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Best Portable Survival Stove [7 Survival Prepping Options]

Portable survival stoves can be moved and carried easily during an emergency bug out. Read our guide for an informed decision about this crucial survival tool.

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What if you had to bug out following an emergency and after hours of starving or consuming cold canned food in a hideout you felt the compelling need for a good and a warm life-saving meal?

Would dipping your hand into your bug out bag to pull out a portable survival stove to save the situation?

Portable survival stoves are those that you can move and carry with ease during hiking, camping, or during an emergency bug out.

They work with liquid or solid fuels and should be lightweight, durable, safe, reliable, and easy to use.

This article helps you make an informed decision about this crucial survival tool. To get you started, we begin by answering these two basic survival questions:

  • When would you need a survival stove?
  • Why would you have to cook when canned and packaged food is plenty and easy to stock at your bug out location or stuff in your bug out bag?

In a hurry? If you just want to get to our conclusions, here are our top picks and recommendations!

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Portable Emergency Stove: When and Why You Need One

If you don’t have one yet, you might be wondering if you’ll ever need an emergency stove anyway and why you would need one.

After all, there’s plenty of canned and packaged food that you could use as an option in a SHTF situation.

When would you need a portable emergency stove?

Everyone needs a bugout stove in their bug out bag or location. In an era of uncertainties, you never know when bugging out will beckon.

If you are the prepper personality who loves adventures and the outdoor, you’ll need a portable stove always in any of these situations:

  • When you go camping and need to make a warm meal or drink.
  • During prolonged power outages in emergency situations.
  • In a bugging out situation that sends you out of the comfort of your home.
  • During a hiking trip in the wild; you never know when you could get stuck and be out there longer than planned.

Now, if you have a bug out bag, it is obvious that canned and packaged food is on your checklist. So, why would you need an emergency cooking stove?

Why you need an emergency cooking stove

Whatever your emergency situation, eating cold canned or tight packaged food is always life-saving. But nothing beats a warm meal, especially if you haven’t had one in days.

Besides, did you know that canned food can put your health at risk? Picture yourself rolling on the ground with a stomach ache from food poisoning and with the services of a physician out of reach!

It would be a double emergency unless of course, your bug out bag has some antidotes for food poisoning.

There are two reasons consistent consumption of canned food could harm you:

  • You may purchase the rare can that was not processed properly, allowing Clostridium bacteria to contaminate your food and cause you botulism.
  • The manufacturer of your canned food used BPA lining on the can to preserve the food. A study in 2011 reported 1,221% BPA levels in the urine of people who consumed canned soup when compared to those who ate fresh organic soup.

But let’s not concentrate on the extremes of food poisoning. Let’s instead stick with the image of an enticing warm meal in a survival situation and tell you everything you need to know about an emergency preparedness stove.

7 Best Portable Survival Stoves

We review 7 of the best portable survival stoves on the market.

Below our reviews you can read our criteria for choosing them, what you should be looking for when buying a quality survival stove and tips to help you make the best decision for a go bag stove. 

Our top choice: Coleman Portable Bottletop Propane Gas Stove

The Coleman Portable Bottletop is our best emergency stove.

The Propane gas stove has a perfect design for a bug out bag because the burner, propane bottle, and supporting base can be separated for easy packing and transportation.

When assembled, the Coleman Portable Bottletop is 6.62" high and 7.81" wide. The single and adjustable burner has a 10,000 BTUs cooking power and will support any type of pot up to 8 inches wide.

The pressure and the burner can be regulated to burn consistently, even in extreme weather. You can use the 16.4oz propane cylinder for up to two and a half hours on the high flame option.

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Can be disassembled for easy packing
  • High cooking power
  • Has a support base for secure stirring


  • Will not last much if you’re stuck in the wild for days
  • Can be pricey

Best gas-canister stove: MSR PocketRocket

The MSR PocketRocket is a kit that consists of an ultralight 2.6oz (73g) burner and a fuel canister with a gross weight of 13.1oz. It is excellent for hiking, backpacking, or camping.

