You may not feel confident in your fire-building skills during a camping trip, or maybe you just want to do some heavy-duty grilling while you're experiencing the great outdoors. Either way, a camping stove will help keep your gear load relatively light while still providing you with the stable heat source you need to cook your meals.
A good stove for your camping expedition should heat your food quickly and thoroughly, use fuel economically, and most importantly, not weigh you down too much. We fell in love with the Camp Chef's Explorer Double Burner Stove because of its sturdy, rugged build, powerful heat output, and protective wind screens. Check out our other favorite products as well as a handy buying guide below.
Alec is a backpacker, photographer, and writer who loves telling stories about the outdoors. You can usually find him outside taking photos, finding new destinations, and having a blast with friends. He's also a cancer survivor who hopes to end the stigma that cancer is the end of the journey and simply a speed bump in an otherwise great life.
mybest US' editing team consists of experienced members who have backgrounds in writing, editing, translation, and more. We are dedicated to researching what makes a product or service the best to users in the US in order to create top-quality articles. From skincare, to kitchen appliances, and to DIY supplies, our mission is to find the best ones for you.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
When it comes to picking the right camping stove, you have many different choices! Here are some points to keep in mind while you shop.
You’ll have to think about how many burners your stove will need and how much heat it’ll need to produce. Heat is measured in BTUs, or British Thermal Units. A BTU is the amount of heating power needed to heat a pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. Most stoves for basic cooking should have an output of at least 10,000 BTUs.
This is a good baseline minimum because it usually allows you to cook as fast or faster than you can at home. Just be mindful, the more BTUs a model has, the faster fuel will burn. Still, a stronger flame says a lot about your camping stove, like how well it boils water or cooks temperature-sensitive foods like meat.
There are several basic types of camping stoves, and each services different numbers of campers and their needs. Here's a breakdown of the different camping stove models, as well as which sorts of campers they each benefit.
If you want to cook a meal that doesn't require an excessive amount of heat, a butane burner may be a good option. Butane burners, utilize a colorless, pressurized fuel called butane and are fairly compact and lightweight.
Butane stoves don't often burn as hot as other stove types on this list; most burn at between 8,000 and 10,000 BTUs, but there are a few extra-powerful models out there. This can be heavily affected by the temperature of your surroundings; butane burners aren't made for extreme cold.
Still, as they can come in one- or two-burner systems, butane burners still make for a good choice if you're camping in a moderate climate and don't need too much cooking power. Their portable nature and sturdy bases make them a great choice for RV camping as well.
These are best for quick meals that don't require a lot of effort. Picture needing to quickly boil water for coffee in the morning, or maybe scramble a few eggs. The small area of the stove will let you cook on almost any surface and should get the job done in a jiffy.
Tabletop camping stoves are almost always designed without legs or a station they can be set up with. This means you'll need to prep a cooking space before you start to heat up your stove.
While this may be a bit of extra trouble, tabletop stoves are typically less likely to wobble or fall over than a stove with its own station and legs. They also often tend to be lighter and easier to transport. So long as you're careful about where you put your stove, it can be a great option for tight camping spots or if you can't transport a larger stove system.
These are your car camping stoves at an established campground that has tables. These are heavier and take up more space, so you have less flexibility in where you get to use them. Additionally, these should have multiple stoves which allow you to cook multiple things at once. I personally have one of these in my camping set up and love it.
A freestanding camping stove has its own table and a set of legs or possibly even wheels. This makes it a bulkier tool to bring along on the road, but it also means you can cook without needing a picnic table.
Freestanding stoves do tend to be heavier and may require a truck to transport. Most campers who use them are either cooking for large groups or are camping out for an extended period of time. That said, they usually offer more space for your cooking utensils and won't cause any heat damage to their surroundings.
If you don't want to carry a table with you, having a stove that can be set up on its own is clutch. These surely are bulkier, but they also let you cook almost anywhere that has a flat surface to set up. Lastly, you'll probably need a large enough car to fit one of these into.
