The Best Backpacking Stoves of 2019

Today, I’m going to show you exactly how to choose the best backpacking stove.

Start with our choices for the top 9 backpacking stoves available in 2019, or jump down to our detailed buyer’s guide to learn the most important factors to look at to make an informed decision yourself.

A warm meal at the end of a long day shouldn’t be compromised – and that’s why choosing a top-quality backpacking stove is so important.

Index

  1. Best Backpacking Stoves
  2. Types of Backpacking Stoves
  3. Important Features
  4. How to Choose
  5. Accessories
  6. Calculate Fuel
  7. What About a Camping Stove?

9 Best Backpacking Stoves for 2019

We reviewed dozens of the best stoves for backpacking to help you narrow down your choices to 9 of the very best.

Not only are all of these stoves lightweight and highly efficient, but they’re durable enough to stand up to the heavy abuse of long backpacking trips, even in adverse conditions.

Here are the best backpacking stoves for 2019.

1. MSR PocketRocket 2

Weight: 2.6 Ounces

Fuel Type: Small Canister (Isobutane)  

Average Boil Time: 3 Minutes 30 Seconds (1 Liter)

The MSR PocketRocket line of stoves changed the face of cooking while backpacking upon their release over 15 years ago.

Today, the latest generation, the MSR PocketRocket 2, is lighter, more durable, and easier to use than ever before. In fact, it’s our top overall choice for the best backpacking stove in 2019.

Not only is the PocketRocket 2 one of the lightest models on the market at just 2.6 ounces, but it’s also very compact so it doesn’t take up much space in your pack.

Despite the lack of a piezoelectric lighter, the stove is easy to light. It has a quick average boil time of around 3.5 minutes for one liter of water. It also has excellent simmering control for its small size. It even performs well in the wind, although this reduces its fuel efficiency.

In addition to the lack of a piezo ignitor, the sole drawback of this stove are the small pot supports. Combined with a slightly taller than normal fuel canister, this causes minor instability during use.

What We Like:

  • Great Value
  • Lightweight & Compact
  • Durable Design
  • Simple to Use
  • Excellent Simmering Control

What We Don’t Like:

  • No Piezo Ignitor
  • Small Pot Supports

Best Use:

The MSR PocketRocket 2 is best for small groups, especially one or two people, on shorter backpacking trips. Pair it with a small pot for improved stability while cooking.  

2. Jetboil MiniMo

Weight: 12.2 Ounces

Fuel Type: Integrated Canister (Isobutane)

Average Boil Time: 4 Minutes 30 Seconds (1 Liter)

Jetboil is notable as the first big name to start producing integrated canister stoves – and many other manufacturers quickly followed suit.

Their Jetboil MiniMo stands out as not only one of the best stoves in the Jetboil product line, but one of the best integrated canister stoves for backpacking period.

As an integrated canister stove, the MiniMo does have some limitations right off the bat. It’s heavier than most small canister models. It also really only works well for boiling weather, not for other types of cooking.

But the integrated design makes it extremely efficient. It quickly brings water to a boil (around 4.5 minutes for one liter of water). It’s highly fuel efficient and works well in cold weather. Unfortunately, it’s not the best option in windy environments.

This Jetboil backpacking stove is notable for as one of the lightest integrated canister models at just 12.2 ounces (includes the burner, pot, and lid). Also notable are the piezoelectric ignitor for easy lighting and the decent simmering ability (despite its primary design to boil water as fast as possible).

What We Like:

  • Simple to Use
  • Lightweight (for Canister Model)
  • Fast Boiling
  • Ability to Simmer
  • Fuel Efficient

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not Best in Wind
  • Larger than Other Models

Best Use:

Although it can be used for other types of cooking (thanks to its simmering capabilities), the Jetboil MiniMo is best for small groups of backpackers that eat primarily dehydrated meals and other meals that require boiling. 

3. MSR WindBurner

Weight: 15 Ounces

Fuel Type: Integrated Canister (Isobutane)

Average Boil Time: 4 Minutes 30 Seconds (1 Liter)

The MSR WindBurner is MSR’s rebuttal to Jetboil’s rising dominance in the integrated canister space.

