12 Best Backpacking Stoves Reviewed and Compared

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Runners have so many options available to them designed to keep them moving that sometimes its easy to forget that you can stop and enjoy the outdoors . Taking a moment, having a sit, enjoy a warm cup of coffee and take in the cool crisp air of the fall day. Remind yourself why started running in nature in the first place.

But unless you are planning on camping, you probably aren’t keen on lugging a pot or starting a campfire while on the trail. That is where backpacking stoves come in. The stoves on this list are meant to be compact and accessible to the runner who wants to have their own little moments without having to haul a kitchen set on their back.

Last Updated: May 6, 2018
By Brian Price:

As always, Runnerclick is dedicated to reviewing the latest and best products available for runners of all types. In this lists latest update we edited our FAQ for clarity and usefulness as well as added stoves from brands like Jetboil, MSR, and Camp Chef for our readers consideration.

Etekcity
  • Etekcity
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Easy to use
  • Price: See Here
Ohuhu
  • Ohuhu
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Collapsible
  • Price: See Here
Esbit
  • Esbit
  • 4 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Lightweight
  • Price: See Here

12 Best Backpacking Stoves

 

1. Etekcity

The Etekcity is an affordable compact little backpacking stove with overwhelmingly positive user reviews. The reliable little contraption features Piezo ignition and a durable construction. The device is backed by a 1-year warranty and follows guidelines for ‘Leave No Trace’ principles since it produces no residue.
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Durability

The small device is made of aluminum alloy and steel. Both materials are capable of handling exposure to high temperatures and are sturdy enough to withstand outdoor use.

Weight

The little stove is extremely small and lightweight and can be folded up so that it fits comfortably in your backpack or bag. It even comes with a case to protect it inside your bag and make transport easy.

Ease of Use

The Etekcity backpacking stove works with fuel canisters for easy heating. There’s also a control function so you can adjust the strength of the flame as you cook food or boil water on the trail. The Piezo Ignition function makes it easy to start the stove, as well. The stove is capable of accommodating pots of us to 7-inches in diameter.

Price

The low price is impressive for such a versatile, quality device. The combination of affordability, quality, and usefulness are what catapulted the Etekcity portable backpacking stove to the top of our list.
Pros
  • Very easy to use and ignite
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Comes with protective carrying case
  • Low price 
  • Adjustable valve 
 
Cons
  • Support legs are a little unstable
 

2. Ohuhu

The Ohuhu Backpacking Stove offers hikers and backpackers an alternative to liquid fuel. This little unit burns wood and provides a more stable cooking surface than other compact models. It’s incredibly lightweight, and since it uses wood for fuel, there’s no need to bring along your own cumbersome canisters.
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Durability

The Ohuhu stove is made of solid stainless steel that resists corrosion. It’s also a lot more solid than other options on this list, even more so than our top pick (a wood burning stove has other disadvantages, however). It’s capable of handling windy weather, too.

Weight

The little stove is sturdy but can easily collapse in on itself for easy transport. It also comes with a convenient carrying case.

Ease of Use

A wood burning stove takes a bit more effort to light since wood is required. Wood is not always readily available and sometimes wet weather can make it tough to find appropriately dry kindling. This makes the Ohuhu stove a more appropriate option for those with some experience building fires. Since no fuel is required, however, there’s no need to worry about contaminating your camping or rest area with fossil fuels. You can also use the stove with alcohol tablets.

Price

The Ohuhu is priced similarly to our top pick and offers a quality, sturdy construction that’s well worth the low price tag.
Pros
  • Easy to find fuel
  • Compact size 
  • Collapsible 
  • Sturdy
  • Budget price 
 
Cons
  • Slower to heat than other stove types
  • Poor choice for wet weather adventures

3. Esbit

The Esbit is a tiny foldable stove that’s used with solid fuel tablets. No need to worry about lugging around canisters or finding wood. You can purchase the stove with 6 or 30 tablets depending on how long you’ll be adventuring for. It’s also backed by a 2-year warranty.
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Durability

The stove is made of galvanized steel, so it’s not easily going to break as you’re transporting it. It can handle being roughed around a bit.

Weight

Like other options on this list, the Esbit backpacking stove is compact and folds down to an even smaller size for easy packing. If you count the weight of the fuel sold with it, the set weighs only 6.3 ounces.

Ease of Use

You can adjust the stove to accommodate different cooking pots or cups. The fuel tabs are also super easy to use. They each burn for a little under 15 minutes, so keep that number into consideration when calculating how many you’ll need. This small stove efficiently boils water in as little as eight minutes.

