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Pros and Cons of Induction Cooking for Camping


Gas, it seems, is an increasingly dirty word and there is a big push to replace gas with cleaner, more efficient methods of heating and cooking.

The Victorian Government has banned natural gas connections in new homes from 1 January 2024.

But it’s not just our homes that will be gasless in the future. Some forward-thinking caravan and camper van manufacturers have been making gasless vehicles for years and the trend is increasing across the sector with many models now on offer. Often customers will have a choice of having an induction stovetop inside the van or camper, built-in or portable, as well as an induction hotplate in the outside slide-out kitchen.

Induction cooktop in SPINIFEX CARAVAN

Whether it’s the potential health implications (particularly for those with asthma), soaring gas bills or a desire to minimise reliance on fossil fuels, many travellers are looking at alternatives to cooking with gas and turning to induction stovetops.

What is induction cooking?

Induction technology works through electromagnetism. Unlike traditional stovetops — gas and electric — that transfer heat to the pan using flames or a coil, an induction element heats the pan directly.

When you place a pan on top of the cooktop, it creates a magnetic field that makes the pan heat up. The heat is then transferred to the food. Because the heat is coming from the cookware itself, rather than the cooktop, your pan reaches the desired temperature more quickly, cooking your food faster.

Induction cooktop Camping

So, you won’t actually see that your induction stove is working until you add food to the pan.

There are plenty of benefits in choosing induction cooking over gas. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons.


Safer: For families with young kids, safety is one of the biggest reasons to go with induction over gas. Even when it’s operating an induction cooktop will stay cool to the touch, reducing the risk of accidental burns. However, remember that the pot or pan itself will still get hot. Open flame in the confined space of a caravan or camper also means that you must have the space well-ventilated.

Healthier: There’s conclusive evidence that gas cooktops contribute significantly to poor respiratory health, particularly for children and the elderly. Gas stoves emit pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide (NO₂), which is a respiratory irritant linked to asthma.

They also release carbon monoxide (CO), a toxic gas that can cause acute or chronic health issues, hence the need for good ventilation while cooking inside. Gas cookers can also leak methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Quicker and more efficient: A test undertaken by CHOICE found that it took just 2.37 minutes to bring a one-litre pot of water to the boil on an induction cooktop, while the gas cooktop took more than four minutes. Induction is superior when it comes to efficient cooking. Energy is directed into the cookware base instantly, transferring with approximately 85 per cent efficiency, compared to cooktops that transfer energy via gas-powered heating elements operate at an efficiency of 32 per cent. When there are hungry hoards waiting for dinner, faster cooking is a good thing. 

Convenient: A single induction hotplate is portable and lightweight compared to the weight of a couple of gas bottles on the front of your van or camper. They are easy to set up inside or outside and you don’t have to worry about cooking in windy conditions which is a hassle when the gas flame under your pot keeps getting blown out.

External kitchen, Induction cooktop SPINIFEX CARAVANS

Inexpensive: The price of a single, portable induction cooktop has come down significantly in recent years. You can pick up a portable hotplate at Kmart for as little as $50 these days but work out your cooking requirements and do your research before you buy.

Easier to clean: Anyone who has spent hours trying to clean those fiddly burners and trivets on a gas cooktop will find cleaning an induction cooktop a breeze. With their knob-free, smooth glass surface, induction cooktops are generally much easier to clean. A wipe with a microfibre cloth — nothing too abrasive — will do the trick.


240V power: Induction cooktops need a 240V power source which is fine if you’re hooked up to mains power in a caravan park and the like. However, when you’re free camping off-the-grid you’ll need some battery power and an inverter in your rig to do the cooking.

To run an induction cooktop, you’ll need an inverter that can provide at least 1200 to 1800 watts of power. If your induction cooktop has a higher wattage, consider using a heavier-duty inverter. Here are some guidelines:

  • Induction Cooktop Wattage: Most induction cooktops typically range from 1200 to 1800 watts. Ensure your inverter can handle at least this much power.
  • Inverter Capacity: For an 1800W induction cooktop, a 3000W inverter is recommended. This inverter has a continuous output rate of 2400W, allowing you to use other appliances simultaneously without any issues.

