The Best Wood Burning Camp Stoves for Unforgettable Nights
Imagine yourself sitting on the beach, leaning against a perfectly curved piece of smooth driftwood.
The salty breeze fills your lungs, and you lean back to see millions of stars filling the night sky. Life is good. Now you can stare into the fire and be transfixed by the flickering flames of a campfire while you wait for your dinner to cook. These are the unforgettable nights where you want to snap a mental Polaroid and preserve these memories forever.
Camp stoves are available in various forms; some use propane or butane canisters, whereas others use liquid fuel burners or a hybrid of the two. There are benefits of using gas, but nothing beats the unforgettable feeling of warmth and peace that comes from a wood burning camp stove. Check out our top choices for the best wood burning camp stoves on the market for unforgettable nights.
Benefits of Wood Burning Camp Stoves
A wood burning camp stove is advantageous for many reasons, regardless of whether you generally pack up your SUV to head out camping or lug all of your provisions on your back for a multi-day hike. We have included below some of the benefits of wood burning camping stoves:
Lightweight – Many of the camping stoves on our list are designed to be incredibly lightweight, so that they easier to carry on a backpacking trip.
Available Fuel – Wood burning camp stoves can burn leaves, twigs, pinecones, branches, driftwood, food scraps, or packaging material. Since you can collect your fuel source along the way, you don’t need to lug around a gas canister or worry that your fuel source could run out during an extended excursion.
Portable – Wooden camp stoves are often designed with portability in mind, which means that they fold and pack down to a manageable size and shape. Moreover, some come with a zipped storage bag, so you don’t need to worry about the stove soiling your other gear.
Environmental – Finding a place to safely and conscientiously discard a gas canister is not always possible, especially if on a hike in remote areas. Wood burning stoves are also designed to be incredibly efficient, with a low smoke output, and not to leave scorched earth marks.
Cost – Fuel canisters can be expensive, and it can be tricky to know precisely how much fuel you have left, so you may need to consider always carrying at least two. The fuel source for a wood burning stove can be store-bought pellets or briquettes, but they are also designed for using free products like dry grass, pinecones, twigs, and other things you find along the way.
Ambiance – The smell, sight, and sound of a crackling wood burning fire are so captivating that there is even an entire YouTube channel dedicated to this. Watching a fire in real life is thoroughly enthralling.
Best Wood Burning Camp Stoves – Full Reviews
The Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove comes complete with everything you need to get set up in your walled tent or small cabin. All of the components fit into the central unit, making it easier to transport to the desired location. However, it’s still pretty heavy and needs to be set up with the vent pipe, so we wouldn’t want to be moving it around all too often.
With regards to value, you’d be hard-pressed to find any wood burning camp stove that was as durable as the Camp Chef Alpine at anywhere near this price point. The price certainly compensates for the fact that this stove works best with some minor tweaks before use.
It’s a pretty major oversight of Camp Chef, but the paint stinks so much on the first few burns that you’ll likely rather snuggle up with the raccoons outside than get a whiff of the toxic plumes coming out of this stove. Please give it a few high burns before you even consider getting it set up inside a tent. You might also want to replace the vent pipe and trying to plug up some of the gaps in the seals to ensure easier temperature regulation and burning efficiency.
The Camp Chef Alpine has racks for drying clothes or keeping towels warm and plenty of cooktop space. Those that are good with their hands can easily connect a hot water tank. This will be an excellent, life-saving item to have in your storeroom if your area is prone to power cuts.
|Excellent value for money||Heavy|
|All components fit snuggly inside for transporting||It needs an initial long burn before installing indoors|
|Can add a water tank for hot water||Seals are not airtight, so tricky to maintain the temperature|
|Quality, durable materials, and construction||Pipe sections don’t fit together well|
If you and your crew tend to go for long hunting or camping trips in cooler weather, then the Camp Chef Alpine Heavy Duty Cylinder Stove is likely one of the best investments you’ll ever make. It will cook your food, keep you warm, dry your clothes and boil your water.
You’ll want to play around with it at least a few times before your first chilly camping trip. All in all, an excellent purchase, and this is a piece of equipment that would make us rest easier knowing we have it on hand in the case of an emergency at home as well.
The REDCAMP Wood Burning Camp Stove is straightforward to assemble. Unlike some camp stoves where the pieces all have to align to slot together perfectly, this camp stove is hinged and simply pulls open – TADA! You then insert the ashtray and grill grid and get cooking.
While the REDCAMP Wood Burning Camp Stove is incredibly portable and even comes with its own storage bag, it weighs in at almost 2 pounds which is more than most people would want to lug around on a hiking trip. Saying that, though, you can grill directly on its cooking surface, so you don’t have to lug around an additional pan. You do the math.
Setup is a matter of seconds, but you won’t want to move the REDCAMP Wood Burning Camp Stove once in place as it has been known to collapse in on itself.
