The Modern camping cook stove is both powerful and lightweight with designs to make cooking easier while in the outdoors.
Outdoor camping stoves come in a variety of sizes and designs. Gas camping stoves come in basically three different categories: multi-burner family camping stoves, single burner backpacking , and expedition stoves. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Most have the same basic design of a burner or burners attached to a fuel source. Your intended use will determine which stove and fuel type is the best choice. If you do some car camping and have little room extra and need to heat up a can of chili from time to time then a single burner propane stove may be the way to go. Maybe even a can of sterno if money and space is tight.
Understand the pros and cons of the different types of fuel, which are liquid fuel and pressurized gas canisters. I personally recommend only two real choices - Coleman style screw on propane canisters or white gas -Coleman liquid fuel-.
The most popular fuel source is white gas, which performs well in all weather conditions. White gas is readily available all over but may not be outside the U.S.
White Gas Stoves
The white gas stoves will produce the most heat of any outdoor camping stove. The white gas stoves now come in "dual fuel" versions. This allows you to use unleaded auto gas in addition to the white gas. A lot of people use the auto gas and are happy with it. Nevertheless it is smelly and if you spill it on something or get it on your hands, it’s hard to get rid of the odor.
I recommend using only the white gas in the dual fuel stoves. If you run out and can't buy any white gas - then use the unleaded gasoline. The main advantage of using unleaded gasoline over white gas is cost. This is the only advantage to the dual fuel stoves. I feel the extra cost for the few gallons of white gas used each year is worth paying so you get the cleanliness of this fuel.
Pressurized Gas - Propane, Butane
The next most popular fuel source is propane gas canisters. If simplicity of use is your main concern use a pressurized gas stove. The fuel is made from blends of butane and other gases. Gas canisters are not refillable and must be thrown away when empty. You cannot check to see how much fuel is left in the canister when using pressurized gas. When using white gas, it is easy to check remaining fuel.
Pressurized gas stoves can be lit as soon as the fuel canister is in place. No pumping, priming, preheating the burner.
Liquid white gas burns hotter than the “propane - butane” gas and works better in windy, cold and low atmospheric conditions therefore it is the primary fuel for most expedition stoves. Most often it is lighter and cheaper to use liquid fuel than gas fuel due to the gas canister being heavier and has to be purchased each time. Liquid fuel does not burn as cleanly as gas and is more difficult to regulate the temperature. As for as transporting it’s somewhat safer to carry a gas canister in the trunk of your car than a bottle of white gas.
One last note: Make sure you know how to use your outdoor camping stove before going camping, use it at home instead of waiting until your in the field.