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(The Gear Loop) - We’ve rounded up the best camping stoves, models to ignite your 2022 and fuel your days on the trails. Camping stoves are in high demand, with staycations growing in popularity with every passing year. And rightly so, because Britain’s countryside and wilderness are absolutely stunning. Costa del what, you say?

Along with a good tent, getting yourself one of the best camping stoves is a key part of your ticket to awesome, back-to-basics adventures with friends and family. It doesn’t matter whether you’re hunting the perfect wild camping spot or going glamping with the kids in tow, any length of time spent living outdoors is good for the soul.

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First, we compare a trio of excellent, lightweight backpacking stoves, perfect for expeditions into the wilderness. These tiny powerhouses boast speedy boil times, allowing you to brew up, bring dehydrated meals to life and heat boil-in-the-bag meals in no time at all. Plus, their superb fuel efficiency means you don’t have to worry about running out of gas.

Then we’ve got two of the best stoves for popping in the car boot and heading for the campsite. These are models that give you the kind of control that enables you to do your very best Heston Blumenthal impression outside. One of them even has a mini oak chopping board or serving platter.

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Without fanning the flames further, let’s tuck in...

The best camping stoves for wild camping and backpacking expeditions

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Jetboil MiniMo

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For

  • Compact
  • Pressure regulator
  • Superb fuel efficiency
  • Lightning quick boil time

Against

  • Performance suffers in wind
  • Simmer control isn’t as advanced as some
  • Not as light as some rivals

Designed with backpackers in mind, Jetboil’s MiniMo has a couple of features that make it even more desirable than Jetboil’s much-loved Flash stove. Firstly, it comes with a pressure regulator, which means you get just as solid a performance when your canister is almost out of juice as you do when it’s full. You can also control the temperature, allowing you to leave things simmering while you cook up those boil-in-the-bag meals.

The MiniMo retains many of the larger Flash’s best features. It’s light and compact, making it perfect for epic backpacking expeditions. Jetboil’s FluxRing technology gives it lightning quick boil times and fuel efficiency that’s the envy of its nearest rivals. No matches? No problem: the MiniMo comes with a piezo igniter, so you can get the flame going with the merest touch of a button.

There’s a three-legged canister support to keep the unit stable in gusty conditions. One gripe is that performance suffers more than some when it’s windy, an occurrence that’s obviously common when backpacking. Also, if you’re obsessively counting every gram, there are lighter options out there.

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Soto Windmaster

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For

  • Maintains good performance in windy conditons
  • Lightweight
  • Good simmering ability
  • Piezo ignition

Against

  • Less fuel efficient than rivals
  • Boil time slower than some

The award-winning Soto Windmaster is firmly established as one of the best camping stoves for backpackers and wild campers. As its name suggests, it performs well in windy conditions, something that some of its direct competitors struggle with. It’s designed so a cooking pot sits close to the flame and the burner head is concave, effectively acting as a windscreen.

The Windmaster’s Micro Regulator valve system means that it will perform just as well with a mostly spent canister as a new one, though in general its fuel efficiency isn’t as strong as some of its direct rivals. Along with the MSR Pocket Rocket, it’s the best backpacking stove in terms of simmering ability, making it a stove you can use for more nuanced cooking, rather than just instant meals. A reliable piezo ignition means that you can leave your lighter and matches at home.

Another plus for backpackers is how light the unit is, weighing in at just 85g. It doesn’t boil water as quickly as the MSR Reactor or Jetboil’s flagship stoves, but it’s no slouch either, bringing things to a boil in less than five minutes. In summary, the Windmaster is an extremely solid performer, a backpacking stove that’s hard to beat.

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MSR Pocket Rocket 2

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For

  • Ultralight and compact
  • Great simmering ability
  • Great value
  • Quick boil times

Against

  • No piezo ignition
  • Not as resistant to wind as some models
  • Fuel efficiency could be better

For an ultralight, compact and affordable backpacking stove, you can’t go far wrong with the MSR Pocket Rocket 2. Its minimalist design and great performance have made it a favourite with trekkers who want to make speedy meals on the go. Unlike some of its rivals, it gives you very responsive simmering ability, meaning you can cook refined meals as well as dehydrated dinners.

It boasts an impressive boil time of three and a half minutes, though this is adversely affected when the wind is up. It’s also not as fuel efficient as many of its rivals. You’ll also need your lighter or matches, as there’s no in-built piezo ignition here.

However, considering the Pocket Rocket 2’s low cost, it’s a very solid stove that punches above its weight. At around double the price, the Pocket Rocket Deluxe features piezo ignition and is more wind resistant. So if you don’t mind shelling out a little more, it might just be the better option.

The best camping stoves for campsite meals

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Primus Onja Stove

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For

  • Classy looks
  • Separate burners with excellent heat control
  • Innovative touches
  • Easy to clean

Against

  • Expensive compared to other stoves
  • Windshield not the best
  • Obviously too heavy for backpacking use

Whip out the Onja Stove, open it up and watch everyone else at the campsite turn green with envy. The stylish design, the quality steel, the dual burner stoves... it’s a thing of beauty. The burners roar into life nicely, tpp - enough to boil a litre of water in four minutes - and their intensity can be tailored to whatever it is you’re serving up. Better still, the burners can be connected via threaded and non-threaded canister valves.

