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Who doesn’t like a piping hot cup of coffee, early in the morning? Or a warm, freshly cooked meal at the end of a long day? Be it in the comfort of your home or on the trails, nothing can replenish you and refresh your mind and body like good food. But be it the would-be backpacker or a veteran of the trails, one of the most important tools to help you cook your food and enhance your experience in the wild is a backpacking stove.
A good backpacking stove can make all the difference in the life of an outdoor enthusiast. A nicely cooked meal can make life much easier for a backpacker, relieving him/her from the stress of finding firewood and tinder, wasting precious hours that could be spent resting. So, if you’re planning your next big backpacking trip through the wilderness and in the market looking for a reliable stove, then this article has you covered.
Backpacking stoves can be categorized into three main types, this categorization is based on the type of fuel used in these stoves. There are canister stoves which use isobutene fuel canisters, there are liquid fuel stoves, compact alcohol stoves, and the good old wood stoves. Also, there were a number of reasons for selecting the following models.
Windproof Portable Camping and Backpacking Stove
Best Mini Portable Camping Burner
Best Canister Stove
Most Fuel Efficient Camping Stove
Ultralight Portable Backpacking Camping Stove
Multi-fuel Backpacking Portable Stove
Most Versatile Alcohol Burner for Camping
Ultralight Alcohol Camping Stove
Stainless Steel Wood Stove
Best Backpacking Stoves For Your Outdoor Adventures
This list is based on the effectiveness of the product, popularity and customer feedback. I have also tried to include the best products from all three categories of backpacking stoves that use different fuel sources.
Now let’s begin with the list of the 10 best backpacking stoves. It’ll include the different types of stoves available in the market, from canister stoves to wood, giving you the flexibility of deciding on which kind of backpacking stoves you want to buy.
The Jetboil Flash is an integrated cooking system which comes fitted with a 1.0 Liter FluxRing cooking cup with insulation. This is one of the best backpacking stoves and is designed for rapid boiling as it can boil a liter of water within 5 minutes. Apart from that it comes equipped with a push-button igniter and color-changing heat indicator. The insulated cup comes with a drink-through lid containing a pour spout and strainer. When not in use, the insulated cup or cooking pot can easily fit the stand and a 100-gram gas canister inside for easy storage and carrying.
- The stove is very easy to use thanks to the insulated pot and igniter button. The heat indicator is also a handy feature.
- Super-fast boiling times even with large quantities.
- Easy to pack even though it has quite a few separate components.
- Since the stove already has many components, large gas canisters can make packing a big hassle since a canister larger than 100 grams will not fit inside the pot along with the other components.
It is easy to see why this stove is one of the best backpacking stove designs available. The insulated pot and fast boiling times saves time and keeps your beverage warm for extended periods. Its large capacity makes it perfect not only for solo trips but for group trips as well. And even though you’re limited to only a 100-gram fuel canister if storage is a concern, it solved when you’re traveling in a group as other members can easily store extra canister while you keep the unit with yourself.
2. Windproof Portable Camping and Backpacking Stove: MSR WindBurner Personal Stove System
The MSR WindBurner is in this list of best backpacking stoves. The main advantage of this stove has over the Jetboil however, is excellent wind resistance. Stiff Winds are always a hindrance when cooking outdoors and thus windscreens are required, but the WindBurner need no such accessory. It has a push-button igniter and a slightly different body shape than that of the Jetboil, but unlike the Jetboil this comes with one eat and drink mug.
- Similar to the Jetboil, this too has blistering fast boiling times.
- The added wind protection certainly works and makes it a perfect choice for places where winds are generally stronger.
- It is modular.
- This stove has even more components than the Jetboil, especially if you plan to bring along its modular accessories for greater versatility. This means that packing it up will take up a lot of space.
THE MSR WindBurner is also among the best backpacking stoves, it’s sheer customizability, paired up with fast boiling times make it a great choice. The wind protection is another great bonus, making it viable in almost all situations, even when things get a little harsh.
3. Best Mini Portable Camping Burner: The Jetboil MiniMo
Think of the Jetboil Flash cooking system, now think what it would be like if the Jetboil Flash was half its size? Well, that’s exactly what the JetboilMiniMo is. The MiniMo is among the best backpacking stoves for its portability. It is essentially what one might call the younger sibling of the larger Jetboil Flash. Just like it’s large version the Jetboil is super-fast at when it comes to boiling, but it seems even faster. Unlike the Flash, it can boil only half a liter of water at a time making it more suited for solo adventures, rather than venturing out with a group.
- The design of the insulated cup enables lower spoon angle making it easier to eat out of, also doubles up as a measuring cup.
- Blistering fast boiling times, making it perfect for quick solo use.
- Even though it is half the size of the Jetboil Flash, the pot can still fit in a 100-gram gas canister along with the guts of the stove, making it even easier to pack.
