How to Choose the Best Car Camping Stove
Choosing a car camping stove could require more considerations than many people may think. After all, you are not buying a stove to place at home or in a room in a spot reserved for it, but you are looking for one that will travel as much as you will. And considering the transportation factor and your traveling style, the process of choosing a camping stove can get even harder, especially if you are looking for one that really fits your specific needs.
Today we will share some quick tips and guidelines that may help you in the process of choosing your soul-camping stove. So, without any further ado, let’s start with the first tip in choosing the best camping stove right away.
Unless you want to buy a Ford F-150 to place your camping stove in its trunk, you may want to consider the mobility of your camping stove above everything else. Camping stoves come in different shapes and different forms, and the reason behind this variety in terms of shape is because every camping stove has its own particular purpose and cooking performance. Some companies focus on the mobility of their stoves (some offer the folding camp stove) and others focus on only the performance of their unique stoves.
Some stoves are made for occasional picnics, others are made for extensive use. And to know which camping stove size really fits you, you need to consider different elements such as: How much will you be carrying it around with you? How many meals will you cook using it, including the frequency as well? How many people are going to use it all at once?
But most importantly, you need to consider your car’s trunk size and how many items will you be carrying it with, this includes the fuel as well so make sure you don’t go camping with a stove without its fuel reserve.
Every car has its own trunk size. Different cars have different trunks and different people have different cars. So, unless you got that F-150, you need to look for a camping stove that won’t consume as much trunk space as possible simply because you will be filling the remaining space with other items. The best solution is to get a folding camping stove that can be folded when packing it and then unfolded when you want to use.
2. Number of Burners
If you are planning to camp on a mountain with your dear family which is made of 6 members, you ought to leave that one-burner camping stove at home unless you are planning to have a lunch of 3 hours since the cooking process will consume much of that time.
Every kind of camping stove has its own number of burners, and the number varies for a reason. Stoves with one burner (single-burner stoves) are ideal for small groups of 3 to 4 people and one pot meals since every meal will be cooked separately and consecutively.
Stoves with 2 burners (two-burner stoves) suit groups which constitute of 4-6 individuals and give you the ability to cook a couple of different meals at once. This stove balances between versatility and compactness, and this is why it is the most common type of camping stoves. It is easy to move with since it is lightweight compared to others, and allows you to cook meals fast and avoid sacrificing precious time that you could’ve spent wandering around and enjoying the view.
Not only this, but there are as well multi-burner stoves. (also called the 3 burners stove) which are considered to be the best in terms of cooking speed, yet the most expensive it terms of price and fuel consumption.
Multi-burner camping stoves such as the Camp Chef 3x Explorer, the huge Camp Chef Pro 90, or the Camp Chef Pro 60x are meant for larger of group that exceed 6 members. This kind of car camping stove is for those who would like to cook multiple meals at a time or accelerate the cooking speed of one large one pot meal. Not to mention, there are some stoves that can be chained together such as the Eureka! Spire series that allows you to combine as many stoves as you want to increase the number of burners.
3. Wind Protection
Car camping stoves are meant for outdoor experiences. And if you’re one of those who haven’t seen the sunlight since they were 5, there is a natural phenomenon that we call in our language ‘wind’.
Whenever you go for camping, you need to bear in mind the possibility that weather may change at any time. This doesn’t necessarily mean that a sunny day may turn into a rainy day all in a sudden (although it does happen every now and then) but sometimes, wind can blow harder than expected. So, even if you’re a number one fan of the daily weather forecasts, you need to understand that buying a stove with wind protection can come in handy in certain unexpected situations.
If the wind blows strong enough, your stove fire might stop from burning and this can massively decrease your cooking speed if not stopping the process at all. Having a stove with wind protection can save you from these sudden situations since the burners are protected with either a folding three wall barrier or even enclosed with protective sheaths like the one included in the Camp Chef Summit.
4. Burner Power and Size
Now, this is a point that you surely don’t want to miss, especially if you have a single-burner stove or considering buying a double-burner or a multi-burner one. The reason is pretty obvious: The burner size and power affect the cooking speed dramatically since the burner can only heat effectively a pot or a pan which is the same size as the burner or bigger a little big. The bigger the pot is than the burner the more time it will take to cook the food in it.
Not only this, but every stove has its own BTU (British Thermal Unit), which is the total energy needed to heat one pound of water by one Fahrenheit. Camping stoves need to have a high BTU not just for the sake of having a high cooking speed (although some camping stoves have a high BTU, yet cook slower) but also because camping stoves are expected to perform in cold conditions since they will be used in the open and left outside at night.
This is why you need to abide by the rule that say “The larger the burner is, the better the stove is!”.
5. Ignition Type
Ignition type plays a huge factor in the value of the car camping stove you want to buy. Some stoves come with a Piezo Ignition System that takes care of the ignition process with a simple click of a button or by simply turning the gas lever. This kind of stoves is called electric camping stoves, and they are one of the best stoves out there in terms of cooking comfort.
Other stoves on the other hand are cheaper indeed but require manual ignition from your part using a lighter or other flame source. Although it is preferable to consider the first option since it adds to the comfort of the camping experience, it is better to always keep a lighter at your disposition for any emergency case. After all, you do not want to bring a camping stove that won’t work when you’re hungry.
6. Fuel Type
This can be considered as the most crucial part in choosing a particular stove simply because every kind of stove works in optimal capability when powered with its best fuel type. Every type of gas has its own “vapor pressure” index, and the higher it is, the better the performance of a stove is. For the sake of simplicity, we will focus today on 2 liquid fuel types which are the propane and the butane.
Propane is the most common camping stove fuel and the most accessible one. You can find it in your typical gas stations, Target, grocery stores, and even in Walmart. It is considered to be the best performing car camping stove since it is easy to carry around, mostly because it is found in the green one-use cylinders. With the right adapter, these cylinders can be attached to a larger propane tank that can be reused and, as a result, save you a lot money in the long run. Some of the mostly used propane camping stoves is the single burner propane camping stove which is easy to pack and move on with.
The Butane is commonly used as well, although its vapor pressure index is low. People use butane gas because it is accessible in almost every part of the world, but most importantly, because it is the cheapest to get. So, if you are considering to camp on a budget, you may have to consider a camping stove that works with butane since it will help you in saving a great deal of expenses in the long run. After all, you are not planning to camp only once.
As a summary from the points above, it is fair to say that the kind of car camping stove depends on the lifestyle of the individual who is planning to buy it, the group with whom they are going to camp with, and most importantly, the financial status of the camper. There are multiple car camping stoves outside in the market, and this is a point that you should consider since the variety of options equals a variety of prices and as a result, a variety in terms of camping experience. An experience that you need to enjoy to the fullest and make it as memorable as possible.