There are a number of innovative little touches that we absolutely love. Firstly, the oak lid detaches and can be used as a little chopping board or even as a serving platter - did someone say charcuterie, darling? Meanwhile, the integrated carry strap makes the whole thing relatively portable, despite weighing 3kg.

There’s a bit of wind resistance offered by the way the body opens out, but performance suffers slightly in blowy conditions, which is our only real gripe. It’s obviously too heavy to lug up a mountain and it is pricier than some dual burner stoves. However, based on its many plus points, it’s a shrewd purchase.

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Outwell Jimbu Stove

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For

  • Piezo ignition
  • Effective windshields
  • Stable heat output for precision cooking
  • Easy to clean

Against

  • Two burners might have been more practical than the grill plate
  • Too heavy for backpacking use

Even if it’s blowing a hoolie on the campsite, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Outwell Jimbu Stove. This is thanks to its excellent, integrated windshields, which flip up on three sides to protect your burgeoning gourmet masterpiece. In terms of cooking, you’ve got the flexibility of the 3500W burner and the 1500W grill. However, we wonder if two burners would have been more practical.

You’ll also have no problems if your matches blow away, as it comes with a piezo lighter for push button ignition. The Jimbu attaches to a gas cartridge via a hose and the all-important regulator, which maintains the stove’s performance even when the canister is on the emptier side of things. 

Weighing a hefty 3kg, this is definitely a product for car camping trips or impromptu garden BBQs and not for backpacking or wild camping. The removable grate and drip tray mean that cleaning it is easy as pie.

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What to look for when buying a camping stove

Stove type

In this guide, we’ve broadly featured stoves you’d pack into your hiking backpack for a wild camping expedition and stoves you’d pop in your car for the campsite. If you’re off on an expedition, size and weight become crucial considerations and you’re less likely to be too fussed about creating gourmet perfection. A compact backpacking stove is what you need, ideally one that can bring water to the boil quickly for your hot brews, dehydrated meals and boil-in-the-bag dinners. Integrated, all-in-one systems, where the cooking pot attaches to the burner head and all the components nest together in a convenient unit, have become the norm for backpackers. These stoves typically don’t feature intricate flame control but that’s not really the point.

If you’ve got family camping holidays or festivals on the agenda, you’ll want something bigger that gives you the kind flexibility you’re used to in your kitchen at home. These kind of stoves generally feature multiple burners, grills, flame control valves and a windshield, giving you a more refined cooking experience.

Features

These days, many of the best camping stoves feature the convenience of piezo ignition, which creates a spark at the press of a button to bring your stove to life. This is a desirable feature for wild campers, who don’t really want to be carrying anything they don’t have to. However, these igniters can sometimes fail, so it’s worth always have a spare lighter at the bottom of your backpack.

A feature that stove manufacturers often shout about from the rooftops (or should that be mountain summits?) is boil time. This is the amount of time it takes for the stove to get half a litre of water bubbling away in average weather conditions. Of course, there are many variables that affect this when out in the wild and it’s wise to keep your eye out for a regulated stove, which brings us nicely to…

Regulated vs non-regulated

The output of a stove is reliant on its fuel pressure. With a non-regulated stove, the pressure of the gas coming from the canister will diminish with each use. Lower fuel pressure leads to longer boil times and decreased fuel efficiency. Once your canister is low on fuel, what was an ultra-speedy boil before becomes a long, drawn out affair.

Some of the best camping stoves contain a component called a pressure regulator that controls how much fuel pressure is fed into the stove. They are usually designed to operate at their optimal level with low pressures, which are maintained by the regulator. This means that, regardless of the amount of fuel left in the canister, performance doesn’t suffer. 

This is good news for mountaineers and winter campers, as low temperatures adversely affect canister pressure too. A non-regulated stove’s performance suffers in freezing conditions, just when you need that healing warm brew the most. A regulated stove will keep performing to its max regardless of how Baltic things get.

Compatibility

One issue with integrated backpacking systems is that the stove is only compatible with its associated pot, or sometimes others by the same brand. They’re designed to offer excellent heat exchange between the stove and the top, leading to fast boil times when you’re in the wilderness. This does mean that you won’t be able to link a Jetboil stove to an MSR pot, for example, so you’d better get your brand loyalties sorted from day one.

The majority of stoves connect to a screw-thread canister, though there are exceptions. With screw thread canisters being the accepted norm in the UK and the US, this can pose difficulties if you’re trying to get hold of a different kind of canister. On the flip side, in some countries screw thread canisters are in the minority, so it’s a good idea to have a decent stock of compatible canisters before you head out. The other varieties to look out for are Easy-Clic, pierceable and aerosol canisters.

Writing by Alex Foxfield. Editing by Leon Poultney.