When it comes to prepping being able to cook off the grid is essential. In a prepping situation its good to have multiple types of portable stoves so that you can use multiple fuel types. For this reason we include propane, butane, alcohol, and wood burning stoves in this report. A great thing about all this cooking gear is that its fun to use for recreational camping as well.
Butane is a liquid gas has more energy as a fuel than propane gas and it will burn for longer but propane is better for exterior storage and use in very cold temperatures. Since propane is more widely used and convenient (you can even refill the small green canisters directly) we focused more on propane stoves. You can also save a lot of money by using a bulk one gallon or larger propane tank. The larger tanks are not lightweight so keep that in mind.
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We also included a portable propane oven in this report which really gives you the ability to bake and have some luxury when you are in the backcountry.
The wood burning stoves are really the ultimate survival stoves because there is an endless supply of fuel. If you have stowed a lot of propane or butane or solid fuel then you can use those stoves as well as the wood burning stoves. The downside to the wood burning stoves is that you constantly have to find more firewood and monitor the stove. Wood stoves can also be a problem in wet weather because the available wood may not be dry. Its a good idea to have charcoal with you to use with the wood burning stoves if the wood gets wet.
There are other products which use solar energy but we didn’t include them in this report simply because they are very hard to use reliably and are very dependent on weather. Weight is also something to consider so if you plan on walking/ backpacking only and don’t have access to a car then make sure you have a lightweight stove as well.
The lightweight stoves don’t put out as much heat/power, but they do the job. Finally, we included a solid fuel burner because we like the portability of both the stove and the fuel type. The fuel burns clean with no smoke and has a high energy output/density. The down side is the fuel is quite expensive and not available for purchase in many locations (we included a link to buy solid fuel at the end of this report). The solid fuel burners are really just for simple cooking applications like boiling water.
BEST OF THE BEST
BEST OF THE BEST BTU Output Weight (lbs) Numer of Burners #1 WINNER Camp Chef Expedition 3x 3x 3o,000 70 3 #2 WINNER Camp Chef Big Gas 3 3 x 30,000 49 3 #3 WINNER Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven 2 x 7500, 1 x 3000 35 3
BEST OF THE BEST
Numer of Burners
Camp Chef Expedition 3x
Camp Chef Big Gas 3
3 x 30,000
Camp Chef Outdoor Camp Oven
2 x 7500, 1 x 3000
Camp Chef Expedition 3X Burner Stove
Pros: 3 x 30,000 high capacity BTU. Includes wind screen. No complicated assembly required. Lots of cooking space. Matchless ignition.
Cons: Pricey. Heavy.
The Camp Chef Expedition is a 3 burner high output stove. It features a lot of real estate for cooking and is a very powerful stove. We love how fast it heats up and how fast you can cook. This stove is definitely not a bare bones type stove and is a real luxury. Its like having an actual proper home stove out in the backcountry with you. Its a fantastic stove for camping and cooking for a large group of people or your family. It includes a flat top griddle as well as another burner for pots and boiling water. At 70 lbs it is not lightweight so keep that in mind if you are planning on backpacking, this isn’t a backpacking type stove. It doesn’t come with a carrying bag but you can buy one and we recommend you do that. The other downside is that it doesn’t include a grill box. You can buy that accessory as well we provided a link below. This is a our #1 Winner because of the power of this stove and the ease of assembly.
Camp Chef Big Gas 3-Burner Grill
Pros: 3 x 30,000 high capacity BTU. Matchless ignition.
Cons: Pricey. heavy when used with grill box.
We really like the Big Gas 3 stove. It out puts the same amount of power as the Camp Chef Expedition and comes in a lighter package weighing 49 lbs. Its also a luxurious type of stove and is easy to assemble. What we love about this deal is that it comes with the Grill box. The grill box Weighs 33 lbs so keep that in mind if you are trying to keep weight to a minimum. This is a great buy! It takes our #2 Winner spot because its not as sturdy as the Expedition and doesn’t have windscreens.
Camp Chef Outdoor Portable Camp Oven
Pros: Its a portable oven and a grill! Efficient. Can bake and cook a lot of food all at once.
Cons: Bulky and not easy to transport.
We love this product. Being able to bake makes this a truly unique stove. It weighs a manageable 35 lbs. Its bulky though so keep in mind its not for backpacking. It features two 7500 BTU burners and an internal 3000 BTU oven. Lots of power. This is a great product to have for camping and survival situations and gives you the luxury of home cooking anywhere. Its incredibly efficient and can provide 5 hours of baking with just one small 16 oz. propane tank. It has two removable oven racks and is a table top design. It comes in as our pick for #3 Winner because its hard to transport.
Numer of Burners
Coleman Fold N Go InstaStart
Camp Chef Explorer 2
2 x 30,000
Coleman Perfect Flow Stove
2 x 10,000
Pros: Very compact and portable. Plenty of power. Efficient. InstaStart.
Cons: No wind guards.
The Coleman Fold N Go is a high quality long lasting extremely portable grill. It has good build quality. On the downside the pot stands are quite high and there isn’t wind protection so that can be a problem on very windy days. The burners are 10,000 BTU each! Impressive. The design is innovative and space saving. Its easy to carry and a great addition to anyones prepping and camping gear. The Fold N Go weighs 8.5 lbs. For its size and portability it outputs a tremendous amount of heat. Great product and deserving of the #1 Winner title.
Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner Stove
Pros: High output 30,000 BTU per burner. Large cooking area. Lightweight. Great value!
Cons: Windscreens could be larger. No auto ignition.
