Matt Johnson

How Many BTU for a Camping Stove?

Author: Matt JohnsonPhotos/Graphics: Mike HawthornePublished: Jul 12, 2022Updated: Dec 13, 2023

When it comes to camping, there are a lot of things you need to take into account. One of the most important is how you cook your food. While some people might prefer to eat cold food, others want the option of cooking a hot meal. If that’s you, then you need to know how many BTU your camping stove needs.

BTU OutputEstimated Heat OutputEstimated Gas Usage
5,000 BTUsLow1-2 lbs of propane per day
10,000 BTUsMedium2-3 lbs of propane per day
20,000 BTUsHigh4-5 lbs of propane per day
The “Estimated Gas Usage” is based on the rule of thumb that a burner uses approximately 1 lb of propane per 10,000 BTUs per hour.

First, what are these BTU we keep hearing about?

A BTU is a unit of measurement that stands for British Thermal Unit.

It’s a way of denoting the amount of energy needed to raise or lower the temperature of one pound of water by one degree Fahrenheit.

In terms of your camp stove, this means how much heat it takes to raise the temperature of your food by one degree.

As you might expect, a lot of factors go into how many BTU your gas stove will need to heat up properly.

The size and material of your pot or pan, the outdoor temperature, and how much wind is blowing are just a few things that can affect how many BTU you’ll need.

Keep in mind that not all stoves are created equal. Some models will have different numbers of BTU, so it’s essential to do your research before making a purchase.

In general, most camp stoves will need around 10,000 BTU to function correctly. This should be enough to heat your food and get the job done. However, if you’re cooking in frigid weather or using a large pot or pan, you may need a stove with a higher BTU output. We’ll get into that shortly.

Camping stoves come in a variety of sizes and BTU.

When choosing a stove for your next camping trip, there are a few things to keep in mind.

You need to think about the size of the stove you need. If you’re planning on cooking for a large group, you’ll need a larger stove with more BTU. On the other hand, if you’re only cooking for one or two people, a smaller stove will suffice.

Something else you might want to consider is how easy the stove is to set up and use. Some stoves can be pretty complicated, so make sure you choose one that’s easy to operate.

Lastly, you should think about fuel efficiency. If you’re planning on using the stove for extended periods, choose one designed for maximum fuel efficiency. However, these high-end stoves may cost a bit more.

With these factors in mind, you’ll be sure to find the perfect camp stove for your next adventure.

How many BTUs do backpacking stoves have?

Backpacking stoves usually have between 10,000 and 20,000 BTUs of heat output.

This amount of energy can allow you to quickly boil water and cook a variety of outdoor meals.

When looking for backpacking stoves, make sure to read the specifications carefully to determine how much power your stove has compared to others on the market. Remember, they’ll have significantly less BTUs and heat output compared to larger, freestanding stoves like a three-burner stove.

The size of your stove will depend on the amount of food you want to cook.

A vital factor to consider when choosing a camp stove is the size of the stove. The stove size will determine how much food you can cook at one time.

If you plan on cooking large meals, you will need a larger stove. However, if you only plan on cooking for one or two people, a smaller stove will suffice. Some stoves have four burners so you can cook multiple things at once.

Another factor to consider is the type of food you plan on cooking. Some foods, like beef, need to reach around 145°F to 160°F before they’re done. This may take longer to achieve on a smaller stove and use more propane. Therefore, you will need a stove that can reach high temperatures.

A small camping stove with a lower BTU rating is perfect for boiling water or cooking simple meals.

Any experienced camper will tell you that a good stove is essential for any camping trip. After all, what’s the point of spending time in nature if you can’t even cook a decent meal?

If you haven’t noticed, we enjoy the finer things such as comfort and style when we’re glamping.

While there are many different camping stoves on the market, small stoves with a BTU rating of around 10,000 BTU are often the best choice for boiling water or cooking simple meals.

These typically have one or sometimes two burners and can be used for boiling water, heating food, or cooking basic meals. Remember, their cooking power is limited like the backpacking stoves, but generally good enough for most campers’ cooking needs.

One advantage of these small stoves is that they’re straightforward to set up and use.

They usually don’t require a lot of assembly, so you can have them up and running in no time. Additionally, most small stoves are fuel-efficient, so you won’t have to worry about running out of propane midway through your meal.

If you’re looking for a small and straightforward camp stove, we recommend the Coleman Butane Stove. It has a BTU rating of just under 8,000 and is specifically designed for boiling water and cooking simple meals on the go.

If you’re looking to cook a large meal, you’ll need a camping stove with a higher BTU rating.

While the smaller stoves are great for lightweight camping, what if you have an RV, or you don’t plan on trekking it very far? You might want to consider a propane stove with a bit more firepower for some outdoor cooking. These stoves typically have two or more burners and an output of around 20,000 BTU.

With this much power, you can cook just about anything you want. You can even cook delicious steaks on some of the higher-end models. However, remember that these stoves are usually a bit heavier and bulkier than the smaller models. Additionally, they often require more assembly.

If you’re looking for a powerful camping stove, we recommend the Camp Chef Explorer. It has two burners and an output of 30,000 BTU so you can cook just about anything. Plus, it has a built-in igniter, so you don’t have to worry about fumbling with matches.

