Stoves used for cooking come in a variety of sizes and types. Simple stoves fit only a kettle or a small pan on top of them and are not very stable, whereas larger ones are more secure and often have two or more gas rings for cooking on. The ideal cooking stove should have two rings, a low profile and use propane in small canisters.
- Solid fuel stoves – These use alcohol or hex blocks for fuel, are very cheap to run and are safe and easy to use as the fuel cannot leak or spill. They require virtually no maintenance and are simple and reliable. However, there is virtually no control over the heat of this type of stove so they should only be used as a last resort or for few occasions.
- Unpressurized liquid stoves – These stoves are also very simple to use, requiring virtually no maintenance. Methanol is the most common fuel used, and the pan and stove are already combined making it easier to use. However, the fuel can easily leak and it is often slow to use and inefficient. This type of stove is popular amongst younger or more amateur campers as it is simple and safe to use.
- Pressurized liquid stoves – The most popular fuels used to these types of stoves are unleaded petrol, Coleman fuel or paraffin. They are cheap and efficient to run, as well as being fast and the fuel is easy to find. But the stoves do require more maintenance than the others on offer as they require priming and cleaning. The fuel used can also often be dirty or smelly, and often fires up when the stove is being used. This type of stove is ideal for those going on long trips.
- Gas stoves – These are the best types of stoves available as they are efficient, easy to use, clean and relatively safe. However, they are also expensive to run with fuel canisters only being available in developed countries. These stoves are best for those going on shorter expeditions or trips.
Reusable plastic plates, bowls, cups and cutlery are available. Although there are also disposable options, it is more environmentally friendly to use cutlery and dishes that can be washed up after use. However, make sure you use an ecologically friendly soap when you are doing your washing up.