Which Camping Stove?

We've all been there. Stood looking at a row of camping stoves trying to decide which one will best fit our needs. You have to take into consideration not only the stove itself, but the camping fuel it uses. It can be pretty confusing if you don't know the advantages and disadvantages of each; so we've assembled a little guide which will help you choose.

Basecamp Stoves

These are the big double and triple-burner stoves which run on propane gas canisters. They are used to create the closest at-home kitchen experience possible.

Advantages: They generate a lot of heat and are great at cooking multiple things at a time. You can fry your eggs in one pan, cook your bacon and sausages in another pan and boil your beans in the third. They heat up quickly and cook quickly, no different to your stove at home.

Disadvantages: They are heavy; you won't be taking one hiking with you, but fine if you're camping with your car. You have to buy the gas canisters, which can be quite expensive and once you run out of fuel, you're done.

Canister Stoves

The most common type of stove and uses by backpackers and ultralight campers. The fuel is made from a mix of propane and butane and burns hotter than older butane stoves. They consist of a small burner which is connected to or sits atop a gas canister.

Advantages: Small, lightweight and very convenient with a good range of control for boiling, simmering and frying.

Disadvantages: The fuel can be expensive and and not-cost effective for cooking. Canister stoves are perfect for a night or 2, but not convenient for longer trips as the canister will need to be take with you. Performance can a hit in colder temperatures. and they can only cook one pan at a time.

Ethanol Stoves

Ethanol/spirit stoves are not as well known as gas powered stoves, but are becoming more popular, especially with hikers and light-weight campers. They run on eco-friendly bio ethanol in a small pot which often sits within a larger receptacle, as is the case with Trangia stoves. Origo marine stoves also use a spirit fuel as do home-made penny-can stoves.

Advantages: Very lightweight, simple and safe to use (a spilled stove is easily put out with water). Alcohol camping fuel is easy to acquire, virtually silent, and odourless. Better for the environment.

Disadvantages: Lower heat output with less control over the heat (you can easily adapt your burner to give more control.)

There is no BEST camping stove, just the stove which is best suited to your situation. If you're taking family camping with the car and need to feed a lot of mouths, a basecamp stove is a good choice. Just 2 of you, why opt for a canister stove instead? If your're doing a lot of hiking and are carrying everything on your back - try a lightweight ethanol stove.

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