There are three main types of fuel when it comes to camping stoves:
- Solid fuel camping stoves
- Liquid fuel stoves
- Canister gas stoves
Solid fuel stoves (such as the Esbit Titanium Stove featured below) are intended for very light duties such as boiling water, and are relatively simple to use, except in high winds when they become almost useless.
Liquid stoves can burn a myriad of liquid fuels from paraffin through to solvents and petrol, and are excellent for longer expeditions, low running costs, and in remote places where fuel may be scarce. Liquid stoves are also the only choice for higher altitude (2000m+), as the lower pressure doesn’t affect them and are also brilliant in full winter conditions, where gas canisters can freeze up and lose pressure.
On the downside, they require maintenance and are more fiddly to operate, although modern stoves don’t require the lengthy priming operations that older models might suffer from.
Most commonly, canister gas stoves are the popular choice, being simple to light and having good flame control. They range from heavy catering appliances through to incredibly lightweight burners, so there is quite literally a gas stove for every situation.
Alongside the style of stove, you also need to consider its stability. Anyone who’s had the misfortune of knocking a full dinner on the floor when out in the wild knows it can be devastating. If you’ve got little ones running around your camp, you may want to avoid lighter travel camping stoves and opt for a stronger tabletop alternative instead.