A camping stove is an essential tool – no matter whether you’re soaking up the great outdoors overnight, or for several weeks.
It allows you to enjoy cooked meals, and given how advanced some appliances are, it’ll be like you never left home!
A reliable stove is the first step to take in purchasing a range of accessories which enable you to give you and your loved ones sustenance during a camping vacation. However, you shouldn’t forget that there are several other pieces of kitchenware which you’ll need in order to use this appliance to its full potential.
Oftentimes, a powerful stove will boil a decent amount of water in a matter of minutes.
For example, a whistling kettle should be right at the top of your wish list. That way, as soon as you get up in the morning, a cup of tea or coffee is never far away.
Oftentimes, a powerful stove will boil a decent amount of water in a matter of minutes – and provided you’ve got enough of a water supply, it’s also possible to use this heated water for keeping yourself nice and clean during the trip.
It’s important to make sure that any pots you take with you are going to be able to fit onto the camping stove. Thankfully, most manufacturers provide detailed information as to the maximum size of pans which can be used – while still ensuring that its contents are cooked thoroughly.
Some people offer cheats such as removing windshields so you have more space to prepare food, but this may result in an unevenly cooked dish.
Choosing the Right Camping Stove
First up, you need to get acquainted with the different camping stoves which are available for you to buy from specialist stores and online. There are appliances for all budgets – and machines which are suitable for beginners, intermediate campers and experts alike.
The main point of difference you’ll notice between products is the fuel which they need in order to generate a flame. You should temper the cost of any appliance with the price of the power source it needs. Although it’s easy to think you’re getting a bargain, some stoves work off inadequate, difficult to find cartridges which subsequently prove to be a very poor return on investment.
The main point of difference you’ll notice between products is the fuel which they need in order to generate a flame.
So – the three main types of fuel are as follows:
Solids: If anything, the selling point about this type of energy is how these small chemical tablets will barely take up any room in your luggage. That frees you up to carry other things – such as your tent, camping chairs and clothes. However, you’ll often find that these flammable liquids – like hexamine – damage your pots and pans, and aren’t compatible with stoves which offer several temperature settings.
Methanol: One huge advantage to camping stoves which use this power supply is how they barely require any maintenance, making it perfect if you’re pretty new to the camping scene. Many of these products come with a stove and pot rolled into one nifty package – and this should be at the top of your list when buying for teenagers.
Propane: Camping stoves which work off a propane canister have the added benefit of being cheap to run, and replacement cartridges are really easy to find. Oftentimes, you’ll be able to purchase refills direct from the manufacturer of your stove. They light in a seconds, and are often associated with stoves which offer multiple temperature settings.
Camping Stove Buying Specifications
How many burners are there?
When you’re scouring the market for your first-ever camping stove, you should have a long, hard think about how many people you’re normally going to be cooking for on a typical evening.
True, it’s usually possible to feed your party using just one burner – but this can usually time consuming… and the people who are left waiting until last (yourself included) may end up feeling rather grouchy, with their tummies rumbling!
There are several entry-level camping stoves which come with two or more burners. This means you can have several pots and pans on the go at once.
Thankfully, there are several entry-level camping stoves which come with two or more burners. This means you can have several pots and pans on the go at once.
As you’ll soon find out, it proves particularly advantageous if you’re trying to cook a meal – say bacon and eggs for breakfast – and you don’t want to prepare one part after the other, meaning it can’t be enjoyed together without something going cold.
Typically, you’ll find that a camping stove which offers two burners will be operating on propane – and as we discussed a little earlier, this is really easy to find on the market. Given how you’ll want to ensure that the flames remain alight, and don’t blow all over the place, interfering with the other, larger stoves often contain windshields which protect your burners against a persistent breeze.
You should remember that if you have burners which are capable of heating up large pots – or a stove capable of handing several pans at once – this will dramatically affect the amount of time that your gas canister will be able to run for before it needs a replacement.
In the worst-case scenario, you could find that you desperately require a brand-new cartridge for every single meal. Resultantly, it’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to how much gas you take along.
Can you adjust the temperature?
Whereas you’ll want plenty of power for boiling water for eggs or pasta, there may be other occasions where you want to leave food simmering for a little while to ensure that it cooks through thoroughly.
That’s where dials where you can adjust the temperature of the camping stove come in. You should check, especially if you’re buying a stove with a multiple burner, whether or not there are separate dials for each burner.
Just make sure that you only cook in a particularly protected area, where you’ll be less susceptible to the breeze.
Frustratingly, when you’re trying to reduce the settings on a camping stove so that you’re simmering on a very low heat, the flame can suddenly turn off – meaning that you have to contend with painstaking minutes of trial and error before you get the heat to the exact level you require. As such, always check to see whether or not there’s an effective windshield to prevent this from happening.
