A camping stove is a necessity for campers.
It can be as important as your fire starter, compass or flashlight.
We know it can be difficult to find the best camping stove.
But, don’t worry! We have made it easy for you.
We listed the 6 BEST camping stoves you can buy in 2018 (so far).
Before we go into details, let’s take a quick look at what we recommend:
Mike's Top Choice
(The one we like the best)
Lightweight and Compact
Fast cooking time
Adjustable flame setting
Easy to set up
(Check current price down below)
Small and compact
Has adjustable valve
Do you want to learn more about camping stoves?
Here you can learn:
- What is a Camping Stove?
- Types of Camping Stoves
- Why should you have a Camping Stove?
- What to look for on a Camping Stove
Or, you can just go straight to the full reviews:
6 BEST Camping Stoves
Mike’s Gear Reviews have come up with six stoves that you may want to consider when looking for the best camping stove for you. The prices and specs were lifted from Amazon.com unless specified otherwise.
With a Piezo ignition system for convenience, it offers just the basics of features, which are just what you need for a light backpacking adventure. It claims to light up quickly anywhere and all year round, even during the winter and in high altitude places. It adheres to the “Leave No Trace” principles with its clean-burning features, allowing nothing left behind So is this the best camping stove that you can buy for cheap?
It’s not all sunshine about this camp stove, but it’s good enough.
Here are the pros and cons of using the EtekCity stove:
|Affordable||Heat is concentrated in small area|
|Has adjustable valve||Unreliable igniter|
|Small and compact|
Here are the specs, according to Amazon:
- Durable Material: Made of aluminum alloy and stainless steel which can stand high temperature and weight
- Compact and Collapsible: Design is perfect for ultralight camping and backpacking. Comes with carrying case for enhanced portability
- Broad Compatibility: Compatible with any 7/16 thread single butane/butane-propane mixed fuel canisters (EN 417)
- Flame Control: Adjustable control valve for maximum heat output all the way down to a simmer quickly and efficiently
- Leave No trace: Adheres to “Leave No Trace” principles set forth by the US Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, and National Park Service. Burns clean, with no debris or soot left behind
- 1 Year Warranty
According to users, this is a very fuel-efficient stove. A small can of butane or butane-propane fuel mix can last about six to eight meals. If you use this as an emergency stove as well if you are not inclined to sleep outdoors.
While it boasts of a Piezo igniter, some users said it’s not the most reliable feature in the stove, so don’t fully depend on it. Nevertheless, it’s a small feature that wouldn’t leave a big hole if taken away.
Just use a match, a lighter or a fire starter if the Piezo igniter fails.
The valve is fully adjustable. You can simmer the fire or crank it up to the highest setting. However, one common complaint about this in camp stove reviews is that its heat is concentrated in one area, namely the middle. If you have a large pot, the flame will burn the food in the center of the pot.
Another complaint by some users is the seemingly unstable base. The pot support is also a bit small and has four legs, making the stove easily toppled off. It also doesn’t come with a windscreen.
The EtekCity stove isn’t perfect. You can cook simple meals and boil water, but it’s not meant to serve a large group or cook complex meanls. But for $14, it pretty much is a good deal for a newbie camper or light backpacker.
This next one comes from a trusted outdoors manufacturing giant and so its name alone can be a big draw. The Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove is an unsurprisingly reliable product that still has a few drawbacks.
Nevertheless, it can be a candidate for the best propane camp stove on this list.
For this product, Coleman boasts its PerfectFlow regulator that promises to provide consistent cooking performance by continuously producing a steady fuel stream. And by consistent, it means even in cold weather and high altitude places. It delivers up to 10,000 BTUs (British Thermal Unit) of cooking power, with the stove lasting for a couple of hours set on high flame or up to nine hours on low.