Adding extra wood is quickly done through the large side opening, and it can push out some serious heat to keep you toasty.
|Made of durable stainless steel||Metal edges can be very sharp|
|Flatpacks to about the size of a book||Challenging to move once set up|
|Storage bag included||At 1.9lb, it is heavy for hiking|
|Very easy to assemble|
|Stainless steel cooking grid allows you to cook directly on the stove|
The REDCAMP Wood Burning Camp Stove has our award for being the most portable wood burning camp stove, but it could have also won for easiest to use. Besides watching out for the finger slicing sharp edges, this stove can be put together in seconds without needing a set of instructions.
It’s heavier than other wood burning camp stoves on our list, but the fact that you can grill directly on it is a significant bonus. We’ll be keeping one of these in the car from now on for last-minute beach trips.
Upon first opening the package, you’ll quickly see why the TOMSHOO Titanium Camping Stove won our best design award. We can’t imagine how you could possibly get a camp stove’s functionality in a product that was any lighter or smaller. It’s so minuscule that you might wonder if you’ve been taken for a ride. But trust us, this thing works!
The TOMSHOO Titanium Camping Stove is only about the size of a large coffee mug when fully assembled, but it is strong enough to hold pots and pans far larger than its diameter. The titanium construction ensures that this product is robust and lightweight without having to compromise on either.
There is a relatively large side opening to feed in sticks or twigs. You’ll want to avoid getting this unit too hot, or it has been known to warp, which makes packing it flat nearly impossible. For the size, the TOMSHOO Titanium Camping Stove might be considered expensive; however, for portability, it simply can’t be beaten.
|Titanium construction is lightweight and durable||Warps at extremely high heat|
|Cross stand trivet holds small or large pots and pans||It can be tricky to assemble|
|Packs flat and only weighs 7.2 oz||Expensive|
|Includes handy storage bag|
If you are a hiker and always looking to keep your pack size and weight to a minimum, then there is no better product for cooking convenience than the TOMSHOO Titanium Camping Stove.
It’s miraculously lightweight, packs flat, and even comes with its own handy storage bag. It might be considered expensive, but those thoughts will fly away the first time you use this wood burning camp stove and discover its convenience.
The Odoland Folding Campfire Grill is ideal for camping, picnics, and beach cookouts. The assembly is very straightforward, and once cooled, cleanup is a breeze before snuggly fitting it back into its carry case. It works as both an open firepit or a basic grill.
The Odoland Folding Campfire Grill is relatively small, at just over 12 inches on each side, but is large enough just to fit four burgers at a time. You’ll likely find that typical-sized pieces of wood are too large but timber about one foot by one inch should do the trick. One gripe is that the grilling grid can’t be adjusted to different heights, so you’ll need to be careful with tending the flames.
It weighs in at almost five pounds, which might be more than some would want to carry. However, not everyone intends to cart their wood burning camp stove across the country in their backpack. The fact that this stove can flatpack and be neatly tucked away makes it extremely portable for campers with minimal storage.
|Straightforward assembly||Grill level can’t be adjusted|
|Storage bag included||Commercially cut wood is generally too large to fit|
|Made of durable stainless steel|
|Easy to clean|
We think that the Odoland Folding Campfire Grill could be one of the most useful products you buy for this summer. You don’t need to limit yourself to beach cookouts or camping trips since this grill is so easy to use; you can set it up in the backyard in a matter of minutes.
The kids will love having a mini-cook out under the stars. This is a fantastic product, and we reckon you’ll be finding excuses to cook outside more often.
The Camping Rocket Stove by StarBlue is the exact item we would want to have in our arsenal in case of a long-term power cut at home. It is straightforward to assemble, and anyone with even half a Scout badge to their name should be able to have a fire going within a minute or two.
This rocket stove is incredibly robust and can easily hold a cast iron pot or pan. You likely should carry a metal plate to keep under it, or at least be careful where you set it up as coals and ash do drop out of the bottom. The StarBlue Rocket Stove is excellent for cooking but doesn’t push out ambient heat like an open campfire unless you are standing directly over it.
Weighing in at over 15 pounds, you won’t want to be lugging this thing on a backpacking trail, but it is an excellent purchase for camping or cookouts. Finding wood the correct size to fit in can be a pain, but the twig scavenger hunt seems to keep the kids busy, which is always a bonus..
|Stainless steel construction||It doesn’t work as a heater unless directly over it|
|Sturdy enough to hold a cast iron pot||Heavy|
|Designed for high efficiency and low flames||It will only fit very thin pieces of wood or twigs|
|Excellent on uneven surfaces|
|Handle for easy mobility|
If you are on the lookout for a wood burning camp stove that is incredibly efficient and can hold a pot large enough to feed a family, then the Camping Rocket Stove by StarBlue is ideal. This stove is heavy and doesn’t pack down very much, so you won’t want to take it on a hike. However, if you are more of a ‘chuck in the back of the truck’ kind of camper, then this product’s robustness and efficiency can’t be beaten, especially at this price.
