What makes a good camp stove?

BagiMT

New member
I was and to a point still a stove junky. I had rite at 20 stoves and up until a year and a half ago. I am down to 6 stoves now. As was mentioned above I had different stoves for different situations. My go to for 50 years is my Coleman 2 burner. I generally carry fuel when traveling, so with the Coleman I have fuel with me already. The pumping is not a problem and it just works! I also have the Jet Boil that I can heat water for my morning coffee or for the times I want to go lite.

If your traveling and have a specialty type of fuel it can take some work to find that. Regular gas is easy to find and I am already going to need to stop there anyway. To make it easy for refilling I bought a 1 gallon UN style gas can. It is good to have along even around town. I have given out the fuel more then once to a person who ran out of gas.

Is there a perfect stove? No! There are many perfect stoves. They are all just a heat source is all. Depending on your situation, each has its place.

Da Frenchman
I am also a big fan of the Coleman stove that burns regular car gas, especially for longer trips. Fill up when you pump gas and carry some extra. Once you learn how to operate and clean them they are almost as easy to use as a propane stove. Also have a MSR Whisperlight that I have had for 25 years for backpacking, burns different fuels but mainly use it with car gas. Cheap and easy. My wife recently got a JetBoil to quickly boil water for coffee when we don't want to setup the Coleman. Pretty amazing how fast that thing is!

Sent from my HTC 10 using Tapatalk
 

robert

Expedition Leader
Another Coleman fan here. A little preventive maintenance and they last forever. There's something cathartic about firing one up and listening to the hissing sound. I've got a couple of them including one of the brown single burner Peak 1 "backpacking" stoves (heavy and obsolete by today's standards of course). I have a propane conversion generator for it if I want simple or want to connect it to my 11# tank.

A Jetboil lives in my truck for impromptu meals or coffee/tea and I have one of the GasOne stoves 9also with a propane conversion hose) that I carry occasionally and also use with my $26 Bayou Classic disk cooker.

Overseas I used one of the <$10 micro stoves. They work, they're cheap, I left my last one with a friend in the Philippines.
 

NCLRbear

Adventurer
Wow so many good reply’s. I’m pretty surprised to hear about Coleman gasoline stoves. I’m going to also look into white gas.
I’m also happy so see someone learned how to better use their partner stove!!
 

robert

Expedition Leader
Coleman fuel has gotten expensive but you can use "white gas" or naptha if you get it without additives. Coleman fuel has a dye and supposedly some rust inhibitor and preservative although the MSDS for it list "light petroleum distillates" 100%- naptha is a generic term for light petroleum distillates. You may be able to buy some pure naptha at your local auto body place; they use it to wipe down stuff before painting.You can run unleaded in a non-dual fuel model but expect it to be a bit smokier, a bit smellier and the generator and needle to need to be cleaned a bit more often. You can also find the dual fuel generators on line or buy a whole duel fuel tank and generator; if you are buying new just buy the duel fuel to start with but if you pick up a five dollar garage sale special it might be worth it to you. From what folks post, the older models seem to be a bit better quality but I'm not a stove aficionado so I can't really speak to the differences- there are Coleman forums where people break down the most minute details about all of them. Coleman fuel does work out to be less expensive than buying small propane cylinders or the even more expensive butane cartridges, it's just not as convenient.

They can be a bit more cantankerous than a propane stove if you don't maintain them and they take a couple more minutes to get cooking on, but I find something relaxing in that. Probably just nostalgia but mine have always worked and I enjoy using one although as I said, I do have one of the propane conversion pieces both as a fallback and for use when I had my Westfalia and was carrying propane. You can get adapters to connect it to larger tanks, butane cartridges, etc.

If I were running an outfitter service I'd look at a heavy duty stove but for what most of us are doing it should be plenty, if you like it (some folks don't).


