Camp Chef Everest
: 40,000 | Windy Boil Time
: 3 minutes
Performs well in windy conditions
No hot spots
Closure latches are plastic
Year after year, the Everest wins our Editors' Choice Award, outperforming the competition in all the categories that matter most. It boils fast, simmers like a pro, and stays consistent on windy days. Each of the two burners can handle large cookware, yet the overall design remains compact and straightforward. We also appreciate that, while besting all other models, its price remains approachable, though it has finally increased a bit this past year.
Our testers continue to stay on the lookout for negatives to report on this stove, but there honestly isn't much to complain about. Digging deep, the fuel adaptor, like most camp stoves of this type, is occasionally finicky to thread into place, and it's possible to cook a little too hot if you're not paying attention. Also, the once metal closure latch has been replaced by two potentially-breakable plastic ones. For niche demands, there may be other more suitable models, yet for all-around campground use, the Everest continues to be the best. Note: it sometimes goes by its model name, the Camp Chef MS2HP, at various online retailers.
Read review: Camp Chef Everest
Best Buy for a Two-Burner
: 20,000 | Windy Boil Time
: 6.25 minutes
Enough performance to satisfy most needs
Convenient packed size
Front latch is cheap
Handle is a bit sharp
There's nothing special about the simple and straightforward Coleman Classic, but, for a very friendly price, it performs admirably across the board. Often it's even sold at online retailers for almost half its full retail price. We love the adjustable windscreens, good wind resistance, and the convenient packed size. Surprisingly, the available cooking area is one of the largest of our tested compact two-burners even with the smaller packed size, so a win-win all around!
This cooker does not have a fancy auto-ignition system, and dialing in a good simmer is trickier than on some of our other tested models — though not by much. The small burners are also prone to creating hot spots in the center of larger pans, a fairly common trend in small-diameter burners. All-in-all this stove isn't the best we tested, but it does everything a camping stove should without breaking the bank.
Read review: Coleman Classic
Best Bang for the Buck on a Tight Budget
Gas One GS-3000
: 9,000 | Windy Boil Time
: 13 minutes
Great flame control
Price is right
Lightweight yet sturdy
Lacks a windscreen
Butane has poor performance in freezing conditions
The Gas One GS-3000 is capable of nearly any single-pot meal you're craving, so don't let its tiny price tag fool you. This competent single-burner runs away with a Best Buy award by having excellent simmer control and being easy to care for and transport. It's also the lightest model in our review. And even though it's just one burner, you could buy three of them and hardly have spent more than the cheapest dual-burner in this review! In a field of fierce competition, this stove holds its own, scoring at the top of the pack for portability, ease of care, and ease of set up.
The Gas One does lack protection from the wind and requires butane as its fuel source, which may or may not be as readily available as propane in your area. Alone, it's also not practical if you're cooking for large groups, though using it in addition to another two-burner stove grants you an affordable way to have three flames going at once. It's really affordable, and we think it's worth every single buck.
Read review: Gas One GS-3000
Top Pick for Group Cooking
Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner
: 60,000 | Windy Boil Time
: 5 minutes
Can use with or without legs
Struggles with variable wind
Large and heavy
The Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner is a professional-feeling freestanding stove that offers great cooking options at an approachable price. We love the flexibility of the removable legs — use them if you're in the middle of a desert or field and remove them if you have a table or tailgate. The powerful burners are fantastic for cooking up large meals quickly, but they still simmer with ease, and the grate allows for both small pots and oversized pans. We cooked some perfect eggs and pancakes on this stove, all for less money than some of our small, compact models.
The Explorer does struggle with the wind a bit due to its open and airy design. The burners are far away from your cookware, and gusts of wind can sneak in and extinguish the flame. With no auto-ignition, this means having to slide your food aside to relight. This stove is also heavy and, in our experience, prone to rust if left outside. While a big set up like this isn't for everyone, if you've dreamed about having a chef-style gas range in the great outdoors without spending a fortune, this is a great option to consider.
