A Simple Guide to Camp Stoves

A Simple Guide to Camp Stoves

Camping at the Grand Canyon area could be adventurous. At times you would want to have a warm meal or to boil water for a hot drink. For that reason it is best to have some sort of stove with you. This guide is intended to help you decide which type of camp stove is most appropriate for your needs: the multi-fuel stove or the butane (also called canister) stove.

Today’s multi-fuel stoves are lightweight, compact and best of all, burn almost anything. They are simply great. They boil water fast (approx. 1liter in 3 ? min.) and can use a wide variety of fuels. However, I suggest avoiding diesel and gasoline, as they have a tendency to clog up the fuel jets on the stove, and sticking with Coleman camp fuel or NAPHTA. One downside, these multi-fuel stoves are a little loud. Kind of like having a little jet engine next to you camp. If you really need quiet, I suggest trying a butane stove.

Butane (or canister) stoves are the choice of hikers who prefer smaller lighter stoves. They use pressurized canisters of butane/propane or isobutane. They also burn a little hotter than multi-fuel stoves (boil 1 liter in approx. 3 min.). One of the biggest “pros” is that they often have igniter switches that don’t require matches. THIS DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN LEAVE YOUR MATCHES AT HOME. But the “con” is that on most canister stoves, the stove itself sits on top of the canister. The outcome of being, if you do not have a flat surface, the stove can be unstable. This can be critical when your chow is on the line. Also, they use a non-refillable pressurized fuel canister. If you have one that is half empty you have to choose whether to carry a full one, or risk running out of fuel.
If you are an ounce counter, like most people, you will appreciate the butane stoves size and convenience when packing. If, like me, you don’t mind carrying a little extra weight when it comes to cooking you might prefer the heavier, larger multi-fuel that allows for a little better heat control, and it’s refillable, liquid fuel bottle.
Before making a decision on which model to purchase, take into consideration the following criteria when choosing a camp stove that is right for you.

Key criteria:

Weight – most stoves weigh somewhere between 200 and 600 grams. Canisters being on the lighter end of the scale, while Multi-fuels are heavier.

  • Fuel- Multi-fuel stoves have an advantage in that they use refillable bottles and burn a variety of readily available fuels. Canisters burn hotter but it can be hard to tell how much fuel you have in the pressurized canister.
  • Flame control – Multi-fuel stoves have a little better flame control for the true camp chef who needs that low heat for making the perfect beanie-weenie concoction.
  • Boil time – Canisters generally will boil a liter of water in 3 minutes while multi-fuels will take between 3.5 – 5 minutes depending on fuel.
  • Stability – Because the on canister stoves, the stove itself sits on top of the fuel canister, they are usually less stable than multi-fuel stoves that sit low to the ground, with the fuel bottle resting next to the stove.

Other considerations – Airlines do not allow passengers to bring full fuel bottles on flights. Keep this in mind and make sure you will be able to purchase fuel at your destination if you are flying.

Recommended model – I would recommend the MSR Dragonfly multi-fuel stove for its easy set up, flame control and stable platform. However, this particular stove is rather pricey for the budget hiker. If price is a criteria try one of the similar but cheaper ones.