After a long day of hiking, there aren’t many things that feel as good as a hot meal at your campsite. During the day, energy bars and trail mix are good ways to stop feeling hungry, but you’ll want something a little more filling when it’s time to relax for the night. A reliable camp stove lets you make meals, snacks, and hot drinks, which makes your time in the backcountry much more fun. These days, most backpacking stoves tend to meet the requirements, but which one is the best backpacking stoves for you?
Difference Between a Backpacking and Camping Stove?
The first and most important way to tell what kind of outdoor stove you need depends on whether you’re backpacking or car camping.
When you go backpacking, you go into the wilderness with a backpack that has everything you need to stay alive. Backpacking gear is usually smaller, lighter, and more specific, and backpacking stoves are the same.
Most backpacking stoves have one burner, weigh very little, take up almost no space, and are great at boiling water. Also we have The Best Folding Tables for Camping Outdoor
Best Backpacking Stove Types
You can use many types of stoves when you go backpacking. It would help if you didn’t have any trouble using these stoves to fry a few eggs or stir up a pot of water. Each has its use, and you should know which one is the best backpacking stove for you.
Small Canister Backpacking Stove
A compact canister stove is the most frequent burner and will likely be found in your buddy’s bag. This burner is the essence of modern-day wilderness cooking, named for the little canister of isobutane fuel that these stoves screw into.
A small group of 1-3 persons is the optimum use case for a tiny canister stove. This group will mainly be responsible for heating water for freeze-dried or dehydrated meals, porridge, and coffee/tea. While sure small canister burners allow actual cooking, it is not the usual, owing to pot size and stability, rather than simmering.
- Small and light: Most small canister best backpacking weigh less than 8 ounces, and many weigh less than 3 ounces. They can be tucked into a small size and come with a case to carry them.
- Plug and play: A small canister outdoor stove doesn’t take much time to figure out. Screw it into a canister, spread out the arms, turn the valve to open it, and light the best backpacking stoves with a match or lighter.
- Fast Boiling Times: At low elevation, most small canister camp stoves can boil a liter of water in four minutes. In the backcountry, things don’t get much better.
- Adjustable: Small canister stoves only have one valve that is easy to turn. This keeps the flame going. Many can also do it well.
- Not very stable: Depending on the model, small canister backpacking stoves are not as durable as other types of stoves. They sit on the fuel canister, and their base depends on how big it is.
- Not big enough for big pots: Most small canister backpacking stoves have short arms, so putting a big pot on them is hard. Make sure your pots and pans are suitable sizes for your stove.
- Poor resistance to the wind: Small camp stoves that come in can work well in the wind most of the time. But if there is a strong wind, they will likely blow out. You can’t use a windscreen on them because it would trap heat near the fuel source, which could cause explosions.
- Not repairable: Small canister camp stoves usually don’t break or stop working, but if they do, you’re out of luck. You can’t fix a canister stove out in the field, so you’ll have to eat cold beans until you get home.
Integrated Canister Stove
Integrated canister camp stoves are the most remarkable thing to come along in a while. They walked in with a complete cooking system, fancy heat rings, and water that boils very quickly. Most of the time, these are set up in stores like REI because they look fantastic.
Your backpacking group might have a stove with a canister built right in. Either backpackers who want to buy one thing that has everything they need (instead of a separate pot/pan) or people who want to boil water quickly and easily buy them.
The pros and cons of integrated canister stoves are similar to those of small canister camp stoves, with a few exceptions:
- Time to Boil: Integrated canister camp stoves have a longer time to boil. The water can boil faster because the furnace has a heat exchanger and a radiant burner that screw into it.
- Fuel Efficiency: Best backpacking stoves with canisters built-in use fuel more efficiently. Again, this is because the heat exchanger uses less fuel to bring water to a boil in the same quantity of time or less.
