The Best Camping Stoves of 2019

Food cooked on a camping stove

Today, I’m going to show you how to choose the best camping stove for car camping whether you prefer quick and simple meals or elaborate gourmet dinners.

Dive right into our reviews of the best camping stoves in 2019 for our top 9 recommendations – or jump down to our ultimate buyer’s guide to learn how to choose a high-quality stove yourself.

No one wants to crawl into their sleeping bag hungry – and that’s why a camp stove is so critical to the enjoyment of your next camping trip!

Index


9 Best Camping Stoves of 2019

Food prepared on camping stove

There are a lot of different camping stoves out there – so we’ve narrowed down your options to 9 of the very best models.

Each of these stoves is durable, efficient, and powerful. Many come with a host of special features that make them easier to use. But each is best suited to a different type of camper – such as budget campers, gourmet camp chefs, large groups, and those that frequently go camping in the winter.

Here are the best camping stoves for 2019.

1. Camp Chef Everest

Everest Camping Stove

Style: Tabletop

Fuel Type: Propane

Burners: 2 w/ 20,000 BTUs each

The Camp Chef Everest is hands down one of the best camping stoves in 2019.

In fact, it’s been a stand out performer for the last several years, outperforming its closest competition in almost all categories. It’s hard to find anything wrong with the Everest.

The two-burner design and spacious cooktop give you plenty of room for cooking with your favorite cookware. Yet, it still folds up small and compact for easy transportation.

Each of the two burners clock in at 20,000 BTUs to boil water fast. But a precision control knobs allow you to adjust the temperature to simmer with ease. Other highlights include the built-in windscreen and piezo ignitor.

Negatives are all but nonexistent. In fact, you’d really have to dig deep to find even a minor flaw with this Camp Chef stove. Perhaps the only real drawback is that the Everest isn’t well suited for more niche camping uses.

What We Like:

  • Powerful
  • Spacious Cooktop
  • Compact Design
  • Great Wind Performance
  • Durable

What We Don’t Like:

  • Finnicky Fuel Adapter
  • Not Best for Niche Uses

Best Use:

The Camp Chef Everest is a perfect addition to any camp kitchen. It works well for groups of up to 4-5 campers and is most notable for its excellent wind performance.

2. Coleman Classic

Coleman Classic Camping Stove

Style: Tabletop

Fuel Type: Propane

Burners: 2 w/ 10,000 BTUs each

The Coleman Classic is a straightforward workhorse of a camping stove.

While there’s nothing fancy or flashy about its design, it’s actually this simplicity that’s its main highlight. It gives you everything you need, and nothing more, to cook simple camping meals for your family.

With only 10,000 BTUs per burner, this two-burner stove isn’t the most powerful on our list, but it’s still surprisingly efficient. It boils water reasonably quickly, especially in wind, thanks to its built-in windscreens. Unfortunately, setting the control knob to a low simmer is difficult (but, once you do, it simmers with ease).

A compact design makes this Coleman propane stove easy to carry. It clocks in at under 10 pounds total. Despite the small carry size, the actual cooktop is fairly large. Plus, the built-in windscreens are adjustable so you can remove them for even more cooking space. All in all, the simple construction makes cleaning and maintenance a cinch.

Also notable is the top-quality fuel adapter. Compared to other models we reviewed, fuel bottles screw easily onto the adapter. The lack of auto-ignition is an additional negative point to take note of.

What We Like:

  • Affordable
  • Simple Design
  • Durable
  • Excellent Wind Performance
  • Quality Fuel Adapter

What We Don’t Like:

  • Difficult to Simmer
  • Low BTU Burners

Best Use:

The Coleman Classic is a budget camping stove for the no-frills camper looking for an affordable deal. It’s best for small groups of campers, under 4 people total, that prefer simple meals.

3. Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner

Camp Chef Explorer 2

Style: Freestanding

Fuel Type: Propane

Burners: 2 w/ 30,000 BTUs each

The Camp Chef Explorer is without question one of the best freestanding camping stoves available in 2019.