Here are the pros and cons of the Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove:
|Has adjustable valve||Big and heavy with the gas cylinder|
|Works well in windy conditions||No igniter|
- PerfectFlow ™ technology provides consistent performance, even in extreme conditions
- PerfectHeat ™ technology for more efficient cooking with less fuel
- 10,000 total BTUs of cooking power
- Fits an 8-inch pan
- Burner and base separate from propane bottle for compact, easy carrying
- Adjustable burner gives you precise temperature control
- Wind baffles help protect your burner from wind for maximum heat
- Lasts up to 2.5 hours on high on one 16.4-oz propane cylinder (sold separately)
- Perfect for backpacking, hunting, camping and other outdoor occasions
- 3-year limited warranty
The price does not include the 16.4-ounce cylinder of propane, which is sold separately (about $20 for a pack of 2). Without the cylinder, the stove is lightweight at 0.32 ounces. However, without it, it’s useless. The cylinder is bulky and heavy, which makes the complete stove not that light and portable to carry at all.
As for whether it is suitable to use in wintry conditions, it can function well and fine. It is also functional in high altitudes. It heats quickly and boils water in less than five minutes.
One of its advantages is its adjustable flame setting. However, the lowest in its four-heat setting is still too high for simmers. The good news is that even at its lowest setting, the flame will not extinguish easily, which is always a concern when there’s wind.
Where this camping stove is made isn’t clear. The box says Wichita, Kansas, but the fine print says China, according to users. If the place of manufacture isn’t a problem with you, then you are going to like this one. It’s still from Coleman so it’s sturdy and well-made.
For simple outdoor cooking, the Vinida Wood Burning Camping Stove would be a good choice. It’s a wood stove, and so you don’t need to bring any kind of fuel for this. You just need to search for twigs for fuel yourself. It’s going back to basics, but that’s just exactly what camping should be about anyway.
Because you are using twigs and woods of dead around your camping site, you don’t need to worry if you didn’t pack an extra supply of fuel. Everything you need should just be within reach to you in the outdoors.
The camping stove itself is lightweight and portable with its collapsible body. It can be separated into four parts so you can easily fit it in your bag.
But is all that enough to declare this the best camping stove from the list? Here are the pros and cons of the stove:
|Compact||Can’t be used in winter|
|No fuel canister needed||Top part is wobbly|
These are the specs and price, as per written on Amazon:
- Eco-friendly and unlimited burning wood: Just get leaves, twigs and wood of dead trees from nature as a fuel. No worry about using out and free up more space in your backpack and no need to carry heavy, polluting and expensive canister fuels. Saves the environment and your money.
- Compact, Lightweight & Collapsible: (0.56lb / 5.1“x4“) Folding & lightweight design with a mesh pouch make it easy to be carried on a backpack for picnic, camping and any other outdoor activities
- Easy to install: The supplied separate 4 parts could be combined to 3 modes however you like to meet your different cooking needs, and all are easy to install and disassemble, even stable in windy conditions.
- Efficient 3rd combustion design: The third combustion instructure keeps backpacking wood stove burning more efficiently and longer with “Wood Gas,” which promises less fuel and faster cooking
- What You Get: 1x wood camping stove, portable mesh pouch, 30 days money back guarantee, 1 year free exchange and 24 hours service
The best thing about this camp stove is it’s eco-friendly. As with other wood camp stoves, the VINIDA Wood Burning Camping Stove is the more efficient way to cook or boil water as compared to using a campfire. As long as you have twigs and wood, you won’t run out of fuel.
But just like other wood stoves and campfires, cooking with this one is limited to three seasons.
It’s difficult to use this during winter because the fuel that you can use (leaves, twigs etc.) will be wet.
You cannot use this in areas that have fire bans either. So, before you pack this up in the included mesh bag for your camping adventure, research the restrictions of your destination first. It may just be a deadweight if it turned out that you can’t use it there.
Weighing only 9.17 oz., this cooking gadget looks like a portable heater instead. Its size (7.5“x5.1″ / 4″x5.1”) makes it look like an easily destructible toy, but as per camp stove reviews, it’s actually pretty sturdy.
One reviewer was able to cook using a cast iron pan with this.
However, the most common complaint by users is the stove’s wobbly top. According to a few users, the top part isn’t secured to the base, which makes it at risk of tipping over.
It comes with a mesh bag but not with instructions.
