Everyone knows that food simply tastes better outdoors—but making a meal at a campsite shouldn’t be a struggle. We strongly believe that camp cooking should be no harder than cooking at home. You shouldn’t need to schlepp a ton of kitchen supplies miles into the backcountry. Instead, just equip yourself with the best camping stove for your needs and a little creativity to eat well at mealtimes.
Over the course of the summer, we whipped up al fresco meals in spots spanning the West, ranging from beaches along the Pacific Ocean and Sierra alpine lakesides to the deserts of Arizona and Utah. And we tested a dozen stoves from all the usual suspects, including MSR, Camp Chef, Coleman, Jetboil, Primus, and Eureka.
When choosing a camping stove, keep in mind how many people you want to feed and what you want to cook, as this might influence how many burners or the type of stove you require. Beyond the number of burners, standard specs include BTUs (short for British Thermal Units—a measure of output power). In general, the higher the better. Also important when it comes to burners: Look for simmering capability and built-in wind protection.
For fuel, many camping stoves run off of propane, those dark green 16.4 ounces bottles ubiquitous at every campsite across the U.S. There are other options, however, such as lightweight canister stoves for backpacking, climbing, or bikepacking adventures and even wood-burning stoves.
Some camping stoves require you to light the burners manually with matches or a lighter, but today, most come equipped with some form of piezo ignition system. Piezo igniters use piezoelectricity, an electric charge that results from high pressure, to ignite your fuel with the press of a button or flip of a lever. Easy to use, they save you from burning your fingers while trying to get the burner lit with a lighter or match.
So whether you are a discerning foodie or a humble ramen junky, we’ve rounded up 8 of the best camping stoves and found the perfect camping stove for you.
Best Overall Camping Stove
With many camping stoves you get one of two settings: either full blast or off. With the Ignite Camp Stove from Eureka!, however, you not only get two powerful 10,000 BTU burners that boil a liter of water in under five minutes, but also two full turns of adjustability for simmer control. This lets you dial in each burner individually so you never have to worry about unevenly cooked omelettes or burnt pancakes.
A single push button igniter works for both burners and lights effortlessly. The lid, together with dual windscreen flaps, creates a barrier for those blustery days. The burners are spaced 10 inches apart, meaning you can fit two 10-inch pots or pans side-by-side during cooking.
Similar to other Eureka! and Jetboil camping stoves, the Ignite features a Jetlink output port so you can connect other compatible stoves to expand your cooking footprint powered off the same fuel source. This enables you to make coffee while cooking up breakfast or grill meat while frying up the sides.
The tabletop stove is compact at 18.5 x 12.8 x 4 inches and lightweight at just 10 pounds. The stainless steel drip tray and pot supports make the stove super easy to clean at the end of the weekend. We found the rubber feet added a better level of stability compared to wobbly legs or the standard metal bottom on most tabletop stoves. And while simply cosmetic, we love the Piaggio-green color of the stove chassis.
Best Old School Style Camping Stove
There is something to be said for simple and reliable. The Coleman Classic is the Starbucks coffee of the camping stove world—it gets the job done and you know exactly what you are getting every time. Best for one or two people and simple meals, this stove gives you two 10,000 BTU burners that boil a liter of water in six minutes under super windy conditions and simmer surprisingly well for a stove so light on the wallet.
The cooking area is the largest of the stoves we tested, with a 12-inch burner spacing and adjustable windscreens that widen to allow for a 12-inch and 10-inch pan side-by-side. The diameter of the burners themselves are smaller than others, however, so prone to hot spots and uneven cooking, particularly with larger pans.
To keep the price down, this tabletop stove doesn’t have a piezo igniter, so don’t forget to bring some matches or a lighter if you want to eat. The pot support is removable for easy cleaning of the drip tray, and there’s a notch to store the regulator beneath the pot support during transport so it won’t get lost.
Best Camping Stove For Roasting And Baking
Camp Chef Camp Oven
Roasting and baking outdoors? Heck, yes. This Easy-Bake Oven for grown ups lets you bring all the tools of home cooking to the campsite. A 400-degree Fahrenheit oven and two high-output, windscreen-protected 7,500 BTU burners on this camping stove mean you can whip up a batch of cinnamon rolls and bacon while brewing coffee. Or better yet, impress your friends and family with a roast chicken dinner outdoors.
The oven easily lights via a push button piezo ignitor on the front face, while the auto-ignite range burners operate much like your home gas stove so you don’t have to worry about bringing matches. That said, the range pot supports work best with larger pots and pans.
With no internal temperature gauge, you need to keep an eye on what you are baking or those maple pecan sticky buns can go from not quite cooked to overdone rather quickly. The oven fits up to a 9-inch by 13-inch quarter sheet pan, so roughly half the size of your average home oven. The two oven racks easily move between three different levels depending on what you are baking.
The Camp Chef Camp Oven is best for those that want to up their camp cooking game and make things like lasagna, bread, pizza, frittata, cinnamon rolls and even cake in addition to the standard two-burner fare.