Thanks to its freestanding design, sturdy construction, and large cooktop, it’s an excellent choice for large groups of campers. It’s also popular among RV campers that like to bring along an outdoor stove for outdoor cooking.

Do note, however, that this Camp Chef stove is a beast. It weighs a hair over 30 pounds with the legs on or just under 20 pounds with the legs removed. Because of its weight, the Explorer 2-Burner is probably overkill unless you have a lot of extra room in your vehicle.

Powerful burners (each boasting 30,000 BTUs) makes cooking a breeze. It boils water quickly and is easily adjustable to simmer incredibly well (almost on par with a home gas range stove).

The big drawback, aside from weight, is relatively poor wind performance. Although we were able to cook in wind, it’s definitely a little tricky, especially for simmering. Also notable is a lack of compatibility with the popular 16oz propane canisters – you have to use an adapter hose and large propane tank (further adding to overall packed weight). 

Beyond The Tent’s Review of the Camp Chef 2.

What We Like:

  • Large Cooktop
  • Rugged Construction
  • Powerful Burners
  • Fantastic Adjustability for Simmering
  • Removable Legs

What We Don’t Like:

  • Very Bulky and Heavy
  • Poor Wind Performance

Best Use:

The Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner is best at cooking for large groups of campers – or similar events like cookouts or tailgating. You could even use it as a backyard cook stove. 

4. Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner

Stansport Outfitter

Style: Tabletop

Fuel Type: Propane

Burners: 2 w/ 25,000 BTUs each, 1 w/ 10,000 BTUs

The Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner combines some of the best elements of the Coleman Classic with those of the Camp Chef Everest.

The 2-burner tabletop stove boasts a simple yet efficient design with a number of special features that take preparing camp meals to the next level. Most notable is the addition of the third burner for even more versatility.

The two main burners pump out 25,000 BTUs each for superior cooking power. The third burner is smaller and less powerful at 10,000 BTUs. Combine this with excellent flame control to adjust to your desired cooking temperature anywhere from a simmer to a boil.

All of this is available in a relatively lightweight, compact package. The Stansport Outfitter is easy to transport, easy to use, and easy to clean. Piezo electric ignition and built-in windscreens are additional touches. In fact, this is one of the best camping stoves for cooking in wind, period.

Luckily, the shortcomings are slim to none. Perhaps the only one to note is a slightly inferior overall build quality compared to our top-rated Camp Chef Everest. Although it’s definitely durable enough for camping, it feels noticeably flimsier compared to other more robust models.

* A 2-burner model, the Stansport Outfitter Series 2-Burner, is also available.

What We Like:

  • Powerful Burners
  • Excellent Wind Performance
  • Great Temperature Control
  • 3rd Burner for Versatility
  • Piezo Ignition

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not Quite as Rugged as Others
  • Twist Ignitor (Not Our Preferred Push-Button)

Best Use:

The Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner is a reliable camp stove for just about any style of car camping. The addition of the third burner makes it a good option for larger groups.

5. Coleman Butane Instastart  

Coleman Instastart

Style: Tabletop

Fuel Type: Butane

Burners: 1 w/ 7,650 BTUs

The Coleman Butane Instastart is an affordable camping stove for those on a budget.

As a simple, one-burner stove, the Instastart is notable for its straightforward design, light weight, and compact size. That said, it’s best used strictly for car camping as it’s still far too bulky for backpacking.

At just 7,650 BTUs, the single-burner isn’t exactly powerful – but it does the job. It won’t bring water to a boil very fast (it takes roughly 7 minutes to boil a quart of water), but it does have decent temperature for simmering and otherwise cooking on lower temperatures.

Better yet, this Coleman stove runs on butane rather than the more popular propane. Although it won’t make a very noticeable difference, butane is slightly more fuel efficient than propane.

Where this model doesn’t excel is in bad weather. Butane is notoriously inefficient in cold weather. And, the lack of a windscreen means this Coleman Butane stove performs poorly in windy conditions as well. Winter campers avoid this model!

