There are many types of cookers with different characteristics and operating conditions, it must be chosen based on some factors. So, choose the best portable camping stove here.
A portable stove must basically be light, compact, but it must also be easy to find the fuel to make it work. It is also essential to know the regulations in force in the area where you want to go (for example, in some states it is forbidden to use camping gas stoves).For this I have made a list explaining the characteristics of the various stoves on the market and what their advantages or disadvantages are.
Gas stove with cylinder
This type of stove is very suitable for permanent camping, it is normally equipped with two or three burners that allow you to cook very comfortably almost as if you were at home. It is usually used by those who practice permanent camping in a car or camper. For these types of stoves, normal kitchen cylinders are used, refillable with different capacities.
- Convenience and ease of cooking
- Low price of gas, in fact the cylinders can be refilled and therefore only the cost of the fuel is paid.
- Size and weight.
- Difficulty of assembly
- Suitable for stable and non-nomadic camping
The bistro stove is the classic stove suitable for those who practice camping in a camper, with camperized vans or in a car. It is quite light but its main feature is that it contains the gas cartridge (cylinder). So you don’t need to bring anything else.
It is very convenient especially because its design and functionality are very similar to those of a home cooker. To use it, simply insert the cartridge, lock it, naturally place the stove on a flat surface and you can start cooking.
- much more compact, lighter and easier to use than a stove with a large cylinder
- The gas cartridge is inside the stove
- The cartridges are readily available in Italy
- Dimensions and weight: it takes up much more space than a camp stove and is heavier
- Cartridges are difficult to find abroad.
- You need to find a flat and stable surface where you can place it.
Cartridge gas stove
This type of stove is very comfortable and easy to use, the stove is attached to a canister containing gas (also called cartridge normally from 100 to 500 gr). These cartridges are filled with butane and propane blends. You have the possibility to adjust the flame and in some models, there is also piezoelectric ignition. The fuel is readily found in Western Europe, North America, Australia, and other Eastern European countries. But it is almost impossible to find it in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. There are models in which the cartridge is positioned under the stove and therefore acts as the main support and models in which the stove rests on the ground and the cartridge is connected via a flexible tube.
- Ease of use.
- Immediate ignition.
- The power of the adjustable flame.
- Not suitable for use at low temperatures because the gas mixture has difficulty vaporizing
- In some cases, poor compatibility between cartridges and cookers from different manufacturers. (there are adapters)
- When the cartridge is empty it becomes waste and must be disposed of (not abandoning it in nature).
- If the cartridge runs out before cooking is complete, you must wait for the stove to cool down to change it.
This stove has the ability to work with different liquid fuels (petrol, diesel, alcohol, etc …). It is very suitable for those traveling in areas where it is difficult or almost impossible to find gas cartridges and is recommended for long journeys, in fact, using liquid fuels such as gasoline, which is found practically everywhere, it can also be used in less supplied areas. of services. Ignition takes longer because the fuel has a pre-heating phase which is generally done by putting a little fuel on the saucer under the nozzle to be able to bring it up to temperature and it is a little noisier than gas ones.
Some models have an integrated tank under the stove, others have a separate metal bottle that is connected to the stove via a hose. Using fuel such as gasoline, they heat up a lot and it is easy to burn or get food to stick to the pot, so it is advisable to use non-stick pans.
Each time the stove is used, the fuel must be brought to operating pressure by means of a special pump to maintain the necessary operating pressure, it must be pumped periodically.Advantages:
- It also works in cold temperatures and at high altitudes.
- Easy to find and economical fuel.
- The fuel has a very low freezing temperature.
- It has a higher starting price than a cartridge gas stove.
- It has a less immediate ignition and more laborious than those with gas cartridges.
- Requires more frequent cleaning and maintenance.
- During use, periodically, the fuel must be kept under pressure.
This type of portable stove is one of the lightest, usually aimed at those who have to cook for one, a maximum of two people, and faces excursions with little transport space. It uses the very common denatured ethyl alcohol (you can use almost all types of alcohol from pink to food), to be precise, the stove runs on alcohol vapors so its perfect functioning occurs when it is fully heated. The most famous model on the market is that of the Swedish company Trangia (or its clones) which is distributed by Ferrino in Italy. This model has the ability to contain the fuel inside during transport. On the market, it is sold very often in kits with pots and windbreak that also acts as a pot rest.
- Very light
- Fuel easily available in many countries and low price
- Very low stove price.
- The stove also acts as an alcohol container
- The combustion produces no residues or odors and both the windbreak and the pot are easy to clean.
- Due to its low heat production it can be used (only in cases of extreme necessity and with great care) inside the tent.
- Little power and enough for one or two people maximum.
- At low temperatures, its calorific value is greatly reduced.
- The low production of heat can make food cooking long.
Self-built alcohol stove
This type is very common among all those hikers who are attentive to the weight of their equipment, in fact, it is very light, very cheap and it is quite easy to build it, if you want to see how it’s done, read “ Do-it-yourself alcohol stove ”.
There are many types although the most common models are usually built with two bottoms of empty cans of soft drinks or beers (33 or 50cl) usually take 5-7 minutes to boil half a liter of water.
There are two variants of this stove, the classic one like the one that Ferrino sells which is an “open jet” that is much easier to ignite through the central chamber, but is much less efficient because the alcohol vapors are also generated from the central chamber. creating the right mixture of alcohol and air and it is much more difficult to build it. The other model is the “pressurized” which is what I built, this model is easier to build, it has a higher efficiency because the alcohol vapors can only come out under pressure through the nozzles where the mixing with air and combustion is optimal but ignition is more complex.
- Very light weight about 20g.
- Free as it is built with recycled material
- Fuel easily available in many countries at an affordable price
- It requires a separate container for the alcohol, it must be filled with the quantity necessary for cooking and it cannot be refilled when it is switched on, at the end of use it is often not possible or practical to recover the leftover alcohol.
- Low power and enough for one or two people maximum.
- At low temperatures its calorific value is greatly reduced.
- The flame height cannot be adjusted.
- The low production of heat can make food cooking long.
Solid fuel stove
This type of stove is very compact and comfortable but being small in size it is good for cooking for up to one or two people. To make it work you have to open it, place the solid fuel tablets inside it, turn them on and place the pot. Given its conformation, the flame cannot be adjusted and if the fuel is not finished when cooking is complete, it cannot be extinguished and recovered. I recommend it as an emergency cooker.
- Low price, weight and size.
- Easy to use.
- There is no possibility to adjust the flame
- It is not possible to recover or turn off the stove until it has burned all the solid fuel in it.
- It is good for small excursions and for cooking only for 1 or two people.
- Solid fuel is not easy to find.
Emergency camp stove
It consists of an openable can that contains the gel fuel and is very practical for emergency situations.
In summary, a portable camping stove must be space-saving, suitable for the geographical area in which you want to go in order to ensure that the fuel is readily available, that the regulations of the various states allow the use of a given fuel, which is efficient and that allows you to cook.Before leaving, I recommend using it a couple of times at home to familiarize yourself with how it works and to understand how it cooks food.
A very important thing is the stability of the stove, in fact those applied above the cylinder or to the fuel tank are much less stable than those with the cylinder or tank separated from the body of the stove.If you are using a multi-fuel stove, it is best to obtain the tool kits that are used for maintenance.In my opinion, it is advisable, whatever stove you choose, to always carry a spare stove with you which can be alcohol, self-built alcohol or usual fuel for emergencies.Before buying a stove, consult the different manufacturers to know what the market offers.
If you have any advice or other suggestions to provide, comment the post and I will add the advice to the article.