We’ve tested camping stoves from the likes of Campingaz, Coleman, Halfords and Vango to help you breeze through al fresco cooking

Cooking on a camping stove

 

The best camping stoves will allow you to enjoy the great outdoors without losing the convenience of cooking at home. That’s why our tests focused on finding the easiest to use, the quickest to heat and the most versatile camping stoves you can buy. Camping stoves that are awkward to use and take a long time to heat can really put a dampener on your camping trip – and that’s before the rain starts. In May 2021, we tested seven popular camping stoves from Campingaz, Halfords, Vango and more, to see which ones you should take on your next camping trip. Our tests covered a variety of camping stoves – from dual burners with toasting grills to tiny foldaway stoves for backpacking. See our full test results below to discover which we would recommend. Pricing and availability last checked: 20 April 2022.

Best camping stoves

Editor’s Choice: Campingaz Party Grill 400 CV

Campingaz Party Grill 400 CV camping stove

 

Cheapest price: £99 at Amazon, also available at Decathlon

Number of burners: 1

Dimensions: 42 x 39 x 34 (assembled), 25 x 39 x 34 (packed) (HxWxD)

Carry weight: 4.66kg

Recommended fuel(s): Butane/propane mini gas canisters

Other key features: Piezo ignition, carry bag included, barbecue, pan, griddle, grill and wok cooking accessories included

Pros: Easy to transport, heats cookware and boils kettle quickly, stable on grass and tabletops, easy to use

Cons: Takes up a lot of space for a one-burner camping stove

Our verdict: Our favourite camping stove overall, thanks to its thoughtful design, speedy heat-up and impressive versatility.

It has a broad, kettle barbecue-style cooking area with plenty of room for larger pots, and attaching the gas canister is a simple case of screwing it into the base – there are no hoses or gas regulators to fiddle with. We found that the gas control was reliable and intuitive, and the whole unit was perfectly stable during use with no wobbles or risks of toppling over. The Party Grill won the race to boil the kettle in our tests, and was the only stove that boiled it in less than five minutes.

Our cooking pot also reached 200°C in less than two minutes. This stove really keeps your options open in terms of cooking. Along with using the standard stove burner at the bottom, this model comes with a set of cooking accessories that are perfectly sized to sit on top of the burner. There’s a frying pan, a griddle pan and grill bars to choose from, and around the base of the burner there’s a fat drip collector for mess-free barbecues. The lid can also be flipped over and used as a wok. This is one of the larger camping stoves we tested, and when it’s set up you’ll find it commands a fair amount of space with its wide cooking area and legs. It packs down as small as possible, though, as the legs can be unscrewed and all the accessories can be packed into the stove itself. There are handy carry handles on the lid and the included carry bag makes it very easy to transport. This isn’t the only camping stove we recommend but we think it’s the best overall, and with the included accessories it has many more strings to its bow than the other camping stoves we tested.

Editor’s Choice: Coleman FyreStorm PCS

Coleman FireStorm PCS camping stove

 

Cheapest price: £68 at Amazon (out of stock), Blacks (out of stock), Go Outdoors (out of stock), Millets (out of stock)

Number of burners: 1

Dimensions: 22.6cm x 14cm x 14cm (H x W x D) assembled; 16.2cm x 14cm x 14cm (H x W x D) packed

Carry weight: 0.63kg Recommended fuel(s): Butane/propane mini gas canisters

Other key features: Piezo ignition, cooking pot with sleeve/carry handle and wind shield included, hose and gas regulator included

Pros: Lightweight and portable, heats cookware and boils kettle quickly, stable on grass and tabletops, easy to use

Cons: Heat control can be fiddly

Our verdict: If you’re backpacking or short on space, we think the Coleman FyreStorm PCS is the perfect stove for you.

It folds away neatly and packs into the included cooking pot, and it has a sleeve handle on the outside so you could clip it to the outside of your backpack if you don’t have the space for it inside. The FyreStorm also comes with a wind shield that sits neatly on top of the legs, and there are handy gaps in the legs themselves that you can hook tent pegs through to hold the stove in place if you’re cooking on the ground. The flame is similar to a welding torch, with a good roar to it, and for such a little stove it produces a high level of heat. This was the fastest stove to heat up our pan by a long stretch – taking just 49 seconds. It’s easy to control the gas using the little handle on the regulator, but it would perhaps benefit from being slightly larger. You need very little power to get lots of heat, so you need to be quite precise with your gas control. A slight touch will increase the power significantly. Due to the small cooking area and the power of the flame, you’ll find it tricky to cook with large pots on this stove. It’s stable, but food will cook much faster in the centre than around the edges of your pot. Overall, if you’ve got a larger group to cook for, you’ll find this stove limiting, but if you’re travelling light and want something compact and powerful, look no further.

