Campfire Cooking Made Easy: A Roundup of the Best Portable Camping Stoves

Key Points

  • Invest in a good camping stove for your next camping trip.

  • Many companies, including Coleman and Jetboil, sell camping stoves.

  • There are various types of camping stoves to choose from.

YouTube star Cowboy Kent Rollins explains the simple beauty of cooking in the Great Outdoors: "If you've got a coffee pot, a skillet, or a 12-inch Dutch oven — and the utensils you need to serve and eat with — well, you've got it made."

Unless you fancy living off the fat of the land and scrounging for food on the forest floor, you probably want to invest in a portable camping stove for your outdoor excursions. Sure, grubs and dandelions fill the belly in a pinch — just ask the friendly woodlands creatures — but so do bacon and eggs.

If you want to gorge on what nature provides, go for it. For the rest of you, get a camping stove.

With a camping stove, a boiling cup of joe or a lovely breakfast hash is right around the corner. Fire up the best camping grill, channel your inner Emeril Lagasse, and "Bam!" You've got a tasty, nutritious breakfast.

Beware. Not every camping stove is worthy of your hard-earned money. Only a few are worth considering. Here are the best pieces of outdoor cooking equipment on the market and one to avoid.

Coleman Classic Propane Stove

Coleman Classic Propane Stove is a reliable backpacking stove. It doesn't blow the competition out of the water with stellar features but gets the job done, plain and simple.

This three-burner beauty is a lightweight camping stove and easy to pack away and set up when tummies rumble. It reliably boils water, heats saucepans, and blocks the wind like a champ.

The windscreens are a neat feature. The one predictable thing about Mother Nature is her utter indifference to your camping trip and comfort. She feels no shame sending a ripping wind through your campsite. The windscreens help you block her shenanigans and continue cooking.

One issue is the lack of auto-ignition, meaning you must bring a flame source like a lighter or matches.

It's affordable at $160. It doesn't matter that it lacks any bells and whistles. Bottom line: This stove is lightweight, reliable, and one of the best campfire cooking kit options.

Jetboil Flash Cooking System

Jetboil Flash Cooking System is a canister camping stove with one purpose: boiling water as quickly as possible. Boy, oh boy, does it do that well.

Almost no camping stove is 100 percent eco-friendly — but more on that later. Propane is a fossil fuel and the primary fuel for camping stoves. Until the day humans invent a solar-powered camping stove, that's the way it's going to be. If you want a decently eco-friendly camping stove, then this is the one. It's efficient but is affected by wind, so keep that in mind when setting it up.

It's small size makes it the perfect backpacking stove. If you're looking for an affordable option and want camping stove efficiency, then get a stove from Jetboil.

Just remember, boiling water is the only thing this canister camping stove does. If you want fried eggs, get a different stove. Do you enjoy a boiled egg for breakfast? This one's for you.

MSR PocketRocket 2

MSR PocketRocket 2 is the most portable camping stove out there. The thing weighs .16 lbs. (2.56 oz.), for goodness sake. Campers seeking lightweight camping stoves look no further. Packability is great, but so is how well this stove works. It's got some impressive abilities.

It simmers water effectively and quickly. Its base isn't the most stable, so keep an eye on this stove when cooking. A quick burst of wind is enough to knock it over. This stove also lacks a piezo lighter, a self-starting mechanism to get the flame going.

It's a lightweight, reliable canister camping stove for 50 bucks. Sure, it doesn't have the latest camping stove technology, but it cooks your food. What else do you need?

BioLite CampStove 2

BioLite CampStove 2 is not just an eco-friendly camping stove — it's 100 percent sustainable. It uses biomass for fuel. Gather up twigs, sticks, and dried moss for fuel to cook your dinner.

The camping stove efficiency is also stellar. The biomass-produced energy doesn't just cook food but also stores in a small battery that can recharge your smartphone. It's a useful feature, but the charging process is pretty slow. The battery's power output isn't enough for larger devices, so leave your flat-screen TV at home.

It's the closest thing to campfire cooking — without a campfire — but there are a few disadvantages to consider.

You're limited by how much biomass is around you. You might not find enough twigs and small sticks, so you better get good at scavaging. This stove requires more maintenance than others because you must periodically clean out the ash build-up.

At $230, it is one of the pricier backpacking stoves, but it's well worth it for those looking to camp, cook, and have zero environmental impact.

Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium Stove

Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium Stove is another canister camping stove. It's a bare-bone option, offering no thrills besides its reliable heat for cooking. This makes it a perfect lightweight camping stove that is easy to pack, sturdy, and cheap at $60.

Like other stoves of this type, the wind is not its friend, and there's no piezo lighter. It doesn't support large pots, so this isn't outdoor cooking equipment that caters to a group. It works best for a solo camper.

Eureka! Ignite Plus 2-Burner Camp Stove

Eureka! Ignite Plus 2-Burner is a two-burner camping stove that provides a large cooking area that isn't easily disturbed by the wind. Larger pots and pans fit side by side on this stove. Such a spacious cooking area comes at a price.

It's a solid hunk of metal with tough latches to protect it when not in use. It has a sturdy steel frame. However, metal is heavy. If you're looking for backpacking stoves you barely feel as you trod the trail, this ain't it, pal.

Conversely, this is a solid choice if you want a reliable two-burner camping stove with ample cooking space and an affordable $160 price tag.

Camp Chef Everest 2 Burner Stove

Camp Chef Everest 2 Burner Stove is another two-burner camping stove worth considering. The burners put out some serious heat, so boiling water and cooking food is quick.

Automatic ignition is such an underrated feature on newer camping stoves, and this stove has an effective one that consistently ignites the fuel. The internal burner regulators are the only place where you might see problems. They're finicky at times.

If you want medium heat to simmer water, you might instead get a rip-roaring flame straight from the dragon's mouth. When adjusting the regulators, keep an eye on the fire to ensure your burner puts out the heat you need.

It's a quality portable camping stove for $127. Enjoy a weekend trip with the family with a stove that allows you to boil water, scramble eggs, and make a stir fry.

If your tummy desires it, this stove cooks it.

Primus Onja Stove

The Primus Onja Stove stands out from the crowd because it looks unique. Even still, it falls behind the crowd because it's a bad stove. There are some blaring gripes that the quirky design doesn't compensate for.

The cutting board is a cool addition not found in other camping stoves. The shoulder strap makes it easier to carry from your car to the campsite. In terms of good things, that's where the buck stops.

The one thing every camping stove must reliably do is be a stove. Seems obvious, but this stove fails to do that in many ways.

The cooking area is small for the size of the stove, and the slightest breeze is sometimes enough to put out the flame. The burner regulator knobs aren't well-made. It's hard to get the perfect amount of heat for your task. Each burner requires its own canister, so you must bring even more fuel to use this stove.

Hopefully, future renditions solve these problems. Until they do, avoid this camping stove.

The Answers Are in the Woods

As self-help author Mary Davis says, "I found far more answers in the woods than I ever did in the city."

The woods offer respite and peace that's hard to find in the city. However, you're still a human. Stay in the woods long enough without a good meal, and soon the only answer you want is to the question, "Where can I get something to eat?"

Maximize your next camping experience by buying quality camping kitchen essentials. Good grub (but not real grubs), great people, and lovely memories are some of the finest things the woods provide.

Check out MyOutdoorGear for more information related to Nature and all Her glory.

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