For their premier integrated canister backpacking stove, MSR builds upon their MSR Reactor Stove System with the goal of creating an even easier to use model that’s better suited for backpacking.

At the forefront of the WindBurner’s design is its wind resistance. It’s all but windproof with great heating efficiency (up to 95 minutes on max flame). The sturdy overall design further increases its performance in windy conditions.

Unfortunately, this portable stove falls short in one key area – a lack of a piezo ignitor. A staple on most Jetboil cooking systems, this type of ignition system eliminates the need for a lighter. It would make this MSR stove almost completely windproof.

At 15 ounces, the Windburner is far from the lightest option available. Even among integrated canister stoves, it’s relatively heavy. Like most other integrated canister models (with the exception of the Jetboil MiniMo), this model is for boiling water only. You’re not able to adjust the temperature output for simmering.

What We Like:

  • Almost Windproof
  • Great for Winter Camping
  • Excellent Fuel Efficiency
  • Fast Boiling
  • Durable Construction

What We Don’t Like:

  • No Piezo Ignitor
  • Heavier Than Other Models

Best Use:

Cold weather camping calls for a robust stove capable of handling heavy wind – the MSR WindBurner is that stove. It’s best suited for short backpacking trips, winter basecamp use, or lightweight car camping. Long-distance backpackers should look for a lighter and more versatile model.

4. Jetboil Flash

Weight: 13.1 Ounces

Fuel Type: Integrated Canister (Isobutane)

Average Boil Time: 3 Minutes 30 Seconds (1 Liter)

The Jetboil Flash is one of the best stoves for boiling water while backpacking.

Utilizing an integrated canister, this Jetboil stove is very effective at boiling water fast. This is a benefit for those that typically eat dehydrated meals while backpacking. It also works well to heat water for coffee, tea, and other hot beverages. However, the Flash isn’t great for cooking much else. It has a limited simmering ability.

But as far as boil time goes, the Flash stands out on top. It can boil one liter of water in around 3.5 minutes. Boiling smaller quantities of water, such as a single cup of coffee’s worth, takes as little as 90 seconds.

Unfortunately, this portable stove doesn’t work very well in windy conditions. You’ll want to use it hanging inside of a well-ventilated tent if the wind picks up. Otherwise, you’ll sacrifice a lot of heating efficiency.

For many backpackers, however, that’s a minor negative, especially when you factor in the Flash’s lightweight, compact design. Other key features include a piezo ignition and insulated pot. A water temperature indictor will alert you when the water starts to boil (further improving fuel efficiency).

What We Like:

  • Lightweight
  • Compact Design
  • Boils Water Very Fast
  • Insulated Integrated Pot
  • Very Efficient

What We Don’t Like:

  • Only Good for Boiling Water
  • Not Very Versatile

Best Use:

Like other integrated canister systems, the Jetboil Flash is a good option for campers and backpackers that prefer dehydrated food and instant meals. It’s also one of the best overall value Jetboil stoves for 2019.

5. Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0

Weight: 3 Ounces

Fuel Type: Small Canister (Isobutane)  

Average Boil Time: 5 Minutes (1 Liter)

The Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 is an affordable powerhouse of a backpacking stove. 

Immediately noticeable is the lightweight and compact design. At just 3 ounces, it’s not the lightest option available, but it won’t take up much space or add much weight to your pack.

The GigaPower 2.0 is also very easy to use. A built-in piezoelectric ignitor makes lighting the stove a cinch, even in windy conditions. A responsive valve control enables you to boil water (in just under 5 minutes for one liter) or simmer on a low heat. Unlike most integrated canister models, you can cook just about anything on this small canister stove.

This Snow Peak stove also excels in terms of durability. Despite its small frame, it will stand up to all the bangs and bruises of backpacking. Decent-sized pot supports and a squat design make for good stability while cooking.

Other than its limited fuel efficiency in wind (good luck getting water to boil, even in mild wind), the only real downside to this portable backpacking stove is that it’s slightly heavier than other models in the same price range. 

