Prepare to impress, my friends. Ditch the dehydrated meals and whip up a four-course gourmet meal, all without breaking a sweat. Camp stoves are like people in that they vary in size, shape, and maximum output, but the reality is that a good camp stove will make a world of difference come dinner time. Below I’ve listed my personal favorites that will turn you into an outdoor Martha Stewart (less the handcuffs) in no time.
This perennial favorite is tough to beat, and for good reason. This propane stove has two 20,000 BTU burners so you can cook a fair bit of food quickly. Simmer control works nearly as well as our stove at home which is great for soups. The entire stove is generously sized—it fits two 10-12 inch pans— but doesn’t weigh a lot, so it’s relatively portable for a frontcountry stove. Added bonus: the bang for your buck is high at that price point.
There is something delightfully appealing about a camp stove you can fold up and carry like a purse, you know? Once unfolded, two large 10,000 BTU burners handle two 10-inch pans on an incredibly stable surface. Seriously, I wondered about the wobble factor but the Fold n Go stuck to the picnic table like glue. It takes up less space than a tradition stove but it also offers up less power, so consider which tradeoff works best for your camp style.
If you prefer to give your money to a company with an inspiring mission, look no further than BioLite. Instead of using fossil fuels like propane, the stove burns sticks, woods, scraps, or pellets to create heat. It’s tougher to control the flame, but I’d argue that is a decent tradeoff for saving the planet. Bonus: You can plug in your USB-charged devices and give them some extra juice with this stove.
If you come from the backpacking world, you’ve likely used a Jetboil canister stove once or 12 million times. They took that general concept and dove into car camping with the Genesis, an all-in-one camping system that includes two burners, a pot, and a pan. Everything nests together in a tidy storage system that thrills my husband. At first glance, the 10,000 BTU burners seem like they should be underpowered but since they are designed to work specifically with the pans, you won’t notice much of a difference when compared to higher-yield burners. And, surprise: all of this weighs less than 10 pounds.
It can be frustrating when reviewers rave about budget items and you realize their bargain-basement price is more than your mortgage. Not so with the Coleman Classic. At less than $50, this camp stove is a heckuva deal. Two 10,000 BTU burners get the job done and while the controls aren’t incredibly dialed in, they are certainly adequate, especially considering the price point. Bottom line: if you want something to cook a meal without blowing the budget, this is your best bet.