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Economical Camping Stoves that will Cook Anything

Don’t break the bank to get a family camping stove!  This section will tell you the best and most economical stoves to use for all your cooking needs.   The stove you choose will depend on what you are cooking, the fuel you want to use and weight of stove you want to carry.  So, let’s start with some of the basic stoves and fuel and then you can decide which will work for you!

Single-burner Stoves
The easiest and safest camp stove to use and assemble are the cartridge stoves.  The cartridges are filled with butane or propane gas, which is clean- burning.  Simply screw the stove burner onto the cartridge and you are ready.  Turn the knob to start the flow of fuel and light the burner.  Poof!  It will start with a small pop and start heating right away.  You can stick a small pot or frying pan on top and you are cookin’!

Single Burner Camping StoveThe cartridges are disposable and can be purchased at most sporting goods stores.  The burner and base will cost about $20, without the fuel.

This stove is great for light camping, back packing and cooking small amounts of food.  But it is not very useful if you want to cook more that one item at a time or want a greater cooking surface to serve more starving kids.



Two-burner Stoves
Two-burner tank, also called a canister stove, is ideal for a multi-day campout.  Two burners make meal preparation easy.  The built-in windscreen provides good burner shelter and the grill will hold two good-sized pots or pans.  The tanks or canisters that fuel the camp stove are typically propane in pressurized tanks or naphtha “white” gas in tanks with pumps to manually pressurize the fuel.  Either tank system will do the job.  If you choose pre-filled propane tanks you will need to bring enough for the campout and then dispose of the empties.  With naphtha, you bring along a small half-gallon supply and refill the canister as needed. No disposal required.


Two Burner Camping Stove with PropaneHere’s a typical two-burner camp stove like the one I have.  The propane canister is attached to the side with a connector or “goose neck” and it has controls on the front for the left and right burners.  When its time to pack up, the connector fits under the grill, the sides fold inward, lid shuts and you have a nice easy packing stove.  This stove costs between $39-$49, without the fuel.  The price varies on where you buy it.  


Two Burner Camping Stove with NapthaHere’s what the “white” gas or naphtha camp stove looks like.  It’s very similar to the propane one above, except for the re-fillable fuel canister at the front.  The pump is on the right-hand side of the canister, to pressurize the fuel.  This particular model will handle dual-fuel – naphtha and unleaded gas!  This stove is definitely, top-of-the-line and will cost $69 or more.



There are other stoves that are considered “camp stoves” that are made of cast iron, have grills, multiple burners, detachable legs, windscreens, etc.  But these are in the $100 range or more.  Not really my idea of family camping.  Even when we camp with 35 Scouts and adults, we still pull out our “trusty” two-burner propane stoves and cook up a storm!

Safety TIPS for Your Camp Stove
  • Always place your stove in a stable and level position.
  • Don’t put over-sized pots on the stove.
  • Never leave a lighted stove unattended.
  • Never try to re-fuel a hot stove.  Let it cool!
  • Let your stove cool off completely before packing it away.
  • Never use a stove inside a tent!  Let alone near a tent!  They can melt.  :-(
   
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