The Best Propane Stoves For Camping And RV Life
No matter what you cook while camping, it adds something extra to the food, and it always tastes better than cooking at home in a kitchen. If you’re backpacking, hiking, at a campsite, or need to make a meal outside your car or van, a propane gas stove can be incredibly useful and versatile.
They come in lots of different sizes, are very easy to use, often pack down to become extremely portable, and propane gas is safe to cook with so you don’t have to worry a lot about food safety or needing electricity.
This is why they’re so popular and used by so many. It’s currently the best way to cook a whole meal outdoors. Of course, you can also use one just to boil some water for your coffee.
My wife and I use our portable propane camping stove outside our RV when the weather allows. We have a griddle we can put on top for both searing and grilling, cast iron pans, and a dutch oven for making those delicious dutch oven potatoes.
The versatility and ease of use are why we love our RV camp stove and is why we often recommend propane stoves to our friends and family when they’re looking to purchase something to cook with outdoors.
Gas camp stoves come in lots of different sizes, but in this review, we’re going to be focusing on propane stoves for camping and RV life. Some are large and more stationary while others are tiny and can be carried in a backpack. But all are very capable camp stoves that you’re going to love using outdoors.
Best For Wind
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Best Propane Camping Stoves Reviews & Info
The smallest and most portable stove in this review is from AOTU. This little folding stove can be thrown in a backpack and taken on a hike or used at the campground to cook smaller meals or boil water.
It can output around 10,000 BTU per hour which will be more than enough to cook a real meal with a small frying pan or boil water quickly.
My wife and I have one of these, and while we don’t use it as much anymore since we have a bigger propane RV camp stove, we loved having this paired with a 6.5 inch Lodge Cast Iron Skillet.
We’ve cooked so many burgers, grilled sandwiches, eggs, and boiled water for coffee with this setup and we only have good things to say about it.
As mentioned above, it’s a portable backpacking camp stove that folds. When folded, it fits into an included 2 inch wide, 1.5 inch long, and 3 inch tall plastic case which makes it the ultimate cooking stove for backpackers.
When it’s time to cook, you screw the stove onto a standard butane/butane-propane gas canister (click to view on Amazon) with a 7/16 threads and fold out the anti-slip arms which creates an area where you put your pan or kettle. A valve on the bottom will let you control the flame depending on how hot you want to cook your food.
When fully open the arms are 3.75 inches in diameter and 3 inches tall.
Like many portable camp stoves, there is a piezo ignition system that lets you ignite the gas with the push of a button. This is a small feature that you might not realize how nice it is to have until you get to use one or use a stove that doesn’t have one.
Being able to light up the gas without a lighter or matches is extremely convenient.
In addition to a small cast iron skillet, we recommend using a small cook set like the Stanley Camp 24oz. Cook Set with it which is also very compact and portable.
So is the AOTU Portable Backpacking Stove the camp stove for the stationary RVer? It could be, but there are better options for you that will probably suit you better.
This is an excellent portable camping stove for backpackers, hikers, van dwellers, and car campers that need something very portable and compact to cook with due to space and weight limitations.
What you have to consider is how big the pots and pans you’re going to be putting on top of the camping stove will be. Since it’s sitting on top of the gas canister itself, it will seem less steady than bigger alternatives. Of course, none of the more steady choices below are as portable.
- Compact & Portable
- Flame Control
- Piezo Push Button Ignition
- Plastic Case Included
- Only Compatible With Small Camp Fuel Tanks
- For Small Pots & Pans Only
- No Wind Guard
One downside to ultra portable camping stoves like the style reviewed above is they can only fit small pots and pans and they are pretty unstable.
The Coleman PowerPack propane stove is the lightweight solution to this. It’s a single burner on a wide base that can hold large pans up to 12 inches in diameter.
The burner outputs 7,500 BTU which is fairly low but perfect for low heat cast iron cooking.
The unit measures 12.5 inches long, around 13 inches wide, and 4 inches tall. It weighs around 2 lbs.
