Camping stove buying guide

Designed to perform in a wide variety of environments and climates, our selection of stoves cater for the needs of everyone. Whether you need a lightweight stove for melting snow at high altitude, or a large powerhouse for cooking up a feast on the beach, we have the perfect stove.

Types of Stove

There are four types of stove, primarily divided according to the fuel that they use:

1. Solid Fuel Stoves

Solid Fuel Stove

Suggested uses: Family camping trips

This type of stove uses fuel like alcohol gel or ‘hex’ blocks. They’re safe and easy to use, but the solid fuel is inefficient, burns slowly and is not widely available.

2. Unpressurised Liquid Stoves

Trangia Stove

Suggested uses: Duke of Edinburgh expeditions; short trips for small groups

These stoves use methanol – a great example being the Trangia. They’re simple to use, relatively safe, low maintenance and stoves are integrated with the pan, so they’re a good choice for youth groups or Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.

3. Gas Stoves

MSR Pocket Rocket Stove

Suggested uses: fast and light trips, short backpacking trips.

The main advantage of gas cartridge stoves is convenience: no priming is required so they light instantly, they’re generally maintenance-free, clean and easy to use. They run off butane/propane cartridges, but are not generally compatible with blue gas cartridges (ie camping gaz). The exceptions to this are the Primus Mimer Duo Stove and the MSR Superfly Stove auto which both feature ‘multi-mount technology.

All-in-one design: Personal Cooking Systems

This is a type of gas stove which integrates the cookware and the burner, resulting in a more effective transfer and retention of heat. Jet Boil lead the way with their Flash Personal Cooking System (£84.99) and the Jetboil Sol Titanium Premium Cooking System (£130)

4. Pressurised Liquid / Multifuel Stoves

MSR Dragonfly Stove

Suggested uses: expeditions, exploration or trekking; winter/glacial/alpine trips, long distance backpacking.

These stoves will work at nearly any temperature or altitude, they’re tough, dependable and will burn many different fuels, which means that they can be particularly advantageous in the more remote parts of the world. You can also see exactly how much fuel you have left at any one time (unlike gas cartridges!) and they pump out a constant flame right up until the fuel runs out.

These can also work out cheaper than gas stoves in the long run, as a bottle of liquid fuel is often much cheaper than a gas cartridge.

The slight disadvantage to these stoves is that they’re relatively high maintenance, there are more parts to get clogged up and they’re slightly more fiddly to light. It’s therefore important to make sure that you also carry the appropriate maintenance kit, as spares may not be readily available in less populated areas.

Parts of a Stove

Gas Stoves

Click on the numbers in the diagram to find out more about these parts of a gas stove:
Gas Stove Features

  1. Gas Cartridge / Cannister

    This contains the liquified gas

  2. Valve

    This valve needs to be opened to release the gas into the burner – you can adjust the value to allow varying amounts of gas through, therefore allowing you to control the size of the flame.

  3. Foldaway Pot Supports

    These support the pan. They foldaway to reduce the overall size of the stove.

  4. Burn Area

    On the example stove shown here (the MSR Superfly Auto) the burn area is much larger, which means that the flame is less likely to be blown out by the wind.

Pressurised Liquid / Multifuel Stoves

Click on the numbers in the diagram to find out more about these parts of a pressurised liquid/multifuel stove.
Omnifuel Features

  1. Fuel bottle

    This contains your fuel and needs to be pressurised before commencing

  2. First Valve

    This valve needs to be opened as part of the priming process

  3. Pump

    The pump is used to pressurise the fuel bottle

  4. Flex Fuel Line

    This feeds the fuel to the stove and allows the stove to be packed noticeably smaller

  5. Second Valve

    The second valve is opened once the stove has been primed

  6. Foldaway foot and pot supports

    The supports on this type of stove tend to be wider to be able to handle larger pans

  7. Flame Spreader

    This is the disc that sits above the flame and spreads it out. It is held in place by leg-like clips.

How Do Stoves Work?

Gas Stoves

Gas stoves utilise gas cartridges. These cartridges contain liquified gas, normally a mixture of butane and propane, which vapourises as it leaves the storage bottle, arriving at the burner as a gas.

You therefore just attach (screw) the stove onto the gas cartridge, twist the valve open and light the burner.

Pressurised Liquid / Multifuel Stoves

The first thing you need to do is ‘prime’ the stove.

This involves first pressurising the fuel bottle and then preheating the burner. Priming is required to get the fuel vapourised in order to get a good and clean combustion.

Once the burner is preheated, open the second valve and the orange flame will turn into a strong blue flame.

See the video by Primus for a demonstration of their Omnifuel stove.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>