What We Like:

  • Affordable
  • Simple Design
  • Easy to Use
  • Butane is Efficient
  • Lightweight & Compact

What We Don’t Like:

  • Poor Wind Performance
  • Poor Cold Weather Performance

Best Use:

The Coleman Butane Instastart is a budget-friendly camping stove that’s best for cooking simple one-pot meals for one or two people. It’s also a good option for an emergency stove at home.

6. Jetboil Genesis Basecamp

Jetboil Genesis Basecamp

Style: Foldable Tabletop

Fuel Type: Propane

Burners: 2 Burners w/ 10,000 BTUs each

The Jetboil Genesis Basecamp combines stellar performance with a compact design.

As a folding two-burner stove, the Basecamp packs a large cooking surface in a readily portable package. Yet, unlike other folding models (we’re looking at you Coleman Fold N Go), this doesn’t sacrifice anything in the way of performance or ease of use.

In fact, this Jetboil stove boils water quickly and simmers efficiently. It’s just as easy to clean as it is to use to cook delicious camping meals.

The model’s main drawback is its high price tag. It’s much more expensive than the other camping stoves on our list – even our top-rated Camp Chef Everest.

It also struggles a little in the wind. That said, it is still more than usable, even in fairly heavy wind without a huge drop in fuel efficiency. It utilizes a unique all-around windscreen that helps protect from gusts coming in at all angles.

What We Like:

  • Foldable
  • Compact & Lightweight
  • Built-In Carry Handle
  • Excellent Performance
  • Auto-Ignition Lever

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Mediocre Wind Performance

Best Use:

The Jetboil Genesis Basecamp is best for car campers looking to save space (read: this isn’t a backpacking stove). It’s a good option for smaller groups of campers.

7. Coleman Guide Series Dual Fuel

Coleman Guide Series Dual Fuel

Style: Tabletop

Fuel Type: White Gas or Unleaded Gasoline

Burners: 2 w/ 7,000 BTUs each

Reliable performance is a hallmark of the Coleman Guide Series Dual Fuel.

This multi-fuel stove for camping boasts the same nostalgic good looks as our highly-rated Coleman Classic. They key difference is that it runs off white gas or unleaded gasoline.

Not only does this multi-fuel functionality make it more versatile, but white gas performs notably better than propane in cold weather conditions. And on long expeditions or trips where white gas isn’t available, unleaded gasoline is fairly easy to track down pretty much anywhere.

In addition, this Coleman stove is built to last. It’s as burly and rugged as they come. Plus, it’s simple and straightforward design means there are no fancy or flimsy pieces to break.

Unfortunately, the Guide Series Dual Fuel does have its limitations. Namely, the two 7,000 BTUs burners aren’t the most powerful. Not only that, but they’re connected, so running one at full tilt will sacrifice the heating power and fuel efficiency of the second burner.

What We Like:

  • Multi-Fuel
  • White Gas is Best for Cold Weather
  • Classic Design
  • Rugged, Durable Construction
  • Reliable Performance

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not Very Powerful
  • Small Cooktop Space

Best Use:

The Coleman Guide Series Dual Fuel is best for serious winter campers. It also works well for expeditions or overlanding. That said, most traditional car campers are better off with one of the propane stoves on our list.

8. Eureka Spire LX

Eureka Spire LX

Style: Tabletop

Fuel Type: Propane

Burners: 2 w/ 10,000 BTUs each

The Eureka Spire LX is a consistent, reliable camping stove that gets the job done even though it doesn’t bring anything new to the table.

The exception to this is a unique adapter port, known as the Jetlink port, that enables you to connect the Spire LX to another Eureka stove or even to a Jetboil backpacking stove. Once connected, you can run the two camp stoves from the same fuel source.

This is in addition to good all-around performance. You can boil water quickly and simmer with relative ease, although the temperature control is a bit finicky. Thanks to built-in windscreens this model also excels at cooking in the wind.

