Finding the best camping stove can be a daunting prospect because there are so many options to choose from for all sorts of different outdoor scenarios. However, it's easy to narrow down the options and find the perfect portable cooker for your outdoor adventures.
Ideally, you'll want something light and portable enough to carry around with you (unless you're car camping, in which case the sky's the limit) and which is robust enough for you to use wherever you set up camp. And considering the potential challenges of cooking outdoors in the dark at the end of a long hike, you'll want something easy to use.
Read on to see our selection of the best camping stoves, and while you're organising your outdoor dining setup, take a look at our guides to the best camping cookware sets, best camping chairs, and perhaps the best camping lanterns too (cooking in the dark is no fun for anyone).
Best camping stove to buy right now
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For ease of use, convenience of carry and speed of application, there really is no other camping stove on the market that can hold a candle to the Jetboil Flash – so long, that is, you’re happy with a one-pot cooking system entirely based around boiling water or quickly heating other liquids such as soups and sauces. For us, this covers almost all the bases we need when we're backpack camping and enjoying other overnight escapades (aside from car camping when we bust out a two-burner set-up).
Jetboil's Flash is a phenomenally efficient and fast stove for boiling water, so we can get a cup of tea and a freeze-dried meal sorted in a matter of seconds, which is so important when you make camp, especially when you’re cold and tired – it can genuinely be an absolute game changer in some circumstances, transforming the experience from bleak to blissful.
Read our full Jetboil Flash review.
Extremely lightweight and small enough to be popped inside a camping mug, the Soto WindMaster is a quick and efficient blaster for boiling water in even the most challenging weather conditions, but it can also be used to rustle up far fancier feasts when you are out exploring. Weight-watching backpackers, bikepackers, fastpackers, and climbers will all absolutely love this versatile stove, which is so simple to use and offers a huge amount of functionality and stability. Considering its classy design, robust build and wide range of applications, the price tag is also very reasonable.
Read our full Soto WindMaster 4-Flex Stove review.
Best for car camping
The Campingaz Camping Chef DLX Stainless Infrared Gas Stove is a perfect blend of old-school design and modern features. It's portable but big enough to fit two decent size pans simultaneously, and thanks to the double 1500W output and the 1500W infrared grill, you can cook whatever you want on it fast.
Once you've done cooking, the unit will cool down quickly and cleaning the Camping Chef DLX is also a breeze. Better still, you can easily fold it up and transport it, thanks to the suitcase-style integrated carry case. It might not be small enough to fit into a hiking backpack, but it's an excellent solution for car camping (and balcony cooking sessions).
Simple to use and very portable, the Campingaz Twister Plus PZ isn't the smallest or lightest camping stove here, but you can just about stuff it in a big pocket (don't forget to put a gas cartridge in your backpack), and it'll do the job for one or two people. It has a built-in lighter, so that's one less thing to worry about, and it'll happily boil a litre of water in 3-4 minutes. The lack of wind protection means you might need to pack a portable windshield as well, but overall this is a fantastic little stove at an easily affordable price point.
Read our full Campingaz Twister Plus PZ review.
Best for durability
Primus knows a few things about stoves, and the Primus Firestick is a good example of great engineering combined with the very best in stove technology. There are a variety of clever things going on in this relatively small and light gas stove, which all come together to make something greater than the sum of the parts.
The stainless steel pot supports fold around the central gas burner like flower petals, protecting the delicate bits with a steel shroud that's both practical and, dare we say, it's beautiful. Hidden deep in those delicate bits is a regulated valve, which means you get a consistent burn as the gas canister empties, making flame control much easier and less annoying in general.
This is all good news, but the real cherry on top is that the inevitable piezo igniter is in a separate pencil-style unit, allowing you to leave it at home when it breaks. Oh, and one last thing – the woollen storage pouch is designed to be used as a pot gripper. The end result is everything that good outdoor equipment should be – easy to use but pleasant to handle, multi-purpose without being impractical, and entirely reliable. A genuine keeper of a stove that you'll use time and time again.
The Primus PrimeTech 2.3L is a gas stove with a difference... or three. As an integrated system, this takes all the trial and error out of a setup: just add gas, and you're ready to cook up an outdoor storm. As a 'system' cooker, it builds in a variety of efficiencies that save fuel and helps fight some of the issues all gas cookers suffer from.
Firstly, one of the two non-stick 2.3L pans has a heat exchanger in the base, there’s a built-in wind guard to keep heat where you want it, and the built-in burner has a regulator to help smooth out gas delivery. This is particularly useful as the gas canister empties, but also at altitude or in cold conditions. That 'remote' gas canister can be insulated from the cold ground, too, unlike traditional 'stand-up' gas stoves.
