How to Use a Camping Stove – Ultimate 2021 Guide

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Bought a camping stove, but not sure how to use it?

In this guide, I will review how to use canister fuel, liquid fuel and wood camping stoves.

If you don’t have a camping stove yet, be sure to check how to choose a camping stove guide where I help you to choose the most appropriate stove for your adventures.

Canister Fuel Camping Stoves


Canister fuel is the most widely used fuel by camping enthusiasts. Mainly because of its simplicity, safety, and convenience.

It comes in pressurized gas tanks of various sizes. Depending on meal cooking complexity, you may choose between single, double or triple burner camping stove.

How to Use a Single Burner Camping Stove, and How to Attach a Propane Tank to a Camping Stove?


How to Use a Single Burner Camping Stove

Single burner stoves are mostly used for backpacking and solo camping, because they don't require much space and can be easily carried around.

Generally, single burner camping stoves consist of two parts; the propane or butane tank and the stove. Here 's how to set them up and start cooking your favorite meal, which is applicable for most single burner camping stove brands:

  1. Screw the stove into the gas tank
  2. Open the gas knob by turning it clockwise
  3. Light up the gas with a lighter or ignition
  4. By twisting the gas knob adjust to the desired temperature for your cooking needs
  5. Once you've finished cooking, turn the gas knob counterclockwise until the flame and fizzle disappears
  6. Allow the stove to cool down completely
  7. Uncork your stove (Propane cans have self sealing valves, so it’s safe to unscrew them. On the other hand, if you have space it’s fine to leave the gas canister connected to the stove)
  8. Pack it up

Best Camping Single Burner Stoves:

Coleman Gas Camping Stove

Jetboil MightyMo Ultralight Camping Stove

Camplux Dual Fuel Camping Stove

How to Use Double and Triple Burner Camping Stoves?


How to Use Double  Burner Camping Stoves

Double and triple burner stoves are great for car camping. It’s perfect for a larger group of people as you can use two or three burners at the same time.

Usage instructions are similar to those for a single burner stove. The main difference is that you usually have to connect three parts; the propane or butane tank, the hose, and the stove.

Here 's how to use your double or triple camping stoves for most brands:

  1. Unfold your stove
  2. Connect the hose with the propane or butane tank
  3. Connect the hose with the stove
  4. Open the chosen burner gas knob by turning it clockwise
  5. Light up the gas with a lighter or ignition
  6. By twisting the gas knob adjust it to the desired temperature for your cooking needs
  7. Once you've finished cooking, turn the gas valves counterclockwise until the flame and fizzle disappears
  8. Allow the stove to cool down completely
  9. Uncork your stove (Propane cans have self-sealing valves, so it’s safe to unscrew them)
  10. Fold it up and pack it away

Best Camping Double Burner Stoves:

Coleman Gas Camping Stove

Outbound Gas Camping Stove

Coleman Triton Camping Stove

Which Gas for Canister Fuel Camping Stove?


You can have butane, propane or a mixture of the two - isobutane.

The main advantage of propane is that it can be used in freezing conditions up to -44 fahrenheit (-42 celsius).

On the other hand, butane is lightweight and produces approximately 12% more energy than propane, so it will last longer.

Then if you blend them together, you have isobutane which can be used in cold, but not extreme weather conditions.

So the easiest determining factor to help you decide which fuel to use is the likely weather conditions. As a general rule, use:

  • Butane up to 31.1°F (-0.5°C)
  • Isobutane up to 11°F (-12°C)
  • Propane Up to -44°F (-42°C)

How Long Will Your Canister Fuel Tank Last?


The burning time will mainly depend on your gas tank size, stove, the time you take to prepare your meal, and weather conditions.

In order to simplify the calculation process and to be on the safe side, you can assume that approximately 8oz (227ml) should last you around 2.5 hours of cooking or boiling.

To put it in perspective, 35oz (1l) of water will take you up to 10 minutes to boil. So with a 8oz tank, you can boil up to 527oz (15l) of water.

Best Camping Canister Fuel:

Coleman Propane Fuel Cylinders

Coleman Butane / Propane Mix Fuel

GasOne Isobutane Fuel Canister

How to Refill your Camping Stove?


You might find video instructions on Youtube on how to refill your canisters. Unfortunately, canister tank manufacturers do not recommend refilling your tanks.

The main reason they don't recommend it is that when you empty and refill your canisters several times, they become weaker and that compromises container safety. Which can ultimately lead to your camping stove exploding.

It’s worth mentioning, that there are specifically designed tanks which can be refilled, but they usually come in larger sizes and must be refilled and inspected by certified professionals only.

Liquid Fuel Camping Stoves


Liquid Fuel Camping Stoves

Liquid fuel is widely available in most gas stations around the world. So it’s a perfect option for those who travel internationally or to remote areas. It 's less expensive fuel than canister fuel and provides a consistent heat in all conditions.