The stove kit has foldable pot supports, strong enough to support a wide range of pot styles and weight. The burner has a solid flame that can be adjusted from a rolling boil to a simmer.

The MSR PocketRocket is fast, and boiling a liter of water takes only three and a half minutes. You can stay calm while cooking your meal on a windy day since the stove is fitted with wind clip protection.

The reusable fuel canister is filled with isobutene-propane and is self-sealing, making it safe to carry in a bug out bag or get home bag. It is easy to set up and does not require any priming, pressurizing, or preheating.

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Adjustable burner
  • Foldable pot supports
  • Wind protection


  • Fuel canister can be cumbersome
  • Will not last much if you’re stuck in the wild for days
  • Can be pricey

Best dual-burner stove: Coleman Gas Camping Stove

This 2-burner propane stove is excellent for group or family camping when you bring your car or as a prepper propane stove in a bug out location.

The Coleman Gas Camping Stove has a cooking power of 20,000 BTU, which means you can make large meals for more people.

The temperature at the two burners can be adjusted and so the gas pressure. The foldable panels act as a windshield when cooking in the open.

You can attach a 16.4 oz propane cylinder that is sold separately and runs for an hour on high pressure. At a camping site or bug out location, you can also use an adapter and hose to connect it to a bigger propane tank.

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Good for groups
  • Can be folded for easy transportation
  • High cooking power


  • Cumbersome
  • Can be pricey

Best kerosene stove: ALPACA TS-909 Kerosene Stove

This is a modern kerosene stove design that is optimal for survival situations in cold weather. It is 340mm x 325mm x 325mm in height, width, and diameter respectively.

The ALPACA TS-909 Kerosene Stove set weighs 5.2kg which can be cumbersome for lightweight preppers but great for campsites or bug out location emergency preparedness. The kerosene tank can take up to 4.2 liters and the heat power goes up to 2,250 Kcal/h.

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • High cooking power
  • Big fuel tank; does not need consistent refilling
  • Easy to operate


  • Extremely cumbersome for ultralight preppers
  • Extremely pricey

Check out this demonstration video for the Alpaca Survival Stove

Best multi-fuel stove: GasOne Propane or Butane Stove

The GasOne stove is a dual-fuel design that uses both Propane and Butane. It is designed for backpacking and camping escapades and has a carrying case for emergency preparedness.

The two fuel options are packaged in an 8oz cartridge (Butane) and 16.4oz cylinder (Propane). You have to purchase the fuels separately but the Propane converter regulator is included in the kit.

To use Propane, you simply connect the adapter hose to the stove first and then the other end to the Propane tank.

The GasOne Stove has an automatic ignition so you don’t need a lighter. The heat can be regulated to suit your cooking needs.

A key safety feature for this stove is the built-in pressure sensor that automatically ejects the cartridge if irregular pressure is sensed.

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Dual-fuel design
  • Automatic ignition
  • Automatic pressure sensor


  • Can be cumbersome for ultralight backpackers
  • Assembling is not straightforward

Best manufactured solid fuel stove: Esbit Ultralight Folding Pocket Stove

The Esbit Ultralight Folding Stove is a Hexamine fuel stove that uses 6 x 14g smokeless fuel tablets.

Its best feature is its tiny size once folded which means easily fitting it in your backpack or bag out bag without taking up space (3.9ʺ x 3 ʺ x 0.9 ʺ when folded).

The entire stove, with the fuel tablets included, weighs only 6.3oz and is made from sturdy galvanized steel. The hexamine tablets are individually packaged in waterproof wrapping.

Once unfolded for use, the Esbit Ultralight Folding Pocket Stove proves it’s might by supporting both small and larger pot sizes. You have an option for two cooking positions depending on the pot size.

The stove has a relatively high cooking power: it can boil half a liter of water in 8 minutes.

