While the classic two-burner propane stove still has a place in the hearts of base-camp chefs everywhere, there have been some amazing improvements in stove tech in the past few years. No longer are you required to split up the cookware among the group to haul it into the backcountry — or bring along that annoying guy just to have someone to lug the stove up the mountain.
It's time to ditch your old, obsolete camp stove. Here are a couple of our favorites.
For the environmentally conscious or for camping where fuel re-supply is tough, the Bio-Lite Basecamp Stove is a great option. Instead of using propane or pellets, the Bio-Lite uses wood, er, “solid biomass,” as a fuel source. Once the stove is stoked up, the thermal heat spins a small fan that not only keeps the fire burning hot but also charges a Lithium-Ion battery that can later be used to charge electronic devices. Anything that useful is always welcome in a campsite.
The Bio-Lite stove includes a USB grill light as well as an LED dashboard that gives you information on how hot your fire is, as well as the strength of the charge your fire is creating. With a 13-inch diameter, the camp cook can squeeze about 10 burgers on the supplied grill and can also adjust the fire, from quick boil heat to slow and low simmer. The Bio-Lite Basecamp Grill sells for $200; add the convenient canvas Carry Pack for $50.
Another great base-camp option, but a bit more compact and portable, is the Jetboil Genesis two-burner stove. The Genesis uses a standard 16.4-ounce propane canister; it can boil a liter of water in about three minutes and has a windscreen as well as simmer control to easily adjust flame height. Plus, it’s modular; use the integrated fuel-output port to connect other compatible stoves, such as the Luna Satellite Burner ($45).
The Jetboil Genesis weighs a mere 6.2 pounds (without fuel), and folds up like a clamshell to fit into its relatively small pouch, roughly 10 inches by 5 inches. The folded stove also fits neatly into the Jetboil 5 liter Flux Pot ($90). Eastern Mountain Sports sells the Genesis either as a standalone stove ($240) or get a full system for $350 from Moosejaw, which includes a five-liter pot with a vented lid and a 10-inch non-stick frying pan.
We give props to Bio-Lite for being multipurpose, and especially for burning natural wood; chances are, you’ll never want for fuel, and there’s even a smaller version, the CampStove 2 ($130), a single-burner that we named as part of our Gear of the Year package back in 2012. Still, it’s hard to argue with the convenience, packability, and versatility the Genesis provides.
No matter which way you go, your base-camp cooking game is sure to be elevated by either of these stoves.