I have literally cooked on most surfaces when camping.
Fire pits with a round metal grate on a tripod or a big flat rock & large cast iron skillet, propane gas stove & a grill. Last but not the least portable wood camp stoves are affordable & a great way to cook while camping as well.
I’m not sure which I like best but all the above get the job done!
The Camp Fire
A lot of people don’t think of a camp fire as a stove but any source of heat will cook food.
If you are really roughing it & there are not designated fire pits for a fire, then you may have to build one. Be sure to clear the area you want you fire pit to be in, gather & haul rock to make a ring around the fire pit, dig out the fire pit area so it’s lower than the rocks & Viola!!! You have a fire pit!
Most campgrounds have designated fire pits so you don’t have to build your own. Cooking in them is a little tricky but can be accomplished with a little patience & perseverance.
A great way to cook over an open fire is to have a metal tripod that folds up with a hook at the top to hang a grate to. A round grate with chains will hang off the hook & you put pans, skillets, coffee pot, potatoes wrapped in aluminum foil, corn wrapped in foil, etc on the grate to cook.
If you don’t have that set up, find a large flat rock & place it in the fire pit next to the fire so the rock will heat up. When the rock gets hot it acts like a stove top & you can place pans, skillets, coffee pot, etc on it to cook. It works really well.
Propane Gas Stoves
Propane stoves come in various sizes & shapes with 1, 2, 3 & 4 burners available. If this is the only available way for you to cook while camping, then for sure a 4 burner propane stove is the way to go.
1 & 2 burner propane gas stoves are great if you are just using it for making coffee or heating water, otherwise, the 3 & 4 burner models will give you more cooking space.
The propane tanks don’t look very large but they do last quite some time. The downfall to these bottles is that they are not refillable & disposing of them can be quite a hassle. They are also not returnable to the retailer that you bought them from.
These stoves no matter what size will fit on a flat surface such as a picnic table & a lot of the 4 burner stoves are on legs so you don’t need a surface to place them on. They are like bringing the gas stove from home only in a portable variety so cooking on them is affordable & easy.
Clean up is quick & easy & a lot of the smaller stoves have a carrying case that you can pack them up in so storing them is simple.
Portable Camping Grills
Portable camping grills come in various sizes & some sit on a flat surface but most have legs. The portable camping grills that sit on a flat surface have to be put on a surface that doesn’t catch fire of course!
You get that barbecue grill flavor & marks from the grill effect, which I love, as well as have a pretty large area to cook on. They are easy to transport & clean is easy.
The grill itself can be pretty messy & you made need to wait to clean that until you get home. It depends on how resourceful you are.
Overall they make a great stove & cooking area. Everyone loves the taste of food on a grill too!
Wood Camp Stoves
The title seems a little odd but they are not made of wood! Instead, they burn wood!!
This is also a grill type stove & is usually on legs. There are models available that look like an old-fashioned wood burning stove so that’s really cool looking.
I’ve never really used a wood camp stove but they look pretty easy to use & they would give off heat consistent with a wood burning stove. I would imagine they can burn pretty hot so it could be a bit tricky to not burn the food your cooking
Clean should be rather easy since you will only be left with ashes & that can be dumped in the fire pit until there isn’t anymore hot embers to worry about.
All of these camping stoves have their pros & cons.
The easiest clean up would be the Propane Stove because there are no ashes, charcoal, or hot embers to worry about.
The different grills, however, will give the food the taste that only a grill does & if you love that flavor might be the best match for your camping needs.
Wood burning grill could be really tricky to cook on since wood can burn very hot so the type of wood you use would definitely make a difference with these.
Last but not the least cooking over an open fire brings a whole set of challenges of it’s own. If you master this art form, any of the others are no big deal!!!
In conclusion, just like most of the stuff you take camping, it is totally your choice as to what you like best!
The only other factor is your budget & that may actually be the deciding factor! Some of these can be very pricey & if you have an unlimited budget on camping stoves, then it really is just a matter of choice on your part!
Happy Cooking & Happy Camping!
If you have any comments, questions or opinions, please feel free to leave them below!
Thanks for being here!