Of course, this feature doesn’t necessarily have to be a deal breaker – especially if you’ve become enamored with another camping stove which is completely devoid of a windshield. Just make sure that you only cook in a particularly protected area, where you’ll be less susceptible to the breeze.
Do remember that the boiling times cited by a manufacturer are a mere estimate. However, you’ll normally find that stoves operating off liquid fuel will heat up a pan of water in record time – as do appliances which are working off a canister.
Always make sure that you try to recalibrate the knobs which allow you to adjust the temperature every so often, too.
What has the camping stove been constructed of?
There are several reasons why you need to take great care in deciding which materials you want the camping stove itself to be constructed of. Firstly, you need to think about all of the other things that you’re going to be carrying to your chosen campsite.
If you’ve chosen a stove that’s been made out of a really clunky metal that weighs you down, it’s likely that you’re going to have to make several return trips to your car before you’ve got everything you need.
Good materials – such as nickel-back chrome – are really easy to clean, and don’t rust or tarnish over time.
Also, it’s important to think about how durable it’s going to be on a rugged trip. It’s inevitable that our possessions encounter the odd bump and scrape during a camping vacation, and on top of all of this, you might be cooking on the ground, where the terrain is rugged and the surfaces are uneven.
Good materials – such as nickel-back chrome – are really easy to clean, and don’t rust or tarnish over time.
Plus, when camping stoves constructed from this metal include a carrying handle fused into the protective cover for the burners, it’s easy to carry it along like a briefcase, with your other belongings slung over your back. Now, what could be simpler than that?
When it comes to the pots and pans you’re taking with you, aluminum should be top of the agenda for the fact its lightweight.
However, they often wear down over time, and stainless steel is a much more resilient favorite that’ll be reusable for years to come.
Again – and this is all in the name of portability – it isn’t hard to find camping stoves which have the actual burner situated directly underneath the pan – meaning it’s rather narrow and quite tall.
How much space for cooking will I have?
This is a tricky balance to master. Of course, in an ideal world, you want plenty of space so your pans aren’t clunking together – whereas at the same time, you don’t want a large monstrosity which is a nightmare to get from A to B.
With a multi-burner camping stove – by a country mile the most popular product that’s out there – you’ll have space for two pans: and one burner will usually be slightly smaller than the other, just like most hobs that you’ll find in the family home.
The most important thing is to ensure that you’re buying a camping stove which offers burners of a decent width.
There isn’t really much room for anything else besides, especially when you consider that there’s likely a windshield which has been thrown into the bargain as well. You’re probably going to need to have a separate picnic table where you can complete any necessary preparations – such as chopping vegetables or slicing meat.
If you try and multitask by using an unoccupied burner for this activity, you could end up with a slightly nasty burn!
The most important thing is to ensure that you’re buying a camping stove which offers burners of a decent width. That way, you can rest assured that the heat will be distributed evenly throughout the pan, cooking everything to the same consistency.
Some manufacturers claim that they have offered a streak of innovation to guarantee that fuel is delivered through the piping consistently, meaning that you won’t have lulls and sudden bursts of blames unexpectedly.
Finally, consider whether or not you’re going to be interested in using some of the cooking accessories which many camping stove manufacturers offer separately. They can include griddles, toasters, coffee pots and kettles. Usually, they fit on a single burner, and can be detached after use.
Are the stove’s grates removable?
The final thing on any camper’s checklist – especially if you’re looking to make a long-term investment – should be a stove which comes with removable grates.
That way, once the holiday’s over, you can give the appliance a deep clean and eliminate those stubborn stains which have may have formed around the burner in recent days. It’s the perfect way to protect your investment, and helps to ensure that the stove requires very little maintenance.
If you don’t clean your camping stove, it’s likely that its performance will begin to diminish over time.
Ideally, the grates should also be detachable in one part – meaning that it won’t be an absolute nightmare to assemble again once you’ve applied some detergent and given the surface a good scrub.
Many manufacturers have made a concerted effort to ensure that there aren’t too many moving parts in their products, which can be finicky to replace and easy to break.
If you don’t clean your camping stove, it’s likely that its performance will begin to diminish over time. Thankfully, getting it spotless is simpler than you think.
Dishwashing liquid should do the trick, along with a generous amount of warm water – especially if it’s grease which has begun to form. You should make every effort to remove any excessive dampness before you stow it away until your next camping vacation, however, or else it’s likely that the metal will begin to rust, and mold could form. Always follow the guidance which is provided in the instruction manual for when it comes to maintenance.
And there you have it – the five key specifications to look for with your camping stove. With several burners, adjustable temperature settings, a solid construction and a generous cooking area – coupled with an appliance that’s easy to clean – you’ll be cooking on gas in no time!
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