Best Single Burner Camping Stove
Single burners are your breakfast powerhouses. Compact and lightweight, they enable you to brew up tea and coffee, flip some pancakes, simmer a pot of oatmeal or get fancy with chilaquiles all before your campmates roll out of bed. Our favorite in this category is the Jetboil HalfGen, not only because of its powerful 10,000 BTU burner that can boil a liter of water in just over four minutes (faster if using Jetboil’s 5L Flux Pot), but also because of its full simmer control which puts camp risotto and paella squarely on the menu. But if something does boil over due to human error, the parts are easy enough to take apart and clean.
The stove sets up in seconds by simply connecting a standard 16.4-ounce propane bottle to the fuel hose. For those that enjoy winter camping, never fear, as the built in regulator ensures the burner output remains consistent down to 20 degrees Fahrenheit.
Like Jetboil’s dual-burner Genesis, the HalfGen features a JetLink port so you can link up multiple compatible stoves to run off the same fuel source in order to brew coffee while cooking up some bacon. The system comes with a 9-inch ceramic coated fry pan, cutting down on the need to buy extra gear for basic cooking. We found it also works well with a 12-inch cast iron skillet for those looking to get a little more creative.
While the fuel regulator hose is not permanently attached, everything fits nicely into the included carry-case for easy transport and storage. And for those campsite beverages, the security straps feature a built-in bottle opener so you are never left high and dry.
Best Lightweight Camping Stove
Whether you are backpacking, bikepacking, climbing or just want a stove to make some coffee on your next sunrise adventure, the compact yet efficient Primus Firestick easily fits into a coat pocket, a mesh water bottle pocket, backpack or a bike bag.
The camping stove twists on to the top of any gas canister and fires up with the included single-hand-use piezo igniter. Three pot supports open like a flower, blocking wind and channeling heat up towards the pot. A pressure regulator ensures consistent output even in cold weather or when you might be running low on fuel. A powerful 8530 BTU flame can boil a liter of water in four and a half minutes, or can be lowered to simmer a delicate sauce. We used the camping stove’s wool storage pouch as a pot holder to keep from burning hands when grabbing hot pots off the top.
The camping stove comes in two versions—the stainless steel weighs a scant 3.7 ounces or if you are an ounce-counting ultralighter, go for the titanium version at 3.1 ounces. Pair the camping stove with the Primus Essential Trek Pots and you have a full backcountry kitchen setup. On some recent bikepacking trips through England and Scotland, we used this camping stove to whip up everything from morning coffee and ramen to chicken pesto pasta for two.
Best For Cold Weather Or High Altitude
MSR WhisperLite Universal
Take a peek into any mountaineer’s or polar explorer’s pack and you will find an MSR Whisperlite stove. Guaranteed. First introduced in 1984, this camping stove has stood the test of time for good reason; it’s reliable, works in extreme conditions, and is easily repairable in the field. Since its inception, MSR has taken on feedback over the years to take a proven camping stove platform and make it even better. The resulting Whisperlite Universal is now the lightest, most versatile hybrid fuel stove out there.
The stove works with canister fuel, white gas, kerosene, and unleaded gas, ensuring you can find fuel wherever you find yourself in the world. When using canister gas instead of the pump-pressurized fuel bottle, the included canister stand enables the stove to run on an inverted canister (liquid fuel mode) for improved cold weather and low fuel performance.
Wide stainless steel legs and serrated pot supports add stability to the camping stove, especially when used with larger pots or pans. The legs and pot supports fold flat to store compactly inside most MSR cooksets with room to spare.
Over time, the small fuel opening can naturally become clogged by pieces of solidified fuel that has not vaporized. Much like MSR’s water filters, all you need to do is give it a simple shake to clean, with no need for disassembly or tools.
Best For Those That Want a No Frills Water Boiler
Decathlon Forclaz Trek 100
Decathlon, one of the largest sports retailers in the world, is known for its Trader Joe’s-esque approach to outdoor retail with quality and most importantly affordable gear. The Forclaz Trek 100 camping stove is a prime example. Clocking in under $30, it won’t break the bank but gives you everything you need to boil water or cook basic meals outdoors.
The camping stove weighs just 6.5 ounces and comes in a sturdy plastic case so it remains protected inside your backpack. The user-friendly design simply screws onto the top of any canister gas and lights via an integrated piezo ignition—no need for matches or a lighter.
While you may not get advanced features like simmer control, the stove can boil a liter of water in less than four minutes, perfect for that morning cup of coffee or pot of ramen on the trail.
Best Wood Burning Camping Stove (That Charges Gadgets At The Same Time)
BioLite CampStove 2
Don’t want to carry fuel with you on your next outdoor adventure? The BioLite CampStove 2 uses fan-powered combustion technology to efficiently burn sticks, pine cones, wood scraps, pellets or other biomass so you can not only boil water in minutes and cook food, but also charge your gadgets at the same time.
While your fire is going inside the chamber, waste heat is captured and converted into electricity via a thermoelectric generator that powers a fan and sends electricity to a USB charging port. The internal fan injects air back into the burn chamber, dramatically improving combustion and creating a cleaner, more efficient burn.
This flame delivers 3 Watts of power to recharge your phone, headlamp or other gadgets. Anything left over is stored in the 3,200-mAh internal battery pack which you can pre-charge at at home if you want a head start.
The size of the flame is controlled via four fan speeds, while a multicolor LED dashboard gives you real-time feedback on the strength of your fire, the fan level, and the power available to you to charge your gadgets. When not in use, everything packs up to the size of a Nalgene bottle.