How To Light A Camper Oven (10 Easy Steps)

Lighting a camper oven can be a little confusing if you’ve never done it before. You might even wonder if the oven section isn’t working at all.

But don’t worry. If the gas supply is hooked up, then the chances are that you have just skipped a vital step. Luckily we have lit a few camper ovens and created this step-by-step guide on how to light a camper oven.

10 Steps to light a camper oven:

  1. Ensure the propane is open
  2. Open oven door
  3. Set pilot to ON
  4. Use a long utility lighter
  5. Press pilot button down
  6. Light pilot flame
  7. Continue pressing the pilot button
  8. Move to the required temperature
  9. Close oven door
  10. Turn pilot flame off after use

A camper oven is very simple to operate once you know how to ignite the pilot flame. There are a few basic steps that you must follow in the correct order, but fortunately, they are straightforward to master, and soon you can be a camper oven MasterChef.

How To Light A Camper Oven

The oven on a camper runs off the propane tank attached to the trailer’s side. The oven does not have a self-striking mechanism for safety reasons and needs to be lit manually. All ovens use a lot of energy, so budget to fill up the propane more often if you plan to use your oven a lot.

Before setting off on a trip, familiarize yourself with the oven unit in your camper so it won’t feel like a mission to figure out how to light the oven while you are enjoying your getaway. It is a good idea to prepare a meal in the oven before your trip to adjust to the much smaller size compared to a regular oven. You may even need to invest in some smaller oven dishes.

To light a camper oven, you must first light the pilot flame situated in the back of the oven. This is an essential step, and once that is done successfully, you will have no problem getting the camper oven to light. We always recommend that the pilot flame be turned off each time you are finished using the oven. 

Although lighting a camper oven is simple, it is essential that you use a long-length utility lighter that you can operate with one hand. This is important as the pilot flame is situated in the bottom, rear of the oven, and you need to light the flame while simultaneously depressing the button on the front of the unit. Wooden matches that you need two hands to strike are not up to this task.

Many utility lighters are fitted with child-safe mechanisms, making it more challenging to pull the trigger on the lighter. If you have any condition like arthritis that makes depressing the child-safe switch on the lighter difficult to do with one hand, shop around to find a longer-length lighter that you will be able to use.

Since you will probably be grilling a lot outdoors, choose something like this wind-resistant long-length lighter that will also work perfectly outside as well as light your camper oven. Once you have your lighter, you are ready to light the camper oven. Follow these simple steps, and your camper will soon be filled with the delicious aroma of oven-cooked meals.

1. Ensure Propane Tank Is Attached

Ovens in campers are sometimes not used for long periods, so check that the gas supply to the oven is on and working well before you start your meal preparation. Ovens are heavy on propane, so it is advisable to check that the appropriate propane tank is full and the regulator is switched to the correct setting to supply the oven adequately.

2. Open The Oven Door Fully

To light the camper oven, you will need to clearly see into the middle of the bottom, back section. You will not be able to reach into the back of the oven through a slit, so open it wide and leave it in a fully open position.

3. Set Knob To Pilot On

On the front of the stove, you will see a setting on the oven button marked ‘pilot ON.’ Turn the knob to that setting.

4. Get The Lighter Ready

Depending on which is your dominant hand, figure out the best way that you will be able to light the pilot flame and, at the same time, press the knob on the stove. Position yourself so that you can reach into the back of the oven with the long-length lighter. This usually means that you need to crouch down next to the oven.

Sometimes you have to cross your arms over each other because the pilot button is frequently positioned on the right side of the stove. Figure out which way works best for you. Once you are confident about the process, it is a snap, but it can be a little awkward at first.

5. Press The Pilot Button In

In order for the flame in the back of the oven to light, the button on the stove must be pressed down. Press the pilot button with one hand while holding the lighter in the other hand.

6. Light The Pilot Flame

While pressing the pilot light button on the front of the gas top, light the pilot flame, which is usually situated in the middle, lower section in the oven. The knob must be pressed down to allow gas to reach the pilot, and at the same time, you need to touch the flame on the lighter on the pilot flame area in the rear of the oven.

Gas needs to flow through the system and reach the pilot flame section, so maintain the flame until it lights. Don’t worry if it doesn’t immediately light up the moment the flame touches the pilot area. You may need to hold the lighter flame against the pilot flame ignition area for a few seconds before it ignites.