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Optimal size for backpacking
  • Ultralight
  • Easy to light and use


  • Fuel tablets can be stored for as long as 10 years
  • Each tablet only burns for 12 minutes

Best natural fuel stove: Ohuhu Camping Stove

This stainless steel wood stove makes the best survival stove during extended camping or bug out situations because wood is a natural fuel that you don’t need to pay for like other liquid and solid manufactured fuels.

The durable material will resist any amount of heat and thus allow you to make any kind of meal.

The 3-arm pot-support makes the stove sturdy enough to sustain your cooking. You can also make a BBQ by placing the grill grid on top of the fuel chamber.

For easy transportation, the Ohuhu Camping Stove is easily collapsible and has a carrying bag so you don’t need to squeeze it into your backpack.

Overall, the Ohuhu stove is environmentally friendly and does not release chemical emissions into the air.

Last update on 2024-05-06 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API


  • Environmentally friendly
  • Cheap fuel
  • Versatile for cooking methods


  • Cumbersome, even after disassembling.
  • Long assembling procedure

Types of Portable Survival Stoves

Portable survival stoves are those carried and moved with ease to serve in a camping, hiking, a bug out, or other emergency situations.

Think of a mountaineering adventure gone wrong and having to stay out there for an unpredictable period. These stoves will come in handy for cooking and heating.

When thinking of a portable survival stove, there is a wide variety to choose from. Usually, portable stoves are categorized into two major types: liquid fuel stoves and solid fuel stoves.

Nonetheless, these broad categories can vary depending on their design and the specific type of fuel that they use as we explain below.

Liquid fuel stoves

Liquid fuel stoves have a fuel bottle with one of the liquid-gas options. The fuel bottle can contain any of the following liquid gases:

  • White gas (Naphtha)

White gas is cleaner than most other fuels and evaporates at lower temperatures, making it easier to start your stove.

For the same reason, they are easier to use with pressurized liquid stoves. They also emit minimal odor in case of a spill.

Note that white gas looks similar to automotive gasoline, but that does not make the two interchangeable when cooking with a stove.

  • Kerosene

Kerosene is a universally easy-to-find fuel. It is cheap and can be found in any corner of the world, though it may be better refined in some parts than in others.

Compared to other fuels, kerosene is dirtier and more difficult to light, especially when used in pressurized stoves.

  • Diesel

Diesel is the dirtiest of liquid fuels. It is rather difficult to get your stove burning if you are using diesel and you also stand a bigger risk of having your survival stove flare-up.

The only good thing about this fuel is its price, you pay less for it than you would other fuels.

It is not easy to find diesel in use with stoves today, even with multi-fuel portable survival stoves. But it’s important to know that it can be an option for portable stoves.

  • Petrol (automotive gasoline)

Gasoline is often an option among fuels usable in multi-fuel stoves. However, you should go for it only as a last resort because, unlike white gas, petrol contains additives to allow your car’s engine to run smoothly.

But these additives aren’t good for your stove’s seal and can cause the fuel tube and the pump to leak.

Petrol also emits plenty of smoke and fumes. Besides, it can cause corrosion if your fuel bottle is made of aluminum, especially when stored for long.

  • Denatured Alcohol

Using denatured alcohol is common among backpacking enthusiasts. Some will even go for DIY alcohol burners.

While alcohol may work well with non-pressurized fuel stoves, it may not be equally efficient with pressurized fuel stoves.

You may want to talk to the manufacturer of your portable emergency stove to confirm the efficiency of denatured alcohol with your choice stove before making the purchase.

Taken together, liquid fuels have several advantages:

  • They burn well in both warm and cold temperatures.
  • They are generally eco-friendly since the fuel bottles are easily refilled.
  • They are cheap.
  • They are widely available.
  • They can be used interchangeably with multi-fuel stoves.

But liquid gases also have several minuses:

  • They can be heavy to carry along.
  • They can be messy (depending on packaging and ignition mechanism)
  • They are harder to light.

To use liquid fuel, you attach the fuel bottle to the stove. Some stoves will automatically send the gas to the stove ready for burning while others need pressure, which explains the two types of liquid fuel stoves: non-pressurized and pressurized liquid fuel stoves.

