Life on the road is liberating, but a lot more planning has to go into everything–bathing, sleeping and cooking. An easy-to-set-up, clean-up, and pack-up campervan stove is a nomad’s best friend.
Whether you’re interested in a propane, butane or induction stove, I’m going to break down some of the great options out there that will help you feed yourself (and others) well while you live life on the road.
- The Best All-Around Campervan Stove: Camp Chef Everest Double Burner
- Best Drop-In Campervan Stovetop: The Atwood Domestic D21-BPW
- Best Induction Campervan Stove/Cooktop: Duxtop 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner
- Best Stove for Camping: Coleman Triton 2-Burner Camping Stove
- Best Solo Burner Stove: Coleman Portable Butane Stove with Carrying Case
- Best Trekking/Campervan Stove: Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Cooking System With Camping Cookware
- Best Campervan Stove/Oven Combo: Camp Chef Deluxe Outdoor Camp Oven
The Best All-Around Campervan Stove: Camp Chef Everest Double Burner
I think the Camp Chef takes the cake as the best well-rounded option on the list because it’s an affordable stove from a premier outdoor cooking equipment manufacturer. It’s solid steel, it’s got a nickel-coated cooking grate, and both the knob and the inlet are pretty robust, which are key features for me because these tend to be the first things to go on a campervan stove.
The side panels and the lid are the kind of thoughtful features you’d expect from a company dedicated to outdoor cookware, as they do a great job of keeping the wind off the burners and the flame going strong.
A traditional propane stove that runs on either a one-pound propane tank or that you can connect to your vehicle’s propane source via the regulator adapter.
This is quite a powerful little stove (40,000 BTU–20,000 ea. Burner, which can be controlled separately) that is well capable of heating up even heavy-duty cookware like castiron in no time (just a few minutes).
Stainless steel, nickel,
2 (controlled independently)
40,000 (20,000 ea. burner)
- Hard to control the heat settings. While each burner is independently adjustable, it always seems like you’re either on low or high with not much middle ground.
- Could be easier to move around. A campervan stove should be easy to transport, but the Everest, unfortunately, doesn’t have a carrying handle. It does only weigh 12 pounds though.
Still, over 80 percent of reviewers liked this great little campervan stove enough to give it 5 stars.
Best Drop-In Campervan Stovetop: The Atwood Domestic D21-BPW
The Atwood/Domestic Drop-in Cooktop is an attractive all-black drop-in stove that installs neatly into your countertop with an easy-to-set-up gas connection that works well with any campervan or conversion.
This is a great little drop-in stove for van living/camping if you’re looking to create a permanent indoor kitchen area.
It’s pretty small, measuring 18.5 x 14.5” and 4” deep, so you can install it in a countertop while still maintaining a lot of free storage space below.
While not as powerful as the Everest above, the two burners put out a combined 12,400 BTUs (7200 on the large burner, 5200 on the small), so you can still have 2 pots/pans on the go simultaneously.
The porcelain coating is a nice touch because it keeps the exterior cool while the burners are on, which minimizes the chances of burning yourself, as is the full-width flat grate.
On the right-hand corner is where you will find the burners’ precision control. It features two knobs and an electronic ignition button, which I always prefer to manual lighting with matches or a lighter (especially in a confined space like a fan). Specs
2 (controlled independently)
no additional components included
12,400 (large burner: 7200, small: 5200)
- Less powerful than other campervan stoves. Unfortunately, this stove IS less powerful than a lot of other portable campervan stoves, so heavy-duty cookware or a big pot of liquid is going to take a while to heat up.
- Nothing included. The Atwood runs on propane, but it doesn’t come with the hose you would need to connect it to a propane source.
Despite those flaws, 50 per cent of reviewers loved it enough to give it five stars.
Best Induction Campervan Stove/Cooktop: Duxtop 1800W Portable Induction Cooktop Countertop Burner
I love induction cooking because it is super fast and, let’s face it, cooking in a small space can be a major hassle, so fast is very often good.
The Duxtop Portable induction 9100MC Cooktop is my favourite induction-style campervan stove/cooktop because it’s affordable and it’s made by SECURA, which has a North American cookware manufacturer with a really good reputation.
The tradeoff with induction is that, yes, you do need a substantial power source, but this bad boy heats up to around 450F (232C), and it does it quickly. You can boil water in just a couple of minutes on something like this.
In addition to the push-button ignition, I really like the number of temperature and cooking presets (15!) the Duxtop has. They aren’t always 100 percent accurate, but it saves you a bit of micromanagement while cooking.
The screen is easy to read, the interface is very straightforward, you can set a timer for over two hours and the glass surface is very easy to clean.
Glass, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene
no additional components included
N/A (1800W, heating up to 450F)
- Definitely the energy requirement. Induction takes quite a bit of power, so you’re either going to need a big battery or be connected to shore power if you plan on cooking with this.
