Stove Buying Guide
Other Guides of Interest
As an outdoors enthusiast, there are several items you may need that can be found in other sections of our website - these include travel essentials from our travel section and packs from our hiking section. Advice on buying these can be found using the links below:
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
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
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
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
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
- Click on the numbers in the diagram to find out more about these parts of a gas stove:
Gas Cartridge / Cannister
This contains the liquified gas
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.
Foldaway Pot Supports
These support the pan. They foldaway to reduce the overall size of the stove.
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.
This contains your fuel and needs to be pressurised before commencing
This valve needs to be opened as part of the priming process
The pump is used to pressurise the fuel bottle
Flex Fuel Line
This feeds the fuel to the stove and allows the stove to be packed noticeably smaller
The second valve is opened once the stove has been primed
Foldaway foot and pot supports
The supports on this type of stove tend to be wider to be able to handle larger pans
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 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.
Please note that the prices quoted in this table are the recommended retail price and are subject to change.
|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|
Camping pots and pans are usually made out of one of three materials:
|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|