Also notable is the straightforward design. This is a classic minimalist camping stove. It’s easy to set up and easy to use. It’s also easy to clean after dinner is done.

That said, the Spire LX is expensive for what you get. With two smallish burners with a relatively low output of 10,000 BTUs each, this Eureka camping stove is much lower performing than other models in its price class.

What We Like:

  • Rugged Construction
  • Easy to Use
  • Easy to Clean
  • Performs Well in Wind
  • Ability to Attach to Another Stove

What We Don’t Like:

  • Expensive
  • Finnicky Temperature Controls

Best Use:

The Eurkea Spire LX is a good all-around camping stove for cooking for one to three people. Connect it to your Jetboil backpacking stove to boil water for coffee while cooking breakfast – all using the same fuel source!

9. Primus Kinjia

Primus Kinjia

Style: Tabletop

Fuel Type: Propane

Burners: 2 Burners w/ 7,000 BTUs each

The Primus Kinjia is a beautiful camping stove that doesn’t skimp on performance.

Beautiful might seem like an odd word to describe a stove – but see the Kinjia in person and you’re sure to agree. It has a sleek and stylish design with a minimalist bent.

Of course, style is all for nothing if performance doesn’t match. Luckily, this Primus stove performs well with a decent boil time and excellent simmering ability. User-friendly temperature control knobs make it easy to adjust the flame.

Also notable is this stove’s compact size. It’s one of the smallest two-burner tabletop models we tested. This translates to superior portability for car camping. It also adds to the overall ease of use.

Unfortunately, the small size does have its downsides – namely, this stove isn’t the most powerful with just 7,000 BTUs per burner. The cooking surface is also relatively small. It limits the use of larger cookware. The final downside is the lack of built-in windscreens which severely limits the Kinjia’s overall performance in the wind.

What We Like:

  • Stylish
  • Minimalist Design
  • Compact Size
  • Very Easy to Use
  • Excellent Simmer Ability

What We Don’t Like:

  • Small Cooking Surface
  • Poor Wind Performance

Best Use:

The Primus Kinjia is best for one or two campers that prefer simple meals. Because of its small cooking surface, it’s not well suited at cooking for larger groups.


Types of Camping Stoves

Camping Stove and Pots

Narrow down your options for the best camping stove by first selecting the fuel type that most closely matches your needs and preferences.

The four main types of camping stoves are:

Here’s what you need to know about each.

Propane Stoves

Everest
Our Top-Rated Propane Stove: Camp Chef Everest

Propane is the most common fuel to use for a camping stove.

You often see these models using the ever so popular small green propane bottles (such as Coleman 16oz propane cylinders).

With the right adapter and hose (we like the Stansport Propane Appliance to Bulk Tank Hose), most stoves are also compatible with larger propane tanks (such as the Flame King 5lb Propane Cylinder) like the ones you typically use for a home barbeque.

Propane stoves for camping are reliable and very easy to use. They light up instantly and most have a high BTUs output. Propane fuel is also affordable and widely available. The only real disadvantage is that this type of fuel doesn’t perform well in cold weather conditions.

What We Like:

  • Most Common
  • Propane is Affordable
  • Versatile

What We Don’t Like:

  • Poor Cold Weather Performance
  • Poor High Elevation Performance

Best Use:

Chances are you’ll end up with a propane camping stove. Not only are they the best option for most campers, but they’re also the most popular fuel type.

Butane Stoves

Coleman
Our Top-Rated Butane Stove: Coleman Butane Instastart

Butane stoves are much less common than propane stoves but are still a decent option for camping.

The majority of butane models are single-burner stoves. They are relatively powerful and efficient. Fuel is also affordable.

Like propane models, butane camping stoves are plagued by issues in cold weather. In fact, they are even less efficient than propane models when temperatures dip.

What We Like:

  • Affordable Stoves
  • Cheapest Fuel Type
  • Most Fuel Efficient

What We Don’t Like:

  • Poor Cold Weather Performance
  • Less Readily Available than Propane

Best Use:

Most butane stoves are cheaper than propane models, making these a good option for new campers or those on a tight budget. The fuel itself is also affordable.