Fuel is an important factor when you're looking for a stove. One of the most popular options is propane gas or liquid. It provides a reliable heat source and burns hot as soon as the stove is turned on. However, if you're trying to reduce your carbon footprint, you may want to choose a different option.
Wood or coal are viable options. Stoves powered by these more natural materials do require quite a bit of setting up and often require manual ignition. Still, if you want an eco-friendly, authentic camping experience and a hot flame, they may be more your style of fuel for camping stoves.
Finally, alcohol is a trending fuel due to its eco-friendly and incredibly lightweight nature. The flames created by alcohol fuel may be more susceptible to wind, and the stoves require some priming time to get going. Still, if you're patient and don't want to use fossil fuels, alcohol is a fine choice.
When looking for a fuel source these days, it will probably be propane. It's easy to use and affordable to fill up. Many people will buy the small green canisters that aren't reusable, but my protip is to buy a small refillable propane cylinder. This will allow you to carry more fuel, and it's also more affordable over time. I honestly wouldn't look for fuel sources other than propane.
When picking your camping stove, you’ll have two choices for ignitions: automatic and manual. Automatic versions can be lit with the push of a button, whereas manual options require lighting the flame with a lighter or matchstick.
Automatic ignitions are safer since you don’t have to deal with an open flame, are simple to use, and you don’t have to worry about having matches or a lighter with you.
However, these stoves will require electricity or batteries, which means more maintenance and parts replacement. You'll also need to make sure you don’t get water in the ignition circuit while cleaning the stovetop of a model with automatic ignition. Still, due to the ease of use, most campers opt for automatic ignitions.
Most stoves these days have an automatic ignition button that makes life incredibly easy while camping. However, it's a good rule of thumb to have a backup source just in case. This can either be a lighter, matches, or a firestarter that throws sparks. Overall, I'd suggest choosing an automatic ignition for simplicity's sake.
Some practical features will make your camp cookouts more fun and efficient. Try to bear in mind that you won't be cooking inside a building; the weather and environment can affect your ability to cook, so you should look for a camping stove that gives you as much control as possible over your work.
Many camping stoves come with a variety of features to make your cooking experience easier. One common feature is a wind protector. Just as the name implies, these panels protect flames from the wind while cooking. Just be sure you don't use a wind shield for canister stoves, as there are explosion hazards involved.
Ensuring a consistent flame is crucial for cooking any meal. If it's windy and your flame is constantly getting pushed around, your cooking time is going to become exaggerated.
Many stoves will have rear and side blockers, so make sure you are angling the stove away from any wind. If that doesn't cut down the wind, find camping boxes that you can stack around your stove to block the wind.
Many camping stoves have some form of adjustable simmer controls. These allow you to control the heat output from the burners. It's important to look into how durable and easy to use these knobs are; you don't want to end up frustrated because your knob over- or under-adjusts, and it should be sturdy enough to handle a trip across rough terrain.
Simmer controls are extremely important! Most backpacking stoves won't have this ability because their biggest goal is to get your water boiling. However, car camping stoves should all have this feature which allows you to expand the type of foods you're able to make on your trip. Make sure to double-check the features before you buy to ensure this is applicable.
If you want to cook multiple courses, you may want a camping stove with swappable cooking surfaces. That way, you can fire up your dutch oven on one side of the stove while you brew some coffee on the other. There are also camping stoves that come with foldable panels on either side, giving you more space to put your ingredients and cooking tools.
Having multiple options to cook food on makes life simpler. While you may want higher walls to prevent spillage of some foods, others, such as pancakes, are easier to make with a flat surface. I'd recommend thinking about the foods you want to make and then purchasing accordingly. The best advice I can give is to not buy items you'll never use.
