A portable stove can make a great present for your husband, your dad, and yourself, though. A gas stove. An electric stove. A burner. A grill for cooking beef in the backyard. A stainless steel camping stove that can come in handy once you get in a survival situation. But how to fuel it? Can I get a portable wood burning stove? Can I make BBQ? I want to know all about the thing. Luckily, all that I can find in the following article.
Today, we aim to share a comprehensive assessment of the top 8 portable multi-purpose stoves suitable for emergency scenarios, when in camp, or simply on the go.
It is more a selective and subjective outlook than a review with cold facts and statistics, as the editors carefully sort each item. What kind of stove can be called portable? Not just a stove one may transport from place to place (breaking their back on the way). Far from being that, it is more than technically transportable (as your ordinary kitchen stove is) but compact, easy to move, lightweight, and, last but not least, adaptable for various situations.
So, among many small and lightweight camping stoves, only those may be called fully ”portable,” which you or your 12-year-old kid can smoothly pick up, wrap, and casually fit in a vehicle or backpack without extra effort. Or, should I say, light and small enough for one of those very Seven Dwarfs to carry at ease, and still capable of feeding all Seven. Yes, there will hardly be any compromise, because those stoves are skillful at cooking food, not only fitting in your bag out bag. Those best ones are designed specifically in a way that allows them to function as conventional kitchen stoves.
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Portable Cookers VS Skillets VS Grills
Before we can get delve deeper into the various types of portable camping stoves available on today’s market, it is reasonable to dot the “I’s” regarding stoves, skillets, and grills to dispel all the possible doubts. Here is a concise classification based on their primary function:
- A stove serves for cooking food in pans and saucepans, pots, or special cups with the help of regulated flame;
- Skillet (the same as a frying pan) implies preparing meals directly without any additional saucepans and pots using its flat heated surface;
- Grills are designed to cook meals directly over grates (again, with no pans and casseroles required).
That is simple and obvious. You already know it. But soon, you will be able to impress your fellow campers or survivalists crew with our portable stove models and related life hacks.
Now you probably have a better orientation among portable cookers and can set your preferences towards a portable camping stove, a skillet, or a grill. Still, if the notion of “portable” is the key one for your choice, go on reading…
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Various Sorts Of Portable Camping Stoves
Before analyzing the assets and drawbacks of each type of stove, let’s present its core categories.
Surely, you decide on the best suitable brands dependent on your condition and cooking needs.
Fuel Source Categories
Among the stove types divided according to the fuel content are to be mentioned:
- Portable Gas Stoves (including Propane and Butane Burner Stoves)
- Portable Electric Cookers
- Wood Burning Backpacking Stoves
Let’s find out more about each type of camping stoves to understand better what suits us best.
Generally, both butane and propane cookers are considered a portable gas stoves subcategory. These are frequently featured in most survival gear reviews around the country. They are small in size and swift in the cooking process. Their mechanism involves ignition through a gas burner used with liquefied gas as fuel— such an option fits well both for a family picnic outdoors and a survival bugging out.
Portable butane canisters foster high amounts of heat per weight – such factor allows to call these cookers efficient but scorching a bit too much.
Butane gas containers generally have smaller sizes, and refilling them may be slightly more difficult than the other ones.
Today most of the standard gas-fueled camp stoves use either butane or propane to burn.
Compared to the previous type, such a stove is more accessible and demonstrates better ignition in freezing temperatures. The propane tank is time-tested, the burner design is simple. Nevertheless, in terms of weight, the propane tank may be significantly heavier than the butane type – and that may be a problem for inexperienced backpackers or slightly built ones.
Portable Gas Stoves
That is a larger category including, apart from the above-mentioned types, other liquid gases, such as:
- White gas
To mention the recent feature, some modern gas camp stoves are already capable of supporting various sorts of fuel without any adjustment – while other cookers require specific jet nozzles dependent on the applied fuel type (which undoubtedly takes time and effort), which is an upgrade indeed!
