10 Best Portable Cookers For Camping

(Camp Chef)

When you’re camping or backpacking, meal time is an event everyone looks forward to. Having an effective and reliable camp stove and mess kit is pivotal to preparing your breakfast, lunch or dinner. Whether you’re setting up a campsite for the week and want to assemble a fully operational portable kitchen, or you’re backpacking through the wilderness with an ultralight burner — we’ve found some great camp stoves that are up for the task. From full size burners to your classic Coleman propane stove, we’ve compiled a list of reliable portable camp cookers that should cover whatever your outdoor cooking needs might be.

If high packability in particular is what you’re looking for make sure to check out items two, four and six on this list. If you’re adding to your ultralight backpacking equipment than make sure to check our our posts on the best highly packable rain jackets, compact mess kits, backpacking sleeping bags and emergency radios — there’s some killer gear for the trail there as well!

coleman, propane grill, camping, portable cooker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Stove and grill in one
  • Fuel efficient
  • Breaks down easy and packs compact
Price: $88.13 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
etekcity, backpacking stove, portable cooker, camping Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super lightweight and portable
  • Compatible with several fuel options
  • Quality, budget option
Price: $15.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
coleman, camping, propane cooker, prtable cooker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Highly fuel efficient
  • Built to last
  • Uses standard propane canisters
Price: $39.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
wolfyok, portable wood burning stove, camping Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Requires no fuel canisters!
  • Very lightweight and packable
  • Stainless steel design
Price: $39.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
camping, portable cooker, grill, camp chef Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Compatible with full size propane tanks
  • Stove is detachable from the legs
  • Provides exceptionally high heat
Price: $111.59 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
sahara sailor, backpacking stove, camping, portable cooker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Very affordable option
  • Super lightweight
  • Simple and easy to use
Price: $111.59 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
camp chef, portable camp stove, camping Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Cast iron burner
  • Removable legs for added portability
  • High heat output
Price: $102.62 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
coleman, camp stove, propane stove, camping, portable cooker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Sits nicely on a table top or on the ground
  • Very affordable and built to last
  • Includes carrying case
Price: $24.09 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
camp stove, wood burning camp stove, portable camp cooker Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Both a camp stove AND a charging device
  • Burns very clean
  • Compatible with some cool accessories
Price: $24.09 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
blackstone, portable grill, camping Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Includes a removable grill box & griddle
  • Constructed with high quality materials
  • Capable of a variety of cooking styles
Price: $320.53 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Coleman Perfect Flow Grill Stove

    Pros:
    • Very fuel efficient unit
    • Packs well (collapses to a thin rectangle when closed) if you are car camping
    • Conveniently combines both a camp stove AND a grill
    Cons:
    • A bit too cumbersome to hike with
    • Grill space although adequate, is too small to cook for larger groups
    • Fairly heavy option for travel

    When it comes to searing steaks or cooking up some dogs, the Coleman Perfect Flow Grill Stove is all you need. This simple and reliable unit by Coleman is a great camp stove and grill all in one. The two in one design allows you to use the stove and grill at the same time, so you won’t waste any time cooking your meals.

    Coleman’s Wind Block panels help to shield the burners from wind and can also be folded down and used as side tables. I can’t speak enough about this feature — when battling high winds in the field it’s really helpful to have some built in protection from frustrating gusts.

    The Perfect Flow Grill/Stove puts out 20,000 total BTUs of cooking power, so there’s not really anything this unit can’t do in terms of camp cooking. It will fit up to a ten-inch pan on the stove and sports 130 square inches of grill space, so despite its compact size you can cook a pretty decent amount of food on this bad boy!

  2. 2. Etekcity Ultralight Outdoor Backpacking Stove with Piezo Ignition

    Pros:
    • Super lightweight and acceptable for backpacking
    • Is compatible with a variety of fuel options
    • Aluminum and stainless steel construction makes for a tough build
    • Adjustable control valve allows you to cook with precision
    • Highly affordable
    Cons:
    • Customer complaints that this stove leaks fuel (quality control issues)
    • Because of the size of the unit, you cannot cook with large pots or pans
    • No windscreen of any kind to protect the flame when cooking

    This tiny little unit by Etekcity is a great stove for the weight conscious backpacker. At less than half a pound, this stove simply screws into a 7/16 thread fuel canister and is ready to ignite. This is a great value unit, but check out our list of the best backpacking camp stoves for some higher quality options in this same category.  