It says it’s easy to install, but, as users said, it would have better if it comes with instructions because, after all, you have four parts to build into one, and three modes to choose from. One of the images on Amazon is an instruction on how to assemble it, so if you need help in deciphering the steps, just go to the website
From the American company Solo Stove, which makes camp stoves, the Titan & Solo Pot 1800 is the middle size of three and can cook for two to four persons.
This particular link on Amazon includes two items: the camping stove and the companion pot. You can buy these two separately as well. Nevertheless, even if the item only includes the stove, it is still in the mid-range price bracket at $90.
The Titan variant is the larger version of the original Solo Stove, which the company touts as the backpacking stove recommended by Backpacker Magazine and Matt Graham, a survivalist from Discovery Channel.
Its uses a patented design, which is a unique double wall that creates an “ultra-clean” gasification and a secondary combustion. The double wall allows airflow in the stove, with the air intake holes on the bottom of the stove channel air to the bottom of the fire. At the same time, it directs warm air up between the walls of the stove. This feeds back into the firebox through the smaller holes on top, allowing a secondary combustion. The whole process explains why there is very little smoke during full burn and why it requires less wood than cooking in a campfire.
While everything sounds complicated, it’s actually a pretty standard system for a wood stove, just with a few extras.
Here are the pros and cons of using the Solo Stove Titan:
|Burns a long time with less wood||Creates soot on pots|
|Big enough to cook for about 4 people||Rusts|
|Fast cooking time|
- This is the larger version of the original Solo Stove
- Patented design features a unique double wall that creates ultra-clean gasification and a secondary combustion. This allows fuel to burn more completely and with less smoke.
- Uses twigs, leaves, pinecones and wood as fuel. Eliminates the need to carry heavy, polluting and expensive canister fuels.
- Boils water in 4-6 minutes (34 fl oz water). 5.1“ diameter, 5.6“/7.9“ tall (packed/assembled). Solo Stove Titan weighs only 16.5 oz. Made of premium stainless steel and nichrome wire. Nylon stuff sack included.
- Compact design nests inside the companion Solo Stove Pot 1800, leaving you with more room in your backpack.
- Solo Stove Pot 1800: Height 6.1 inches, diameter 5.5 inches; Max volume: 61 fl.oz. (1800ml)
This could easily be the best camp stove on this list, if a wood stove is what you need. As it happens, wood stoves have a few negatives and limitations (including the points mentioned above).
Expect your pan’s bottom to be covered in soot as wood-burning is unavoidably sooty. The price, although it is not nowhere near the most expensive stoves sold online, it is still a bit pricey for such simple technology.
This USA-designed, China-made stove burns longer using less wood. It also produces hardly any smoke, which is why some people use it as an outdoor heater as well. If you are camping with a small group, this stove could cook for everyone in a relatively short period of time.
As it is made with stainless steel, it can expectedly rust over time. The inside of the burning chamber will rust as it is constantly exposed to high temperature. It doesn’t affect the performance of the stove. And so if it doesn’t bother you or if you can remove the rust using a cleaner containing oxalic acid, then you might consider it as the best camp stove for you.
From the famed American outdoor gears company MSR, the PocketRocket2 is a super lightweight camping stove that you can fit in your pocket (but without the canister yet).
At just 2.6 ounce and 2x2x3 inches when folded, this collapsible stove is a goliath in function. It can boil a liter of water in less than four minutes, and can start cooking without much preamble. You don’t need to preheat, pump or prime before it can work at full power.
You would need to buy a separate isobutane-propane canister fuel for this as it’s not included. But after you set it up, which should not be difficult, it’s a sturdy little piece that can hold a heavy pan.
The pros and cons of the PocketRocket2 are as follows:
|Lightweight and compact||No ignitor included|
|Fast cooking time||No windscreen|
|Has adjustable flame setting|
- Ultralight (2.6 oz) and compact (2x2x3 in) folding canister stove for minimalist adventures, backpacking, hiking, trekking, camping and global travel
- Boils one liter of water in just 3.5 minutes and flame easily adjusts from a simmer to a rolling boil for gourmet cooking in the outdoors
- Fueled by high-performance isobutane-propane fuel canister (not included); self-sealing threated canister fuel is available in most countries
- Easy to set up and operate—no priming, preheating or pressurizing is required; serrated pot-supports accommodate a wide range of pot sizes and styles
- Lightweight protective case included; stove weighs 2.6 oz (4.2 oz with case), measures 4.8×4.8×3.6 inches open, collapses to 2x2x3 inches; made in USA
First things first: Although the specs say it is made in the USA, the customers said it is made in Korea. It is designed in Seattle, USA, but the production is in Asia.