What We Like:

  • Lightweight
  • Compact Design
  • Easy to Use
  • Piezoelectric Ignition
  • Good Simmering Ability

What We Don’t Like:

  • Poor Fuel Efficiency in Wind
  • Heavier Than Similarly Priced Models

Best Use:

The Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 is a great overall choice for all backpackers. It’s lightweight, durable, and affordable. But it’s not the best model for those that frequently venture above the treeline where strong winds are common.

6. Primus Lite+

Weight: 14.1 Ounces

Fuel Type: Integrated Canister (Isobutane)

Average Boil Time: 3 Minutes 30 Seconds (0.5 Liters)

Although less popular than other models we reviewed, the Primus Lite+ is nonetheless a quality integrated canister stove for backpacking.

Let’s start with a few negative points before moving onto the positive. The Lite+ has a much smaller volume than most of the other backpacking stoves on this list. Not only that, but it’s pretty heavy despite its small size (and its name). In addition, the tiny old-school control knob (not the now-standard wire control knob) is difficult to use.

But, despite these few negatives, the Lite+ has a whole lot of positives. What we like most is the no-nonsense design, excellent pot/burner mating, and top-quality fuel efficiency. No matter the weather conditions (wind included), this stove is very fuel efficient.

The built-in hanging system is another standout special feature. This allows you to hook or hang this stove with ease. And it’s a feature that surprisingly few other manufacturers include for free.

As mentioned above, this Primus backpacking stove isn’t exactly heavy – but it is heavy for its overall volume. With a much lower volume, you’d also expect to see weight savings. But that’s just not the case.

What We Like:

  • No-Nonsense Design
  • Great Fuel Efficiency
  • Works Well in Wind
  • Excellent Pot/Burner Mating
  • Built-In Hanging System

What We Don’t Like:

  • Tiny, Old-Fashioned Control Knob
  • Heavy for Small Volume

Best Use:

The Primus Lite+ is a reliable option when space is at a premium (but you can sacrifice a little extra weight). It’s a decent overall backpacking stove for small groups but lacks the versatility to make it one of our ultimate favorites.

7. Camp Chef Stryker Multi-Fuel

Weight: 18.5 Ounces

Fuel Type: Integrated Canister (Isobutane or Propane)

Average Boil Time: 5 Minutes (1 Liter)

The Camp Chef Stryker Multi-Fuel is a burly integrated canister stove that works well for both backpacking and camping.

Right from the get-go, one of the first things we noticed about the Stryker Multi-Fuel is its large size. This isn’t an ultralight stove by any means. At 18.5 ounces with an integrated 1.5-liter pot, this isn’t the right option for weight-conscious backpackers.

But the large size does have its benefits. Most notably, it provides a larger cooking capacity to prepare meals for multiple people at once. The heft also increases durability and stability.

Most impressive, however, is this Camp Chef stove’s fuel efficiency. Not only does it have a decent boil time, but it also uses a minimal amount of fuel, even in windy weather conditions.

A piezo ignitor and large pot handle add to the overall ease of use. Another cool feature is the included propane bottle adapter so you can easily connect the stove to a propane bottle (like the classic Coleman propane bottle) with minimal fuss.

What We Like:

  • Sturdy
  • Large Capacity
  • Easy to Use
  • Very Fuel Efficient
  • Built-In Piezo Ignitor

What We Don’t Like:

  • Heavy
  • Large and Bulky

Best Use:

Overall, the Camp Chef Stryker Multi-Fuel is a fantastic value for an integrated canister backpacking stove. Its high capacity makes it a good choice for groups of backpackers, although the extra weight means ultralight fans should avoid it at all costs. 

8. Etekcity Ultralight

Weight: 3.4 Ounces

Fuel Type: Small Canister (Isobutane)

Average Boil Time: 6 Minutes (1 Liter)

The Etekcity Ultralight is one of our top choices for a backpacking stove on a budget.

At less than $20 (you can often find them marked down to just above $10), you get a simple, durable, lightweight stove that’s surprisingly effective for what it is.

Of course, the low price and small size does come with its disadvantages. Chief among these is poor performance in anything but perfect weather conditions. The Etekcity Ultralight performs particularly poorly in even the slightest wind.