    It uses a butane or a butane propane mix that burns very hot. Some fuel options for this stove include small canisters made by MSR, Coleman, Jetboil, or Primus.

    Made of an aluminum alloy and stainless steel, this is a pretty tough burner for the cost. An adjustable control valve allows you to cook with high or low heat. Etekcity claims this stove can boil a liter of water in three and a half minutes, and customer reviews insist this stove can really crank. This ultralight stove even comes with a carrying case, so plan on bringing this one with you in the wilderness.

     

  3. 3. Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove

    Pros:
    • This stove is highly fuel efficient - giving you quite of bit of cooking time off of one propane canister
    • Rated great for long lifespan and solid durability
    • Is compatible with Coleman’s standard propane canisters which are one of the cheaper options in camp stove fuel
    Cons:
    • Fairly heavy to backpack with
    • The platform for the canister takes up a considerable amount of space if trying to pack light
    • A bit outdatted considering all the new stoves onthe market - but sometimes old is best

    Everyone’s uncle, grandfather or scoutmaster owns a Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove, and for good reason! This burner is a reliable and affordable option that you can count on to effectively cook your meals. It’s not quite as portable as some of the ultralight backpacking stoves listed here, but could still certainly be stowed in a backpack and hiked with.

    The burner and base separate from the propane bottle for compact carrying. Coleman’s “PerfectHeat” technology ensures this burner cooks efficiently and won’t burn through all your propane. It puts out 10,000 total BTUs of cooking power – not bad for such a small unit.

    The burner is adjustable and it even includes wind baffles to help protect the flame from frustrating breezes. Lots of customer reviews mention how they have owned and used this stove for more than ten years, a sure sign of reliability!

  4. 4. Wolfyok Portable Stainless Steel Wood Burning Camp Stove

    Pros:
    • Requires no fuel canisters!
    • Very lightweight and packable
    • Environmentally friendly (no emissions or batteries!)
    • Stainless steel design should hold up well in the long term
    • Can use wood pellets for burning if you’d prefer to not search for your “fuel” in the field
    Cons:
    • If you don’t have adequate burnable material where you’re camping, this stove is a no go
    • Pretty small size, so don’t plan on cooking for the whole family with this one
    • There are no included instructions, so figuring out this five piece set will require a little initial patience

    This stove is a very cool option for the camper or backpacker who wants to leave the fuel canisters behind and cook with what nature already offers!

    This lightweight (less than a pound) and highly portable camp stove can fit in a backpack easily, and doesn’t require the added weight of propane or butane canisters. If you’re going to be hiking through wilderness that provides an abundance of twigs, leaves and pine cones, then this stove could save you some serious space and weight in your bag.

    Constructed from stainless steel, this five-piece unit is corrosion resistant and will hold up to high heat just fine. The three arm pot support system provides a stable cooking platform for a pot or pan. Due to its small size, you cannot really effectively cook with a large pot or pan.

    One neat thing to consider with this stove is that it’s environmentally friendly in the sense that it doesn’t have any emissions or batteries! If you are looking for a real space saving stove, or like the idea of cooking with a real wood flame fire, then definitely check this one out.

  5. 5. Camp Chef Explorer 2 Burner Range

    Pros:
    • Connects to a full size propane tank OR can be modified to fit disposable canisters
    • Can cook with really high heat compared to conventional camp stoves
    • This stove can be modified to fit a number of different cooking attachments — its a customizable system that you can fit to your needs
    • Quite affordable considering the heat output, materials used and customization potential
    • Can be detached from the legs and placed on a table for more portability
    Cons:
    • The legs on this stove are a little short for some!
    • Complaints that the regulator cuts off gas flow if it’s not used gently
    • Not a terribly portable option for camping trips compared to a lot of other options

    Now here’s a killer unit for the diehard camp kitchen. This larger sized two-burner propane camp stove from Camp Chef is a serious cooker for the serious camper. It features 448 square inches of cooking space, so this is a great option if you want to cook for larger groups.