The construction is simple but stable with the burner in the center and a wide wire grate that sticks out to hold large pans.
The flame strength can be adjusted using the knob on the side. There is not push ignition on this portable camping stove.
The burner uses Coleman’s PerfectFlow system that helps deliver a steady stream of fuel to the fire for a more controlled temperature. This is a huge plus if you cook a lot of dutch dinners in dutch ovens like this one (click to view on Amazon).
The camp stove is made to hook up to a 1 lb propane tank but you can connect it to a larger 20 lbs propane tank using this adapter hose (click to view on Amazon).
So what kind of camper is the Coleman PowerPack for?
It is very portable, lightweight, easy to clean, and can handle large pans, unlike other portable options. But it offers no protection from the wind which makes it less usable for cooking out in the open, especially if you are on a windy mountain.
The Coleman PowerPack Propane Stove is a fantastic choice for campers and RVers who want an extra burner that takes up very little space. It will work best with a shielded camp kitchen table (click to view the best ones here) or on calm days with little to no wind.
Having an extra outdoor burner can come in handy for RVers who want to cook dishes that will take a while but they don’t want to heat up their entire RV because the stove is on all day.
If you are looking for a easy to store single burner cooker, the Coleman PowerPack is going to be one of the best options available.
- Can Fit Large Pans (Up To 12″)
- Flame Control
- Quick Set Up
- Compact & Portable
- Can Be Used With 20 lbs Tank (With Adapter)
- Easy To Clean
- No Wind Protection
- Low BTU Burner (Only 7,500)
- No Storage Bag Included
If all you need is a single average-sized burner to cook your food on, the Gas ONE dual fuel camping stove might be the right choice for you.
This dual fuel stove can be used with both propane and butane, and it comes with the hose required to use with 1 lb propane tanks (click to view on Amazon).
When setting up, you can ignite it with the piezoelectric ignition, so no matches or lighters are needed. The adjustable heat dial will let you control the flame depending on how hot you want your pot or pan to be.
Gas One has implemented some neat safety features like an automatic shut off device that shuts off gas flow when irregular pressure or flow is detected. If one of these is detected, a built-in cartridge ejection system will also eject the butane canister for safety.
When it comes to pan sizes, I recommend a frying pan up to 12 inches to use with this. With an output of 15,000 BTU, you can cook up a big meal on this portable stove.
What we like about the Gas ONE Dual Fuel Propane or Butane Portable Camp Stove is the fact that it requires almost no setup. Get it out of storage and put it on the table, connect the gas, and you’re ready to ignite.
This makes it perfect for a van or car camper, as long as it’s used in a ventilated area. When done, wipe it off, if needed remove the gas canister, and put it back into storage.
It’s one of few propane camping stoves in this review that requires no additional setup. We also like that a regulated hose is included for use with 1 lb propane tanks.
If you would like to use it with a 20 lbs propane tank you can get this adapter hose (click to view on Amazon).
The unit weighs 4.22 pounds and measures 13 by 4 by 10 inches. A carrying case is included with the purchase for easy transport and storage.
The main downside to it for camping or RVing is the lack of wind guards on the sides for outdoor use.
- Dual Fuel (Propane Or Butane)
- Piezoelectric Ignition
- Flame Control
- Quick Set Up
- Storage Case Included
- High BTU Burner
- No Wind Guard
Let’s move on to the bigger propane camping stoves with two or more burners. Starting with the Coleman Triton+.
There is also a Triton without a plus in the name, which doesn’t have the ignition button. Coleman also sells a Classic Propane Stove which doesn’t have a quick ignition button and outputs slightly fewer BTUs.
The Triton+ however, does have a push ignition button and can output up to 22,000 BTUs in total, 11,000 from each burner. A feature Coleman calls PerfectFlow keeps consistent temperatures in all weathers and high altitudes. Both flames are adjustable with two rotating dials.
When compared to the alternatives in this review, Coleman Triton+ handles high winds better with its adjustable wind block protecting the flames.
