Ever tried using a sterno stove to cook a meal? Good Luck! It’s hard enough boiling water with it for a single cup of coffee, much less heating an entire family meal with one. A camping stove is portable enough to be easily packed, so space is really not an issue. And at the end of the day’s adventures, your family will appreciate a properly warmed, hearty meal rather than another “no-bake” tuna and crackers!
Why A Camping Stove, Not A Campfire?
Some campers prefer to cook their meals on campfires, instead of on a camping stove. This practice is not recommended for several reasons. First, most people struggle with starting and maintaining a fire. What’s more, it is very difficult to maintain the correct level of heat on a campfire to properly cook a meal without undercooking or burning it. In addition, firewood costs about $6 a bundle at most provincial park campgrounds in Ontario. You can quickly burn a hole in your wallet just trying to cook your meals over campfires. Finally, during dry weather conditions, many parks will impose fire bans and you will not be permitted to have campfires. A camping stove is much more efficient and also saves on the environment because it slows down the depletion of dead wood and live trees in the forests. Here are some points to consider if you are shopping for a camping stove:
Camping Stove Fuel Types
- White gas – High heat output, Priming required, Spilled fuel evaporates quickly Spilled fuel highly flammable, Readily available
- Kerosene – High heat output, requires priming with alcohol, Readily available internationally, May produce sooty smoke
- Butane – Instant high heat output, No priming required, No spilling, High cost, Poor performance in cold weather, Lower heat output than white gas, Canister disposal required
- Propane – Better in cold than butane, Larger containers refillable, High cost, Limited availability, Canister disposal required
- Alcohol – Quiet, Clean burning, Readily available, Lower heat output, Longer cooking time
- Unleaded gasoline – Inexpensive, Highly volatile, Readily available worldwide, Dirty
Single Burner Camping Stove
These are used by those camping alone, such as backpackers or where space is limited, such as motorcycle camping. These types of stove consist of a burner, fuel tank, pot supports and heat quickly reducing the amount of fuel used. Some are design to use more than one type of fuel. Complete with windscreen, caring case, maximum weight of 1lb (including fuel). Tank capacity on most stoves is 1.1 pint, lasting 1.75 hours on high and 6.5 on low. One could just build a fire out of twigs and leaves but the chard ground takes 2 – 3 years to return to a state where vegetation can grow.
Two Burner Camping Stove
Here are a few more points to remember when cooking with your camping stove:
- Excessive Heat: Turn off the stove if it is flaming radically or looks very hot.
- Fuel and Fuel Containers: Only use the recommended fuel and carry it in approved aluminum fuel canisters or the original can that it was purchased in.
- Starting the Stove: This is the time when it can flame up and get dangerous. When igniting the stove, use as little fuel as possible. I once melted a hole through a screen house wall because the stove was too close to it and I opened the gas a little too much.
- Ventilation: Never use a stove inside your tent or any area with poor ventilation.