Reviewed: best camping stoves for easy outdoor food
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Reviewed: best camping stoves for easy outdoor food

Jul 09, 2023

We've tested a selection of camping stoves – from small and lightweight burners to big family hobs – to find the top performers. Here's our pick of the best camping stoves around

The right camping stove can make or break a camping trip. Whether you’re wild camping in the mountains or on the coast, or sitting round a portable firepit with a big group of friends, cooking and eating in the great outdoors should be fun. But even if the weather’s not on your side, it should at least be easy.

There is an ideal camping stove for every type of camping holiday, and we’ve tested a broad range in this review to find the best of what’s out there right now, new and established, so you can make an informed decision.

Not sure where to start? Jump to our buyer's guide for information on the different types of camping stoves.

*Reviews edited by Alice Tuffery

Pros: fast, powerful, well designed, fuel efficient

Cons: price

Part-stove-part-cafetiere, the Jetboil Java Flash boils water in 100 seconds and comes with a plunger to make coffee for two. Impressively, the three strips on the side of the container turn orange as the water boils, so you know when it's ready; a great feature for fans of fun camping gadgets.

The Java Flash is readily available in most outdoor stores, compatible with standard 450g gas cartridges and it's easy to use as well. Other benefits include the lightweight, ergonomic and compact design, and the adjustable heat settings. Find out more in our full-length Jetboil Java Flash review.

Best for: backpacking and making quick coffee for two

Pros: large capacity for stove type, effective windshield, powerful, fuel efficient

Cons: bulky, tricky lid, hard to know when water has boiled, sharp connector grooves

Similar in design to the Jetboil, OEX Heiro and MSR Pocket Rocket, Coleman's Fyrestorm has built-in wind protection and an insulated handle, making it ideal for boiling water quickly. In real-world conditions with moderate wind, it boiled 500ml of water in three minutes, so there are faster stoves around. It's also hard to know when it's done, and you risk a steam burn by trying to take the lid off.

The capacity is 1.3L - more than similar models - but it's also bulkier.

The advantages are its extra-long gas cable, non-stick pot and lightweight design. For more details, read our full Coleman Fyrestorm review.

Best for: solo or couples backpacking

Pros: fast, great value, compact, easy assembly, fuel efficient, good wind protection

Cons: tricky handle, no boil indicator

Neat, lightweight and easy to use, the advantages of this stove are clear to see from the off. In design, it rivals the Jetboil, MSR Pocket Rocket and Coleman Fyrestorm as a solo camping stove.

We appreciated the windshield, and while the stove as a whole felt stable once we'd put it together, the thin folding handles weren't quite strong enough to twist off the pot. Instead, you can grip the neoprene-insulated pot, as it won't scold you. The lid also fell off during pouring, so there are a couple of design faults here.

On the plus side, this is a great-value camping stove, and it boils 500ml water in two minutes. You can find out more in our extensive OEX Heiro review.

Best for: solo backpacking

Pros: compact, folds away neatly, lightweight, good value, powerful, built-in ignition

Cons: no wind protection, so not fuel efficient

Simple, powerful and affordably-priced, Highlander's Triplex camping stove is a great option for backpackers on a budget. It's designed for solo use and folds up into a tiny black carry pouch.

The stove is easy to set up in under a minute, and boils 500ml of water in five minutes (tested during moderate wind conditions). We particularly appreciated the built-in ignition button, which means you don't have to risk burning yourself with a lighter in high winds.

Other big plus points include the grippy rubber leg pads for stability and the adjustable heat control dial.

Best for: solo backpackers, wild campers and the occasional festival goer

Pros: lightweight, durable, comes with carry case, easy to use, stable

Cons: 500ml capacity, no pan lids, less compact than other stoves

Seasoned campers will probably be familiar with Trangia. Here, all the bowls and pans stack together for easy storage, and while this set does come with a pan handle, there aren't any lids, so you'll need to use an upturned pan to boost the stove's efficiency.

You can use this set with a small spirit burner or a standard EN417 screw-on gas cartridge, but make sure you move fast once you've lit it or you'll risk burns. Then, use the dial to adjust the heat inside.

We'd recommend this as one of the best camping stoves for regular campers and festivalgoers, but if you don't want to spend more than £50, try Easy Camp's Storm Cooker.

For more information, see our full-length review of the Trangia 25 cookset.

Best for: days out in nature, festivals, single-day hikes

Pros: no gas required, lightweight, quick and efficient, easy to use

Cons: bulky if backpacking, harder to get going in rain, potentially dangerous

An unfussy, survival-style design gives this stove the feel of Army-issue mess gear. It's named after its 19th-century inventor, Irish fisherman Patrick Kelly, and more recently has been sent to thousands of sheltering civilians in war-torn Ukraine.

The tubular 'kettle' sits above the fire pot, which you load with twigs, bark and leaves. It sucks in air through its ventilation holes to feed the flames and create a tunnel of heat - so don't be tempted to look down through the kettle!

Although the kit itself is fairly bulky, and comes with a pot, pan and griddle, you can save some weight as you won't need to bring a gas canister with you.

We found it performed well once lit, boiling 500ml of water in three minutes. Read our full Kelly Kettle review or see our tips on how to light the perfect fire when you're ready to get started.

Best for: days out, short walks or camping with a car

Pros: very cheap, compact, lightweight

Cons: impractical, hard to control heat, invites injury, requires wind shelter

If you're on a serious budget, you might want to consider Highlander's solid fuel cooker - but it's not without flaws.

Putting it together is easy; just unfold it into the H-shaped sand and add a fuel tablet (the pack comes with four). They take four minutes to boil 500ml of water, so they're slower than gas stoves.