- It has a lot of parts, like the detachable metal stands which might get lost easily. Being so small means it’s only really useful when taking short solo trips
The Jetboil MiniMo is in the list of the best backpacking stoves because even though it’s small size make it not so useful in groups or in long trips, it’s portability makes it the perfect fit for shorter trips. It can also act as a great secondary or back stove when traveling with buddies.
4. Best Canister Stove: The Snow Peak Giga Power Stove
The Snow Peak GigaPower 2.0 gets placed in the list of the best backpacking stoves from more than one reason. This canister stove can, not only boil water but simmer it as well. It has four collapsible supports that are compatible with a variety of cook pots. It comes with a built-in piezo auto ignition system for a hassle-free experience. It’s constructed mostly out of titanium which means it’s ultra-light, weighing in just 3 ounces. Again like most of the best backpacking stoves, it can boil a liter of water in less than 5 minutes. An add-on windscreen is available that helps to boost its already impressive fuel efficiency.
- The unit itself is extremely small, making it a breeze to store especially with the collapsible pot supports.
- The flame intensity can be adjusted to a simmer, which adds to the versatility and saves fuel.
- It’s lightweight, fuel efficient and the auto igniter makes for easier operation.
- It is not quite as good in windy conditions as the burner is not protected from the wind. Even though a separate windscreen is available, it adds to the list of things that eat up limited storage.
This backpacking stove is powerful, versatile and lightweight. It is fuel efficient which is a great bonus when refueling stations are scarce and the auto-ignition system puts you at ease, as you do not have to think about bringing along matches.
5. Most Fuel Efficient Camping Stove: MSR Pocket Rocket 2
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is not only among the best backpacking stoves but, it may very well be the finest canister stove out there. It is compact and ultra-lightweight, weighing in at only 2.6 ounces and come with a built-in pot stand that’s compatible with a wide range of cooking pots. Just like any other stove, the arms of the pot stand are collapsible but in this case, fold down and fit into a protective plastic case. The adjustable flame control is precise and enables fine control from a boil to a slow simmer.
- MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is the lightest isobutene burner in the entire list.
- The flame intensity can be adjusted with fine-tuned precision.
- It is universally compatible with all the canister screws, meaning it will work with every brand of fuel.
- Although better at higher altitudes than many other canister stoves, it still cannot compete with the performance of liquid fuel stoves at these heights.
The lightest of all canister burners, it is very powerful for its weight is one of the best backpacking stoves you can buy, it truly lives up to its name.
6. Ultralight Portable Backpacking Camping Stove: MSR WhisperLite Universal
The MSR WhisperLite is one of the best backpacking stoves that use liquid fuel in existence, and for good reason. It’s one of the lightest, least expensive and compact liquid fuel stoves on the market. It also lives up to its name and is quieter than many other liquid fuel stoves.
- It is one of the lightest and least expensive liquid fuel stoves out there.
- Its compact form factor means it’s much easier to carry around than other full sized stoves.
- It’s cheaper than many other liquid fueled stoves and much quieter as well.
- It’s is still quite a bit more expensive than canister stoves and it has no simmer control.
This is in the list of the best backpacking stoves for a number of factors, it’s small, it’s light, it’s cheap and it is quiet. This is a combination rarely seen even in more expensive stoves. The WhisperLite money well spent for any backpacker and great to bring along for a group outing.
7. Multi-fuel Backpacking Portable Stove: MSR Dragonfly
Another one of the best backpacking stoves falling under the liquid fuel category is the MSR Dragonfly. It is a great mix of convenience and functionality. Unlike the MSR WhisperLite, this stove comes with simmer control, not only that, but it can also pump out heat, which is a nice feature to have. It has a nice and stable pot stand and is quite powerful, ideal for feeding groups. On the flipside, it is bulky and noisy.
- It is very powerful, ideal for cooking large amounts and can pump heat to melt snow or boil water.
- It has simmer control and works with a variety of liquid fuel.
- This versatility and capacity make it a great choice for a group.
- It is indeed very heavy, and quite noisy, which might annoy some people. Being heavy and large, it not at all something that can be packed up easily.
The Dragonfly is indeed powerful and versatile, it can cook a large amount, fast and properly, its heat pumping system allows it to melt ice, enhancing cold weather performance. And even though it is heavy and a bit noisy, it is a great choice as the main stove for a group.
8. Most Versatile Alcohol Burner for Camping: Trangia Spirit Burner
The Trangia Spirit Burner is on the list of best backpacking stoves simply because of its dependability. It has been around for a long time and is more durable than most alcohol stoves. Another great feature in this little thing is that it has a simmer ring which provides better temperature control. It comes with a screw top lid to save unused fuel.
- The stove weighs next to nothing and it’s sturdy dependability make it one of the best backpacking stoves that use alcohol as fuel.
