Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Camp Stoves

I must admit I’m kinda attracted to those nifty little backpacking stoves that screw on top of an iso-butane canister. Don’t tell my lovely wife. She’s probably right when she says I’ve already got plenty of camping stoves.

Maybe she’s onto something as I’m really not sure how many I actually have. Some are almost as old as I am. My dad had one of those two burner Coleman stoves that were very popular. Dad’s probably dates back to the 50s. It’s mine now and has been restored. Still works perfectly fine. To go along with that are three or four single burner Coleman white gas or multi-fuel stoves. 

My collection includes a couple of Whisperlite stoves with assorted repair kits. One of them was used for months burning nothing but gasoline mixed with two cycle oil. My sailboat had a two stroke outboard so there was plenty of mixed gas. I wasn’t going to use special fuel just for cooking. All my cooking was done in the open cockpit so if the flame was slightly dirty it didn’t matter. About once a month the stove had to be disassembled and the soot cleaned out. 

Then I’ve got a couple of propane stoves. One was given to me by a German couple who were on their last day of camping in the US. They weren’t going to take it on the plane and I don’t think the fuel is available in Germany. While the propane stoves burn fairly cleanly the one pound bottles can get expensive if you cook a lot. 

One of the odder things I have is a knock off of a Kelly Kettle. It’s a very light weight backpacker version. They heat water by burning twigs and the heat goes up a chimney in the middle. Surrounding the chimney is a water jacket. Mine heats about 2 cups of water. It works well and is pretty much free to fuel. 

When I go scooter camper later this summer I’ll probably bring along one of the small multi-fuel stoves. Since I always carry spare gas on the scooter it’ll be easy to use. 

While those iso-butane stoves are compact, I don’t really need one. Then there’s the fact I really don’t need a completely different fuel system. What I really really don’t need is to tick off the lovely wife. 



  1. When I am bicycle camping my Kelly Stove is my go-to. Even where "open flames" are discouraged locals and Police are interested in its design. Got invited to more than one BBQ over it.

    1. That's so cool. Those Kelly Stoves are very well made.