Five Important Points to Look For in a Camping Stove

Whether your camping or hiking, there's a stove that's fitting for the occasion. Although all stove serves the same purpose, it's the technical specifications that separate one from the other. And if you wish to foster unforgettable moments -- backed with good food and drinks -- you need to up your camping A-game, starting with knowing the right stove for the job. After all, getting off the grid is not complete without a good meal to share among friends and family.

In this article, we'll tackle some of the essential factors you need to consider in choosing a camping stove. Let's get started!

#1 Know your itinerary: is it camping or backpacking?

The most important thing to do first before swiping your card in a camping store is knowing your itinerary. Ask yourself, are you using a local campsite or you're bound to take the stove down into the deep woods?

Well, the reason is simple: to know which style is more fitting to use -- a camping or backpacking stove.

  • Backpacking stoves are incredibly lightweight to maintain your luggage's weight at a minimum. It has smaller frames to ensure it won't consume much space, and it usually consists of a single burner with limited fuel supply. Therefore, they offer lesser cooking variations compared to larger camping stoves. The rule of thumb in choosing a backpacking stove is lightweight and quick boiling.
  • Camping stoves, on the other hand, are much bulkier and heavier; hence, considerably challenging to carry. It provides a much larger fuel supply and higher heat output. In a sense, they are more like standalone stoves that can support gourmet-style cooking.

#2 Understanding BTU

BTU or British Thermal Unit is one of the qualifiers you need to be aware of before purchasing a stove. To simply put it -- the higher the BTU, the higher the price is.

Here's why:

BTU is the amount of heat energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water by one Fahrenheit. Let's use this as an example. Assuming you have a water jug with one pound of water that has a temperature of 55 degrees. It requires 120 to reach a boil, that will get you a 65 degrees temperature difference, multiply it by 8.33 (weight of one pound of water), you'll get 541.45 BTU.

Science stuff aside, the criterion in choosing a stove depends on how high its BTU is since it entails how powerful and how quick it could boil water. A reasonably powerful stove runs at a minimum of 20,000 BTU, and if you have the budget for it, you can opt for stoves with 30,000 BTU.

#3 Knowing its fuel type

There are two kinds of fuel commonly used in stoves -- the butane and propane. Although there are stoves with swap fuel canisters, and capable of using either gas to produce heat, there's more into it that you need to know.
 
Propane gas has a lower boiling point. When stored in a tank, propane exerts much greater pressure compared to butane; hence it heats water faster and cooks food quicker, especially in the outdoors. Further, propane gas works excellently even in low temperatures.
 
Butane, on the other hand, has a low vapor pressure and has 12% more energy than propane, meaning it enables you to cook longer with less fuel. Most backpackers prefer the use of butane since they're lightweight and affordable. The only drawback is, butane does not work well with high altitudes or low temperatures.
 
So, you see, knowing the type of fuel to use is crucial to your stove's overall functionality. Yes, some stoves work with either of the two, but they come at a stiff price. Understanding how the fuel works in the environment you're bound to explore is a great way to ensure you've chosen the right stove for the job.

#4 Wind resistance

A powerful stove with excellent wind resistance could make a massive difference when it comes to cooking efficiency. Whether you're frying, boiling, or simmering, a good barrier against the wind is necessary since not all the time, you can hack your way through keeping the flame burning.

Look for stoves with large wind fins around the burners or make use of portable windshields that you can place around the base. Before deciding what stove to buy, look at its manufacturer's tag, and see if it provides wind resistance cause you'll be needing it once you're in the outdoors.

#5 Add-ons

A freebie is always lovely to see, especially if you're buying stoves as a package. But is it necessary? Not really.

Going for an all-in-one stove packages is not a make-or-break consideration since you can always sort to buying aftermarket accessories that are much better quality than what's given for free.

Nonetheless, if you're going to choose a quality stove, include the following:

  • Camping Cooking Pot and Pan;
  • Griddle;
  • Portable Cutleries or 4-in-1 Camping Utensil.
You can also opt for stoves that include all-in-one cookware set like this Bisgear Camping Stove with 12 pieces cookware setup.
Carla Arbuckle

Carla is a staff writer for Fishing.org and Shooting.org. She is an avid outdoors enthusiast and photographer. She can be found most weekends fishing and exploring the wilderness.