Storing the Triton+ is easy since the wind blocks and the lid fold down and secures with a clasp. It weighs 10.3 pounds and measures 23 by 5.9 by 14 inches. Its size makes it big enough to use both a 12 and a 10-inch pan at the same time.
So why go for a propane camping stove with two burners?
If you’re planning on cooking a whole meal with a side, you’re going to want two burners to do both at the same time. A two burner camping stove like this is also great for when using griddles, like the Coleman Triton Series Griddle that gives you 145 sq. inches to cook on.
We like and recommend the Coleman Triton+ Propane Camping Stove to RVers and tent campers for several reasons.
Even though it’s a two burner camping stove, it folds down and becomes easy to store and transport. It does weigh 10 pounds, but is so capable with its 22,000 BTU output in total, wind block feature, a push-start ignition, and support for two big pans or a griddle.
It’s comes ready to use with 1 lb propane tanks but you can get an adapter hose (click to view on Amazon) to connect it with 20 lbs propane tanks.
- Push Iginition Button
- Folds Up
- Two Burners
- High BTU Burners
- Flame Control
- No Adapter For Large Propane Tanks Included
If you’re looking for the highest quality propane stoves for camping, then Camp Chef is what you are looking for, at least in our opinion.
After using a AOTU Portable Backpacking Stove for a few years my wife and I decided to upgrade to a Camp Chef.
Of course, changing to a stationary model from a backpacking one is a huge upgrade no matter what you end up getting. But we asked friends and family, did our research, and 9 out of 10 told us to get a Camp Chef. So we did.
The Camp Chef model we’re looking at here is not the one we bought specifically, but it’s an excellent option as well. It’s called the Ranger II Blind Camp Stove. With a design that looks like an old pool table, it’s a very straightforward product that doesn’t have a lot of frills but is extremely powerful.
It’s capable of outputting 34,000 BTUs through its two burners at 17,000 BTU each. It doesn’t need matches and lighters with its matchless push button ignition, and the flames are controlled with two dials. Camp Chef has placed the burners inside a steel housing to protect the flames from the wind.
Included with the Ranger II is a 5-foot hose so you can connect the camp stove to larger propane tanks. A big thumbs up to Camp Chef for including this accessory.
It weighs 17 pounds and measures 12.5 by 19.5 by 6 inches. Each burner grate measures 8 by 8 inches.
We recommend the Camp Chef Ranger II Propane Camp Stove if you want an outdoor stove you can take out on a sunny day and cook dinner on.
It’s very powerful, reliable, functional, and does the job with high-quality parts. Camp Chef is a company known for its quality camping gear and accessories, and the Ranger II is no exception in that regard.
The only thing we’re missing is an included carrying case. If your RV has an outdoor kitchen area with a compartment for an RV camp stove this is a fantastic option.
- Matchless Push Ignition
- High BTU Burners
- Large Propane Tank Adapter Hose Included
- Three Burner Option
- Flame Control
- Quick Set Up
- Wind Protection
- No Bag Included
Next up, the Camp Chef Explorer. If you have ever been to a campsite and walked around, you’ve probably seen one of these.
They have an iconic look and design and are the reason that a lot of people call a propane camp stove a Camp Chef although it might be a different brand.
The EX60LW Explorer is a two-burner propane camping stove that is meant to be used with a large propane tank. There is a 3 foot hose and regulator are included with the purchase for this purpose.
What makes the Explorer models more stationary but also more comfortable to cook with is its freestanding design and detachable legs. The RV camp stove is about waist high, making it easy to cook with no matter where you are but it can still break down to a portable size.
The legs are adjustable to help level the stove on uneven ground. When it’s time to pack down, the legs come off and can go into a storage bag.
Unfortunately, there is no carrying bag automatically included for the stove which is a shame. There is one for sale separately, and you’re probably going to want one since the setup has some loose parts and everything weighs 31 pounds in total.
