using one of the best camping stoves while truck camping

Whether you’re tent camping, car camping, truck camping, or overlanding, the ability to prepare a tasty meal while camping is critical to enjoying the rest of your adventures outdoors.

But finding the best camping stove can be a chore; with new models continuously coming out it’s hard to know where to start.

In this post we’ll cover how to select the best camping stove for your personal camping setup, and give our recommendations for the top 12 best camping stoves for a variety of campers.

How to Choose the Best Camping Stove

Let’s take a look at four different criteria you’ll want to consider when searching for the best camping stove. And remember to keep in mind both the style of camping and type of cooking you like to do while adventuring!

1. Cost

Weighing price versus quality is always a difficult factor when purchasing camping gear. The camping stove is one of the most frequently used pieces of camping gear, and one that’s heavily depended on – after all, what’s a camping trip without good meals and a delicious cup of morning coffee! So we feel the “buy once, cry once” motto applies a little more readily to the process of selecting the best camp stove for your adventures.

2. Portability / Size

Often, space is limited when you’re packing to go camping. Maybe you’re looking for the just-right-size stove to fit in your camp kitchen box, maybe you have a perfect spot you need it to fit when car or truck camping, or maybe you’re tent camping and just don’t want to deal with lugging a giant heavy camping stove around! No matter the reason, the packed size, portability, and weight of your camp stove should be something you consider when finding the best camping stove for your needs.

3. Heat Output (BTUs)

Though not as critical a factor, heat output is a good metric to consider when comparing camping stoves. The majority of camp stove manufacturers list their stoves’ heat output in BTUs (or British Thermal Units). The higher the BTU rating, the hotter the stove’s output will be, meaning it can boil water or sear a delicious steak faster.

4. Fuel Type

Last, but certainly not least – the type or variety of fuel your camping stove uses plays a major role in determining what the best camping stove will be for your needs. Maybe you’re traveling abroad or overlanding in foreign countries and certain types of fuel have limited availability, maybe the camping areas you frequent have restrictions on what camp stove fuels can be used, or maybe you don’t want to deal with carrying fuel at all.

Because this is such a critical factor to consider when choosing the right camp stove, we’ve organized our below recommendations of the best camping stoves by fuel type to help you find one that’s right for your specific type of adventures.

*(This post contains affiliate links. This means we may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. See our full disclosure.)


The Best Camping Stoves 2022

Best Liquid Gas Camping Stoves

Liquid gas (or multi fuel) camping stoves run off of a variety of liquid fuels, making them one of the more versatile options for overlanding and camping while traveling. However, some public lands often have restrictions on liquid fuel camping stoves, and the combustion of liquid fuels – so consider where you’ll typically be camping and weigh this into your decision.





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Coleman Classic 425 Gas Stove

Packed Size: 19.63 x 6 x 5.38 inches

Weight: 11 lbs.

Heat Output: 7500 BTU

 

The Coleman Classic gas stove has been in use since WWII and it’s rugged utilitarian design hasn’t changed much over the years. It can be fueled by either white gas or regular old unleaded gasoline. This is a relatively inexpensive, easy to maintain, and versatile camping stove option for both weekend campers and overlanders alike. It’s the stove your grandparents likely used, and holds a certain nostalgic place in our hearts.

 





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MSR XGK EX

Packed Size: 6 x 4 x 4 inches

Weight: 1.075 lbs

Heat Output: 10500 BTU (varies depending on fuel used)

The MSR XGK EX is the most versatile and rugged multi-fuel single-burner camp stove on the market. This camping stove can be used with a wide variety of fuels including unleaded gasoline, kerosene, aviation fuel, diesel, and even jet fuel! It’s been depended on during a variety of mountaineering and overland expeditions throughout the world, testing it’s rugged design in some of the most extreme conditions on the planet. You’ll still want to carry the service kit* for longer, more expeditious camping trips or overland travels.


Best Alcohol Camping Stoves

If you’re looking for an ultra compact and light-weight camping stove, an alcohol stove may be the best camp stove option. These camping stoves use denatured alcohol or even rubbing alcohol as a fuel source, and though they’ve traditionally been relegated to backpacking, alcohol stoves can offer a simple way to boil water or cook a basic meal while camping too.

