Camp Cooking: Camp Stove Guide
Since the dawn of time, when primitive campers used to throw a slab of freshly-caught some-kind-of-saur on the open flames, one bit of technology above all others has changed camp cooking for the better: the development of the two-burner stove.
Today, if you want to make a delicate soufflé or a hearty stew, a stack of pancakes or a pot of pudding, you can cook it all to perfection on a modern camp stove. We picked the best from the dozens available and served them up for your dining pleasure.
The Wind River Range from Brunton is constructed of extruded aluminum and stainless steel, and is one serious piece of cooking equipment that folds up into a neat suitcase-style package for easy transport. The spearhead of a move toward high-quality, family camping equipment from Brunton, the Wind River Range is compatible with large or small propane canisters, and will run for 1.5 hours at high output (15,000 BTU per burner) on a single fuel canister. For easy cleaning, there’s a removable burner plate below the stainless steel grate that supports large or small pots. Under the cutting board, there’s a storage compartment for utensils. It comes with a lifetime warranty, too. Size: 13.5×21.5×7 inches. Weight: 23.25 lbs. 800/443-4871; brunton.com
The Camp Chef All Terrain (40,000 BTU total) is an aluminum/steel sport stove that is the lightest of all the Camp Chef models. Ideal for use on a picnic table or tailgate, the design is traditional briefcase-style, with a fold-down lid and sidewalls that deflect the wind and keep the heat from blowing away. The stainless steel burners feature Windguard rings to concentrate the flame for maximum cooking power. Size: 14x27x5.5 inches. Weight: 20 lbs. (16 lbs. w/ aluminum lid). MSRP: $139.99
The Weekender is the hefty version of Camp Chef’s traditional style, fold-away, two-burner camp stove. Suitcase-style lid and side wings deflect the breeze while cooking, and then fold down into a compact package for toting. The all-steel case encloses the two high-output (30,000 BTU each) cast burners. Appliance-style temperature controls and a utilitarian D-ring style carry handle are positioned on the face of the stove. Size: 14.75×28.25×7.5 inches. Weight: 33 lbs. MSRP: $139.99. 800/783-8347; campchef.com
Century Tool & Manufacturing makes the Matchless 2-Burner Propane Camping Stove (Model 4960). Once you’ve used a matchless igniter, you’ll never go back to the old way. This stove offers the convenience of piezo-electric ignition for its large 3 3/8-inch burners. With a total heat output of 24,000 BTU (combined) and regulated pressure for consistent performance, this cooker will make short work of your camp meals. An easy-to-clean chrome-plated drip tray catches anything that falls below the cooking surface. A 24-inch hose is compatible with either small propane canisters or bulk cylinders. Size: 12.63×22.38×3.5 inches. Weight: 10 lbs. MSRP: $72.84.
Of special note is the new Matchless Deluxe Stainless Steel 2-Burner Stove (Model 4980) from Century. It features push-button lighting just like the 4960; it’s pressure regulated for all-weather use, offers two 3 3/8-inch burners (12,000 BTU each), has a stainless steel drip tray, 24-inch hose and a regulator for bulk cylinders. It also can use standard 1-pound propane bottles. Size: 13.7x22x4.5 inches. Weight: 12.5 lbs. MSRP: $69.99.
Century’s Deluxe 2-Burner Propane Camping Stove (Model 4665) has two 3 3/8-inch burners that each put out 12,000 BTU of cooking power. This stove will be ideal for many camping families. A 24-inch gas hose can be connected to either a 16.4-ounce canister or a bulk propane tank. A nickle-plated grate supports the cookware, and windscreens on three sides protect the flames. Also comes in red (Model 4675). Size: 12.63×22.38×3.5 inches. Weight: 10 lbs. MSRP: $57.56.
Century’s Propane Grill/Stove (Model 5320) is handy. You can grill your dinner just like on a backyard barbecue, or cook in a pot or pan. There’s a single 10,000-BTU burner and a 10×13-inch grill area with a smooth steel drip tray beneath the stove and a removable grease tray under the grill for easy cleanup. It comes with three-sided windscreens, piezo igniter for easy lighting and a convenient carry handle. Size: 13×23.5×6 inches. Weight: 15.6 lbs. MSRP: $61.97. 800/435-4525; centurycamping.com
The Coleman Company offers tons of two-burner camp stoves, in both propane and liquid fuel models. Just in case you think liquid fuel is a thing of the past, it’s not. In fact, it’s very economical and reliable. For the record, one gallon of liquid Coleman fuel offers the same burn time as four and a half 16.4-ounce cylinders of propane. And liquid fuel is more reliable than pressurized fuel when the temperature drops to extreme cold.
The PerfectFlow InstaStart 2-Burner Stove (Model 5466-750) is a propane-fueled two-burner with matchless lighting and fold-down WindBlock shields that become handy side trays when folded down. Total output is 22,000 BTU. It has an easy-to-clean removable nickel-chrome grate and is made of heavy-duty steel construction. Other features include a durable enamel painted case and aluminized cook top. Size: 14×22.38×4.63 inches. Weight: 12.55 lbs. MSRP: $55.