Price

The Esbit stove is another affordable option for backpacking. It offers great value since it’s durable and is super easy to use.
Pros
  • Extremely durable
  • Compact 
  • Lightweight
  • Works well
  • Easy to use 
  • Inexpensive 
 
Cons
  • Fuel leaves residue
  • Sometimes requires more than one fuel tablet to heat up properly
 

4. Jetboil MiniMo

The Jetboil MiniMo is one of the best performing mini-stoves on this list. This perfect combination of tiny and mighty will keep you cooking while on the trail. Its performance is only matched by the versatility of functionality that the MiniMo comes equipped with.
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Durability:
Jetboil is a stove brand that produces versatile as well as durable products. The stove has no noted durability issues. The MiniMo does have noteworthy stability, its legs not bending or wobbling during normal use or under duress.

Weight:
Hikers who use the Jetboil MiniMo praise its size as well as it easy compactability. This stove is a solid choice if you are looking for a smaller piece of cooking equipment.

Ease of Use:
The MiniMo heats easily and has some pretty useful controls in terms of controlling heat and flame. The pot that it comes with is insulate for your ease of use as well as safety; it gets extremely hot so Jetboil wants to ensure that they take the proper precautionary steps. The small note against the MiniMo’s general ease of use is that it is only compatible with Jetboil fuel sources, so it isn’t very versatile in terms of fuel accessibility.

Price:
The Jetboil MiniMo is a one of the higher cost stoves on this list, but it is very compact and very efficient. Taking its price into consideration, this is a still a high value piece of hiking equipment and is recommended to the trail running enthusiast.
Pros
  • Heats quickly
  • Compacts 
  • Good stability 
  • Can cook for two
  • Comes with insulated pot
  • Lightweight
  • Advanced controls 
 
Cons
  • Not compatiable with other brands/equipment 
 

5. Solo Stove Lite

The Solo Stove Lite is another wood burning option that aims to produce a reduced amount of smoke and fumes. It’s small, so it’s easy to transport.
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Durability

The Solo brand stove is made of stainless steel and comes with a protective bag to keep it from bouncing around and getting dinged in your pack. The stove is also backed by a 1-year warranty.

Weight

The Solo Stove is lightweight and small, but it should be noted that it doesn’t fold in on itself like other models. The backpacking stove instead can fit inside a Solo brand camping pot, but it must be purchased separately. The stove weighs about 9oz.

Ease of Use

No need to bring along fuel since this little stove burns wood. The stove boils water quickly, a little quicker than our second-place wood burning backpacking stove (although, this one is less compact).

Price

This stove is a quite a bit pricier than our previously mentioned wood burning option. But it features a unique smoke-reduction feature that helps to prevent too much smoke product. There’s also an interior tray that catches any residue or ash from burning.
Pros
  • Reduces smoke production
  • Lightweight 
  • Durable
  • Fuel readily available in most cases
  • Easy to add more fuel 
 
Cons
  • Pricey
  • Need to find your own fuel
 

6. KampMATE

The kampMATE is another wood burning backpacking stove that’s affordable and made to last. It’s lightweight and collapses for easy transport. It’s super easy to use, too. The more significant size makes it an excellent choice for building a campfire for heat.
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Durability

The kampMATE is made of thick stainless steel so it won’t easily bend or warp as you use it. Users really appreciated the sturdy construction of the stove.

Weight

It’s a bit bigger than some of the other backpacking stoves on this list, and it weighs just over a pound. The thick construction means it’s durable, sturdy, and won’t wobble as you cook. Another advantage of the larger size is that you can fit larger pieces of wood or kindling inside. This means you’ll likely need to feed the fire less often. Some reviewers found the stove a bit heavy for light packing, though.

Ease of Use

It’s a cinch to set this little stove up and collapse it down for storage. You can flatten it, so it takes up less space. It’s compatible with various fuel types including alcohol tablets, charcoal, etc. Wood is the easiest to source if you’re in a pinch, but for some conditions, it may be tough to find dry kindling to light a fire.

Price

The kampMATE isn’t the cheapest backpacking stove option out there, but it’s still sold at an affordable price point.
Pros
  • Protects flame from wind
  • Provides warmth 
  • Very sturdy
  • Collapses down flat
  • Affordable 
 
Cons
  • Heavier than other options
  • Some parts have sharp edges
 

7. Primus Classic

The Primus Classic Trail Stove requires a gas canister to use, is easy to light and is lightweight enough to carry with ease. It’s an excellent backpacking stove choice for those who aren’t interested in dealing with wood.
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Durability

It’s a bit heavier than other models, but that translates to it being a sturdy device. It features quality parts for an overall durable build. It should not corrode or break easily.