However, still, many portable gas stoves are made only to support a particular gas type. In plus, a lot of liquid stoves work based on the so-called pressurization mechanism (while some must be supplied with a pressurization control tool) or require a priming procedure before starting cooking.
In fact, the procedure is rather simple, and both butane and propane stoves are among the most frequent options for wilderness travelers. It is a three-step-algorithm: attach the fuel container, twist a flap, light the burner, and start cooking your meal. Thus, you can cook dishes wherever you are using a gas stove – unless you forgot to take the fuel containers or burnt too much fuel and ran out of it. This is only one crucial camping gear component to take with you before stepping out for your wilderness adventures, so check each item on the list timely and carefully.
Portable Electric Cookers
Such camping stoves can be compared with today’s simple “plug and play” devices, being the easiest to handle and probably very user-friendly. It means one does not have to bother about acquiring and separately keeping a fuel source as kerosene, propane, butane, and so on.
Nevertheless, a portable electric cooker can be called a camping stove with great reserve because it is just the case when convenience is a two-edged sword. And the reason is obvious: electric stoves are only suitable for locations with a stable and bountiful electrical power amount. Surely, today many old, well-known, and lush camp spots have acquired electrical hookups providing energy for cell phone fans and other various electric gadgets. You may always rely on that – however, let’s imagine the power goes out because of an accident or a huge storm, wildfires, or other natural disasters – in this situation, your portable electric stove is as useful as a Barbie dollhouse for a punk kid.
So it is capable only for restricted locations — if you prefer going to premium comfort campsites, portable electric stoves are the option. Nevertheless, the quality they can not boast is versatility.
If you are the kind of, no matter the circumstances, traveler, or even a doomsday prepper, you will need a cooker capable of working in any location and any environment.
Wood Burning Backpacking Cookers
Finally, there goes another aspiring newbie in a row of stoves – the wood-burning backpacking type. The popularity of these campers increases from days to days as preppers, tourists, and backpackers prefer using them more often – and even use them for casual bonfires in the backyards. Why do they seem so advantageous? First of all, these units do not mind when the power is out or when there is no gas left purely and simply because it is a wood-burning portable stove.
With a wood-burning backpacking camping stove, you carry the cooker but do not have to store fuel canisters as almost all downed wood may serve as an effective fuel for such a stove. The more compact versions use some small sticks, and the larger models require bigger twigs and branches.
Pretend there is no need to worry about keeping and refueling gas containers or depending on electric sources – isn’t it a big asset for self-reliant adventurers and light travelers?
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Reasons Why A Portable Stove Is An Investment, Not A Waste
Among the variety of modern portable camping cookers, there are items set particularly for recreational goals, the extremely compact backpacking cookers weighing not much more than an average book, and the solid “suitcase cookers” with several burners camping with families or big companies, and more.
Ask yourself the three key questions before buying a cooker: what, how, and where you will take and apply your new purchase.
A portable stove is an indispensable addition to any campsite, although sometimes it is enough to cook over a mere campfire to add some rough tourist romanticism to your trip.
Simple meals cooked on a camping stove may turn into a unique cooking experience with the help of any stove from our list, provided that you know some techniques and tips. Moreover, the firewood may be costly, making it a more reasonable option not to spend the double amount of firewood (for cooking food and setting a fire), but enjoy the company and the meals with no worries.
We have not yet mentioned the recent law concerning widespread summertime campfire bans across the arid US. This could be both a comic and dramatic situation: showing up to a campsite when there is a ban on setting campfires. And as you have no other disposable (and legal) means of cooking your camp food, the only way would be the way out of the woods back to your routine life (the out-of-law methods of making campfires are not to be discussed here, for sure).
The backpacking and portable concepts are indivisible: if your item is heavy and can hardly be called portable, it does not suit backpacking.
Still, there are many ways of wrapping and storing some products that don’t need cooking and are ready to eat, but what a nice option is a hot camping meal freshly cooked in the open air and shared with friends!
With the minimalist attitude and compact design, the following options are easy to add to your camping backpack.
