How do I find a camping stove that would be good for me?
Do you want to be the chef of your hiking team? Cooking can be fun when you are away from home, and most hikers and campers say that food cooked outdoors tastes better. Fortunately, there are industries that cater to the needs of those who appreciate long camping trips and who do not want to camp without outdoor dining. They have come up with a plethora of user-friendly and high-quality camping kits.
What types of camping stoves are there?
These products differ in shape, size, weight, appearance, and type of fuel they use. Particularly, they use butane-, propane-, and isobutane/propane-fueled canisters. It must be remembered that they are not interchangeable because these gases have different physical and chemical properties. This influences a product’s weight, size, and design characteristics. Your choice should depend on your individual camping style.
Why camp with butane?
Butane containers are more lightweight and compact, so they are easy to pack. Besides, they do not require the use of high-pressure containers. Butane can be stored in low-pressure aluminum containers. For this reason, butane stoves are better suited for backpackers. It should be noted that butane canisters are not refillable.
Why camp with propane?
Propane is stored in high-pressure steel canisters, which are larger, more heavyweight, and therefore harder to pack and transport. This However, this is not a problem problem for car campers. Another important thing is that propane has a boiling point of -42 °C, while butane’s boiling point is -1 °C – a temperature, at which it turns liquid. For this reason, butane is not good for winter campers, and it won’t burn if you camp at a higher elevation. Besides, unlike butane containers, propane canisters are refillable. This makes propane stoves eco-friendlier, more versatile, and more popular, although they tend to be less safe in terms of fire hazard.
Why camp with an isobutane/propane mix?
The isobutane/propane mix a kind of fuel that strikes a balance between the two options: it is available in lightweight aluminum canisters, yet its boiling point is around -11 °C. Although it is far from propane, isobutane/propane stoves can be used in winter unless it gets really cold.
What are the best brands?
Now that we know the specifics of either, it is time to focus on particular products and see what is good and not good about them.
This compact and lightweight item features a high-quality heat panel system. It features a burner that provides a sufficient amount of heat. The Piezo igniter guarantees quick start-up, and a double windbreaker makes cooking possible even on a windy day. Watani 35FW produces very little smoke and features an automatic safety stop system that maintains a safe level of pressure in the fuel canister. Watani 35FW is a great option for backpackers, as it fits perfectly in a medium-sized bag. Quite an option for you to test your backpacker chef skills!
Jetboil Flash Cooking System
This one is also great for backpackers and other categories of campers thanks to its user-friendly and compact design. It features effective push-button ignition and produces enough heat to boil a good amount of water in just a few seconds. The stove uses an isobutane/propane mix that has a lower boiling point than butane, yet higher than propane. Camping with it in a mild frost would be okay.
Camp Chef Everest 2x
Camp Chef Everest 2x is another example highlighting the manufacturer’s striving to satisfy campers’ needs and desires. The item fits well in a carry bag and comes with a griddle and grill that make up a basic cooking kit. It features two burners, a push-button ignition device and appliance-style knobs, which enable you to cook a variety of meals indoors. A three-sided windshield will keep it burning in any weather. In terms of seasonal use, it is an all-rounder, as it uses propane as a fuel. However, its compact and easy to pack, which pretty much compensates the cons of having to use a propane canister that has a heavier weight.
MSR WindBurner Personal Stove System
This single-burner camping system has a light weight, and therefore it is ideal for anyone wanting to adventure into remote wilderness. It provides enough heat to boil one liter of water in less than five minutes. The enclosed burner won’t go down even under a gust of wind. It is designed for different types of fuel, including butane, kerosene, petrol, and diesel. The radiant burner and the heat exchanger provide effective heat distribution and make the cooking process smooth. You can pack the whole gear in a the one-liter pot. Along with the versatility and user-friendliness, the product sports has an attractive price/quality ratio.
Jetboil Stash Cooking System
This compact and user-friendly product features a high-profile titanium burner, an eight-liter FluxRing cook pot, and fuel stabilizer that is compatible with different canisters. It is one of Jetboil’s newest and most space- and fuel-efficient products, which hiker chefs find really great. It takes about two and a half minutes to boil 0.5 liters of water. Like other Jetboil items, it features a push-button ignition function and keeps on burning even in less-than-ideal weather. It uses an isobutane/propane mix.
MSR RocketRocket 2 Mini Stove Kit
This kit is an ideal option for you if you are a backpacker and/or camp out alone, as it is designed to take up a minimum amount of space. It uses an isobutane/propane mix and therefore does not require using a heavyweight steel canister. The burner has was proved to be effective, as it boils one liter of water over less than four minutes. The anodized pot is good for cooking all sorts of meals. It is absolutely safe and handy, and you can conveniently eat directly out of it.
As follows from the everything mentioned above, there is quite a selection of products for campers, who would appreciate implementing their chef skills and enjoy the outstanding flavor of a meal cooked outdoors. Your choice should depend on where you are going to camp, at what time of the year, and how big a team you are taking along. Each product described in this article is good for camping in its own way, and there are always weak spots as well. Buy one only when you are confident that the pros outweigh the cons and when you know what you want from it.
🏕 What should my choice of a camping stove depend on?
- It should depend on quite a number of factors, such as where, when, how, and why you are going to camp. For example, some products are good for cooking in winter, some are not. They differ in design, type of fuel used in them, size, weight, etc.
📦 How do I know if a stove is really good for cooking?
- You should know what exactly you are going to cook and for how many people. If you are planning to travel with a large group, you’d better buy a two-burner propane stove because it can handle a greater amount of food.
💡 Why do many people camp with propane?
- Propane stoves use canisters, which are refillable. Besides, propane has a much lower boiling temperature than butane, so it remains combustible even in freezing cold (down to -41 °C), while butane stops burning at -1 °C. Butane is not good for outdoor cooking in winter.