The lack of wind protection does cause some safety issues once you've lit the tablet. You can't touch the stove to move it, and then removing a cooking pan is tricky too - even with oven gloves on. Admittedly, you could use it behind a wind-proof shelter, but you'd need to make one yourself each time.

Best for: survival challenges and solo backpackers on a serious budget

Pros: no gas required, attractive, excellent design, versatile

Cons: heavy, takes time to heat up, scorches grass, cost, fuel is bulky

Made from sturdy, rust-resistant stainless steel and coming in at just over 6kg, this camping stove is a high-quality bit of kit, best-suited to leisure campers and fans of traditional outdoor cooking. It's not the fastest stove on the market - it takes around 20 minutes to heat up and then five minutes for the Dutch oven to boil water - but it's a great option for relaxed evenings outdoors.

The stove doubles as a grill and firepit, so you can continue using it throughout the evening, and you can slot Petromax's Dutch oven inside to cook stews, pies, bread and even pizza.

What's more, set-up is a dream. Just pull up the handle to expand the stove and pop out the three sturdy legs. We opted to test this stove with charcoal briquettes, which let you control the heat better than with wood, and the ventilation holes do a great job of sucking up air around the drum.

Best for: family or leisure camping

Pros: good power when working, lightweight

Cons: not durable, windshield ineffective, no carry case – box is bulky

Outwell's Olida gas stove can offer two cooking burners, good heat control and a budget-friendly price tag, but does feel rather flimsy out of the box. It has two clip-on windshields for protection, but they won't save you in high winds.

We also struggled to pack it down neatly after testing; there's no carry case for easy storage and transportation.

As for performance, the Olida takes five minutes to boil 500ml of water in a lidded pan, so it's not the fastest stove out there either. All in all, we'd be tempted to spend a little more for a slightly sturdier and more ergonomic camping stove - we rated Campingaz's Kitchen 2 Grill and Go.

Best for: short leisure or family camping trips

Pros: well designed, quality, ergonomic feel, versatile, carry case

Cons: price, not compact

While Campingaz's dual burner stove is priced higher than similar alternatives, we'd say its high-quality construction, clever features and versatility makes it worth the extra investment.

Thanks to the smart, sleek design, this stove looks great and easily packs away into its handy carry bag for fuss-free storage. The knobs are great quality and Campingaz has built in a safe hold in each corner to help you avoid burnt fingers when pressing the ignition.

The set comes with a griddle and a flatplate grill for versatility. We were also impressed with its adjustable heat control, which lets you boil 500ml of water in two and a half minutes, as well as the windshield, which we tested on a moderately windy day.

Best for: family or leisure camping

Pros: cheap, simple, user friendly, carry case, powerful

Cons: bulky, not much wind protection, not very fuel efficient

Priced at just £18, this basic camping stove is a favourite among students, festivalgoers and budget campers. In fact, Halfords has been making it for decades. While it's probably too bulky for backpacking and not versatile enough for family camping, it's worth considering if you're after a simple, budget-friendly stove.

Set-up is easy and involves slotting your gas cartridge into the canister holder inside the stove. It uses Butane push-in A4 gas cartridges, which are less environmentally friendly than bigger versions, and you'll need a few if you're away for more than a couple of days.

On one side you'll find a little windshield, and in moderate wind we boiled 500ml of water in just two minutes, 20 seconds, which puts it next to the Jetboil and OEX Heiro for power, although it's less fuel efficient. There's also a carry case for storage.

Best for: first-time leisure campers or festivalgoers

There are three types of camping stove – take a moment to read the pros and cons of each before you buy.

Camping gas stoves are the most common, available widely in outdoors shops and even some supermarkets. They take a mix of butane/propane, attached either by a screw-on or click-on cartridge, usually 450g worth. They have the advantage of being lightweight, portable and easy to get hold of; however it can be tricky knowing how much gas you’ve got left.

Stoves with more than one burner will usually take a larger refillable cannister, which can be bought and refilled at some garages. This is better for the environment and lasts longer – you just have to make sure you buy a regulator to fit.

Liquid fuel stoves burn methylated spirits or paraffin. They’re easy to light, but take longer to cook as they don’t burn very hot. The Trangia can be bought with one of these, however we tested the gas cartridge version as that is more common and easier to control.

Solid fuel stoves such as the Kelly Kettle or the Petromax Atago can take dry twigs, pine cones, strips of cardboard packaging and even a bit of candle wax to get the fire going. The Petromax crosses over into portable firepit territory, as it can be fuelled with charcoal briquettes and used as a grill or portable oven, and then loaded up with logs after dinner has been made.

We also tested the very basic £5 Highlander stove, which takes Hexamine tablets as a heat source.

It’s worth remembering that ultra-compact and light backpacking stoves, like the Highlander, Triplex or Jetboil are often essentially water heaters for the trail, used for making a dehydrated meal rather than for frying eggs. The value is in how quickly they can boil the water and how they perform in windy conditions.

Other stoves come with heat exchanger systems: little collars that basically help trap the heat between the flame and the pot, making them more fuel efficient.

Absolutely not, under any circumstances. Fire risk aside, all stoves release carbon monoxide, which could poison you.

Stocking up for your next adventure? See our selection of the best camping kettles you can buy today.

Tanya Jackson is a freelance writer with a passion for outdoor family adventure such as walking, cycling and camping. She finds it relaxing to cook in the open air, because no-one has to mind their table manners or be careful not to spill their drinks. Her favourite quick snack is a pot noodle (other instant noodle brands are available).

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