£70 or £7 Camping stove?

£70 or £7 Camping stove?

In this video I see how a budget camping stove which cost me £7 compares against the premium MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe stove which costs around £70. I compare boil times as well as which is the most efficient camp stove when it comes to gas usage.

Links to all the stoves mentioned are here

Budget camping stove
MSR Pocket Rocket Deluxe

I recommend the
Soto Windmaster Stove
and the
MSR Pocket Rocket 2

Check out Luke’s video for a great review of the Soto Windmaster

Link to the gear I use can be found here (more gear added every week)

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25 thoughts on “£70 or £7 Camping stove?

  1. Ive used a few cheaper stoves over the years and I didn’t notice a huge difference. I mostly use MSR or Primus and never had a problem whereas ive had some cheaper ones start to fall apart on me and when up Kinder Scout and need to boil water I want reliable 🙂

  2. I have some of those cheap stoves, they do the job for boiling water just fine. If you actually want to cook real food; my PocketRocket 2 is great for being able to regulate the flame. To me, the PR2 uses less fuel to boil water. I did recently buy the Optimus clip-on windshield, I still have to test it out.

  3. I have some of those cheap stoves, they do the job for boiling water just fine. If you actually want to cook real food; my PocketRocket 2 is great for being able to regulate the flame. To me, the PR2 uses less fuel to boil water. I did recently buy the Optimus clip-on windshield, I still have to test it out.

  4. Thanks Paul. I just bought a new stove this week from Decathalon for £30, and I was beating myself up a bit thinking that the cheap Amazon stoves would have sufficed. But after seeing the cheaper one perform in the video, I think spending just a bit extra for sturdiness and efficiency was worth it. Especially with the cold weather around the corner. Keep up the great work!

  5. Does anyone know at which valve position these stoves run the most efficient? Boil times and gad consumption for low/medium/large flame would be really interesting.
    A word on the micro regulators: these do NOT increase the total power of the stove. They are a complete convenience feature because they only save you opening the valve manually when the pressure drops. So instead of opening the valve further manually to keep the flame size constant, the regulator takes care of that. Is that a feature I would pay for? No way. The only scenario where that would be useful is when you want a constant simmer while using a near empty or cold canister. But who does that? That’s why I love stoves with a hose connector where you can put the canister closer to the flame to keep it warm or heat it up with your hands or invert it for liquid gas feed.

  6. To be fair, £7 back in 2019 has the equivalent spending power of £90 in 2022, or one hour of having your heating on.

  7. The best stove I have ever used is the Soto windmaster. Very nice flame throw to cook on so no major hot spot. For just boiling water going lightweight on a hike/bikepacking trip I take my cheapo £5 BRS copy and only weighs 23g. That is only good for boiling water though, terrible for cooking

  8. I have both stoves…. i bought the really cheap one when i first started and its been pretty reliable … however with such a small burner area and unregulated gas pressure have found the food burning on the bottom of the pot so simmering is a pain and you have to keep stirring the food. For boiling water the its been great…. thanks for the comparison on these two stoves you really did cover the pros and cons 👍👍

  9. Great comparison video, just goes to show that you needn’t spend a fortune on all the top gear when starting out.
    Personally I fell in love with Trangia while i was on an outward bound course near ullswater back in 1986

  10. In my experience, the build quality on these super-cheap stoves varies a lot. Some examples are good, some are … crap. So if you are lucky, you get a good one that will work fine for many years. On the big brands you can expect all examples to be more or less the same quality.

  11. I’ve had one of those cheap stoves for a couple of years and found it to be fine for me, though I do use an optimus clip on windshield. cheers Paul, take care 👍 🙂

  12. Greetings from Northern California. Interesting video Paul. My version of the cheaper stove was called the Aotu from American Amazon at about $12 American dollars. It looks just like your cheaper stove. The igniter didn’t work and I noticed the flame actually lifts off the top of the burner at full throttle which doesn’t inspire confidence in the quality of the stove as it never happens with my Windmaster. But the Aotu would be OK for the budget minded casual hiker.who only uses it once in a blue moon.

  13. Loved the video Paul. Ultimately, sometimes, we obsess about speed these things cook. Reality is what justifies such speed? We are camping. We arent going anywhere. Shaving 1min and 40 seconds….really? We dont go wild camping to shave 1min and 40 seconds of our time…..we dont go wild camping to save time period….its about stretching out time, enjoying the moment and its surroundings.

  14. Another good video Paul. I have a few stoves, but my favorite is the Soto Windmaster. I also wish it had the pop up supports. Maybe someday they’ll redesign that. Meanwhile, one strong benefit (for me), that not many people mention, is the four wide supports rather than three. I won’t use tri-supports anymore. It’s just too tippy and I got tired of pot/skillet spills. The Windmaster is nice and spread out. Cheers from the Hudson Valley, NY USA.

