QUICK GUIDE TO BUYING A CAMPING STOVE
The ultimate piece of kit for campsite cooking, buying a camping stove seriously broadens your food options when camping. I’m certainly no Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen, but when it comes to camping, I pride myself on some of my tent-side creations and I don’t have to swear my head off the whole time either.
There is a wide selection of stoves on the market, from small, portable mini-stoves for making a quick cup of coffee, to bigger designs fit for a beachside banquet. There are many types of camping stoves you can get your hands on and choosing the best one for you will depend on what you intend on rustling up.
SOLID FUEL STOVE
I first used a solid fuel stove at a music festival when I was 16 and it blew my mind. I could grab the frame, throw some hexes on it, set it alight and within minutes I had a perfectly acceptable bacon sandwich.
While these are ideal for festivals and boiling water on family camping trips, they are not really cut out for cooking a lot of items. They are very easy to use, but the fuel burns slowly and doesn’t give off a lot of heat. The hexes are also not sold in many places and getting hold of them can be difficult.
UNPRESSURISED LIQUID STOVES
These lightweight stoves are excellent for small backpacking trips, preferred by ultralight backpackers for their space-saving capabilities. The stove is integrated with the pan, making them a safe option, perfect for teenagers at festivals or on camping trips. There are no small parts to lose and the stoves use methanol as the fuel.
I find cartridge loaded gas stoves to be the most convenient camping cooking option. They light instantly and require little maintenance besides cleaning. The butane or propane cartridges are widely accessible and can be found in many high street shops. You can also buy models which have integrated cookware to improve efficiency and reduce the amount of heat lost to the surrounding air.
You can easily cook for a family on a camping trip with these. They are efficient and don’t take a lot of time and prep, making these models a favourite on my family camping trips.
PRESSURISED LIQUID OR MULTIFUEL STOVES
These tough stoves work well in extreme conditions. If you are doing some serious backcountry trekking or heading out to snowy conditions, these are your best option. They are versatile and work with a number of different fuels, so you can buy fuel pretty much anywhere. You can also immediately see an indication of how much fuel is remaining, which is my only criticism of gas cartridges.
They are also the cheaper option. Liquid fuel is cheaper than butane and propane, so if you are planning on using your stove every weekend, they are worth the initial outlay. They are a little more difficult to light. It isn’t just a case of pressing a button. There are also more parts which could go wrong, so it is advisable to carry spares if you are heading out into the wilderness.
What do you think? Which stove is your favourite? Share your thoughts through the comments section below.