Read review: Camp Chef Explorer 2-Burner
Top Pick for Portability
Jetboil Genesis Basecamp
: 20,000 | Windy Boil Time
: 7.5 minutes
Very lightweight for a two-burner
Works on uneven surfaces due to its flexible design
Jetlink accessory port
Windscreen is not the best
The stylish and foldable Jetboil Genesis Basecamp is a pleasure to use, clearly designed with thought and care. This stove sets up easily whether on flat or uneven ground, simmers with finesse, and offers a more lightweight and compact design than any other two-burner in our review. It also has the trademarked Jetlink accessory port, which allows you to daisy-chain another Eureka-brand stove or a Jetboil and run it all off the same fuel source simultaneously. We feel this stove provides a fun and enjoyable cooking experience, all while taking up a fraction of the space and weight of a traditional two-burner model.
The main deterrent for most people with this stove will be the price. It's not a budget option. The design of the included windscreen also leaves a bit to be desired. We fared OK on windy days as long no one minded waiting a bit longer for boiled water (and if this is a major concern, you can always add a JetBoil integrated canister into the mix, though that will further lighten your wallet). Overall we find the Genesis to be pretty fantastic and a great model for the space-and-weight conscious car camper or van-lifer. If the price tag doesn't make you feel lightheaded, we recommend this little gem.
Read review: Jetboil Genesis Basecamp
Why You Should Trust Us
Taking adventures into the wild, Penney Garrett heads up this review along with a solid team of hearty eaters and experienced campers. As a seasoned outdoorswoman that loves everything from climbing and canyoneering to backpacking and snowshoeing, Penney spends a lot of time outside. And when the weather warms up, you can find her on the trails picking plants for a tasty or medicinal (or both!) concoction. She's a Paleo chef, clinical herbalist, and certified nutritionist, so it's no surprise that she's all about food and adventurous cooking or that she can tell you all about the best camping stoves.
Our team of accomplished campers isn't just making macaroni and cheese. Shlepping out all sorts of fresh food to campsites, trailhead parking lots, and backyards, the crew made everything from quick little meals to elaborate feasts. They went to high altitudes, cooked in lousy weather, and lived out of cars and tents for months to truly assess the best camping stoves available.
Related: How We Tested Camping Stoves
Analysis and Test Results
Each stove in this review was tested head-to-head for several months to find all strengths and weaknesses. Testing metrics used to score these models were weighted based on importance. For example, time to boil and wind resistance have a weighting of 25 percent each because they are critical performance points that determine a lot about the overall ability of a stove. Metrics determined to be of lower importance, like portability, are weighted less at 10 percent. Weighting aside, breaking down our testing criteria into categories helps to show the strong and weak points of each model and which one will ultimately best meet your needs. Simmering, ease of care, and ease of setup are the additional metrics we based our scoring upon.
Related: Buying Advice for Camping Stoves
With so many options spanning a wide range of costs, it's important to consider the value of the product you are purchasing. Attributes and features that are essential for one person may not matter to someone else. If all you care to eat while camping is soup and macaroni, then an efficient and lightweight single-burner is probably perfect. But if camping season means a big group of friends and multi-course gourmet meals, then considering a larger freestanding two-burner makes sense — cost aside. We know that price is a major determining factor when choosing what model to buy, so finding something that strikes the essential balance between stellar performance and a fair price is key.
Our reigning champ, the Camp Chef Everest, is a great example of this, though the price may still be too high for some. The Coleman Classic, on the other hand, didn't perform quite as well but is fine for most basic outings and will save you a decent chunk of change. If you want to go big, the Camp Chef Explorer is large, powerful, and surprisingly affordable. Only you can determine what aspect — performance, cost, or both — is most important.
Beach cookouts are one of many appropriate scenarios for the Everest from Camp Chef.
Time to Boil
Time to boil, along with wind resistance, is the most heavily weighted metric used to rate the products in our review. Generally speaking, the more power a model has, the better it boils, and the more efficient a cooking experience you can theoretically have. What became apparent during our boil tests, however, is that BTU ratings — surprise! — aren't everything.
The Camp Chef Everest, our Editors' Choice winner, has two 20,0000 BTU burners and boiled a quart of water with no wind present in 2.5 minutes. With constant wind from a box fan, its time only went up to 3 minutes. This is the smallest increase in time between these two tests of any stove in our review. The GSI Selkirk 540 also performed decently with times of 4 minutes (no wind) and 5.5 minutes (wind) despite only having 10,000 BTUs per burner. Even though all our large freestanding models had 30-35,000 BTUs per burner, they just couldn't boil water as efficiently. Some of them came close, but usually only if no wind was present. More on this later, but there is a fairly obvious correlation between reliable wind resistance and faster boil times, which is why these are the two most heavily weighted metrics in our review.
