How to Use a Camp Stove

How to Use a Camp StoveA camp stove is a must in the backcountry, allowing you to cook and even in a pinch generate some warmth with just a fraction of the time, weight and danger of a full campfire. While not every camp stove is compatible with pressured fuel canisters, most of them are. Most stoves even pack down into their own hard-shell cases or pack, along with their canister, into a pot that came with the stove.


Difficulty: Easy

Things You’ll Need:
  • Fuel canister
  • Metal pot
Step 1
Remove the plastic cap from the pressurized fuel canister.
Step 2
Twist the fuel valve on the stove closed.
Step 3
Screw the fuel canister into the bottom of the stove.
Step 4
Locate the lighter on the camp stove, if it has one. This will usually be a small button on the side of the stove. If there's no lighter built into the stove, it will usually have a primer to which you should apply a lighter flame.
Step 5
Twist the fuel valve on the stove open and press the lighter button--if present--or apply a lighter flame to the primer.
Step 6
Adjust the fuel valve as necessary to adjust the stove flame.
Step 7
Place a wind screen around the base of the stove, if necessary, to protect the flame from wind. A piece of aluminum foil shaped into a circle and weighted down with a rock to keep it from blowing away works well. Some specialized stoves, like the MSR Reactor stove system shown above, do not require a wind screen.
Step 8
Place a stove-safe metal pot on the stove and cook as you would on a home stove, using the camp stove's fuel valve to adjust the flame as necessary.
Step 9
Turn the stove off by twisting the fuel valve completely closed once you're done. Unscrew the fuel canister from the stove, re-cap the fuel canister, and wait for the stove to cool before you store it away.

Tips & Warnings

Always consult your manufacturer-specific instructions if you're not sure how to safely light your stove.
Always burn your stove on a fire-safe surface, and away from overhanging eaves, branches or other flammable material.
Never operate a camp stove inside a tent--this has a great risk of suffocation or fire.

Article Written By Marie Mulrooney

Marie Mulrooney has written professionally since 2001. Her diverse background includes numerous outdoor pursuits, personal training and linguistics. She studied mathematics and contributes regularly to various online publications. Mulrooney's print publication credits include national magazines, poetry awards and long-lived columns about local outdoor adventures.

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