Stove Buying Guide

Designed to perform in a wide variety of environments and climates, our selection of stoves cater for the needs of everyone. Whether you need a lightweight stove for melting snow at high altitude, or a large powerhouse for cooking up a feast on the beach, we have the perfect stove.

Types of Stove

There are four types of stove, primarily divided according to the fuel that they use:

1. Solid Fuel Stoves

Solid Fuel Stove

Suggested uses: Family camping trips

This type of stove uses fuel like alcohol gel or 'hex' blocks. They're safe and easy to use, but the solid fuel is inefficient, burns slowly and is not widely available.

2. Unpressurised Liquid Stoves

Trangia Stove

Suggested uses: Duke of Edinburgh expeditions; short trips for small groups

These stoves use methanol - a great example being the Trangia. They're simple to use, relatively safe, low maintenance and stoves are integrated with the pan, so they're a good choice for youth groups or Duke of Edinburgh expeditions.

3. Gas Stoves

MSR Pocket Rocket Stove

Suggested uses: fast and light trips, short backpacking trips.

The main advantage of gas cartridge stoves is convenience: no priming is required so they light instantly, they're generally maintenance-free, clean and easy to use. They run off butane/propane cartridges, but are not generally compatible with blue gas cartridges (ie camping gaz). The exceptions to this are the Primus Mimer Duo Stove and the MSR Superfly Stove auto which both feature 'multi-mount technology.

All-in-one design: Personal Cooking Systems

This is a type of gas stove which integrates the cookware and the burner, resulting in a more effective transfer and retention of heat. Jet Boil lead the way with their Flash Personal Cooking System (£84.99) and the Jetboil Sol Titanium Premium Cooking System (£130)

4. Pressurised Liquid / Multifuel Stoves

MSR Dragonfly Stove

Suggested uses: expeditions, exploration or trekking; winter/glacial/alpine trips, long distance backpacking.

These stoves will work at nearly any temperature or altitude, they're tough, dependable and will burn many different fuels, which means that they can be particularly advantageous in the more remote parts of the world. You can also see exactly how much fuel you have left at any one time (unlike gas cartridges!) and they pump out a constant flame right up until the fuel runs out.

These can also work out cheaper than gas stoves in the long run, as a bottle of liquid fuel is often much cheaper than a gas cartridge.

The slight disadvantage to these stoves is that they're relatively high maintenance, there are more parts to get clogged up and they're slightly more fiddly to light. It's therefore important to make sure that you also carry the appropriate maintenance kit, as spares may not be readily available in less populated areas.

Parts of a Stove

Gas Stoves

Click on the numbers in the diagram to find out more about these parts of a gas stove:
Gas Stove Features
  1. Gas Cartridge / Cannister

    This contains the liquified gas

  2. Valve

    This valve needs to be opened to release the gas into the burner - you can adjust the value to allow varying amounts of gas through, therefore allowing you to control the size of the flame.

  3. Foldaway Pot Supports

    These support the pan. They foldaway to reduce the overall size of the stove.

  4. Burn Area

    On the example stove shown here (the MSR Superfly Auto) the burn area is much larger, which means that the flame is less likely to be blown out by the wind.

Pressurised Liquid / Multifuel Stoves

Click on the numbers in the diagram to find out more about these parts of a pressurised liquid/multifuel stove.
Omnifuel Features
  1. Fuel bottle

    This contains your fuel and needs to be pressurised before commencing

  2. First Valve

    This valve needs to be opened as part of the priming process

  3. Pump

    The pump is used to pressurise the fuel bottle

  4. Flex Fuel Line

    This feeds the fuel to the stove and allows the stove to be packed noticeably smaller

  5. Second Valve

    The second valve is opened once the stove has been primed

  6. Foldaway foot and pot supports

    The supports on this type of stove tend to be wider to be able to handle larger pans

  7. Flame Spreader

    This is the disc that sits above the flame and spreads it out. It is held in place by leg-like clips.

How Do Stoves Work?

Gas Stoves

Gas stoves utilise gas cartridges. These cartridges contain liquified gas, normally a mixture of butane and propane, which vapourises as it leaves the storage bottle, arriving at the burner as a gas.

