Choosing a camp stove is a relatively simple task. Understanding the different types of camp stoves as well as which type of fuel they use allows you to narrow down the options, and select the best stove for your needs.
Things to consider when choosing camp stoves
- What fuel types are available in your area.
- The amount of fuel you will need for your trip.
- The estimated burn time for different size fuel containers and camp stoves.
- The type of cooking you plan on doing. Boiling water or more intricate meals.
- The amount of storage space you have available for the camp stove.
Fuel TypesCamp Stoves differ mainly because of the various types of fuel available. The fuel type will affect things such as the ability to cook complex meals, the time required to boil water and the weather conditions in which the stove will function. Another factor to consider it how the fuel must be carried and how easy the fuel is to find, especially when you are far from the big outdoor retailers.
White gas is a very popular liquid fuel and for good reason. It burns cleanly, works in cold temperatures and at high altitudes. It is also inexpensive and is widely available in North America. White gas stoves are usually a little tricky to operate and require regular maintenance. They perform well in windy condition as they can easily be paired with a windscreen. (MSR WhisperLite International)
Canisters – (LPG – Liquid Petroleum Gas)
LPG canister stoves are easy to operate, require very little maintenance and are amongst the smallest camp stoves available. Due to their simplicity, canister stoves are not as suited for more complex cooking as they are less adjustable and have a smaller heating area. They are ideally suited for quickly boiling water and heating simple meals. LPG stoves do not function as well in cold temperatures, as the mixture will not burn evenly, which will significantly reduce burn time and render the canister useless. It is possible to extend the temperature range for the stove by keeping the fuel canister warm in a sleeping bag or jacket. LPG stoves do not perform as well in windy conditions as the use of a windscreen can trap the heat around the canister, which can be very dangerous. Some models avoid this problem by using a fuel line so that the stove is not directly attached to the canister. Since fuel canisters are not reusable, it is inevitable that you will be left with a partially full canister with an unknown amount of fuel. It is a good idea to bring an extra canister when packing a partially used canister on a trip.
Kerosene is a volatile fuel that remains popular as it is one of the most widely available fuel types, especially in more remote areas. Kerosene burns similarly to white gas but is much less clean. The fumes carry a strong odour that can hold to clothing and other fabrics, while the flames leave black soot on cooking pots. It is good practice to keep pots and pans covered when using kerosene, to protect food from the fumes.
Multi-Fuel Camp Stoves
As the name would suggest, multi-fuel stoves are higher end stove models that can burn two or more different fuel types. These camp stoves are extremely useful in times where a single fuel type might not always be easy to find, such as in remote towns, or when travelling long distances through different regions. Stoves that burn only two types of fuel are usually compatible with white gas and kerosene and are called Dual-fuel stoves. Multi-fuel stoves can burn fuels such as liquid petroleum gas or even diesel in addition to white gas and kerosene. These capabilities explain the higher price associated with multi fuel stoves. In many cases however, they are the best option to avoid buying multiple stoves for different fuels. When using multi-fuel stoves, make sure to read the instructions in order to properly adjustment the stove for use with different fuel types.