    The burners are aluminum and can be customized with a number of different features/attachments by Camp Chef. BBQ grill boxes, griddles, cast iron grills, and even Dutch ovens and pizza ovens can be attached to this versatile unit.

    The highly efficient “blue flame” burners have an impressive output of 30,000 BTUs each. This stove connects to a bulk propane tank with an included regulator or to disposable canisters using an adapter that’s sold separately.

    Great for cookouts, tailgates or for creating a real deal camp kitchen, this two burner unit by Camp Chef is well made and will cook with far more power than your conventional camp stove.

     

  6. 6. Sahara Sailor Ultralight Collapsible Camping Stove

    Pros:
    • Super lightweight (less than a quarter pound!)
    • Very affordable option
    • Operation of this stove is simple and intuitive
    • Compatible with multiple fuel sources
    Cons:
    • Customer complaints about this unit spraying fuel when attaching/detaching from the fuel source
    • The Piezo igniter seems to fail before the rest of the stove’s components
    • Not built for longterm durability

    Another ultralight and ultra-affordable backpacking stove. This unit by Sahara Sailor costs next to nothing and should serve you just fine in the field as a portable camp cooker.

    The Piezo electronic igniter allows for quick ignition, and an adjustable flame control allows you to dial in the desired heat for whatever you’re cooking. There’s no priming or preheating required — just fire her up! This stove is compatible with most single butane or butane-propane blend fuel canisters, so you conveniently don’t need to purchase any particular fuel source.

    The aluminum alloy and stainless steel construction is meant to withstand some abuse in your backpack, but don’t let this stove get too knocked around because it’s still quite a delicate unit given its small size. The folding design paired with the included carrying case really makes this stove one of the most portable available.

    For the cost, don’t expect this stove to last you a lifetime, but definitely check it out if you’re looking for a tough and tiny camp stove to stuff in a backpack. Make sure to check out MSR’s Pocket Rocket for a higher quality version of this stove 

     

     

  7. 7. Camp Chef Universal Output Single Burner Stove

    Pros:
    • Cast iron burner is well built and will out-live most camp stoves
    • This is a high powered burner with a lot of cooking potential
    • Customizable unit that you can use for many different cooking styles
    • Removable from legs for added portability
    Cons:
    • Customer reviews stating the legs are a little short for some users
    • Considering it's comparable in price to the two burner option listed here, you might just want to spring for the other camp stove
    • Heavy option for camping trips

    This single burner unit by Camp Chef is comparable to the Camp Chef Explorer 2 Burner Range, the difference of course being it has one burner instead of two. It’s also customizable and can be fitted with an array of different attachments (griddles, BBQ boxes, etc) for different cooking methods.

    This unit might be what you’re looking for if you want the power and durability of a heavier, high powered camp stove, but don’t necessarily need two burners. The single burner design certainly makes this unit a good bit more portable than Camp Chef’s two burner option.

    The leg extensions are detachable, so feel free to use it with or without the legs. The burner is made of commercial quality cast iron – a fan favorite amongst many avid camp cooks. Sporting 30,000 total BTUs, this stove is truly the real deal in camp cooking. Rig it up to a full size propane tank and use it at home, or use it as the main power behind your portable camp kitchen.

     

  8. 8. Coleman Butane Stove

    Pros:
    • Sits nicely on a table top or on the ground for no spill cooking
    • Includes carrying case
    • Very affordable and built to last - good value for the money
    • The butane fuel canisters required for this stove are reasonably priced
    Cons:
    • Relatively low heat output - look elsewhere if you’re interested in a powerful camp stove
    • It’s not a very lightweight stove at almost five pounds and is an awkward size and shape for packing in a backpack
    • Complaints that the fuel canisters may leak if not removed from the stove after use

    Here’s another solid option in portable camp cooking by Coleman. Although it’s nothing special, this unit is built reliably and might be all you need to prepare your morning coffee and simple meals.