Weight

The little stove has a weight of 8 ounces, which is a bit heavier than some other models featured on this list but it’s still a nice light option for camping or outdoor trekking.

Ease of Use

This backpacking stove uses a gas canister for fuel that must be purchased separately. Remember to consider the size and weight of the canister when you’re deciding on a particular stove model. The stove is easy to ignite and with a canister can provide a flame for just over an hour. It’s easy to ignite manually and even features a windshield to protect its flame from blowing out quickly. The flame is also easily adjusted. Users liked that it was able to boil water very quickly.

Price

For a low price, you get a reliable, compact backpacking stove option that will likely last you for years.
Pros
  • Durable, solid construction
  • Simple to use
  • Heats quickly
  • Affordable 
  • Comes with a storage bag
 
Cons
  • A little heavier than other models
  • Takes a while to cool down after use
 

8. BRS Ultralight

This little stove fits in the palm of your hand when it’s all folded up! Of course, you still need to consider the fuel canister when packing, but a stove that’s the size of your palm is perfect for those wanting to pack extremely light. It’s not just small. It also works well.
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Durability

The little stove is made of titanium alloy, copper, and stainless steel, so it’s not a flimsy device that will crack and break if it’s bumped around in your backpack. You can load a maximum of 3 kgs on this stove before it becomes unstable.

Weight

The BRS backpacking stove weighs a mere 25g, though you shouldn’t forget that you’ll also need to transport a fuel canister to use it. It also comes with a small bag to carry it.

Ease of Use

It burns hot but folds up to the size of a chapstick tube. The sturdy BRS stove is small but has sturdy support legs. It uses propane-butane canisters for fuel.

Price

A budget price for a tool that takes up minimal space and produces the same kind of heat as comparable items.
Pros
  • Excellent value
  • Heats quickly and efficiently
  • Very compact
  • Let’s users control heat 
 
Cons
  • Not appropriate for more than 2 people
  • Easily affected by wind
 

9. Reehut

Another stove for campers, hikers, and backpackers who prefer to use fuel. You can purchase this Reehut backpacking stove on its own or in a pack of two.
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Durability

The Reehut backpacking stove is made of a combination of aluminum alloy and stainless steel. It can withstand high heat, is sturdy enough to hold heavy items, and won’t rust.

Weight

The Reehut stove weighs just over half a pound and folds up so you can easily take it anywhere. It’s compact enough to fit in your pocket if your backpack is full to the brim. It also comes with a little case to protect and store it. Remember, you need to bring along fuel to use this stove, so take into consideration the amount of space and weight this will take up.

Ease of Use

An electronic ignitor makes it easy to switch this little stove on, and users also have control over the flame strength. Users will need to purchase a canister separately to fuel the unit.

Price

The Reehut is another budget option for beginner backpackers or adventurers on a budget. There’s no need to spend big bucks for reliable equipment.
Pros
  • Small size
  • Heats quickly
  • Low price
  • Easy to use 
  • Comes with convenient storage case 
 
Cons
  • Doesn’t burn as efficiently as other models
 

10. REDCAMP

This isn’t just a stove. It’s a whole cookware set that comes with a stove. Everything is made of tough aluminum and can be packed together for efficient use of space.
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Durability

Made of tough aluminum this stove set won’t degrade easily.

Weight

The entire set weighs just under a 1lb which isn’t bad considering you’re not just carrying a stove, but accessories as well. The set comes with a storage bag, a cup, a pan, utensils, a cleaning tool, the stove and a stand.

Ease of Use

The stove included heats up quickly. You just need a fuel canister to power the unit. Everything included is also super easy to clean, and the set comes with a scrub loofah to help you make everything look good as new after you finish cooking.

Price

You get a whole lot for the price you pay including cookware and utensils.
Pros
  • Comes with cookware
  • Easy to use
  • Compact set
  • Great value
 
Cons
  • Coating on included pots chips easily 

11. MSR Pocket Rocket 2

The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is an option for the outdoors enthusiast not looking to sacrifice functionality in exchange for small size. A reliable and powerful piece of cooking equipment would be a great choice for any hiker looking for a heat source that will not only suit their needs but exceed their expectations.
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Durability:
The Pocket Rocket 2 is consider both a durable and well constructed option of backpack stove. It is also known for being stable, not tipping or wobbling even under the duress of heavy cookware or pots. Some users do advise caution in situations where you will get the Pocket Rocket wet, as it may cause degradation.