Note the pilot flame will not light unless the ‘pilot on’ is being pushed in. It is the action of pressing the knob inwards that releases the gas to the oven fuel line. It is not enough to only turn the button to the correct ‘pilot on’ setting. You need to depress and hold the button in while keeping the lighter flame against the pilot flame section in the back of the oven.

7. Continue Pressing The Pilot Button

Once the small pilot flame at the back of the oven is alight, remove the lighter, but don’t stop holding down the pilot button. You will need to keep the knob in the pressed down position for 10 to 20 seconds. Keep an eye that the pilot flame in the oven is burning steadily while holding the knob.

If you let go of the button and the flame goes out, revert to the previous step and try holding it a little longer next time before releasing it.

8. Move Dial To The Temperature Required

Once the pilot flame is burning steadily, you can move the dial onto the desired oven cooking temperature. Keep in mind that gas ovens are not as accurate as your home oven, so to cook consistently, you will need to get to know your particular oven’s settings and adjust accordingly.

9. Close The Oven Door

Once your gas oven is lit, you can close the door and go ahead with the cooking. You might find that food cooks unevenly in a tiny gas camper oven. One of the things that you can do is adjust the racks inside the oven and keep on manually rotating food to move it to the center where the heat is most intense.

10. Switch Pilot Off

Unless you use your camper oven very regularly, it is always a good idea to keep the pilot flame off. Once you have practiced lighting it a few times, it isn’t tricky to light the pilot each time you use the oven, and it will save you a lot of propane and any possibility of gas leakage or odor in the camper.

Can You Bake In A Camper Oven?

If you have a camper, you probably do a lot of cooking and grilling outdoors. Even if you have a small oven, you might have been reluctant to try baking because of the amount of propane it will use, and most of us know that the heat is often uneven. The bottom of food often burns while the top is undercooked.

But if you are in the middle of nowhere and longing for a batch of cookies or muffins, there are some tricks that may well take your camper oven cooking skills to the next level. There may well need to be a little bit of trial and error when you start, but once you know your oven, you will be able to adjust how you do things.  

Getting the basics right will limit the amount of propane you use and help you create consistently perfect baked goodies.

These are some tips from seasoned campers who use their ovens a lot:

  • Park on a level spot – many a lopsided cake can be attributed to the entire oven being positioned at an angle!
  • Always preheat the oven – you may think you are using more propane doing this, but it saves in the long run because your food is more likely to be baked properly.
  • Make cakes smaller – if you love banana loaf or chocolate cakes, try making them into mini muffin-sized items. Baking smaller items will take less time and are more likely to be cooked through.
  • Place a baking stone on the base of the oven – Baking stones like the range from Unicook are not only valuable for making the perfect pizza or bread, they can be very helpful to distribute heat more evenly inside a camper oven.
  • Use an oven thermometer – camper oven temperatures are not as accurate as regular kitchen units, so consider the temperature setting more as a guideline. The temperature inside the oven can also be affected by the outside temperature. Having an accurate easy to read oven thermometer like this one is handy so you can make the necessary adjustments.
  • Rotate the food – The space inside a camper oven is notoriously small, and the food directly above the burners is more to burn even if you have an oven stone. Remember that opening the oven will throw the heat off, so try to limit this to only once or twice. Turning your baking tray around midway through the baking process will help to spread the heat more evenly.
  • Set the racks correctly – most ovens have adjustable racks. So if you are baking a cake, you may need a slower, more distributed heat than when making a quick batch of cookies. Choose the correct height setting before you start baking.
  • Understand that using a camper oven requires a lot of propane – before you start any baking activity, make sure that you have enough propane to finish the project. Ovens are notoriously heavy propane users.
  • Consider your bakeware – not all cookie sheets and cake pans are created equal, and some will work better at distributing heat through the food than others. If you enjoy baking in your camper oven, it may be worth investing in some quality oven pieces that will deliver more consistent results.


Lighting a camper oven is a straightforward process. The most step is that you must remember to keep the pilot light button pressed in while you are reaching into the back of the oven to light the pilot flame. Once the flame is lit, you can use it and adjust the temperature like any regular oven.

It is always recommended to switch the pilot flame off after you have used the oven. This not only reduces the chances that you may forget it on but keeping it ignited uses propane unnecessarily.

Relighting the pilot flame each time you need the oven is very simple, and making up delicious homely meals in your camper can be a snap. Bon appetite!

Good luck, and happy camping!

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