For some people, camp stove cooking is a pleasurable challenge and outdoor cooking is a fun part of their camping trip. For others, it is a nuisance plagued by badly behaved and dangerous equipment. If you have little or no experience of cooking in the open air then you may like to read on and discover your options so that you can be a part of the first category.
There are two basic fuel options. Liquid fuel and gas cartridge. After that you have various size and design options.
Your first decision is the cooking fuel. There is no easily defined answer... sorry. Both options exist on the market as both are as popular as each other and it is purely a question of personal choice for your situation. Liquid fuel is heavier than gas. This obviously makes a back pack heavier, but if you are travelling by car then it is not a consideration. On the other hand, if you are carrying a gas cannister in your back pack then you must make sure that it is safely packed away so that the valve cannot be opened whilst you are in transit. Gas cartridge camping stoves are by far the easiest option when it comes to lighting your stove and getting things started. A liquid fuel stove must be primed and lit and then you need to wait for it to reach its optimum heat. But having said that, its optimum heat may well be in excess of its gas counterpart. You are now starting to understand why I said that there is no easily defined answer! Your camp stove model really is a case of personal choice and the availability of the fuel in the area in which you will be travelling.
Once you have determined which is the best choice for your needs, then you can start looking at model and size of stove. If you are backpacking then you will no doubt choose a small, single burner. Those of you who are in cars and have more mouths to feed will find that models with multiple burners make life a lot easier. One of the most dangerous aspects of outdoor cooking is the instability of some of the designs. Make sure, especially if you are on uneven ground, that your stove is not going to fall when you start cooking. Many stoves, particular the small single burner ones, fold for ease of storage and you would be wise to check the design in the store before making your purchase.
A camping trip can be great fun but camp stove cooking is not the same as home cooking and anyone who thinks that they are going to be able to reproduce their usual home menu out in the woods may be a little disappointed. Easier by far to create simple, one pan dishes which require a short cooking time. Remember that you will not have the same amount of heating potential from a camp stove as you would with a domestic cooker. Even a coffee pot can sometimes seem to take forever to boil. If, however, you think carefully, you can come up with some wonderful, easy meals to prepare. Have a look on the internet for camping recipes. There are some wonderful adventure sports websites which include ideas for tasty and nutritional meals. If you are only going for a short trip then you can prepare some bits beforehand to make your life easier.
Whether you are a seasoned camper or a novice, a back packer or "large tent in the car" camper, a long distance or one night camper, you will find that, if you give some thought to your camp stove cooking, your outdoor cooking experience can be very enjoyable and add to the fun of your camping trip.