Camping stoves come in a number of configurations and use different types of fuels. Many camp stoves come apart into separate pieces to make them more compact for travel. They usually consist of a burner, pot stand, and stove feet to keep things from tipping over. The most common fuel types are butane or propane which come in preloaded disposable canisters, white gas (commonly known as Coleman fuel), and multi-fuel.
The camp stoves that are rated multi-fuel normally use white gas, unleaded gas (like you use in your car), kerosene, and sometimes alcohol. Fuel for a multi-fuel stove is always easy to find and less expensive. The butane/propane stoves have a burner unit that attaches to the disposable fuel canister. Depending on the time you plan to spend camping you can bring multiple canisters. There are also lantern attachments that use the same fuel so you can dual-use the fuel canister.
There is also a stove called a “jetboil” that has an insulated cooking pot that attaches right to the burner eliminating the need to carry a cooking pot. One of the advantages of this type of stove is that they burn cleaner than the other types of fuel reducing sooting problems in the burner.
White gas and multi-fuel stoves come with either a fuel tank that is permanently attached to the burner unit or a fuel bottle that attaches via a fuel line. I prefer the type that attaches via a fuel line as you can store your fuel tank somewhere in your pack less likely to cause havoc if it happens to leak. The drawback to a multi-fuel stove is that they tend to burn sootier as you use the less refined fuels, i.e. white gas burns cleaner than kerosene.
Some multi-fuel stoves come with a built-in a needle that allows you to clean the jet in the burner by shaking the stove. They can sometimes be a bit fussy, but once you learn how to use and maintain them they can be quite economical and dependable.
An alternative to carrying a stove is to use chemical fuel bars. These are individually wrapped bars of flammable materials about half the size of a candy bar. These are more for small jobs like warming up some water for hot cocoa, tea or instant coffee.
They are not practical for cooking meals. These work well with a military one-quart canteen set. This includes a plastic canteen, cloth canteen carrier, canteen cup that nests on the bottom of the canteen, and a canteen stove that nests on the canteen cup.
The stove is just a piece of aluminum that attaches to the bottom of the cup to hold it up off the ground. You then light a fuel bar and place the cup and stove over it for heating. Nice for a quickie hot drink or instant oatmeal when you don’t want to drag out your stove.