Last updated: 17/10/2022

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Camping cookers are small devices with which you can prepare or heat up meals in any place. Different fuels are used to light a fire, which can usually be regulated. The most popular and most common camping cooker is the gas cooker, which is particularly popular with campers or outdoor sports enthusiasts. With our big camping cooker test 2022 we want to help you find the best camping cooker for you. We have compared gas cookers, petrol cookers, alcohol cookers, dry fuel cookers and wood cookers with each other and listed the respective advantages and disadvantages. This should make your purchase decision as easy as possible.




Summary

  • Camping cookers are commonly used by campers or other outdoor sports enthusiasts to heat meals on the go. There are five different types of camping cookers, which differ primarily in the type of fuel they use.
  • The most important thing when choosing your camping cooker is to think about what you want to use it for. Size and weight play a big role in the choice. Small and light camping cookers are better suited for day trips than large, multi-flame camping cookers. These are more suitable for camping at campsites.
  • You can basically cook any dish on a camping cooker. You should be aware that some dishes require more than one flame. If you only have one cooker, it may not be enough for some dishes.

Camping cooker: Our Selection

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying a camping cooker

What is a camping cooker?

A camping cooker is a small cooking device that is particularly suitable for outdoor cooking. The cooker consists of a cartridge and an attachment on which pots and pans can be placed. There are five different types of camping cookers, each of which is lit by a different fuel. Some are lit by gas, petrol or spirit, the others by dry fuel or natural resources such as wood. Camping cookers are very popular with people who like to spend time in nature.

Who is a camping cooker suitable for?

The camping cooker is particularly suitable for people who like to cook outdoors. This includes campers, mountaineers, outdoor athletes or the military. However, a camping cooker can also be used simply if you want to cook in your garden.
The camping cooker is basically suitable for everyone.

Camping cookers, as the name suggests, are popular with campers. Whether in nature or at the campsite, the camping cooker is always helpful when you want to prepare warm meals. You can also take the camping cooker with you when you go on a day trip. Mountain climbers, for example, like to take a camping cooker with them to gather energy through warm meals. You can also simply cook with your camping cooker in the garden if you feel like it.

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Camping cookers are most popular with outdoor athletes, campers or people who simply like to spend time in nature.
(Image source: 123rf.com / Wollwerth)

What types of camping cookers are there and which one is right for you?

If you want to buy a camping cooker, you have five different types to choose from.

  • Gas cooker
  • Spirit cooker
  • Petrol cooker
  • Dry fuel cooker
  • Wood cooker

Gas cooker

The gas cooker is best for beginners as it is easy to maintain and use. It is mainly suitable for simple meals and is the most commonly used model.

Advantages
  • Easy to operate
  • Easy to clean
  • No smoke
  • Ready for use at any time
Disadvantages
  • Not available everywhere
  • Stove attachments vary from country to country

Spirit cooker

The spirit cook er is also a popular option. It is inexpensive and lightweight, making it suitable for any tour.

Advantages
  • Weighs little
  • Inexpensive
Disadvantages
  • Weak heating capacity
  • Uses a lot of fuel

Petrol cooker

Petrol cook ers are particularly suitable for advanced hikers, as they are not as easy to use as gas cookers or camping cookers. They also heat at low temperatures and low air pressure.

Advantages
  • Strong heating power
  • petrol is available everywhere
Disadvantages
  • Difficult to clean
  • Harder to operate than gas cookers, for example

Dry fuel cookers

Dry fuel cookers usually only consist of a metal frame. Therefore, they are more suitable for day trips or emergencies. They do not weigh much, so they are not a big burden for you on hikes.

Advantages
  • Weighs little
Disadvantages
  • Only suitable for small pots

Wood cooker

The wood cooker burns with natural materials such as small branches or twigs. It is often used by nature-loving people.