- Against the wind: Most integrated canister camp stoves have a windscreen built in and sit above where the fuel comes from. This makes them great for places with a lot of wind or when the weather makes you nervous.
- All-in-one: Many people buy these stoves not because they are the best backpacking stoves but because they have everything you need. You can’t buy a stove and a pot separately; you must purchase a canister stove with a bank or a cup. This also means that it fits perfectly into itself.
- More expensive: You have to pay for the extra hardware, the unique idea, and the heat exchanger that looks cool.
- Heavier: Small canister stoves are as simple as a stove, but integrated canister stoves are complex units with everything you need. They are heavy, and with all the extras, they stand out more in your pack.
- Unstable: The integrated canister stove is expensive, fancy, and very tall, just like a skyscraper. Even though they do an excellent job of keeping the fire from going out when it’s windy, they’re too tall to stand still. A careless hand could quickly push the whole stove over, which would ruin the food and be dangerous.
- Do not cook real food: So that water could boil quickly, and integrated canister stoves were made. They aren’t known for standing able to cook full feasts in the backcountry, which usually requires a stove that can simmer.
Remote Canister Stoves
Remote canister camp stoves are the cousin of the canister stove family that doesn’t get as much attention. They add a slight twist to a model you’re already familiar with.
A remote canister stove is a small canister stove with a fuel line added to it. This lets the remote canister stove sit flat on the ground by itself and keep the fuel away from the stove.
Most backcountry setups don’t have these, but the author of this book thinks they should. They are often a little heavier and cost more than small canister stoves.
The small canister stove has three main benefits:
- Extremely Stable: Remote canister stoves are designed to be placed directly on the ground. It’ll be difficult to knock over if you find a level area, mainly because they’re low to the ground.
- Wind Breaker: Because the fuel canister is not close to the stove, it can use a conventional windshield on remote canister burners.
- Ideal for Cold Weather: Remote canister stoves were developed for usage in subzero temperatures. The gas does not heat up as rapidly, resulting in a mediocre flame and maybe no boiling water. You may invert the isobutane can with remote canister stoves, resulting in an instant liquid stove.
- Excellent for cooking: These stoves are the best backpacking stoves for genuine cooking because of their stability, wind guard, and use in cold weather. They frequently feature broader bases, allowing you to utilize frying pans in addition to pots.
Liquid Fuel Stoves
Start with liquid fuel to learn about the history of backpacking stoves. White gas, diesel, kerosene, unleaded gasoline, and even jet fuel are all types of liquid fuel. Pretty much, it can burn any fuel.
But liquid fuel stoves stand out because they have a lot of great features. You can find them in the packs of some alpine explorers and in the kits of the expedition and outdoor guides who go on long treks.
They look like small canister stoves and work best when used with the windscreens and heat reflectors that come with them.
- Fixable in the field: The best thing about liquid fuel stoves is that they can fix them in the area. You can take them apart, clean the clogs, and then put them back together in the backcountry. This is something that no other stove can do, which makes these perfect for people who go on long hikes or lead groups for many weeks or months out of the year.
- Many Fuel Types: Those who are used to isobutane cans might not think this is important. But other kinds of fuel are usually much cheaper than isobutane. Most camp stores sell white gas, and gas stations also sell diesel. This gives you the freedom to burn whatever you want. Nicer stoves also work with liquid fuel and isobutane canisters, giving you the best of both worlds.
- Fuel Efficient: When you use a liquid stove every day, the way it uses fuel is the thing that stands out the most. You don’t use as much fuel as you would with a canister stove. This saves you money and weight over time.
- Simmer: Old models, like the Whisperlite, don’t simmer as well as newer ones. But some fancy new stoves are made to simmer, like the MSR Dragonfly or the Primus OmniLite line. We used these as the best backpacking stoves for gourmet meals on long hikes in the backcountry.
