Anyone who’s ever pitched a tent knows the value of the right bit of kit. For the true camping experience, nothing beats cooking your own food over a fire. For most scenarios, a portable gas stove is the practical solution to this.
Choosing the product which best suits your needs streamlines the whole camping experience, so we’ve looked at a variety of portable models to recommend a stove for differing requirements.
Which camping stove should I buy?
When making your purchase, make sure you have the correct gas bottle, hose and regulator. The models listed here all have hose and regulator included where necessary – you’ll just need to buy the gas.
With so many on the market and options ranging from budget to blowout, it’s worth having an idea of how you’re going to use your stove.
The main considerations are weight, size and how they hold up in blustery conditions. You also need to think about what you’ll be heating – if it’s just your morning cup of tea, then a pocket-sized burner covers that.
For one-pots, a single burner will suffice, but if you plan to put together more elaborate dishes or you want to make your cuppa and fry-up simultaneously, then a double burner will be better suited.
Some brands offer cookware as part of the kit, or different styles of cooking such as griddle, grill or wok. Read on to discover our top camping stoves.
Best camping stoves to buy
Campingaz Party Grill 400CV camping stove
Best camping stove for versatile cooking
An ideal choice for the enthusiastic camping cook, this stove offers a variety of cooking options for four to six people. We used the cast-iron griddle plate to cook beautifully char-lined vegetables. The hot plate works well for a fry-up. There’s also a grill and heat diffuser, and the lid can be used as a wok. It all packs into a ball in a handy carry case that’s around 5kg – not exactly lightweight, but worth it for the gourmet possibilities.
Coleman FyreStorm PCS camping stove
Best compact camping stove
We loved the all-in appeal of this diminutive stove. Weighing only 486g, it has everything you need, and a small gas canister (not included) can be popped inside the main body for easy transport. It includes a lidded 1.3l pot snugly wrapped in an insulated sleeve with a handle that doubles as a carry case. There’s also an effective screw-on windshield – our water boiled in an impressive six minutes. As a kit, it’s ideal for simple heating (for one) or to brew a cup (for two). Take additional cookware to rustle up a more ambitious one-pot meal.
Halfords portable gas stove
Best budget camping stove
This stove couldn’t be easier to use, with a canister that slots into the body, simple temperature dial and piezo ignition (which lights the gas with an electrical spark). There’s wind protection close enough to the flame to be really effective and it easily tackled boiling and frying in windy conditions, performing better than many of the more expensive options. It comes in a carry case and at 1.85 kg is pretty light.
Outwell Olida stove
Best double burner camping stove
We chose this product for ease of use. Hose and regulator are included, unlike some other brands of larger stove, meaning you only need to attach a gas canister and you’re ready to go. Folding up the lid and flaps either side, we found the burners were shielded from the blast of a fan, especially with two pots on the go. A carry case would have been a good addition but with neat dimensions for a double burner (47 x 32cm) and weighing 4.4kg, it still gets points for portability.
Primus Primetech stove set
Best all-in camping stove
There’s a reason why Primus has stood the test of time. This is a well-thought-out piece of equipment with two 2.3l cooking pots (one hard anodised and the other a non-stick ‘heat exchanger’), detachable handle, windshield and burner all nestled together in a neat carry case. We were particularly impressed with the heat exchanger pan which reduced an already efficient boiling time from 6½ mins to 4½ mins. Suitable for 2-5 people, weight 870g.
How we tested camping stoves
We tested a representative range of camping stoves and marked them against the following criteria on our testing matrix. We cooked a fry-up and boiled a litre of water without a lid, creating windy conditions using a large fan.
Portability: We looked for stoves that were easy to transport with a sensible weight/capacity ratio.
Power: Boiling water gave us a good indication of how much power a stove could generate.
Wind shielding: We chose products that could cook our food even when the wind is up.
Safety: Stability and safety features were given extra points.
Capacity: We considered capacity versus size. Big isn’t always best, but versatility caught our attention.
Cleaning: We gave extra points to stoves that were easy to clean or could be taken apart for washing-up.
Added features: These were a bonus only where their addition outweighed extra bulk.
Take some basic precautions to ensure you’re using your gas stove safely. Check all equipment is in good working order. We’d recommend looking at the safety precautions and instructions for your specific stove, as they will vary.
Never cook inside your tent as the stove releases poisonous carbon monoxide fumes. Keep an eye on the flame to ensure any wind hasn’t blown it out, and we recommend giving a brand-new stove a trial build at home to ensure you have the right fuel.
Only change the gas cartridge when the stove is cold and in a well-ventilated area. Always remove the cartridge while travelling.
Summer equipment on test
Camping recipes and tips
This review was last updated in July 2020. If you have any questions, suggestions for future reviews or spot anything that has changed in price or availability, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Lead photograph: Getty Images