Cooking outdoors – isn’t it just wonderful?

The freedom to cook in any spot – from snowy mountain peaks, to a lake in the summer, a stove in a winter tent to the flames of a fire.

There are many ways to cook your favorite meal when you are out on your adventures, many stove models and different burning methods – and in this guide we'll recap the ways we've used most and what we think are the pros and cons of each.

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The gas stove

Let's start with our most tried and tested stove – and that's the gas stove, or portable stove as it's also known. A top- or side-mounted stove that often doesn't take up much space in your luggage and has a very efficient combustion – as long as the temperature doesn't drop too many degrees below zero.

We like this stove precisely because it's so easily portable and often you can fit both your gas cylinder and the stove in the pot itself – how convenient. When hiking, you need to think about weight and pack size, and that's when this type of stove excels. You end up often cooking freeze-dried dishes, or other meals that don't weigh much and often only require the addition of water, and that's its specialty. In just a few minutes, the water boils and you can add it to your dish.

The spirit stove

Many of us associate spirit with our childhood, when we would venture into the woods with our grandpa or go on a mountain hike with the family and cook dinner on a Trangia stove. Even today, this is a method that outdoor enthusiasts often use. The advantage we see with spirit is that the flame is much gentler for frying. Spirit is also cheaper than gas and the stove is cheaper than a gas stove. The empty container goes into the regular waste and is available at almost every gas station. The spirit burns more easily at lower temperatures (here we are talking several / many degrees below zero as there is gas especially suited for the winter as well).

The downside is that it feels more cumbersome – you have to refill it more often and it can get a bit messy when you're in the middle of cooking and need to wait for the stove to cool down, or if you have spirit left when you've finished cooking. Because the flames are tamer than those of a gas stove, it also means that it takes longer to heat up the contents of the pot. It's also a bit messier than gas – especially if you're not very familiar with this method and know exactly how much to use.

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Multi-fuel

Maybe more of a specialist stove than the others. It's not the easiest to use, but it's incredibly reliable – all around the world. As the name suggests, this stove can be used with all kinds of fuel – everything from pure petrol to diesel, aviation fuel and kerosene – even gas with an adapter. When you are traveling, there is a chance that they do not sell gas cylinders that fit your stove, and with a multifuel you are on the safe side. They are also made to be more easily repaired in the field and do not have as many fragile parts.

A larger gas stove

There are also larger gas stoves with two (or more) burners. We like to use these stoves when we have a basecamp for a while, are on a roadtrip or just don't need to go very far. The advantage of such a stove is that it is a bit more like the stove at home, you have more space to cook on and it feels easier to cook an entire meal for the family or group of friends.

The disadvantage is that it is large and often several gas cylinders are required for the stoves.

The fire

While this may not technically qualify as a stove or a cooker, we would still like to mention the fire. This is probably our absolute favorite way to cook. From the first spark of a fire striker or match, to a hot meal. Here you want to use frying pans, pots, griddles, etc. made of cast iron. This material spreads the heat evenly and withstands the fire's variation in heat very well. We believe that everything tastes better cooked over a fire, and that probably has to do with the smoky flavor and the whole ”ritual” that goes with it.

The downside is of course that cast iron weighs a lot more and is not something you want to take with you on long distances. You also need access to firewood or sticks, which can be difficult up in the mountains or in a nature reserve, for example.

This was a “short” summary of the most common stoves and fuel types and our experience with them, and we hope you got some tips or inspiration for your next meal or stove.

Enjoy your meal!

// Forrest & Indiana - @wayoutbros

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