Because the PrimeTech has a broad base, it's also very tough to accidentally knock over, making this a great option for family weekends away as well as more serious 2-5 person mini-expeditions. With included tongs and a built-in igniter, this is an entire kitchen in a stuff sack – add a spork apiece, and you’re set for adventure. The only disadvantage here is the kilo-plus weight, but you'll tote less gas than with other setups thanks to the efficiency and split between 2-5 people, and it's not such a burden.
The BioLite CampStove 2+ is a bit of a special proposition: it's a stove that runs on twigs and sticks, and it includes an integrated battery that charges from the heat and can, in turn, be used to juice up your outdoor gadgets. If you don't have a ready supply of wood, pellets can be subbed in, but the joy of this really is in the gathering and the 'back to nature' vibe. In our review, we were impressed with how well-designed and robust this little stove feels and how efficiently it turned our scavenged wood into a hot dinner.
The onboard battery generates 3W of continuous power, some of which is used to run a powerful fan system that ensures a clean burn, with four fan speeds controllable via the funky LED dashboard on the side. An articulated USB light, included with the stove, can be connected to illuminate your cooking efforts if you end up making dinner after dark. There are a few other accessories you can bundle in, the most useful of which is definitely the KettlePot, into which the stove itself slots for easy storage. It's not small, and it's not light, but for car campers, there's plenty to love about this clever camping stove design.
Read our full BioLite CampStove 2+ review.
Best for wild camping
The Vango Atom encapsulates all the reasons gas stoves are so popular, as well as their shortcomings. Very packable (6x4cm folded), lightweight (66g), and with no igniter to fail, this is as simple as stoves get, while still knocking out a potent 3000W that’ll boil a litre of water in 3.5minutes. When weight is a concern (backpacking, trekking, mountaineering) this is an ideal candidate. The drawbacks are the potential for instability when fully-laden with a big pan of dinner, and the fact that gas isn’t ideal in low temperatures or at altitude. However, for everything else this is well worth a look, especially at such a reasonable price.
The Coleman Fyrestorm PCS (Personal Cooking System) is our top pick of the best camping stoves because it’s a compact, all-weather all-rounder that delivers a lot of features for its wallet-friendly price. The main body of the stove is a gas burner and generous 1.3L cooking pot, with a hose out to the gas cartridge, which has plenty of benefits.
The external gas cartridge increases stability of the main pot, as it has a lower centre of gravity, and in cold conditions the gas cartridge can be kept warm off the ground, preventing gas pressure drop from cold. The burner has wind protection built-in, and also traps as much heat as possible, adding to efficiency. Coleman claims a 2200W output and a fast boil time of just over four minutes in no wind, increasing to six minutes 35 seconds when the winds get up.
A built-in igniter also cuts down on extra faffery, and another neat touch is being able to peg the stove feet down if required for extra stability. There are lighter stoves out there, but the convenience of the Coleman will really make a difference after a long day.
How to choose the best camping stove for you
The best camping stove for you is a broad question indeed, with a huge variation in performance and fuel types on the market. An important question to consider is just how vital your stove is. Although the same gas burner might work as well, melting snow on an overnight bivvy in the Alps as it does making tea after a long walk in Kent, the consequences of failure are somewhat different. It’s worth bearing in mind that if you invest in one of the best camping stoves, it should last for decades, so spending a few pounds more will pay off in the longer run.
Factors such as the size of your group, what you’ll be cooking, the time of year you’ll be camping and at what altitude all come into play, as well as the cost and/or availability of fuel. Broadly, the first big decision is fuel type (gas, liquid or solid), which influences the type of heat you’ll be dealing with and, thus, what you can cook on it.
What are the main types of camping stove?
There are three main types of fuel when it comes to camping stoves: solid fuel camping stoves, liquid fuel stoves and canister gas stoves. Solid fuel stoves are intended for very light duties such as boiling water and are relatively simple to use, except in high winds when they become almost useless.
Liquid stoves can burn a myriad of liquid fuels, from paraffin to solvents and petrol. These have low running costs and are excellent for longer expeditions and in remote places where fuel may be scarce. Liquid stoves are also the only choice for higher altitudes (2000m+), as the lower pressure doesn’t affect them, and are also brilliant in full winter conditions where gas canisters can freeze up and lose pressure.
On the downside, they require maintenance and are more fiddly to operate, although modern stoves don’t require the same lengthy priming operations as many older models.
Most commonly, canister gas stoves are the popular choice, being simple to light and offering good flame control. Options range from heavy catering appliances through to incredibly lightweight burners, so there is quite literally a gas stove for every situation.
Alongside the style of the stove, you also need to consider its stability. Anyone who’s had the misfortune of knocking a full dinner onto the floor when out in the wild knows it can be devastating. If you've got little ones running around your camp, you may want to avoid lighter travel camping stoves and opt for a stronger tabletop alternative instead.