Editor’s Choice/Great Value: Campingaz Camp Bistro 2

 

 

 

 

Cheapest price: £15 at Blacks, Millets, also available at Amazon, Go Outdoors

Number of burners: 1

Dimensions: 12cm x 34cm x 28cm (H x W x D)

Carry weight: 2.3kg Recommended fuel(s): Isobutane/butane/propane gas cartridges

Other key features: Piezo ignition, carry case included

Pros: Easy to transport, stable on grass and tabletops, easy to use

Cons: Not space efficient for a one-burner camping stove

Our verdict: If you’re looking for a camping stove on a budget, this is an excellent choice.

The Campingaz Camp Bistro 2 is the most popular of those we tested, and it’s easy to see why. We found using it was just like cooking at home, benefiting from a wide surface area and a large burner ring that can fit decent-sized cooking pots. This stove is very similar in design to the Kemper Camping Stove Xtra Smart, below. Both have a wide and flat base, with a large burner in the centre and a compartment on the side for plugging in gas cartridges. In our tests, we found this was the superior stove, as the gas cartridge compartment is much more secure and easy to use, and because the burner suffered much less from wind interference. It took us just over five minutes to boil a kettle and just under two minutes to heat a pan to cooking temperature, which is about average in our tests.  We had no problems carrying it around, especially with the handy carry case that comes included, but it’s pretty bulky given that there’s only one burner. The wide base helps it keep perfectly stable on all surfaces, though, and the gas control and piezo ignition worked very well for us. There are better, pricier stoves out there, but the drop in quality to this stove isn’t significant, and at this price it’s good value for money.

How the rest of the camping stoves fared

Here’s how the other camping stoves did in our tests, listed alphabetically.

Halfords Double Stove with Grill

Halfords Double Stove with Grill camping stove

 

 

Cheapest price: £38 at Halfords

Number of burners: 2

Dimensions: 34cm x 57.5cm x 39.5cm (H x W x D) assembled; 8cm x 57.5cm x 32cm (H x W x D) packed

Carry weight: 4kg

Recommended fuel(s): 37mbar butane/propane gas canisters

Other key features: Piezo ignition, grill tray included

Pros: Easy to transport, stable on grass and tabletops, easy to use

Cons: Slow to heat cookware

Our verdict: We think stove is decent and will do the job for you on a family camping trip, but there are better ones out there.

It folds down quite flat, which is surprising for a large stove, and it’s not a problem to carry around thanks to its relatively light weight. You could easily carry it from the car to your pitch without discomfort and it won’t take up too much space when packed into your car. It’s also very stable, with non-slip feet that don’t slide at all on grass or a table. The gas control knobs are well labelled and easy to understand and control, and the piezo ignition buttons are small but easy to press. The only area where this stove really let itself down was how long it took to heat up our cooking pan. It took just over four minutes for it to reach 200°C, which was by far the longest on test. Once it heats up, we think you’ll find the cooking experience stable and comfortable, though.

Kemper Camping Stove Xtra Smart

Kemper Camping Stove Xtra Smart

 

 

Cheapest price: £29.99 at Decathlon

Number of burners: 1

Dimensions: 11.1cm x 34cm x 28cm (H x W x D)

Carry weight: 1.99kg

Recommended fuel(s): Isobutane/butane/propane gas cartridges

Other key features: Piezo ignition, carry case included

Pros: Lightweight and portable, stable on grass and tabletops, easy to use

Cons: Slow to boil kettle

Our verdict: This is a very similar camping stove to the Campingaz Camp Bistro 2 reviewed above, but we don’t think it’s quite up to the same standard. It benefits from the same design elements, with a wide, stable cooking area and a clearly labelled and intuitive gas control.

But the gas cartridge compartment doesn’t lock shut like the Camp Bistro 2, so if you turn the stove on its side, the compartment flops open easily. Cooking times were where the Kemper stove really fell short compared with the Camp Bistro 2, though. We tested them in the same conditions and found the Kemper stove was far more susceptible to wind interference than the Camp Bistro 2, and the Kemper took almost twice as long to boil the kettle, at just over nine minutes. Overall, we didn’t find any major problems with the Kemper Camping Stove Xtra Smart, but it might test your patience if you get back from a long hike and really crave a quick cuppa.