Plus, you don’t need to stack canisters in your car as you can bring one bottle and refill it as you need to with your extra gas tank or at the nearest gas station. Just note that white gas is not at the same as automotive gasoline (petrol).

How to Use Liquid Fuel Camping Stove?

Liquid fuel camping stoves mostly come with single and double burners. The most popular liquid fuel camping stove on the market with a single burner is the MSR Whisperlite” camping stove and with a double burner the leader is the Coleman Dual Fuel” camping stove.

Here is How to Use a “MSR Whisperlite” Camping Stove:

  1. Fill the MSR fuel bottle with white gas.
  2. Insert the pump into the bottle and tighten it firmly.
  3. Close the pump control valve.
  4. Unfold the stove leg support so it’s stable and balanced.
  5. Connect the stove to the fuel bottle.
  6. Pressurize the bottle by pumping around 20-30 strokes until you feel resistance.
  7. Position the bottle so it's as far away from the stove as possible.
  8. Turn the pump control valve slightly to pass some fuel and then close the valve.
  9. Ignite the fuel to preheat the stove.
  10. Wait for a few minutes and then open the pump control valve.
  11. After a few minutes a blue light should start forming and you 're ready to use your stove.
  12. After you've finished using your stove, turn off the pump control valve and wait for the flame to die out.
  13. Allow the stove to cool down and disconnect it from the bottle.(it’s okay to leave the pump and fuel in the bottle).
  14. Pack it up.

MSR WhisperLite Camping Stove

Here is How to Use a “Coleman Dual Fuel” Camping Stove:

  1. Fill a Coleman fuel bottle with tank gas or Coleman liquid fuel.
  2. Open the Coleman stove and place the wind breakers up on the side.
  3. Connect the bottle with the stove.
  4. Pressurize the bottle by pumping around 20-30 strokes.
  5. Open the fuel valve and light up the first burner.
  6. On the side, you have your second burner valve, turn the valve and light up the second burner.
  7. Each burner temperature can be controlled individually.
  8. After you've finished you using your stove, turn off the pump control valve and wait for the flame to die out.
  9. Allow the stove to cool down and disconnect it from the bottle.(it’s okay to leave the pump and fuel in the bottle).
  10. Pack it up.

Coleman Sportster II Dual Fuel Backpacking Stove

How Long Can You Cook with White Gas?

White gas cooking length is less dependent on environmental factors. So the single burner “MSR Whisperlite” stove bottle should last you around 1 hour with 11oz (325 ml) of fuel.

The double burner “Coleman Dual Fuel” is more powerful, so it will consume more fuel. On average, you can cook on one burner for one hour consuming around 17oz (500 ml) of fuel.

Wood Camping Stoves


Wood Camping Stoves

Wood camping stoves work perfectly if you are camping in a dry environment and have some dry kindle sticks available around your camping ground.

The main advantage of a wood camping stove is that you don’t need to carry extra cans or bottles of fuel.

How to Use a Wood Camping Stove

The most portable and convenient wood camping stove is the Ohuhu rocket stove”. Here is how to use it:

  1. On the base plate put the burner on top, drop the inside plate and put on the pot supporter.
  2. Add dried wood and branches.
  3. Fire up the wood and place your cooking pot on the burner. Add some more kindling if necessary to support the fire.
  4. Let it cool down and pack it back up in the provided bag.

Best Camping Wood Stoves:

Solo Stove & Pot 900 Combo

überleben Stoker Flatpack Stove

Ohuhu Stainless Steel Backpacking Wood Stove

How to Stay Safe While Using Camping Stoves


Take a note of this checklist when using camping stoves of any fuel type :

  • Don’t use them in tents
  • Use only them in well ventilated areas
  • Check stoves for any leaks before operating them
  • Choose a stable surface to place your camping stove
  • Avoid windy areas or cover your stove with an aluminum stove cover
  • Never leave your camping stove unattended
  • Cool down your camping stove before packing it away
  • Choose an appropriate size of pots and pans for your burner

Frequently Asked Questions About Camping Stoves


• Can You Use Camping Stoves Indoors?

There 's a risk when cooking on a camping stove indoors, because you can build up the carbon monoxide levels in the area and eventually pass out. So it’s advisable to only use camping stoves outdoors in well ventilated areas.

• How do you Clean Camping Stove Burners?

Follow these steps in order to clean your camping stove burner :
1. Disconnect your camping stove fuel source.
2. Use a wire brush to get rid of debris.
3. With hot water and mild soap wipe down the exterior of your camping stove.
4. Use an unfolded paper clip to clear out any clogged up gas port debris.
5. With a paper towel dry off your camping stove.

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