Camping stoves and cooking solutions are almost as varied as the types of food cooked on them, and there is just about every type of style imaginable. From simple mesh grates that sit over a camp fire to complete range-top ovens, there is a style and size to fit any type of outing. Deciding which stove is the best for you depends on the size of your camping party, what you plan to cook, and your budget, as well as your camping style, the type of fuel used, and how easy it is to transport and set up.
For most applications such as family and small group camping, the mainstay has long been the traditional double unit propane burner in one of its many incarnations. These burners have been the staple of camping sites for decades and for good reason; they are simple to operate, work very well, and they are relatively inexpensive. These camping stoves have the benefit of being small and quick when compared to cooking on an open fire, and they are much safer for everyone else and the food. Outdoor skillets are particularly handy versions of the two-burner model that make it much easier to cook items like eggs and bacon that may not fair so well on the open flame. The common two-burner camping stove is available in several styles and models including traditional styles that sit on the ground or on a table, models with stands or legs, and even models that fold up for easy storage and transport.
Larger or longer duration camping trips may require more than just the dual burner style of camping stove, and there are many new integrated models that include multiple burners, ovens, or even smokers. Depending upon your needs, you can now purchase complete cooking solutions with ovens that include smokers and four-station range tops that are all fired with propane. Some oven models are stand-alone metal containers with a compartment for coals, utilizing this heat source for an oven or food warmer. There are even models that sit directly on top of the fire for baking, steaming, and more.
If you are more of a lone camper, hiker, or explorer, then space and weight are most likely your chief concerns when choosing cooking gear. Different types of camping stoves like a single burner unit or over-the-fire models are more suited to the lone camper or small groups of two or three. A one-burner unit is small, light, and easy to set up, so you can get your meal together quickly with or without a campfire. The small size and single fuel canister make it suitable for carrying, and eliminates the need to build a camp fire each time you cook or warm food and drinks. Models that sit over a campfire or use the coals for heat are typically the smallest and lightest of them all, but they have the drawback of requiring you to build a fire first. Fires are not always an option due to wind and rain or just inconvenience; in these situations a small burner becomes very handy indeed.
The actual choice of which model best suits your needs may be different each time you venture into the great outdoors; you may be on a family getaway with several groups of people or a lone adventure into the deep woods. Regardless of the circumstances, having the right cooking gear can really make a difference in the outcome of a camping trip. Burnt hot dogs and marshmallows may sound alright to you, but the rest of the camping party may be expecting something a bit different. Impress your friends or family with your ingenuity and outdoor cooking prowess with the right camping stove.