Liquid Fuel Stoves

Coleman Dual Fuel
Our Top-Rated Liquid Fuel Stove: Coleman Dual Fuel

Most liquid fuel stoves utilize white gas instead of propane or butane.

Liquid fuel stoves are among the most reliable available. Not only that, they’re the best for cold weather and high elevations. Models that run on white gas (most common) typically use refillable containers that can be refilled to minimize environmental impact.

However, the downsides are numerous. Liquid fuel models are typically more difficult to start, use, and even clean. They’re usually heavier and more expensive. There are far fewer camping models available to choose from.

What We Like:

  • Reliable
  • Excellent Cold Weather Performance
  • High Performance

What We Don’t Like:

  • More Difficult to Use
  • Not Many Options Available

Best Use:

A liquid fuel stove works well for four-season camping, especially if you frequently go camping in the winter. Although a popular fuel type for backpacking stoves, liquid gas camping models are few and far between.

Wood-Burning Stoves

Biolite Wood Burning Stove - Basecamp
Our Top-Rated Wood-Burning Stove: BioLite Basecamp

As the name implies, wood-burning stoves for camping use wood for fuel.

You can bring your own firewood to use for larger models while others utilize fuel tablets or pellets. Still others, especially smaller models, work best with twigs and sticks gathered in the forest.

Although we think wood-burning camping stoves are a neat idea, they’re not the most efficient or highest performing. You must also be wary of burn bans restrictions.

What We Like:

  • Unique Design
  • Similar to a BBQ Grill
  • Don’t Need to Bring Fuel

What We Don’t Like:

  • Lack of Versatility
  • Not Very Reliable
  • Can’t Use During Burn Ban

Best Use:

Right now, we don’t recommend wood-burning stoves for anyone. Traditional models, especially propane, are still better for the vast majority of campers.

However, this isn’t to say that wood-burning models aren’t intriguing. There’s no reason not to check this type out if you find a model that meets your needs and preferences.

Although we didn’t choose any wood-burning models for our best camping stoves of 2019, we do recommend the BioLite BaseCamp Stove thanks to its incredibly unique design, inspiring brand mission, grilling capabilities, and decent all-around performance.


Most Important Features

Camping stove and coffee pot.

After selecting your preferred fuel type, there are a few additional factors to consider that influence how well a stove performs while camping.

Freestanding or Tabletop

One of the first choices to make when looking for a new camping stove is whether you prefer a freestanding or tabletop model.

Freestanding models come with built-in legs that raise the height of the cooking surface to around waist high while tabletop models must be used on a table (or on the ground).

Most of the best freestanding camping stoves, including our top-rated Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner, have removable legs. This allows for seamless transition between freestanding and tabletop uses.

Do note that freestanding models are typically burlier all around. Not only is the cooking surface larger, but the entire stove is heavier. The benefits to this added bulk include more powerful burners and more room for large cookware.

That said, most campers are better off with a tabletop camping stove. These are much lighter and more portable. The best models don’t even have much of a drop in overall performance from a freestanding model.

Number of Burners

Most camp stoves come with two burners.

The majority of campers can cook just about any of the best camping meals they can dream up with two burners.

However, camping stoves with three burners are available. In fact, the Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner is one of our favorite stoves for camping with large groups.

3-burner models are best suited for large groups, although those that like to prepare very complex camping meals might appreciate the additional burner.

Do note that the third burner is almost always less powerful than the other two. For example, with the Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner, the two main burners pump out 25,000 BTUs each while the third burner produces only 10,000 BTUs.

In my opinion, a better option for large groups of campers is to bring multiple camping stoves.

At the same time, I believe that burner size is more important than number of burners. Two large burners coupled with a spacious cooking surface is much more effective than three small burners with a cramped cooking surface.

Heating Power (BTUs)

The heating power of a camping stove is measured in BTUs.

Short for British Thermal Units, BTUs are a great way to measure the power of a gas stove (although other factors do effect heating power).