Click to purchase
Explorer Double Burner Stove｜EX60LW
Best Powerful, Freestanding Stove With Removable Legs
Selkirk Camp Stove｜540
Best for Powerful, Even Heat Distribution and a Sporty, Sturdy Design
Triton Series Propane Gas Camping Stove｜1451707
Best Light Camping Stove With a Strong Flame
Portable Butane Gas Stove｜GS-1000
Best Butane Camping Stove With Safety Shut-Off Features
Outdoor Camp Oven｜COVEN
Best Camping Stove-Oven Combo With Two Cooking Racks
Best Quick-Heating, Fully-Insulated Combustion Chamber
Best Grill-Type Stove With Easy Cleanup Features
Best 3-Burner Camping Stove System
Best for Multiple Accessories and High-Heat Cooking
Best Lightweight Stove With Lots of Cooking Space
This steel stove has a height of 29 inches and has four adjustable legs for use on uneven ground. Some reports do indicate that the heat output is too powerful for more delicate cooking. If you want a gentler flame in your camping stove, this may not be for you.
Still, this stove is incredibly popular for its powerful heat output and how easy it is to ignite. The generous size of the burners makes it easy to cook just about anything. This is especially a great stove for heavy-duty camping, RV trips, and cookouts.
With a powdered-chrome paint job and a sleek, streamlined design, GSI Outdoors' Selkirk 540 is our sportiest choice on the list. There have been a few warnings that its auto-ignition doesn't light well in colder temperatures, so be aware of this if you plan to go camping in the winter.
The Selkirk Camp Stove gets a lot of praise for its sleek, yet sturdy design. It's been known to bring water to a boil very quickly while still maintaining a consistent heat output. It has a no-strings-attached setup that many beginning campers find makes it the perfect stove to start with. If you're looking for a USA-made alternative to Coleman, this may be the stove for you.
Coleman's Triton Camping Stove comes with a windshield, a handle for easy transport, and a latch to ensure it doesn't come apart when being moved. Still, as the company is very good about returns and replacements, you should be fine even if you have troubleshooting issues.
The Triton Camping Stove's steady heat output seems to be its major point of appeal. Many who took it camping have found it boils water in a fuel-efficient way that other stoves can't rival. The windshield and light, compact design make this a winner for those who want convenience and easy transportability.
Gas One's butane burner is easy to use and transport, and it takes eight-ounce butane canisters. For a butane burner, it has a fairly high output of 7,650 BTUs.
There have been a few concerns that its fuel clamp connecting to the butane canister is fragile, but overall its compact design and efficient fuel use make it a great choice for the solitary camper.
Camp Chef's stove can be adapted to use up to a 20-pound gas tank. It also has a removable two-rack oven with a thermometer.
While a few who used it warned that the burners were a bit weak, this stove makes up for that in its powerful oven heat output. The burners are also generously sized. This is a great option for RV camping and large meals.
This stove is 12 pounds and runs on wood or charcoal, leading to fewer hazardous emissions. It has a fully insulated combustion chamber for extra fuel efficiency.
While there have been warnings that the stove produces a lot of soot, making clean-up a bit of a pain. Still, its ability to create a roaring fire from raw materials campers find lying around makes EcoZoom's stove an excellent choice for those who don't want to use gas.
This stove has a 130-square-inch grilling area and a removable grease tray. One of its best features is its precise heat control.
Additionally, this portable grill-and-stove is a hit for its non-stick cooking surfaces and extra counter space. It's easy to transport, has an even heat distribution, and can cook many types of foods.
The Ranger III has burners made of cast aluminum with adjustable, home appliance-style heat control dials. Its sturdy, heavy build ensures it can hold up any sort of pots you throw at it. However, it is a very large stove and may be better suited for RV camping.
While there are apparently consistency issues with the heat output of each burner, this camping stove is the perfect choice for those who want a large amount of cooking space and plenty of BTU output.
Outland Living's Triple-Burner Camping Stove's accessory bundle of side tables, wheels, and protective wind screens, makes it a great choice for large camping groups.
Some users found it difficult to cook certain dishes like baked beans or thinner meats that required a low simmer without a fire reducer. Still, it's a popular choice due to its sturdy construction and automatic ignition.
