How to choose the best camp stove or BBQ?


A hearty breaky, lunch and dinner infuses every camping trip with more flavour. Whether you love waking up to a nice hot cuppa with bacon and eggs, beans or porridge, want toasties for lunch, or prefer pasta, soup, snags, steaks or crabs and crayfish for dinner, you'll need a camping stove or BBQ to cook on. This Buying Guide outlines the key things to consider when weighing up different stoves and BBQs, so it's easier to choose the best one for your needs.

What is the best camping stove?

Everyone's different, and like many things in life, what's best for one person might not be best for the next. The best camping stove (or BBQ)for you depends on your particular camping needs:

  • Who you'll camp with (now and in the future - how many mouths are there to feed?)
  • How you're getting it where you're going (in the car or 4WD, on foot or by bike?)
  • How much space there is in your car (for the stove/BBQ and all your other gear?)
  • How much you want to be able to cook at once (coffee and breaky, or two pans?)
  • Where you'll be using it (how hot or cold it will be, and is a campfire allowed?)
  • How much control you want over the temperature (boil only or just simmer as well?)
  • How easy you want it to be to carry (in your backpack or just from the with a helper?)
  • How far away from supplies you'll be (close to shops or in the middle of nowhere?)
  • How often you'll be camping and for how long (on weekends only or for a few weeks?)
  • How long you want it to last (for a few short trips or for many years of camping?)

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Working out which stove or BBQ to buy is easier when you break it down into these five steps:

How To Choose A Camp Stove Or BBQ - Gas Bottles

1. Size

Camping stoves and BBQs are all portable, but some are ultralight and compact, while others are sturdier but heavier. Camping stoves and BBQs are all portable, but some are ultralight and compact, while others are sturdier but heavier.

The size of the stove you need depends on:

  • How many people you're cooking for (a couple or the whole extended family?)
  • How much you want to cook at once (how big is the pan, are two pots needed?)
  • How you're transporting it (carried on your back, in your 4WD or a smaller car?)

How many burners do you need?

Camping stoves can have one, two or three burners.

Here's a general size guide, but make sure you factor in your own needs:

  • One burner is usually enough for one to three people and is perfect for hiking.
  • Two burners generally suit groups of four to six and are great for car camping.
  • Three burners are best for groups of seven or more and work welll for 4WDing.

What is the best camping stove for a family?

Families will probably want a bigger stove with more burners so they can cook for everyone at once.

The bigger the stove and its burners:

  • The more you can cook at once (but heavier it will be).
  • The larger the pots and pans you can use (because they'll be stable).
  • The more evenly it heats the bottom of large pots and pans (and the food ).
  • The more space it takes up your car (leaving less space for everything else).
  • The more fuel it will use (so you'll need to take more fuel with you for it).
How To Choose A Camp Stove Or BBQ - 3 & Single Burners

2. Food


What can you cook on a camping stove?

So much amazing food! What you can cook depends on the type of cooking equipment you're using.

But no matter what type of camping stove or BBQ you go for, you're probably going to need:


Cooking Basics

  • Pots and pans:
    • That aren't too big for your burners (if you use two at once will they both fit?)
    • A frying pan or skillet that's a good all-rounder for cooking sausages, bacon, eggs etc.
    • You'll need deeper saucepans for cooking soups, stews, porridge, beans etc.
    • You may want a griddle plate to chargrill steaks, seafood and veggies on.
    • With a cast iron Dutch oven you can oven cook while you camp (roasts, stews etc.)
    • Cleverly designed Xpots are collapsible cooking pots that flatten for camping light.
    • Essential utensils like a can opener, tongs, spatula etc. (that are light and rugged).
  • Kettle, billy or coffee percolator:
    • How many people do you want to be able to make a cuppa for with one boil?
    • Folding kettles are compact and perfect for hiking, biking, kayaking and trekking.
    • If you're car camping or road tripping, consider a cigarette-lighter-powered kettle.
  • Plates, bowls, cutlery and cups:
    • You'll need mugs for hot drinks, cups for cold drinks and may want wine glasses.
    • Some plates and bowls are cleverly designed to be collapsible and biodegradable.
    • Cutlery that's designed for camping is strong and will last longer than home cutlery.
    • If you're travelling super light, consider a spork - it's a spoon and a fork in one!

Stove Cooking

In addition to the basics, for a stove you may also want a:

  • BBQ plate - so you have a large cooking surface for sausages, steaks and seafood.
  • Jaffle iron - for yummy toasties! Aluminium irons are lighter than cast-iron jaffle irons.
  • Thermal cooker - cooks up to 7 litres of food for the family while you're out having fun.

