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My outdoor pursuits don't normally involve an overnight stay, unless it's a hotel with a golf course attached. Yet there is something irresistibly romantic about the idea of sleeping out under the stars, or at least canvas, after a jolly good trek across the hills and dales.
When the children were younger I used to take them on mini camping adventures, sometimes as far as the back lawn, occasionally further. I doubt that these expeditions would have won them a Duke of Edinburgh award or even a Brownie badge, but I felt they were wholesome activities which would enrich their souls. My reward was more material. It was the infinite joy of cooking and eating bacon outdoors.
A few years ago I thought I might resurrect my camping career, just for myself. I'd discovered one or two pubs in Derbyshire where you could pitch tents in the grounds. Oh, the call of the wild!
So it was that while in an outdoor supplies shop, I spotted the Camp Bistro stove and remembered how years before I'd enjoyed bacon butties alfresco, and realised that this would be even better (and cheaper) than popping into the pub or a transport cafe for brekkie. And so it proved.
What it is
The Camp Bistro (an unfortunate name in some ways that summons up images of a cafe in the Latin Quarter) is a compact, butane fuelled stove that comes in its own, hard plastic carrying case. This makes it easy to store and to transport. At only 335 mms by 290 mm by 88 mm it doesn't take up much room and it weighs in at only 1.7 kg.
When you take it out of its case, it will have been packed with the pan support grid upside down, so flip it and put it in position over the burner.
Gas canisters are easily installed in the cartridge compartment. CampingGaz (the company that makes Camp Bistro) recommends that you use only CampinGaz canisters, but I use one called Mega One. Best thing would be to consult your supplier. There's a safety device that protects against excessive build up of pressure. This can happen when conditions are too warm, e.g. when exposed to direct sunlight for too long. The best way to avoid this is to go camping in Britain. The unit will not work until the pressure returns to normal.
Once the canister is safely installed (there is a manual that is easy to follow), you turn the ignition knob counter clockwise to automatically release gas and provide ignition (no need for matches). The flame is then varied by turning the ignition knob back again to the required level. You extinguish the flame simply by turning the ignition knob back to "0". Once you have finished with the stove, you should remove the canister (well, I do), wipe all down when cool and store away again.
What you can do with it.
This is only a single burner, so don't expect to cook Sunday dinner on it. On the other hand, it generates plenty of heat and will heat the water for your hot drinks, cook your one-pan meal or fry your bacon quite quickly and efficiently. I find that I get quite a lot of use out of a single canister of gas, but you will only really be able to judge this when you experiment for yourself with your own usage.
Safety and Maintenance
I'm purposely not detailing all the safety points, because with something like this it is very important that you carefully read the manual (which is concise and helpful) before you use the appliance. The main points are that you should operate in a well-ventilated space (outdoors), on a horizontal surface, well clear of inflammable material and that you store the gas canisters out of direct sunlight. Don't operate in windy places, but keep any walls or other shelter at least 20 cms away.
Wipe down when cool and keep the burner heads clean with a metal brush.
Tesco are selling them for £16, but you can get them online from £12.95 - £14.99. Argos are doing a four pack of CampingGaz CP250 Gas Cartridges for £9.99. At these prices, I think it's good value.
Clearly, with anything like this you have to be very careful, but so long as you are, then this is a very useful appliance that could make you very happy after a long day's walking, or after a long night under canvas.
Sometimes, I just take it out into the garden and pretend I'm camping.
I know. Big kid.
I invested in one of the these camping stoves at the beginning of the summer to allow me to cook some good when I was off camping. I had always tended to BBQ food when camping, but this was only really suitable for making something for your lunch or dinner. I was looking for a quick and easy way to boil water for a cup of tea or coffee and also something that I could heat up some beans for breakfast or boil some pasta for example.
I picked up the stove from Argos for around £15. The stove is made from steel, which means that it is nice and sturdy, durable and it is also easy to clean. There is also a handy carry case which is included. I find that this makes storing the stove the car or even a rucksack if you are off walking nice and easy. It also keeps any dirt from getting into the stove, which can easily happen in the boot of my car when it's with wellies, tents and ground sheets.