In good (non-windy) conditions, or in a sheltered location, this ultralight stove has reasonable fuel efficiency, boils water fairly quickly, and even has basic simmering capabilities. It also has a piezo ignitor which is a nice touch.

Yet another benefit is the overall compactness. The Etekcity Ultralight is a minimalist stove that folds up very small. Despite this, it’s relatively stable (especially with a larger fuel canister) and has decent-sized pot supports. 

What We Like:

  • Inexpensive
  • Durable Construction
  • Easy to Use
  • Piezo Ignitor
  • Compact Size

What We Don’t Like:

  • Unstable (Depending on Fuel Canister)
  • Poor Performance in Cold and/or Wind

Best Use:

The Etekcity Ultralight is best for solo backpackers on a budget. It also makes a good emergency stove for your home emergency kit.

9. Solo Stove Lite

Weight: 9 Ounces

Fuel Type: Wood

Average Boil Time: 10 Minutes (1 Liter)

The Solo Stove Lite is the only wood-burning backpacking stove on our list.

Although there might be minor crossover, this in itself sets this stove apart from the others on our list – the target market isn’t your typical backpacker.

In fact, this Solo stove is best for those planning to spend a lot of time in the woods without the opportunity to resupply on a traditional fuel source.

Thanks to its double-walled, natural convection, gasifier design, this backpacking wood stove is actually highly efficient as long as you have a steady supply of dry wood. It also poses minimal environmental impact and even creates a cozy atmosphere while in use.

Of course, this stove’s unique design means it has plenty of drawbacks for traditional backpackers and campers. Chief among these is weight. Although using wood as a natural fuel source means you don’t have to carry your own fuel, the weight savings really don’t amount to all that much since the stove weighs 9 ounces itself.  

What We Like:

  • Very Efficient
  • No Need to Carry Fuel
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Integrated Pot Stand
  • Durable Construction

What We Don’t Like:

  • Long Boil Time
  • Not Much Saved Weight 

Best Use:

If you’re headed into the woods and prefer not to carry fuel, the Solo Stove Light is a good choice for you. It’s also a good option for those that like to have a small, contained campfire each night with a minimal environmental impact.


Types of Backpacking Stoves

Start your search for the best stove for backpacking by first narrowing down which type of stove best suits your needs and preferences.

The four main types of backpacking stoves are:

Here’s what you need to know about each.

Small Canister Stoves

Our Top Rated Small Canister Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket 2

A small canister stove consists of a very small burner with pot supports that screws onto a small fuel canister.

Their main benefit is their lightweight and compact size which makes them perfect for backpackers that want to shed every ounce of excess weight.

Not only that, but small canister stoves are reliable and easy to use. They’re fairly versatile thanks to their adjustable temperature controls which enables quick boiling as well as simmering. You can use them with different types of cookware.

The main drawback is poor performance in wind. You’ll need to cook in a well-sheltered area or in a well-ventilated tent for the best results.

* Note that windscreens should not be used with most small canister stoves because they can cause an excessive buildup of heat near the fuel canister which can lead to an explosion.

What We Like:

  • Lightweight
  • Adjustable Flame for Temperature Control
  • Easy to Use

What We Don’t Like:

  • Poor Wind Resistance
  • Small Models Are Often Unstable

Best Use:

I find small canister stoves a good all-around choice for backpacking. Thanks to the ability to control the temperature, you can cook a wide variety of delicious camping meals for small groups of people.

Integrated Canister Stoves

Our Top-Rated Integrated Canister Stove: Jetboil MiniMo

An integrated canister stove combines the burner with an integrated pot that screws onto a small fuel canister.

The integrated design of the pot and burner allows for improved heat exchange. These stoves are among the most fuel-efficient models. They also have the best fuel efficiency. Insulation on the built-in pots further improves fuel efficiency. The seamless connection between burner and pot allows for good performance in windy conditions.   

Although Jetboil popularized this style, several other big-name manufacturers have started to make integrated canister models of their own.