Coleman fuel MSDS
http://nizer.com/pdfs/MSDS_Coleman_Camping_Fuel.pdf
Coleman fuel msds.PNG
 
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Photobug

Active member
Do you tavel with large groups? If you have less than 4 in the group, I can't imagine needing 20k BTU. My wife is a professional chef, I am a professional eater. We get buy with this. Low profile grill and burner in one. Burgers, dogs, Steaks corn, potatoes can all be cooked on the grill portion and a side dish can be cooked on the burner.

I have a propane tank that fits into the back of my truck and can also refuel the smaller cans with an adapter from a larger bottle.

 

Robert Bills

Explorer
My cooking requirements are simple: a single burner in the morning for coffee and hot water for cereal, etc. and that single burner plus one other cooking method for the evening which depends on the number of people, whether it is a transitory or more permanent camp, whether I have time to cook or need to be quick, etc.

I have been a proponent of the inexpensive butane cartridge single burner "catering" stoves for for almost 20 years and am glad to see that they have become more popular for camping/overlanding. Depending on model, these stoves put out as many BTU's per burner as the typical camp stove, are compact, inexpensive and easy to replace. I am currently using a dual fuel model sold by GasOne that uses both butane cartridges and 1# propane bottles. I used this stove on a recent 4,100 overlanding trip in Mexico and it works as well today as it did before the trip.

My second cooking method is often a discada or a grate over charcoal in the fire pit, although I recently acquired a Dutch Oven Cooker from the Riley Stove Company and have updated my dutch oven gear. Yeah, dutch ovens are bulky and weigh a ton, but I've compressed everything into two stolen milk crates and it seems to me that learning and perfecting a new cooking method during the Covid-19 lockdown is a worthwhile use of my time.

Stove, discada (can't bring myself to even say the word skottle), and dutch oven cooker:

Riley Compact Table set up with stove and scottle 2.jpgDOC 3.jpg

And who doesn't like tacos?
 

Attachments

robert

Expedition Leader
My cooking requirements are simple: a single burner in the morning for coffee and hot water for cereal, etc. and that single burner plus one other cooking method for the evening which depends on the number of people, whether it is a transitory or more permanent camp, whether I have time to cook or need to be quick, etc.

I have been a proponent of the inexpensive butane cartridge single burner "catering" stoves for for almost 20 years and am glad to see that they have become more popular for camping/overlanding. Depending on model, these stoves put out as many BTU's per burner as the typical camp stove, are compact, inexpensive and easy to replace. I am currently using a dual fuel model sold by GasOne that uses both butane cartridges and 1# propane bottles. I used this stove on a recent 4,100 overlanding trip in Mexico and it works as well today as it did before the trip.

My second cooking method is often a discada or a grate over charcoal in the fire pit, although I recently acquired a Dutch Oven Cooker from the Riley Stove Company and have updated my dutch oven gear. Yeah, dutch ovens are bulky and weigh a ton, but I've compressed everything into two stolen milk crates and it seems to me that learning and perfecting a new cooking method during the Covid-19 lockdown is a worthwhile use of my time.

Stove, discada (can't bring myself to even say the word skottle), and dutch oven cooker:

View attachment 599809View attachment 599810

And who doesn't like tacos?
Not to hijack the thread but have you got any more pictures of the stove under your disc cooker? I usually just set mine on my GasOne stove (yep, they're commonly used overseas) or over a fire but options are good.
 

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workerdrone

Fulltimer
Finally splashed out on a Partner stove and while the value is questionable perhaps, I like buying USA and wife loves it compared to the trusty old Coleman, which she hated (Graeme's article is spot on here), and it's a pleasure to use.

Otherwise I really like tiny wood cookstoves for single burner and backpacking use - you never run out of fuel and they can make comforting tiny campfires as well.
 

BagiMT

New member
Funny, this article just posted on Expedition Portal with a review of the old Coleman stove. A bit overly critical (or sarcastic), but the Coleman is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it kind of stove. I personally take the ability to get fuel anywhere I can fill up my truck (an not having to throw away disposable propane bottles) over the convenience of a propane stove, especially for longer trips. Now if you have space for a full-size propane tank that would be different, but we don't.