Vango Combi IR Grill Cooker

Vango Combi IR Grill Cooker camping stove

 

Cheapest price: £67.50 at Blacks, Millets, also available at Amazon, Go Outdoors

Number of burners: 2

Dimensions: 38cm x 56cm x 32.5cm (H x W x D) assembled; 13cm x 56cm x 32.5cm (H x W x D) packed

Carry weight: 4.83kg

Recommended fuel(s): 37mbar butane/propane gas canisters

Other key features: Piezo ignition, grill tray included

Pros: Stable on grass and tabletops

Cons: Difficult to transport, not easy to use, slow to heat cookware and boil kettle

Our verdict: There were a few key issues we had with the Vango Combi IR Grill Cooker that made it fall short of our recommendation. First, we found it difficult to transport. It’s a heavy stove with unevenly distributed weight and the carry handle carved out of the metal frame was uncomfortable to hold. We couldn’t carry it more than 10 metres or so before the discomfort started to bother us. Once set up it’s stable, though. On both grass and a table top, you’ll run very little risk of knocking it over during use. We found the gas knobs poorly labelled and they turn around so many times that it’s difficult to know if the gas is going to be off or at maximum when you ignite it. The piezo ignition takes effort to use and has a very sharp click. The lid locks are also awkward and uncomfortable to detach when the stove is folded down. We weren’t enamoured by the heat-up times of this stove, either. It took seven minutes to boil the kettle – the average was five minutes across the camping stoves we tested. It wasn’t bad for heating the pan, though, taking just under two minutes to heat it to 200°C. It performs the basic functions you’ll need it to, but overall, we think there are too many downsides to this camping stove for us to recommend it.

Vango Folding Gas Stove

Vango Folding Gas Stove camping stove

 

 

Cheapest price: £29.10 at Amazon, also available at Blacks (out of stock), Go Outdoors, Millets (out of stock)

Number of burners: 1

Dimensions: 6.2cm x 12cm x 12cm (H x W x D) assembled; 11cm x 9.3cm x 6.3cm (H x W x D) packed

Carry weight: 0.23kg

Recommended fuel(s) Butane/propane mini gas canisters

Other key features: Carry box included, gas hose and regulator included

Pros: Lightweight and portable, heats cookware quickly, stable on grass, easy to use

Cons: Heat control can be fiddly, unstable on tabletops, no piezo ignition

Our verdict: An excellent little stove and a worthy option for a backpacking trip or Duke of Edinburgh expedition.

This tiny stove is by some way the smallest we tested, and it packs down into a tiny box that’s included. The box is bright orange and smaller than a soft drink can, so it takes up little space in your bag and you won’t have trouble finding it. It’s a small but powerful stove with a welding flame-style burner. You don’t need to feed much gas in to get lots of heat. You’ll also have to rely on sound when igniting it because the flame isn’t obviously visible, but thankfully there’s a good roar so you can tell it’s going by the sound it makes.

It’s worth noting that you’ll need a flame to light this stove as there’s no piezo ignition, so remember to pack matches if you’re taking it to go camping. Despite its small size it competes with the other camping stoves we tested in terms of heat-up times. It took just over five minutes to boil a kettle, which is about average, and around one and a half minutes to heat the pan, which is one of the quickest. During use we found it stable on grass, but because it’s so light it can slide around when used on a tabletop. The small cooking area makes larger cooking pots a no-go for this stove, but if you’re looking for small-scale cooking and a portable design, this Vango model is a worthy choice.

Eggs and sausages cooked on a camping stove

 

 

How we tested camping stoves

We selected seven of the UK’s most popular camping stoves, available from major retailers such as Amazon, Blacks, Decathlon and Halfords. We also took online search into consideration when picking which ones to test. We bought each stove for testing and don’t take free gifts, so you can be confident in the independence of our reviews.

Portability and stability

When you’re camping, it’s likely you’ll have at least a short walk from your car to your pitch, so it’s important that your stove has been made with ease of transportation in mind. We carried each camping stove around our test site, taking into account the weight, the comfort of any handles and any way to make the stove more compact. As you’re dealing with open flames, it’s also important for your stove to be stable and not run the risk of toppling over. We set each stove up on a table and on the grass and looked for any wobbly legs or feet that slide easily.