Simply put, higher BTUs equal more cooking power. This in turn translates to improved quicker efficiency, including the ability to cook food and boil water faster.

Personally, I’m not overly concerned about heating power when I’m solo camping. My Coleman Classic has two burners with 10,000 BTUs each. This is more than enough for my camping needs.

That said, there is a hugely noticeable difference when I do bring my Camp Chef Everest along instead. If you regularly go family camping or camp with large groups, a more powerful, higher-BTUs stove is a must.

Fuel Efficiency

Remember that heating power and fuel efficiency are closely intertwined.

A more powerful stove likely uses more fuel when on a high heat. I notice a huge difference in fuel consumption with the Coleman Classic over the Camp Chef Everest. 

Of course, fuel efficiency also directly relates to fuel type.

Most of our camping stove reviews above focus on propane stoves. Propane is a fairly efficient fuel type, although it does suffer in cold weather. Liquid fuel is your most efficient option for cold weather and high elevations.

Luckily, calculating how much fuel you need is far easier on a camping trip than it is on a backpacking trip. Because you don’t have to worry about the extra weight, I always pack a few extra propane bottles along as backup – you don’t have that same luxury while backpacking!

Fuel Capacity

Most camp stoves use 16-ounce propane bottles as fuel.

With a low-BTUs stove, like the Coleman Classic, you can get several meals from a single bottle while cooking simple meals for a handful of campers.

In fact, I can typically count on a single 16-ounce bottle providing enough fuel for around 14 meals. That’s breakfast and lunch for a whole week.

That said, fuel consumption varies rapidly. It directly relates to the overall fuel efficiency of the stove as well as what heat you’re cooking on, what you’re cooking, and the weather conditions.

Some campers can burn through a 16-ounce propane bottle in a little over a day.

This is exactly why many campers now prefer to invest in a larger propane tank, such as our top-rated Flame King 5lb Propane Tank.

Paired with an adapter hose (check out the Coleman Propane Hose and Adapter), a 5-pound propane tank enables you to bring a lot more fuel without all those extra models.

Of course, this is also the cheapest option. Most 5-pound propane tanks are refillable in just about any town in North America.

Heat Adjustability

Luckily, the best stoves for camping have good heat adjustability.

This is the ability to turn a knob to control the size of the flame and thereby the overall heat produced.

Turn the flame all the way up to boil water or turn it very low for simmering. Most of the top camping stoves reviewed above excel at heat adjustability, although a few models are slightly difficult to use for simmering.

Wind Resistance

Even the best camp stoves are affected by the wind.

While most still cook well in mild wind, almost all models suffer in very windy conditions.

With that in mind, certain models fare far better in wind than others. While this superior wind performance is largely related to the overall design of the stove’s burners, you should also look for a model with large, built-in windscreens.

For example, our top-rated Camp Chef Everest has built-in windscreens. It performs very well in windy conditions – even without a huge drop in cooking power or fuel efficiency.

Remember to always cook in a sheltered location if at all possible to reduce the impact of the wind on fuel efficiency and consumption.

Ignition Type

Many camp stoves now come with auto ignition.

A piezoelectric ignitor is the most common type of auto ignition. Simply press a button and the stove will ignite by itself.

Camp stoves without auto ignition must be lit by hand. Turn the fuel valve to a low release (you’ll hear the tell-tale hissing sound) and light it until it catches with a lighter, matches, or a steel striker.

You can install a separate piezo ignitor, like the Surefire Piezo Ignitor, on a camping stove that doesn’t come stock with one if you prefer this method over lighting by hand. Just remember to always carry a backup firestarter as even the best piezo ignitors can fail over time.

Check out Practical Prepping’s video on how to safely light a Coleman camp stove for more information.

Size & Weight

Most car campers don’t have the same size and weight restrictions as backpackers.

You probably have plenty of space in your vehicle for a decent-sized camping stove. That said, light and compact models are much more portable. They’re also easier to use and easier to set up.