 

billiebob

My Uncle drove a government issued Jeep in Europe
For the OP, with a massive elevation change you need white gas. That is the best performing fuel, period. All the other choices lose btus/performance faster as you gain eleveation.

BTU/BurnerSize is all about what are you cooking AND for how many. If you want to sear Chinese Food, you need massive BTUs. If you want to boil water for coffee or mac&cheese for 1, not so much. Cooking for 1, cooking for 10, not comparable.

Cooking is the simplest pleasure, you can do it all for 50 bucks, if you are spending 500 bucks, you are looking to impress the Jones'.... not cook better food.

I will say some of the "systems" ie JetBoil etc are mighty impressive little cookers, and highly efficient too.
If the adventure is about food, cooking on the $50 budget rules. Fancy, expensive equipment complicates the adventure.
But if food is just the fuel to get the adventure done, guys like JetBoil rule.
 
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Inyo_man

Explorer
For the OP, with a massive elevation change you need white gas. That is the best performing fuel, period. All the other choices lose btus/performance faster as you gain eleveation.
If four season camping...it's white gas for the win!
I've seen folks try to light their butane stoves in sub-freezing mornings...everyone ends up using the old Coleman that I've been dragging around for decades. It has never let me down.

Cheers
 

85_Ranger4x4

Well-known member
Coleman fuel has gotten expensive but you can use "white gas" or naptha if you get it without additives. Coleman fuel has a dye and supposedly some rust inhibitor and preservative although the MSDS for it list "light petroleum distillates" 100%- naptha is a generic term for light petroleum distillates. You may be able to buy some pure naptha at your local auto body place; they use it to wipe down stuff before painting.You can run unleaded in a non-dual fuel model but expect it to be a bit smokier, a bit smellier and the generator and needle to need to be cleaned a bit more often. You can also find the dual fuel generators on line or buy a whole duel fuel tank and generator; if you are buying new just buy the duel fuel to start with but if you pick up a five dollar garage sale special it might be worth it to you. From what folks post, the older models seem to be a bit better quality but I'm not a stove aficionado so I can't really speak to the differences- there are Coleman forums where people break down the most minute details about all of them. Coleman fuel does work out to be less expensive than buying small propane cylinders or the even more expensive butane cartridges, it's just not as convenient.

They can be a bit more cantankerous than a propane stove if you don't maintain them and they take a couple more minutes to get cooking on, but I find something relaxing in that. Probably just nostalgia but mine have always worked and I enjoy using one although as I said, I do have one of the propane conversion pieces both as a fallback and for use when I had my Westfalia and was carrying propane. You can get adapters to connect it to larger tanks, butane cartridges, etc.
You can get offbrand camp fuel too, Walmart has Coleman fuel for say $12/gal, they also carry "Crown" brand for like $8 a gallon. It works great.

No way I would buy new. Dad gave me my 425E so it doesn't really count, I paid $15 for my 425D with a stand which needs a little TLC from sitting and $15 for a 413G that runs like a top and is going to be my new main stove. Compared to like $150? for a new duel fuel. I have seen used dual fuels about the same price but they always seem to catch me at a bad time and frankly I am kind of about done collecting two burner stoves anyway.

For convenience especially with a duel fuel they do have the perk of being able to be topped off. You can just add fuel to the tank that stores in the stove as you go, if you have a dual fuel you can run off the fuel from your vehicle (if it isn't diesel) Then you don't get stuck with a bunch of 1/4 full propane cylinders.

Or you can just get a $5 one on a garage sale not caring if the tank and valving is any good (what usually goes wrong with them from sitting) and get the $20 kit to convert your white gas stove to propane (if you play it right it would be a tri fuel, white gas, unleaded gas and propane)

 

robert

Expedition Leader
Yep, that's similar to the propane conversion I have (I can't remember who it's made by). It works fine when I use it with my 11# tank and a manifold pole. I have one of the compact, single mantle, propane lanterns I can screw on top of the pole.
 
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