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Our Favorite Backpacking Stoves Reviewed and Compared

last updated May 28, 2019
Ah, the great outdoors can be such a beautiful place to be, but when you plan on being out in nature for extended periods, you’ll find that the best backpacking stoves really come in handy!

Whether you’re an ultra-marathoner who loves a challenge—and will end up sleeping out on the trail—or a serial camper, you’ll need to eat some food and get your macros in while you’re on your outdoor trips. The best backpacking stoves are lightweight and easy to you so, regardless of whether you a running a 50-mile race or on a family camping trip, you can effectively and efficiently use your backpacking stove to heat up your meals.

Check out the best backpacking stoves below!

In a Hurry? The test winner after 9 hrs of research

icon
Etekcity
95.2/100 our score
Durability
96
Weight
98
Ease of Use
92
Adjustability
95
Bottom Line
95
Etekcity
Why is it better?

Very easy to use and ignite

Lightweight and compact

Comes with protective carrying case

Low price

Adjustable valve

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Etekcity
Test Winner: Etekcity
Amazon Link
Researched Sources
5
Researched Sources
Reviews Considered
1.5K
Reviews Considered
Hours Researching
9
Hours Researching
Products Evaluated
18
Products Evaluated
Last Updated:
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By Giselle Killebrew:

Our most recent update brings the Snow Peak LiteMax Titanium stove to the list. If you are looking for a durable and lightweight stove to take with you this is a great one to consider, so make sure to check out the full review below. We also added some more information throughout the page so don’t forget to scroll to the buying guide to learn more about the factors we considered when choosing our final picks.

Sorting Options
Durability Weight Ease of Use Adjustability Bottom Line By Default
Rank
PictureProduct
Name
Rating
Shops
#1
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Durability
96 %
Weight
98 %
Ease of Use
92 %
Adjustability
95 %
Bottom Line
95 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$13.99
#2
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Durability
98 %
Weight
98 %
Ease of Use
90 %
Adjustability
85 %
Bottom Line
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$10.99
#3
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Durability
94 %
Weight
94 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Adjustability
85 %
Bottom Line
94 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$45.04
#4
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Durability
94 %
Weight
90 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Adjustability
85 %
Bottom Line
92 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$69.99
#5
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Durability
95 %
Weight
85 %
Ease of Use
90 %
Adjustability
84 %
Bottom Line
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$29.99
#6
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Durability
96 %
Weight
75 %
Ease of Use
95 %
Adjustability
88 %
Bottom Line
90 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$99.93
#7
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Durability
87 %
Weight
90 %
Ease of Use
84 %
Adjustability
85 %
Bottom Line
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$13.99
#8
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
Durability
79 %
Weight
89 %
Ease of Use
83 %
Adjustability
90 %
Bottom Line
84 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$19.99
#9
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
Durability
85 %
Weight
83 %
Ease of Use
90 %
Adjustability
68 %
Bottom Line
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$134.50
Cabelas
$134.99
See Deal
#10
The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
Durability
84 %
Weight
72 %
Ease of Use
85 %
Adjustability
84 %
Bottom Line
85 %
Price Comparison Last Updated (22.09.19)
Amazon Link
$139.95
Backcountry Link
$139.95
See Deal
Ramseyoutdoor
$139.95
See Deal
Cabelas
$139.99
See Deal

Our Favorite Backpacking Stoves

1. Etekcity

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
95.2
Etekcity
Amazon Link
Durability
96
Weight
98
Ease of Use
92
Adjustability
95
Bottom Line
95
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.99
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

The Etekcity is an affordable compact little backpacking utensil with overwhelmingly positive user reviews. The reliable little contraption features Piezo ignition and 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

This 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 Piezo Ignition function makes it easy to start, as well. This capable of accommodating pots of us to 7-inches in diameter.

Adjustability

The Etekcity 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.

Bottom Line

The low price is impressive for such a versatile, quality device. The combination of affordability, quality, and usefulness are what catapulted the Etekcity to the top of our list.

2. Esbit

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
93
Esbit
Amazon Link
Durability
98
Weight
98
Ease of Use
90
Adjustability
85
Bottom Line
94
best offer for today
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Amazon Link
$10.99
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

The Esbit is a tiny foldable product that’s used with solid fuel tablets. No need to worry about lugging around canisters or finding wood. You can purchase this 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

This 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 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 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.

