After a long day on the trail, you’ll want nothing more than a hot meal. As a backpacker, you’re going to need a stove that’s dependable, efficient, and lightweight. Unfortunately, the market is saturated and it can be hard to figure out which one is right for you. So to help you out, we have reviewed and listed the best backpacking stoves for you below.
Comparison Table of the Best Backpacking Stoves
Below is a list of the best stoves for backpacking. Click on the name to read reviews and check prices.
What to Look For in a Good Backpacking Stove
So what is the best camping stove for backpacking? The short answer, it all depends. If you love cold-weather backpacking, then you should be on the hunt for the best white gas backpacking stove. However, if you’re looking for lightweight and simple, then an alcohol stove may be your best bet.
So before you add a backpacking stove to your gear collection, here are some essential things you need to consider…
1. Simmer Control
If you’re only going to be boiling water for rehydrating food then this isn’t a big deal. However, if you’re going to be making actual meals, then you’ll want to pay attention to the simmer control. Many stoves will have either a dial or a valve to adjust the flame height, but not all stoves have this feature.
2. Type of Stove
It’s hard to determine the best stove for backpacking without taking into consideration the type of backpacking you do and in what conditions. There are many different types of stoves on the market and they’re all very different.
a. Alcohol Stoves
Simplicity, price, and weight are where alcohol stoves shine. If you’re an ultralight backpacker, then this may be the best hiking stove for you. The fuel is easy to acquire from any hardware store or gas station along your route. However, their main negatives are efficiency (slow cook times), flame control, heat output, and wind resistance.
Best Alcohol Stove for Backpacking: Trangia Alcohol Stove
b. Canister Stoves
These are the superstars in the backpacking market. They’re great for three-season backpacking as well as being compact and user-friendly. Canister stoves usually run on a mix of propane and isobutane, which can easily be found online or in camping/outdoor stores. There’s no priming or maintenance required, all you have to do is connect the canister to the stove, light it, and you’re all set. While they are very popular, even these have some drawbacks. The fuel is a bit more expensive and they don’t work well in cold weather. Also, if you’re doing a lot of international backpacking, this isn’t the stove for you as you’re going to have trouble finding the fuel overseas and you can’t fly with the canisters.
Best Backpacking Canister Stove: Jetboil Flash Cooking System
c. Liquid and Multi-Fuel Stoves
Heading out on a lengthy trip? Traveling overseas? Cooking for a large group? Going cold-weather backpacking? If you answered yes to any of those questions, then a liquid stove will likely be your best choice. These stoves tend to run on white gas, unleaded gas, or kerosene. For the eco-conscious folks, these stoves cut down on waste with reusable fuel bottles. Liquid gas burns hotter than isobutane and propane, so these stoves perform better at altitude and in colder temperatures. These stoves also allow you to bring more fuel with less bulk, ideal for longer trips. On the negative side, they’re more complicated, heavier, more expensive, and slower to set up and use.
Best Liquid Fuel Backpacking Stove: MSR WhisperLite Liquid Fuel Stove
d. Wood-Burning Stoves
Wood-burning stoves are popular among those who love campfires. If you choose a wood-burning stove then you won’t have to carry any fuel with you because you can use sticks, leaves, pinecones, etc. Before you jump at the idea of making your own fire, understand that these stoves require much more time and care. There are also a few important things to keep in mind when you’re thinking of buying a wood-burning stove – they cook slower, they’re susceptible to wind, wood isn’t clean-burning so it’ll leave soot on your stove and cookware, it’ll be tough finding good fuel if it rains, and they can’t be used during most fire bans.
Best Wood Burning Backpacking Stove: Solo Stove Lite Wood Burning Backpacking Stove
Like everything else in your backpack, it’s important to consider the weight of the stove before hitting the trail. Liquid stoves are typically the heaviest, but all of the stoves listed below are light enough to take on a backpacking trip.
4. Wind Resistance
Wind does a great job of cutting down on the efficiency of backpacking stoves. Alcohol stoves and wood-burning stoves tend not to be a match for the wind. So if you’re going to buy one of these stoves, we recommend making sure you also have a windscreen.
Best Backpacking Stove Reviews
Now that you have in mind the type of stove you want, here are the best lightweight backpacking stoves on the market:
Jetboil Flash Cooking System
Able to boil water in only 100 seconds, this is the best backpacking canister stove on the market. The new and improved design allows for easy vessel connection, better lid function, and simple hold and start abilities. The one-liter cooking cup measures 7.1” x 4.1” and weighs only 13.1 ounces. The bottom cup doubles as a bowl as well as a measuring cup, and also included is a fuel canister stabilizer. It even has a thermochromic, color-changing heat indicator to let you know the moment the water is ready. This compact stove has the perfect level of efficiency no matter where you’re heading in the backcountry.
MSR PocketRocket 2 Ultralight Backpacking Stove
If minimalist adventures are your thing, this is one of the best backpacking stoves you can buy. The stove weighs only 2.6 ounces and collapses down to 2” x 2” x 3”. Included is a case which brings the weight up to 4.2 ounces. The flame is easy to adjust between simmer and rolling boil, and one liter of water can be boiled in only three and a half minutes. One of the greatest things about this stove is the setup is super simple because there’s no priming, preheating, or pressurizing necessary. There’s even a wind clip to protect the flame during windy conditions. It’s fueled by a high-performance isobutane-propane fuel canister, but keep in mind that’s not included. If you need a high-performance stove that doesn’t take up too much space in your backpack, go with the MSR PocketRocket 2 Ultralight Backpacking Stove.