Advantages
  • Inexpensive
  • Handy
  • Not harmful to the environment
Disadvantages
  • Fuel is unwieldy
  • Not allowed everywhere

How much does a camping cooker cost?

There is a wide price range between different camping cookers. The price of different cookers varies according to quality and weight. The price range goes from 15€ to 200€. The wood cooker is the cheapest at €15, followed by the gas cook er and the dry fuel cooker. Petrol cook ers and spirit cookers are among the more expensive alternatives.
Model Price range
Gas cooker 20€ – 130€
Spirit cooker 50€ – 200€
Gas cooker 20€ – 130€
Petrol cooker 50€ – 70€
Dry fuel cooker 20€ – 50€
Wood cooker 15€ – 40€

What alternatives are there to the camping cooker?

There are various alternatives to the classic camping cooker, which we have listed and presented to you below.

Hotplate

An alternative to the camping cooker is a hotplate that you can connect to the electricity. However, this is not suitable for day trips, as you may not find a power socket everywhere and a hotplate is very bulky. If you are travelling with a caravan, the hot plate is useful. However, you can only use it if you have a power socket in your area.

Fireplace

Another alternative to the camping cooker is to heat your meal on a simple fireplace. However, it is not allowed to light a fire in every place. Therefore, it is important to do your research beforehand.

Solar cooker

The solar cooker is another alternative that uses and collects solar energy to heat the food. However, this alternative is controversial because it relies on the sun’s rays and it can sometimes take a long time for the food to heat up.

Buying criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate different camping cookers

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible camping cookers. The criteria you can use to compare camping cookers include:

In the following paragraphs, we will explain what is important in the individual criteria.

Material

Camping cookers can be made of different materials.

  1. Aluminium
  2. Stainless steel
  3. Plastic housing

Most camping cookers are made of aluminium, stainless steel or have a plastic casing. Camping cookers that are made exclusively of aluminium or stainless steel are more durable than camping cookers that are surrounded by a plastic casing, as the latter is damaged more quickly.

Size

The smaller your camping cooker, the easier and more convenient it is to use. It is best to think about the purpose for which the camping cooker will be used before buying. If you are travelling with a caravan, the size is not quite as relevant as if you are going on a day trip and carrying the camping cooker in a backpack. A particularly handy solution is a system cooker. You can stack the items inside each other and save as much space as possible.

Weight

Weight plays a big role in choosing your camping cooker. Before buying, you should consider whether you want to use the camping cooker more for day trips or outdoor activities, or if you are travelling in a camper van and do not need to carry the cooker. The lighter a camping cooker is, the more practical it is. If you have planned day trips and want to carry the camping cooker in your backpack, it is of course easier if you don’t have to carry it so heavily. For trips by car, or for a visit to a campsite, the weight is not so important. But if you are planning a hike, for example, we recommend a camping cooker that is as light as possible.

Colour

The colour of a cartridge tells you what composition of gases is in the cartridge. Most gas cylinders are red, black, grey or blue. The different mixtures are useful in different situations. Depending on the outside temperature and air density, you should choose a different gas bottle. The design of the cooker itself is only a visual feature and says nothing about the cooker.

Interesting facts about camping stoves

How does a camping cooker work?

The technology of a camping cooker depends on the type of camping cooker. However, every single camping cooker produces a fire that is started by a fuel. In a gas cooker, the gas flows out of the cartridge, igniting a flame. You can control the amount of gas that flows out. If you let little gas flow out, you get a small flame, and if you let a lot of gas flow out, you get a big flame.