Adjustability

This small cooker efficiently boils water in as little as eight minutes--so it can be used in any environment by athletes and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Bottom Line

The Esbit device is another affordable option for backpacking. It offers great value since it’s durable and is super easy to use.

3. Snow Peak LiteMax

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
92.4
Snow Peak LiteMax
Amazon Link
Durability
94
Weight
94
Ease of Use
95
Adjustability
85
Bottom Line
94
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$45.04
Pros:

Really lightweight

Easy to use

Back portion is windproof

Comes with a storage bag

Durable

Offers a sturdy and stable base when you use it

Cons:

A little pricey

Can expose you to lead

If you want a lightweight camping stove that you can take with you wherever you go, then you will absolutely love this stove. Not only is this one ultra-lightweight, but it is also incredibly durable and designed for hikers and backpackers who really need to cut their weight wherever they can. This is a reliable stove that you can count on without having to worry about it weighing you down!

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Durability

This camping stove is made of Titanium and anodized steel. These two materials ensure that this camping stove is both incredibly lightweight and durable—so you don’t have to worry about this one being flimsy and breaking down on you when you need it the most.

Weight

As we mentioned above, this is one of the lightest camping stoves out there in terms of weight. Weighing in at just 2 ounces, this camping stove will definitely add minimal weight to your pack, so you can bring it with you wherever you go—whether you are going out for the weekend or backpacking through one of your favorite long trails.

Ease of Use

This camping stove is actually really easy to use and when you are not using it all you have to do is fold the tips into the closed position. The stove is sturdy and has 3 prongs that allow you to set it up when you are going to use it. The three prongs ensure that it is stable. The camping stove also has arms on the back to make it windproof on the back—so, to take advantage of this feature you will need to set it up against the wind if you notice that it is windy out when you go to use it.

Adjustability

When it comes to adjustability, this stove offers a wire handle for you to adjust the heat to your preferred setting. The setting you need will depend on what you are cooking and how fast you are cooking it—this camping stove can actually get up to 2800 Kcal, so it is definitely powerful enough to rely on.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, this is an excellent camping stove for those of you who need to focus on cutting weight and need something that is ultra lightweight. Not only is this camping stove really easy to use, but it is also really durable and comes with a storage bag for you to keep it in. One important thing to note is that it may expose you to lead due to the materials it is made of, so make sure to check out all of the specs and make sure you consider how often you will be using it if you are concerned about this.

4. Solo Lite

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
91.2
Solo Lite
Amazon Link
Durability
94
Weight
90
Ease of Use
95
Adjustability
85
Bottom Line
92
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Amazon Link
$69.99
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

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.

Read more

Durability

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

Weight

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

Ease of Use

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

Adjustability

As long as you have access to wood you are good to go with this one!

Bottom Line

This 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.

5. KampMATE

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
KampMATE
Amazon Link
Durability
95
Weight
85
Ease of Use
90
Adjustability
84
Bottom Line
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$29.99
Pros:

Protects flame from wind

Provides warmth

Very sturdy

Collapses down flat

Affordable

Cons:

Heavier than other options

Some parts have sharp edges

The kampMATE is another wood burning choice 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 product.

Weight

It’s a bit bigger than some of the others 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.

Ease of Use

It’s a cinch to set this 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.

Adjustability

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.

Bottom Line

The kampMATE isn’t the cheapest option out there, but it’s still sold at an affordable price point.

6. Jetboil Flash

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
88.8
Jetboil Flash
Amazon Link
Durability
96
Weight
75
Ease of Use
95
Adjustability
88
Bottom Line
90
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$99.93
Pros:

Efficient

Easy to use

Compact

Versatile

Can be used anywhere

No learning curve

Boils water in 100 seconds

Heat color change when it is ready

Cons:

Expensive

Heavy compared to really lightweight options

No matter where you are trekking or how long, or short, you plan on being out in the great outdoors, you are going to want a reliable backpacking stove. The Jetboil flash is just that because it is easy to use, lightweight, and really versatile--check it out!