Why did we make a separate heading for bugging out if, in fact, these notions are quite similar?
The difference is that one is taking a backpack aimed at long trekking. Still, its purpose is just recreation, and exploring the backcountry locations while bugging out is the ultimate prepper’s strategy in emergency cases forcing you to leave – anyway, for both cases, portable camp stoves are an optimal solution.
Power Outage Emergencies
If you are a prepper, do you have a survival cooking strategy? In case the electricity is out for a long time, and the weather is rough, what would you do? Regardless of the power sources, a camping stove is still the option, 9but think about refueling it in advance). It is always wise to plan for the worst and hope for the best, so acquiring a stove is not a waste of money but an investment in your survival, nourishment, and calm.
Survival Emergency Cases
If your camper group has to split up, leaving someone without a camping stove is more than an offense. Surely, such a stove does not have to cook a full meal for a dozen people at once, neither it has to provide 4-course meals daily. The required minimum is heating a freeze-dried meal or making the water bubbling quickly.
Tailgating and grilling seem similar, so why not prefer a portable grill? A more efficient option would be acquiring a stove as it is applicable for tailgates, too. Due to the controllable burner, one may pan-sear almost any tailgate meals.
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Essential Features Of A Quality Portable Stove
The qualities that define the best portable cookers are:
Lightweight design is a very relative notion that varies to different users: while a backpacker might claim hard anything weighing over three ounces, a tourist traveling by car, vessel, or even horse may accept baggage of a few pounds.
So pay close attention to what your “lightweight” needs are, but in general, the lighter, the better.
It is not the case when light means easy to break or dismantle. Those who are on the go and aim at changing camping locations imply that valves, fuel lines, tiny details, and moving parts wear much sooner. Here is when solid material and a minimalist shape are not aesthetics but a requirement for durability. Imagine accidentally dropping your backpack on the rocks – your stove’s endurance is a must.
Whether you are packing a camping gear or survival gear bag, the more unexpected conditions happen – (wind, heavy rains, high altitude, freezing weather…) its ignition feature can bear – the better for your survival.
Choose a cooker that has a piezoelectric ignition, and do carry some windproof matches, a survival lighter, and other crucial survival items just in case. Besides, a repair kit for your cooker’s major parts could play a crucial role in such scenarios.
Being Easy To Use
You should definitely choose from the items with hand fine-tune controls over the heat rates. This factor goes along with the user-friendly setup, simple fuel refilling options, and easy to clean. Nevertheless, there are cookers easy to set up but require meticulous work to adjust them and manage the fuel properly.
Flame control is an essential point not to overlook.
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Top Eight Portable Stoves On The Market Today
Although the cookers developed and differentiated over the years, still today, there is hardly a single stove able to fit in all potential situations—finally, our favorites among the most popular portable cookers on the market today.
1 – Gas One GS-800P Mini Portable Gas Stove
It is considered a Classic butane stove despite having only one burner. This can be an asset for single tourists, or in case portability and lightweight are the dominating criteria.
The heat resistant knobs were redesigned specifically to protect the user’s fingertips from getting burned when adapting the heat controls. In plus, it boasts a piezo ignition switch and is capable of handling 7,172 BTUs. A compromise, as it may seem, this one-burner-cooker is very reliable and thus worth mentioning.
Watch the VIDEO related to this decent cooker’s carry case unboxing.
2 – The Coleman “Suitcase” Stove
If you have not grown up with this well-known cooker, at least you must have heard of it. The Coleman white gas stove has proved its endurance for several decades all across the country. These camping cookers in green color have a lid and a flat shape, thus reminding a carrying case, plus a wind-blocking is guaranteed due to the lateral screens.
They are made of stainless steel and are relatively indestructible – and these oldies but goodies are still on the worthy list today. The basic propane burner mechanisms do not require priming the fuel tank.
Now at your disposal are items with 3 burners and more than 20,000BTU of heat output, perfect for base camp (almost 5 stars).
