A Guide to Gas Camping Stoves

December 24, 2018

A portable gas camping stove is an essential piece of camping equipment, even if you use it for nothing more than boiling the kettle. 

This is the first article in a series to help you choose a gas stove and get it setup, from the smaller portable stoves to the larger multi-hob stoves.

The simple canister stove – ideal for your first camping trip

If you are just starting with camping, then there’s no need to invest in a big multi-hob stove, lug heavy gas cylinders around, or worry about connecting them up properly.

A single hob canister stove is ideal for your first camping trip

You can buy simple and relatively cheap camping stoves, which are ideal if this is your first camping trip (over a decade of family camping and we still use our one on every trip).

These work on gas cartridges (also known as gas canisters) that simply slot into the stove – so very easy and safe to get the gas connected.

The type of cartridges you need for these stoves are called ‘bayonet cartridges’, and are readily available. The stoves themselves come with a single hob (though you can get some that have multiple hobs), and a built-in lighter.

What to cook with just a single hob camping stove

Well, cooking anything that involves more than one hob is going to be slow. However, here are some suggestions:

  • Get a whistling kettle – you can now make a brew without needing an electric hookup to your tent.
  • Get a toaster accessory – yes, you can still cook toast on a single hob
  • Take a small saucepan from home – from reheating beans (perhaps to accompany a disposable BBQ), to heating pasta with maybe a sauce you stir in.
  • Take a small frying pan from home – fried breakfast anyone?

Click here for some more ideas on quick and simple meals

The Best Toasting Rack for Gas Hobs

You can get a toasting rack for your gas hob, so no need to hook up an electric toaster nor get a bigger gas cooker with a grill.
However, these vary in design, and we’ve been through a few.
While you can get designs that can toast up to four slices of bread at once, we’ve found the simple folding toaster the best.
Yes, it does only do one piece of bread at a time, but it does it well.
Folding Toaster for Camping Stove


Top Tips for using your Gas Camping Stove

The speed it takes to boil water or heat your food will depend to some degree on the outside temperature. However, the biggest factor will be the wind.  Just the slightest breeze can blow the heat from your camping stove away from your kettle or pan.

Use a windshield to use less gas can cook quicker

The solution to that is to get a windshield.

If you want to buy a camping kitchen unit for cooking on, find one that has a windshield. If not, you can buy windshields separately.

Use a Windshield

When boiling water in a pan, put a lid on. It will boil quicker. Better still, boil water in a kettle.

Another tip is with boiling water for things like pasta or some of the ‘rehydration’ meals: boiling with the pan lid on reduces the amount of gas (and cooking time) required.  This is because, without a lid, a lot of the heat is lost straight out of the top of the pan. Better still, boil the water in your whistling kettle first.

How much do basic gas canister stove costs?

Well, camping gear does tend to mount up and can get expensive.  Fortunately, this type of cooking setup is relatively cheap.

Depending on which some gas canisters and accessories, expect to pay between £20-£50 to get yourself set up, including canisters and accessories like whistling kettles.

Other Gas Canister Stoves

If you browse any camping shop (online or high street), you will see many other camping gas canisters that are of a different shape to the long canisters shown above.

These canisters can be used with both smaller and larger stoves than the stove above.

Backpacking Stoves and Multi-Fuel Stoves

You can buy small hob adaptors that screw into the top of the gas canisters, clip onto the canister, or pierce the canister to release the gas.

These hobs fold up quite small and are generally lightweight, making them ideal for backpacking.

Many products are also multi-fuel, and can also run on meths, paraffin, or kerosene (or even Coleman’s brand fuel).  This makes them more versatile, both in finding fuel when travelling and getting fuels that burn at a different temperature.

The downsides to these stoves are that the hobs are smaller and a little unstable, and you MUST use a windshield.

With most family camping taking placed by car, this is not a stove you should consider buying unless you are thinking of backpacking.

Moving to a Larger Camping Stove

Campingaz 400 ST with Xcelerate Technology

Campingaz 400 ST with Xcelerate Technology

Larger camping stoves certainly give you more choice in combinations of cooking.  They typically have two hobs, and many also have a small grill.

See our review of the Campingaz 400 ST for more details on a larger camping stove.

Larger stoves also mean more gear and more money. If you’re family camping, you’ll probably want to move to a larger stove soon. But before you rush out and buy one, ask yourself.

Do you really need a larger stove?

If transport space is a premium, really ask yourself if you need a larger stove. The stove not only takes up space, but you’ll need to securely transport the gas cylinder too.

Alternatives to getting a larger camping stove is to include a BBQ, cooking over a fire, and using a Dutch Oven.

These methods all bring a ‘real’ camping experience and are something you’re kids can help out with – whereas a gas hob is, well, just like home, and the kids leave the cooking to Mum and Dad.

Gas Cylinders, Hoses, Regulators

When you get a larger stove, you’ll also need to get the correct gas cylinder, regulator, and hose.

Fortunately, we cover that in the next article in the series.

Next Article

Cooking with Gas – Your guide to getting started with cooking with gas at the campsite

This is the first article in a series to help you get up and running with a camping stove.

The next article helps you choose the right gas cylinder for your family camping trips.





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Gav Grayston
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Gav Grayston Contributor

Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

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  1. I have had good use out of my single canister stove. Having a now grown child that does not relish one pot meals I took my two tier steamer that I use at home and it works great, not so good for the room it takes up although I pack it out with food items when we go so there is not wasted space so it means I can cook potatoes in the water and two different things in the tiers and not get them all muddled together. Knowing some families have kids that dont like different foods touching this would be a good option for them. So give an idea we used 2 whole canisters for a 5 day holiday, cooked brekkie/toast for 5 days, dinner for 4 days plus several full kettles each day for hot drinks. Good value in my book

  2. Hi Gav, what toasting rack do you recommend in this article please? The Amazon link appears to be dead 🙁

    • Hi Al,
      Thanks for letting me know the link is dead.
      I’ve now updated it and put in the image of the design we’ve found works best.
      It will only cook one piece of bread at a time, but cooks it quick and well. We’ve tried many other camping toasters for gas hobs, but they never lasted. This simple one has been going for years.
      We even use it when we have our big camping stove that has a grill as this little toaster cooks better than the stove’s grill.

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