What is a Camping Stove?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 28 September 2019
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A camping stove is a portable outdoor cooking gadget. There are many different camp stove sizes and weights available, but the two main types are canister and liquid fuel designs. Backpacking stoves are the most compact, lightweight models, while family-size cooking equipment often features several burners. The basic camping stove construction is a metal case-like lid and frame that contains cooking elements as well as lighting features. Camp stoves are made for outdoor use only and should never be used indoors.

Canister styles of camping stoves are considered the easiest to use since the cooking flame can be controlled by turning a knob. Propane, butane or a blend of these two fuels are often used in the canister. The canister typically looks like an oblong-shaped metal piece; it attaches to the burners and is usually located on the outside front of the camping stove.

Liquid fuel camp stoves have a tank that may take white gas or kerosene. It should be noted, however, that the type of fuel these types of camping stoves are designed for depends very much on what heating resources are available in the part of the world in which they are sold. No matter the kind of heating material used, a liquid fuel camping stove has to be started by pumping the tank to pressurize it. It takes more time than a canister stove to get the temperature ready for cooking.


Some family-size camping stove styles are large and sturdy enough to hold big cooking pots, such as those used to boil corn on the cob. Larger outdoor stoves have more than one burner. Many backpacking stoves are so compact that they can fit inside a smaller pot or pan, yet can be folded out into a small, one-burner cooking gadget at the campsite. Backpackers, like campers who haul their outdoor gear on car trips, need to cook outdoors, but as they're hiking and carrying equipment, compact, lightweight stoves are important.

A camping grill is usually considered a great feature of any type of outdoor stove. It's a metal rack designed to fit above the elements; this bonus feature comes with many different brands of camping stoves. While the regular camping stove rack is made to hold pots and pans, a grill is designed for cooking meats such as steaks, hot dogs or hamburgers directly on the metal. A grease pan located under the stove's elements typically collects the drippings.


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Post 4

What is the best camping stove for an extended backpacking trip? I anticipate that I will be able to get more fuel about once every ten days.

I am looking for a stove that is light weight, durable, stable and does a good job of conserving fuel. I will be eating very simple meals so I do not need any fancy features. Functionality and portability are the biggest things for me. What do you guys recommend?

Post 3

It is great to cook out over a fire but there are some things that are just easier to do on an outdoor camping stove. My wife and I like to go car camping and we both like to cook so we usually plan out meals that take advantage of all the great wood smoke flavors you get from a fire but also round the meal out with the practicality of a grill.

It is a lot easier to boil water on a stove than in a fire. If you want to make pasta or rice or some kind of grain or broth is is easier to do on a stove. We have plenty of room in our car so we figure we might as well take along all the gear we need to have the best time we can.

Post 2

How long does one of those little tanks of gas usually last? I would like to get a camping stove but I am concerned that I will burn through tons of gas just trying to make one meal at night.

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