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Stoves & Fuel

MSR Whisperlite InternationalIn the world of camping, there are many ways to boil water and cook dinner. The question is what stove with what fuel should I use? Here is where we are going to break it down for you.

The first question you need to ask is, do I get a TWO-burner stove, or a SINGLE burner stove? Double burners are great for camping when weight is not an issue (such as car camping or base camping) and when the stove is being used for cooking for a larger group. If these two things don’t fit with you, then you will most likely want a single burner stove. Single burners are often smaller and lighter and good for backpacking and simple meals.

In addition to how many burners you need, you also need to decide what type of fuel you would like to use. The following are your typical options:

Liquid Fuel: for the most part, liquid fuel requires the user to pressurize the fuel and prime the stove before using. They require a little more time to reach full heat. The benefits are that the fuel containers are both refillable and lighter than canister fuel.
Alcohol: burns cooler than most other fuel and takes a bit of time to reach maximum temperature. Alcohol burns rather cleanly, but can be tough to find.
Kerosene: is inexpensive and available almost everywhere. It is a dirtier burning fuel and requires more cleanup.
Unleaded Gasoline: also found almost everywhere but burns very dirty. It ignites easily. Not the best option.
White gas: burns rather cleanly, efficiently and hot. It is a good option and is moderately available.
Mentholated Spirit (“Metho”): burns cooler, and therefore takes longer to heat things, but for this reason is good for younger or novice stove users. Metho also doesn’t require priming or pressurizing.
Canister Fuel: (Butane, Propane, or a mix of both) tends to be heavier and a bit more expensive. The benefits to this type of fuel is they don’t require priming or pressurizing, and are plug-and-go. Most stoves that use canister fuel burn cleanly and can be adjusted to moderate heat output to simmer, etc. Most canisters are NOT refillable and are single use only, which adds to the price.  

Now that you have decided which fuel you would like to use on how many burners, you can narrow down your choices of camping stoves.


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