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The 5 Best Car Camping Stoves
If you want to take your car camping experience to the next level, you need the best car camping stove. If you are a big-time camper, you know you need a camping stove if you want to truly cook outdoors. But what kind should you get? A wood burning stove–or maybe a camping oven or rocket stove? Today, I’d lke to tell you about why the best car camping stove should be your next stove. For more information about these stoves, check out the car camping stove reviews and ratings below.
In This Article
Best Choice: Coleman Portable Triton + Propane Gas Camping Stove
The Coleman Portable Triton + Propane Gas Camping Stove is the best car camping stove because it’s fuel-efficient so you won’t have to change out the canister as often as you would with other stoves.
The Coleman Portable Triton + Propane Gas Camping Stove includes wind block panels that block gusts from ruining heat and can adjust for different pan sizes. The PerfectFlow technology allows for a maintained performance while PerfectHeat technology is great for environmentally conscious users that want to be more efficient with their cooking and use less fuel.
The energy output is at 22,000 BTUs and is large enough to cook one 12 inch and one 10 inch pan side by side so you can cook some eggs with your toast. The product also includes a grate that catches grease, making cleaning your camp stove a lot faster.
Interested in a Coleman camping stove? Read our Coleman camping stoves review to see what other products they have available.
- Fuel and power-efficient
- Push-button start
- PerfectFlow technology keeps heat steady
- Heavy for a stove of its size
Premium Pick: Outland Portable Camping Stove with 3 Zone Propane Gas Burner Controller
The Outland Portable Camping Stove with 3 Zone Propane Gas Burner Controller is the best car camping stove because it can be used both while standing and sitting, and it’s an extremely powerfull stove despite its size.
The Outland Portable Camping Stove with 3 Zone Propane Gas Burner Controller has the ability to replace a standard grill while still being portable. It has an instastart button that starts flames in either a tabletop or standing position. Three independently controlled burners lead to 90,000 BTUs of pressure for a variety of different cooking options.
The chef area is relatively large at 568 square inches with two folding cook stations at 18″X15″ can hold up to 60 pounds each. The burner also includes a safety hose, four-hook utensil holder, quick-fold legs, and two rugged wheels.
- Standing and sitting modes
- Can hold up to 120 pounds of food
- Up to 90,000 BTUs
- On the bulky side
Best Value: Coleman Camp Bistro 1-Burner Butane Camp Stove
The Coleman Camp Bistro 1-Burner Butane Camp Stove is the best car camping stove because it’s an affordable choice that is good for one-pot cooking or supplementing another stove.
The Coleman Camp Bistro 1-Burner Butane Camp Stove can also be seen as the number one pick for most portable camping stove. It uses an instastart ignition lighting and uses close to 8,000 BTUs of power. It lasts a little over an hour on an 8.8-ounce gas cylinder and has a temperature base with a large base for pot or pan stability.
The grate is easy to clean and a carry case is included. It’s also affordable, which makes it a great pick for the novice car camper or someone who just wants an extra burner to supplement another stove. This stove even comes with a carrying case and a one-year limited warranty.
- Easy to clean and store
- Energy efficient
- Large base
- Small footprint
- 8.8-ounce Gas cylinder is sold separately
Runner Up: RoadPro 12-Volt Portable Stove in Black
The RoadPro 12-Volt Portable Stove, Black is the best car camping stove because it’s a lightweight option, and its design makes it great for warming up food that was made in advance.
The RoadPro RoadPro 12-Volt Portable Stove, Black can also double as a convenient food warming case. The stove itself comes in at 12 volts while the warming case portion can heat food up to 300 degrees and makes you think of a makeshift traveling oven.
It plugs into most 12v sockets and is great for stews, soups, and pre-cooked foods. Because it needs electricity, which makes it a good choice for car and RV camping. This stove is also durable, and the lid makes it able to cook without risk of spilling.
- Easy to carry and transport
- Weights 3.3 pounds
- Great for warming pre-cooked food
- Needs a 12v plug in order to work
- Can’t heat up outside, only indoors
Honorable Mention: Coleman 2 Burner Grill Stove Combo Camping Stove
The Coleman 2 Burner Grill Stove Combo Camping Stove is the best car camping stove because it has both a burner for pots and pans as well as a grill, making it a versatile stove.