Do note that while these stoves are great at boiling water quick, that’s typically just about all they do well. They don’t have much temperature control and you can’t replace the built-in pot, so you’re limited to cooking foods like dehydrated meals and noodles.  

What We Like:

  • Fuel Efficient
  • Quick at Boiling Water
  • Works Well in Wind

What We Don’t Like:

  • Lack of Versatility
  • Heavier than Small Canister Models

Best Use:

I like to use an integrated canister stoves for solo backpacking trips. They’re not the best option for large groups or those who want to eat a variety of different meals. That said, they’re my top choice for winter camping thanks to their excellent performance in cold and wind.

Liquid Fuel Stoves

Our Top-Rated Liquid Fuel Stove: MSR WhisperLite

A liquid fuel stove connects to a refillable fuel bottle via a regulator hose and typically runs on white gas.

Not only are they the most versatile stoves for backpacking, but many can even use multiple types of fuel. White gas is the primary type of fuel used, although some multi-fuel models can safely use kerosene, unleaded gasoline, and diesel in a pinch.

Liquid fuel stoves have great simmering ability. You can use a variety of cookware to prepare just about any type of backpacking meals you desire. Because the detached canister allows the stove to be placed on the ground, these are also the most stable models available.

Furthermore, these make great mountaineering stoves. They work well in wind and very cold temperatures. They are also one of the best stoves at high elevations.  

The main downside to this type of stove is their bulk. Liquid fuel models are among the heaviest around and don’t pack down small at all. Regular maintenance is often required, which means you must add even more weight to your pack by bringing a small toolkit and a handful of replacement parts for long trips. 

What We Like:

  • Versatile
  • Stable Design
  • Great for Cold, Wind, and High Altitude

What We Don’t Like:

  • Heavy and Bulky
  • Regular Maintenance is Required

Best Use:

Personally, I stay away from liquid fuel stoves as they don’t match my preferred style of backpacking (short to medium trips solo or with a small group).

However, they are still a good option for mountaineers and others adventuring in cold weather climates. They also work well for expedition-style backpacking trips with large groups entering the wilderness for multiple weeks.

Although we didn’t choose any liquid fuel models for our best backpacking stoves of 2019, I can recommend the MSR Whisperlite and MSR Dragonfly as two quality models.

Alternative-Fuel Stoves

Our Top-Rated Wood-Burning Stove: Solo Stove Lite

There are a few different types of alternative-fuel stoves for backpacking.

Alcohol stoves use denatured alcohol. This inexpensive fuel is easy to find. Although these stoves are lightweight and convenient, a windscreen is a must in even minor wind.

Solid-fuel stoves use small fuel tablets. These tablets are inexpensive and can often be reused multiple times each. The stoves themselves are compact and lightweight. 

Wood-burning stoves use twigs, leaves, and tinder to burn. In addition to their lightweight and compact design, the biggest benefit is that you don’t need to carry fuel with you. However, it can be difficult to find dry materials to burn if you’re camping in the rain.

All three types of alternative-fuel stoves are far less versatile than small canister, integrated canister, and liquid fuel models, but they still work well for some niche backpackers.

What We Like:

  • Lightweight
  • Inexpensive
  • Simple Design

What We Don’t Like:

  • Not Versatile
  • Not Good for Multiple People

Best Use:

Some ultralight backpackers prefer alternative-fuel stoves because of the lightweight and compact design. Thanks to the wide availability (and cheap price) of denatured alcohol, alcohol stoves are especially popular among thru-hikers.

It’s even possible to make your own DIY alcohol stove from a soda can.


Most Important Features

Now that you know which type of backpacking stove is best for you, it’s time to consider a number of additional factors that influence how the stove performs in the field.

Size & Weight

The best backpacking stoves are lightweight and compact.

Many of the lightest models, including our top-rated MSR PocketRocket 2, weigh under 3 ounces and pack down very small.

Small canister stoves like these are usually lighter than integrated canister models. But do remember that the weight of an integrated canister stove also takes the built-in heating pot into account.

Remember that you must also take the weight of the fuel canister and the fuel itself into account.