Apart from the confusing detail on the manufacturing country, the PocketRocket2 is a fuel-saving little device that can last you for days using a single 110-gram fuel canister. It’s a nifty little thing that does what it says. It starts quickly and burns steadily. You would need an igniter first, though, as it doesn’t come with one.
It doesn’t also have a windscreen, so it’s susceptible to breeze. And while there are much cheaper options online that have more complete features than this one, camp stove reviews have attested that the PocketRocket2 is indeed a better choice because of its high quality. With its small, compact size and outstanding, albeit basic, features, it could very well be a top candidate for the best propane camp stove on this list.
If you prefer camp stoves that can use different types of fuel, the OUTON Portable Camping Wood Stove is a good choice. At just $14, this inexpensive cooking device is perfect for your backpack or your bug out bag. It’s small, collapsible and lightweight, which are the qualities that you need when camping outdoors.
It is a wood stove but with a plate for spirit burner and an alcohol dish. You can use wood and twigs, liquid alcohol or solid fuel tablets, depending on what you have and where you are. You can also add an alcohol burner (not included) or gas stove so you can turn it into a wood, gas, spirit and solid fuel stove.
Here are the pros and cons of using the OUTON camp stove:
|Multi-fuel option||No instructions included|
|Lightweight and collapsible||Pin holding the walls together comes loose and falls out easily|
|Affordable||Has sharp edges|
The specs and price, according to Amazon:
- Multi-Fuel Stove: Our small wood-burning camping stove comes with a plate (diameter of hole: 2.76“) for spirit burner and an alcohol dish, you can cook a meal using dried twigs, branches, leaves, coal as fuel.
- Ingenious Design and Easy to Use: It’s very simple but hinged all around design with card steel plate. Just unfold the stove, install two plates and a pin, easy to install within 20 seconds. Big enough to boil water or cook in a small to medium pot, even brewing a cup of coffee.
- Combined Cap Stove: The backpacking wood stove also can be used with OUTON gas stove together. Just put the spirit bowl upside down in the bottom plate of this stove and lay your folded OUTON gas burner inside. With this combination, you’ve got yourself a compact gas, spirit, solid fuel and wood stove that can fit in your map pocket.
- Stable and Durable: Made with high quality stainless steel, load bearing up to 20lbs. Our foldable camping stove will steadily burn bright, whatever heavy weight or high heat comes its way. Comes with a piece of sandpaper, you can round off the edges of the wood stove.
- Compact and Lightweight: Easily collapsible and lightweight, weighs only 7.20oz, has minimal impact on the weight of your backpack. Folds down relatively flat and comes in a storage bag for convenient carrying, free up more space in your backpack.
For such an inexpensive piece, this stainless steel cooking gadget can become any type of outdoor stove. It is light and compact and can use any type of fuel that is available easily to you.
But it is small and is intended for a one-person use. It also has a varying cooking time. It doesn’t come with an instruction, but many users said it was easy enough to assemble without using one.
There are three common complaints about this stove. One is that it has sharp edges, which is why it comes with a piece of sandpaper. It’s additional work but at least there’s a solution.
Number two is that the pin holding the walls together can easily come loose. And when it’s lost, the whole stove falls apart.
The third isn’t as dire as the first two, but still it can be a source of frustration among users. The protective sticker that the brand new stove comes with is apparently so difficult to remove.
Overall, at $14, the OUTON Portable Camping Stove is a good enough one-person stove. It’s not the best camping stove among the other products that we’ve mentioned, but it’s a great emergency device to have.