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Durability

The Jetboil Flash is super durable and designed to last. If you invest in one of these you will have it for the long haul--I personally have one of these and love it. Is it the best? Well, that depends on what your needs are of course.

Weight

While it isn't the most compact option available, it is still really compact and portable. It is easy to carry with you and will pack away. At 13 ounces it is not the lightest in weight but will not weigh you down either.

Ease of Use

This system is really easy to use and has a wider surface area. It is designed to boil water in just 100 seconds, so you won't be sitting around waiting around for your food. Its igniter is really easy to use--and you will need a light to get it started. You will know it is done boiling when the flame color changes, so you won't have to guess or wonder when it is one.

Adjustability

The best part about the jetboil flash is that it can be used anywhere as long as you have a light and the ignitor isn't empty. Of course, you don't want to get stuck with an empty igniter, but if you plan ahead you won't have to worry about this issue.

Bottom Line

This is a versatile backpacking stove that works for just about anyone. If you are running an ultra-marathon you will probably want something lighter--although if you don't mind the added "weight" then this is definitely an efficient option. It is really up to you whether you like it or not, but this is definitely a great one to consider.

7. Reehut

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
86.2
Reehut
Amazon Link
Durability
87
Weight
90
Ease of Use
84
Adjustability
85
Bottom Line
85
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$13.99
Pros:

Small size

Heats quickly

Low price

Easy to use

Comes with a convenient storage case

Cons:

Doesn’t burn as efficiently as other models

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

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Durability

The Reehut product 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 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.

Ease of Use

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

Adjustability

Remember, you need to bring along fuel, so take into consideration the amount of space and weight this will take up.

Bottom Line

The Reehut is another budget option for beginner backpackers or adventurers on a budget. There’s no need to spend big bucks This reliable equipment.

8. BRS Ultralight

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
85
BRS Ultralight
Amazon Link
Durability
79
Weight
89
Ease of Use
83
Adjustability
90
Bottom Line
84
best offer for today
Amazon Link
$19.99
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

This 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 product 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

This 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.

Weight

The BRS 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 is small but has sturdy support legs. It uses propane-butane canisters for fuel.

Adjustability

You can load a maximum of 3 kgs before it becomes unstable.

Bottom Line

A budget price for a tool that takes up minimal space and produces the same kind of heat as comparable items.

9. Jetboil MiniMo

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82.2
Jetboil MiniMo
Amazon Link
Durability
85
Weight
83
Ease of Use
90
Adjustability
68
Bottom Line
85
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Pros:

Heats quickly

Compacts

Good stability

Can cook for two

Comes with insulated pot

Lightweight

Advanced controls

Cons:

Not compatible with other brands/equipment

The Jetboil MiniMo is one of the best performing 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 brand that produces versatile as well as durable products. This 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 compatibility. This 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 insulated 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.

Adjustability

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.

Bottom Line

The Jetboil MiniMo is one of the higher costs 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.

10. MSR Whisperlite Universal

The rating is based on the average rating (1-100) from all the criteria in which we rated this product.
82
MSR Whisperlite Universal
Amazon Link
Durability
84
Weight
72
Ease of Use
85
Adjustability
84
Bottom Line
85
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$139.95
Backcountry Link
$139.95
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Ramseyoutdoor
$139.95
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Cabelas
$139.99
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Pros:

Durable

Adjustable flame

Use with multiple fuels

Easy to clean in the field

Simple operation

Cons:

Some don't like the fuel pump system

For many experienced backpackers, the MSR Whisperlite is THE classic and best stove out there and for good reason. It's durable, reliable, and can put out some serious heat. When you're 10,000 feet up, it's snowing, and you need to cook, this one won't let you down.

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Durability

This option has been on the market for a long time just as it is, because the design is a classic and has been proven effective time and time again.

Weight

For many experienced backpackers this is their go to stove. At 14.9 ounces it won't weigh you down either.

Ease of Use

This option is simple to set up and operate.

Adjustability

The Universal in the name comes from the fact that it can be used with just about any fuel: white gas, canister, or even kerosene. Unlike a lot of other products, you can easily get the flame down to a low simmer.

Bottom Line

The classic backpacking stove. Reliable, relatively lightweight, easy to use with almost any type of fuel you can find, and you can actually adjust the flame to different levels, a big plus for the backcountry gourmands out there.