Alcohol camping stoves don’t burn particularly hot, and are more challenging to use in windy conditions (often requiring the use of a windscreen*). However the alcohol fuel only produces water vapor when burned – unlike other fuels that can produce noxious gases – and there are no mechanical parts to potentially break or degrade on an alcohol camping stove.





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Trangia Ultralight Alcohol Camping Stove Kit

Packed Size: 4.1 x 3.1 x 2 inches

Weight: 0.18 lbs.

Heat Output: 3500 BTU

The Trangia alcohol camping stove has been around for over half a century, with a solid brass construction, adjustable simmer ring, and a sealed fuel compartment (so you don’t have to empty unused fuel between uses). The kit includes a full set of ultralight nesting pots, pans, and kettle as well!

 





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Vargo Triad Ultralight Alcohol Camping Stove 

Packed Size: 2.7 x 2.7 x 1.2 inches

Weight: 0.1 lbs.

Heat Output: 3500 BTU (liquid fuel) / 5200 BTU (solid fuel)

The Vargo Triad alcohol stove is the smallest camp stove on the list and the best camping stove for backpackers or those looking to save space in their camp kitchen setup. Its titanium construction makes it super light-weight and durable, and as a bonus it can be used with hexamine fuel tablets (esbit) too!


Best Propane Camping Stoves

Propane fueled camp stoves have become one of, if not the most, popular general type of camping stoves on the market. Lacking the mess and odor of liquid fuel, propane is an efficient and typically easy to find fuel source for camp stoves. Plus, propane can be bought in either smaller disposable and reusable canisters OR purchased in bulk and stored in larger reusable tanks (this is the option we use in our truck camping setup and our 6lb tank lasts us an incredible 30 days of cooking while traveling, and typically costs less than $5 to refill).

The caveat, however, is that there are often a wide array of fittings and adapters that vary from country to country and manufacturer to manufacturer, making them more challenging for use while overlanding or camping internationally.





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Jetboil Genesis Basecamp System

Packed Size: 10.3 in x 10.3 in x 7.2 in.

Weight: 9 lbs

Heat Output: 10000 BTU (per burner)

 

The Jetboil Genesis Basecamp camping stove system is an all-in-one kit that includes Jetboils compact two burner camp stove, a 5 liter Pot, and a 10 inch ceramic non-stick pan that all nests together in the included carrying case. We love the portability and compact size of this camp stove, as well as it’s easy-to-use lever style piezo ignitor and accurate burner adjustment knobs. Jet boil also offers adapters that allow you to daisy chain additional burners to the Basecamp if you find yourself the designated cook at a larger group camp!

 

 

cook partner 18 best two burner camping stove by partner steel

 

Cook Partner 18 by Partner Steel

Packed Size: 18 in x 12.5 in x 3.5 in.

Weight: 13 lbs

Heat Output: 10000 BTU (per burner)

 

Cook Partner stoves, made by Partner Steel, are some of the most rugged and durable propane camping stoves in the world. Hand-built and assembled using thick 12 ga. aluminum for the case, a heavy duty removable stainless steel cooking grate, and solid brass fittings with recessed control knobs, these stoves are built to last a lifetime. The entire cooking grate and burner assembly is easily removable for clean up too. The Cook Partner 18 was the stove we ultimately chose to use in our truck bed camping setup.


Best Butane Camping Stoves

Butane fueled camping stoves are one of the simplest camp stoves to use, as the fuel comes in convenient disposable canisters that are widely available and are typically stored inside the campstove when not in use. Personally, we’re not fans of the single-use nature and energy required to produce and recycle these types of disposable butane canisters, and their efficiency is typically less than that of other camp stoves.





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Gas One GS-3400P Butane or Propane Camping Stove

Packed Size: ‎13.5 in x 11.2 in x 4.4 in

Weight: 3.1 lbs

Heat Output: 8000 BTU

This butane camp stove is budget friendly and it includes an adapter that allows you to run the stove on propane as well, making it a much more versatile option. We also like the Gas One GS-3400P’s retro gold enamel aesthetic.

