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
- What to cook with just a single hob camping stove
- The best toasting rack for gas hobs
- Top tips for using your gas camping stove
- How much the basic gas camping stove costs
- Backpacking and Multi-Fuel Stoves
- Do you really need a larger stove?
- Gas Cylinders, Regulators, and hoses
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.
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).
A single hob canister stove is ideal for your first camping 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.
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?
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.
The solution to that is to get a windshield.
Use a windshield to use less gas can cook quicker
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.
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.
When boiling water in a pan, put a lid on. It will boil quicker. Better still, boil water in a kettle.
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.
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
Larger camping stoves certainly give you more choice in combinations of cooking. They typically have two hobs, and many also have a small grill.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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