- Potential additional purchases. Induction works through magnetism, and if you don’t have the appropriate cookware, you might have to invest in some new pots and pans.
That said, nearly three-quarters of the almost 4,000 people who have bought and reviewed this campervan stove give it 5 stars.
Best Stove for Camping: Coleman Triton 2-Burner Camping Stove
The Triton is a campervan stove that makes van and outdoor cooking as hassle-free as it can be and Coleman is one of, if not the most, respected names in camping cookware.
This is a classic and well-priced dual-burner camp stove that packs an impressive 22,000 BTUs of cooking power (spread across two burners). Maybe what I like best of all about this powerful little campervan stove is how light it is (only 10 lbs), so it’s highly portable.
Like any good camp stove, it’s got adjustable burners and electronic ignition (I always try to avoid manual ignition stoves in confined areas). I’ve always had good experiences with Coleman stoves because they make their pressure regulators really well, which means better control over how much propane is flowing and, therefore, heat.
A solid locking mechanism and latch keep the Triton secure even if you’re off-roading or overlanding.
- Lighting it isn’t the easiest. You have to hold the stove in place to keep it stable while also pressing the ignition, which requires some hand gymnastics.
- No carrying case. It’s only ten pounds, but a case is always nice for storage and transport.
Still, over 80 percent of the more than 500 owners and reviewers gave the Triton 5 stars.
Best Solo Burner Stove: Coleman Portable Butane Stove with Carrying Case
I like to cook, and I cook often, even on the road, so my preference is always going to be two burners, but the Coleman Portable One-Burner Butane Stove is a great little one-burner campervan stove. And, unlike the other options on the list, it DOES come with a carrying case.
I think it’s safe to say that the coleman single-burner butane stove is a classic. The burner is capable of putting out 7,650 BTUs and runs for around 70 minutes on a single 8.8Oz butane canister which is stored in the compartment adjacent to the burner.
Coleman has engineered a lot of quality into this little single burner campervan stove: a removable porcelain-coated tray and a corrosion-resistant aluminum burner that are easy to clean; a burner ring to shield the flame from the wind and a lock button on the adjustable dial to mitigate against butane leakage.
Synthetic, porcelain, aluminum
- Butane-powered. Butane tends not to be as easily encountered as propane.
- Lacklustre carrying case. It’s always nice to have a carrying case, but this one is not the greatest. Not that you really need a carrying case with something that weighs under 5lbs.
Despite the minor flaws, over 80 percent of the more than 1,200 reviewers loved the Coleman single-burner butane campervan stove to give it 5 stars.
Best Trekking/Campervan Stove: Jetboil Genesis Basecamp Cooking System With Camping Cookware
Designed specifically with trekkers and backpackers in mind, I actually don’t mind using a more backpacking-centric stove as a campervan stove, provided it’s up to the job, and the Jetboil Genesis definitely is.
Something this small (that also includes some cookware) that is capable of putting out 10,000 BTUs is not cheap, but you’re paying for a frying pan, saucepan, and a two-burner camp stove all in one.
At just over 6 lbs (9.1 including the cookware) and super compact, this is one of the best campervan stoves if space is really at a premium for you.
Capable of bringing water to a boil in under 5 minutes and with good control, it’s hard to beat the Jetboil Genesis for what it is.
cooking system (6.1lbs), cookware: 3 lbs
5-litre pot and 10-inch skillet, detachable windscreen
- Rigid regulator hose. Something more flexible would be better (which you can buy), because the overly rigid fuel line means it’s hard to keep a propane bottle upright while cooking.
Other than that, and despite the occasional lamentation about the price, over 80 percent of reviewers liked the Jetboil Cooking System enough to give it 5 stars.
Best Campervan Stove/Oven Combo: Camp Chef Deluxe Outdoor Camp Oven
Another great outdoor cooking appliance from outdoor cookware pros Everest, this is both a stovetop and oven and, as you would expect, it’s a lot bigger than anything else on the list–18x24x31” and weighing in at 35lbs.
It has two brass burners (combined output of 15,000 BTUs) with enamel-coated steel grates with foldable covers that provide good 270-degree flame coverage. The oven generates 3000 BTUs.
If you’ve got the space in your van or campervan for both, this is a great piece of traveling cookware that is a good compromise between portable and full-size cookware and is still easily tucked away.
Oven thermometer and 2 oven racks
Burners (15,000 combined), oven (3000)
- Complicated if used indoors. As you would expect, something like this burns a considerable amount of fuel and, therefore, requires good ventilation and carbon monoxide alarms if you’re using it inside.
This is one of those campervan stoves that you would probably only consider if you were planning on doing a lot of cooking and baking.