The stove weighs 2.5kg, which isn't light and makes a noticeable different to your rucksack. It's not ideal for taking on a walk and I would recommend only doing so if you feel it's essential. To put the weight into perspective, most laptops with a 15 inch screen are around the 2 - 2.5kg mark.
The stove uses Campingaz CP250 Gas Cartridges which are widely available. I normally pick mine up from Homebase. You will pay around £10 for a pack of 4. On full power the gas cartridge will last around about an hour. I think this is pretty economical as you can boil a litre of cold water in around 4 or 5 minutes, which is plenty of water for a few cups of tea.
The gas cartridges are easy to install too, so set up time is minimal. There is also an ignition system built into the stove so there is no requirement for matches or a lighter. This usually isn't an issue as I would normally have a box of matches and a lighter with me when camping, but a nice feature never-the-less.
I have used the stove on about 4 occasions now and I am extremely happy with it so far. The stove only has one ring, so it probably isn't suitable for large groups or families, but is the perfect size for a couple.
In todays day and age camping is very far removed from its roots of withstanding the elements in a field with no real protection, having to eat out every night, and not drinking a warm drink for the entirity of your holiday. However, advances such as the stove above have changed all that. This thing allows you to heat water, fry eggs, and cook a full meal using just the one hob. It is both simple and easy to use and really makes breakfast on a camping trip something to look forward too, rather than having to trek miles for a bacon sarnie!
First of all, it is not overly heavy. Obviously it does carry some weight, as it is made from metal and is built to withstand the elements, but it is not something which becomes a pain whilst camping or when on the move hiking. It can also be taken to the beach on a nice sunny day and it's something even your child would be able to carry. To operate the product you 'lock' in a gas canister (this is a good safety feature too as if the canister is not correctly fitted the product will not work), you then turn the top upside down which produces a stand for you to place your frying or saucepan, and then light the Piezo ignition. This allows you to fire up the stove without the need for matches or a lighter, something which is helpful if you don't smoke or your matches have got soaking wet over night! The gas canisters are also not very expensive, they can be bought from supermarkets such as ASDA or down local camping shops, and obviously on the internet. The flame is very strong, can be moved up or down to get more or less heat, and even in the windiest of conditions does not burn out and continues to cook your food, a good feature when camping on a windy hill!!!
It is worth having a good look around your local camping or outdoor stores and online to get the best price. I think we picked ours up for about £16 but in can be seen from anywhere between £12-30, so as i say, make sure you get the best deal. The gas cartridges are between £4-8 depending on how many you purchase in a pack.
We have had this product for over 2 years now and it still works as new. The carry case is fantastic as it means that when you are carting this around in the car or when walking to your destination the product inside remains undamaged. It is also very easy to clean and something that i would most definitely recommend.
A classic camping essential.
This little camping gas ring was initially bought for my mother at the time she was living in a village that seemed in the winter to be for ever having power cuts. This meant she was unable to cook herself a warm dinner after work or heat up some water for a drink both of which she used to hate. Now that she has moved we have inherited it and used it for camping and a few time the other week when our kitchen was out of order during a re fit.
This single gas ring comes completed with its own carry case which we found helpful not only to transport it places such as the car or to the tent. But what my mum and I found is that the case keeps it nice and clean and dust free in storage so when you do light the ring there is no initial bad smell as the dust gets burnt off. The carry case is nice and sturdy and protects the ring well and allows it to be stored easily on shelves in the garage.
The single ring has an enamelled pan support which is detachable so makes cleaning the ring and the support itself very easily if you have some over spills as sometimes can happen. The pan supports hold very well a standard size kettle filled with water with no difficulties what so ever. The pan support also holds nicely I found a flat bottom wok for nice quick cooking whilst camping at the end of the day is just what you need food fast.