 





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Gas One GS-8300 Spyder Portable Butane Camping Stove

Packed Size: ‎12.8 x 3.6 x 3.6 inches

Weight: 4.03 lbs

Heat Output: 8000 BTU

 

The Gas One GS-8300 Spyder is a uniquely designed collapsible butane camping stove that takes up about the same amount of space as a 32oz Nalgene bottle when packed.


Best Canister Camping Stoves

Beyond camping stoves that are strictly fueled by Butane or Propane, there are a wide array of compact camping stoves on the market that are fueled by disposable canisters filled with a mixture of these fuels. For the same reasons as we discussed previously, we’re not keen on using single-use disposable canisters, but certainly we understand the convenience and simplicity these camping stoves offer.





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MSR Whisperlite Universal 

Packed Size: 6 x 8 x 8‎ inches

Weight: 0.72 lbs

Heat Output: 9700 BTU (varies depending on fuel used)

 

The MSR Whisperlite Universal is our favorite canister camping stove, largely because it can also be used with a variety of other liquid fuels, making it one of the most versatile camping and backpacking stove options on the market today. And MSR has had the time to perfect the whisperlite’s design over the decades they’ve been in production.

 





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Jetboil Flash Camping and Backpacking Stove System

Packed Size: ‎4.1 x 4.1 x 7.1 inches

Weight: 0.82 lbs

Heat Output: 9000 BTU

 

One of the best advantages of canister camping stoves is their ease-of-use. So if you’re looking for a simple and compact canister stove for camping, it’s hard to beat the Jetboil Flash camping stove system. It includes an extremely lightweight burner, canister stand, and Jetboil’s proprietary FluxRing cooking cup with an insulated sleeve. This stove is primarily geared towards boiling water for use with soups, dehydrated camping meals, and making delicious camping coffee – but it’s not ideal for cooking more involved meals as a low-heat/simmer is difficult to achieve.


Best Wood Burning Camping Stoves

If you don’t want to deal with camping stove fuels, but want a more efficient way to cook your meals while camping than an open campfire, a wood burning (or biomass) camp stove may be the best solution. These camp stoves use readily available wood, twigs, pinecones, and other biomass as fuel so you don’t need to deal with liquid fuel or canisters.





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Marsh Kettles Stainless Steel Flat-Pack Mini Rocket Stove

Packed Size: ‎8 in x 8 in x 1 in

Weight: 6 lbs

Heat Output: Variable depending on fuel and conditions

The March Kettles Stainless Steel flat-pack mini rocket stove is made in the USA out of robust pieces of stainless steel that interlock to form an efficient self-feeding chimney style camp stove. It packs flat for compact storage, assembles in minutes at camp, and can support up to a 10 inch cast iron skillet (like the one we use and love).

 





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Biolite Campstove 2 System

Packed Size: ‎8 in x 8 in x 1 in

Weight: 8.95 lbs

Heat Output: Variable depending on fuel and conditions

 

The Biolite Camp Stove 2 System brings wood burning camp stoves into the 21st century with a built-in thermoelectric generator that allows this camp stove to not only cook your food at camp, but charge your devices too. It also includes a built in 3200 mAh battery to store unused power for later use. This top-fed wood burning camping stove system includes a portable grill attachment, combination kettle/pot, and even a USB powered LED light so you can see what you’re cooking after dark! And the thermoelectric power is also used to power a 4-speed combustion fan to improve it’s cooking efficiency and boost heat output.


Best Camping Stove Accessories

  • Heat Diffuser* – allows for simmering on camping stoves that are not easily low-heat adjustable

  • Windscreen* – if you’re camped in windy conditions and your stove doesn’t include one, a windscreen can make cooking a LOT easier and more efficient.

  • Jetboil CrunchIt* – enables you to properly puncture and discharge used disposable camp stove fuel canisters for recycling

  • Silicone Pot Holders* – compact, flexible, and effective pot holders

  • MSR Deluxe Kitchen Set* – this is a nice all-in-one set of camp stove cooking utensils and clean-up kit to help keep things organized

There you have it – everything you need to select the best camping stove for your adventures!

If you’re interested in our camping, overlanding, and family travel tips and guides, be sure to SUBSCRIBE to receive our blog updates right in your inbox. And if you have any questions or other camp stove recommendations, please drop a comment down below.

As always, thanks for reading!

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