Man lighting a portable emergency stove

Pressurized liquid fuel stoves

Pressurized liquid stoves use pre-pressurized fuels or are equipped with a mechanical pressurizing hand pump to send fuel to the burner.

Some are versatile and can burn more than one type of gas, which is why they are often described as multi-fuel stoves.

Some examples of pressurized liquid fuel stoves include:

  • Pressurized kerosene stoves

These stoves work by mixing kerosene and air using a hand pump. The fuel is contained in a tank from where it is passed to the burner through a nozzle.

To get your stove burning, you preheat the vaporizer with an alcohol-based flame for a few minutes then raise the temperature to vaporize the kerosene and make the cooking flame.

You can control the pressure of the kerosene using a valve or increase the pressure of the kerosene and the size of flame by pumping the fuel in the tank.

Older designs like the Primus kerosene stove have been replaced by newer designs with more fuel options. They also have more advanced ways to get them burning as we shall see in our best portable cooking stove review later.

  • Gas cartridge/canister stoves

Gas cartridge stoves are a smaller version of the gas you use to cook at home. They have a liquid gas tank (usually butane or propane) that is packed in the cartridge under pressure and in a liquid state.

Once connected to the stove, the liquid gas leaving the cartridge is vaporized and is combusted at the burner in form of gas. Its main advantage is that it does not require any maintenance and no priming is needed to get the fuel burning.

Bigger versions of the gas tank are connected to the burner via a hose. These work well in a group camping context where a vehicle is present for transportation.

For your bug out bag, instead, a single burner stove with an integrated gas container is your best bet.

  • Multiple burner stoves

Multiple burner liquid fuel stoves have more than a single burner and are best for larger groups in a base camp, bug out location, or car camping. Some foldable versions are also available as you will read in the review section.

These designs can have a separate tank for each burner or the gas is supplied to both burners by a single hose. They usually burn compressed propane or butane gas, Naphtha, or alcohol.

Unpressurized liquid-fuel stoves

Unpressurized liquid fuel stoves have free-flowing fuel that is not kept under pressure. They use wicks to draw fuel from the reservoir and burn it at the top of the wick.

They can also use gravity to send fuel to the burner through a small passage. Methanol, kerosene, or alcohol are common fuels in these stoves.

Though they are cheap, they are rather slow and can be messy. They are not your “top on the list” stoves for a bug out bag but would be better stored in a hunting cabin or a bug out location.

Types of unpressurized fuels stoves include:

  • Single burner liquid fuel stoves

These fuel stoves have a single burner that is attached to the fuel tank. They can be tiny for ultralight backpackers or a little bigger for campers and preppers who do not mind an extra bag to their backpack.

You burn the fuel till it is extinguished and you can refill or replace the tank depending on the design.

The Trangia design of single burner stoves has been popular but is being replaced by others like the Coleman.

  • Gravity liquid-fuel stoves

Although currently outdone by compressed gas stoves, gravity liquid-fuel stoves is still an effective survival stove option.

It majorly uses alcohol or methylated spirit that is supplied from the main tank to a small reservoir above the burner.

The stove is lit by turning it on to allow a small amount of fuel to the priming pan and then turning it off.

The burner is then lit to preheat and when the ignition fuel on the priming pan is almost consumed the stove is turned on again so that fuel can consistently be supplied to the burner through the jets by gravity.

Even though the gravity stove makes a sound similar to the pressurized stove when burning, the fuel is not under pressure.

They are preferred in survival cabins for their low fire risk in enclosed spaces.

  • Wick stoves

Wick stoves are created similar to wick oil lamps. The wicks are usually woven from cotton and inserted in a wick holder so they can be moved up and down by a knob to control the wick and flame size.

These stoves are majorly fueled by kerosene or alcohol. Even though they are cheap, they can be unsafe if any of the parts have defects or if the kerosene tank overheats.