Two burners output up to 60,000 BTUs, 30,000 BTUs each and the cooking area measures 14 by 32 inches in total, which is 448 sq. in. A 3-sided windscreen can be set up or not depending on needs, and two rotating dials let you control the flame.
So what’s good and bad about the Explorer RV camp stoves by Camp Chef?
The good is that they’re made with reliable, high-quality parts, have burners that can output impressive flames for all kinds of cooking, and comes with legs to stand on so you don’t need to purchase a table specifically for your stove.
The bad is that it’s not super portable and it’s heavy, which of course could also be a great thing for the stationary camper that stays in the same spot for a week.
We’re also missing a quick ignition button, and a long lighter is required to ignite a flame on the aluminum burners.
All in all, the Camp Chef EX60LW Explorer 2 is one of our top 3 picks when it comes to outdoor cooking. We can leave dutch oven potatoes on these burners for an hour, and we know it’s going to turn out great.
Reliable and consistent heat is the key when cooking outdoors since the weather can make other stoves unreliable, but we’ve never had that issue with a Camp Chef.
- Aluminum Burners
- Super High BTU Burners
- Free Standing Camp Stove
- 3-Sided Windscreen
- Flame Control
- Three Burner Option
- Regulated Propane Hose Included
- No Push Iginition
- No Bag Included
Conclusion & My Recommendations For Best Propane Camping Stoves
There is more to a propane camping stove than just a burner. Some options are extremely portable, while others are more stationary.
Some only have one burner, while others have three. Which product is the best for you depends on what you need and where you will use it.
Do you need one in your van to boil water in the morning, and cook some noodles at night? A single burner camp stove is probably the way to go.
If you need one for the family reunion and must be able to cook dutch oven potatoes, while boiling corn, and searing some steaks, at least a two-burner is necessary, and the higher the BTU output the better.
Based on function and design here are our recommendations for the best propane stoves for camping or RV life:
Most Versatile – Gas ONE Dual Fuel Propane or Butane Portable Camp Stove
The Gas ONE single burner camp stove is probably one of the most popular choices among all kinds of campers. It’s fantastic for van dwellers because it’s small and easy to use indoors.
It’s great for tent campers for the same reason and RVers like to keep one on hand because RV stoves tend to be weak and have burners with a low BTU output.
The ability to use both propane and butane makes this burner the most versatile in this review. You can get whatever is available and cook food wherever you are.
It’s made with high quality parts and can handle almost any size of pan. If you are looking for a strong but small propane camp stove this is a fantastic choice.
Best For Wind – Coleman Triton+ Propane Camping Stove
We’re genuinely impressed with what Coleman has achieved with the Triton+. It’s lightweight, portable, stores with ease, is powerful enough to cook dinner, and keeps the wind away from the flame with the windscreen all around it.
It’s a robust propane camp stove that is quickly set up and packed away, with a quick ignition button, so you don’t have to fight the wind with your matches — all in all, an excellent choice that will satisfy most campers who have the storage space for it.
Highest BTU Burners – 5. Camp Chef EX60LW Explorer 2 Camp Stove
The best RV camp stove for cooking lots of food at high temperatures or putting a griddle on is the sturdy Camp Chef Explorer.
A big plus is that you won’t need a table to put it on to get your dinner cooked. The adjustable legs will hold it up for you so you can focus on more important things, like controlling the 60,000 BTU output from the two burners with the heavy-duty rotating dials.
It does have a large frame and weighs over 30 pounds, but that will also be a good thing when it gets windy outside, as you won’t have to worry about it tipping over. It’s a proven winner that makes the whole camp cooking experience better.
Frequently Asked Questions About Propane Camping Stoves
What kind of pots and pans can I use on a propane gas stove?
You can use any cookware that will fit on a propane camping stove, but some choices make more sense. When cooking with gas, it heats one specific area quicker than an electric stove, and burners are often smaller than an electric stovetop, so the heat isn’t spread out as much.
