After spending an exciting day of adventuring along the trails or pioneering your own way, you’ll be craving a nice warm meal when you and your crew return to camp. While a fire will certainly cook your gluten-free recipes from your favorite camping cookbook or boil water in a camping kettle to make coffee outdoors, and solar cooking can get the job done as long as the sun is out, the most effective and efficient methods of cooking a warm meal in the wilderness is a camping stove.
How To Choose a Camping Stove
Cooking outdoors in an intrinsic part of the camping experience and at Novapro Sports we understand that you need to have the right stove to work with. Whether you are cooking up a storm at a campsite or rehydrating your food, the right camping stove will make all the difference. One way to think about camping stoves is to divide them between their fuel types. This falls roughly into 3 groups:
Canister stoves are the most commonly used for general camping and hiking. These run on a propane/butane single-use canister. For those venturing into more harsh or mountainous terrain, it's worth noting that canister performance can be susceptible to cold temps and altitude.
Liquid Fuel Stoves
The liquid fuel stove is the original backpacking option that is still in use, but the popularity is beginning to fade. Liquid fuel stoves are much heavier and bulkier than the canister option but are best for cold weather camping.
The greatest drawbacks most outdoor enthusiasts have experienced are leaking as they age and determining what to do with remaining fuel when you return from a trip since it cannot be stored for a long period.
Portable Woodburning Stoves
A third option - one growing in popularity - is the woodburning stove (or alternative fuel stove). These are ideally suited to minimalist hikers and trekkers looking for a more traditional outdoor experience. They have the advantages of a very low pack weight as you can forage fuel from the local area rather than carrying a canister or liquids in your rucksack.
Below are a few of the other key decision points that will factor into your choice for the best backpacking stove for you.
- Stove weight: If you’re counting ounces on a long, solo thru-hike, your choice will differ from someone who mainly enjoys weekend backpacking with friends.
Burn time: Weather conditions and climate can greatly affect cooking times. As pre-pressurised liquefied gas becomes colder, internal pressure begins to drop. This results in a reduced flow of gas to the burner head which generates an inadequate flame for cooking and increases boil times. This will cost you precious fuel and cause delays to your itinerary. Look for a stove that features added extras such as windshields.
A windshield is purposely designed windshields are usually made with reflective materials such as aluminium to help reflect any escaping heat lost to the wind back towards the pot in order to maximize efficiency. However, it is important to remember that if your gas cartridge gets too hot then it can explode. To avoid this, try and allow a degree of ventilation around the cartridge and monitor it closely.
- Average boil time: Canister stoves boil water quickly, and some models are good to excellent at simmering—great for camp gourmets. Liquid Fuel stoves boil water very quickly, even in cold weather. Meanwhile, an Alternative or Portable Fuel stoves are intended primarily for boiling, though they are slower, sometimes by minutes.
Having a camping stove can be a great way to prepare meals out in the wild, and there’s a different stove for everyone’s needs. Since all you really want is to cook your food properly, keeping these things in mind can help you choose one that’s right for your camping style so you can make the most of your food.
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