Eureka's Ignite Plus Stove has a stainless-steel interior that helps prevents rusting and is light enough to carry by hand. Additionally, it can run for 90 minutes on high heat.
Overall, people love this stove for how excellently its control knobs and its regulator performs. It has fantastic adjustability for the precise campsite chef.
It's best to do as much research as you can before investing in a camping stove. Here are some commonly asked questions and what experts have to say!
If you're experiencing a power outage at home, or perhaps want to cook inside your RV, it's possible under certain conditions to put your camping stove to use.
You have to be sure that the fuel your stove uses won't become toxic to breathe in enclosed spaces. You shouldn't cook indoors with your camping stove if it's fueled by kerosene or charcoal, as these can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
If your stove is fueled by wood, alcohol, or clear gas such as butane, however, it may be safe to use indoors. Just be wary of fire hazards and keep your cooking space well-ventilated.
If your dream camp location is too far from home to reach by car, you may be wanting to travel to the general area by air. According to the TSA, you can indeed bring your camping stove along for the flight. However, you can't bring the fuel for your stove aboard the plane, so be prepared to buy fuel when you reach your destination.
The amount of fuel you need is dependent on how big your stove is, the type of fuel it uses, and how many people you'll be cooking for. You also need to be aware of the temperature and season, as your stove will need to expend more energy to create heat in cold weather.
It's also important to remember that any water you collect also has to be boiled for safe drinking, which means you may need even more fuel if you don't plan on bringing your own beverages. If you want a full breakdown of the different fuel types and how long they last in certain situations, check out MSR Gear's very thorough article on the topic.
Do you enjoy taking a trip into the outdoors to clear your head and relax? Do you have an upcoming trip planned? Check out our other articles on necessary camping gear!
If you're not quite sure where to start shopping for a camping stove, here are Amazon's best-selling stoves. They include some of our favorites and a couple of other brands as well.
No. 1: Camp Chef｜Explorer Double Burner Stove｜EX60LW
No. 2: GSI Outdoors｜Selkirk Camp Stove｜540
No. 3: Coleman｜Triton Series Propane Gas Camping Stove｜1451707
No. 4: Gas One ｜Portable Butane Gas Stove｜GS-1000
No. 5: Camp Chef｜Outdoor Camp Oven｜COVEN
View Full Ranking
The descriptions of each product are referenced from content available on manufacturer, brand, and e-commerce sites.
AppsBusiness apps, Cooking apps, Dating apps
Home goodsBath supplies, Ceremonial occasion supplies, Cleaning supplies
Home electronicsAir conditioners and coolers, AV accessories, Blenders and food processors
PCComputer supplies, Desktop computers, Tablets
CameraCamera bags and backpacks, Camera supplies, Digital single lens cameras
BeautyBlushes, Bronzers, Cleansers
HealthBody care products, Health accessories, Health foods and supplements
Food and drinksAlcohol, Breads and jams, Cocktails and ready-to-drink alcoholic beverages
KitchenCoffee and tea products, Cooking utensils, Cups
FashionFootwear products, Men's shoes, Sandals
AccessoriesWristwatches, Accessories and jewelry, Umbrellas and parasols
Kids and babyBaby carriers, Baby food, Baby formula
InteriorBeds, Beds and bedding, Chairs
HobbiesAromatherapy products, Art supplies, Arts and collectibles
OutdoorBarbecue grills and fire pits, Camping beds and cots, Camping gear
Home, garden, and toolsAgricultural materials and gardening supplies, Exterior and garden furniture, Materials and repairing agents
Sports and fitnessSports shoes, Surfing supplies, Badminton supplies
PetsBird and small animal supplies, Cat supplies, Dog supplies
MediaBooks and magazines, CD, Children's books, picture books and illustrated encyclopedias
GamesGaming accessories, Nintendo Switch games, PC games
AutomotiveCar accessories, Car navigation systems
GiftsChristmas gifts, Father's Day gifts, Gifts for children
Mobile devicesMobile phone and smartphone accessories, Wearable devices and smart watches