- Heavy and numerous: A liquid fuel stove will seem cumbersome if you’re used to a little canister stove that occupies less space than your headlamp. The stove is vast and hefty and includes a heat reflector, windshield, hose, and cleaning components. The bottle and pressure regulator must also be stored and transported separately. It is too much for some individuals.
- Time to boil slowly: Boil times will be equivalent to a tiny or integrated canister stove if you obtain a high-end one designed to roar. However, liquid fuel systems are often slower at boiling water, and you must employ the heat reflector and windshield to reach those timeframes.
- Simmer: We also included simmer in the disadvantages. The simmer of old liquid fuel stoves is not well recognized. They begin with a roar and then go to high or off—ideal for melting snow or heating water.
- Loud: Liquid fuel stoves, sometimes compared to “jet engines,” tend to roar. This has been addressed in current models or with sound dampeners, but it is still worth mentioning.
Tips for Choosing the Right Backpacking Stove
When looking for the best backpacking stoves, you must first consider what kinds of meals you want. If you only want to boil water on the stove, look for a simple model with a quick boil time. If you are a gourmet cook who wants to cook delicious meals while camping, you should look for a model with cookware that can be switched out and simmer.
- The Best Backpacking Stoves Overall (Individual): Jetboil Stash
- Best Backpacking Stoves Overall (Group): Primus Lite+
- Best Backpacking Stoves Windproof: MSR WindBurner
- The Best Backpacking Stoves Lightweight: Soto Amicus
- Best Backpacking Stoves Wood Fuel: Solo Stove Lite
- Best Backpacking Stoves Forever Pick: MSR Whisperlite
- The Best Backpacking Stoves Budget: GSI Glacier Camp Stove
1. Best Backpacking Stove Overall for Individuals: JetBoil Stash
Jetboil is noted for its ultra-efficient design and capabilities, making it our choice for the finest camping stove. So when I tested their 40% lighter Stash, I knew it was my new go-to for fast boiling water on day hikes and rehydrating meals on solo camping excursions.
- stove setup weighing 7.1 ounces (with a 0.8-litre cook pot)
- Jetboil cooking systems are 40% lighter than competing brands.
- Design for ultra-compact nesting
- Ultra-compact design
- For its weight, it boils rapidly and effectively.
- It appears to be weightless.
- Ideal for heating water but not immediately cooking in the pot
- The folding valve knob is fragile.
2. Best Backpacking Stove Overall for Groups: Primus Lite
The Primus Lite+ is a lightweight and dependable burner that provides two containers for a group hiking trip combined with the Lite XL Pot. We hope Primus continues introducing pots and pans that click into the Lite because I’ll be the first to buy them.
- Weight: 14.1 ounces
- Ignitor that operates automatically
- Clicks stove into appropriate pots
- Non-Primus cookware is supported
- Simple to assemble
- Immediately ignite
- It has pegs to connect to the stove to accommodate non-compatible pots and pans.
- Compatible accessories
- Fuel and a burner may be packed into Lite-compatible jars.
- Removing the pot from the stove/fuel is difficult when it is still hot.
- It’s challenging to cook with non-Primus pots if the pegs fall out.
3. Best Backpacking Stoves Windproof: MSR WindBurner
MSR stoves are incredibly dependable, and the WindBurner is no exception. The large, enclosed design of the burner distinguishes it from the other stoves on this list.
- Design of compact nesting
- Other WindBurner cookware is compatible.
- 15.3 ounces
- Wide burner with an enclosed design to keep it safe from bad weather
- It boils exceptionally quickly.
- The enclosed burner works well in a variety of weather situations.
- Other WindBurner cookware is compatible.
- Because there is no instant ignite for lock-on pot, you must lock on the bank while the flame is burning.
4. Best Backpacking Stoves Lightweight: Soto Amicus
The Soto Amicus stove is very light, and we can use it by one or two people who want to pack light without giving up quality.
