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July 16, 2021

How to Choose The Best Camping Stove for Your Next Trip

I know folks who make gourmet meals while camping. Scones, bacon and eggs, even pies. Whether that’s something you like to do or you prefer the convenience of dehydrated meals, you’re likely going to want warm food and hot coffee while out on your adventures. Many people who usually cook on campfires are running into increasingly stringent fire restrictions as a result of historic drought. Investing in a stove will allow you to keep cooking even without a campfire! Stoves are a great item to buy and sell used, as your style of cooking and needs from a stove may change. If you are thinking about buying camping kitchen gear, here are so many choices for the backcountry chef and minimalist alike. Let’s dive into the options!

Propane Stove:

These fold out double burner stoves are very popular for car camping. Their resemblance to a gas stove from home makes cooking on them easy and familiar. They are great for packing into your car and setting up on a picnic table. The green propane fuel bottles are easy to find at outdoor retailers and allow for easy cooking when you’re outside. If you like to make full meals while camping, you’ll love the convenience and ease of a double burner propane stove. 

Canister Compressed Gas Stoves:

The most common model of compressed gas stove is the JetBoil, though many retailers make these compact stoves with and without attachable cook pots. The convenience and size of a compressed gas stove makes them a very popular choice in the backcountry. They simply twist onto their fuel cans, and bam, boiled water in minutes! These stoves are the perfect choice for dehydrated food and any meal that just requires boiled water, but they’re not meant
for true cooking. Anything that requires a simmer or slow cook will likely burn or stick, leaving you with a big mess. If you’re a devotee of the Mountain House meals, ramen, or instant mac and cheese, then a compressed gas stove will have you eating in minutes.

Liquid Fuel Pump Stoves:

These lightweight backpacking stoves have great temperature control in the backcountry. Because they use refillable fuel bottles, they are a more eco-friendly option than backpacking stoves that use compressed isobutane canisters. But these advantages also have a few cons. Unlike compressed gas stoves, the liquid fuel has to be pressured by the user pumping the gas manually. Pump stoves are sensitive to particulate getting into their fuel lines, and require a bit more maintenance and effort to get firing up nicely. They need to be primed in advance, so you need to devote the extra time to your cooking process. That being said, if you like to DIY backpacking meals and cook from scratch in the backcountry then this is the stove
for you. 

Alternative Stoves:

Not only does gear technology grow by the minute, but old standbys are great options as well. Solar or charcoal ovens can increase your camping cooking repertoire from hot dogs and pasta to making pies, rolls, or other baked goods. Classic dutch ovens can be buried in coals for a traditionally made stew. BioLite makes miniature pellet stoves that run off small twigs and
debris, an incredible feat in moving away from fossil fuels. If you can dream it up, there’s probably a camping stove that matches your cooking style.

Something to note is that the most common injury while out camping or backpacking is burns from cooking stoves. Always cook on flat surfaces, use care when attaching pieces of your stove not to get fuel on your skin or clothing, and to light stoves cautiously. Be sure to have a first aid kit in case a burn occurs. While stoves present much lower danger of causing wildfire than campfires, that possibility exists every time you light a match or click a lighter. Be very careful with fuel and stoves, for your own safety, and that of the public lands we all love.

We hope you get out there and enjoy a hot meal on the trail! Tag your camp meals with #getrerouted to show us what’s cooking at your camp, and sell any stoves sitting in your garage here on Rerouted to give your old gear a new life. Happy cooking!