Do you miss warm, delicious, crunchy toast when you are living in the great outdoors?
I used to.
Of course I love crumpets toasted over an open fire, but it isn’t always practical or possible.
Now I have a camping toaster and can have toast any time I want to.
You can too.
A Quick comparison for you: 5 camping toasters
|Toaster||Slices||Quality||My rating||Price guide|
|Primus camping toaster||One||A||5/5||£££|
|Bright spark toaster||Up to two||A-||4/5||££|
|Toasting fork||One||A||4/5 ( for open|
|Highlander folding grill||One||B-||3/5||£|
|Coghlans camp stove toaster||Up to four||B||3/5||£|
How to make toast on your camping trip
With a camping toaster
A camping toaster is a fairly quick way of making toast for you and your family using your existing gas stove. It may take a bit of fiddling around to get perfection, but if you like toast, it’s worth it.
Over an open fire
You can use a grill or toasting fork over an open fire.
Of course, not all campsites will allow you to have a fire. Plus it is a lot of work for a slice of toast or two.
In a frying pan
Pop a slice of bread into the pan and put it over a medium heat. Weigh it down, turn it over and repeat as required.
This method tends to create very dry toast.
To get proper toast, I have found a camping toaster is the answer.
3 Types of toaster you can use on a gas stove
‘Horizontal’ toasters with holes
This simple design consists of a metal box with lots of holes in it and a foldable handle. It will sit safely on top of most gas burners and you pop the bread on top of it, moving it around for even toasting. You have to turn the bread over to toast the other side. Designed for a maximum of two pieces at once.
‘Horizontal’ toasters with a wire mesh
These are based on toasting the bread flat on top of them. The lower mesh is designed to diffuse the heat from your burner for more even cooking. The toaster sits on top of your burner and you move the bread or the toaster around as it cooks. They are small and fold up flat for storage.
These have a plate that fits over the burner, with upright wires that hold the bread. They often have space for more slices of bread than the smaller horizontal ones. The wires fold away easily after use on top of the plate.
How to use a camping toaster
The basic idea is to pop your toaster over a gas burner and place your bread on top. Turn the bread over after the first side is brown, then do the second side until it is done to perfection.
In reality though there is a bit more to it than that.
So here are some tips to help you on your way:
- Only use your chosen toaster over a low flame – this stops the toast being burnt on the outside and raw in the middle.
- If your toaster has a handle, move it into different positions over the flames as you cook. This stops the toast being overdone in one spot. BEWARE though, the handle will get hot.
- Use tongs to keep an eye on your toast. This helps you to adjust the stove to the correct setting.
- With an upright toaster you need to keep moving the toast around. This will help to achieve more even results.
In all honesty, it does take a bit of patience to perfect your technique with any toaster.
Here’s a quick demo of a horizontal toaster in use
How to choose your perfect camping toaster
Here are some things to consider:
Is it easy to use?
Most of the gadgets described in this article easy to use, with a bit of practice. You will need to experiment when using them on your stove. If your stove is designed to heat food fast, you will find it more of a challenge. As you do need to keep the heat low.
How long does it take to make toast?
With practice you should be able to make a slice of toast in a couple of minutes. Or as I have found, you can have burnt toast in seconds!
Is it multi-functional?
People have managed to make toasted sandwiches on their horizontal toasters. Primarily though they are for creating toast. For gadgets with more functions, sandwich toasters and grill plates may be an idea.
Weight and size
If these are important factors to you then horizontal camping toasters are great. They fold up for storage and are light to carry around. But you will only get one slice at a time.
Having one that is not too big for your stove is important, as the toaster needs to stable to be safe.
Easy to clean?
Most can be wiped down or washed up easily.
Some of the horizontal toasters do have a mesh at the bottom which can be difficult to clean. But you can carefully burn the crumbs off at the end of a toasting session.
A few camping toasters to consider
Dimensions: 20cm x 20cm x 1.5cm (8” x 8” x 0.6”)
Weight 220 gms (7.8 oz)
This stainless steel ‘horizontal’ toaster fits neatly onto any portable camping stove.
It is designed to take 2 slices of bread at once.
When you use it though, I would only toast one slice at a time. To get even toast you need room to move the bread around over the holes.
It has a metal handle that can be folded away after use. This does get hot during toasting.
People who like the toaster say it is best used over a gas ring at low heat. They say they have also had success with small toasted sandwiches, as well as tea cakes and crumpets.
The toast should be moved around during cooking. Or you end up with toasted spots with raw bits in between.
On the downside, some people found that the toaster warped with the heat. This makes it difficult to use. They also felt it couldn’t be cleaned completely. As the top and bottom parts can not be separated, crumbs get stuck inside.
- Lightweight and compact.
- Made of stainless steel mesh.
- Toasts 2 small items at once.
- Also good for toasted sandwiches.
- Reasonably priced.
- Possiblilty of warping.
- Difficult to clean completely.
- Metal handle will get hot .
- Will rust is left wet.
Dimensions: 14 x 16.7 x 4 cm (5.5″ x 6.6″ x 01.5″)
This lightweight toaster is designed for cooking bread, one slice at a time.
It folds away easily into a flat, compact shape for storage. When you unfold it for use, the back panel folds down to lock the whole thing in place.