While higher BTUs certainly help with boiling time, they aren't the only factor. Some of our largest and most powerful stoves had slower times because of less wind resistance and more space between the burner and cookware.
The large 5" burners on the Camp Chef Explorer and Pro 60X and the 5.5" burners on the Stansport Outdoor are surrounded by so much open space that, despite being very powerful, are more affected by the wind. The flame is also physically farther away from the cookware on big camping stoves such as these, so despite having the highest BTUs, they didn't win all the boil tests — though, for the most part, they did perform quite well. However, the impermeable design of the Everest made a clear difference with wind protection, allowing for faster boil times no matter what the circumstances.
Again though, lower BTUs don't necessarily mean slower boil times if a stove offers well-crafted wind resistance. But the combination of less power and either poor design or no windscreen does equate to poorer performances in this category. If you tend to boil water in a separate device like a JetBoil, this may not matter as much to you — particularly if you like to simmer your dinners gently and don't care about a raging flame. We chose to weight boiling time heavily because a faster boil means people get fed and caffeinated more quickly, and fuel gets used more efficiently, but it all depends on your camp kitchen preferences.
All our boil tests were conducted at elevations of approximately 5-7,000 feet using an enclosed tea kettle and one quart of tap water with a beginning temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
While we show a boil time for both windy (our box fan test) and non-windy conditions, we recommend you focus your attention more on the wind test. Boiling with no wind may be a good indicator of sheer power, but the wind test reveals much more about the actual design of the stove in real-world use. And, chances are, there will always be at least a little bit of a breeze present when you are camping.
The fastest stove to boil also comes at a reasonable price. Value!
Wind resistance is tricky to test, as you can't exactly order up the same wind for every cooking scenario. But we consider this to be a crucial metric, integral to and on par with boiling time because, when a breeze does crop up, it can have a huge impact on the performance of a stove. Even the smallest bit of wind, if a stove isn't designed well, will drastically affect a flame and its efficiency. This can take an otherwise pleasant cookout and turn it into a seriously frustrating and inefficient undertaking.
To test this metric in a controlled manner, we set up a box fan and blew air continuously on the burners of each stove while boiling water. Granted, this is not an exact replica of the variable wind gusts that circulate from all angles and speeds in real-life, but it did give us insight into how each model handles constant wind. When scoring in this category, we also took into account our real-world experiences while cooking on windy days at the campsite. What became clear to us in assessing this metric is that, despite the 30-35,000 BTUs available per burner on our bigger models, wind resistance suffers when the design is less compact. Because of how low the burners sit below the cooking surface on these models and the subsequent physical space left open around the flame, they tend to struggle.
Our top performer in this category is, once again, the Everest. It has the essential balance of high BTUs — 20,000 per burner — and a smart, compact design. The Selkirk 540 — despite only having 10,000 BTUs per burner — also fared pretty well, which is a testament to good design and implementation. No surprise, models that didn't come equipped with a windscreen had considerable trouble. We also noticed that the powerful freestanding models mostly did fine with the unvaried wind in our simulated box fan test, but when breezes snuck in from every angle while out in the field, all of them struggled with the flame becoming extinguished and needing to be relit.
We were able to control the flame and cook with precision on the Everest, even under the whipping winds that move across Lake Tahoe.
If wind resistance suffers due to a flawed design element, there's often not much you can do. But in some cases, as with simple one-burner models like the Coleman Butane Instastart or Gas One GS-3000, you can make or purchase a basic aluminum windscreen like the kind that comes with a backpacking stove. These windscreens are light, flexible, easy to transport, and provide a noteworthy boost in performance on gusty days.
If your stove lacks a windscreen, you can fashion one out of aluminum foil from the grocery store for a temporary fix. We only recommend blocking one or two sides from the wind. Don't completely surround all sides of the stove with a windscreen, as that could heat up the fuel source past acceptable limits.
