Which camping cookers are the best for long hikes – Meth or Gas Cookers?

Camping cookers are a must have if you are going on an outdoor trip. Food and water are some of the most important needs of man, and cookers come in handy to get them ready them for daily use.

From boiling water for drinking or bathing (in the absence of water heaters) to preparing meals and baking over the open stove, the need for camping cookers is not to be underestimated.

There are several of such camping cookers available from denatured alcohol or Meth cookers to kerosene/gas cookers, all with useful functionalities while outdoor.

When choosing a stove for your hikes, there are certain factors you need to consider which includes but are not limited to the below;

i. The Type of Stove: One major consideration is the type of stove you would have with you on your hike. I.e. the type of fuel used by the stove and the method of storing the fuel.

ii. The features of the stove: Just like the type of stove, the specifications/features of each stove such as the weight, the burn time, convenience of use, etc. would play a determining rule in selecting your hiking stove.

When it comes down to selecting either a Meth stove or a liquid fuel stove like gas or kerosene stoves, the choice depends on how light you plan to hike, how long you plan to hike and all.

Here’s a brief on some of the types of the stove to better help your judgment.

Liquid-Fuel (Gas/Kerosene) Stoves

These types of stoves are some of the most sorts after due to their highly refined nature. They use fuels which are less rigged with impurities. They are also efficient burners, producing clean and hot flames which are an important feature.

Some of these stoves make use of diesel, kerosene, gasoline and others, making these stoves a perfect choice for travelers who have a limited/restricted choice of fuel when leaving the U.S or embarking on international journeys.

The liquid fuel stoves although considerably one the best camping stoves if you have a ride to catch to your camp site are plagued with a few cons. Two of their most disturbing downsides are;

i. Most of the liquid fuel stoves require priming – the ignition of a small quantity of fuel just underneath the burner that creates a little fire to get the fuel area warmed up.

Priming is done to allow liquid fuel convert to vapor. The fuel bottle also needs to be pumped a little to have the pressure increased.

ii. You should be ready to carry out periodic maintenance of your liquid fuel stoves. This maintenance might be time-consuming due to the number of parts to check on. Maintenance such as replacing the O-rings of the fuel bottle and stove, and cleaning the hose are some of the most important.

PROS

  • The cost factor is a key selling point of liquid fuel stoves. Their fuels are usually less expensive
  • You can find out how much fuel is left before using the stove by peeking at the fuel bottle
  • The fuel used is refillable, and you don’t need to discard canisters.
  • They are the best alternatives for cold regions and high elevations
  • ​They are good for snow melting
  • Liquid fuel stoves can be taken along during international trips due to the availability of liquid fuel.

CONS

  • Due to their nature, you might experience fuel spills during priming.
  • They tend to be expensive to buy due to the need for a fuel bottle
  • Some of these liquid fuel stoves tend to be noisy.
  • They require extra maintenance
  • They are heavier than many other stoves including alcohol and canister stoves.
  • Some of these stoves are noisy to use
  • Asides white gas, other liquid fuel might have impurities which will overtime become a problem to the stove by clogging parts of the stove.

Alcohol Stoves

Alcohols stoves are another choice campers, and backpackers are asked to choose from when deciding on the best stoves for their hikes. These stoves are usually very compact, affordable and lightweight.

They are some of the most prominent stoves available to campers due to the availability of their fuel – meth is readily available.

When it comes to stoves which are both cheap to produce (DIY) or buy, then alcohol stoves take the lead. They also have fuel that’s readily available in stores and e-commerce marts like Amazon.

He for one is an alcohol stove fuel you can purchase almost anywhere from gas stations, online malls, auto department stores and the likes.

Due to the no love lost between alcohol stoves and wind, their cooking times is nothing to write home about.

If you are not a very patient type, then alcohol stoves won’t cut it for you as they are very inefficient cookers that are affected by wind, cold and thus waste ample time to be used for other productive things in waiting for meals to be cooked.

On the flip side, the stoves can also dangerous as they burn a blue flame which is difficult to see during the day.

Thus, to be safe, it’s recommended to ensure the stove has completely burned out before having it refueled or handled.

Also, always try to be safe and don’t use alcohol stoves in a fire ban areas due to their inflammability, a little fuel spill can cause more damage by igniting dried up the bush.

PROS

  • Alcohol stoves are usually lightweight and very compact
  • They are inexpensive to manufacture or buy
  • They can also be easily made
  • Their fuels are readily available both online and in physical stores
  • Unlike liquid fuel stoves, these stoves are quiet.

CONS

  • They have some of the worst stove cooking/boiling times
  • Their fuels are not very efficient
  • They can’t perform well in windy areas, and thus not very good for winter camping or hiking expeditions
  • During fire bans, the stoves are restricted
  • They don’t have temperature controls
  • They can cause hazards due to the blue flame; it’s difficult to see the ignited flame and also fuel spill can easily occur

Having broken down the comparison into readable bits, deciding on the best cooker to take on long distance hikes between liquid fuel (gas) and alcohol based fuel (meth) can be easily decided.

If you are planning a lightweight trip, then meth cookers would come in handy. Although, you should note that meth cookers are usually lightweight, but they tend to take up more space due to their fuel needs.

Gas cookers, on the other hand, are less bulky too and don’t require so much fuel. Also, gas cookers are faster burners than meth cookers.

If you are not usually very patient and would like your morning coffee right on time or your evening dinner cooked to satisfaction and on time, then gas cookers are a worthy consideration.

Gas cookers also are useful for group camping or hiking expedition and are great for use during winter or windy areas, whereas meth cookers can’t stand the wind and won’t easily melt snow.

Overall, I’d go for a gas cooker and try to manage its maintenance issue after all the pros outweigh the cons. Since it can handle winds, cook fast, is lightweight, not so expensive and refillable, I’d stick to it than opting for a slow cooker that’s not compatible with winds and whose only benefit is its compact/lightweight nature.

    Alison Lawrence

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