When you are on the move or must cook indoors, these are the GO TO stoves!
There are many options out there when it comes to portable stoves that fill the need of heating food and drink. If you are at home and the power goes out, you have the Weber or the big camp stove to rely on. But when you need the ability to cook in a tent, under a tart, the back seat of a car or a shack in the woods, the small portable stove fits the bill. Those of us that camp light or backpack know the stoves we talk about here and they are my preference for the Bug Out bag! Depending on how many adults in the family, you may want to think about combination of two of them. Stoves that are light, portable and can operate just about anywhere but direct wind are perfect for an emergency.
These stoves generally fall into three categories; Alcohol-Compressed fuel, Canister fuel or Liquid Fuel. I will cover the main brands that I am familiar with but you may have brands that you have experience with, we would love to hear about those as well. Steven with our NNP group did a great job on those, if you want to check out that video, please do. Two other stoves in the Alcohol-Compressed fuel arena are the Esbit and Sterno. The Esbit is a small folding compact stove that you can open, put fuel inside and drop in your pocket. It’s my choice for the possibles or get home bag. The second is Sterno, which is a gel alcohol stove that comes in a kit with two cans of Sterno and the stove. The Esbit sells for about $12 bucks and the Sterno Preparedness kit for about 30 bucks.
In the Canister fuel arena there are 4 main players, canister and Liquid fuel are the go-to stoves for backpackers. The current canister fuel is Isobutane and all all fuel canisters are made with screw in- self seal valves. They come in 4 and 8 oz sizes, the smaller size will heat to boil about 12 litres of water. First player is MSR, Mountain Safety Research, and they have several stoves. The smallest is the Pocket Rocket. This fits in your pocket and screws directly to the canister and sells for about $39 dollars. It has a great area for pots and is in my bug out bag. Second up is Jetboil. They use a complete system that includes the stove and pot. Everything fits in the pot including the fuel and then closes up with the pot cover. Some models do detach the pot and can be used as a stand alone stove. They sell from $50 to $150 bucks. The last are Optimus and Snowpeak. They make small stoves that are very nice and have cook sets that nest to keep everything together. The Optimus Crux and Snowpeak Giga stoves have a wide top for pots, are sturdy and reliable. They sell for $50 dollars each.
Onto the Liquid Fuel stoves, we have two main players, MSR again and Coleman. MSR really leads the way in the small portable stove but Coleman leads on sturdy stoves that can take a beating. The two MSR stoves I like are the Dragonfly and Wisperlite. These stoves connect to either a 11, 20 or 30 ounce canister of fuel. The fuel is normally white gas, unleaded auto fuel or kerosene, one of them boasts using diesel and jet fuel as well with a jet change on the stove. These stoves need more maintenance and need more attention to start and run. These come with windscreens and have large pot capability. These stoves have a pot boil time of 3-4 minutes which is the quickest of the small stoves. I like one of these in a bug out bag with the more experienced stove person in your party. Now the Coleman. We all know of these stoves that seem to last forever. Most are dual fuel, white gas and unleaded auto gas. They are easy to operate by most anyone and do well in a camp or home due to size.