More than half of our stoves made it through the box fan test in under 7 minutes, but there was a substantial difference between boiling times with and without the fan. Our champion Everest, however, was hardly phased, taking only 30 seconds longer with the fan than without. It's no wonder this model continues to win our Editors' Choice Award year after year. The Pro 60X also did well in our simulated fan test, adding only 1 minute to its time. But, as mentioned above, when out in the real-world wind, the flame would often go out multiple times in a single cooking session.
Besides cooking on each stove during breezy variable weather, we also gave them a rigorous boiling test with a box fan.
Often overlooked in favor of BTU power, simmering ability contributes hugely to the usability and functionality of a camping stove. In the simmering category, our Editors' Choice model took the high score yet again, this time alongside the Explorer 2-Burner and Genesis Basecamp. The flame power on the Everest and Explorer is impressive (20,000 and 30,000 BTUs per burner respectively), and a bit more modest/typical on the Basecamp (just 10,000 per burner). But all were able to dial into that low-and-slow sweet spot for detailed cooking with finesse and grace. We slow-cooked sauces and fried eggs easily and with confidence, much like on a gas range at home.
Even if you don't plan to cook fancy detail-oriented meals, simmering is a crucial aspect to consider. The ability for a stove to be proficient at low heat also means better fuel efficiency, which, in turn, equates to more long-term bang for your buck. You won't burn through your canisters with a raging flame when you don't need to. It also means less accidentally scorched pans and more flexibility in timing. Maybe you have a curry that's way ahead of your rice — a gentle, low simmer allows you to keep a dish warm without overcooking while you finish the rest of your meal, start a fire, or pitch a tent. Other models that impress us in this category are the sleek and compact Primus Kinjia and our Best Buy one-burner, the GS-3000.
Despite the large size and power of the burners on the Explorer, we had no trouble finessing the flame down low enough to cook perfect over-easy eggs. Gusts of wind were sometimes problematic though, so we had to keep a watchful eye.
Ease of Set Up
While car camping stoves are generally easier to set up than their liquid fuel backpacking counterparts, some are more user-friendly than others. We chose the Butane Instastart and the GS-3000 as the winners in this category in no small part because the directions for use are printed right on the lid. This makes it super easy for a new user to jump in and help out if needed. And all these two stoves require for setup is placing a butane canister in the fuel compartment correctly, flipping a switch to lock it into place, and then turning the knob to self-ignite. Very fast and easy.
A close second in this category is the Primus Kinjia. This is the only compact 2-burner we tested that already has the fuel hose attached, so no fussing with screwing a metal adaptor into place — a nice feature especially when you have cold fingers! It also comes with a unique stand to prop the fuel bottle up at the correct angle after you screw it into the hose. The nice thing about this is that you can then set the fuel bottle wherever you'd like within the bounds of the hose. The potential issue is that it's a separate piece that can get lost.
This stove has a unique fuel setup with a flexible hose and a separate fuel canister stand to keep it at the correct angle.
The Basecamp is another notable model for this category. Unfold, attach the fuel line, press the convenient auto-ignition levers, and you're ready to go. We appreciate the design of the fuel line because, instead of having to sink the adaptor into a recess and blindly try to get it threaded correctly, the threads are visible and exposed. The only reason this savvy model didn't score higher is that we found the windscreen attachment to be a bit cumbersome.
Having the threads for the fuel line exposed and visible made for an easier time getting set up and ready to go.
If you're in the market for a low-fuss freestanding stove, both the Explorer 2-Burner and the Stansport Outdoor are worth checking out. While not the same level of ease as a small compact model, the legs are optional on both of these, so if you have a table or tailgate, set up requires nothing more than attaching your large propane tank to the hose and lighting the giant burners.
Ease of Care
Most good car camping stoves are engineered with the assumption that they are going to get filthy and that you aren't going to want to do anything about it right away. What this means is that they tend to be pretty low maintenance and easy to clean. That said, there are some notable differences between the various models.