It is made of stainless steel and quite sturdily constructed.
At the bottom is a fine mesh which is designed to help with even distribution of the heat. The sturdy mesh is for the bread – just pop it on top.
The handle is useful for moving the toaster around on top of the burner. It is quite short though and can get hot.
This toaster is quite easy to use. It works best over a low heat. You need to move it or the bread around as it cooks to get an even piece of toast. Do one side, then turn the bread over and repeat.
Some people have said that their burner is too fierce even at its lowest setting. They got it to work by wafting the toaster over the flame. This made it very slow.
You can only make one piece of toast at a time.
The manufacturers say this toaster should only be used on a gas burner.
- Easy to use – makes toast.
- Compact and lightweight.
- Folds flat for storage.
- Well made and therefore reasonably priced.
- Only makes one slice at a time.
- Handle can get hot.
- Fine mesh is hard to clean.
Dimensions: 16 x 14.5 x 4cm (6.2 x 5.7 x 1.5”)
Weight: 141g (5oz)
This little toaster is similar in design to the Primus toaster and is used in the same way.
It folds flat for storage and has a panel at the back that keeps it rigid when in use. The new ones are of lighter construction and do not have the side panels like the one in the photo.
Designed to toast one piece at a time, there is no doubt that this type of toaster works.
The Highlander toaster has pieces of wire to balance the bread on. This works well for bread but not for smaller items like teacakes.
People who have bought a replacement one recently say that the new ones are not well made. They also comment that the mesh for heat distribution is not very secure and has sharp edges. Plus the gadget has a tendancy to fold flat during use.
At half the price of the Primus toaster they are definitely worth considering. But they appear to have some quality issues.
- Good for one piece of toast at a time.
- A cheap option.
- Compact and very lightweight.
- Folds flat for storage.
- May fold flat in use.
- Not of the best quality.
- Handle can get hot.
- Fine mesh is hard to clean.
- Diffusing mesh has sharp edges and is not very secure.
Dimensions 25.4 x25.4 x 10.2cm (10” x 10” x 4”)
Weight 263g (9.3 oz)
This toaster has a coated steel plate with 4 foldable wires. These hold the bread at an almost vertical angle.
At over 25cm (10”) in diameter it is bigger than the smallest toasters, so make sure it is the right size for your stove.
The idea is to pop the plate over your burner and toast one side of the bread. Then turn it over and a minute later you have 4 pieces of toast.
Personally, I found this toaster quite difficult to use.
Despite a lot of experimenting, I failed to achieve good toast.
Too hot and I had burned toast in some places. Too cool and all I achieved was dry bread.
Plus the resulting ‘toast’ tasted slightly of gas.
On the plus side, it was easy to clean and the wires folded away on top of the plate. A rubber band to hold them down helped.
Here’s some helpful hints from people who do like this toaster:
- Heat the toaster up before putting the bread on.
- Make sure the heat is between low and medium.
- Use a good quality stove to get best results.
- Only use on a gas stove.
People who weren’t so keen said it was uneconomical on gas and was difficult to use successfully. Some found that it rusted after a few camping trips.
- Toasts up to 4 slices at once.
- Easy to clean.
- Folds smaller for storage.
- A cheap option.
- Difficult to use successfully.
- Goes rusty.
- Uneconomical on gas.
I had to include this, for all of us who love toasting things over an open fire.
Obviously this is not a fast and easy option for making toast.
From crumpets for afternoon tea, to marshmallows under the stars.
This is back to basics toasting.
This large stainless steel fork extends to 64 cm (25”). So you can toast away over the embers, without singeing your eyebrows. It contracts to 41 cm (16 “) for storage.
The prongs are quite thick and 3cm (1”) apart so it is not easy to make toast with thin bread. Thicker bread and other toastable things like crumpets work well.
It is also good for other campfire munchies like sausages.
Made of stainless steel and quite sturdy, even when extended, the flat handle makes it easy to hold onto. The only tricky bit is getting the HOT crumpet off the fork without dropping it! You can tell I had difficulty with this bit.
Of course you have to be able to have a fire, but a BBQ can work as a fire pit if you can’t have a fire on the ground.
- Fun to use.
- Extendable handle makes it safer.
- Sturdy construction.
- Multi-functional – can be used for a variety of food.
- Space saving – retracts to 41cm and can be hung up.
- Easy to clean.
- You need a fire.
- Prongs too thick and far apart for thin bread.
- Takes time to do.
So which camping toaster?
In reality, there are not that many gadgets you can use to successfully make toast on your camping stove. Each has its pros and cons and your choice will depend on what you want from a toaster. Plus other factors like if you want to use your existing stove or an open fire. I have concentrated solely on toast in this article. There are many other gadgets out there for creating sandwiches and grilling food.
So which one?
Well to me, the Primus camping toaster stands out as being the most useful for easily creating a slice of toast.
People seem to find it slightly better quality than the others too. With no complaints of poor manufacture, rusting or warping. It seems reasonably priced given this quality of construction.
It is an easy gadget to use over a range of stoves, including those with a single burner. And it is lightweight and will fold up small enough to fit into your backpack.
You will have to do a certain amount of jiggling, but overall this toaster does what it is supposed to do. One slice at a time.