Wick stoves can be cumbersome for outdoor escapades and the wicks will need replacement once consumed, which explains why other types are preferred.

But a kerosene stove could serve as the best stove for emergency preparedness in a bug out location. Modern wick stoves can have up to 30-40 wicks.

A bug out bag in the wilderness, with a portable survival stove

Solid fuel stoves

Solid fuel stoves are usually made of a metal base plate and have space for holding the fuel while it burns.

They also have some form of support for your cooking vessel and a set of holding legs to keep the stove elevated from the ground.

Solid fuel stoves have a wide variety of designs and you can choose from a backpacking tiny design or a larger camping size.

The solid fuel is either manufactured or natural, which is our categorizing criteria.

  • Manufactured solid fuel stoves

Manufactured solid fuel is usually presented in compacted tablets. The most common ones are made of hexamine, trioxane, or metaldehyde.

These tablets should be handled with care as they can cause skin irritations and emit a bit of odor. They may also leave messy soot on your cooking vessel.

A good example of a manufactured solid-fuel stove is the Esbit Ultralight Folding Pocket Stove which we reviewed for you earlier.

  • Natural solid fuel stoves

Natural solid fuel stoves burn natural wood or byproducts of wood to produce energy. For preppers, the greatest advantage of natural wood is that they do not have to carry fuel with them, just the stove.

Also, you spend no money to acquire wood or twigs in the wild and or little money to purchase manufactures wood products. Besides, natural fuels are environmentally friendly.

Here are the natural solid fuel sources that you can choose from.

  • Natural wood: Mainly logs and twigs that you can collect from the wild. Wood logs for camping in your backyard can be chopped into desirable sizes.
  • Wood Pellets/chip/ Briquettes: Usually made from timber waste in sawmills or carpenter garages. They have to undergo a long process to create fuel pellets or logs but still maintain their natural form. But inflammable substances may sometimes be added to speed up their lighting.

You are spoiled for choice when it comes to natural solid fuel stoves. Read about our best natural solid fuel stove choice in the review section.

Further on, we tell you what features you should look for when purchasing an ideal portable survival stove.

Key Features of Best Portable Survival Stoves: A Buyer’s Guide

We indicated earlier that portable survival stoves are those you can easily carry and use in outdoor situations such as hiking, camping, or during emergency bug outs.

To qualify as portable survival stoves, your choice stove should meet these top 5 features.

The best portable survival stoves should be easy to carry

Your stove passes the portability test depending on the survival situation you want to use it for. For example, a 3kg stove for backpacking is way too heavy if you have to walk for miles and miles.

But that weight should be fine for a stove that is stored in a bug in location or carried in a car for camping.

Portability may also have to do with the ease of packaging. A 30cm single burner stove with the possibility of folding is good to bring during a week’s camping escapade.

Nonetheless, a tiny liquid fuel bottle that can be fixed to a small burner is better for lightweight backpackers.

The best portable survival stoves should be easy to use

If you have to wipe your sweaty brow for trying to get your stove going, then it’s not worth the consideration as an emergency stove. A survival stove should be easy to get burning with a simple switch and or a lighter-click.

If it can be disassembled, then it should also be easy to assemble without much effort.

Ease of use also applies when it comes to the type of fuel. For example, even though it might be tedious to collect natural wood, once you get it going you only need to keep adding the wood.

Instead, some pressurized stoves have the fuel ready but might be a bit more complex to ignite.

The best portable survival stoves should be safe

The use of any type of fuel has some element of risk. But that should be minimal for your choice stove.

If burning a liquid fuel stove comes with a high risk of poisoning or blowing up, then it should not be used.

Safety is also ensured by your stove’s stability when placed on the ground as well as the pot-supports at the burner.

Go for stoves that have sound safety features such as a support base. You do not want to be needing a doctor for burns or fuel poisoning incurred during a hiking trip.

Read about survival stove safety tips in the last section of this article.