MSR WhisperLite Liquid Fuel Stove
This stove is the epitome of reliability no matter the location or season. The hybrid design means it can offer the simmering capabilities and ease of canister fuel while also being able to switch to liquid fuel for cold weather, lengthy adventures, or international trips. The lightest stove in its class, it’s packed weight is only 14.9 ounces. The unique AirControl technology creates the optimal fuel/air mix for top-notch performance with canister fuel, kerosene, unleaded gasoline, and white gas. It’s easy to clean and maintain thanks to the self-cleaning Shaker Jet technology. While the fuel bottle isn’t included, you will get a fuel pump, windscreen, heat reflector, small-parts kit, instructions, isopro adapter, canister stand, and stuff sack with your purchase. If you’re on the hunt for the best liquid fuel backpacking stove, don’t overlook the MSR WhisperLite Liquid Fuel Stove.
Trangia Alcohol Stove
Super user-friendly and versatile, the Trangia Alcohol Stove is well-known as the best alcohol stove for backpacking. Its packing measurements are 2.85” x 1.75”, and it only weighs .24 pounds. The output is 1,000 watts and it has an eight minute boil time for one liter of water. With this stove you can carry less fuel because the o-ring seals the burner which means evaporation is prevented and less fuel is wasted. Another useful feature is that the simmer ring extinguishes the flame when completely closed and allows the burner to adjust from simmer to full. For those on a budget, this stove runs on Tenol or methylated spirits, which are low-cost and easily available. You can also use it with a gas, gel, or multi fuel burner. The Trangia Alcohol Stove is an ideal option if you’re looking for something simple and easy to use in the backcountry.
Solo Stove Lite Wood Burning Backpacking Stove
This award-winning stove has been named the best wood-burning backpacking stove by Backpacker Magazine. With this stove you’ll no longer have to spend money on white gas or pricey liquid canister fuel, which means your backpack won’t be weighed down by them as you’ll only need wood, twigs, pinecones, and leaves. This stove weighs just nine ounces and can boil 34 fluid ounces in only eight to ten minutes. It’s packed size is 3.8” x 4.25”. This stove has a patented design that enables fuel to burn more completely and with less smoke thanks to a unique double wall which allows for ultra-clean gasification and secondary combustion. If you’re looking to burn hotter fires with less fuel, the Solo Stove Lite Wood Burning Backpacking Stove is a great choice.
AOTU Ultralight Backpacking Stove
A portable stove made to withstand high temperatures, the AOTU Ultralight Backpacking Stove is ideal for ultralight backpacking and camping. It measures 1.81″ x 2.36″ x 3.15″ and has an included carry case for easy portability. It adheres to the “Leave No Trace” principles, so you can be confident it burns clean and shouldn’t leave behind any soot or debris. The AOTU Ultralight Backpacking Stove is compatible with any 7/16 thread single butane/butane-propane mixed fuel canisters and can accommodate pans and pots up to 7” in diameter. It does have a windscreen that does a great job condensing the flame which helps increase oxygen circulation. If you want to be sure you have the best ultralight backpacking stove, choose the AOTU Ultralight Backpacking Stove.
Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium Stove
You shouldn’t be surprised that you see the Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium Stove when you search for the best lightweight backpacking stove since it packs a big punch even while weighing only 1.9 ounces. Its design is minimalist and uses fanned legs as a built-in windscreen. Not only does this stove handle wind well, but it also has a broad flame. It has an output of 11,200 BTUs and can boil water in just over four minutes. You’ll never have to prime or pump with screw on Snow Peak GigaPower canisters. Between features and price, the Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium Stove is more than worth it. If you’re only going to buy one stove for all of your backpacking trips, this should be the one you choose.
MSR WindBurner Stove System
Finding the best backpacking stove kit can be almost impossible, but this just might be the perfect one. No matter what weather you’re camping in, you’ll always get high performance from the MSR WindBurner Stove System. Its radiant burner and windproof design make boiling water a breeze even in the cold. Regardless of the conditions, the Reactor system is the top performer in efficiency and boil time. This stove operates with maximum efficiency as the integrated cookware has built-in heat exchangers to transfer heat to the lock-on pot. This all-in-one stove sits inside its pot for simple assembly and packing. If you tend to camp in windy conditions, you can’t beat the MSR WindBurner Stove System.
Jetboil MiniMo Camping Stove
Versatility and portability combine to create this amazing backpacking cooking stove. Not only is this stove regulated for consistent performance down to 20°F, but it also comes with push button ignition. Additionally, you’ll receive a one liter cooking cup equipped with a metal handle for easy cooking and eating as well as an insulated cozy. The bottom cover of the stove serves a dual purpose as you can also use it as a bowl or measuring cup for meal preparation. This model features a redesigned regulator and valve to enhance the simmer control. The Jetboil MiniMo Camping Stove weighs 14.6 ounces and has a boil time of two minutes 15 seconds per half liter. Whether you’re embarking on a weekend hike or a lengthy alpine adventure, this stove is a great option no matter what your preferred food.
MSR Dragonfly Portable Backpacking Stove
The MSR Dragonfly Portable Backpacking Stove is ideal for extended backcountry trips and offers superior performance even in cold temperatures. It burns a variety of fuels inclusive of diesel, jet fuel, kerosene, unleaded auto fuel, and white gas. It weighs 14 ounces and packs down to 3.5” x 3.5” x 6.5”. The dual valve means its simple to transition between rolling boil and simmer, and it can boil a liter of water in only three and a half minutes. This stove can handle pans and pots up to 10” in diameter, and the suspended burner cup allows for increased efficiency and reduced heat loss into the ground. As the best camping stove for backpackers, the MSR Dragonfly Portable Backpacking Stove will simplify all of your future outdoor adventures.
It can be overwhelming to pick out the perfect backpacking stove for your outdoor adventures. But food is an important part of an enjoyable trip so getting the camping stove which is right for you is not something you want to skip over!