Look for a slim, lightweight model for better overall ease of use. Just note that even the slimmest camp stove still isn’t well-suited for backpacking.

On the other hand, the majority of larger, heavier models also have higher BTUs for great overall heating and cooking power.


How to Choose the Best Camping Stove

Cooking hambrugers on a camp stove

Now that you know some of the most important features to look for in a camping stove, it’s time to learn how to match these factors to your individual needs.

Assess and prioritize your needs. Do you need a stove that performs well in wind? How many people do you typically need to feed? Are you on a tight budget or can you splurge on a top-of-the-line model?

Simply put, it’s important to select a camping stove that suits your personal camping requirements.

Style of Camping

Anyone camping near their vehicle is best off with a camping stove.

On the other hand, those that frequently go backpacking instead of car camping are probably better off with a backpacking stove.

The best option for most car campers is a propane stove. Not only are these the most popular models, but they’re also affordable, reliable, and easy to use.

The exception is those that regularly go camping in winter. A liquid fuel camping stove is the best stove for winter camping (as well as camping at higher elevations).

Furthermore, a more portable model is best for road trips and short stays while a heavier, more robust model is beneficial for use at an outdoor basecamp.

Party Size

How many people do you usually go camping with?

The size of your camping party is a huge factor in which camp stove is best for you.

Smaller groups of one or two campers can get away with a single-burner model with relatively low BTUs. The Jetboil Genesis Basecamp is a compact option for solo or couple campers.

Larger groups on the other hand should opt for a two-burner camping stove (or even a three-burner model) with a higher BTUs output. The Stansport Outfitter Series 3-Burner is an excellent choice for groups of five or more campers.

Thanks to their larger burners and more spacious cooking surface, a freestanding stove, like the Camp Chef Explorer, also works well for cooking for large groups.

All of this taken into account, the Camp Chef Everest still comes out on top as our single best camping stove for all party sizes.

Rather than investing in some huge, unwieldy stove for group camping, we instead recommend bringing an additional stove or two to split up cooking duties.

Length of Trip

Longer camping trips required additional fuel for cooking.

We recommend choosing a stove that’s compatible with a large 5-gallon propane tank so you don’t have to bring a handful of smaller bottles along.

Although most models are compatible with a larger propane tank with a propane hose adapter, some come equipped with this capability straight out of the box.

Terrain & Expected Conditions

Wide open terrain requires a stove that stands up well to wind.

Cooking on a camp stove in winter usually requires a liquid fuel model as propane and butane stoves struggle in cold temperatures.

The same is true for camping in the rain. Most stoves will do the job, although liquid fuel is most reliable. Or go with a small canister or integrated canister backpacking stove instead.

Here are some additional tips for cooking in the rain.

Type of Food

Your preferred style of cooking has a small influence on the best camp stove for you.

If you prefer simple camping meals, you can get away with a simple camping stove or even a backpacking stove. More complex meals require a larger (and, possibly, more powerful) stove.

Unless you just like to eat dehydrated camping meals, it’s essential to select a model that has excellent simmering capabilities in addition to a fast boiling time.

* Check out our favorite camping recipes and delicious breakfast ideas for some excellent camping meal ideas. We even have a huge guide to vegan camping food and recipes!

Type of Cookware

Unlike with backpacking, you don’t really have to limit what cooking equipment you bring while car camping.

Many camping stoves accommodate large cookware – even normal-sized cookware like you’d use at home. Just make sure the model you select accommodates these large frying pans and saucepans.

Smaller camping stoves, on the other hand, require smaller cookware. Although there are a ton of camping specific sets available, a few of our favorite options include the GSI Outdoors Pinnacle Camper Cook Set and the GSI Outdoor Bugaboo Camper Cook Set.

Budget

You’ll find camping cook stoves selling for anywhere from just under $50 to almost $250.

Our top-rated budget camping stove, the Coleman Classic, usually sells for under $50 total while the most expensive model we reviewed, the Jetboil Genesis Basecamp, is nearly $250 total.