Weight:
Both compact and lightweight the MSR Pocket Rocket 2 is a great choice for the runner looking for the stove that will fit in their bag.

Ease of Use:
The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 heats extremely quickly, allowing you to get to your meal or beverage sooner rather than later. The heat and flame are also easily adjustable in case you need to be a bit more fine with your cooking.

Price:
This stove is moderately priced, about in the middle of the range of what is available on this list. The MSR Pocket Rocket 2 performs admirably and is well worth the cost for all the value you will be getting from it.
Pros
  • Well built and durable 
  • Compact
  • Heats quickly
  • Lightweight
  • Holds weighty cookware well
  • Stable 
  • Flame is adjustable 
Cons
  • May have moisture issues 
  • Not the most cost effective option 

12. Camp Chef Mountain Series Stryker

One of the heavier options on this list, the Camp Chef Mountain Series Stryker is for hikers who find that they often cannot boil enough water with the traditional hiking stove. And while it is larger overall the Stryker compacts well and stores with ease compared to other smaller models.
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Durability:
There is are no complaints or issues with the Camp Chef Mountain Series Stryker durability in terms of its construction or performance.

Weight:
The Stryker is one of the heavier stoves on this list, its ability to compact down is what lends it to being a feasible hiking stove. It is also designed to be usable with a variety of of liquid fuel bottle brands. So you can make up for its heavier build by choosing to pack a lighter canister of fuel.

Ease of Use:
This stove comes with an auto-lighter, which works with consistency. The drawback of the Stryker’s weight is offset by its capacity. This stove is capable of preparing hot food or beverage for about three people rather than just one or two. Additionally, the pot that comes with this compact stove attaches directly to the heating apparatus so as to ensure safety and stability while cooking on possibly unstable terrain.

Price:
The Camp Chef Mountain Series Stryker has a moderate price, not the highest on this list, no the lowest. If you are willing to shoulder a little extra weight for some performance versatility then the Stryker is worth the cost, otherwise you might find some options on this list better suited to your needs or budget.
Pros
  • Large capacity
  • Lights easily and consistently 
  • Accessable fuel options, fits variaty of canisters 
  • Compacts well
  • Better price than similiar quality models 
  • Pot attaches to burner for safety and stability 
Cons
  • Higher weight/larger than most hiking stoves

 

Evaluation Criteria Explained

We evaluated the top ten backpacking stoves according to how well they can stand up to repeated outdoor use, whether they are compact enough to be suitable for backpacking, how simple they are to use, and whether they offer decent value.

Durability

Most of the stoves on this list are made of tough materials so that they can withstand outdoor use. Outdoor backpacking stoves are small in size but can handle a fair bit of weight without becoming unstable. Most are resistant to corrosion and are composed of materials that won’t bend or warp under pressure or after time. Stoves with several parts are likely to be more fragile, however, so if you are concerned about durability opt for a backpacking stove that doesn’t have too many moving parts.

Weight 

This is an extremely important consideration, especially if you are trying to pack light. Many of the stoves on this list are very light but can also fold up or collapse down to reduce the amount of wasted space in your bag or pack. Keep in mind that the smaller a backpacking stove is, the fewer people it will service efficiently. If you’re cooking for more than two, you may want to consider bringing along more than one backpacking stove or opting for a larger more powerful unit.

Ease of Use 

Most backpacking stoves are fairly easy to set up and use. Most of the options on this list don’t require any kind of complicated setup or takedown and there’s a negligible learning curve to using each one. Wood burning backpacking stoves require a bit more effort, though, since you’ll need to find kindling to burn. The advantage is that you don’t have to pack and bring along fuel to power your little stove. Some backpacking stoves allow the user to adjust the flame strength.

Price

There are several excellent backpacking stove options with a very low price tag. In this case, a lower price doesn’t necessarily mean lower quality. Most backpacking stoves offer a reliable way to heat food or boil water. A higher price tag usually means the stove will have a greater number of features, will come with cookware, or has advanced technology that comes along with the higher price.

 

Other Things To Consider

When deciding on a backpacking stove, there are some other elements to think about. Before settling on a particular model, it’s important to think about your needs as a backpacker, what conditions you’ll be using your stove in, how many people you’ll be cooking or boiling water for, and, of course, how you can stay safe while burning fuel in the outdoors.