Survival stove heating food in the wilderness

The best portable survival stoves should be durable

Your survival stove’s durability has to do with several elements including the following:

  • The type of material used (eg. One made of metal that is not easily corruptible when exposed to liquid fuels).
  • The possibility to refill the fuel (a single-use gas canister stove will be more expensive than one that you can refill).
  • The stove’s resistance and ability to remain functional when exposed to weather elements.

The best portable survival stoves should be reliable

Imagine carrying a stove to a bug out location only to find that it will not serve the purpose of making a warm meal.

The best survival stoves should be reliable, which means that they should light with ease when you need to use them.

Also, they should withstand any weather conditions such as wind, snow, cold, or rain.

With the vast knowledge about why you need survival stoves, the different types you can choose from, and the features you should look for, we can now review for you the best portable emergency stoves in the market.

Survival Stoves Safety Tips

While all these stoves are great for use in cooking, they all use some form of fuel and produce heat, which means they all pose possible risks.

Therefore, these 17 survival stove safety precautions are worth bearing in mind:

  1. Always read the user’s manual before trying to light and use a survival stove.
  2. Check your stove for manufacturer defects or any damage before lighting them and desist using any stove with the minimal defect. You are better hungry than scorched!
  3. NEVER replace a fuel cartridge when your stove is on. Instead, put out the flame and allow the stove to cool before replacing a fuel cartridge.
  4. Always fill or change your fuel cartridge/canister in the open (not inside the tent or survival shelter) and away from flames. Fuel fires spread fast and can put you at great risk.
  5. When refilling liquid fuel stoves, always use a funnel and ensure any spilled fuel has evaporated before attempting to light the stove.
  6. Always place your survival stove on level ground to prevent your stove from tipping over.
  7. Clear the area around your stove of any inflammable debris before igniting your stove. Both flames and a heated metal stove body can light up debris and cause a fire.
  8. Keep the fuel cartridge or tank as far as possible from the stove to preempt any incidences of a flare-up.
  9. Never light or work on your cooking while bent over a stove. Instead, keep your head and body on the same side to stay safe from eventual flare-ups.
  10. Survival stoves should always be put off when not in use and never left unattended.
  11. Avoid overloading your stove with large pots and heavy cooking. If your stove should collapse, the hot cooking can cause burns and the probability of a fuel spillover is high, which could cause a fire.
  12. Do not dispose of empty canisters and cartridges in the wild as these turn into an environmental hazard. Instead, dispose of single-use canisters properly and refill those that you can.
  13. NEVER use stoves inside a tent or survival shelter with poor ventilation as this could cause you carbon monoxide poisoning. This applies to both natural and manufactured fuels.
  14. If you are not alone in your escapade, mark all fuel canisters/bottles to ensure no one mistakes them for water bottles.
  15. Unless you are sure that your stove or fuel cartridge is tightly sealed, do not carry them together with food containers in your backpack as this may cause contamination. Petroleum fuels are especially notorious in spoiling your food.
  16. Switch off the fuel supply valve and allow the extra gas to bleed off before disconnecting a fuel hose.
  17. Empty your survival stove before storing it for your next backpacking trip.

Best Survival Stoves Summary

Portable survival stoves are a necessity when it comes to outdoor escapades or an emergency bug out.

It is important to have comprehensive knowledge about the available types of stoves and the type of fuels that they use. This helps you make the best choice for your survival situation.

Portable emergency stoves should be picked on a criterion that qualifies them to be durable, easy to use and carry, reliable, and most especially safe.

You can choose your best portable survival stove depending on whether you want a liquid fuel or solid fuel model.

Both designs have their strengths and minuses but will deliver a good meal when used properly.

It is extremely important to follow safety precautions when using portable survival stoves. We do not need to underscore that your safety is more important than a one-time warm meal!

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Hi, I'm Russ!

I've been prepping for a long time, but 2020 convinced me that I need to take it to the next level.

This website started as a way to keep me going forward on the path to being better prepared.

Now, I’m turning it into a complete blueprint for anyone else looking to do the same!
Russell M. Morgan
Telson Survival

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