The Camp Chef Explore is a well made high quality and high output portable stove. At 28 lbs you can really transport this stove easily and have the ability to cook a lot of food at once. You can fit two large frying pans on the 448 square inch cooking surface. You can also use a variety of accessories like a griddle. Unfortunately it doesn’t come with automatic ignition but we don’t think thats such a big deal considering how much you are getting for such a great price. The Explore is our #2 Winner because its not the most portable and doesn’t have auto-ignition.
Coleman Perfect Flow Grill Stove
Pros: Lightweight and compact. Wind shielded. High output.
Cons: No push button auto ignition. Hard to control temperature.
We love the portability and power of this grill. It comes with two 10,000 BTU burners. On one side there is a griddle/grill and a stove on the other. At 15 lbs its every easy to transport though still a bit too heavy for backpacking. The temperature control is not precise and really there is only high or low on the knobs- and for this reason its our pick for #3 Winner. There’s also no push button ignition. We really like the portability and design of this grill. This buy gives you a lot of bang for your buck.
If you really want push button auto ignition you can upgrade to the slightly more expensive version of the Coleman PerfectFlow:
BEST ON A BUDGET BEST ON A BUDGET BTU Output Weight (lbs) Numer of Burners #1 WINNER Coleman Triton Series 2 2x 11,000 10 2 #2 WINNER Iwatani Portable Butane Stove 12,000 3.7 1 #3 WINNER Coleman Bottle Top Stove 10,000 3 1
BEST ON A
Numer of Burners
Coleman Triton Series 2
Iwatani Portable Butane Stove
Coleman Bottle Top Stove
Pros: High output. Sturdy and lightweight. Great price.
Cons: No push button auto ignition.
We love how powerful this stove is. It put out a formidable 11,000 BTU’s per burner. At 10 lbs its lightweight. Its made of sturdy materials and is sure to last for a long time. It has built in wind shields and is a table top design. It has a large cooking surface and you can use pots pans or even a griddle on the surface. The controls can be a bit finicky when trying to precisely control the heat output. This is a great buy and a great value! Its our #1 Winner because its packed with features at a great price.
If you really want push button auto ignition you can upgrade to the slightly more expensive version of the Coleman Triton:
Pros: Uses butane efficiently. Very compact and lightweight. Good amount of heat.
Cons: Loading canister correctly can be difficult.
The Iwatani Butane stove is a steal for the price. It puts out 12,000 BTU and has an automatic safety shutoff. It has a push button piezo electric igniter which is very convenient. It also comes with a carrying case. At 3.7 lbs its super lightweight and portable. This is a great option if you want to be able to have a Butane stove as well as propane and wood burning stoves. On the downside: Its sometimes challenging to load the canister correctly. There’s also times when the ignition doesn’t work the first time. For these reasons its our #2 Winner. All things considered this is a good buy!
Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove
Pros: Great price and value. Lightweight.
Cons: No auto ignition. Not suitable for large groups.
The Coleman Bottle top burner is a lightweight and portable stove option. It’s super convenient especially if you’re already transporting the propane tanks. It puts out a respectable 10,000 BTU’s. We like the simplicity of the system. At under 3 lbs (not including the gas canister) its truly a portable backpacking stove. It also has a built in wind baffles so windy days won’t be a problem with this burner. Its our pick for #3 Winner because its not designed to cook for large groups, though you could manage with more than one of them.
With the exception of the Iwatani stove all above stoves use Propane. the Iwatani uses Butane. We found the best deals for gas canisters today:
WOOD BURNING STOVES
EcoZoom Versa Camping Stove
Pros: Wood or charcoal burning. Stick support. Solid build.
Cons: Quite heavy. Not for backpacking.
The EcoZoom Versa is a fantastic well thought out wood stove. It has a stick support system so you can easily feed longer sticks into it without having to break them down. Its our pick for #1 Winner because its packed with innovative features. It has a specially designed combustion chamber which limits air intake so that the wood/charcoal burns for longer. The door is hinged so you can switch easily between wood and charcoal. When cooking with charcoal the Versa puts out a whopping 23,000 BTUs. At 26.75 lbs the EcoZoom is quite heavy and not built for backpacking. Its a solid good quality stove. Being able to use this in a situation where you have no other fuels, makes this a perfect choice for prepping and camping. We highly recommend it!
Solo Stove Campfire & 2 Pot Set Combo
Pros: Lightweight. Recommended by Matt Graham of the Discovery Channel. Patented Design.
Cons: Too bulky for backpacking. Stays hot for a long time after fire is put out.
We really like the Solo Stove Campfire edition. It comes with two pots and makes cooking for larger groups or your family easy. it has a patented twin wall design which is a natural convection system. This ensures the most efficient burn of the wood and also means there isn’t much smoke during the burning process. You’ll also end up using much less wood than an open campfire. Its our #2 Winner because it stays hot for a long time after the fire is out.
At 5.7 lbs we think this setup is a bit too heavy for backpacking but if you are interested in the backpacking version of this technology have a look here:
ALCOHOL & SOLID FUEL BURNING STOVE
Pros: Lightweight. Easy to use. Portable. Solid fuel or denatured alcohol.
Cons: Can take a long time to boil water compared with gas/wood stoves.
We really like the Esbit. Being able to use alcohol or solid fuel is super convenient. It does the job well but really isn’t meant for fast cooking and cooking for many people. The 985 mL pot comes with marked with volume indicators. It also comes in an included mesh bag for easier transport. At 14.7 ounces it is so easy to transport and is perfect for backpacking. Its a solid build and super portable and for those reasons and its #1 Winner.
Having a variety of different portable stoves is a good idea for prepping. You can use all of these stoves recreationally as well. Cooking fast and for many people with gas stoves is great! But being able to use wood/gas/solid fuel/alcohol/charcoal means you’ll be set in any situation.
Want to know more about Portable Stoves?