The PowerPack 2-Burner Stoves offer modern styling and high performance in a choice of two colors. The red (9948-783) includes an accessory griddle, and the green (9948-750) includes accessory legs. Both feature 30,000 BTU total combined output, a clamshell lid, fold-out side windscreens and InstaStart matchless igniter. Size: 19.38×29.75×9.75 inches (red); 19.25×30.0×9.75 inches (green). Weight: 33.7 lbs. (red); 36.15 lbs. (green). MSRP: $119 for both models.
Coleman has introduced the new Fold ’N Go Stove (Model 5442-A50) for 2006. This clamshell-style folding stove opens to offer two burners and is designed to be more compact and easier to carry than traditional-style camp stoves, while still offering the power output of a typical two-burner propane stove. Each of the 10,000-BTU burners is fully adjustable from a slow simmer to a rolling boil and are spaced 13 inches apart to allow for large skillets and pots. A regulator and fuel-cylinder attachment stow in the stove case for travel, but can quickly be hooked up to a 1-pound propane bottle in minutes.
Easy-to-clean aluminized surfaces are found around the burners and stovetop. And this new Coleman unit offers matchless lighting with a push-button igniter. Size: 3 7/8×11 5/8×27 inches. Weight: 9 lbs. MSRP: $69.99.
Coleman’s PerfectFlow InstaStart Grill Stove (Model 9922-750) provides matchless ignition for two independently adjustable propane 10,000-BTU burners: one dedicated to stove duties and the other for the grill. WindBlock shields fold down to become handy side trays. Easy-to-clean removable die-cast aluminum grill grate and nickel-chrome stove grate. Grease management system with removable dishwasher-safe tray. Size: 15.13×23.63×5.75 inches. Weight: 15.35 lbs. MSRP: $84.
The 2-Burner Classic Liquid Fuel Stove (Model 425G499) is the modern version of the stove my father and grandfather had. It’s been tried and proven for decades in all kinds of outdoor conditions. It burns Coleman liquid fuel. This model features two high-performance burners: a main burner that puts out 11,500 BTU, and an auxiliary burner that cranks out 9500 BTU. WindBlock system side screens guard against the breeze, yet adjust to allow plenty of room for pots and pans. The heavy-duty nickel chrome grate is removable for easy cleaning. Size: 14.75x20x7.25 inches. Weight: 11.33 lbs. Fuel tank capacity: 2.5 pints. MSRP: $79.
The 2-Burner Dual-Fuel Powerhouse Deluxe Stove (Model 414-700) is another Coleman dual-fuel stove that can burn either liquid camping fuel or unleaded gasoline, so you’ll never have trouble finding fuel in some backcountry outpost. Just find a gas station. This model features two high-performance burners: a main burner that puts out 13,500 BTU and an auxiliary that pours out 11,000 BTU. Open the lid and fold out the adjustable windscreens and the stove is protected against the breeze. The heavy-duty nickel chrome grate is removable for easy cleaning. Size: 16.75×23.75×8 inches. Weight: 15.25 lbs. Tank capacity: 3.5 pints. MSRP: $116.
The company’s 2-Burner Dual-Fuel Compact Stove (Model 424A700) is a little smaller and lighter than the 414-700 model, but is still a powerful stove that can burn either Coleman liquid fuel or unleaded gasoline. This model features two high-performance burners; a main burner that outputs 11,500 BTU and an auxiliary burner that outputs 9500 BTU. Adjustable windscreens guard against the breeze, yet allow room for pots and pans. The heavy-duty nickel chrome grate is removable for easy cleaning. Size: 14.75×19.75×7.13 inches. Weight: 11.43 lbs. Tank capacity: 2.5 pints. MSRP: $87. 800/835-3278; coleman.com
One of the nice things about all of the Stansport stoves is that there is an On/Off valve right at the connection point for the propane cylinder, so there is no propane going down the pipe until you want it. The Double Burner Propane Stove’s (Model 202) super-compact size makes it an easy choice when storage space is at a premium. Its twin burners put out 10,000 BTU each. Built of durable, heavy-gauge steel with enamel coating, each burner is individually controlled. Wind baffles pull double-duty, supporting the cookware and helping shield the flame from the wind. Size: 9x17x2 inches. Weight: 3.5 lbs. MSRP: $29.99.
Stansport’s Two-Burner Piezo Igniter High Output Propane Stove (Model 205) provides easy starting without a match. This stove is equipped with a piezo-electric igniter and is rated as a high-output/high-altitude stove. It outputs 12,000 BTU from each 3.25-inch burner, oversized for maximum heat distribution. It also features an extra large cooking surface to handle large pans. Size: 13x24x4 inches. Weight: 12 lbs. MSRP: $59.99.
The High Output Propane Stove & Grill with Piezo Igniter (Model 206) is good for grilling and conventional cooking. The single stove burner is large at 3.25 inches in diameter for maximum heat distribution and is rated at 12,000 BTU. Below the burner is a smooth steel drip pan. The rest of the cooking surface is a 10×13 grill area with a removable grease tray for easy cleaning. Size: 13x24x5 inches. Weight: 14 lbs. MSRP: $69.99. 323/269-0510; stansport.com