How To Pick a Camping Stove
When it comes to selecting a camping stove you have a wealth of different options at your disposal.
On this page PackTiny hope to give you a little bit about the variety of options that you have available, and perhaps more importantly how you can choose the right camping stove for your trip.
Size of the Stove
You want to choose the best fit for your particular trip.
The first rule of thumb would be to consider how far away from your vehicle you are likely to be on your trip, if it’s within a short walking distance a larger family stove is a viable option, if you are preparing for longer journeys on foot ( with the stove in your backpack ) a backpacking stove is really the only way to go.
At PackTiny we source a range of backpacking stoves from excellent manufacturers, some designed solely for boiling water extremely efficiently, others for more general purpose cooking.
Coupling a compact, efficient backpacking stove with a lightweight cooking set, can result in a tremendous space-saving cooking set-up that will help to provide not only the sustenance for your trip, but an enjoyable culinary experience.
With modern backpacking stoves being so light-weight it is not uncommon for everyone in the group to bring one along, as waiting in-line for your turn on the stove isn’t always fun!
The Fuel Type
When it comes to fuel for your camping stove there are a plethora of different options available on the market. Let’s briefly run you through the pros and cons of each type:
Gas Canister Stoves
These stoves are powered by canisters of pre-pressurised gases; Butane, Isobutane, or Propane. The canisters are self-sealing so when you’re finished cooking you can just detach the stove ( making sre it has cooled down first ) and pack away.
The major positive of these stoves is their ease of use and quick setup, they can include controls to easily adjust the ‘strength’ of the flame. The gas is normally cheap and you should be able to find it in most camping shops. Or here on PackTiny :)
However they are not ideal for locations which are extremely cold. And you may find it difficult to find the canisters outside of the Europe or the US.
Liquid Fuel Stoves
These stoves are powered by ‘White Gas’ (produced by Coleman) or kerosene.
These stoves are fantastic for cooking food quickly and ensuring that it gets to a high temperature. The camping stoves have the advantage of not relying upon canisters, and so there is less waste. The type of fuel also has the benefit of not performing badly in extreme cold weather conditions.
They can be very loud! They are usually more expensive than their canister counterparts, and usually require priming ( a period of warming the fuel within the stove before full flame for cooking occurs, this allows the stove to convert the fuel from its’ liquid form into vapour. )
Some models of Liquid Fuel Stoves can use a wide range of fuels including: white gas, unleaded gasoline, kerosene, diesel even jet fuel! The obvious benefits being the availability of the fuel wherever you might be.
These types of stove usually require more maintenance, but handled with care can become a real asset to your camping gear, wherever you end up!
Denatured Alcohol Stoves
Powered by Methylated Spirits or White Spirit.
These are very light weight stoves. They are fantastic for carrying about on longer treks. The fuel is also cheap and very easy to get hold of ( it can be obtained easily outside of Europe or the US ).
The problem is that they do not produce as much heat as the other stoves above, and they do not last that long before they need to be refilled.
Solid Fuel Stoves
These stoves are another popular choice for ultra-light backpackers. They work with tablets of solid fuel and have little to no moving parts, and so their un-complicated nature reduces the price.
However the downside can be that the heat given off is relatively low compared to other fuel stoves above, and boiling water can take a little while.
Wood Burning Stoves
Gather your fuel whilst hiking!
There are now a range of foldable wood burning stoves available, the bonus with these is that no fuel needs to be carried, however this can also be a draw-back, as finding dry wood to burn in wetter weather may become difficult.
It’s worth checking out the BioLite Portable Stove available now at PackTiny, this wood burning stove has the added benefit of charging usb devices whilst boiling or cooking!
What to Look for in a Camping Stove
Average Boiling Time, This is probably one of the most important factors when choosing a stove, some modern systems incorporate heat shields and efficient heat delivery mechanisms ( like the JetBoil Stoves ) which can dramatically decrease water boiling time.
Burn time, how long a stove will burn a given amount of fuel, ( however it’s important to take into account that longer burn times may just mean the stove burns at a lower temperature. )
Stability, this can become an important factor for up-right stove setups, where balancing larger pots or pans can become precarious. For these particular situations there are fuel canister stabilisers available.
Ease of use, it’s important to understand the way the stove you are looking at investing in works and is maintained, if you are uneasy with the processes involved, it may be best to look at simpler options.
Remember; whenever you are purchasing a camping stove you want to make sure that it is of the highest quality. PackTiny only source the best, tried and trusted brand stoves, so you can rest assured you won’t be left on the top of the mountain without a much needed cuppa!