Mike’s Top Choice
Among the products that we’ve mentioned, Mike’s Gear Reviews picks the MSR PocketRocket2 Ultralight Stove as the best camping stove for your outdoor adventure. It’s lightweight and has short cooking time. It has all the basic features that you need, including an adjustable flame setting, although you would need a windscreen for this so you can use this during windy conditions.
But if budget is a concern, the versatile OUTON Portable Camping Stove is an excellent choice for emergency. You can do no wrong if you have both, though.
What to look for on a Camping Stove
In choosing the best camp stove, remember a few key points. Check the stove’s weight, stability, burn time, wind performance, simmer control, fuel availability, its suitability, and the country of manufacture.
Weight and Compactness
A camping stove is called as such primarily because it’s a cooking device that can be carried and used outdoors. If it’s too heavy for you to carry on your own or too big to fit in your backpack, then it’s not really portable.
When camping out, you already have a lot of things that you need to bring with you. A cooking stove is perhaps not the most crucial item in your bag, and so this could even be left behind if you really need to take something out.
The best camping stove that you can get your hands on should be as lightweight and compact as possible.
Does your camping stove have wobbly feet or base? Or is the whole thing just a bit tippy? If so, then it’s no good. You don’t want to constantly inserting stones beneath the stove just to stabilize it and prevent your dinner from tipping off to the ground.
Burn Time / Fuel Efficiency
If your stove takes a full canister of fuel just to boil a few cups of water, it could just be an expensive piece of aluminum scrap. It wouldn’t matter that you’ve got extra fuel packed if you couldn’t even cook a decent meal for one without consuming a few canisters. So read camp stove reviews on the models that you are planning to buy first before committing.
Look for reviews that said it’s fuel efficient and has long burn time.
Camping outside means you are exposed to the elements, and this includes the wind. Some camp stoves don’t perform well in windy conditions. They would need a windscreen to prevent the wind from extinguishing the fire. There are also others that do well when there’s wind and don’t need a windscreen anymore. Take this factor into consideration when buying a backpacking stove.
If your intention is to boil water from the stove only, then you don’t need simmer control. But if you are planning to cook reasonably complex meals, a simmer control would be useful.
No matter what type of fuel your stove uses, you should be able to get it easily from where you plan to camp or hike. That way, if you ran out of fuel, it wouldn’t be a problem to get a replacement. If you need solid fuel for your stove, make sure that the local hardware sells solid fuel.
Also consider if it’s ethical to use the available fuel at your camping area. For example, is it okay to use your wood stove at high altitude? Is there no fire ban at where you are camping? Is solid fuel allowed to be used in your camping ground?
Season, place and purpose suitability
Would your stove work well during winter? Can you cook in near-freezing temperature using your camp stove? How about the place where you are hiking and camping, would your stove still be useful there? Are you cooking for yourself only or for a few more friends? And if it’s the latter, can your stove handle a couple of pots at the same time?
Where It’s Made
For some people, where the product is made matters as well. For one thing, the manufacturing country could be a measurement of quality. Also, Americans are more willing to buy American-made products than Asian-made, more specifically China-made, items because it means the jobs remain in the country rather than in overseas.
What is a Camping Stove?
The beauty of camping is that you are back to basics as much as possible, and that includes cooking your own food. While you can probably survive on a packed dinner, that could feel like cheating. Go get yourself the best camping stove that you can find to make the most out of your outdoor experience.
A camping stove is a necessity for campers.
It is a portable cooking device that you can use in remote locations or even just outside your backyard.
If it’s a simple setup and portable enough to carry, it can be a camp stove.
If you are an avid camper, you would know the importance of carrying one with you. You can’t just rely on packed food, especially if you will be gone for several hours.
You don’t even need to be a great cook to need one. A good camp stove can cook almost anything, from deep fried meals to boiled water for coffee.
Camp stoves are normally lightweight and can be carried easily in a backpack. They have one burner on top of a fuel canister or whatever they use to create a fire. Those are backpacking stoves. They are ideal for use for just one to two persons. Choose one of these if you are cooking for yourself or are sharing with simply cooked food with another person.
There are larger camp stoves as well.
These are, as the name suggests, larger and heavier.