You therefore just attach (screw) the stove onto the gas cartridge, twist the valve open and light the burner.

Pressurised Liquid / Multifuel Stoves

The first thing you need to do is 'prime' the stove.

This involves first pressurising the fuel bottle and then preheating the burner. Priming is required to get the fuel vapourised in order to get a good and clean combustion.

Once the burner is preheated, open the second valve and the orange flame will turn into a strong blue flame.

See the video by Primus for a demonstration of their Omnifuel stove.

Comparison Tables

Please note that the prices quoted in this table are the recommended retail price and are subject to change.

Gas Stoves
Make + Model Price (RRP) Weight Boil Time (litre of water) Burn Time (per 227g cannister) Ideal Usage Notes
Primus Mimer Duo £22.99 257g 3 mins 70 mins Budget & International Trekking Internationally versatile, mounted adaptor which will fit a variety of gas cannisters
Primus Express £29.99 82g 3.15 mins 85 mins Fast & Light Trekking Light but durable, can handle large pans with ease
Primus Express Spider £44.99 198g 4.5 mins 119 mins Solo trekking/Alpine One of the lightest hose mounted stoves available
Primus Express Ti + Piezo £49.99 86g 4 mins 85 mins Fast & Light Trekking Titanium version of the Express with a Piezo lighter
Primus Gravity II EF £64.99 264g 3 mins 90 mins Trekking/Alpine Thanks to the preheating coil, the stove can also be used in low temperatures
Primus EtaPackLite £91.99 596g (inc pot) 2.5 mins 90 mins Lightweight base camp Contains base with a burner and piezo lighter, windscreen, a 1.2 litre pot and a polypropylene strainer lid
MSR Pocket Rocket £29.99 85g 3.5 mins 60 mins Fast & Light Trekking The world's best selling cannister stove
MSR Superfly £59.99 131g 3 mins 60 mins International Trekking Internationally versatile, mounted adaptor which will fit a variety of gas cannisters
MSR Reactor £140 496g (inc pot) 3 mins 109 mins Alpine Expedition Includes a 1.7 litre hard anodised pot, heat exchanger and pot handle
JetBoil Flash Personal Cook System £79.99 397g (inc pot) 2 mins (½litre) 90 mins Fast & Light Includes a 1.0 litre cooking cup, insulating cosy which has a colour changing heat indicator
Jetboil Sol Titanium £130 260g (inc pot) 2 mins (½litre) 90 mins Fast & Lighter! Lightweight titanium version of the classic Jetboil cook system
JetBoil Helios Cooking System £130 733g (inc pot) 3 mins 72 mins Base camp Includes 2 litre flux ring pot, burner base, windscreen and fuel cannister support

Pressurised Liquid Fuel Stoves
Make + Model Price (RRP) Weight (inc. fuel pump) Boil Time (litre of water using white gas) Burn Time (per 600ml fuel) Ideal Usage Fuel Notes
MSR XGK EX £140 374 g 2.8 mins 109 mins Expedition White gas, petrol, paraffin, diesel, aviation fuel Includes: Fuel pump, windscreen, heat reflector, small-parts kit, instructions and stuff sack. (Fuel bottle not included)
MSR Dragonfly £130 395 g 3.5 mins 126 mins Base camp
MSR Whisperlite Internationale £89.99 330 g 3.5 mins 110 mins Expedition White gas, petrol, paraffin
Primus Omnifuel £145 441 g 3 mins 182 mins Expedition Gas cartridge and liquid fuel Includes: Ergo pump, fuel bottle, multi-tool, stuff sac, windscreen & reflector

Cookware

Camping pots and pans are usually made out of one of three materials:

Material Pros Cons Example Products
Stainless Steel Durable, cheapest option Heavy MSR Stowaway, MSR Alpine Cookset
Aluminium Lightweight Weaker of the materials MSR Base 2 Pot Set, Primus ETA Pot
Titanium Lightest of the three materials, very strong and durable Most expensive option Snow Peak Mini Solo Titanium,MSR Quick 1 Titan Pot