BBQ Cooking

In addition to the basics, you may also want a:

  • Smoker - gives meats, fish and vegetables a smoky flavour before you barbeque them.
  • BBQ cleaning kit that includes wipes, sprays and brushes so cleaning the barbie is easy.

Campfire Cooking

If you're sure cooking on an open campfire is allowed where you're camping, you may want:

  • A campfire cooker that sits over the fire so you can sit the food on top of it.
  • A stove stand or tripod you put over the fire and can hang pots and the kettle on.
  • A lifter pole to take hot pots and the kettle off the fire when they're ready.
  • Baskets you put fish and hamburgers inside so they're easy to cook and turn over.

Safety & Other Essentials

You may also want these optional cooking extras for safety, comfort and convenience:

  • For fire safety - a windshield, fire blanket and carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Table - to put the portable stove or BBQ on top of when you're cooking.
  • Food storage containers - and/or resealable bags for ingredients and leftovers.
  • Vacuum sealer - that helps lock in flavour so food stays fresher for up to 5 times longer.
  • Beer-can chicken roaster - cooks a moist roast chook over half a beer can in 45 minutes.
  • Weekender camp kitchen - with a detachable wind shield, folding side table, utensil hooks, and storage shelves for food so you have everything you need for camp cooking.
  • Water filter - so you can filter all your water. Go to camping hydration information .
  • Trivet - to keep pots steady during cooking or protect the table from hot pots.
  • Flask or travel mug - so you can take tea or coffee with you on hikes.
  • Washing up tub and drainer - the Sea to Summit sink is ultralight, waterproof nylon (always wash up at least 100m away from water sources and use biodegradable liquid).
  • Heat and eat meals - cottage pie, butter chicken, gluten-free and vegetarian options! Check out all the tasty, readymade camping meals you can get from Anaconda.

Shop Our Camp Cooking Range


How To Choose A Camp Stove Or BBQ - 3 & 2 Burners

3. Types


Boil, Simmer or Wok Cook?

  • Some stoves can only boil, so think about whether you want to be able to simmer too.
  • Some can rapid boil in a couple of minutes (backpackers beware - this uses more fuel).
  • A wok burner stove produces an extremely high heat for fast wok cooking when camping.

Design Features

Different stoves and BBQs have different benefits:

  • British Thermal Unit - how much cooking heat it creates (a higher BTU boils faster).
  • Windshield - so the flame is powerful and safely contained when it's windy.
  • Carry case - to keep all the parts together and protected, and make it easy to carry.
  • Legs - some stoves sit on your tabletop, while others have legs so are freestanding.
  • Piezo - an auto ignition button you push (so you don't need matches to light it).
  • Pot stability - a stove designed to keep your pots and pans stable while you cook.
  • Drip tray - that catches cooking fat and makes it easy to clean up after cooking.
  • USB port - heat from the stove creates power so you can charge phones, lights etc.

The Jetboil Flash

  • Boils two cups of water in two minutes.
  • Is extremely light, compact and tough.
  • Is by far the best alpine climbing stove.
  • Melts ice and snow and heats liquids fast.
  • Is incredibly efficient so doesn't use much fuel.
  • Has a neoprene sleeve so can be touched during heating.
  • Has a clever spout that pours into cups or bowls without spills.

The Cobb Cooker

  • Can roast, bake, smoke, grill and fry and has won many awards.
  • Can roast, bake, smoke, grill and fry and has won many awards.
  • Is efficient, economical and environmentally friendly.
  • Accessories available include a frying dish, wok, pizza tray and trivet.
How To Choose A Camp Stove Or BBQ - 1, 2 & 3 Burners

4. Power Source


How do you light a camping stove?

That depends on the power source that's fueling the stove (or your BBQ). Some fuels are lit with a match, while others have an auto ignition button you just push to generate a spark and ignite the flame.