Cooking experience

If you don’t go camping often, you can feel a little out of your comfort zone using a stove outside, but the best ones make outdoor cooking a convenient and intuitive task nonetheless. We cooked up some eggs and sausages using the same pan on every stove we tested, scoring each one on how user-friendly and comfortable it was to use.

Heat-up speed

Nothing beats a hot drink on a camping trip, but if the kettle takes forever to boil you might not want your cuppa by the time it’s ready. We timed how long it took each stove to boil 500ml of water in a camping kettle to find out which one will give you your brew the fastest. We also timed how long it took each stove to heat a pan to 200°C, to see which one will have you ready to cook the quickest.

Camping stove types: which is best for you?

Camping stoves come in all shapes and sizes and can have a variety of features, so it can seem tricky to decide which one you should buy. They mostly fall into two types: the lightweight and compact stoves with single burners, and the larger, heavier ones with several burners and a more similar design to your home cooker. There are exceptions, however. Those such as the Campingaz Camp Bistro 2 and the Kemper Camping Stove Xtra Smart are a medium size but still have a single burner, and act as a compromise between the portability of the compact stoves and the familiar cooking experience of the larger stoves. To help you whittle down the selection, we’ve listed some key questions below that you should consider when buying:

How many people will I be cooking for? If you’re a large party and you’ll only have one cooker, it’s likely you’ll need more than one burner and possibly more than one cooker. Not many compact stoves have more than one burner and you might struggle to cook with really large pots.

Will my meals require more than one burner? Even if you’re camping solo, you should think through the meals you want to cook and how many burners you normally use on your cooker at home. If you aren’t keen on one-pot meals, you’ll probably need a stove with at least two burners.

What type of outdoor trips am I taking? Backpackers and those who like to camp with minimal gear will be drawn to the single-burner stoves that pack away small and weigh very little. However, if you’ll only be taking camping trips with your car and have plenty of room, you could go for a larger stove instead.

Do I have room for a gas canister? It can be easy to only focus on the camping stove itself and forget the fuel you’ll need to burn with it. If you’ve got a larger stove, you’ll probably need a large canister to go with it, which means even more bulk and weight in your vehicle.

 

 

Five things you need to know before buying a camping stove

1) There are different types of flame to choose from

Although you can get standard gas hob-style flames, there are camping stoves available that have welding-style flames with intense heat and an audible roar. The stoves we tested with this type of flame burned the hottest and were great at heating up pans, and they proved much more resistant to wind interference than the standard burners. However, they also concentrate their heat on a much smaller point, so if you’ve got a wide pan you might find the food in the centre of the pan cooks more quickly.

2) Smaller stoves are trickier to control

The smaller stoves we tested packed plenty of punch in the heat they gave out, which is useful for boiling the kettle but might be problematic for more precise cooking. The gas regulators on these stoves were small and didn’t take much turning to adjust the power of the stove significantly. A slight touch made the flame go from powerful to very powerful. This makes it difficult to cook on a low heat with stoves of this size, and being precise with the heat settings is particularly tricky.

3) Piezo ignition can be temperamental

In our tests, we lit each stove several times and found plenty of variation in how quickly they ignited. On some tries the stoves lit with the first click of the piezo ignition; in others it took quite a few goes before the flames appeared. In case there’s a lot of wind on your camping trip, or if the piezo ignition simply won’t play ball, it’s worth having some matches on standby so you can light your stove manually.

4) Heating speeds are pretty similar

Although it’s convenient to have a speedy stove, you’ll likely find most camping stoves heat at a similar pace once the flames are going. When we put 500ml of water in our camping kettle and timed how long it took each camping stove to boil it, we found that there wasn’t much difference in most of the times we recorded. There were one or two slow models, but most of the stoves got the kettle whistling after around five minutes. There was also a trend in how long it took the stoves to heat our pan to 200°C. Although there were a couple of rapid outliers that heated the pan in a minute or less, most took around two minutes to heat.

5) Burner size still matters

On your cooker at home you’ll usually have a selection of different-sized burners, and you’ll select the one best suited to the size of your cooking pot. Choosing a small burner for a large pot runs the risk of your heat being concentrated in the centre of the pot, leaving the edges of your food undercooked. This applies to camping stoves too, although you’re unlikely to find many stoves that have different-sized burners. To cook food in a larger pot evenly you may have to exercise some patience and gradually build up the heat of your stove. If you blast too much heat too quickly, you’re likely to find well-done food in the middle and raw food around the edges.