  15. Great video! Also interesting to note that pretty much all bacteria and nasties actually die at a temperature *before* water boils, it’s just easy for us humans to use boiling point and bubbling water as an easy marker otherwise we’d always need to carry a thermometer! So the little £7 stove will likely *always* do the job!

    Multiple studies show that heating water to even just 72 Celsius for about 1 minute will destroy almost all infectious nasties, or even as low as 62 Celsius if kept at that temp for about 2 minutes! Very interesting to read into, especially when you think of the price differences for stoves with that fast boil time… When boiling the water isn’t even *technically* needed at all!

  16. Nice little analysis there, I was suprised how big the difference was actually. I think the biggest factor with stoves is less about efficiency and more about reliability. If you’re halfway into a 5-day hiking trip and your stove packs up, a saving of £20 is going to feel like a sick joke. I think the MSR pocket rocket 2 is the perfect balance of reliability and cost. I can personally attest to having used mine a lot and abusing it a fair bit and it has never let me down. Recenty I didn’t dry it properly after a trip (think some coffee dregs must have leaked into the bag) and when I took it out on my next camp it was covered in mould and corroded horribly around the valve with that crusty while aluminium oxide. Thought it was done for but I just blew into it, rinsed it in the loch and it fired up perfectly without me even drying it! I wouldn’t expect that from a cheap stove. I think stoves are a bit like sunglasses though where spending a little bit more gets you a lot but any more than that starts to have diminishing returns.

  17. Paul, good video – worth noting however, a regulator only maintains a constant pressure, it can do nothing to increase it. So if the canister is, say, 50 PSI, the the MSR “micro regulator” can maintain, for example, a constant 40 PSI, but only as long as the canister is above that value. The other property is flow-rate, the cheaper Amazon one has a simple tap that controls this (just like on your bathroom sink). But a tap set to half-open on a canister at 50 PSI is allowing a lot more gas to flow than if the canister was at 40 PSI. That is to say, the “half-open” tap will be delivering different amounts of fuel depending on the pressure inside the canister. The MSR’s regulator will always deliver the same fuel flow rate for a given setting, irrespective of how much pressure there is in the canister. In practice, this is not really that much of a benefit; the reason the MSR performs better is to do with the surface area of the flame, and distance the flame is from the bottom of the cup, I.e. the MSR likely has a bigger flame surface area and is closer to the cup, making it more efficient at transferring heat.

    If you want to be more scientific/ accurate in your assessments of things like this, then give me a shout, I’d be more than happy to help. On the other hand, I completely appreciate that your channel is not about being a science lesson, and the overall results are still the key information that anyone is interested in (I.e. MSR costs more but boils water faster and for slightly less gas).

    Keep the videos coming 👍

  18. Good comparison, Paul. This info is useful to us all, especially to those of us who go out in very cold weather for a few days.

  19. Love my PR2 Deluxe. It’s been rock solid for us on every camping trip so far. Cheaper options however work great for boiling water. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Good review Paul. I bought a cheap one a while ago after one of your earlier reviews, it cost £8 and has really lasted the course, okay it’s a wee bit slower, but it’s never failed to make a hot cuppa for myself and the guys in the field with me. At £8 if it breaks, I’ll throw it away and buy a new one.

  21. Thanks for the video. Entry cost shouldn’t stop someone getting to enjoy the outdoors. I’ve started as many have with the cheap and cheerful, they work (most of the year)!
    I really rate the Soto Windmaster, for 500ml takes 2 minutes to boil with no lid on and costs around £42. The big advantage for me is not on gas saved but time to boil water for a few people. Can get 6 people with a coffee/hot choc 300ml cups in their hands within 6 minutes (lid on) then chill with a drink in hand.
    Superb when taken to the beach with kids/ other people as have done a good number of times. I’m still blown away.
    The rest of the time on your own, you get the benefit that you already have it. By the time you prepare your mug and blink hot water is ready for your drink.
    Performs better than most also in cold temperature and when gas tank is low. Its a little heavier than others, especially the brs’s out there. Pros and cons to suit each one.

  22. I have the cheaper version. Its perfect for what I need as I just lightweight camp in summer. I also use a windshield and a tripod to support the canister. Overall for thd price it is great value

  23. I settled on the Soto Amicus, the cheaper sibling of the Windmaster. It has folding arms that hold my pot steady, a built in igniter, and works better in the wind than a BRS or Alpkit Kraku. There may be better options but I’ve not tried them all.

  24. I have one of those cheap stoves from Amazon and have been really impressed with it. I don’t go camping in really cold conditions and carry a wind shield for use it’s windy. I don’t see the point in spending £70 on a stove just to shave a minute and a bit off the time it takes to boil some water.

  25. Thanks. I have, as have most, regretted not taking a windshield with me with those cheap stoves. I’ve also been in the situation where it point blank refused to boil the water. I now have a little titanium roll-up windshield which makes such a massive difference to boil times, but find myself massively grateful when I bought the Pocket Rocket 2. I think it does go through more gas “per minute”, but in the long run you save gas because it also takes less minutes to boil the same amount of water.

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