New cookware: You will need compatible cookware. Induction cooktops work by producing an electromagnetic field, creating energy that heats your cookware. So, your pots and pans need a ferromagnetic base to work on an induction cooktop. Most induction-ready pans are made from stainless steel. But there are also aluminium ones with a stainless-steel bottom.

A quick way to check is to stick a magnet on the underside of the pan. If the magnet sticks, it’s induction-ready. If it sticks weakly or doesn’t stick at all, you’ll have to buy a new set of pans for induction cooking.

Next steps

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  • Ian Weal: December 06, 2023

    Induction comes into it’s element when the wind is blowing, a gas cooker losses so much heat and cooking time drawn out.
    We utilise induction for quick cookup, stir-fry, sausages, scrambled eggs, steaks etc as long drawn out cooking processes drain too much battery power.
    If we won’t a roast our compact camp oven placed on butane gas cooker, silverside, pickled pork a compact pressure cooker placed on butane burner.
    If we are on shore power induction all the time, we carry two induction cookers for occassions such as these.
    Cool touch surfaces ideal safety measure also, wipe clean instantly, pack away clearing area for cleaning dishes after eating. Butane cooker retains a lot of heat.
    Induction is a game changer, so compact, light and super efficient.

  • Rudi Helderman: November 30, 2023

    One aspect where induction comes in its own if your travelling when there is a total fire ban including gas & petrol stoves. That’s when you thank your lucky stars you have induction. I always carry an induction stove when travelling out in the bush.

  • John Griffiths: November 29, 2023

    You can buy a metal plate that goes under non-induction pots/pans so that they can still be used on and induction stovetop.

  • Ron Groves: November 29, 2023

    A lot of battery electric vehicles (EV’s) have vehicle to load . Mine has 230Volt @ 10A available for powering mains electrical appliances and can handle 1800W induction cook tops.
    Thank you. From Ron.

  • Neil Towner: November 29, 2023

    Good information on induction cooking, will definitely look at purchasing one to add to the van for times in van parks – thanks Hema

  • Glen Elliott : November 29, 2023

    Very interesting will have to check it out

  • Ben Zietsch: November 29, 2023

    I’ve had an induction cooktop now for about 2 years, I’ve got a 3000w inverter to supply power to it. When I 1st got it I only had 1×120Ah AGM Battery, wasn’t enough, but now have 2×120Ah AGM batteries, and only run on solar, plenty enough to run cooktop, lights, fridge, fan, bug zapper etc, and I’m only in a Ute. Luv the off grid camping, outback Australia. #AliceSprings

  • Ian Branch: November 29, 2023

    How do I grill tomato & cheese on toast? ;-)

  • Colin Organ: November 29, 2023

    2400 watts is a big drain on the batteries if you intend to cook regularly off grid especially in poor weather where the solar will struggle to top up the batteries.

  • Chris Baker: November 29, 2023

    Hii Hema, most camping stoves use LPG, which is a mixture of propane and butane, they do not use methane, which is natural gas as is found in home appliances and has a GWP of 28 according to the IPCC on a 100 years warming basis. Propane and Butane also emit CO2 when burnt but not methane.

  • Adrian: November 29, 2023

    The magnetic fields of induction cookers can interfere with a persons medical
    Beware of the unknown.

  • Barry Porter: November 29, 2023

    Unfortunately when you go bush a lot of simple camping sites are lights and fridge only power source. Examples are Arkaroola (SA), Crab Claw (NT) and Pardoo (WA). Also as an organiser of several large (400+ camps) in country towns where power is available we often have to enforce lights and fridge only rules or everyone has the circuit breakers go off. We personally always carry a 4.5kg cylinder and portable bench top gas stove for these situations. I can’t understand why people are not prepared for unusual but reasonably common occasions And if you are camped for a few days the battery/ inverter option just can’t handle it.

  • John McMillan: November 29, 2023

    I use induction cooking in my home. Also have an induction hot plate for camping which requires 240. Off grid I use Coleman petrol stoves, a twin burner and a single burner. These work quite well once you’re used to them. Very high heat coefficient, as quick as induction and light years ahead of gas. Only gas I carry is to run my caravan fridge. Engels in my vehicle. Sometimes caravan fridge doesn’t get a look in!😂

  • Graham : November 29, 2023

    NOT recommended for use by people with pacemakers.

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