Camp Chef Ranger III ($220)

Calling all camp chefs: your portable cooktop is ready
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Table of Contents

Tabletop

Propane

3 @ 17,000 BTUs

25 lbs.

A manageably sized three-burner option.

No windscreen and hard to get an even simmer.

Two burners are sufficient for most campers, but aspiring camp chefs or those who typically head out with larger groups might want to step up to a three-burner stove. Camp Chef’s Ranger III stands out as one of few tabletop designs on the market, which makes it far easier to transport and less cumbersome to set up than a freestanding design like the Explorer above. To be clear, the Ranger is no featherweight at 25 pounds, but it’s reasonably sized and perfectly manageable for one person to carry from car to campsite. And like Camp Chef’s own Everest 2X above, the Ranger III comes equipped with premium touches like matchless ignition, intuitive temperature controls, and a rugged cast-iron build.

All that said, the Ranger III isn’t without limitations. In addition to its relatively hefty build, the stove lacks a built-in windscreen. The burners are positioned low enough below the cooking grate to fend off light gusts (and you can always improvise with items at camp to protect the flame), but the Ranger is far less reliable in blustery weather than many of the picks above. This layout also makes the stove harder to clean, as you’ll have to remove the cooking grate to access the burners (screwdriver required). Finally, many users report that it’s tough to get an even simmer with the Ranger–the burners are very powerful at 17,000 BTUs each, but very few meals are cooked at full tilt. These gripes aside, the Ranger is perfectly serviceable for those who value performance and cooking space over precision and finesse, and the hardwearing build should stand up to years of use.

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