The ring has a built in "Piezo ignition" which means you don't have to worry about finding matches to light the ring in the dark by candle light in my mums case and was something she found very handy. I found the ignition easy to operate with no problems at all and meant I didn't need to worry about keeping matches dry whilst camping. The ignition is very responsive and the stove has never failed to light on the first attempt for me whether this has been using it at home or outside whilst camping.
The gas cartridges that this uses are easy to insert and have an easy to operate locking system that means it is impossible to insert the cartridges wrongly again a useful feature for safety and my mum found easy to use by candle light during power cuts.
The cartridges that this uses are Campingaz® CP 250 cartridges. These are nice and cheap to buy at places like Amazon and Argos. They are nice and light weight to carry so if you are going hiking they are easy to carry. The cartridges can also be removed before they are empty so that you can turn the gas bottle to make it possible to store it safely whilst not in use or on the move. The flame the gas produces is adjustable this works nicely for heating but there isn't a lot of difference in the flames it is either full flame or half a flame or off. I personally never found this a problem as I was either cooking things fast e.g. water for a drink, wok for a stir fry or just gently heating some beans but if you are wanting a bit more sophisticated than this may not suit your needs. The cartridges give you around 1 hour to 1 1/2 hours worth of cooking so I would always take a few away with us for the weekend rather than risk running out.
The Campingaz website claims it takes 5 minutes and 25 seconds to boil water now I don't know how much water this was but our 1 liter kettle never took this long I would say it was always between about 4 minutes. I think really if you use light weight camping pans and kettles with this stove you will find the food and water heat a lot more quickly.
When cooking with the ring I do notice that it does burn fairly quietly and there is only a gentle roar compared to some camping gas cookers with larger bottles.
The build off this is nice and solid and we have had no problems in the 4 years of on off use of this with any bits falling of or breaking in anyway so I personally would say it is well made and constructed.
I would definitely recommend this gas ring for both camping and emergencies at home during power cuts. It is simple to use and store with there being no possibilities of fitting the cartridges wrongly that could cause problems. The stove is well designed and easy to clean. Retailing any where between £12-30 depending on offers it is well worth shopping around for this camping delight. The cartridges to use this retail around £5 for 4 so it isn't expensive to run either.
My partner took up pike fishing last year and joined a pike fishing club in our area. A big part of the club is going away over weekends fishing and camping out , he has been to many beautiful locks. Most of the camping trips the wife and kids are invited and me and my girls have been to a few the most recent one was easter time. I for one hate camping even though we have the best of stuff to make or trips as comfortable as possible. The group all eat from one big bbq and there is even a chief to cook breakfast and dinner but nothing in between luckily we have the camping stove so we can have coffee during the day and make the kids lunches etc. The camping stove we have is the campingaz single ring stove. Campingaz is a big brand in camp world according to my partner its one of the bests brands for the stoves anyways we have had the camp bistro for around six years now.
I actually bought the campingaz camp bistro from argos, i am sure it was around £14.00. You can buy the camp bistro set in halfords, homebase, go outdoors and seen them in our local millets store a few weeks ago.
Campingaz camp bistro comes in a black hard plastic storage case that had a carry handle on it and two strong clips at the top to secure the case when closed.
The stove is lightweight to carry and only weighs 2.5kg.
The stove is blue in colour with a single ring in the middle. The ring is raised above the flame and does not sit flush on the stove. Its more of a metal support for the pan to sit on and can be lifted of with ease and turned over for storage to sit inside to stove when in transport.
The campingaz camp bistro runs on gas canisters. These can be bought from homebase, b&q any good hardware shops. They don't cost much around £4.99. The gas canisters are called CP 250 and is the most common types of gas used for these little stoves.
The gas canister fits inside the stove, this is to the right side of the stove there is a door or flap to lift and you can see where the can has to be inserted. Fitting the gas can takes only seconds.
On the front right of the stove is a switch this is the ignite switch and next to that is the knob that contols the flame. The igingte switch causes the spark and the knob lets the flame come through. You can control the flame by turning the knob up or down. This is a real simple stove to use and control.
