following: white gas, unleaded auto gasoline, kerosene, jet fuel and diesel. These camp stoves can cost a bit more and require more maintenance but the added fuel versatility makes them a great choice for international travelers. If you want to do more than boil water, you may want to consider a camping stove with better flame control.
Activity Recommended Stove Type:
- Summer backpacking – canister or integrated stove system
- Winter or high-elevation – use liquid-fuel stove and for better flame control consider
- To boil water only – integrated stove system (canister)
- Ultra light backpacking – canister or alternative-fuel stove
- Large groups – liquid-fuel stove
- “Gourmet” camp cooking – Any model with flame control and a stable base
- International travel – multi-fuel stove
When selecting the most appropriate type of camping stoves, take in consideration what type of activities you will be doing. For longer hiking trips, you will more likely appreciate the more compact and portable backpacking camping stoves. If you tend to stay near your campsite and have a family or friends to feed, you may opt for the heavier full camping stoves with multiple burners.