- Its special feature is the simmer ring, which helps a lot in conserving fuel.
- It’s lightweight, fuel efficient and the auto igniter makes for easier operation.
- Being an alcohol stove, it’s comparatively heavy and does not come with any kind of windscreen.
The Trangia Spirit Burner is a great little stove. It’s reliable, sturdy and perfect as a backup stove or as a mini water boiler. It’s super easy to store and saves a lot of space. The lack of wind protection can be an issue.
9. Ultralight Alcohol Camping Stove: The White Box Alcohol Stove
The white box alcohol stove is also among the best backpacking stoves for solo trips, especially when the journey will be rough. It’s a tough and tested model built to withstand abuse on the trails. The other unique thing about this stove is that is made of recycled aluminum bottles. A windscreen is included with the stove to provide better efficiency. Like most other alcohol stoves no pot stands are required.
- Inexpensive. Both the stove and the fuel are cheap.
- It is so light and small that storage is never an issue with this stove, neither is maintenance.
- Great for solo trips and can withstand incredible amounts of abuse, yet still work.
- Cooking time is very slow and the lack of a simmer ring means no temperature control at all.
The White Box Alcohol stove is inexpensive, sturdy and fuel efficient. Great for making a quick cup of morning coffee. It is easily stored away and weighs next to nothing. A highly reliable great little stove that can back you up in any situation.
10. Stainless Steel Wood Stove: Emberlit Fireant
The EmberlitFireant is not only a very popular wood stove, but it is also among the best backpacking stoves. It made of detachable panels that come together to make a hollow frame, inside which you can put the wood and light the fire. The frame keeps the flame confined, gives to better flow and acts as a stand.
- Light and easily carried anywhere.
- As long as there are trees, there is fuel.
- Setup time is long, and maintenance is also an issue as, after a few uses, soot builds up on the metal plates easily.
A must have for anyone who likes making their own fire to their food in. Virtual has no components that can fail, hence reliable.
Camping Stove Buying Guide
The first and foremost thing to consider when considering which of the best backpacking stoves to buy, the main priority would be where you’re going and what kind of fuel is available there. Next in the list should be the climate and the topography of the region where you plan to backpack. Ultimate you should consider where you’re going solo, or in a group and how much experience you have as a backpacker and your skill of working with minimum tools.
If you’re going somewhere, where outdoor supply stores are plentiful and you’re going solo, then a light. Canister stove or alcohol stove may be the best choice for you. Canister stoves with their ease of use and light weight make them very suitable for solo backpacking and help you prepare food very fast. If you’re willing to sacrifice speed in order to further optimize storage capacity then nothing beats the ultra-light alcohol stoves. And if you’re someone who is a veteran backpacker who loves the experience of making your own fire, then why not go for a wooden stove? But what about places above the tree line, in the mountains? Well, then liquid fuel stoves should be on your radar.
In the end when it comes down to choosing among the best backpacking stoves, it all about paying attention to your specific needs.
The Importance of a Backpacking Stove
Be it in the mountains, the forests or the grasslands, backpacking can be an experience like no other. Unlike camping in the woods, while backpacking you’re always on the move, always on the trail searching out new places, trying to reach the place with the best view, day in and day out, throughout your journey. This is why a backpacking stove is so important to nay one plans to journey through nature, a backpacking stove takes a lot of stress lets you concentrate on enjoying the beautiful vistas. Having a backpacking stove means not having to worry about where and how to cook your food. The best backpacking stoves are indispensable for a better backpacking experience.
Who should use a backpacking stove?
Even though backpacking stoves are designed specifically to aid backpackers, they can be used in many other scenarios, almost any expedition in remote regions can benefit from the presence of backpacking stoves. They also have their use while camping when someone does not want to tackle the troubles of making a fire. In mountaineering expeditions, backpacking stoves can be easily carried and used at base camps along the way. In other words backpacking stoves are not limited to only backpacking and are versatile enough to be used in almost any outdoor scenario.
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The Final Verdict
As I have mentioned before, at the end of the day choosing among the best backpacking stoves 2020 comes down to you and your specific needs for the trip. If you’re going on a long journey, alone, then a liquid fuel stove like the may be the best choice for you, as liquid fuel backpacking stoves tend to give the most consistent performance in climate conditions, especially in colder regions. On the flip side, if you’re planning to take a short trip, alone then something like the JetboilMiniMo might be the best choice, while in a larger group, the Jetboil Flash would be much more beneficial. If canister fuel is going to be hard to find then you can always switch to alcohol stoves and something like the Trangia Spirit Burner, would not only be a smart choice but the most reliable one as well. Last but not the least, wood stoves, like the EmberlitFireant, should always be considered, especially when in a group, as that task of gathering wood would become much simpler with a group. Wood stoves are also a great choice as they have no complicated components, they cannot fail and as long as there are trees, there is always fuel.