Still, if you are after something like this, 1,069 reviewers loved this combo enough to give it 5 stars.
Main Evaluation Criteria When Choosing a Campervan Stove
Obviously, you want to factor in your budget and the amount of space you have, but if I’m buying a new campervan stove, there are a handful of criteria that I consider before making a purchase.
- Portable or Permanent
- Fuel Source
- How Many Burners?
- Power (i.e., BTUs)?
- Where do I cook?
Portable of Permanent
Campervan stoves tend to be either the portable or installed variety. The former is basic camp stoves that can be either outside or inside (provided you take the proper safety measures).
Portable stoves are easy to store and, depending on whether or not they come with a carrying case and how well they pack up, can be easily transported on a day or overnight trips into the bush.
Permanent stoves are ones you have to install and, therefore, require a bit more expertise (and/or money). They’re set in the counter and usually plumbed into a fixed propane system. Because they force you to cook indoors, you need to make sure you have good enough ventilation and carbon monoxide detection to cook safely.
Campervan stoves are either gas or electric. Gas stoves use either propane or (less commonly) butane and I only covered one electric stove (the induction stove by Duxtop) on the list.
Electric stoves are probably, on the whole, safer because there is no flame or carbon monoxide to worry about. They are, on the other hand, quite power-hungry and require you to have either a large battery or access to shore power to operate.
Gas-powered stoves are definitely cheaper to run and whether it’s psychological or not, cooking on an open flame just makes food taste better IMO.
Most campervan stoves, and camping stoves more broadly, come with two options as far as burners are concerned: 1 or 2.
I cook a lot, so one burner, in most settings, would drive me mad. Two burners going at the same time does mean you burn through more of your fuel, so if you are looking to conserve your propane or butane, then a one-burner stove might be a better option.
A one-burner is also nice to take backpacking as they are almost always smaller and lighter.
A BTU (or British Thermal Unit) is a heat measurement that denotes the amount of heat required to heat one pound of water (533.59ml) by one degree F.
More BTUs means more heat output which means the faster you can heat cookware, the faster you can boil liquids and, generally speaking, the faster you can prepare a meal.
Your typical campervan stove will generate anywhere from 7,000-10,000 BTUs per burner, which is certainly less powerful than most home gas ranges, but still enough to cook a lot of things well.
According to gas range manufacturer Whirlpool:
“Burners with a mid-sized BTU range between 2,000 and 10,000 are good options for everyday cooking like sauteing and frying, and high BTU burners, which range from 12,000 and 18,000 BTU, are useful for high-heat cooking like searing and stir-frying”
Dimensions and Weight
Nothing is more precious when you’re living out of a confined space than free space, so the dimensions and weight of a campervan stove are of the utmost importance.
If you cook every day, or if cooking is a passion, you might want to consider a permanent stovetop (and perhaps an oven as well) in your campervan. At the very least, you’d want a two-burner camp stove.
Most of the stoves covered on my list are pretty unobtrusive and stow away quite nicely, allowing you to maximize your vertical and horizontal space. If space is tight, for the sake of your sanity, you will probably want a portable stove that you can take outside for cooking.
Am I Cooking Inside or Outside?
I prefer cooking outside with a campervan stove because I’m a bit paranoid when it comes to the dangers of propane in confined spaces. You can use camp stoves inside a vehicle, provided you pay close attention to your ventilation, but I still prefer outside.
Either way, one of the first things I pay attention to when looking for a campervan stove is the burner/cooking covers. Wind is always a factor when cooking outdoors and good camp stoves will include or have fixed burner and panel covers to keep your flame(s) protected.
Campervan Stove Safety Tips
Cooking for yourself on the road is part hassle, part joy. Doing it right takes some time and effort, but your margin for error is often a lot lower, so you absolutely should follow some basic safety precautions. These are:
- Keep your stove (particularly your hose) well-maintained.
- Always set up on a flat surface
- Always check the hose attachment
- Never leave your stove unattended
- Always be careful when lighting your stove
- Don’t cook on flammable surfaces
- Clear your cooking area
- Only cook with purpose-built windscreens
- Never pack a hot stove
- Invest in a carbon monoxide detector
Maintain Your Hose
Most campervan’s come with a hose that connects to your fuel source (i.e., propane). Keep every part of your stove in good working order, but pay special attention to the hose. Faulty bearings, loose nuts, stripped threading and tearing can result in propane leaks and potentially carbon monoxide poisoning.
Always Cook on a Flat Surface
If you set up your stove to cook on an uneven surface, not only is everything you’re cooking going to slide to one side of the pan, but you run the risk of tipping the stove while cooking. Depending on what’s on the stovetop (a pot of boiling liquid, a hot pan) you could end up with bad burns.
Never Leave a Stove Unattended
Unattended cooking is the leading cause of residential fires in most places, and we’re talking about cooking in homes, where fires will take longer to spread. Imagine the case inside of a van or other recreational vehicle.