Fuel Types

There are various types of backpacking stoves available and you’ll find a few different types on our top ten list. Backpacking stoves to be used with gas canisters are fairly simple to use. They are quick to ignite, don’t require you to find your own fuel, and get hot quick. The disadvantage? You need to budget room in your pack for fuel. You’ll also need to calculate how much fuel you’ll need on your trip beforehand. You should also consider the cost associated with fuel. A backpacking stove may be very inexpensive but if it requires gas canisters, you’ll need to spend extra money. Gas canisters cannot be refilled either.

Liquid fuel backpacking stoves are another option. This type of fuel is less expensive, and bottles can be refilled if needed. Stoves that burn liquid fuel are usually larger, and easier to cook on but this also means that they’re heavier. These types of stoves also tend to produce quite a bit of noise.

Some stoves utilize alcohol as fuel. They’re an excellent option for survival packs since they’re incredibly lightweight. They don’t produce as much heat as other stove types though. But they’re basically indestructible.

You’ll also see several wood-burning backpacking stoves on our list. These are lightweight, collapsible, and easy to set up. You also don’t need to bring along your own fuel since wood should be abundant in most areas. These stoves won’t do you any good if the weather is wet or rainy, however. The advantage? You don’t have to calculate your fuel needs beforehand or pack heavy gas canisters. There’s also the option of using solid fuel tablets with these kinds of stoves.

Staying Safe

While backpacking stoves are a convenient option for outdoor camping, hiking, or trekking, it’s important to stay safe when using them. Never try to cook inside a confined space with any stove. It’s a fire hazard and some fuel types can produce hazardous fumes. Make sure you’re using a stove that’s in good condition. Make sure that when you’re cooking or boiling water, the stove is stable to avoid spills and burns.  Pay attention to burn bans in the area that you’re hiking, camping or backpacking. Neglecting these types of warnings can cause a forest fire.

Boil Time

Unless it’s very windy or you’re dealing with very frigid temperatures, most stove types have an average boil time that you can rely on. If you’re looking for a stove that can get you a hot cup of instant coffee the fastest, that would be a gas canister stove. To no surprise, wood stoves take the longest to reach boiling temperatures.

 

FAQ

Q. What’s the best choice for cold weather use?

A. If you’re heading outdoors and neat a stove for wintertime backpacking, your best bet is a stove that uses liquid fuel. Gas canisters don’t do well in colder temperatures, and compact stoves that burn wood or solid fuel just can’t get hot enough to be of much use when it’s cold outside.

Q. What’s the disadvantage of a wood burning camping stove?

A. Finding fuel in some areas may be difficult. If it’s raining, you’ll likely have a tough time finding dry wood or kindling. Some places may also have regulations on wood burning that must be adhered to.

Q. I need to cook or boil water for a group, what should I look for?

A. Most backpacking stoves are unable to heat a large amount of water, their designs too small to be able to properly distribute the heat. You may find smaller stoves that are able to perform adequately for a larger group, but you will have an easier time meeting your needs with a camping stove over a hiking stove.

Q. Then, what’s the advantage of an ultralight backpacking stove?

A. A trail runner or hiker can easily see the advantages of having a stove that can be condensed down, is ultra light, and is great for heating up a cup of coffee or soup. Just stick it in your backpack and go. What’s not to love?

Q. Why are some backpacking stoves labeled windproof?

A. Wind is the enemy of the backpacking chef. A little bit of wind can reduce your stove’s heat production enough to seriously slow down meal prep. Some units are better suited for use in windy conditions thanks to handy windscreens.

Q. Which type of fuel takes up the most space?

A. People who purchase compact stove sometimes forget to plan space in there pack for extra fuel, which is especially necessary with liquid fuel stoves. Liquid fuel takes up the most space of the fuel types. So make sure if you are planning a longer trip to plan out the extra room you will need.

Q. Do all backpacking stoves ignite on their own?

A. No. While some models come equipped with a spark igniter, not all do. Even those that have a Piezo-igniter may not always produce a reliable spark. Make sure to have a backup option just in case. Pack a lighter or a set of matches for peace of mind.

Sources

  1. Daniel Zweier, How to Choose the Best Backpacking Stove For You, Backpacking Website,
  2. NA, Backpacking - How to Choose a Backpacking Stove, Organization Website,
  3. Philip Werner, How to Choose a Backpacking Stove and Pot, Hiking Website,
  4. NA, CHOOSE A CAMP STOVE, Outdoor Gear Retailer,
  5. NA, How to Choose a Backpacking Stove, Outdoor Gear Retailer,
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