For this reason, I recommend using copper, aluminum, or cast iron. Stainless steel is also okay to use on gas when combined with aluminum like the All-Clad 600822 SS Copper Core 5-Ply Bonded Dishwasher Safe Cookware Set.
Is it safe to use a propane gas camping stove indoors?
Most propane gas camping stoves have a sticker on them saying “not for use indoors.” If this is the case, I recommend following the manufacturer’s guidelines and don’t do it.
But “I have a gas stove inside my RV”, you might say.
And yes you do, and so do we, but there is a reason that the manufacturer has put the sticker on the stove. Not all areas have carbon monoxide alarms, proper ventilation, and safety features.
While propane gas is a safe gas to cook with, it’s important to take safety precautions and follow guidelines.
Can I use a large propane tank instead of a small tank?
Yes, you can, and the only thing you’ll need is the right kind of hose for the right kind of propane camping stove.
Most propane appliances like camp stoves have a built in regulator and only require a high pressure hose with an adapter. I’ve linked to the corresponding adapters and hoses for each propane camping stove in the review section above.
Can I cook with propane when it’s raining?
Yes, you can so long as you are under some sort of cover. I recommend wiping off and taking extra care off the stove, hoses, and attachments that can rust if they get wet.
Also, make sure you are still in a well ventilated area with a roof cover that’s tall enough to not be damaged by the heat from the burner.
Where do I get propane or butane gas?
Propane and butane gas cylinders can be purchased in stores or online — both in small and large tanks. If you’re looking for propane to fill up your RV tanks, AmeriGas has a great location finder that you can find by clicking here!
Can I refill a small canister of propane gas with a large one?
You technically can refill 1 lb propane tanks but it’s illegal to travel with them after refill. For this reason I don’t recommend refilling just any 1 lb propane tank.
There is a refillable 1 lb propane tank available. It’s made by a company called Flame King. You can get it in this kit that comes with everything you will need to transfer propane from a larger tank to the 1 lb one. (click to view on Amazon)
Directions on how to do it are included with the adapter.
What is the difference between butane and propane?
The most significant difference between butane and propane is the fact that propane has a lower boiling point than butane.
What this means is that it will convert liquid to gas even in cold temperatures. It also exerts greater pressure than butane at the same temperature.
Can I use butane gas or natural gas with a propane stove?
It’s often possible with the right adapter; however, I would only recommend doing this if the company advertises that it’s safe to do.
If it doesn’t, I suggest contacting the manufacturer and asking specifically about that product.
How do I use the propane gas quick connect on my trailer for an RV camp stove?
If your RV has a quick connection to your large propane tanks to use stoves, grills, and fireplaces outdoors, all you’ll need is the quick connect hose that should have come with purchase.
If it wasn’t included with purchase, Dozant sells one that works with most grills and propane camp stoves.
Camping stove makes a hissing sound when I attach a propane tank.
Before connecting your RV camp stove to propane make sure all the burners are off by checking the knobs. If the stove is making noises when connected to propane and the burners are all turned off there may be a leak somewhere inside.
That being said, it is normal for the propane tank to make a hissing noise when you open the valve initially and while the burners are on. It’s just the sound of propane gas coming out of the tank.
How to disconnect propane tank from small camping stove?
If you’ve ever tried to unhook a propane tank from a large or small propane stove maybe you’ve noticed that there is often a lot of pressure in the hose and propane comes shooting out when you start to disconnect it even though the valve on the tank is closed.
The propane coming out is what’s left in the camping stove gas lines.
The best way to disconnect a propane tank from a camping stove is to turn off the propane tank while one of the burners is still on. Once the tank is shut off the burner will take care of any propane left in the gas lines.
Once the burner dies on its own make sure you close the burner valve fully and you are now ok to disconnect the propane tank.
This method doesn’t work so well for 1 lb propane tanks that don’t have a shut off valve. For 1 lb propane tank, you just have to unscrew it from the stove connection as quickly as possible. There will be a hiss of some propane being released from the line but that’s normal.
Have any more questions about propane camping stoves? Leave a comment below.