When you’re prepping for an outdoor adventure, few things are as important to consider as the type of stove you’re going to bring along. If you’re in a pinch on what to pack, consider this guide your one stop shop for determining exactly what type of camping stove to bring along.
Consider the Purpose of Your Trip
Backpacking? Day-hiking? Conquering the PCT? Deciding on the best stove for your next trip is a matter of careful planning and an understanding of what different types of stoves are going to offer you. If you’re familiar with the area you’re going to, consider everything about your trip, including daily mileage goals if you’re backpacking, your target pack weight, and especially how many people you’re counting on joining you. If you can, even check the weather forecast for your trip, or take into account the altitude you’ll be camping at and the potential hazards you could face related to cold, rain, or snow.
Think About the Type of Food and Drinks You’re Planning To Prepare
If you’re hiking the PCT or planning an extended trekking adventure, then the luxury of picking exactly what kind of meals you’re going to prep might not be available to you. That said, if you’re going for a shorter backpacking trip or a lakeside campout, then determining the right stove for your trip probably should have something to do with the meals you’re hoping to make. If you’re a backcountry chef who needs a pan for veggies and a grill plate, then a one-way backpacking style stove may not be the best option. If you’re just a coffee drinker who needs hot water in the mornings, there’s no need to lug a full-size camping contraption with you to your site.
Share the Wealth (of Information)
Family-style trips can be a blast...when planned properly. If you’ve ever ended up with four boxes of batter and not enough milk for your backcountry pancakes, you know that sharing the menu ahead of time (with allotted ingredients) is critical to your trip’s culinary success. The same applies when considering the type of camping stove you should bring along. Chances are, a member of your group is planning to grill something over the fire pit, or to make their nighttime tea concoction using the boiler they hope you’re bringing.
The Types of Camping Stoves
Once you’ve run through your basic considerations, choosing the right stove becomes about more than just thinking about your ideal outdoor kitchen. We’ve highlighted the three basic types of camping stoves, along with some detailed information that will help you make an educated decision when the time is right.
The Dual-Burner “Traditional” Camp Grill
This is the type of stove you might normally think of when you think of camping with your family and friends. These stoves are almost always in the 8 - 10 pound range (aka not fit for backpacking) and traditionally make use of larger gas canisters. For this reason, they’re an excellent option when considering grilling out or making a larger meal at your campsite.
There are a few different variations of the camp stove, including the dual burner, the “grill-style,” and Primus’ very own Profile Dual, which offers both a grill top and a traditional burner. While larger families may want to consider investing in a couple of camping stoves, one two-burner is often ample space and power enough to do all of the camp cooking you can handle.
As far as size goes, there are a number of variations available for camp stoves, but particularly space-conscious campers can always opt for Primus’ Onja Stove, which delivers the two-burner style propane stove in a conveniently carryable 7lb frame.
When it comes the lightweight camping stoves, things get a little bit more complicated, and choosing the right product can often come down to the type of trip you’re planning to take, as well as the amount of pressure you’re going to put on your stove in terms of meal styles, cook time, and overall usage.
The Classic Backpackers' Stove: Generally speaking, Primus’ Classic Trail model of stove is the most traditional of backpacking stoves, and the style remains highly effective for most backpackers and primitive campers today. A lightweight design and crosswise pot support allows for the 8oz stove to function in varying climates without sacrificing on performance.
Though this isn’t the ideal stove for a full-on barbecue, the utility and effectiveness of the classic model make it a prime option for most backpackers. Another benefit of the classic model of backpacking stove is its price point. Ringing in at $19.95, you’ll be hard pressed to find a more cost-effective way to get your trip going.
The All-In-One Option: These types of stoves are ideal for the quick, efficient freeze dried meals that are stereotypical of most backcountry trips. All-in-one stoves are excellent for boiling water, and are fully insulated against weather and outside elements. Due to their versatile, single-standing frame, this stove can be operated virtually anywhere (even while hanging).
It’s a tinge heavier than the classic model at 13.8oz, but offers extreme packability and efficiency, as all parts of the stove fit conveniently into the steel pot. The cooking vessel also doubles as a mug, so put your plastic dishes aside! For backpackers with a more serious trip in mind, where quick meals will be your friend and a two-minute pot of coffee will be your best friend, the Lite+ all-in-one option is hard to beat.
Additional Camping Stove Options: For backpackers or serious campers, there are a couple more options beyond the classic and the all-in-one model. For ambitious campers with an eye for power, Primus makes a more powerful gas stove than the classic model (called the Power Trail Stove), but with relatively the same style and setup (four steel prongs bear the weight of the pot).
Beyond that, the Express Spider stove is a viable choice for campers and backpackers seeking a simple and efficient setup without the freestanding rig of the classic models. This stove sits directly on the ground or tabletop and is connected via hose to the gas source. Although slightly more cumbersome to pack in a backpack, its convenience and power makes it a top option for folks needing a lasting camping stove.
The Extreme Backpackers' Stove
Despite the plethora of options available to campers and backpackers looking for a durable, effective camping stove, there is one stove that stands above the rest when it comes to extreme activities. For anyone considering a thru-hike, high alpine expedition, or multi-day mountaineering trip, the OmniFuel stove takes the cake.
Though its price can deter the more cost-conscious outdoorsperson, the versatility and durability of the OmniFuel are the reason it’s been awarded countless times as one of the top backpacking stoves on the market. Designed to handle temperatures and altitudes extreme in nature, this stove can be used with almost any kind of fuel (including aviation fuel), and is all but guaranteed to function anywhere you place it.
Whether you’re a casual camper, a routine backpacker, or are working on the Seven Summits, choosing the right camping stove is critical to your trip’s success. And once you’ve chosen your ticket to backcountry cooking, don’t forget to look into the ways to customize your Primus stove, including the suspension kit, because who doesn’t want to cook on a boat?
Check out Primus’ website for more information on choosing the right camping stove for your next outdoor adventure.