Our most low-maintenance stoves are the Explorer 2-Burner and the Stansport Outdoor. Their construction is such that beneath the cooking grate, only the burners stand in the way of food hitting the ground. So when, inevitably, food flies out of your skillet, it lands on the ground instead of collecting at the bottom of your stove in a drip tray that later needs to be cleaned. This aspect could be seen as a negative if you're camping anywhere that you need to be vigilant about not attracting critters, which, let's be real, is pretty much everywhere if you're being smart. It's poor form to leave a campsite with food waste piled below where your stove was standing — critters or not. But the open design also means that minor things like grease splatters won't build-up excessively either. Additionally, both of these models have fewer pieces and parts and are painted entirely black (the most filth-friendly color), making them super easy and straightforward to care for.
The open, airy design of the Explorer shows why it's easy to keep clean, but also why it was easily affected by the wind.
The Pro 60X is one of the trickier models to clean. There is a thin metal sheet beneath the cooking grate and burners that prevent food spills from landing on the ground. Food bits accumulate here until you unscrew a special hook on the left side and remove the grate (it cannot just be lifted out like most compact two-burner stoves). Once you've done this, everything is accessible and easy to clean, but it's a pesky step. However, if you want a big stove and prefer to clean a drip tray over pick things off the ground, this is a fair tradeoff.
Many of the other compact models in our review scored well in this category. Most of them are built very similarly, and cleaning is as easy as lifting off the cooking grate to wipe underneath. Generally, however, the drip tray itself is not removable, so there's only so much you can access when doing a deep clean. Of note are the Kinjia and the Gas One because you can fully remove that tray to reach every single internal nook, cranny, crumb, and splatter. A dream for those that love to keep their gear sparkly clean.
A removable drip pan makes it easier to clean the surface and internal parts of the stove as necessary.
While car camping stoves are all, by definition, portable, they still come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and weights. For some people, this won't matter at all, but for campers with smaller cars or space constrictions in a built-out van, this is an important element to consider. And while you may need to keep things compact, you also want to be sure that your favorite pots, pans, or coffee accessories will still fit nicely on the cooktop. Our favorite model for this category is the Genesis Basecamp. Its clever foldable and circular design makes it the most compact of any in our review.
The Basecamp measures just 9.75 inches in diameter and 4.5 inches high by itself, or 11 x 6 inches in its handy carrying bag. The bag has a pocket for the fuel adaptor and the windscreen made from flexible plastic wraps around the interior perimeter. But even without the bag, you will have no problems with transport: when folded up, there is a handle on the bottom side of both burners that collapses when not in use. On top of it all, the Basecamp weighs a mere 7.4 pounds, bag and all, making it a fantastically lightweight option for a two-burner car camping set up.
The Basecamp is a highly portable stove -- it's lightweight, low-profile, and comes with a handy carrying bag.
Two of our other top scorers for portability are, no surprise, the Gas One and the Coleman Instastart — lightweight one-burner models that come with little plastic suitcases for easy transport. The Gas One packs up to be one of the smallest of our competitors at 14 x 12 x 3.5 inches. It also weighs the least at 4.1 pounds. The Instastart comes with a similar plastic case and measures 14.25 x 12 x 4.5 inches. It is a smidge heavier at 4.7 pounds. We also really love the trim and sleek design of the Primus Kinjia.
These two stoves (the Instastart on the left and the Kinjia on the right) are fantastic models for portability - they are both light, compact, and easy to carry.
And while we couldn't score them as high, the Everest and Eureka Ignite Plus are also worth mentioning here. Both are wider than all the other compact two-burners in our review by at least two inches. You're probably never going to notice or be bothered by two inches in the back of your car, but you will notice it when you want to pull out your largest pans to cook for a big group. The windscreens on the Ignite Plus are also shaped in such a way as to provide some extra width, a detail we appreciated.
The square-shape of the windscreen on the Ignite Plus provides a bit of extra width to help accommodate larger cookware.
With an extensive assortment of camping stoves on the market to choose from, making a final decision about what type to buy is no easy task. You will need to decide how many burners you want, whether you prefer a free-standing or tabletop design, and what potential accessories you may need to add to your set up for the perfect camp kitchen. All these choices depend on the number of people you plan to camp with and cook for, the available packing space in your vehicle, the cookware you plan to use, and your basic needs as a camp chef. Hopefully, our thorough testing helps you sort through the options and find the stove that is best for you and your appetite.
Camping and cooking in the great outdoors -- what could be better?