For this reason, it’s important to consider overall fuel efficiency in addition to weight. A more fuel-efficient stove requires less fuel thereby adding less overall weight to your pack.

Fuel Efficiency

The fuel efficiency of your backpacking stove relates to how much fuel it burns while in use.

Although this is an important feature to consider, it’s best to choose the stove that works best for the expected conditions, even if it’s not the most efficient model.

For example, some outdoor stoves don’t perform well in wind. Even mild wind greatly reduces their fuel efficiency. So, it’s better to opt for a model that works well in inclement weather over the most fuel-efficient model overall.

It’s also important to consider burn time and boil time.

Burn time is how long you can use the stove with a certain amount of fuel. This figure is usually calculated while running the stove on its maximum output in manufacturer specifications.

Just as important is average boil time. Although affected by different weather conditions, a quicker boil time is not only ideal when you’re hungry or ready for a hot drink, but also directly correlates to fuel efficiency.

Convenience Features

Most backpacking stoves incorporate at least a handful of additional features into their design to improve ease of use.

Here are a few of the most common convenience features:

  • Piezo Ignitor – A push-button ignition system that produces a spark to light the stove without a lighter or matches. (But remember to always carry a fire starter as backup.)
  • Canister Stabilizers – “Feet” that attach to the bottom of the fuel canister to provide additional stability while cooking.
  • Pot Supports – Support arms above the burner designed to place your cookware on top. Models with large pot supports are slightly heavier but provide more stability while cooking. 

Personally, I prefer a backpacking stove with a built-in piezo ignitor, so I don’t always have to use a lighter to start it. This quick-start design is also a godsend in windy conditions.


How to Choose the Best Backpacking Stove

Far more important than choosing one of our top backpacking stoves is finding the model that best suits your needs and preferences.

Start by assessing and prioritizing your needs. In particular, think about your preferred style of backpacking as well as the range of conditions and types of terrain you’ll experience. You should also look for a model suitable for cooking your favorite types of backpacking meals.   

Make sure to consider about the following factors while looking for a new stove.

Party Size

Many backpacking stoves are best suited for solo or two-person backpacking trips.

This is especially true of lightweight integrated-canister models that come with a built-in heating pot. You can only cook a certain amount in these at once.

Small canister stoves are typically far more versatile in this regard. You use your own cookware and some models support fairly large pots and pans. However, these stoves are still best for between two and four backpackers.

Liquid fuel stoves work well for larger groups. Not only are they highly efficient, but they typically accommodate larger pots than other backpacking models.

Another option for large groups is a cooking stove. Although these are likely too large for most backpackers, they do get the job done if you’ll have a backpacking base camp for the duration of your trip.

Of course, you can always bring multiple outdoor stoves when backpacking with a larger party.

Length of Trip

Long trips require more fuel if you want to eat warm meals the entire time!

So, make sure to select a backpacking stove that’s highly fuel efficient. This allows you to get more use out of the same amount of fuel – without all the extra weight.

At the same time, longer trips require a very reliable model. This is especially true if you’re somewhere remote. Liquid fuel stoves are often the best option for expedition-style trips in remote places (such as alpine areas). But remember to read up on how to repair a camp stove before heading out.

Terrain & Expected Conditions

The ultralight design of many backpacking stoves often sacrifices wind protection in favor of weight savings.

While this isn’t a big issue for backpacking in the woods, it’s a major concern in alpine areas, deserts, and other areas where you’ll be exposed to wind. Integrated-canister stoves are usually the best bet for backpacking in wind.

Cold weather also effects the performance of some stoves. Select a model known to perform well in winter conditions, such as our top-rated MSR WindBurner.

Another good choice for winter backpacking is a liquid fuel stove. The MSR Whisperlite is a top-quality option. Liquid-fuel stoves also work well for camping at high elevations, such as while mountaineering.

In serious winter weather, many backpackers obtain water from snow and ice by boiling it. If you plan to do this, an extremely reliable winter backpacking stove is an absolute must. 

* Always use caution and follow all manufacturer recommendations when using a windscreen for your backpacking stove. Using a windscreen with a small canister stove can be particularly dangerous due to overheating and risk of explosion.