On our last camping trip i took a can of lentil soup for the girls to eat and cooking it in the pan on the stove was just as easy to do as it would be on a cooker. It only took around ten minutes for the soup to be warmed through. I have made hot choc, scrambled eggs. Boils pans of boiled water for the coffee in under five miniutes. I also made toast on a tray over the flame that took seven miniutes. I love how quick the stove is at heating up and how portable the stove is , it takes up no room at all.
Campingaz camp bistro measures around 16 inches wide and 12 inches tall.
The campingaz camp bistro is not only hand for camping but brilliant for power cuts which we seem to suffer alot with in winter, we are just in a bad open area. I remember having a powercut during winter not long after the twins were born and i used the camp bistro to boil the water so i could heat their bottles. Its a really handy piece of equipment.
I think this is a great piece of camping equipment and for us a real must have item. I couldn't be without this stove.
I highly recommend the campingaz camp bistro.
Early last year we, as a family, fell head over heels in love with North Wales. From one impromptu long weekend over Easter 2009 we have since visited the area seven times, it's wonderful as already I feel as though I am revisiting old haunts as well as discovering new places and things to do. This year I did, however, cheat. While both sets of daughters and sons-in-law camped out with my two eldest granddaughters, myself and the other nanny booked into a nearby Travelodge. We pulled exactly the same trick once last year (when I realised my days of spending the night in a chilly van were, sadly, over) so knew from experience that this particular Travelodge has no attached restaurant and the nearest place for hot food is a ten minute walk away.
Anyway, we decided to smuggle a stove in. I must say here, I have absolutely no idea whether Travelodge operate a 'no cooking in the rooms' policy - now I come to think of it, I suspect they do so let this be my disclaimer that I certainly do not condone the use of a cooker in a hotel room! It did, however, make our stay rather more comfortable than the previous year when we had nothing to sustain ourselves but vending machine crisps and chocolate bars!
I chose the Campingaz Bistro stove simply because I have used Campingaz products many times in the past, I was an experienced camper (albeit a long time ago) and have come to trust the brand. The stove was recommended by the camping store and is very transportable in the supplied light-weight plastic case. We looked at several varieties of camping stove before purchasing this one, but reasoned that in a standard Travelodge room space is at a premium so a single burner stove would suffice.
The stove runs off a CP250 gas cartridge, these are generally reasonably priced if you shop around and you can usually find packs of four cartridges for around £5. I bought mine from Go Outdoors for just that price, so don't feel pressured into buying the more expensive Campingaz branded cartridges. The locking feature prevents the gas being accidentally turned or left on, it's a simple lever which I recommend you get into the habit of turning to the unlock position when you have finished with the stove. It's such a simple feature that could help avert an accident, especially if camping with small children.
You cannot fit the cartridges incorrectly, they simply slot into place and the locking mechanism pulls them into a tight position. The Bistro cooker is very simple to use, there is nothing fiddly about the design and it really is a case of turn the burner on and start cooking. This is in stark contrast to the all-singing stove my daughters' were struggling to cook on at the same time in their campsite! The ignition is responsive and I don't think the stove has ever failed to light on the first attempt, granted we were in a windless Travelodge but the initial flame is strong enough that I believe it would cope equally well in outdoor conditions. The burner produces a fair amount of heat; it cooked the beans & sausages, soup and instant noodles perfectly - I did, however, try frying on it in my back garden at home (out of curiosity) and I found it took a long time to heat the oil to 'sizzling point', longer than I would really want my bacon sitting there soaking up fat.
The flame is adjustable, this works nicely for heating but there isn't enough variation between burner settings. It's full flame or half a flame, I had problems heating soup because I simply could not get a level which would hold it at a simmer - it seemed to be either rapidly boiling or not quite bubbling. But then, you do have to remember that this is a basic single burner stove. It's designed to be a compact way of cooking, not perhaps suited to the modern day 'Glamping'. I think back to my camping days when my children were young, this was in the early 1980s and it was this Bistro style cooker you would choose then - but you would live on tinned food for the duration of your holiday. These days people want to cook a roast dinner on their camping stove, and they cope admirably. But it's not really camping, a Campingaz Bistro stove is camping.
