A warm meal is one of the basic human rights. It shows up in the Constitution right after life or liberty or something. Well, even if no one had the foresight to write it down, being able to heat up bacon should certainly count as one of the inalienable tenets of life on Earth. No matter where you roam, you need the capacity to cook up some grub. This means a good camping stove.
Choosing ones of these stoves isn’t just about grabbing the first hunk of metal that can sit on your engine block and give you warm ravioli out of a can. It is about picking something that can work with your needs. Does it require a gas canister? Can you take it up in to the hills or cart it into battle? Will it be able to handle boiling water and charring meat at the same time? Most importantly: can it cook a pizza? We answer all these questions and more with our 6 best camp stoves.
Coleman Sportster II
Flame On: It’s a Coleman, so it can run on standard white fuel, but don’t think of it as racist. It also takes unleaded gas, which is ideal if you plan on backpacking through Europe or one of the other supposed “continents” that doesn’t have “America” in the name. It has a pump and light construction model that has some wind resistance, so it won’t blow out, but getting it lit can take patience and perseverance. Besides that the solid body construction, leak-proof reservoir, and dent-proof durability make it one of the best items for backpackers.
The body and even the moving parts won’t corrode, which is great news. The trouble comes with temperature control or cooking for more than one person. You can heat enough food for two, provided you don’t care that much about the calorie intake of the person you are traveling with. The tank is a single pint which can run for a couple of hours at top heat but after that, you had better learn to forage. [Purchase: $65]
Camp Chef Everest
Double Trouble: The name of this model is great. If you are lugging this up Everest then you have ignored your Sherpa and tossed your oxygen tanks to make room for this beast. The Everest is meant for long term use by a group. It’s a dual burner that heats fast and sustains power like a champ. It uses propane but is selfish with regulation despite the high maximum heat range. The cooking area is massive and it can boil water in the blink of an eye.
The ability to control the burner temperature is surprising. This doesn’t just work on an on/off sort of rhythm but rather gives you a truly graduated experience that allows you to pump the right number of BTU’s for pasta primavera or sterilizing water for cleaning your wounds. [Purchase: $87]
Solo Stove Titan
Sustainability: Forget about carrying propane or any other gas. Forget about letting the others in your party survive. You shall roast their bones upon the flames of the Titan and laugh. The Titan is a green dream that relies only on the twigs you can find and stuff into the body. Once you get it lit, its inverted downgas system helps recycle the heat through intensive ventilation so that nothing is wasted. It burns inward rather than upward so that heat is contained in a small region.
Survivalists will enjoy this because it means limited fuel is needed. It also produces a lower amount of smoke so you’ll never give away your position to the enemy. The internal heating system is completely windproof. The bottom vent also manages to keep the ashes from starting a secondary fire beneath the apparatus. Easy to fire and forget. [Purchase: $90]
Trangia Methanol Stove
Liquid Fire: Love the smell of napalm in the morning? Well suck it up, camper, this is the best you’re going to get. The Trangia burns wood alcohol which means you won’t get any control over the heat level, but it is much quieter and you won’t have to hunt for fuel. It works much like a sterno pot, though far more efficiently. Rather than using the flame for low-grade heat, you can use it for medium-grade cooking.
The advantage to the Trangia is it is totally silent and any smoke is instantly dispersed. It takes longer to boil water than your propane stoves, but isn’t nearly as heavy and there is no risk of combustion on the trail. Will light in wind and stay lit in mild rain. Just please remember not to drink it. You’ll go blind. [Purchase: $40]
Camp Chef Camping Outdoor Oven
Oven Included: Camp Chef doesn’t quite seem to know what “camping” means. They have created something that is much better than anything a college dorm room has to offer. Here’s the specs: It has 2 separate 7,500 BTU range burners which are lit matchlessly. It has a dual rack oven that goes up to 400 degrees. It can run off of a single 1 pound portable propane tank or be adapted to function with a full on nozzle that can take whatever you dish out. It can run for a full five hours so that you can get your Thanksgiving turkey to…well, it will still be cold, but this is a huge appliance for camping. [Purchase: $190]
BioLite Wood Burning CampStove
Geek Woodsman: You could buy a camping stove that just heats your food. That’s cute and all, but wouldn’t you prefer one that also charges your cell phone or GPS so that you can also call for help or find your way out of the woods? This is a green machine that requires you load it with sticks and twigs, then set it to burning like your caveman brethren. Then, the magic happens. Inside of the stove is a thermoelectric generator so that while you are heating up a meal on the top, you can plug in a portable USB to get your gadgets charging.
It is technically a “rocket” style stove which is meant to reflect heat repeatedly so that none is wasted. The construction is meant to be green and avoid any wasted heat, be it upwards or downwards. Oxygen is recycled and reheated to help keep the flame hot. You can attach a light for some ambiance or perhaps let your iPod set a little mood music for firelight delights. [Purchase: $130]
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