Most campers, however, will spend somewhere around $75 to $125 to find a model that’s durable, reliable, and has all the features they require (although both the Coleman Classic and Jetboil Genesis Basecamp are excellent options).

Alternatively, campers on a seriously tight budget can opt for a budget backpacking stove instead. The Esbit Pocket Stove is very small and not very powerful but it is available for under $15 when all is said and done.  


Camping Stove Accessories

camp cooking

Take your camping meals up a notch or two with the following stove accessories you should consider adding to your camping gear checklist.  

Steel Strikers

Many camping stoves come with a built-in auto ignitor. Others require a lighter or matches to start. Our favorite alternative is a steel striker. They’re reliable, work well in wet weather, and last for a long time. We like the MSR Strike Ignitor. We encourage you to always carry a backup fire starter while camping in first your primary one fails. 

Propane Tank

Most propane stoves for camping use small propane bottles, like the popular Coleman Propane Fuel Bottles. Other models are compatible with larger propane tanks like the Flame King Propane Tank Cylinder. We like to use a larger propane tank when possible as its cheaper, the thanks are refillable, and you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel.

Hose & Hose Adapter

Depending on the model of propane camping stove, you might need a hose with a hose adapter to safely use a large propane tank. The Stansport Propane Appliance to Bulk Tank Hose is our favorite option. Just make sure the propane hose adapter you select is compatible with your camping stove.

Propane Splitter

Couple a propane splitter with a hose and larger propane tank to run two stoves from the same fuel source at once. I like to do this with my camping stove for cooking and my backpacking stove to boil water for coffee. The Gas ONE Propane Y-Splitter is a quality option.

Fire Mat

Although it’s specifically designed for use with a BioLite wood-burning stove, like the BioLite BaseCamp Stove, a fire mat like the BioLite FireMat works well for most camping stoves. It simply helps protect the surface you’re cooking on from heat damage.

Stove Station

For a full-blown camp kitchen, you really can’t beat a stove station. Not only do they act as a counter-level place to use your stove, but they also act as a larger space to prepare meals and organize cooking utensils and equipment. We like the MSR Roll Top Kitchen and the Solo Stove Station.

Carry Case

A dedicated carry case makes transporting your camp stove easier. We like Coleman’s line of carrying cases, including the Coleman Small Carry Case, which comes with pockets for two fuel bottles as well as the stove itself. Coleman’s carry cases are available in a variety of different sizes to accommodate different sizes of stoves.

Gridle, Grate, or Grill

There are a ton of different cooking accessories for camping stoves. A few of our favorites include griddles, grates, and grills you place on top of the normal cooking surface. Try the Coleman Cast Iron Non-Stick Griddle.

Another option is a hybrid camping stove. These models typically have one normal burner plus a dedicated grill/griddle. The best include the Coleman Signature Grill Stove and the Primus Profile Dual Stove/Grill Combo.


Difference Between Camping and Backpacking Stoves

Camping food

A dedicated camping stove is the best option for most car campers.

Not only are they more efficient and powerful than backpacking stoves, but they’re also the most versatile in terms of what foods you can cook and what cookware you can use.

In fact, if car camping is your go-to, we recommend a camping stove about your other options.

However, those that do go backpacking on a regular basis might be better off with a backpacking stove thanks to their lightweight and more compact size.

Of course, buying a camping stove and a backpacking stove is your best bet. Use the camping stove for camping and the backpacking stove for backpacking.

Or, do like I do, bring both your camping and backpacking stoves on car camping trips. This way I can use my camp stove to cook breakfast and my backpacking stove to quickly boil water for my much-needed cup of morning coffee!

Alternatively, those that prefer very simple camping meals (such as dehydrated meals) might actually be better off with a backpacking stove as their go-to model.

Yet another option is a portable grill for camping – you can even cook meals over a campfire.


Need More Help?

We’re here to help you find the best camping stove for car camping. So, don’t hesitate to reach out with your questions!

And, why not check out some of Beyond The Tent’s other top camping resources:

Happy camping!

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