I highly recommend it; at less than £14 on Amazon, if you have a camping trip coming up you could certainly do worse than purchase this stove. As I mentioned, it's basic but it works well and is a sturdy camping appliance. The flame is strong even if the stove isn't perfectly level and the unit is compact enough to be placed on most surfaces, the pan support can be turned upside down after use to create a fairly flat stove which is a snug (but comfortable) fit into the well designed plastic case. Do beware of the pan supports however, they are enamel and hold the heat for a fair amount of time after you've turned the stove off. Make sure they are sufficiently cool before trying to put away the cooker, I speak from painful experience.
One area in which in did struggle was to boil a pan of water for boiled eggs, this was surprising as the flame was so powerful but in retrospect I wonder if the pan (although specifically designed for camping) was too heavy for the small stove to cope with. This may be something you need to think about as along with the cooker you could well find yourself having to replace your cookware, not an insignificant expense with the current high prices of camping equipment.
I personally think it was an excellent purchase; in the short time I have had it this cooker has proved to be worth its weight in gold (although strictly speaking that should be 'we' have had it, as the stove was a joint-nanny purchase) . It not only did us a treat in Travelodge but has since been on a school camping trip with my eldest granddaughter (it coped wonderfully in windy Yorkshire), travelled to a German rock festival and borrowed by a neighbour when her gas supply was interrupted. Everyone has commented on how simple it was to use and the effectiveness of such a small appliance, the compact design seemed to appeal to all - and best of all I was able to hide it under the bed when we knew the Travelodge staff were due into our room!
The campingaz bistro is a single burner stove that is powered by CP 250 gas cartridges which can be purchased from most camping equipment specialists, Argos stores or argos.co.uk for a very reasonable price.
The stove costs around £12.99 from Amazon.co.uk and our one was loaned to us by my brother but we will be purchasing a stove later this month ready for our next camping trip.
The stove is stored in a plastic briefcase style box and weighs just 2.5kg when packaged which makes it ideal for backpackers and campers travelling without cars.
The stove itself is blue metal with an enamelled pan support and an aluminium burner. The pan support can be turned upside down for easy storage in the case and must be turned back around before the stove can be used. The CP 250 gas canister fits in a long thin section to the right hand side of the gas burner. It is very easy to fit and can be removed before it is empty so that you can turn the gas bottle around for easy storage and safety when on the move.
To use the stove simply fit in the gas canister, turn the gas button down from off to on and then turn the dial anti-clockwise to the bottom left to the ignition symbol and then the gas burner will be lit. The intensity of the flame can be adjusted very simply by turning the knob.
The stove was very easy to use and we cooked fried breakfasts, beans etc and we even made our own grill tray from the previous nights barbeque tray and made ourselves some lovely hot toast (which I had been missing by the second day!). It was nice and easy to clean as the back enamelled pan holder is easily removed (just lift it out) enabling the stove and the pan holder itself to be cleaned thoroughly and safely.
We used it for a couple of hours in the time we were at camp and we used two of the small gas canisters and were very pleased with the results.
Campingaz do quite a few stoves and whilst I may not purchase this exact model I will definitely be purchasing one of the Campingaz range because I have been so pleased with the quality of their products whilst on our camping trip. They have more deluxe models with additional gas burners and even a two slice grill underneath which means you can make your fried food and your toast at the same time - fantastic.
I am rating this stove 5/5 as for the price it did exactly what we required it to do, it did not cost too much for gas, it was lightweight and very easy to just pack inside our suitcase and I have not been disappointed at all by any of the products in the Campingaz range so far.
A one burner tabletop stove ideal for camping, picnics and one day trips. The Camp Bistro is delivered in a specific plastic case for an easier transportation. It features a cartridge safety locking system, an integrated piezo ignition and an enamelled pan support for an easy cleaning of the product.