- Weight: 2.9 ounces
- Compatible with all significant gas canisters
- It suits in the palm of your hand
- Instant ignite
- Lightweight and small
- Can accommodate a big cast iron skillet
- An excellent choice for never carrying unnecessary weight—can take more than one as a backup (as you should)
- Not suitable for a bigger group.
5. Best Backpacking Stoves Wood Fuel: Solo Stove Lite
The Solo Lite is also our pick for reducing waste. This lightweight wood-burning stove doesn’t need any fuel; it only takes a few sticks and twigs to get and keep a good flame going.
- Weight: 9 ounces
- No gas is needed; fueled by sticks, twigs, and grass
- Stainless steel
- Gas canisters produce no waste.
- When constantly fueled, it maintains a high temperature.
- Warranty for life
- Gas maintains a more constant flame than fire.
- The remnant of fire on your pot or pan
- Check with your local authorities regarding fire prohibitions and whether local rangers consider the Solo Stove Lite an open flame.
6. Best Backpacking Stoves Forever Pick: MSR Whisperlite
The MSR Whisperlite is easy to use and easy to fix. It has been a favorite for a long time because it lasts. No matter how small and advanced stoves have become, this one has always been the best.
- Includes stove, fuel pump, windscreen/heat reflector, small-parts kit, instructions, and a stuff sack
- It refills white gas cans.
- 9.50 grams (not including fuel bottle)
- If it fails in the bush, it is simple to fix.
- Greater in weight than modern technology
- It has several pieces, and you must learn how to set it up and prime it.
- You must manually pump the fuel.
7. Best Backpacking Stoves Budget: GSI Glacier Camp Stove
The GSI Outdoors Glacier Camp Burner stove, is sturdy, broad, and perfect for big parties. This stove may also use in the front country or backcountry.
- 5.9 ounces in weight
- Compatible with all significant gas canisters with a 5-inch diameter
- This Coleman-style burner may support larger pots.
- Warranty for life
- Large pots and pans are supported.
- Design is straightforward.
- It does not fold up.
- The valve does not effectively regulate gas flow.
- Metal tabs that keep the arms together are readily bent.
Best Backpacking Stoves
When looking for the best backpacking stoves, you should first plan the length and location of your trip, figure out how many people will be coming, and list all the foods you would like to eat. After that, you’ll know how many pots and pans you’ll need and how to find a good balance between weight and ease of use. For example, if only two of you are camping for the weekend and only want to use a stove to make oats and dehydrated dinners, you should prioritize a light stove that boils water quickly. But if you’re going on a more extended trip with three or four people and want to cook more complicated meals, you’ll need more than one pot or pan and maybe even stronger stoves.
With so many stoves advertising new technologies and models almost every year, you’re not missing out if you still use a stove you bought when you were 17. On some trips, I still choose my first WhisperLite over the newest and best. Because what matters is that you have a stove that works, know how to use it, and fix it. Please have a look at our Deluxe Outdoor Portable Propane Gas
Q. When backpacking, do you need a stove?
A. Yes. Always. Even if you’re going for the night and don’t plan to cook, a stove is suitable for a lot more than making a hot meal. If your water purification system breaks, you must know how to boil water. Also, from the first-aid point of view, you need a lot of clean water to clean a wound, and you should put warm water bottles on someone’s hands, chest, and feet to treat hypothermia.
Q. How long does a fuel canister last?
A. This is a tricky question, so it’s best to play it safe. One full 100g canister will boil about one litre of water, so if you’re trying to pack as little as possible, plan your meals and think about how many boils/cook times you’ll need. Call it one canister per person for a weekend trip, and round up in case of an emergency.
Q. Do you want an extra stove?
A. I would always recommend having a backup stove, especially since stoves are so small and light. How much weight are you losing by putting an Amicus and some extra fuel in your first-aid kit, mainly if all of your stoves use the same standard fuel cans? And when you’re with a group, it’s always helpful to have a stove where you can boil water and cook simultaneously.