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Durability

When you've been hiking all day, you're 10,000 feet up in the mountains, it's cold and you're hungry, your stove has to work, it just has to.

This is the first factor we look at and probably the most important. When you're backpacking your stove is your best friend in many ways. It not only cooks your meals, but it can boil water making it safe to drink as well. And there are few things better than a nice hot meal at the end of a long day of difficult hiking in the backcountry. Even if it's just freeze-dried mac and cheese, meals cooked outside in beautiful surroundings after intense activity always taste the best.

But in order to get you there, your stove has to be able to stand up to the pounding it can sometimes take while packed in your backpack or hanging from its daisy chain. If a stove isn't built for the long haul, if it doesn't use quality components and solid construction methods it's probably going to break down sooner than later, and when this happens you can't just order pizza instead of cooking.

Some of the things to look at before making your purchase are the quality of the materials, especially the hose and any attachment points. These places, where one material or component connects with another are typically the weak points, or potential weak points at least, in a stove, so you want to make sure these areas have been paid attention to with good design and craftsmanship by the manufacturer.

Weight

When you're carrying everything you need for a few days in the backcountry every ounce counts. Trust us, your knees and back will thank you.

Space and weight are precious to runners and backpackers as well. We only have so much room for the necessities and staying hydrated and fueled up is incredibly important. A good stove is going to be foldable and compact enough to carry along with other items. It shouldn’t be bulky or awkward, and it shouldn’t take up more space than necessary. Keep in mind the smaller the product the fewer people it’s going to be able to serve.

So, if you plan an excursion with friends, make sure that they bring their own if you don't want to carry a heavy and bulky stove. If you do have multiple people on a backpacking trip and you only want to bring one stove it will need to be larger and therefore heavier. In this case, a good option is to have one person carry the stove, one person carries the tent, and another person carries the food. This way the load is split up evenly and fairly and no one person is overburdened.

Our list of reviews offers several different options for you when it comes to weight, although it is safe to say that most of them are pretty lightweight. However, if you are a backpacker or someone who is looking to cut some serious weight then take a look at our recent addition, the Snow Peak UltraMax Titanium camping stove. Weighing in at just 2.0 ounces, this camping stove is one of the lightest stoves out there and a perfect way for you to cut those last few ounces you are looking to get rid of.

Regardless of what you need your camping stove for, the weight can be a deciding factor for many of you. Make sure that you consider where you will be taking your camping stove and the type of use you need to get out of it. Keep in mind that there is no perfect camping stove out there for everyone if there were there would be a need for this page--so, make sure to prioritize your needs and preference before making your final decision.

Ease of Use

You've been hiking all day, it's starting to snow, and your hands are cold and not working well. Right about now is when you'll appreciate this important factor.

If you aren’t a camping aficionado, then you want to make sure that the one you choose is simple enough to set up and use from the get-go. The last thing you want is to not be able to quickly and easily get your dinner or lunch going when you've been hiking all day, it's getting cold, and you're super hungry. No one wants their running trip to turn into an episode of National Lampoon’s, so find something that you’re comfortable using and that has a fairly simple design. You’ll have to choose between options that require some type of oil or gas and wood-burning models. If you’re going for the wood-burning type, you want to either carry your own kindling or make sure the running in an area where you have access to plenty of fuel. Either way, remember it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Adjustability

Pro tip: most backpacking stoves really only have two heat settings, off and jet burner.

A lot of stoves made for backpacking are designed to boil water quickly, which is actually a big metric used when comparing stoves. And it's good and helpful when comparing stoves to look at how quickly they can boil a liter of water.
But if you want to cook and eat something other than freeze-dried and reconstituted meals on your trip, be sure to pick a stove that can be set to medium heat and simmer as well as full boil. This will give you the option to make a nice sauce, maybe make some toast, and plenty of other delicious things that can make your trip a lot more enjoyable. By testing the stoves, reading through over a thousand reviews, and evaluating the design of each product we were able to determine which stoves give you the option of different heat settings and assigned each one a score based on this important criterion.

Bottom Line

Especially if you're going deep in the backcountry, we encourage you to choose a stove that has a well-rounded set of features.

