Q:

What’s your recommendation for a beginner camping stove and cookware set?

I’m getting more involved in backpacking and trying to find the right camp stove and cookware to use. For now, my trips will be no more than four days. I just need a good beginner stove, preferably one that has a simmer option, and cookware that will last. Any ideas? Bill Everett, Washington

Aug 17, 2007
Outside
Outside Magazine
Coleman Xpert Stove

Xpert Stove

A:

In your case, I’d certainly recommend canister-fuel stoves. I do so for several reasons. For one thing, they’re by far the easiest stoves to use. For another, they generally are the best for simmering, while also offering plenty of heat when you just want to boil water. And really, it’s not hard to calculate your fuel needs. For two to four day trips, there’s also no weight penalty for carrying canisters.

I wouldn’t say all canister stoves are the same, but they’re not all that dissimilar, either. Pretty simple technology. The Primus Yellowstone ($30; primusstoves.com), Snow Peak Giga Power Manual ($40; snowpeak.com), and MSR SuperFly ($50; msrcorp.com) are all fairly similar in design—with the burner atop the canister—and power output. All take the same cartridges, which use the common lindahl valve.

One problem with these stoves is that they’re not terribly stable. What’s better is to keep the burner close to the ground and put the canister off to one side, connected by a short hose. Snow Peak’s Giga Power Blended Fuel Stove ($80) has this design, as does the Coleman Xpert ($65; coleman.com). I like the Xpert a lot, but the knock on it has been its proprietary fuel canisters. Now, however, you can buy the Coleman Powermax Fuel Adapter ($23) and use Coleman canisters or common lindahl-valve models.

To calculate fuel needs, simply check the stove’s boil time and max burn time at full power. If a stove boils a quart of water in four minutes, and burns for 30 minutes at full on, then that canister will suffice for three or four meals if all you’re doing is heating water. It’ll last even longer if you’re cooking things over medium or low heat. A four-day trip shouldn’t require more than two canisters.

For cookware, MSR’s BlackLite Gourmet Cookset ($60) is a reliable choice, with two pots and a skillet, all with non-stick. I also like GSI’s Halulite Double Boiler ($30; gsioutdoors.com), which is a two-pot set, paired with a small skillet such as the Open Country 10" Saute Pan ($22).

You’ve seen our picks for 2007 Gear of the Year, and now the entire Outside Summer Buyer’s Guide is online. Check out this year’s more than 400 must-have gear items, including stoves.

Filed To: Canister Stoves

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