Yet another option for gourmet campers is a cooker with a single burner on a side and a special griddle on the for eggs or pancakes on the other. BBQ-style propane tanks may also be applied thanks to Coleman’s upgraded convertible cooker series. Fuelling several stoves and lanterns simultaneously is easily achievable, too – all these factors should contribute to your choice when you are going to a big camp or caring for several friends or family members at a time. Traveling by any vehicle – be it an inflatable boat, a car, a horse – this is the camp stove worth checking out.
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A SnowPeak model is only a little heavier than a snowball – a real deal for light travelers and long-distance hikers. This 2oz stove is likely to fit in a cap, if not a cup. Still, LiteMax Titanium can make the 1L of water bubbling in around four minutes. Its integral design makes it a worthy and easy to set up option.
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Discover the SnowPeak’s superpower with this VIDEO review.
4 – JetBoil Flash Personal Cooking System
The fans of JetBoil claim this model rules in the wilderness, as it is an independent “personal cookware system.” JetBoil Flash, the freshly updated version of the classical one, has a butane tank, an integrated heat exchanger, an isolated 1L pot and is even more compact, lightweight, and speedy than its ancestor (in two to three minutes -a blink of an eye! – it boiled 1L of water). So, JetBoil Flash is an asset for a small camping company and Number One in heating freeze-dried meals!
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5 – BioLite Camp Stove 2
The BioLite Stove is almost state of the art, easily fitting in your small backpack and rapidly turning almost every twig or branch into usable electricity. Yes, that means you may charge your phone while cooking, too! Its weight is a bit more than the Solo Stove, but who cares since it has this amazing capacity! Nevertheless, it is a single burner stove.
6 – Solo Stove
This recommendation ranked first by Backpacker Magazine is worth seeing: look no further than the Solo Stove if you prefer wood-burning cookers.
These compact stoves have proven themselves light and independent fuel-free helpers – feed them with some dried tinder to start an instant fire.
The solo cookers boast the following advantages:
- 1 Person Solo Stove Lite
- Solo Stove Bonfire
- 2-4 Person Solo Stove Titan
- 4+ Person Solo Stove Campfire
Watch how it works – VIDEO.
7 – Emergency Pocket Stove
This is the smallest option – an Esby emergency pocket stove, but it can feed not only the elves but at least a couple of hungry tourists stuck in an emergency. One may literally fix it in a pocket when hiking – having this thing available at all times is more than wise. Surely, they are not on top for daily use, producing enough burned fuel leftovers and the chemical whiff. Regardless, keeping these stoves for emergencies is highly advisable.
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The only alcohol burner on our list, The Trangia’s O-ring lined screwcap, lets you keep excess fuel inside without leakage. Its mechanism is the simplest possible – take some alcohol fuel bottle and light it with a lighter, match, or fire rod – what’s not to like here?
Trangia in action – video.
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Always keep in mind that a camp stove may be dangerously hot (even when already turned off), release some toxic gases, and is meant to be used only outdoors. Portable cookers are usually easy to clean and handle but be careful – in cold environments, the evaporated fuel on exposed skin may induce frostbite. Before you start a stove, please wait a bit, and make sure the fuel vapors evaporate as their accumulation increases the risk of explosion through a spark. Also, we recommend you wash the drip tray regularly.
Stay warm, well-fed, and let the cooking power be with you!
What is the best portable stove?
Choose any of the above-mentioned items. Though we recommend a backpacking stove with at least two burners, you may want to try Solo Stove, Coleman, or Jet Boil for your best camping experience. You can find a portable stove that fits your requirements, so the answer depends on your preferences and the stove’s prospective purpose.
Are portable stoves safe?
They are relatively safe if applied wisely: carefully browse all instructions beforehand and look through our review to find the safest model. This will ensure safety and security during a survival situation or camping.
How much does a portable stove cost?
The price may vary significantly from $15 to over $400 – check out any customer review price above, mind that the retail price and the actual site results & price slightly differ; look for current prices, search shipping options depending on the delivery address on Amazon.com or other related searches (note that the results, price, and further options may vary as well ). Additional language and currency settings are available.