Is It Safe To Use A Camping Stove Indoors?

Camping stove

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Camping stoves are a staple in the camping community. They offer a great, portable way to have an effective cooking stove while out in the field.

Most people will use these stoves outdoors where there are no issues with ventilation. However, many people also use these inside their RV as a way to cook meals when they can’t be outdoors or just don’t want to be.

Is this safe?

Using a camping stove indoors is not recommended but can be done if used in a properly ventilated area. You should also take precautions to have a carbon monoxide detector nearby as a way of detecting any deadly fumes that may be present.

I would not suggest using a portable camping stove indoors when you do not have ventilation. This could be dangerous and should be avoided. Always make sure you have proper ventilation before lighting a camping stove.

The main problem with using camping stoves is the carbon monoxide that results from incomplete combustion. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas and doesn’t have a smell so you may think everything is okay even while the room is filling up with it.

Only a quality carbon monoxide detector can detect and alert you that carbon monoxide is in the area. In this case, you can ventilate the area and leave until the gas has dissipated.

In all my years of camping, I have never had an issue with a camping stove. I use my stove on my kitchen counter inside my van but I always have my side door open and my roof vent pulling air out while I’m using it.

I make sure that the area always has air moving and escaping the van before I use my stove. The Maxxair fan that I have installed in my roof makes this easy. It pulls air in from the outside through the windows and then pushes it out of the roof, keeping a constant supply of fresh air in the van.

Carbon monoxide doesn’t have a chance to build up in a case like this. If it is in the air, it is quickly discharged from the van through the ceiling vent.

I also have two CO detectors in my van. One is very near where I am cooking and the other is near my bed area. I feel safer having two of these detectors on duty. I know that if one of them doesn’t catch it, the other one probably will.

I have never had one to sound an alarm and I have always made sure that my van is very well ventilated before I even fire up my camping stove.

It’s best to adhere to the instructions of the specific camping stove you are using. Many of these stoves have different warnings by the manufacturer and they have the final word on using their products safely.

Many RVs have cooking stoves built-in and these are designed to be used indoors. These will typically use a larger propane tank that is stored outside of the RV.

For those who don’t have built-in stoves, portable camping stoves make a great choice.

The good thing about these is that they can be used outdoors so on a nice day, you can take your kitchen outside. That’s exactly what these types of stoves were made for.

They provide primitive campers with the means to be able to cook a fantastic meal while “roughing it” out in the woods.

Common Types Of Camping Stoves

There are a few types of camping stoves on the market that campers use. They all use the same concept but differ in the type of gas that they use and the size and layout of the stove.

Some stoves are larger and designed to have more cooking space while some are smaller and great for hiking and other activities where less size and weight are important.

Let’s look at a few of these types below.


The most common camping stoves will use propane gas as the fuel that allows the stove to burn. These are usually designed to make use of 1 pound propane canisters that can be purchased nearly anywhere in the United States.

The connection is easy and secure and starting the stove up is a snap. These usually have an easy igniter on them so that you can get the fire started easily. You can cook on it just as you would on a gas stove in a home.

I prefer this type of stove since the propane canisters are so easy to come by. I use the Eureka Ignite camping stove in my camper van and I love it. It has great flame control and allows me to boil or simmer my food.

I use it regularly for brewing coffee and of course, cooking meals.

Propane can be used in very cold climates and can remain stored in cold temperatures when not in use. I leave my 1 pound propane tanks in my van year-round.


Butane stoves are similar to propane ones but use a different fuel source. One of the main differences is the temperature at which they can be used. In layman terms, butane can’t be used in as cold of a climate as propane can.

If you spend a lot of time in cold climates, say below freezing, you are going to want to stay away from butane. You should only use butane if you are in warm weather climates.

However, just like propane, butane also can emit carbon monoxide in certain situations. It’s also important to use butane stoves in a well-ventilated area to avoid any problems that may arise from this deadly gas.

As with propane, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendation for safety when using this type of stove.

These stoves are very safe to use when used with caution and in accordance with the recommendations outlined by the manufacturer of the stove.


This type of fuel is often found in small canisters that are used to fuel small stoves for backpackers. They can also be used in normal camping situations as well.

One of the well-known brands of stoves that utilize this fuel is Jetboil. I use a Jetboil system quite often around areas where I camp or hike. It’s a great system to easily boil water to make coffee, tea, oatmeal or other meals.

These canisters have a mixture of gases in order to maintain a certain amount of pressure in a small lightweight package.

Just like any other system, stoves that use this type of fuel should be used outdoors or in a well-ventilated area.


These types of stoves are among the cleanest burning and most efficient type. However, they can also create carbon monoxide in the process so proper ventilation is critical with these as well.

These are generally small and are great for hiking, backpacking or use as a backup stove.

The Solo Stove is an example of a popular alcohol camping stove.

Tips For Staying Safe When Using A Camping Stove

In case you haven’t noticed, the main safety measure when using a camping stove is proper ventilation. They are designed to be used outdoors when camping. When used in this way, proper ventilation will be used and there should be no issues.

The following tips will help to ensure that you are safely using your camping stove no matter where you use it.

  • Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Follow instructions to make sure the gas canister is connected and sealed properly.
  • Make sure the area is well ventilated.
  • If indoors, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector nearby.
  • Invest in good carbon monoxide detectors. You don’t want to skimp on an item that could save your life.
  • Do not leave any camping stove unattended.
  • Keep out of reach from children or anyone else you don’t want to get a hold of it.
  • Be sure it is a safe distance from anything combustible.
  • Be sure the valve is completely closed after you are finished using it.
  • Let the stove cool down to a safe temperature before putting away.


A camping stove provides an excellent way to enjoy tasty food and beverages while on a camping expedition. They also make great additions to RVs or motorhomes. They are easy to use and can be used outdoors.

Using a camping stove indoors is possible if you allow for proper ventilation and make sure to use common sense. The danger arises when space is closed up and carbon monoxide is allowed to enter and not escape.

Be sure to avoid any situation where the air is not properly moving through the area. If in a tent, be sure the doors and windows are opened. If in a van or other RV, make sure windows or doors are opened and vent fans are turned on.

A carbon monoxide detector is your best friend in these situations so be sure you have one nearby. I prefer to always have two carbon monoxide detectors in case one of them fails.

Dan Collins

I consider myself an outdoor enthusiast. I love to travel and go to places that most people don't get a chance to go. I want to see it all and live life to the fullest while I'm alive. My camper van is helping me to do just that. I write about my experiences to help inspire others to do the same.

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