Keep all of this in mind if you plan on doing a lot of outdoor cooking. You might want a bit more of a BTU output and a two-burner stove.

Make sure to read the product specifications before purchasing a camping stove.

Regardless of what type of propane stove you choose, be sure to read the product specifications before making your purchase. This will ensure that you get the features and performance you need.

When reading the product specs, pay close attention to the BTU requirements. This will give you an idea of how much heat the stove can generate. They’ll be between 10,000 and 30,000 BTU, but some models may be higher or lower. And remember, more BTUs means it’ll burn through fuel faster.

You should also look at the weight and dimensions of the stove. If you plan on carrying it a long-distance, you’ll want something lightweight and easy to transport. Additionally, you’ll want to ensure that it will fit in your car or RV.

Finally, take a look at the warranty. Most camping stoves come with a one-year warranty, but some may have longer or shorter warranties. This is important to consider if you have any problems with your stove.

Always bring extra fuel canisters in case the ones you have run out.

20 Pound Propane Tank
This is a typical 20lb propane tank. They’re a little bigger and usually used with grills or RVs.

So you’ve picked out the perfect camp stove. That’s great! It’s time to hit the road and start your camping adventure.

But wait!

Before you head out, be sure to bring along some extra liquid fuel canisters. Just in case the ones you have run out, you’ll want to have some backups. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Some stoves require small butane canisters, while others use propane tanks. The propane tanks range from small 1-pound tanks to larger 20-pound tanks.

If you’re unsure how much fuel you’ll need, we recommend bringing along at least two canisters or tanks. This will give you plenty of backup if you run into any problems.

Although, if you have a single burner stove and you’re just going out for the weekend and doing some basic outdoor cooking, a single tank should be fine. They’ll typically have the fuel efficiency to last a quick camping trip.

FAQs for camp stoves.

Since we’re discussing stoves and British thermal units, we’re going to go over some of the more common questions we receive about propane stoves.

Of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us and ask.

What are some examples of propane stoves for camping?

Some popular examples of propane stoves include the Coleman Classic Propane Stove, Eureka Ignite Backpacking Stove, and Camp Chef Rainer Camp Stove.

Each of these models offers different features, such as adjustable temperature control, matchless ignition systems and multiple burner designs, so make sure to research your options thoroughly before making a purchase.

How do I set up a propane stove?

Setting up a propane stove is relatively straightforward – take the Coleman Classic Propane Stove as an example.

Find an appropriate location away from flammable materials – ideally on level ground with good ventilation.

Then attach the gas hose and regulator as directed by the manufacturer.

Next turn on the fuel valve (most stoves will have an indicator light to show when this is done) and press the igniter switch or use a match to safely activate the burner.

How many BTUs does a typical propane stove have?

Most propane stoves range from 10,000 to 30,000 BTUs. For example, the Coleman Classic Propane Stove features 10,000 BTUs for efficient cooking results. The BTU output generally depends on the size of the model so be sure to read product specifications carefully before selecting your new camping stove!

What safety precautions should I take when using a propane stove?

Propane stoves are relatively safe, but there are certain precautions that should be taken.

Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before operating the stove, and make sure to set it up in a well-ventilated location away from any combustible materials.

It is also important to check for gas leaks before lighting the stove and position it at least three feet away from your tent or other camp structures.

Additionally, make sure to turn off the fuel valve when not in use and be mindful of wind and rain – these can both cause flame outages or instability.

How do I maintain a propane stove?

Maintenance of your propane stove is essential to keep it in good working order.

First, make sure to clean any residue such as food or grease off the burners after each use.

Additionally, always check for loose fittings and connections before operating the stove – if you find any, tighten them securely. It is also important to inspect the gas hose regularly for splits or cracks and replace as needed.

Then lastly, store your propane stove in a dry location away from direct sunlight when not in use. You don’t want the UV rays to dry-rot the propane or gas lines.

How much does a propane stove typically cost?

The cost of a propane stove can vary depending on the model and features you select. Generally, basic camping models are available for around $50 while more advanced stoves with additional features may cost up to $300 or more.

For example, the Coleman Classic Propane Stove is one of the most affordable options at around $100 whereas other models like the Camp Chef Tahoe three-burner stove have more bells and whistles at a higher price and usually come in around $400.

What type of fuel should I use in my propane stove?

Most camping stoves are designed specifically for propane cylinders but some models may also be compatible with other fuels such as kerosene or white gas (also known as “camping fuel”).

Make sure to check the manufacturer’s specifications before selecting your fuel source so you know exactly what will work best with your particular model.

Enjoy cooking delicious meals outdoors with your new camping stove!

That’s it! You’re ready to hit the road and start cooking delicious meals outdoors with your new camping stove. Now that you know how many BTU for a camping stove, you can be sure to choose the perfect one for your needs.

Just remember to bring along some extra fuel canisters and to read the product specs before making your purchase.


Matt Johnson

Senior Content Writer

Matt is an experienced camper and glamping enthusiast with a Master's degree in Wildlife Science from Texas A&M University. Authoring posts for GlamperGear, he shares his wealth of knowledge on picturesque campsites, luxurious accommodations, and the best gear for outdoor adventures. His passion for nature and knack for comfort in the wilderness make him an expert guide for your next camping endeavor.

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