A camping trip can serve many purposes, depending on each person. Sometimes it’s about enjoying nature all by yourself, other times it’s about being able to perform outdoor sports, but most often people go camping to have fun and be with their family and friends. Those in the first two categories might wonder about the worth of carrying a stove with them, since there are a lot of dry and cold food options for camping trips. For the latter category, a camping stove is not optional. Many campers, even backpackers going solo, have admitted after a few experiences that having a stove might save your day on a trip. Whether you use it just to brew your coffee or tea after a cold, rainy hiking day, or you cook full meals on it, the camping stove has grown in popularity even among the purists of nature exploration.
The first thing one has to consider when choosing a camping stove is the type of trip he intends to take. Going backpacking means you will have to carry everything physically, so the size and weight of every item holds a great importance. Car camping, on the other hand, allows you to take heavier and bigger pieces of equipment, as you will only have to load and unload them.
This is why you can usually encounter two main types of stoves: backpacking stoves that are small, light, and have only one burner, and car camping stoves that are larger, heavier and have 2 or 3 burners.
The number of people going on the trip is also to be considered. A stove with only one burner will fail to assure meals for more than two persons. For groups of three to seven people you will have to bring a 2-burners stove, and for larger groups, a stove with three burners will get the job done. It’s also recommended that for groups of more than five persons, the stove be free-standing so that you have more room to prepare the meal.
Next, you have to decide between the different types of fuel you want to use. Most stoves can be used with only one type of fuel, but there are also some versatile fuel models out there.
Stoves run on canister gas fuel, liquid fuel, wood or alcohol. Gas canister fueled stoves are the most appreciated for they are the easiest to install, and the gas canister is much lighter that a liquid bearing bottle. Commonly, you will find propane fueled stoves as it works better on low temperature. Liquid fueled stoves usually run on white gas, but some regulations prohibit its transportation by plane, for example. In case you do take a plane, you must be certain you can also procure camp fuel at your arrival point or near your camping site.
To have an idea about how well the stove will do the needed job, be sure also to take a look at the BTU’s of the stove, meaning the heating power, the boiling time, simmering possibilities and wind resistance.