Ideally, the stove you choose will have it all: light weight, be tough as nails, be simple to use, and give you multiple heat settings. However, based on what you're looking for and what's most important to you, you may choose to sacrifice one or more of these qualities for the thing that truly matters to you most, and that's ok. For example, if you're a solo backpacker going deep into the backcountry, you may choose to sacrifice a stove's adjustability for one that's super lightweight and reliable since you're carrying everything yourself and there's no one else to rely on for help to figure something out if your stove breaks or doesn't work for some reason. We looked at the total package of features each option on our list has to offer and assigned it a cumulative score to help you make the best possible decision.

Expert Interviews & Opinions

Most Important Criteria (According to our experts opinion)
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#1
Durability
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Bottom Line
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You need a stove

If you're out on a long hike or camping, boiling water or eating a tasty meal may be necessary. These pack so easily, why wouldn't you bring one? Some experienced ultralight backpackers may choose to rely on foods that don't require cooking, but being without a stove can leave you vulnerable to dirty water sources if you don't have the ability to boil water to purify it. It can also be dangerous, making you susceptible to hypothermia if you don't have the ability to make hot beverages to help get your core temperature up.

Food and Warmth

There really isn't anything better than marshmallows, but perhaps you'll also need your stove for emergency warmth.

Other Factors to Consider

Value

We evaluated ten of the best options according to how well they can stand up to repeated outdoor use, whether they are compact enough to be suitable for trekking, how simple they are to use, and whether they offer decent value. We also looked at the way that they impact your running experience. Too much weight on your back can slow you down and actually cause long-term injuries. It’s important to understand the size and shape of what you’re trying to carry, and how it fits into your routine.

When deciding on the best option, 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 product 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.

Use

There are various types available and you’ll find a few different types on our top ten list. Models 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. They 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 models are another option. This type of fuel is less expensive, and bottles can be refilled if needed. Models that burn liquid fuel are usually larger, and easier to cook on but this also means that they’re heavier. These also tend to produce quite a bit of noise.

Some 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 types though. But they’re basically indestructible.

You’ll also see several wood-burning options 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. They 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 this type.

Safety Hazards

While these 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 model you choose. It’s a fire hazard and some fuel types can produce hazardous fumes. Make sure you’re using a product that’s in good condition. Make sure that when you’re cooking or boiling water, it’s stable to avoid spills and burns. Pay attention to burn bans in the area that you’re hiking, camping or trekking long distance. Neglecting these types of warnings can cause a forest fire.

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

Frequently Asked Questions

q: What’s the best choice for cold weather use?

a:

If you’re heading outdoors and need one of these products for wintertime trekking, your best bet is one that uses liquid fuel. Gas canisters don’t do well in colder temperatures, and compact models that burn wood or solid fuel just can’t get hot enough to be of much use when it’s cold outside. Also, make sure that you look for camping stoves that offer windproofing features--even if it is just on one end. The wind can really get in the way and having one that will guard against it when you use it can literally be a lifesaver.

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. The camping stoves on our list are definitely a better option, and they are also much more reliable. You will have your fuel already with you and will spend less time getting everything set up--so you can cook quickly and get to eating your meal without having to spend so much time working for your meal.

q: I need to cook or boil water for a group, what should I look for?

a:

Most models are unable to heat a large amount of water because their designs are too small to be able to properly distribute the heat. You may find smaller products that are able to perform adequately for a larger group, but you will have an easier time meeting your needs boiling small amounts of water at a time. Having said that, if boiling water quickly is the single most important thing to you, check out the models from JetBoil.

q: What are the advantage of an ultralight backpacking stove?

a:

A trail runner or hiker can easily see the advantages of having one 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? If you need to cook for a group, however, make sure you check out the specs and ensure that it a good option for groups of 3 or more. Some are designed for single serving cooking so it can take a lot longer to get everything ready if you are cooking for more than 2 people.

q: Why are some labeled windproof?

a:

Wind is the enemy of the outdoor chef. A little bit of wind can reduce 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 option sometimes forget to plan space in their pack for extra fuel, which is especially necessary with liquid fuel models. 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 these 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, and keep these in a waterproof bag or case.

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