    Some campers prefer this style burner to the Coleman Bottle Top Propane Stove because of the way it packs and how it sits on a table surface. I personally like how this style burner sits nice and flat, and is less likely to tip over when cooking with heavier pots or pans.

    This unit will fit up to a ten-inch pan, and has a 7,650 BTU output, so it’s not the most powerful stove out there if you need to cook with particularly high heat. Flame adjustment control allows you to cook on its higher setting as well as at a simmer.

    A cartridge safety locking system is a nice feature to ensure your fuel source is drawn from safely. This unit takes a different style butane fuel canister than the previous stoves mentioned, so be prepared to stock up if you choose this one.

    All in all, this is a simple and reliable butane camp stove that will hold up and cook for years with the proper care. If you’re preparing simple meals and don’t require the high heat of a more high-end portable cooker, then definitely consider this low cost, low maintenance camp stove.

  9. 9. BioLite Wood Burning CampStove

    Pros:
    • Both a camp stove AND a charging device
    • Lightweight and highly portable
    • Burns very clean and won’t make the inside of your backpack soot ridden
    • Burns on natural fuel sources, so leave the canisters at home
    • BioLite offers some cool attachments/accessories for this unit (LED lights, grill attachments, etc)
    Cons:
    • If there’s not an abundance of dry twigs and burnable material where you camp/backpack, then this isn’t the stove for you
    • Requires pretty frequent additions of fuel to maintain even, high heat
    • A bit on the heavy side for backpackers who are serious about trimming pack weight

    This portable cooker is a seriously cool gadget for any camper that appreciates both unique and useful gear. This camp stove is a super neat piece of equipment because it utilizes the thermal energy it creates to charge any USB compatible device!

    Biolite claims that 20 minutes of charging with a strong fire can give most smartphones up to 60 minutes of talk time….pretty sweet! This burner is fueled by inserting twigs and sticks, so it can be a great option for the backpacker who wants to save space on fuel canisters and also have a charging device.

    It’s only about two pounds in weight and has roughly the same dimensions as a one liter Nalgene bottle, so I’d say it’s highly portable. It even comes with a carrying sack, and customer reviews insist this stove burns super clean and won’t turn the inside of your pack all sooty.

    When this bad boy gets going, it can boil a liter of water in about four and a half minutes – pretty decent. An internal starter battery conveniently helps to kick-start your cooking fire before the stove starts to generate its own power.

    Considering it’s both a portable charging device AND a reliable camp cooker, Biolite’s price tag is pretty reasonable. If you have the funds to spring for this unit, then you’re sure to impress your camping pals with this unique piece of equipment.

     

     

  10. 10. Blackstone Tailgater Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo

    Pros:
    • Comes with a removable grill box and griddle
    • Constructed with high quality materials
    • Capable of a variety of cooking styles without having to purchase any attachments/accessories
    • Exceptionally high heat output
    Cons:
    • Quite a heavy unit - you might need a friend to get this big boy out of your vehicle and set up
    • Due to the materials used, it’s a pretty pricey portable camp cooker
    • Some might not like the design of the legs

    The Tailgater Portable Gas Grill and Griddle Combo by Blackstone is one of the ultimate options in portable camp cookers. There’s practically no assembly required, so this grill and griddle combo is ready to rage as soon as you pull up to the campsite.

    I love how this unit offers versatile cooking options without needing to purchase any attachments or accessories. One burner has an output of 15,000 BTUs and the other is capable of 20,000 BTUs, so this is a pretty powerhouse cooker.

    The heavy duty ventilated grill box comes with durable, high quality cast iron grill grates, while the griddle is steel for optimal heat distribution and control. This grill/griddle is a whopping 75 pounds, so it’s not going to stray far from your vehicle or home – but it’s none the less a fairly portable unit due to its easy assembly and carrying handles. The higher weight of this unit stems from the higher quality cast iron and metal construction, so it’s heavy for good reason.

    If you want to be the grill master at your next camping outing on a top performing cooking unit, then look into this sweet set up by Blackstone.

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