The Coleman 2 Burner Grill Stove Combo Camping Stove is ideal for those looking for a two in one grill and stove combination as part of their portable arsenal of cooking materials. Like the Coleman Portable Triton + Propane Gas Camping Stove, it has wind protectors to stop gusts of wind from blowing out your heat as you cook and includes PerfectFlow technology for efficient cooking.
It also includes 20,000 BTUs of pressure and can fit a 10-inch pan in the stove section. It also includes a grill, so you get the best of both worlds. The grill section is 130 square inches. It also uses PerfectHeat technology for a consistent performance.
- Small but powerful
- Effective wind guards
- Easy to clean up
- Has both a burner and a grill
- Heat control is not ideal on the stove
Features to Consider for the Best Car Camping Stove
When you are looking into purchasing your camping stove, some features that you’ll need to keep in mind will include the size, BTU and power levels, and fuel types.
Depending on how many people are in your group, you’ll need something that accommodates the amount of food that can be cooked at once. If you are in a group of four or more, you can get a smaller grill that happens to be cheaper but you’ll spend more time heating new servings while making people wait around. On the flip side, if you get something that is unnecessarily large, you risk having to waste energy to lug something around that isn’t even being used at its maximum capacity.
BTU and Power Levels
During the review, you probably saw a reference to BTU quite a bit. This stands for British Thermal Units, and it is the measurement of how much energy is required to heat or cool one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit. In layman’s terms, this means that it is the measure of how powerful your camping stove is. Now you might think that the more BTUs the faster the cooking time so you should go with something that has the highest BTU count.
This sounds good in theory but in practice, several other factors play a role. If a grill has good wind resistance and is relatively compact, it can angle more heat into what you are cooking versus something with more surface area that might have a higher number of BTUs. This is why it is important to look at windscreens and grill surface area when making a decision about which grill to purchase.
While you can use butane and liquid fuel, most fuel types are now based off of propane-burning fuel models that are easy to light and burn cleaner. Most of the grills on this list burn via propane instastart so most likely you will want to invest in an adapter and hose with to refill the propane tank if your grill model does not already have one. Learn how to safely use and discard fuel so you can use these different fuel types safely.
Benefits of Using Car Camping Stoves
Right off the bat, we can say that many car camping stoves have the same heating capabilities as home-quality stoves. This is the first fantastic point to hear so you know that a homecooked meal is definitely a possibility as you travel. Another benefit of using the best car camping stove is that they’re light enough to fit in with the rest of your camping equipment without breaking your back.
Car camping stoves also have windscreens, enabling you to use them outside as well as higher heat capacities which allows you to cook foods outdoor during the colder months. Some car camping stoves even plug directly into your car for power, so there’s no need for fuel canisters like propane camping stoves do.Car camping stoves give you all the comfort of your at-home stove while you get to enjoy the great outdoors.
Precautions When Using Car Camping Stoves
In the vein of saying “not everything that is gold glitters,” there are some precautions you may have to take when using car camping stoves. Since these kinds of stoves are typically very compact, there isn’t much room for where fuel can go once it has been used up. Remember to drain it once you have used it and it has properly cooled. Failing to do this can result in fire safety hazards like campsite essentials catching on fire from unused fuel material.
Additionally, if fuel stays in the stove for too long, it can back up or clog the stove which can lead to an ineffective stove, or worse, an explosion from the lack of space from new fuel being added—in cases like this, a solar camp stove that doesn’t need fuel can be a great investment. Additionally, keeping your stove out of the elements like rain, mud, and snow is very important. These materials can also clog up the stove leading to the issues we previously mentioned. However, if you take good care of it by properly draining excess fuel and protecting it from harsh natural elements, you can keep your car camping stove in good working order.
When you are ready to get your camping essentials together, don’t forget to pack a car camping stove. Our recommendation is the Coleman Portable Triton + Propane Gas Camping Stove because it offers the highest quality features at the most affordable cost. Additionally, it is relatively compact, sturdy, and has enough room to cook multiple items on.
At the end of the day, what you are looking for in a camping stove is something that is sturdy and reliable, cooks well, and can withstand outside natural conditions like wind, rain, and snow. The Coleman Portable Triton + Propane Gas Camping stove has this in spades and is why it is our number one pick for best car camping stove.