They have more than one burners and can accommodate bigger pans. If you are cooking for several people or for the whole camp, you need one of these. Or if you want a fancier meal using a cast iron skillet, then you need a larger camping stove.
Types of camping stoves
There are several types of camp stoves, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses.
One might be the best camping stove for you during the summer, but it’s probably not a good choice to use during the winter.
Here are the five most common types:
A canister camp stove uses pressurized canisters usually of either butane or propane gas. It is low maintenance, easy to use, lightweight and compact. You just need to screw in the canister to the stove. It doesn’t leave residue and is clean-burning.
You can buy fuel canisters from stores easily enough.
However, if you are camping in isolated area for days, you might run out of fuel and you won’t be able to just buy a canister anywhere. You can pack extras, but that would mean extra weight to carry. Fuel canisters are also generally more expensive than other forms of fuel.
Butane gas doesn’t perform well in low temperature so if you are using butane canister for your camping stove, it’s unlikely you can get it to function well during winter. Also, even the best propane camp stove that you have will probably be useless if you are hiking on mountains as propane gas doesn’t have a good reputation on high altitudes.
Liquid Fuel Stoves
If it’s winter or if you are going somewhere really cold and really high, look for liquid fuel stoves as they work well in freezing and even colder temperatures, as well as in high elevation places. Unlike fuel canisters, liquid fuel bottles are refillable and are easily available both locally and internationally. Most liquid fuel stoves accept different types of unpressurized gas, like kerosene.
But while fuel for liquid gas is less expensive than the first option, the stove itself is generally more expensive. Liquid fuel stoves are heavier, bulkier and more high maintenance. They are also more likely to be a fire hazard when not handled properly.
Solid Fuel Stoves
These camp stoves are ultralight to carry and very simple to use. You will just need fuel tablets to make them work. Solid fuels are considered to be among the safest type of fuel for backpackers as they are easily transported and are not prone to leakage.
According to various camp stove reviews, though, solid fuel stoves have slow cooking time. Make sure that you have a windscreen because the flames that they generate are easily extinguished by the wind.
Each tablet is expected to last about 10 minutes, and this is enough to boil water.
The fuel tabs are not only expensive, they are also harder to find than other types. Also, they are not odorless and has toxic fumes. They will also leave residue on the cooking pot. You cannot adjust the flame of the stove as well with solid fuel tabs.
Consisting only of a burner, windscreen and pot stand, alcohol stoves are the no-fuss, budget type that uses readily available fuel: denatured alcohol, which can be bought at most hardware stores. You can also use the antifreeze brand HEET as fuel for this type of camp stove.
HEET are sold at car parts retailers.
Because these stoves are practically weightless and very affordable, they are a favorite to use by hikers on long distance trips. But like solid fuel stoves, the flame from alcohol stoves is also easily put out by wind. Alcohol stoves don’t have flame adjustment settings and very slow cooking time.
Unlike solid fuel tabs, denatured alcohol is inexpensive and easy to find.
If you are environmentally conscious and are the type to go all natural, wood stoves are the way to go.
This type is the best camping stove for those who don’t want to bring fuel and scour for their own firewood. It’s just like cooking on a campfire but more efficient.
You need twigs, leaves and kindling as fuel, and these could be easily available around you. And since you are using renewable sources, it’s environmental-friendly. Using a wood stove would practically cost you nothing because you are literally picking up the materials that you need for its fuel. The camping stove itself is a simple setup of base, windscreen and pot support.
However, as with all the other types above, it’s not perfect.
Why should you have a Camping Stove?
You can always go for the option of not bringing a camping stove at all. You can just pack food that doesn’t need to be cooked and hot water inside a bottle canteen that insulates the content. That could probably last you for half a day to a full day of trekking.
But that also means you won’t have warm meals. Your hot water will already be lukewarm in the morning. You can survive with canned goods and cold food, of course, but wouldn’t that just put a damper in your energy? No warm food, especially after hours and hours of strenuous hiking, can diminish your drive and reduce your morale.
Carrying a camping stove may be an extra weight, but you will be glad to carry it when it’s time to eat.