Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Buying camping cookers and stoves


Camping stoves come in different styles, sizes and fuel types, all with different benefits depending on the type of trip you’re planning

Page contents

You may also like to read our article on the Best Camping Cookers and Stoves.

Finding the perfect cooker

From lightweight cooking systems to double-burner units with grills, camping stoves and cookers come in a range of different styles, sizes and fuel types.

So whether you want to heat a tin of beans or rustle up a gourmet standard meal, you'll be able to find the perfect cooker for your needs.

If you are feeling ambitious, you can even do a Sunday roast in a camping oven!

Camping stove fuel options

There are several fuel options for camping cookers, but gas - propane, butane or a mixture of both - is by far the most popular, either in a cartridge or cylinder.

Propane can be used in much colder temperatures than butane but for general family camping, a cartridge will usually have a mixture of both that will be ideal for use all year round.

Camping gas

(Photo courtesy of Campingaz)

However, their use with larger stoves is the most practical option by far, especially for families and other groups.

Cookers like the classic single-burner stoves use cartridges which clip and lock into place and can be disconnected when not in use.

Small camping stoves, especially for backpacking and lightweight camping, use disposable cartridges that screw or clip on to the equipment. They come in two types ­– pierceable or with an integral valve – and in a range of sizes.

Other appliances such as double-burner stoves and barbecues use larger refillable bottles and need an appropriate hose and a regulator to control the gas pressure delivered to the appliance.

Check with your retailer which type of regulator you will need for your gas and cooker as they often aren’t supplied with the appliance.

Other fuel options include alcohol and methylated spirits. Unleaded petrol and even aviation fuel can be used in some cookers for longer trips in cold climates but for family camping these would be rare.

Camping gas canisters

(Photo courtesy of Campingaz)


Get Camping magazine for just £4.99 per year.

special offer banner
Camping magazine

Just £4.99 per year! That is less than 10p per week.

Camping is the UK's only magazine devoted to the wonderful world of life under canvas. Every issue is packed with inspirational travel, the top camping sites, reviews, practical help and much more.

Camping’s fully searchable digital library gives you access to the latest issues, plus every edition of Camping since September 2016.

Subscribe today!  

Single-burner cookers

Camping gas

(Photo courtesy of Campingaz)

Simple, compact and relatively lightweight, single-burner camping cookers are inexpensive and can be found in all camping shops and many supermarkets.They come in their own carry case and run on gas cartridges, which easily clip into place and can be replaced in seconds.

For one-pot cooking and brews, they are absolutely fine. They’re rather limiting for anything too ambitious but for frying bacon or sausages or heating up a tin of beans they are really all you need.

If buying one of these gas cookers online, make sure the brand is reliable and from a trustworthy source , as there have been examples of cheap, sub-standard models bought from overseas that have exploded, causing serious injuries.

Double-burner cookers

With a double burner gas cooker and the right pots, you can tackle almost any meal that you would cook at home.

Campingaz stove

(Photo courtesy of Campingaz)

Some double-ring cookers sit on a tabletop or a specialist kitchen unit. You'll find more information about buying camping furniture here.

More advanced camping cookers come with their own foldable legs and built-in windshields.

A grill option means you don’t need to fry everything and makes toast much easier than relying on burner-top camp toasters.

Double-burner cookers use the larger gas bottles and you will need a suitable hose and regulator to control the gas pressure.

Electric camping cookers

Cooking inside your tent on a gas stove is generally not recommended. Not only does it pose a fire risk, but you face the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Unfortunately, the great British weather means cooking outdoors is not always possible – so an electric stove could be the answer.

Electric camping cookers are less common than gas and obviously it relies on you having access to an electric hook-up on the campsite. But they are safer than gas, especially if you have young children in the tent.

Remember that induction hobs require pans that contain iron to work so make sure your cook set is compatible.

Lightweight camping cookers

Primus Fire Stick

(Photo courtesy of Campingaz)

For solo campers, lightweight stoves are the way to go. These are lightweight and compact and basically screw directly into the gas bottle. They can be quite unstable in rugged ground but are ideal for lightweight camping.

Cooking ‘systems’ such as Jetboil and MSR’s Reactor, where the pot is integrated with the cooker, have become really popular in recent years although, of course, Trangia led the way decades ago.

The Biolite stove lets you use twigs and other natural fuel sources and, at the same time, generates enough energy to recharge your mobile phone.

Windshields for camping cookers

Vango Kitchen Windshield

(Photo courtesy of Campingaz)

A good windshield is essential when you are cooking outdoors. Some bigger cookers come with them built in, but even then it’s worth buying a standalone shield, to really protect the flames.

Without a windshield, water takes ages to boil and food takes longer to cook, using up more gas than necessary. And if the wind is too strong it might never be ready.

Expert Camping advice to your door!

Camping Magazine

Camping magazine has been the voice of campers for over 60 years!

Camping is the UK's only magazine devoted to the wonderful world of life under canvas and the freedom it brings. Every issue is packed with inspirational travel, the top camping sites to stay on, reviews of the latest tents, camping gear reviews, practical help and much more to help you get the most out of your camping adventures.

Want to know more about Camping magazine?

About Camping magazine   

Back to "Practical Advice" Category

22/12/2020 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Top tips on fun board games to play with the kids under canvas ...

Campsite cooking: Cheeky peri-peri chicken wrap

Miss your favourite spicy chicken when you're away camping? Our easy recipe will let you create your own ...

The best portable barbecues for camping

Nothing says summer like a barbecue, whether you are outside your tent on the campsite or at home in the back ...

Campsite cooking: Classic chilli cheeseburger

Top your home-made burgers with leftover chilli from our recent recipe ...

Other Articles

Share your favourite camping pictures and you could win a great prize from Coleman! Here's July's winning picture ...

Guide to 2022 trailer tents and folding campers

Fancy upgrading your camping experience from a tent to a trailer tent or folding camper? Find out all the ...

The essential camping kit you need but no one ever tells you about...

We reveal the alternative camping equipment that no one ever tells you to bring but will massively improve ...

How to dry your tent at home

Make sure your tent is completely dry before packing it away or it will get mouldy. Here's how to do it ...