Whether you’re cooking outside or inside (but especially inside), never zone out while using a campervan stove.
Light Your Stove With Care
Anyone whose had to light stoves manually in their life knows that it’s a bit nerve-wracking, but even an electric starter requires some caution. Try to keep your face as far away from the burners as possible while lighting your stove, inside or outside.
Don’t Cook on Flammable Surfaces
If you’re using your campervan stove outside, be cognizant of the surface you’re cooking on. Don’t set up on things like grass, leaves, and twigs, especially in areas where there is a high risk of a forest fire.
If you are cooking on something like grass, always have water and/or a fire extinguisher handy.
Clear Your Cooking Area Beforehand
This is especially prudent if you’re cooking indoors because van living, by nature, means having stuff everywhere. Organized (hopefully), but everywhere.
Before you start cooking, make sure fabrics, paper towel, and anything else that might catch fire is well out of the way.
Only Cook with Purpose-Built Windscreens
A lot of the campervan stoves out there, and several on this list, either come with or have built-in windscreens. They are made from fire-retardent material designed for cooking.
If your stove didn’t come with screens, avoid jerry-rigging your own with whatever material you have lying around–plastic, cardboard etc. I’ve seen people do this, and it makes me extremely nervous.
Never Pack a Hot Stove
Resist the temptation to stow away a stove that hasn’t completely cooled down. Not only is it a potential fire hazard, but you could end up damaging anything the stove or its carrying case comes in contact with while they’re still hot.
Invest in a Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide detector is paramount when living and cooking in a confined space. Get yourself a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector and some spare batteries. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones.
Cookware and Accessories That Make Cooking on the Road Easier
Ok, you’ve got a campervan stove; what are you cooking with? Here are some cookware and cooking accessories that I think anyone traveling or living in a campervan should have:
- Carbon monoxide detector
- Camping table
- Car Fire Extinguisher
- Basting pot and brush set
- Meat thermometer
- Tongs and Turner Set
- Camp Stove Griddle
- Sauce Pan
Carbon monoxide detector: First Alert CO710 Wall-Mount Carbon Monoxide Detector with 10-Year Battery and Digital Temperature Display
As previously mentioned, van life (and life in any confined space, for that matter) requires a carbon monoxide detector, and even more so when you’re using something like propane indoors.
The First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector has an easy-to-read digital display, a 10-year lithium-ion battery and mounts easily to the wall.
Camping table: Coleman Outdoor Folding Table
Per the recommendation about always cooking on a flat surface, having something like the Coleman Outdoor Aluminum Folding Table makes cooking safer and easier, and it’s a great all-purpose outdoor table.
Car Fire Extinguisher: First Alert Car Fire Extinguisher
Along with a carbon monoxide detector, a small fire extinguisher, in addition to being a good safety precaution, might even be necessary if you live in your campervan full time (check your local rules and regs).
The DMV, for instance, says that:
“All recreational vehicles must carry at least one dry chemical or carbon dioxide (CO2) type extinguisher in working condition with a rating of at least 4-B.”
A First Alert Car Portable Fire Extinguisher is nice to have handy in case of emergency.
Basting pot and brush set: Cuisinart CBP-116 Sauce Pot and Basting Brush Set
No chef’s arsenal is complete without a sauce pot, and basting brush set and Cuisinart makes good stuff.
Meat thermometer: Alpha Grillers Instant Read Meat Thermometer
A great digital meat thermometer for cooking on a campervan stove.
Silicone Kitchen Tongs: Daily Kisn 9″ Silicone Kitchen Tongs
You really don’t need a spatula if you have a good pair of silicone kitchen tongs, and these ones from Kisn have the added benefit of already being spatula-shaped.
Camp Stove Griddle: Camp Chef Reversible Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Griddle
For me, camping isn’t camping without a griddle, and the Camp Chef Reversible Cast Iron Griddle is easy to clean and already seasoned (so less stick and cleanup).
Most of the campervan stoves I’ve covered on the above list don’t come with any cookware. One of the essential pieces that anyone should have at least one of in the kitchen (whether your kitchen is on wheels or not) is a saucepan.
The CAROTE 1.5 Quart Non-Stick Saucepan (with lid) is great because it also has a built-in pour spout, which means less spilling (and cleaning) when transferring or draining liquids.
Why Investing in Good Quality Campervan Stove Makes Sense
Living on the road (well, at least) requires that you be able to feed yourself (and well) when you want to. The alternative to not having a cooking setup while on the road is eating out or eating poorly, and both can really complicate how you live a mobile life, particularly if getting out into nature is important to you.
I hope, at the very least, the above article has convinced you to think more seriously about a campervan stove and made planning your life on the road a bit easier.
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