Wood Burning Camp Stoves: A Quick Buyer’s Guide
Before you get online and make your final decision about which of our top wood burning camp stoves you would like to purchase, take some time to think about the following features that might be important to you.
Portability – If you are using your wood burning camp stove to head off on unassisted hikes and backpacking trips, then portability would be your top consideration. Check out the size, how easily it packs down, the overall weight and if a storage bag is included.
Heat output – Some wood burning camp stoves are designed for maximum cooking efficiency, which means that the heat is going to be concentrated where the pot or pan would sit. Others are designed to give off heat and keep you toasty on long, chilly nights, and still, others are a hybrid of the two.
Cooking Ability – Take a moment to think about how you cook on a wood burning camp stove. Do you usually grill directly on the flames and therefore need a grate? Do you use a pot or pan and need a surface to rest it on? Are you cooking for one person or multiple people?
Materials – The TOMSHOO Camping Stove uses exceptionally durable and lightweight titanium, whereas the Starblue Rocket Stove uses sturdy, though heavier stainless steel. Look for materials that are durable but fit for your purpose.
Ease of use – Like any product, if it becomes too difficult to use, you will not use it, and any financial outlay will have been a waste. Ensure that your chosen model is simple to put together and take apart and easy to keep relatively clean while out in the elements.
Price – Of course, the price is always a factor in any purchase. Expect a decent wood burning camp stove to cost anywhere from $25-100 and up.
How to get the most heat out of your camp stove
Besides the drawcard of staring aimlessly into the fire throughout the long evenings on a camping trip, you probably got the fire started to serve a different purpose. Drying clothes, cooking food, and keeping warm all require your wood burning camp stove to push out a decent amount of heat. So how do you get the most heat out of your camp stove?
Before you set off, make sure that you have commercial or homemade fire starters in your pack. Starting a fire with partially dry tinder can be extremely tricky. You’ll also want to ensure you have a lighter and a backup box of matches or flint.
First things first, ensure you set up your wood burning camp stove in a sheltered area away from gusts of wind or rain. Before you even consider striking a match, you will want to have piles of collected dry grass, leaves, pinecones, and various sizes of branches, twigs, or wood. Leaving a fire unattended to search for timber later on is a serious safety concern, so collecting your fuel in advance is an integral step, particularly if hiking alone.
The Swedish Fire Method is an easy way to set up your logs for a longer burn. We suggest that you don’t build it too tall and ensure it is at least below the top of the stove. This will allow space for the exhaust to escape and for your pot or pan to sit safely and level on top.
The Side Feeding Method is good for then controlling temperature and making a limited fuel source last longer. You don’t want to wait for the flames to die down. It can then be challenging to add more fuel, particularly if your wood is damp, it is humid, or if you are at higher elevations. Try to keep an overlap of the fuel going in on the coals to ensure that your fire remains stoked and you maintain a bed of hot coals for a controlled burn.
Are wood burning stoves bad for your lungs?
Are wood burning stoves bad for your lungs?
The American Lung Association notes that wood burning stoves can be bad for your lungs, especially for the very young and very old amongst us. The emissions are the culprit, rather than the stoves themselves, and can lead to wheezing, asthma attacks, coughing, lung cancer, and other health effects.
Wood burning stoves of all kinds, including heaters, indoor stoves, and camp stoves, emit smoke that contains fine particle pollution, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, and nitrogen oxides. None of this is what anyone would wish to breathe in.
So, what can you do to make your wood burning camp stove safer to use? Ensure your stove is set up in a well-ventilated area and try to remain upwind of any smoke. The drier your fuel source, the less smoke will be created.
Safety tips for using a wood burning camp stove
Although many of the safety tips below might seem like common sense for the seasoned outdoors person, novice campers and hikers or younger children might not be aware. If you use a wood burning camp stove, then consider the following precautions:
Before you go
- Ensure everyone in your group understands the rules of fire safety
- Pack an over mitt or fire-retardant glove
- Pack fire starters in a sealed container
- Have a backup lighter or matches
- Stay away from overhanging branches, fuel sources, tents, or any flammable substances.
- Set the stove on a flat surface, clear of any flammable grass, leaves, twigs, or the like
- Have a water source present in case the fire gets out of control
- Collect your fuel source before you start the fire, especially if alone or with children
General fire safety tips
- Never leave a fire unattended.
- Make sure a fire is entirely extinguished before moving on.
- Never bury a fire, as this can contain the heat and ignite.
- Always stir a fire and extinguish with water and/or sand/dirt.
Wood burning camp stoves are fantastic for campers, hikers, or even just a day at the beach.
Having this relatively inexpensive piece of equipment in your storeroom will also give you peace of mind in the case of an extended power cut where you might need to keep warm, cook food or boil water. We would certainly be happy to receive one of the wood burning camp stoves on our list as a birthday present this year.