Gas

  • Gas produces carbon monoxide, so for safety must only be used in a well-ventilated area.
  • Gas produces carbon monoxide, so for safety must only be used in a well-ventilated area.
  • Visually inspecting your gas cooking system every day is critical for your camping safety.
  • Propane - suits car camping and two burner stoves and is cheap so a popular camp fuel.
  • Butane
    • - Comes in single-use disposable cartridges.
    • - Cheap but creates the least powerful heat.
    • - Doesn't perform well in the cold and may not ignite.
  • Isobutene
    • - Is the lightest to carry so the best for backpacking.
    • - Comes in single-use canisters (so you need to carry as many as you need).
    • - May not ignite in cold conditions (but can handle colder conditions than butane).
  • LPG (Liquefied Petroleum Gas)
    • - Is similar to the gas you use at home.
    • - Comes in a refillable gas bottle (same as BBQ gas).
    • - Is fairly heavy so suits car camping not hiking.
    • - Is an efficient way to cook so suits longer camping trips.
    • - Is not safe in extremely windy weather.
    • - Bottles must always be kept upright and secured in cars (never left in the car).

Never Run Out Of Gas Again

Wouldn't it be great if you could check how much is left in the gas bottle? If you have a Thermos Accu Level Magnetic Gas Tank Gauge you can! This clever strip shows you the level of gas left in your tank, so you can keep an eye on it and never run out of gas again.


Where Can You Get A Gas Bottle Refilled?

Fill up at at one of Anaconda's dedicated gas-filling stations at our specialty stores.

  • We check and fill all suitable gas cylinders ranging from 1kg to 9kg.
  • We refill 3/8" and POL fitting gas bottles with Origin BBQ LPG gas for cooking or heating.
  • Use the store locator tool and look for the Gas Filling icon under the Services section.

Liquid Fuel

  • Comes in a refillable bottle and is also known as white gas fuel (gasoline).
  • You can power some liquid fuel stoves with multiple liquid fuels (kerosene, diesel etc.).
  • Works well in extremely cold conditions and is long lasting so suits long camping trips.

Wood

  • Can be collected from around your campsite so you don't have to take or carry fuel.
  • If it rains, finding dry wood to start a fire can be tricky, which means no fire for cooking.
  • If you're car camping, you can take some emergency firewood and kindling with you.
  • Anaconda have wood from sustainable forests with excellent burn times and prices.
  • Use the store locator tool and look for the Firewood icon under the Services section.

Charcoal

  • is heavy, takes up quite a lot of space in the car, and takes time to heat up.

Fuel Tablets

  • you'll need enough for the whole trip (unless you can find a shop selling them).

Solar

  • solar panels collect energy from the sun during the day, which powers the stove.

Methylated Spirits

  • a safe, low-cost cooking stove fuel, but the heat isn't very powerful.

Shop Camping Fuel & Fire


How To Choose A Camp Stove Or BBQ - Gasmate

5. Quality

When you're weighing up which camping stove to buy, think about quality versus cost:

  • Butane stoves are cheap and fine for warm weather (but worst in cold weather).
  • Isobutene gas stoves are the most expensive (but also the lightest so perfect for hiking).
  • Stoves with fast boiling speeds usually cost more (but you can cook faster with them).
  • LPG gas is cheap and convenient (you can refill your gas bottle at most petrol stations).

When it comes to how much you should spend on camp cooking equipment:

  • Cheaper stoves and BBQs don't tend to last as long, so you get what you pay for.
  • Factor in the cost of anything else you may want to buy like the correct hose and adapter connections, cooking fuel, pots, pans, plates, cups, utensils, cutlery, safety equipment, and other cooking gadgets for easy, tasty camp meals.
  • If you camp regularly or for more than a few days a time, spending a bit more:
    • Gives you years of great camping cooking.
    • Is an investment in being a happy camper.
How To Choose A Camp Stove Or BBQ - 2 Burner & Gas Bottle

How much are camping stoves?

Anaconda camping stoves and BBQs range from $40 to $500, and the majority are $70 to $200.

When you go to the camp cooking section on the Anaconda website, you'll see tick box filters down the left hand side of the page. Using these filters makes working out which cooking equipment to buy easier and faster because you can choose to filter what you see by:

  • Categories - so you can just see stoves, food , fuel or all of these and more.
  • Deal - so you only see all the stoves and BBQs on sale or at clearance prices.
  • Price - so you only see cooking equipment within your budget on the page.
  • Brand - so you can find specific brands like Coleman, Companion, Gasmate, Sea to Summit, Trangia, Spinifex, or the Jetboil Sumo Group Cooking System for adverse weather conditions.
  • Size - so you can see all the stoves and BBQs that are the size you want.

Try before you buy

Anaconda has stove testing stations so you can try the stove you want before you buy, and learn how to light it with confidence before you go camping. Find the stove testing station nearest you.



Other Camping & Hiking Essentials

Check out Anaconda's range of Camping & Hiking products available online or visit your local store.


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