Type of Food

Your preferred cooking style dictates which type of backpacking stove is best for you. The two main cooking styles for backpacking are boil-in bag meals and DIY meals.

A boil-in bag meal is prepared by simply adding boiled water to a premade meal. Often, these are dehydrated meals, but we also include noodles and similar boiled foods in this category. For this style of cooking, you’re best off with an integrated-canister stove that’s designed to boil water quickly.

A DIY meal is one you make from scratch like you would at home. This style of cooking requires the ability to simmer in addition to boil. Your best bet is a small canister stove with great temperature control for simmering. This also allows you to use your favorite cookware instead of just an integrated heating pot. 

Of course, you can also mix these two styles of cooking together for the same meal. Or maybe you prefer a boil-in bag meal one day and a DIY meal the next. In this case, you should look for a versatile backpacking stove.

After dinner clean-up is another key consideration. If you hate doing dishes while camping, then an integrated-canister model paired with boil-in bag meals is probably your best bet. 

Type of Cookware

The type of cookware you use actually has a large influence on the best backpacking stove for you – but it’s something many people overlook.

Of course, those that prefer to eat dehydrated meals while backpacking simply need an integrated-canister stove which has a built-in cooking cup for boiling water.

Those that plan to use their own cookware on a small canister stove or another model usually use one of four main types of camping cookware.

  • Stainless Steel – Cheap and durable yet heavy. Good for cooking over a campfire, but a bit of overkill for backpacking. Try the MSR Alpine Pot Set.
  • Anodized Aluminum – Lightweight, durable, and fairly inexpensive. Good for boiling water, simmering, and other cooking. Try the MSR Quick 2 System Cook Set.
  • Ceramic Coated Aluminum – Lightweight, non-stick, and super conductive. Great for DIY cooking, but can suffer damage from frequent use at high heat. Try the MSR Ceramic Two-Pot Set.
  • Titanium – Extremely lightweight and durable. The granddaddy of them all. The downside is the price and the tendency to scorch. Try the Toaks Titanium 1600 Pot with Pan.

Look for cookware that is compatible with your backpacking stove as well as your preferred type of camping meals. Just as important than material is size. Select cookware that is stable on top of the stove’s pot holders.

Fuel Type

Type of fuel not only dictates the weight and efficiency of your backpacking stove.

It also plays a role in where you can use that stove. Make sure to check local restrictions as well as any fire bans that are in place. In extreme weather conditions, fire bans are often extended to include some types of camping stoves.

If you’re traveling out of the country, you should check to make sure that your selected fuel type if available there (and affordable). You must also make sure that it’s legal to take that type of stove into the country in the first place.

Along these same lines, it’s important to research TSA restrictions on camping stoves before trying to fly with one.

Budget

Last but not least is your budget.

Backpacking stoves sell for a wide range of prices – anywhere from under $10 to over $200.

So, how much should you spend? Of course, it all depends on your budget, but the best stoves typically sell for between $50 and $150.

Not only are these models lightweight and compact enough for backpacking, but they’re also durable, reliable, fuel efficient, and easy to use.

For example, our top-rated MSR PocketRocket 2 sells for around $50 while the MSR WindBurner Stove System sits at around $150. And, on the other side of things, the Esbit Pocket Stove is just over $10. 


Backpacking Stove Accessories

Your stove is just one component of your backpacking kitchen. Packing the right additional accessories makes preparing backpacking meals easier and far more efficient.

Consider adding the following stove accessories for your backpacking gear checklist.

Steel Strikers

Always pack a backup fire starter for your stove. Even better than a lighter or waterproof matches is a steel striker. Not only are they reliable, but they last for a long time as well. The MSR Strike Ignitor is our top choice.

Canister Stabilizer

Some backpacking stoves come with stabilizers for the bottom for the canister. For models that don’t, you might want to invest in separate canister stabilizers to improve the stability of your camp kitchen. Try the MSR Universal Canister Stand.

Windscreen

If your stove doesn’t include a built-in windscreen, a separate windscreen can help lighting and using it in the wind. The MSR Windscreen is a good option for most MSR backpacking stoves.

