Determining the Right Camping Stove: What Should I Buy for My Family?

Determining the Right Camping Stove: What Should You Buy for Your Family?

Getting out into nature can be an exhilarating experience for the entire family. Whether you are an experienced camper or a complete novice, one crucial piece of camping equipment you shouldn’t be without is a quality camping stove. However, with a myriad of options available, choosing the right stove may not be as straightforward as you think.

In this article, we will walk you through the essential considerations when buying a camping stove for your family. We’ve taken into account factors like stove type, fuel type, price, portability, and much more to help you prepare for your family’s next great outdoor adventure.

Understand Different Types of Camping Stove

First, let’s talk about the different types of camping stoves available. These generally fall into three categories: backpacking stoves, tabletop stoves, and freestanding stoves.

Backpacking Stoves

Ideal for small groups or solo travellers, these stoves tend to be lightweight and compact. However, they usually only have a single burner and limited cooking space, which might not be suitable for large families or more extensive cooking needs.

Tabletop Stoves

A great option for group camping or family use, these offer more cooking space and often feature two burners. They are highly portable, but typically require a solid and flat surface like a picnic table for safe use.

Freestanding stoves

These are the behemoths of the camping stove world, best suited for large groups or basecamps. They are heavier and bulkier, but deliver powerful output, with multiple burners and ample cooking spaces.

Type of Fuel

Also crucially important is the type of fuel your camping stove uses. The two most common types are propane and liquid fuel.


Propane stoves are common due to their ease of use – simply attach the propane canister, light it up, and start cooking. However, propane performs poorly in freezing temperatures, so it’s not ideal for winter camping.

Liquid Fuel

These stoves offer excellent performance in freezing temperatures and are often refillable – a bonus for reducing waste. However, they are a bit more complicated to use, requiring priming before use.

Cooking Power and Burner Control

Once you’ve identified the type of stove and fuel that seem most appropriate for your needs, another essential factor to look into is cooking power. This is often measured in British Thermal Units (BTUs). However, a high BTU rating doesn’t necessarily mean faster cooking times. Efficiency, wind resistance, and burner control – your stove’s ability to provide a range of heat levels – could be more important depending on your cooking style.

Safety Features

When camping with family, safety is naturally a major concern. A good camping stove should have stable supports to prevent tipping over. Some models also have a windscreen to guard the flame and an auto-shut off feature if the stove tips over.

Price and Quality

Price is always a significant factor in any purchase. You can find camping stoves in a wide range of prices, from budget options below $50 to high-end models that cost several hundred dollars. More expensive stoves generally offer better performance and durability, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a good quality stove within budget. It’s all about balancing your needs, budget, and the expected lifespan of the product.

Considerations for Family Use

When choosing a camping stove for family use, think about your specific needs. If you love complex cooking and require multiple pots, a stove with two or more burners will be the best choice. However, if your family camping usually involves simple meals or heating water, a one-burner stove could suffice.

Size is another consideration – do you need it to be small and light for hiking or more robust and durable for car camping? How much food will you need to cook at once? Will it be easy to set up and safe for the children? These are all important questions to consider.


In the end, determining the right camping stove for your family comes down to balancing a complex equation that includes type of stove, fuel, price, cooking power, safety features, and size. By taking the time to understand these factors, you can make an informed decision that will serve your family well on all your camping adventures. Happy camping!

By Kokoda Gear Uncategorized