Campingkocher-2

When using a gas cooker, gas flows out of the cartridge and burns. This creates a flame,
(Image source: pixabay.de / EDUIN)

The alcohol cooker consists of a container and a stand on which you can place the pots and pans. The container has several openings, the size of which you can adjust. The container holds a material soaked in alcohol, such as glass wool or rock wool. Both glass wool and rock wool do not burn and serve as a wick. When the fire is lit in the bowl, you can regulate the size of the flame and thus the temperature via the openings. The petrol cooker consists of a fuel bottle and a burner head with a nozzle. Both parts are connected by a hose. To light the fire, you have to apply pressure to the bottle with a pump so that the petrol is transported to the fuel. This preheats the fire. Once this is done, gas flows out of the nozzle and the cooker burns by itself. The dry fuel cooker is lit with dry fuel tablets. The tablets are available in different sizes. You can simply place them on the rack and light them. The wood cooker is lit by natural materials. It consists of a windbreak in which you can place small branches or sticks and light them.

How long does a camping stove cartridge last?

The burning time of a cartridge depends on various factors. One factor is the size of the cartridge. In addition, the wind plays a big role, as you use more gas when it is windy.

The standard size of a cartridge is 230 grams. This size has a burning time of about 75 minutes. If you are planning a week-long trip and only want to use the cooker once a day, a standard cartridge should be enough.

If you plan to be on the road for a longer period of time, you should consider whether you would prefer to take several or larger cartridges with you.

Which cartridge fits your camping cooker?

There are two different types of cartridges. One is the piercing cartridge and the other is a valve cartridge. The choice of cartridge depends on your camping cooker.

Model attachment
Piercing cartridge the cartridge is pierced and the cooker is put on
Valve cartridge with screw valve the cartridge is screwed onto the camping cooker
Valve cartridge with bayonet valve the cartridge is put on

A piercing cartridge is pierced and cannot be resealed afterwards. It is cheaper than the valve cartridge. Unfortunately, it is not so easy to transport, as it should always remain connected to the cooker so that no gas escapes. There are two types of valve cartridges. One is the valve cartridge with a screw valve. It is screwed onto the camping cooker and can be unscrewed again in exactly the same way. In the case of the valve cartridge with bayonet valve, the cartridge is plugged on or can be screwed on with an adapter.

Is cooking on a camping cooker sustainable?

Cooking with camping cookers depends on the type of camping cooker. Most camping cookers are not sustainable. Cooking on a gas cooker is not sustainable. Gas and spirit are fossil fuels and therefore harmful to the environment. However, the cartridges in which the fuels are stored are particularly bad. Dry fuel cookers are fired with Esbit. When the substance is ignited, it produces toxic gases that are harmful to the environment. Therefore, the dry fuel cooker is not environmentally friendly either. However, cooking on a wood cooker is Co²-neutral and therefore not as harmful as the other camping cookers. This is because natural materials such as branches and sticks are burnt.

Campingkocher-3

Cooking on a wood cooker is least harmful to the environment because only natural materials are burnt
(Image source: 123rf.com / SHCHERBYNA)

What are the best pots and pans to use on a camping cooker?

Basically, you can use normal pots and pans for your camping cooker. However, it is important to pay attention to the handles, as they can heat up and cause burns or melting.

The lightest possible pan or pot is best for camping. If you want to carry the cooking utensils in your rucksack, an iron pan is not very suitable as it weighs a lot.

Aluminium pots are therefore more suitable. They heat up very easily, but they don’t store heat very well. Therefore, aluminium pots are more suitable for stir-fry dishes, but less so for things you want to heat in a pot.

You can easily cook these dishes on a camping cooker

Basically, you can cook any dish that you prepare at home in a pot or pan on a camping cooker.

There are single-flame and multi-flame gas cookers. If you want to cook for several people, a multi-flame camping cooker is suitable. If you want to prepare breakfast, you can easily make fried eggs in a pan. Boiled eggs are also easy to prepare on a camping cooker. If you want to prepare lunch, noodles with a sauce are a good choice. You can also easily boil potatoes in the pot. Of course, a dish that requires several pots is not so easy to prepare because you have to cook one at a time and the meal will cool down while you prepare the other dish. So it’s best to plan beforehand what exactly you want to cook.

Image source: Aleshin/ 123rf.com

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