* Remember that it’s dangerous to use windscreens with most small canister models. MSR recommends their windscreen be used only with their liquid-fuel stoves.

Heat Reflector

Many windscreens, including our top choice MSR Windscreen and Heat Reflector, come with a heat reflector to help prevent the fuel canister from overheating. 

Hanging Kit

A neat side benefit of an integrated canister stove is the ability to hang it from inside your well-ventilated tent. Look for a hanging kit suitable for your model. The Jetboil Hanging Kit works well for Jetboil stoves. Big wall climbers, in particular, benefit from a stove hanging kit.

Piezo Igniter

Although many of our favorite backpacking stoves now come with built-in piezoelectric igniters, you can buy these gadgets separately for models that don’t. The MSR Piezo Ignitor is one of the best.

Canister Recycling Tool

A canister recycling tool, like the Snow Peak Kuwagata Fuel Canister Recycling Tool or the Jetboil Crunchit Recycling Tool, make it easy to puncture empty fuel canisters to empty them of fumes so they are ready for recycling. 

Learn more about how to recycle a used stove fuel canister.

Camp Coffee Kit

Most backpackers that drink coffee prefer a lightweight camp coffee maker.

A lightweight pour-over is one of the most popular options. We like the Hario V60 Coffee Dripper or the Snow Peak Folding Coffee Drip the best.

For an even more delicious cup of coffee while backpacking, those with an integrated canister stove can opt for a specially designed coffee kit that fits into the heating cup.

These backpacking coffee presses mimic a French press by utilizing the design of the stove heating pot itself.

The Jetboil Coffee Press works with most Jetboil stoves, including our top-rated Jetboil MiniMo.

For MSR backpacking stoves, choose from the MSR WindBurner Coffee Press Kit or the MSR Reactor Coffee Press Kit.

* Check out our complete guide to camp coffee for more info on how to make a delicious cup of coffee while camping.


How to Calculate Fuel Needed

Calculating how much fuel you need is one of the most difficult parts of planning a backpacking trip.

Some of the many different variables to consider include:

  • Party Size
  • Length of Trip
  • Type of Meals
  • Expected Weather
  • Altitude & Terrain

And, all of these variables are in addition to considering the normal fuel efficiency of your backpacking stove.

Yet another factor to consider is how much of a safety net you want. Some backpackers prefer to play it safe and pack plenty of extra fuel. Others, usually those that want to cut every extra ounce of weight, bring the bare minimum needed to make it through the trip (even if it means eating a cold meal on the last night).

Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to tell you how much fuel to bring on a trip.

Your best bet is to just get familiar with your backpacking stove. Use it at home, on some normal camping trips, or on easy one-night backpacking trips to get a feel for how much fuel it uses in different weather conditions.

If you really want to get precise about it, I recommend keeping a fuel log. Track and record how much fuel is left after each trip along with what you cooked (and for how many people) as well as the weather conditions and altitude.

Outdoor Gear Lab does have a backpacking fuel trip calculation sheet that compiles the average amount of fuel uses for their crew on a range of different trips, broken down by integrated canister, small canister, and liquid fuel stoves.


Difference Between Backpacking and Camping Stoves

Most backpackers prefer a backpacking stove for cooking and preparing meals.

The reason for this is simple: size and weight.

The top backpacking stoves are all lightweight and compact. This makes it easy to pack and carry them while backpacking.

Camping stoves, on the other hand, are not only larger and heavier, but awkward to carry farther than, say, a quarter mile from your vehicle.

But camping stoves are far more versatile in terms of what you can cook. Most models also have at least two burners. This makes them a perfect fit for camping gourmet cooks or cooking for large parties of campers.

The only time we’d recommend a camping stove over a backpacking stove for a backpacking trip is one where you have the same basecamp each night.

If you are hiking to and setting up camp in a new location each night, then a lightweight backpacking model is a far better choice.


Need More Help?

Don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions you have about how to choose the best stove for backpacking!

And, remember to check out some of Beyond The Tent’s other top backpacking resources:

Happy backpacking!

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